Don't Look Back
(A Sadie Saga)
Chapter Ten: A Change Of Plan

"Monday morning, more photographs, more interviews, more blah." Sylva examined her reflection in her compact mirror, snapping it shut and tossing it down onto the sandy towel. "I love coming to the beach, but not when we're working, for heaven's sake! It's hot and beautiful and I want to swim, not mess around with photographs!"
"Oh, shut up, will you?" Nancy rolled her eyes, settling herself more comfortably in her deckchair and fanning herself with her book. "It's not as if it's not a pain for the rest of us too, you know."
"I feel guilty about this, like it's my fault we're out here." Topaz grimaced, settling herself on the sand. "I know I'm messing up the schedule brilliantly at the moment."
"No, this was Phyllis's split second idea, remember?" Copper smiled. "Some new hotshot photographer and Justin is out of town so she figured why not see what happened."
"I wouldn't mind if the photographer had been a cute guy." Sylva pouted. "But I'm sorry, I can't get all excited about some chick from Cleveland. It's just not in me."
"I'm sure she'll be heartbroken to hear it, too." Nancy remarked dryly. "What time did she say she wanted us back in the surf for pictures?"
"Half an hour from now." Topaz checked her watch. "It is a gorgeous day, at least there's that. No Californian storms on the horizon to upset things."
"Yeah. Before we know it all the photographs for this album inlay will be done and we'll have it out on the shelves." Copper nodded.
"What kind of cover do you think we're going to go for this time?" Nancy looked thoughtful. "I mean, Bijoux was all jewelly and glitzy and, well, a bit tacky, but it worked for a teenage rock group debut album. Only The Music was shadows and really cool looking, in my opinion, but we don't want to repeat ourselves. Tapestry was kinda collaged...and so that's another thing out. What are we left with? If the album is called Exotic, the last thing we want is for the cover to be dull as dishwater."
"Nancy's right." Topaz nodded. "I don't think that all these photos we've been doing will be cover shots, either. None of them are anything particularly dazzling. I wonder if Phyllis and Jetta have something particular in mind."
"Well, if they have, they ain't told us about it." Sylva rolled her eyes. "Not that that's unusual."
"What did they say when you called them about the whole solo career idea, Topaz?" Copper asked.
"I got the impression that they'd take me at my word and help me follow it if I decided to do it." Topaz spread her hands. "The idea scares me but it might actually be a fun challenge. I'm not entirely decided. However..." she paused, biting her lip, "I won't be a Jewel come January. On that much I think I am convinced."
"What? Not at all?" Sylva's eyes almost popped out of her head. "But...I thought you were taking maternity leave and then deciding what to do!"
"I was." Topaz agreed. "But I realised how selfish I was being in thinking like that. Talking to Phyllis and Jetta made me realise how much has to be done if Jewel are going go move on smoothly and I wasn't being fair in prevaricating about my future so much. They're talking about screening for a new Jewel and that kinda thing takes time. I don't know any of the details, mind you, but I figured I'd tell them to go ahead and begin hunting. It's not fair on you guys otherwise." She grinned. "I love you all to death, you all know that I do. But Jewel is more important than just what I want. It has to go on and if you need a bassist, you need one who's able to give one hundred percent commitment to the group." She shrugged. "By January, I won't be able to guarantee that."
"I suppose when you put it like that, it does make sense." Copper said at length. "We'll be sorry to lose you, Topaz, but I can see why you're thinking that way and if that's how you feel we're not going to make it harder for you. But you will stay at Starlight Mansion, won't you? Whatever we're doing musically, you are one of the family and we'd miss you too much if you left us."
"So long as I can stay in California, my home is with you." Topaz promised solemnly. "Though by three months of newborn baby squalls, you might have a different idea."
"We'll be touring early next year though, probably. We're about due to travel and we've not got any plans to do so before Christmas." Sylva pointed out. "So we mightn't be there." She looked mournful. "Who am I gonna room with? Some new chick who hasn't a clue?"
"Maybe we'll like whoever Phyllis and Jetta pull out." Copper suggested. Nancy looked doubtful.
"I like about seven people in this world, outside of my family, and three of them are sitting in front of me." She said dryly. "I wouldn't hold out much hope."
"Three?" Sylva raised an eyebrow. "Hey, you include me in that number now?"
"Well, there are worse." Nancy shrugged. "Guess I'm realising that it's better the devil you know, too. If we're gonna have a new member we're going to have to make sure they become a Jewel and not let them take over the group with a bunch of 'cool new ideas' for it."
"I'm with that." Sylva nodded decidedly. "I hope we're going to get a say in this."
"Jetta said you would." Topaz nodded. "Don't worry, guys, You'll probably love the new girl and then we'll have even more fun hanging out. I'll have another prospective victim to change diapers and stuff!"
"You wish!" Nancy grimaced. "That's something I'm not doing for you, Topaz, however much I'm your friend."
"I didn't realise Topaz still wore diapers." Copper giggled and the blond girl swiped at her playfully. Sylva sighed.
"See how good we all get on together?" She said pensively. "I'm gonna miss this when we tour."
"Oh, don't get morose." Topaz scolded. "It'll do noone any good." She stood, checking her watch. "Come on, we've photographs to do and the quicker we begin the quicker we can finish."
"I will say one thing. I do like the choice of outfits." Sylva admitted, glancing down at her sleek red bikini with a satisfied smile. "Whoever decided on our wardrobe had some class."
"And if you were wearing any less you'd be in your birthday suit." Nancy told her bluntly.
"Birthday suit?" Copper glanced up sharply at this, fixing Nancy with a piercing look. Despite herself, the younger girl blushed.
"Am I missing something here?" Sylva stared.
"It's Nancy's birthday today." Copper's expression became accusing. "She's twenty one and I can't believe she just let us go on as if nothing important was happening. With all the chaos around Jewel lately she's just hidden her head in the sand the way she does every year and dammit, we've let her!"
"Oh God, it is!" Topaz's blue eyes widened. "Nancy, why do you always play hide and seek with your birthday as if it's not even important? Twenty one is a special age!"
"Nah it isn't. I don't drink and I don't like bars." Nancy shrugged. "Besides, we've been busy. It didn't seem important and I don't expect presents."
"Well, you'll get them." Sylva told her in no uncertain terms. "Hey, gang, how about we drag her out tonight, treat her to something special to teach her that she can't hide these things from us!"
"I dont want a big fuss!" Nancy held up her hands, her expression becoming anxious, because she knew the way Sylva's mind tended to work. Sylva laughed.
"But we can't let you miss your twenty first!" She protested. "Look, nothing sinister, I promise. Just a small shopping spree, so we can buy you something special to mark the occasion...a nice dinner somewhere - you can choose - and then, I don't know, maybe a club with good live music? Something classy, nothing seedy. Unless you have plans with Dean?" She added doubtfully.
"Dean is still in Chicago interviewing some godforsaken group for morning TV's music hour." Nancy admitted. "Maybe that's why I didn't feel like celebrating. He promised he'd take me out as soon as he got back but you know, it isn't quite the same."
"Then we'll take you out. No arguments." Copper decided. "You're not gonna sit at home and mooch on your birthday, Nancy, whatever you think about it! We'll grab Cynthia as well and we'll have a good girl's night...okay?"
Nancy sighed.
"Okay." She said resignedly. "I give. I'll come quietly."
"Good." Topaz dimpled. "You won't regret it."
"I should have realised something was up this morning, actually, when Nancy was the first down to check the mail." Copper realised as they headed out to meet the photographer at the water's edge. "She must have been through the stuff to hide any cards from us, like she tried to do last year. And she had three phonecalls by breakfast...we were really slow on that one."
"I thought I'd gotten away with it." Nancy admitted sheepishly. "Call me weird but I always feel kinda dumb when it's my birthday and everyone's making a fuss over me. I don't see why you get so much nonsense just for getting a year older."
Copper rolled her eyes.
"You're impossible." She decided. "But we'll make sure you get pampered tonight, whatever happens!"

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"Two hundred and fifty dollars for a single air fare to Los Angeles?"
Sadie stared at the man behind the ticket kiosk, blinking back her tears of frightened frustration as she registered his words and grave expression. " there no cheaper way? Economy? Anything?"
"That's the cheapest rate we do, miss." The man cast her a professional smile, handing her back her passport as if he really wasn't interested in her problems. There was a long queue forming behind her, and he knew that he had to get his next flight all booked in within the next half an hour or face an angry mob. "I'm sorry, I don't think I can help you."
"I only have two hundred." Sadie murmured. "There's nothing else? No other way at all?"
"I'm sorry, miss." The man shook his head, then, as he saw the tears began to roll softly down Sadie's cheek, his businesslike expression relaxed into one of more compassion. "You know, there are other ways to get to Los Angeles. Maybe you'd be best hunting up one of them."
"What do you mean?" Sadie stared at him, but he waved his hands in the direction of the customer information booth.
"Go speak to them." He told her kindly. "They'll tell you all you need to know."
"Thank...Thank you." Sadie swallowed hard, pushing her passport - her only form of ID, for in her hurry to leave home she had forgotten her chequered driving licence - back into her bag and moving out of the line, taking a moment to compose herself before following the man's advice. Slowly it was beginning to dawn on her that she would not be able to fly to LAX as she had expected and hoped. Somehow she had to change her plan...and for less than two hundred dollars, if she possibly could. Inwardly she berated herself for not asking Alyssa for twenty pounds more, or for wasting time and money by stopping over the previous night in the city. But it was done now, and it couldn't be undone, so she got a grip on herself, marching resolutely up to the customer information desk.
"Can I help you?" The woman there cast her a smile. Sadie nodded.
"I hope so." She murmured. "I need to get to Los Angeles but I can't afford to fly and I...I don't know what to do. I've never been to America before and..." She faltered, swallowing hard. "Please tell me if there's another way to get to California? I'm desperate. friend is having a baby soon and..."
"I see." The woman eyed her thoughtfully, then, "How soon must you be in Los Angeles?"
"Oh, the baby isn't imminent, I...have a few days breathing space." Sadie admitted. "I just wanted to get the journey done as soon as possible, because it's all so new to me here."
"Well, in that case, there's the greyhound bus service." The woman pushed a leaflet across the desk. "Their ticket and information bureau is on eighth avenue, you'll find the relevant information on that and if you ask them there, I'm sure they can help you. Unless fares have risen, I believe you can get a ticket to Los Angeles for less than two hundred dollars. Mind you, if it's a round trip you want..."
"Oh, no. I...I'll ask my friend's help to get back." Sadie lied quickly, taking the leaflet and examining it, hope lifting inside of her as she realised what it was. "There's really a bus that goes all the way to Los Angeles?"
"Takes a fair time, but yes, there is." The woman told her. "Good luck now, huh? I hope you make it to your friend in time!"
"Thanks for your help." Sadie said gratefully. "Guess I better find a taxi and hope eighth avenue isn't too far from here!"

Sadie's Diary: August 27th, 2013
Chapter One: Jewel
Sadie's Diary: August 28th, 2013
Chapter Two: Topaz's Bombshell
Chapter Three: News
Sadie's Diary: August 30th, 2013
Chapter Four: Award Night
Chapter Five: A Refuge
Chapter Six: An Old Foe
Chapter Seven: Jetta's Advice
Sadie's Diary: September 1st, 2013
Chapter Eight: Sadie Acts
Chapter Nine: Dilemma at the Music Company
Sadie's Diary: September 3rd, 2013
Chapter Ten: A Change Of Plan
Chapter Eleven: A Journey
Sadie's Diary: September 4th, 2013
Chapter Twelve: Girl's Night

Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, 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. The future world of Pizzazz, Raya, Jetta, Roxy, Stormer, Clash, Synergy, the fate of Jem and her memorial are all copyrighted to me. The future world of Kimber and Shana is copyrighted jointly to myself and Gemma Dawn.
The concept of 'Jewel' is entirely my own, and any apparent link with any fictional or actual person or persons of this name is entirely coincidental. Equally the characters in this fiction are not based on any real life individual.
The concept behind the future world of Danse, Aja and Craig, the idea behind Jerrica's futureworld and the split of the Holograms is copyrighted to Gemma Dawn, whose Teenangel Outsiders fiction is directly twinned with Just a Dream. The character Sammi and any of the other Teenangel Outsider characters mentioned in this fiction are entirely copyright to Gemma Dawn and appear here only with her permission.
Pay her page a visit!