A Jewel Whodunnit...
Chapter Seven: Zoe Acts

Constance Montgomery gazed unseeingly out of the bedroom window of her apartment, a troubled look on her face. How long would it be, she wondered, before she became involved in this mess? How long before she got an unpleasant parcel through the door?
The story of the Gabor bomb, as it had been labelled, had been all over the news the night before and it had struck terror into her heart. She had known all along that he was staying for a reason, that he would try again, and yet she couldn't stop him. Didn't dare, if the truth were to be known. For the first time since she had taken up employment with her cousin Vivien, she was truly afraid for her future, even...
Even for her life.
She sank down on the bed, burying her head in her hands.
"If only he hadn't recognised me." She whispered. "It's been so long, I've grown up so much. But how...how can I get out of this? He knows I'm too scared to betray him, scared he'll ruin me for what I've done and make my daughter hate me." She bit her lip. "Does that make me his accomplice? If...if he succeeds, does that make me accessory to murder?"
There was a knock on the door, and, half still in her frightened thoughts Constance went to answer it, wishing as soon as she'd swung it open that she'd not bothered. He stood on the other side, expression blase and arrogant as ever, casting her an unwelcome look with his eyes and pushing his way inside before she could stop him, banging the door shut.
"What do you want!" Constance tried to regain some composure but it was impossible with him so near, and she trembled with fear and apprehension. "Why are you in my apartment, get out, before I call the police!"
"I don't think you'll do that, my dear." The intruder dropped down onto the sitting room couch, reaching for the television handset and flicking through the channels lazily. "Listen. You...uh...don't mind me stopping here a while, do you? I...kinda have a little problem,  need someplace to hang out. I thought I'd try you, for old times sake." He winked at her, making her shiver.
"Of course I mind!" she exclaimed. "I know damn well you were responsible for what happened at Pizzazz's home last night and I know you were responsible for the fire, as well! What makes you think I'm going to help you?"
"Because, Clash, if I get caught, I ain't gonna keep quiet." The intruder fixed her with a dark stare. "I know the system. I know you get better deals if you spout information on other people. I ain't gonna protect noone if I find myself in one of those cells again, so don't you forget it. I know things about you, and I can ruin your life, so you better not upset me, Ms Montgomery. You're in too deep over your pretty head and you better know it."
"That was a long time ago. It's over with now." Connie's voice shook. "Listen here, Zipper, what you've done is...is hardly better than attempted murder! Pizzazz could have been killed, Jetta too! I'm not going to be a part of that!"
"You already are, doll." Zipper winked at her. "You knew I was about, knew where to find me, knew that Warren Brooker was just a cover to stay in Los Angeles. You could've had me banged up from the start, but you didn't. I was able to get to the post and send a little present to my old friend Pizzazz...and you enabled me to do it. You're in this as much as I am...so don't you think otherwise."
"That's a lie!"
"Is it?" Zipper raised an eyebrow. "Fine. Call the cops. Tell them. See what happens then."
Constance went to the phone, scooping it up, then pausing, biting her lip. As the tears filled her blue eyes the phone slipped from her grip onto the carpet below.
"I can't." She whispered. "If Zoe knew what I'd done...she'd never forgive me."
"Then maybe you could..uh...try and be a bit more of a hostess?" Zipper responded. "Coffee!"
Clash stared at him, then,
"Do it your damn self!" She exclaimed. "I'm not going to be your slave!"
"Tetchy tetchy." Zipper pursed his lips. "You ain't improved any on the attitude."
Constance just glared at him, elements of her old, troublesome nature bubbling back as she did so. Her eyes narrowed as she took in his appearance - his grizzled hair, his aging face...but those eyes, just as alert and as full of evil as ever they had been.
"What fool let you out of prison in the first place?" She demanded in a low tone.
"I did my time." Zipper met her gaze coolly. "An' we had our fun, and then I moved on. Like...disappeared. You know?" He laughed. "Like a puff of smoke, you got me?"
"Some fun." Constance muttered.
Zipper's expression changed.
"You listen to me, Clash, I ain't bluffing." He said quietly, his tone menacing. "If I'm caught, I've nothing to lose by telling the truth. The whole truth. Your little Zoe won't think you're so great when I'm done with you, so you better damn well protect me!"
"I'm not going to protect someone who's trying to finish off people I work with!"
"You didn't care so much about Jetta once upon a time." Zipper's expression was scornful now, laughing at her with those sly, uncanny eyes. "Pizzazz neither. Waste of space, you thought. You all sweet on them again now? Or is it business?"
"Business." Constance said darkly. "But I'm not the girl I was when you knew me, Zipper. That's not who I am now. You think you know me and how to control me but it's not true, you don't. Whatever you do to me."
"Maybe your daughter would like to get the kind of present Pizzazz had, then." Zipper suggested softly. "What do you think?"
"No!" Now Constance's bravado was shattered and she stared at him in horror. "I told you once, leave her out of this! She knows nothing...she's never known anything. I've never even mentioned your name to her. She's nothing to do with this!"
"She's your daughter." Zipper replied with a careless shrug. "Do I look like I care? Mom, kid, all the same to me. What matters to me is keeping your tongue quiet and I'll do it whatever way I can. Kapiche?"
"Don't you ever talk to my mother like that!"
A fresh voice came from the doorway, shaking with angry indignation, and Constance turned to face her daughter in horror. Zoe's expression was uncharacteristically savage, and she glared at the unwanted visitor with all the venom and dislike that her mother had often used to her enemies in her youth. Zipper stared at her, then he laughed.
"Shut it, kid. You don't get the deal we got going here." He stood, gesturing round him. "See, I'm staying with your Ma for a bit. She's been kind enough to help me out. Your best plan would be to, uh, turn round and walk out and not say you saw me at all, because I ain't a nice man when I'm angry."
"I don't care who you are." Zoe was not to be deterred. "I came to see my mother, I didn't come to see you. She doesn't want you here, that must be obvious even to a cretin like you, so don't give me that. Get out of here, or I'm calling the police!"
"Zoe, no, please!" Constance finally found her voice. "You don't understand...you...you don't know..."
"All I know is that he's a creep and he's making my mother cry." Zoe said angrily, and in surprise Constance reached up to touch her cheek, feeling it's dampness and realising her daughter was right. She had been crying, but she had been so caught up in things she'd not even noticed the tears begin to fall.
"Your mother ain't gonna cause me any trouble, and if you do, I'll zip your lip for you permanently." Zipper said darkly. "You keep out of it. Ain't nothing to do with you. Your Ma and I have unsettled business."
"Zoe, go home." Constance said softly. "Please, go home and forget you were here this morning. I mean it...I don't want you hurt."
"You think I'm going to walk out and let this creep hurt you?" Zoe looked incredulous. "If he wants someone to get out, he can get out!"
Before anyone realised what she was going to do, she shoved the crook hard, taking him by surprise and causing him to almost overbalance.
"Why you..." Angry now, he recovered himself, reaching to grab her, but Zoe was too quick for him. She grabbed him, pushing him back against the wall and twisting his arms behind him. Anger had given her strength, and age had gone against him, but still he stared at her in angry disbelief.
"You get out of here, and you go now." Zoe told him quietly. "I mean it. You come back here and I'll set the police on you. I don't care who you are or what you and Mom did in the past. You're not going to bully her any more."
"We'll see about that, you little bitch!" Zipper pulled his arm free, but by this time Constance had come to her senses a little, and she grabbed the nearest thing she found - the phone book - bringing it down on his head and dazing him. Zoe pushed him down on the floor, shaking now with fear and shock more than anger, and Constance ran to find a length of cable with which to secure him. Then, she dropped down onto the sofa, burying her head in her hands.
"What are we going to do?" She whispered.
"Call the police." Zoe said firmly. "What else?"
"We can't." Constance looked helpless. "I'm sorry, Zoe. I can't. I...I'm already afraid. He said, if they caught him...he'd expose me for what I really am."
"The world knows what you are, Mom." Zoe came to put her arm around her mother's shoulders. "A great television presenter whom everyone loves."
"That's not the truth." Constance sighed. "Not all of it. Zoe, I...I can't tell you, you'll never forgive me."
Zoe paused, then,
"Is he my father?" She murmured.
Constance stared at her, then,
"God no!" She exclaimed. "Oh heaven, is that what you thought? Is that why you kept asking me so insistantly?"
Zoe nodded her head.
"I...I was afraid." She admitted. "He'd scared you and I knew you'd known him in the past. I didn't want it to be him, especially since I...I'm sure hes involved in the fire."
"He is...and the bomb at the Gabor place." Constance bit her lip. "I'm sorry, Zoe. I'm so sorry. You deserve a proper mother, not someone like me...a screwball who's spent her life trying to cover up the mistakes she made when she was young. I love you more than anything, you helped me so much to find where I belonged and get my life straight. You can't be a mother if you haven't grown up yet yourself, and it made a big difference to me, having you. I was wild and out of control in so many ways even then...you helped me change that. But..." She trailed off, looking troubled. Her gaze rested on the stunned Zipper. "We have to let him go. Maybe we'll be lucky and he won't remember this. I hope, anyhow."
"Zoe, I mean it." Constance shook her head. "I can't explain, only...help me get him out of the apartment. We'll untie him outside and leave him to come to. It's early yet, noone will be around."
Zoe hesitated, then, she sighed.
"All right." She said quietly. "But on two conditions."
"What conditions?" Constance looked nervous.
"One, you tell me who my father is." Zoe replied. "And two, you tell me what it is this guy has over you. I want to know what happened between you all those years ago."


Chapter One: A Confession
Chapter Two: Jetta's Mind
Chapter Three: Alex and Sadie
Chapter Four: Jetta Speaks
Chapter Five: A Problem For Sadie
Chapter Six: Answer To A Riddle
Chapter Seven: Zoe Acts
Chapter Eight: A Shock For Stefana
Chapter Nine: Some Truths
Chapter Ten: Zoe Takes A Chance
Chapter Eleven: Truth Will Out

Chapter Twelve: A Close Shave
Chapter Thirteen: Zoe's Father


Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, Sirena, Topaz, Aaron, Sophie, Justin, Elliot, Rosita, Luis and any other characters in this fiction which do not appear in the animated Jem series are copyrighted to me (E.A Woolley) as of January 2002 <unless otherwise specified> and are not to be reproduced without permission ANYWHERE. Jetta, Pizzazz, Stormer, Roxy, Raya and all other original Jem characters are the copyright of Hasbro Inc, Sunbow, Christy Marx and the other writers of the Jem series. The future world of Pizzazz, Raya, Jetta, Roxy, Stormer, Clash, Synergy, the fate of Jem and her memorial are all copyrighted to me. The future world of Kimber and Shana is copyrighted jointly to myself and Gemma Dawn.
The concept of 'Jewel' is entirely my own, and any apparent link with any fictional or actual person or persons of this name is entirely coincidental. Equally the characters in this fiction are not based on any real life individual.
The concept behind the future world of Danse, Aja and Craig, the idea behind Jerrica's futureworld and the split of the Holograms is copyrighted to Gemma Dawn, whose Teenangel Outsiders fiction is directly twinned with Just a Dream. The character Sammi and any of the other Teenangel Outsider characters mentioned in this fiction are entirely copyright to Gemma Dawn and appear here only with her permission.
Pay her page a visit!