Just A Dream...
Chapter Ten: The Aftermath
"Where are you taking me?"
Panicked and fearful, Nancy peered out of the dark window of the racing van, struggling against the hastily yet firmly tied bonds at her ankles and wrists. "What do you want? You're sick in the head!"
Jeremy laughed, not even turning his attention from the wheel.
"Don't fret it, kid, you ain't gonna die, not so long as you do as you're told." He told her. "It ain't you I got business with."
"Then why did you kidnap me?" Nancy wriggled once more, but it was in vain.
"Cool down, brat. You're shakin' the van." Jeremy warned her. "It's your Ma I got business with, if you must know. She an' I 'ave unsettled business. She sent me back to jail, back in '88. I didn't appreciate it. Burns kids don't sell each other short."
"Mom isn't a Burns, she's a Pelligrini." Nancy snapped. "And I wouldn't expect her to show you any loyalty! She said you tried to kill her!"
"Yes...rather foolish of me not to succeed, really." Jeremy seemed pensive. "But don't you worry about that. If she 'as any feelin' at all for you, she'll come lookin'...an' when she does, I'll settle things once and for all."
"No!" Nancy's eyes opened wide with horror. "You can't use me as bait!"
"That's precisely why I got you 'ere." Jeremy agreed cheerfully. "So pipe down, will ya? You ain't 'elpin' your situation any. If you bug me too much I'll kill you, so I advise you to shut your face. It ain't far now, anyway."
Nancy bit her lip, her eyes wet with frightened tears. Part of her wanted her mother to come and get her out of this, but the other part, the part which was so fiercely loyal and protective toward her family willed Jetta to stay away. After all, she couldn't bear...
"No, I won't think that way." She murmured to herself. "It'll be okay, it has to be! Somehow it'll be all right!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Aaron, calm down an' explain yourself."
Jetta held up her hand against the confused torrent of words her son had been pouring out. "I can't understand a blinkin' thing! What's wrong?"
"It's Nancy." Aaron got himself under a modicum of control. "Mom...she's been kidnapped!"
Jetta's face drained of all colour, and for a moment Aaron was afraid his mother might faint. "Kidnapped...but...how? When?"
"Some guy broke into her and Copper's room and abducted her. He had a gun and Copper's in quite a state, I left her with Topaz and Syl, to calm her down."
"Oh God." Jetta's grey eyes were filled with an emotion Aaron had never seen there before - fear. "God...Aaron, why did noone do anything to stop 'im! Why..."
"He told Copper that if she interfered he'd kill Nancy. There was a bullet in the wall of their room, I think he fired to prove his point, though Copper wasn't clear. She's gone hysterical." Aaron replied. "Mom, are you all right?"
"All right?" Jetta stared at her son as if he were mad. "Of course I ain't bleedin' well all right! I brought you here...Oh 'ell, if 'e kills her..."
"You need to sit down." Despite his own anxieties about his sister, Aaron was more than a little frightened by his mother's reaction. Cool, calm and unruffled most of the time, he had never seen Jetta either so shaken or so scared. It unnerved him, but she needed his help, and, much to his dismay she did not resist it, allowing him to usher her into the room's only chair, and perching on the end of the bed.
"'As anyone called the police?"
"Syl said she would, as soon as they'd got sense out of Copper." Aaron replied. "Can I get you a drink or something? You look like you're going to faint!"
"What damn use is a drink of water?" Now Jetta's temper, helpless and frustrated bubbled to the surface. "Damn it, I knew comin' to England was a bad idea! I knew it! I knew 'e was out there...but I thought...I thought if we kept our 'eads down, there'd be no need for 'im to know we were in town. God, how could I 'ave been so stupid! Since 'e got out of prison...oh God, Aaron, what 'ave I done?"
"It isn't your fault." Aaron told her firmly. "Whoever this guy is..."
"'E's your uncle." Jetta said quietly. "Me elder brother, Jeremy. I know it is."
"That's what Copper said." Aaron admitted. "But...surely he just wants money from you?"
"I doubt it." Jetta's voice shook. "I...I'm afraid 'e'll kill 'er, Aaron. We 'ave to find her...before 'e does. If anything 'appens to 'er..."
"We'll go out looking as soon as it's light."
"No!" Jetta grabbed his hand, shaking her head. "No! I won't risk me other kid...I won't lose you both."
"It'll be all right, Mom, really." Aaron said softly. "And I can't just sit here while Nancy..."
"Don't." Jetta shuddered, closing her eyes briefly. "Don't."
"I'm sorry." Aaron paused, then, "Can I call Dad?"
Jetta sighed, then nodded slowly.
"I guess it 'as to be done." She agreed finally. "Sure. Call 'im. I doubt I could tell 'im." She eyed her son thoughtfully. "You're very calm, you know."
"Someone has to be." Aaron said quietly, unwilling to admit how afraid he was inside. He reached for the phone, half deciding that if his father should suggest flying out, he would not decline the offer. His mother was still deathly pale, and Aaron was seriously worried about her.
As he hung up the receiver, there was a knock on the door and he moved to open it, relief flooding his features as he recognised the police officer, with Sylva in tow. Surely now something could be done to help his sister?
"Mrs Pelligrini?" The officer spoke in gentle tones, her gaze falling on Jetta as she did so. Jetta nodded, looking tired.
"Yeah, that's me."
"I realise this is a difficult time for you, Mrs Pelligrini, but would it be possible to ask you a few questions? Miss Santiago seemed convinced that the person who abducted your daughter claimed some relationship with you...do you have an older brother?"
"Yeah, worse luck. You probably got more on file about 'im than I can tell you." Jetta sighed. "'Is name is Jeremy - Jeremy Burns. I ain't seen 'im in years, not since 1988 when 'e made 'is break from jail to the States an' tried to get me involved in 'is schemes. Me an' me colleagues got 'im back where 'e belonged, but I know 'is sentence is up now, an' to be honest I should've known better than to even 'ave come to this country when 'e's a free man."
The policewoman digested this information in silence, making a brief note of the name in her book.
"I must admit I do know the name Jeremy Burns." She admitted. "I remember that he was convicted on multiple charges of violence and tax fraud some years ago, after only having been out of jail a few months. Do you have any idea where he might have taken...Nancy, is it?"
"I 'aven't a bleedin' clue." Jetta replied flatly. "Like I said, I ain't seen 'im in what, twenty odd years. Me kids 'ave never met 'im...well, before tonight." She glanced up, meeting the policewoman's eyes.
"I want 'er found." She said quietly. "An' soon...'e's sick in the 'ead and I'm afraid of what 'e'll do to 'er."
"Believe me, we'll do everything we can to find them both, Mrs Pelligrini." The officer said reassuringly, though the words were somewhat hollow to the stricken family. "I may have some more questions later, but that's all for now. Thank you for your help."
She turned to Aaron. "Are you Nancy's brother, Aaron?"
"Yes." Aaron nodded his head.
"Can you tell me when you last saw your sister?"
"When we got back from shopping in town. She and Copper...um...Elizabeth Santiago came upstairs to their room and I went to mine. I came to call on them for dinner about...what, twenty five minutes ago, and found C...Elizabeth in tears and Nancy gone." He paused, frowning. "He made a threat to...to Elizabeth before he left, too. Did she tell you that?"
"Yes. We're aware of the danger of the situation and are treating it with utmost discretion." The policewoman nodded gravely. "Thankyou...I'll be in touch."
Once she was gone, Sylva cast Jetta an anxious look, then turned to Aaron.
"Copper wants you." She murmured. "She's calmed down some but she's still kinda wound up about it. Topaz and I think...well, we reckon it would be best if she slept in your room tonight. The police are already all over her room and she shouldn't be alone."
"Sure." Aaron nodded gravely. "Mom...are you all right? Do you need me?"
"No, go." Jetta frowned. "I need some time to meself anyway...I need to think where 'e could've taken 'er. Go on, go see Copper. I ain't much good company right now, anyway."
"Well, if you're sure."
"I said go!"
Exchanging looks, the two left the room, Sylva closing the door carefully behind them.
"She's shook up, huh?" She said, rather unnecessarily, as they made their way down the corridor. Aaron frowned.
"Did you think she wouldn't be?" He asked, a slight edge to his voice. Sylva bit her lip.
"Guess not." She admitted. "Oh, I'm sorry, Aaron...this must be awful for you, too."
"You have no idea." Aaron muttered. "Think how you'd feel, Syl, if something happened to Anna...that's how I feel right now."
Sylva's pretty face became uncharacteristically grave.
"I haveta admit even I'm feeling it." She admitted. "Nance and I aren't friends much of the time but I'm wishing she was here with us too."
They reached the room Topaz and Sylva shared, and Sylva knocked on the door, waiting for it to be answered. Topaz opened it, ushering them inside, and, at the sight of Aaron, Copper got to her feet. His protective instinct taking charge, Aaron hugged his girlfriend tightly.
"Are you really mad at me?" Copper whispered. "I should have done something..."
"No, I'm not mad. Just worried about Nancy. You did nothing wrong." Aaron assured her. "And Nancy would say the same."
"She...she asked me not to leave her." Copper faltered. "I let her down...I couldn't..."
"Stop it." Aaron chided. "Now, you're gonna come stay the night with me, okay? The police want your room, and Syl reckons you don't want to spend the night alone, so we reckon that's the best solution."
"Okay." Copper murmured. "Syl's right. I can't...I keep seeing his face, every time I close my eyes."
"Well, then you'll be able to identify him when the police produce his photo." Topaz told her gently. "And that'll help Nancy too, you know."
"I guess so." Copper did not seem convinced.
"Tomorrow morning I'll call Cameron and ask him to come up and help out." Aaron led Copper to Topaz's bed, coaxing her to sit down, and then sitting himself beside her. "We can't just sit here and do nothing...we have to go out and at least try and find her."
"Jetta won't like that." Sylva remarked. "With the state she's in, I doubt she'll let you out of her sight."
"Mom doesn't have to know we're going." Aaron replied. "Nancy's my kid sister and I can't let her down. And I know Cameron will help too, if he can."
"Is Jetta really upset?" Topaz asked.
"She's pretty stunned." Aaron agreed shortly. "What you don't know, Topaz, is that she and Nancy have always been real close...I guess I've always been closer to Dad, though we're a pretty good family on the whole. But Mom stuck up for Nancy tooth and nail through every problem she had at school...every time she was called in to see the principal about some incident or other she defended Nance to the hilt. She's always been a bit more protective over her than she has over me...I cope okay with people and situations but Nancy's always been more introverted that way. If you ask me, this is the worst way that creep could have hurt Mom...more even than attacking her directly."
"Why would he do it, though?" Copper asked plaintively.
"Because he's sick in the head." Sylva said angrily. "Okay, Aaron, if you reckon it'll be okay to go looking, I'm in. I wanna get that psycho face to face and tell him what I think of him!"
"Syl, he has a gun!" Copper looked frightened. "You won't...please promise me you won't go for him!"
"She won't. We'll keep her under tabs." Topaz promised. "I think you should stay here though, Copper. you were there...the police might want to see you, and someone ought to stay around in case Jetta needs them."
"I don't want to be here alone!"
"And we don't want you upset any more." Aaron told her gently. "Topaz is right, you should stay here tomorrow. We'll each take our mobiles with us, and we'll call you every hour, tell you what's going on. Equally you can call us, it's not like you'll be isolated. But the police will probably want to ask you a lot more questions about tonight."
"I suppose so." Copper sighed. "All right. I'll stay, if it will help Nancy."
"Good girl." Aaron kissed her on the forehead. "It's getting late...have you eaten?"
"No...I'm not hungry." Copper shook her head.
"Me either." Aaron admitted. "I just want my sister found, safe and alive...right now nothing else matters but bringing Nancy home unharmed."
PART FIVE: FAMILY FEUD
Chapter One: Invitation To England
Chapter Two: Exploring London
Chapter Three: Taylor
Chapter Four: A Surprise For Nancy
Chapter Five: Jetta Explains
Chapter Six: To Ruislip
Chapter Seven: Romance
Chapter Eight: The Stranger
Chapter Nine: Kidnap!
Chapter Ten: The Aftermath
Chapter Eleven: Bad Blood
Chapter Twelve: An Unlikely Hero
Chapter Thirteen: A Family For Taylor
JEWELFIC MAIN PAGE:
Copper, Nancy, Sylvie, Anna, Blade, 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.