"I'm never stepping into an elevator again, that's for sure."

Nancy settled herself more comfortably in her seat, a rueful expression on her face. "That's a night I dont want to repeat. Now or ever, I'm telling you. No way."

"It sounds like a drag." Sylva pursed her lips. "Being stuck in an elevator with weird Robin for almost two hours? How sucky can you get? I mean, if it had at least been a cute intern...but Robin? He's creepy. You must've been freaking out."

"Well, he surprised me." Nancy admitted. "I don't think the Tribune have it right at all, you know. About his past, I mean. I did some thinking about it and well, it just doesn't wash with me. And being stuck in there with him wasn't so bad."

She smirked.

"By the end of the first hour we were discussing harmonies, so it could've been worse. I think I fixed the passage you were having trouble with, Jewel can get back to practicing it now."

"And that's good news if nothing else is." Sadie remarked. "I'm just glad you're all right, Nance. When Jetta called I almost had kittens...I had images of you being splattered all up the lift shaft or something."

"Well, the scary thing is that, before the fire, that could've happened." Nancy suppressed a shudder. "But when they reworked everything after that happened, they implemented all these top of the line safety procedures. So even though the cable gave, the car was stopped before it could hit the bottom. And so we lived to tell the tale. It still gives me the creeps, though, thinking about it."

"Then don't." Topaz said sensibly. "As Sadie said, we're glad to have you back in one piece, anyhow. I didn't expect to come home last night to a mini-drama unfolding."

"I'm just glad I got home last night." Nancy looked rueful. "I didn't sleep much, in truth. But it could have been a lot worse. I'm thankful for small mercies."

"I knew Robin was cursed." Sylva stretched out on the floor, resting her chin in her hands. "This is just more proof. I mean those elevators have been sound for ages. He steps in one, and bam...there it goes. Too freaky."

"Actually, I think it was lucky he was there." Nancy mused. "I wouldn't have liked to have been in there on my own. And besides, I don't believe in curses. That's pathetic. There's no such thing."

"Mock me all you like." Sylva shrugged. "But you can't argue with the evidence."

"Speaking of evidence, Logan left his jacket on the heater when he left this morning." Sadie remarked, a sparkle in her eyes.

"Yeah, I know." Sylva nodded her head. "I'm meeting him for lunch later, so I'll return it to him then."

"I can't believe you let him spend the night here." Nancy grimaced. "With Hollie and everything!"

"What?" Sylva opened her eyes wide. "Nancy, nothing happened! He slept in one of the spare rooms, for heaven's sake! I just didn't want him going out and catching his death trying to walk back home in the rain, that's all! Yeesh. There's no house rule about having people stop over. Aaron spends half his life here."

"That's because of Cynthia." Nancy pointed out. "And usually, Copper's with him. But Logan's a different matter. I don't like the idea of him stopping here. Sadie doesn't bring Alex home for the night, and Topaz doesn't bring Cameron here."

Topaz pinkened.

"Actually, I have once or twice." She admitted sheepishly. "When the place has been, well, empty. But that was years ago, and before I had a toddler to think about. I wouldn't do it now."

"Hah! See!" Sylva's expression became one of triumph. "And I didn't do that. You need to get over your Logan issues, Nance. He's my boyfriend and I'm gonna do what I like."

"And you need to get over your Robin ones." Nancy returned neatly. "Because he's not the freak you think he is."

"What, are you all sweet on him now?"

"Gah, get a grip." Nancy pulled a face. "Everything's love and sex with you! No, of course not. I'm single and I'm happy that way. But I think he and are are going to be friends, and I'm glad. I like him. I just think he's been misjudged by a lot of people, that's all. And especially the local press."

"Well, if you think so, then I'll go with that." Sadie said thoughtfully. "Things aren't always what they seem, especially people. You guys gave me a chance, even considering my background. Regardless of what the press says, I haven't seen any evidence to indicate Robin's any kind of mass murdering psychopath. So he's a little strange - well, he's a stranger in a big city. I know how that feels. Nancy's right. We shouldn't be passing judgement."

"I still think he's a creep." Sylva said firmly. "But fine. You wait and see."

"Apologies for the interruption, girls, but there is someone at the door."

At that moment, Cynthia materialised in front of them, making them all jump.

"Don't do that!" Topaz exclaimed. "You'll give me a heart attack! I thought your watch was downstairs!"

"No, I left it up here while I was working on my mainframe downstairs, but I thought you should know that we had company." Cynthia offered her friend a mischievous, unrepentant smile. "Nancy, I believe it is for you."

"Don't you think I've had enough sudden shocks to last me a week?" Nancy demanded. "For me? Are you sure?"

"Absolutely." Cynthia nodded her head. "You better not keep him waiting."

She winked at her dark friend, and then, as quickly as it had appeared, the hologram was gone.

"A him?" Sylva got to her feet, heading to the window. "Oh God, I don't believe it. Mr Curse himself. Nancy, did you have to give him our home address?"

"I didn't, but it's not hard to find out." Nancy responded with a grimace. She stood. "I guess I'll go see what he wants."

Before any of the others could respond she had left the living room, heading out into the hallway and unfastening the front door, pulling it open. As Sylva had said, Robin stood on the doorstep, and he hazarded a smile at her surprised expression.

"I realise you're probably busy, but I hoped you'd spare me a few minutes." He said, by way of preamble.

"Sure." Nancy's brow creased in confusion, but she gestured towards the hall behind her. "Come on in - Topaz just made coffee, and the baby's asleep so it's nice and quiet."

"No...I'd rather not." Robin shook his head. "I'm not exactly popular with all of your roommates - I saw Sylva spying out at me just now. If you don't mind, I'd rather talk out here."

"Oh." Nancy looked startled, then, "Okay, if you like. Let me just get my shoes on and I'll be right with you."

"Thank you." Robin's dark eyes flickered with relief, and he waited patiently as she fastened her shoes, grabbing her house keys and shutting the door. She paused, eying him curiously.

"What kind of talk is this?" She asked, as they headed up the arc-shaped drive and towards the road into the city. "Something to do with our long night in an elevator shaft?"

"Almost." Robin grinned ruefully at the memory. "I've thought over a few things you said. About Sian and the press and how they're going to have their story, regardless of what the cost is."


"And I've decided to come clean my way, instead of having them dig around me for dirt for the next twelve months." Robin shrugged. "I can't make a break with Carrowville and what happened there. It runs too deep into me for that. But I think it's better that they know everything from me and get it out of their system. Otherwise they're going to yap at my heels for months on end...and that's just going to make it harder for me to settle here and start again."

"I think that's wise." Nancy's expression softened. "Have you mentioned this to Mom or Aunt Phyl?"

"Your Mom, this morning." Robin admitted. "She said she'd see about arranging a press conference for me, if it was what I really wanted to do."

He looked sheepish.

"I actually thought she was some kind of power mad bitch, like ol' Phyllis is." He admitted. "But she was real worried about you when the elevator fell. Guess it changed my opinion of her...and I'd rather have her handling it than Ms Gabor. I don't trust her. She's too powerful for her own good."

"Not everything that seems to be true is, you know." Nancy said reflectively. "Aunt Phyl isn't the monster you think she is. I grew up with her always around the corner. She let Aaron and I come swim in her pool. She'd always remember when it was my birthday, and she'd always be there if I needed someone to go to, in those times I couldn't always go to Mom or Dad. She's not really a bitch, Robin. Just like you're not really a killer. People have secrets, that's all. And in this business, more than often facades."

She shrugged.

"Plus, she knows from her own experience how the press can take and can mangle a story." She added. "She and her daughter were estranged for twenty years or more, and when the papers finally got a hold of the fact Aunt Phyl had a secret child, they had a field day. I think she was just giving you working advice. And since you're taking it - obviously you concede she was right."

"I don't know about that." Robin mused. "But I'll trust to your judgement on Phyllis's nature. You know her better than me...maybe if I stick around here long enough, I'll see more of the side you mention than the side I've already seen."

"Maybe you will." Nancy agreed. "You are staying, then?"

"Signed a contract, didn't I?"

"Sure, but..."

"Oh, I'm staying." Robin assured her. "Honestly, I couldn't go home. Not yet. When I left, my sister pretty much told me to put things behind me and make the best of it. Start over. Find a new life or whatever the cliche is. I don't know as I can do that. I'm never going to find another Sian and I'll probably never have that trust in anyone again. But after talking to you - I guess I realised it don't mean I can't have a life. Just, well, a different one. That's what she'd have wanted me to do, anyway. I guess I've just been to wrapped up in it to see it."

"Well, Los Angeles is a crazy city." Nancy grinned. "But it's way different from the deep south. That's for sure."

"Yeah, I'd noticed that." Robin agreed. "Plus, at least I have one friend here now."

He paused, eying her thoughtfully.

"I think?"

"You do." Nancy nodded her head. "I'm sorry for thinking what everyone else was thinking. It's not usually my style, but I'm over it now."

She glanced at her hands.

"And I'm grateful for you taking charge in the elevator like you did. I know I freaked on you big time."

"You couldn't help it." Robin said with a shrug. "I think you were pretty brave, all in all. We were in there a long time."

"Almost two hours." Involuntarily Nancy shivered. "It'll be a long time before I go near an elevator again. Last night I had my bedroom door and my windows wide open and I still didn't sleep for nightmares."

"It affects you pretty badly, huh?"

"Yeah." Nancy nodded. She looked embarrassed. "Though I don't like to talk about it. It's never wise to show a weakness...that kind of thing."

"Well, noone will hear about it from me." Robin grinned. "Even if I am going to talk about my past, I'll still honour my promise. In a way it was nice knowing you have a weakness."

"Thanks." Nancy pulled a face. "Do your family know what you're going to do, by the way?"

"Mine and Sian's." Robin nodded. "I spoke to both my sister and to Sian's father this morning. I didn't want to do it without them knowing. Her Dad told me that nobody should be talking about his daughter without my testimony, and that she'd want me to put the past aside and move on. He was always a good man - like a father to me after mine died. In a sense they're still as much my family as my own. On reflection, it's nice to know."

"Maybe you're finding some closure."

"Perhaps." Robin shrugged. "I guess we'll see. I'll follow orders for a while, get this song out and see what happens then. Small steps."

"Well, you know I'll help out if I can." Nancy dimpled. "So long as it doesn't conflict with Jewel's interests. They're my priority, after all."

"Of course." Robin returned the smile. "And I'm more of a lone wolf writer, anyhow. But I'm glad to know I can call on you if I get stuck...and consider the favour returnable. We got some good harmonies worked out last night...just a pity about the circumstances."

"True enough, but at least Syl has a keyboard line she should be able to play now." Nancy laughed. "And regardless of what she thinks, I think it was a good thing you came to Los Angeles."

"You do?" Robin looked startled. Nancy nodded.

"It's the city of dreams." She said playfully, nudging him as she did so. "And we all have to start with those somewhere!"

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

The copyright for the original Jem characters featured in this and other stories by me belongs entirely to Hasbro and their interpretations to Christy Marx and the other writers of the Sunbow Jem series. Their future selves are based on concepts that are entirely my own and are not to be repeated elsewhere without due permission.
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All events in the stories on this site are based on original ideas and are not rooted in any existing Jem fiction nor in any real life event or person.