Just A Dream...
Chapter Eleven: Bad Blood
Taylor frowned at his friend's expression, setting down his mug of coffee on the unit. "Something wrong? You look like someone stole your canary!"
"Don't joke, Taylor, something's 'appened." Cameron switched off his mobile, getting to his feet. "That was Aaron...there was a scene at the hotel last night and he wants my help." He eyed Taylor thoughtfully, then, "Nancy's been kidnapped."
"Nancy?" Taylor looked first startled then angry. "Why on earth would someone kidnap Nancy?"
"That's the thing." Cameron said quietly. "Accordin' to Aaron, it were your Pa who done it."
"Dad..." Taylor looked stricken. Then he got to his feet. "Right. We're gonna go nail that creep once an' for all. You coming?"
"Taylor, I dunno if it's a good idea if you get involved." Cameron looked uneasy. "Aunt Sheila..."
"She ain't your Aunt Sheila, she's mine." Taylor interrupted him, his tone angry. "If anyone has a right to interfere, it's me! I don't care what anyone says, Cameron, Nancy's my cousin and I'm not going to sit here twiddling my thumbs while she's in trouble. She's the first member of my family who's spoken to me with any warmth or respect...I owe it to her to at least try and help."
"Well, all right." Cameron shrugged. "I guess you got a point. An' the more people who are lookin', the better. 'Ere, do you 'ave any idea where your Pa might've taken 'er?"
"Not a clue." Taylor admitted. "I only met the guy the once, an' that was in a public place, not in a house. I don't know where he lives any more than you do...and even if I did I doubt it'd matter. The police are bound to have his home address on file, with all his past convictions."
"True." Cameron agreed. "Okay. I guess the best plan of action is to drive to Bayswater an' see what Aaron an' the others can tell us. I'll call Mum on the way an' tell 'er we ain't gonna be comin' to 'elp paint today, somethin' bigger came up."
"Will you tell her what?"
"No point in worryin' 'er." Cameron shook his head. "We takin' your car or mine?"
"Yours. Mine's outta petrol, near enough." Taylor replied. "And you're a better driver, anyhow. I'd get picked up for speeding, knowing my luck, today of all days."
"Right." Cameron opened the front door of the student accomodation where he spent much of his life, allowing his friend out first. "Then let's go."
* * *
* * * *
Copper gazed out of the window of the hotel room, barely focused on anything that was going on below. There had been no news of Nancy, and she had not slept at all the night before, her dreams haunted by phantoms with knives. True to their plans of the night before, Aaron and the others had headed out to search the city without Jetta's knowledge, leaving Copper behind in case anything went wrong. Again she had protested, not wanting to be left alone in the hotel, but they had been firm. After her outburst of tears the night before, she had been relegated to her room to get to grips with things.
And she hated it.
She sighed, moving over to the door and flipping the lock undone, slipping the key into her pocket and heading into the corridor. She couldn't focus on anything except the room which the night before had missed one of its inhabitants. As for Jetta, she dared not disturb her manager. The executive had been speaking to the police on and off since the night before, but she had been colder and less approachable than she had ever been before, and Copper knew that she was frightened for her daughter's safety beneath her enforced calm. Aaron too was not his usual self, for, despite comforting her tears the night before, that morning he had more or less brushed her off in his preoccupation for his sister's safety.
Though it hurt, Copper understood. She remembered only too well her own feelings when her father had died, and she knew that the bond Nancy and Aaron shared was probably even deeper.
"But Nancy isn't dead yet." she murmured. "At least...at least, not as far as I know, and the police are searching too. Oh, I wish I could do something! I wanna help...Nancy's my best friend!"
Slowly she made her way down the many flights of stairs, deep in thought as she went. She had her phone with her, in case anyone called, and she had given her word not to leave the hotel grounds, but that did not mean she was confined to Aaron's room, and she had no desire to be stuck away in one place. Her mind had gone over and over the night's events, trying to find one more clue that might tell her something else about her friend's abduction, but nothing came to light. She sighed. If only she could be of more help!
Startled by the sound of her name, Copper glanced up, meeting Cameron's gaze with a surprised one of her own.
"Where are the others?" Cameron seemed anxious, and Copper recalled Aaron's phonecall to him, not long before they'd left.
"They went out about an hour ago." She said. "They've gone to look for her...they left me here in case I was needed by the police or...or something." She cast Taylor a curious look. "Who's this?"
"This is my friend Taylor." Cameron said quietly. "He wants to help."
"Taylor?" Copper's brown eyes widened. "Oh! You're Nancy's cousin!"
"Yes." Taylor nodded his dark head. "I don't know what use I can be, but if it's my father causing all the trouble I'd kinda like to help out somehow. I had nothing to do with this, Copper...I swear. I like the kid."
"I believe you." Copper made up her mind in an instant. "And if Cameron trusts you, then so do I. The more people who help out looking, the better."
"Do you know whereabouts they 'eaded?" Cameron asked.
"Nope." Copper shook her head. "Just that they were going looking. Aaron was pretty...vague with me this morning."
It was impossible for her to keep the hurt from her voice, and Cameron eyed her keenly.
"'E 'as a lot on 'is mind right now." He said gently.
"Oh, I know." Copper nodded. "I...I'm not really hurt, Cameron. Just...bewildered, I suppose. I...I was there when it happened, and..." She bit her lip. "I should have done more."
"I'm sure you did whatever you could." Cameron soothed. "Say, is Aunt Sheila 'ere?"
"Yes, but she's in her room." Copper nodded. "She doesn't know Aaron and the others went out this morning, and I haven't spoken to her since they left. It's...probably best you don't interrupt her."
"Okay. We won't bother 'er." Cameron decided. "Copper, one thing...you saw the geezer, right?"
"Sure." Copper nodded, idly wondering what a 'geezer' could be. "If you mean Jeremy, I saw him."
"What does he look like?"
"Like...well, kinda like Jetta." Copper realised. "And...and like you." She indicated Taylor. "Only...only older and...kinda sly. He has grey in his hair...Jetta doesn't."
"Taylor, that sound like your Pa to you?" Cameron asked. Taylor nodded grimly.
"Yeah. Worse luck, it does." He agreed. "All right. We know who we're after."
"What are you doin' 'ere?"
A fresh voice interrupted the conversation, and the three turned as one person to see Jetta standing watching them, her face pale and her arms folded. Her grey eyes were unusually cold and stony, and her expression was angry.
"Aunt Sheila!" Cameron exclaimed. "We...wanted to help, Aaron phoned me..."
"I didn't mean you...I meant 'im." Jetta replied coldly, jerking her head in Taylor's direction.
"I wanted to help too." Taylor said quietly.
"You can 'elp by gettin' the 'ell out of my life an' leavin' me family alone." Jetta's voice shook. "You're probably as involved in this as your damn father an' I'm sick of the sight of you! Go on, get lost, before I stick the police on you."
"Taylor didn't do anything!" Cameron protested. "He really wants to help, Aunt Sheila."
"Mind your own business, Cameron." Jetta snapped. "I meant what I said. I don't 'ave anythin' to do with any of Jeremy's side of the family, Taylor - you 'ave 'is blood an' you're bad news. Don't tell me it's bleedin' well a coincidence that you speak to me daughter in town a bare twenty four hours before she's abducted by your father!"
"It's a total coincidence. I've met Dad once and I didn't like him even then." Taylor's own temper flared at the injustice of this. "I don't care what you think of me, though. Nancy wasn't rude or cold to me...and I mean to help her, whatever you say about it."
"You keep away from my girl. She don't need 'elp from the likes of you." Jetta's eyes narrowed. "Now, get outta 'ere. I don't wanna see your face ever again!"
"I'm going." Taylor said coolly. "Have a nice day, Aunt Sheila. Nice to meet you, Copper."
And with that he turned on his heel, heading out of the hotel with a determined stride. After a moment's hesitation, Cameron followed him, and Copper sent her manager an anxious look, not knowing what she should say.
Jetta glanced at her.
"Don't get mixed up with the likes of 'im. We're in enough trouble." Was all she said, however. "The police are in the front room an' they want to speak to you again - that's why I came lookin' for you. Forget 'im...we got more important things to think about."
Outside the hotel, Taylor had wrenched open the door of Cameron's car, almost pulling it off it's hinges in his anger, and throwing himself down into the passenger seat. Cameron eyed him doubtfully for a moment, then got in the driver side.
"Where does she get off treating me like that! Like I'm tainted by association!" Taylor demanded. "She's got as much the same blood as Dad as I do, and noone's suspecting her!"
"Nancy's important to Aunt Sheila." Cameron replied, revving the engine. "I s'pect she was just letting off steam." He cast his companion a questioning glance. "Well? What are we doin'?"
"What we set out to do at first, stupid." Taylor snapped. "We're going to look for Nancy."
"You sure you still want to?"
"Of course I damn well do." Taylor retorted. "Unlike my dear Aunt, I don't judge people on who their parents are!"
"Fair enough." Cameron put the car into gear. "Then let's go."
Across London, Aaron and the remaining two members of Jewel had paused for coffee, all three beginning to despair of their search.
"None of us know for sure what this guy looks like, only that he and Mom resemble each other some." Aaron said with a sigh. "We don't know what we're looking for."
"Have you heard from Cameron at all?" Topaz asked. Aaron nodded.
"Yeah. He sent me a text about ten minutes ago to let me know he was on his way into the centre of London, and was on the hunt too. At least that's something. I just wish I knew my way around this stupid city better!"
"Cameron would know." Sylva pointed out. "Perhaps we should meet up with him someplace?"
"Even Cameron can't know the whole city." Aaron sighed. "I dunno, Syl. I'm feeling like this whole thing is futile. Shall we head back to the hotel and see what the police have said this morning?"
"Guess so." Topaz sighed.
"You're giving up?" Sylva demanded.
"We haven't much choice." Topaz pointed out. "He's a madman with a gun, and we don't know where to look."
"Okay, I see your point." Sylva frowned. "I guess I'm just mad that anyone would mess with a Jewel like this!"
"Do you think..." Topaz faltered, glancing at Aaron. "Never mind."
"No, say it, Topaz." Aaron told her.
"I just wondered if you thought he'd hurt her."
"From the way Mom reacted, I'm very afraid of it." Aaron admitted. "More, I'm afraid he'll kill her, just to spite Mom all the more. I'm praying he won't, but what can we do to stop him? Even if they catch him and he gets locked up, it couldn't bring Nancy back."
"Don't." Sylva said. "I don't believe she's dead...If he'd wanted to kill her he coulda done it when he took her hostage. I think he's got some other plan."
"Well, whatever it is, he's twisted." Topaz grimaced. "Come on, let's go back to the hotel. Nothing much for us out here."
"Dad was gonna catch a flight out late last night, he might be in London by now." Aaron added. "I hope he can do something to help Mom...that scares me almost as much as Nancy being missing. I've never seen Mom like that before and I swear I never want to again."
Back at the hotel, Justin had indeed arrived, and, upon seeing him Jetta broke down into the tears which were so unfamiliar to her. Justin had said little at first, just hugging his wife tightly and letting her cry out the tension of the previous few hours, then, gently, he asked her what the latest news was.
"Nothin'." Jetta said shakily, as he led her to the safety and privacy of her hotel room. "The police 'ave been 'ere all mornin', askin' me an' Copper meaningless questions, an' God only knows where the rest of them are. Noone knows a thing. Jeremy came in 'ere an' abducted my daughter an' nobody saw a damn thing!"
Justin fell silent, digesting this. His anxiety for Nancy's safety was equal to that of his wife, but for now Jetta was his concern.
"How are you bearing up?" He asked quietly.
"I ain't. As you can see." Jetta laughed humourlessly. "Look at me, I'm a mess. I guess I kinda took for granted what bein' a mother was all about...I 'ad no idea it could feel as bad as this."
"You love Nancy. That's natural." Justin told her. "Listen...you look all in. You should try and get some sleep...I'll be here to field any information that comes in."
"I can't sleep, but ta for the thought." Jetta replied. "I jus' think...Justin, I should never 'ave brought 'em to England. It's my fault...if Nancy dies, it's my fault!"
"Nonsense." Justin told her firmly. "You're not responsible for Jeremy's actions. And I'll tell you now, if I ever get to speak to him face to face, I'll rearrange his jaw beautifully for him, too, for interfering in my family like this."
"I wish you could." Jetta murmured. "'Ell, I'd gladly do it an' all! Did you tell Pizzazz before you left?"
"No." Justin shook her head. "She's up to her ears in business as it is, and I didn't think it was a good idea to get anyone else involved."
"Guess not." Jetta agreed. "Oh God, Justin, what if we don't get 'er back!"
"'Ow do you know?"
"I don't." Justin admitted. "But we have to keep positive, Jetta. We can't give up...Nancy wouldn't want us to."
At that moment the phone rang, and, almost automatically Jetta reached over to scoop it up.
"Well, 'ello, little sis."
"Jeremy!" Jetta's eyes almost popped out of her head, and her husband stared at her. "What in 'ell 'ave you done to my daughter, you creep!"
"Don't get all bent out of shape, Nancy's quite safe, if a little uncomfortable right now." Jeremy seemed amused.
Justin gestured to his wife that he was going to alert the police, then slipped out of the room as the executive turned her full attention to the call, her heart pounding in her chest.
"What do you want from me?"
"You." Jeremy said simply. "We 'ave unfinished business, Sheila, an' I want to settle it. I propose a simple trade. You for 'er."
"'Ow do I know you're on the level? 'Ow do I know she's really safe?" Jetta was suspicious.
"Fine. Talk to 'er yourself." Jeremy shrugged. There was a rustling sound, and then,
"Nancy!" Relief flooded Jetta's heart. "Oh, thank God...where the 'ell are you?"
"I don't know." Nancy's voice shook. "I'm so scared, Mom...I want to go home..."
"I know, an' we'll get you out of there, I promise." Jetta made up her mind in an instant. "Don't fret, you're gonna be fine."
"Mom, you can't come here! He'll kill you! He has a gun!" Nancy protested.
"Don't worry, it'll be all right." Jetta said softly. "Really, Nance. Trust me. I'm comin' to get you out of there."
"'Ow touching." Now Jeremy had the phone back. "You gone soft in the 'ead, Sheila, fussin' over a worthless brat."
"Nancy's my daughter." Jetta said coldly. "Not that I expect you to understand what that means."
"Well, I ain't got time for me worthless excuse for a son." Jeremy agreed. "Useless piece of rubbish 'e is. Too soft-'earted. Pity. If 'ed 'ad less conscience about 'im I might've made use of 'im...but really, Sheila. This one's worse even than 'im. Soft little wimp of a girl...cries if you push 'er too 'ard - why on earth would you want 'er back?"
"Leave her alone!" Jetta retorted. "I don't care what your relationship with your son is...I just want my daughter back!"
As she spoke, however, she realised that Taylor had been telling the truth, and that he had not been involved in Nancy's abduction.
"Well, then here's the deal." Jeremy sounded very pleased with himself. "I'm going to give you an address to come to. You're not to tell anyone where you're going, you understand me? If you're followed by the police, then I'll shoot the brat before you open the door. I'm not bluffin'...like the girl said, I got a gun an' it's loaded. You should know I ain't afraid to use it."
"Just tell me." Jetta snapped. "I'll play it your way, don't you worry. I ain't gonna tell the police. Jus' tell me where to come."
"All right." Slowly Jeremy repeated the address, and, carefully, Jetta scrawled it down on a nearby notepad, ripping off the top sheet and pocketing it.
"I got it." She said quietly. "Don't you dare 'urt 'er...I'm coming."
"Good girl." Jeremy sounded amused. "I'll see you soon, then. Won't it be nice, a little family reunion?"
"Shut up." Jetta retorted. "This ain't a game."
"Oh, it is." Jeremy replied. "Question is...can you win?"
Jetta hung up the phone, hesitating for a second, then grabbing her jacket, slipping it on as her husband returned with the police in tow.
"Where are you going?" Justin looked surprised.
"Out." Jetta said shortly. "To get my daughter back."
"Mrs Pelligrini..." The police officer began, but Jetta shook her head.
"No. 'E's my brother, an' I'm gonna 'andle it." She said quietly. "'E said if any police follow me, 'e'll kill 'er. This is my only chance at getting my daughter back...I'm going."
"Jetta, please..." Justin begged, but Jetta stopped him.
"I gotta." She said. "Nancy needs me."
And with that, she was gone.
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.