Chapter Eleven: Logan

"This is a funny place to find you, first thing in the morning."

Aaron stepped out of his car, pausing as he recognised the vehicle parked in front of him.

"Logan, what are you doing here? Won't your boss kill you if you don't get your ass to work on time?"

"I called him and told him I had a flat." Logan said with a shrug. "And as for why I'm here? I'm waiting for Syl."

"Syl?" Aaron's brow furrowed. "I thought Syl was out with you last night...Copper called the Starlight to ask her about something and Sadie said she'd gone out with you and not got back yet. That was sometime around eleven thirty - don't tell me you can't go a few hours without seeing her?"

"Aaron, Syl didn't spend the night with me." Logan frowned. "We did go out, but then she got a call on her cell and she hared off someplace else."

"She did?" Aaron looked confused. "Did she tell you where she was going? Copper didn't call again, because we just assumed she was with you. But she did leave a message with Sadie, and she hasn't had a reply yet. I thought she'd probably stopped over at your apartment."

"No, not my apartment." Logan shook his head. "Listen, Aaron, I want to know something. How much do you know about Syl and her, well, friendship with this Miller guy?"

"Jack Miller?" Aaron's eyes widened. "Nothing really. Except that she liked the dude for a while. I don't even know him all that well...maybe cast a glance at him once or twice. You'd need to ask one of the girls."

Then, as the penny dropped,

"Hell, is that who she hared off to meet last night?"

"Yes." Logan pursed his lips. "He called her with some sob-story about being at the hospital and needing someone to babysit. I didn't get all the details, but I can't help wondering if it was just a hoax. It was conveniently timed, you know, and I swear the guy is into her. His eyes were all over her at the beach the other day...I guess it's bothering me more than I thought it would, in truth. Especially if she, well, spent the night at his place."

"Actually, Logan, I did spend the night at Jack's." Sylva's voice interrupted the conversation, and the two men turned to see an angry looking Jewel watching them. "I've just been home this instant to change, shower and get ready for work. And if you want to know the truth, I spent the whole night looking after a six year old who had trouble sleeping and who spent most of the night crying for her Dad and her Grandma. I didn't spend it with Jack."

"I am so not involved in this conversation." Aaron held up his hands, stepping away from the parked vehicles. "I'll let you hash it out between you - I have a lot of work to do."

"I tried calling your cell to find out what was going on and I didn't get an answer." Logan said flatly, once Aaron was out of earshot. "Excuse me for being bothered, Syl...but when you've not spent time with your girlfriend in a while and then she's running off after some guy she used to have a crush on...what do you expect me to make of it?"

"Used to. Past tense." Sylva snapped back. "Dammit, Logan, Jack's mother had a stroke! There's no faking about that! She spent the whole night in critical condition and it's only this morning that she's actually stable. I haven't even seen Jack since I left the hospital last night. I took Courtenay to school, paid a flying visit home to change and then came here. If I had three hours sleep last night I'd be very surprised - what I don't need is my so called boyfriend stalking me to demand what I was doing! I thought we'd settled this already...Logan, do you trust me at all?"

"It's not you I don't trust, Syl!"

"So then, you don't think I have any say over what happens to me when I'm alone with another guy?" Sylva's temper flared. "You don't think that I can't say 'no' or step away from a situation if the need arises? I'm not a helpless little girl! I'm more than capable of making my own decisions. Last night I made the right one - I chose to help a friend who needed me. If you can't deal with that, it's your problem. Go to work. I've nothing else to say to you today."


"No, don't Syl me." Sylva shook her head. "I've got work to do myself, you know. In case it escaped your notice, I'm a successful woman in my own right and I don't need you watching over me!"

With that she turned on her heel, stalking purposefully across the tarmac and in through the big double doors. Logan stared after her, then uttered a string of unrepeatable curses under his breath. Wrenching open the car door, he climbed into the driver's seat, revving the engine bad-temperedly and then pulling out onto the main road.

Inside the lobby, Sylva's temper was beginning to fade and she let out a groan of frustration, clenching her fists together as she re-ran the conversation in her head.

"I'm tired and crabby, and he's unreasonable and jealous. Not a good combination first thing in the morning." She muttered. "I wonder if any of the others are here yet...I need a distraction."

"Hey, there you are!" Copper hurried across the foyer to greet her. "We wondered if you'd got lost at Logan's...Sadie said you didn't come home last night."

"Don't, Copper." Sylva shook her head. She sighed, then, "Logan and I just had a pretty major blow-out. A doozy, in fact...our first big fight since we started going out."

"You had a fight? What about?" Copper looked concerned. "Did something happen last night?"

"Something and then some." Quickly Sylva explained the night's events. "And I know I was crabby, Copper, and I probably jawed him out more than I needed...but can you believe he was waiting here for me like I was some naughty schoolgirl or something? It's just beyond belief. Jack needed my help, and I wasn't going to say no. Not when it was something like this. Even if he does have a crush on me, it doesn't mean I'm gonna suddenly take up with him."

"Jack has a crush on you?" Copper's eyes became huge. Sylva cursed.

"Oh dammit, I've been trying not to tell anyone that." She said with a rueful grimace. "Yes...he told me on Sunday that he had feelings for me. Ironic, isn't it? Considering everything."

"Just a bit." Copper mused. "What did you tell him?"

"I told him I was with Logan now, and that we'd always be friends but I didn't feel that way any more." Sylva ran her fingers through her thick curly hair. "And it's true, too. I like Jack. I always will. And I'll always be there when he needs last night. But I'm in love with Logan, Copper. I know that for a fact. And it really bugs me that he can't see that."

"Well, I don't pretend to be an expert on Logan's mind." Copper linked arms with her friend, leading her across the lobby to the lift shaft. "But Aaron did say to me one time that he was glad you guys had got it together. Apparently Logan was hurt pretty badly by his last girlfriend - I forget her name - and he was off the dating scene for a hell of a time. I think she double-crossed him with some other guy who she worked with...he thought they were just friends, but it turned out they were just bedpartners as well. In any case, it ended badly. Maybe he's just worried the same thing will happen with you."

"You think?" Sylva looked surprised. "Come to think of it, he did mention the cheating ex to me once before...I can't believe I didn't pick up on it."

"Well, whatever the situation, right now we need you in studio." Copper said firmly. "Nancy's in a funny mood today - edgy and snappy and I think she's definitely about to go on one of her perfectionist kicks. She expected us all ready to play a half hour ago, so we'd better not keep her waiting. I think she wants to unveil her latest masterpiece."

"I could use the distraction." Sylva admitted.

"How is Jack's Mom now?"

"Stable, if that's a good thing." Sylva responded, as the two girls stepped into the lift car, Copper pressing the buttons for the correct floor. "She's still not conscious, and they did a brain looks like there's been some significant damage. They think she will come around, but..."

She shrugged.

"How much of Jack's Mom is still there, I don't know." She admitted. "They're very afraid of partial paralysis and probably some form of long term brain damage. It all depends, really, on the next few days."

"I see." Copper looked grave. "I'll say a prayer for her."

"That'll help." Sylva smiled. "Thanks."

"What about Courtenay? What happens about her?"

"Jack said he'd collect her from school tonight - he wants to have a long talk to her about what's happening." Sylva responded. "I told him I'd be on hand if he needed me, but I think he just wants to spend some time with her...these kinds of things make you more aware of family and stuff."

"They really do." Copper nodded her head. "For what it's worth, Syl, I think you did the right thing last night. And if Logan loves you, I think he'll also come round to seeing that, too. You're not the girl who dumped on him in Wisconsin, after all. You're a whole new model. So...he'll get it."

"I hope so." Sylva admitted. "Though right now I'm more bothered about Nancy, Jewel and this song. Hell, I haven't even got the energy to speculate about Robin and his creepy past today."

"That's probably a good thing. Nancy's snapping at anyone who even mentions him right now." Copper said ruefully. "I think she's feeling the competition, or something - whatever else he is, he's a good songwriter."

"Then we better make sure we back Nancy up one hundred percent." Sylva shrugged. "Let's go jam."

Nancy, Sadie and Topaz were already gathered in the main studio when the other two Jewels joined them and Nancy cast Sylva a frown, but made no remark. Instead she reached into her folder, pulling out sundry sheets of music.

"I think it's about finished." She said slowly. "And I think we can get it down quickly. I spoke to Mom this morning about Jewel and when exactly we're gonna get some airtime for a new single or to showcase the new album. She's been on the phone all morning and she's hooked us up with something at the end of the week on we have to know what we're doing, basically. Most of the songs we're playing are gonna be those we've learnt already for the new album. But I want this one to be our next single. Sacred is a deep album, and it's got some of our best stuff going out on it. Even if there are new people in town, we don't want folk to think we've gone off the boil."

"New people?" Sylva raised an eyebrow, reaching for a sheet and scanning over the notes. "Meaning Robin Sheppard?"

"Meaning Daisy Buchan." Nancy snapped back, though her expression belied her words. "Can we just get down to it, please? I'm fed up with Robin Sheppard and this stupid press hype that's growing up around him. It's not doing anything for Jewel, and that bothers me."

"Well, I guess there's no harm in stepping up Jewel's workload a bit. We have been coasting a touch lately." Sadie acknowledged, taking her own music and glancing at it. "This isn't too bad, either. I think we can lay it down pretty quickly."

She cast Nancy a smile.

"And if you need any help with the other album stuff, Nance, I'm always here. I think we've all been a bit slow to react since the business with Cynthia - but since we've reached status quo, we ought to get this album back on track."

"Thanks, Sadie." Nancy returned the smile, though there was still preoccupation in her gaze. "Appreciated."

"Well, I'm all yours." Sylva shrugged. "I have no plans for tonight and, unless Logan gets a clue, not for the next few nights either. I'm ready to do some serious work."

"I'm meeting Morgan for dinner this evening." Topaz said slowly. "But I'm not supposed to meet her till eightish, so I'm good to go till about seven. That's when the creche closes, and Cynthia wants to spend tonight scandisking...actually, I was hoping someone could do some Hollie watching when I went out, else I'll have to cancel."

"No sweat, Topaz. I'll be home and obviously so will Syl." Sadie grinned. "Alex is working and I've no plans...Syl? You up for it?"

"Sure, how much trouble can she be?" Sylva raised a slight smile. "Don't worry, Topaz. Sadie and I will watch the little monster for you."

"Thanks guys." Topaz looked relieved. "Morgan's been outta state filming for such ages, this was the only time we could do and it's a bit late in the evening to take babies along."

"Now that's settled, we've got approximately ten hours work ahead of us?" Copper glanced up at the clock. "That should be enough time to get this song down right, surely? Even if we take twenty minutes for food in the middle."

"Then we'll do that." Nancy looked satisfied. "If everyone's ready to go."

"Sure." Copper nodded her head. "Do you want to run it through for us the once so I can start working with the rhythm?"

"Okay." Nancy nodded. "Syl...Sadie? Can you sight read it enough to play on spec?"

"Well, we'll soon find out." Sadie lifted her bass guitar, a wry smile on her face. "Let's do it."

Prologue: Flashback: Carrowville, Arkansas
Chapter One: Memory
Chapter Two: Spies and Secrets
Chapter Three: Jack
Chapter Four: Flashback: The Hartlin Bar, Carrowville
Chapter Five: Margot's Plan
Chapter Six: Confidences
Chapter Seven:Flashback: The Wedding Reception
Chapter Eight: Fallout
Chapter Nine: Advice
Chapter Ten: A Friend In Need
Chapter Eleven: Logan
Chapter Twelve: Flashback: Sian's News
Chapter Thirteen: Ambush
Chapter Fourteen: Reconciliation
Chapter Fifteen: Flashback: Farewell
Chapter Sixteen: The Curse

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