Just A Dream...
Chapter Nine: Kidnap!
It was late and dark by the time the group of five returned from their
sightseeing tour, and, despite her initial reservations Sylva had dropped
her sophisticated air once they had arrived, taking as many pictures and
buying as many souvenirs as any of them. She had embarrassed them all by
harassing one of the soldiers on sentry duty, not comprehending why he
refused to answer her, and in the end there was a tiny glimmer of a smile
on his face as Nancy explained to her that it was part of the job. Sylva
had shrugged it off with her usual carelessness, not worried about the
discomfort she had caused her associates, and they had moved on to visit
the torture equipment of the Tower, which had made Topaz squirm. From the
Tower they had moved on to Madame Toussauds and the London Dungeon, which
Topaz refused point blank to enter after her experiences at the Tower,
and all in all they had a good day, stopping for a picnic in Hyde Park.
"I like London...I wanna move here." Sylva decided as they made their way back from Bayswater tube station to the Hotel. Copper laughed.
"I thought it was all beneath you?" She teased. Sylva grinned.
"Well, maybe not." She admitted. "Today was kinda fun. I had no idea you were squeamish though, Topaz."
"I'm not, generally, but it was just the idea of what those torture instruments did to people." Topaz shivered. "Not nice."
"No...I'm glad I'm not a mediaeval criminal." Nancy agreed. "They were a bloodthirsty bunch."
"True...no worse than the press, mind you, when they think they have a story to report." Aaron grinned. "You girls should know all about that."
"We do." Topaz groaned. "Those first weeks I was with the band they delved into every single area of my past that they could find to see if there was any dirt they could get on me."
"But Topaz, you're an angel!" Sylva giggled. Topaz swiped her playfully.
"No, I'm not, but I don't have a criminal record and I don't remember ever having broken any law." She said. "I'm kinda glad my last boyfriend is behind bars, mind, else he might've sold his story of our sordid love affair to the papers..." She snorted. "Doped up fool."
"We don't wanna know." Nancy rolled her eyes. "Come on. I'm cold, it's getting dark and we're gonna miss dinner."
"You sure know how to put a damper on a day." Sylva retorted. "Okay, we're coming."
The hotel was busy by the time they returned, with the employees bustling around trying to serve dinner as fast as the customers were queuing for it. After dumping their belongings in their room, Sylva and Topaz headed down to join the queues, whilst Nancy shuddered at the crowded restaurant and decided that she'd rather wait till it had quietened down some. Copper, after a moment's deliberation followed suit, for Aaron did not usually go down for dinner in the evening until later, and she hoped to catch him for the evening meal to discuss their day.
Downstairs, unnoticed by the milling guests and busy staff, a lone figure slipped into the foyer, pausing for a moment to get an idea of his bearings, then carefully moving over to one side, out of the way as he observed the guests coming down to dinner. The habit, he noted, was to hand in keys at the desk at dinner...this he recognised with some delight. He was in no hurry to carry out his night's work - in fact, patience was one of his more level-headed virtues, and if he could discover his subject's room, well, so much to the better.
A familiar voice broke through the crowd at that moment and with a jolt the figure pulled himself back into the shadows of an alcove, observing carefully for the speaker, but he could not see her. Damn it! It would be so much simpler, so much less hassle if he could find her straight away, without having to pursue this rigmarole with her children.
"But beggars can't be choosers." He told himself philosophically. "And it was a stroke of luck even finding out that Sheila was gonna be in England." He curled his lip with some derision. "That damn son of mine made him useful in one instance, at least - he let slip that he hoped to meet his aunt very soon indeed. 'E's too soft-hearted to be any kid of mine, but 'e at least did me one small favour...all it took was a bit of researchin' on the net, and bingo. It's a damn good thing that Sheila's brat likes to make such a public exhibition of 'erself - it weren't 'ard to find 'er out! Or 'er name..."
Checking around to make sure that noone was watching him with any more than a passing disinterest, he sauntered nonchalantly up to the desk.
"Could you tell me what room Nancy Pelligrini is in?" He asked, offering the woman on reception a friendly smile. "I'm her father...I have an important message for her."
Now, in the normal scheme of things, the receptionist would not have given the stranger any information, but as it happened she had encountered Nancy herself only that morning with an enquiry, and her memory of faces was good enough to realise there was a resemblance between the two. The mistake was fatal, but she smiled at him, nodding her head as she checked the book.
"Room 412." She said finally, glancing up at the board of keys behind her. "She's not down to dinner yet, Mr Pelligrini - I'd guess she's in her room since we don't have her key."
"Thank you so much." The stranger offered another deceptively benign smile. "You've been most 'elpful, I appreciate it."
"No problem." The receptionist returned the smile, then immediately forgot the encounter.
Jeremy's features, after all, were not distinctive enough to mark him out above any other man in the busy reception area.
Jeremy strode over to the lift with a smile on his face, punching in the button for the fourth floor. Security was getting lax, he noted wryly, for they had not even asked him for identification.
"And that brat bein' in 'er room, well, couldn't 'ave been better. I ain't one for a big bloody scene - what's the use in bein' caught if you can avoid it altogether? So a little tete a tete above stairs suits me fine. Especially when she finds out 'ow persuasive I can be."
He slid his hand into the inside pocket of his coat, feeling the smooth, cold metal of the steel revolver. His days in prison had made him more dangerous friends than it had reformed his character any, and he had had no trouble in acquiring the weapon without a sniff of suspicion. He had been very good, after all, for the last 3 years that he had been a free man. He had toed the line, obeyed his probation, and charmed all the officers who had worked with him. They all believed him a new man...but in truth he had been waiting, employing that patience of his.
Waiting to strike.
He had borne his grudges against his sister for a long time now, and time had not eased the burden of them any. Now nothing would make him happy than to have her dead...and if he could cause her some pain before with the kidnap of her daughter, well, all to the good. He would make her pay...whatever the cost. If the brat should die in the process, well, it was no skin off his nose. Sure, it was messy...and messy wasn't his style, but he could live with it. So long as he achieved his object.
He was going to prove once and for all that nobody messed with Jeremy Burns.
The corridor was strangely empty, for most of the people were at dinner or out for the evening, and Jeremy rejoiced in the lack of witnesses. He doubted very much that the receptionist would remember him well enough to make a positive identification, and even if his sister did suspect him, well, what proof did she have? Only her own mistrust.
He skimmed the door numbers, looking for room 412. Finally he spotted it, and made his way nonchalantly towards it, knocking briskly on the door.
"Room service." He called, a dry smile on his face as he did so. The door opened, and for the first time uncle and niece met gazes face to face. Nancy stared at him for a moment, letting out a little gasp, then trying to shut the door again, but Jeremy was too quick.
"No, I'm coming in." He said quietly. "I said, room service. I meant room service."
"We didn't order room service!" Nancy found her vocal chords, taking a step back. "Copper! It's that guy again...he's here!"
"That guy?" Jeremy sneered. "Is that all I am to you, brat? That guy? Don't you 'ave a clue who I am? Didn't your mother ever tell you she 'ad a big brother, Nancy?"
Copper emerged from the bathroom, curiosity becoming horror as Jeremy produced his gun, shutting the door behind him with a click.
"What do you want?" She demanded, moving closer to Nancy as if in some strange way to try and defend her friend.
"My business is with my niece." Jeremy said coldly. "You have a choice. Either go back into the bathroom and shut the door...or I'll shoot you 'ere an' now."
"Copper, don't leave me!" Terror had welled up in Nancy's brown eyes and Copper found her courage, gripping her friend by the hand.
"I'm not going." She said firmly. "You won't shoot...you're bluffing."
"Am I?" Jeremy's eyes glinted dangerously. He aimed the weapon for just above Copper's left shoulder, shooting and making both jump as the bullet embedded itself in the wall.
"Next time I won't miss." he assured them. "You still think I'm bluffin', princess?"
In one deft movement he had grabbed Nancy firmly by the arm, pulling her towards the door and turning his weapon till it faced his captive.
"You stay here." He told the redhead. "And don't you move an inch from this room till I'm well outta here...give me a good hour...else your friend here dies. I'm not afraid to kill her if I have to, and if people are trailin' me before I leave this place it'll be the worse for er!"
"Nancy!" Copper exclaimed, as the kidnapper forced his struggling charge up onto his shoulder, heading out of the door and along the corridor to the fire escape, and taking the steps two at a time to his waiting van.
Copper bit her lip, tears filling her eyes as panic took over her body. What could she do? She couldn't just do nothing...but then Nancy...what he'd said...
"Oh God, what if he kills her anyway?" She demanded out loud, the tears spilling helplessly down her cheeks as she contemplated the situation. "What can I do? What can I do!"
A voice from the doorway startled her and she glanced up, relief filling her heart as she recognised her boyfriend. Beyond coherent thought she clung to him, sobbing violently as the true horror of the situation began to sink in.
Aaron hugged her instinctively.
"Copper, what is it? Where's Nancy? What's wrong?" He demanded.
"I can't." Copper choked. "He said he'd kill her if...if..."
"Who said? Hell, Copper, what's happened?" Aaron looked anxious now. "Tell me, damn it! Where's my sister!"
The urgent tone of his voice brought a modicum of calm to Copper's soul and she choked back her panic, explaining in faltering tones what had happened in the room.
Aaron was silent for a long while and, glancing up at him, Copper saw a strange mix of emotions cross his face. He held her at arm's length, anger sparking in his grey eyes.
"Why didn't you do something!" He demanded. "Why didn't you stop him!"
"He had a gun!" Aaron's tone had the effect of bringing back Copper's tears. "Please, Aaron, don't yell at me! He had a gun, he threatened to shoot her if I did anything at all...even leave this room to get help! You can't tell anyone yet...He might kill her!"
"Damn that." Aaron retorted. "You think I'm gonna sit by and let my sister be abducted by some lunatic?"
"He's not just some lunatic, Aaron, he's your uncle." Copper's voice wavered. "Your mother told us about him...he tried to kill her. I...I don't think he was bluffing. I think he'll kill Nancy if we don't do as he says!"
A fresh flood of tears threatened and Aaron sighed, coming and putting his arms round her again.
"I'm sorry." He murmured. "I didn't mean to yell...I'm sure you did everything you could. But I can't just stop here and do nothing, Copper...my sister means a lot to me. What if I did nothing and she got killed, what then?"
"What if you did and she got hurt too?"
"We gotta tell Mom, Copper. I don't care what he said...we have to find her."
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.