Don't Look Back
(A Sadie Saga)
Chapter Three: News
"So, how are you today?"
Irene Chester cast her visitor a warm smile, indicating for her to take a seat. "Did you ask Maria to make coffee, by the way? We have an hour session this morning, if I recall right."
"Yeah, I mentioned it to her." Sadie grinned ruefully. "You get to know when you're a regular - she called me by name and your window cleaner asked after my sister."
Irene laughed.
"Well, so long as you feel welcome here." She winked. "How's the week been, by the way? Any big revelations or feelings you want to talk to me about in particular?"
"Not sure, really." Sadie admitted, making herself comfortable. "I haven't been sleeping really well lately, though it wasn't so bad last night as it has been. I think I'm getting afraid to be alone in my apartment because of this nightmare I keep getting - is that dumb?"
"No, of course not." Irene shook her head, casting the receptionist, Maria a smile as she entered with mugs of coffee, setting them down on the desk. "Cheers, Maria. You're an angel."
"Thanks, Maria." Sadie took her mug, taking a sip.
"Welcome." Maria's brown eyes twinkled.
Once she'd left the room, Irene cast Sadie a curious look.
"This nightmare - is it one we've discussed before?"
"No." Sadie coloured. "And if you don't mind, I don't think I'm ready to talk about it. It's something past and kinda deep and I'm not ready to go there."
"All right." Irene pursed her lips. "But it's keeping you from sleeping? How long has this been going on?"
"Um, not that long - around a week." Sadie responded, toying idly with the ring on her finger. "I had a phonecall from an old friend and it kinda got me worried."
"What kind of a phonecall?"
"Probably an irrelevant one, I've heard nothing." Sadie sighed. "But apparently my ex is in Brum this weekend, that's all. Maybe even at the moment. It's probably entirely unrelated to me, but..."
"You feel hunted?" Irene asked. Sadie nodded.
"Totally." She replied. "Last night I was at Alyssa's babysitting and I felt safe enough there, but when I'm at home it's different. I mean, he's called my home number before I got it changed, so who's to say he doesn't know where I live?"
"Perhaps you should speak to the police."
"No...please, Irene, I don't want law enforcement involved. I just want him to leave me alone, that's all." Sadie looked anxious. "And he'll only do that if I keep my head down."
"I think you're wrong, but it's your decision." Irene sighed. "I wish you'd open up a little more where he's concerned, though. I can tell that this guy is the root of a lot of pain and unhappiness for you and I think it's holding you back from being happy. I won't force anything out of you, you know that, but I feel like I know you fairly well now, Sadie, and I feel for you when you're upset and I can't help you through it."
"You've helped me so much already." Sadie looked rueful. "Really. And whatever I can't talk to you about, well, I am keeping the journal like you suggested and I've told it a lot more than I can sometimes talk about face to face."
"Well, I'm glad about that." Irene smiled. "It does help sometimes to have a secret friend who you know won't blab." She took a sip of her own coffee. "Speaking of friends, are you still in touch with this girl in America?"
"Topaz? Yes." Sadie nodded. She looked wistful. "I wish she lived closer, I feel like I can talk to her so much easier than I can to Cece or any of the local friends I've made. Somehow she understands me better than any of them."
"Still, if you can talk to her online, isn't that something?"
"Oh, of course." Sadie smiled. "That might be another reason I'm sleeping funny, though. California are eight hours behind us and well, I'm prone to stopping up. Sometimes she's really busy, what with her work and all, and I like to see her as much as I can."
"I suppose that makes sense." Irene rested her chin in her hands. "Any plans to fly out and visit her?"
"Oh, I'd love to, but my savings aren't there yet." Sadie pulled a face. "I'm working on it - maybe I'll just have enough by Christmas, if I'm lucky and don't spend too much on useless crap."
"I think it might do you good to get out there and travel a bit." Irene observed.
"Well, she told me the other week that she's having a baby and that it's due at New Year - call me a big softie but I'd love to be there to see the kid when it's born."
"You're a big softie." Irene laughed. "Though perhaps you should be focusing your energy on your own future rather than other people's?"
"How do you mean?"
"Well, I notice that you don't mention any young man in your life."
"There is none, and nor do I want one at the moment." Sadie sighed. "I couldn't deal with it."
"He hurt you very much, I know." Irene said gently. "But Sadie, not every man wants to hurt you. You're a beautiful girl with a big heart and you have to try and put the past behind you. I've been talking to you like this since you came to Birmingham and I've noticed a lot of changes in you - you're more confident, you make an effort with your clothing, your jewellery, your make up, you smile and greet the people here like old friends. I'm proud of you, because this is the real Sadie, not the sullen, defensive girl who I had to coax to even talk to me, and who spent much of the early sessions crying. But I also want you to be happy - and I know that you want that family of your own one day."
"Of course, but right now I'm game to put it on ice." Sadie responded. "I am happy, Irene. Except when I have bad dreams."
"Yes, of course." Irene frowned. "Well, my advice where that is concerned is to keep writing it down, and if you can talk it out with someone, all the better. If you can't tell me, then maybe your sister or even Topaz would be a good idea - you shouldn't keep things bottled up if they're troubling you."
"I know." Sadie admitted. "I say the same thing day in and day out at work, but it's not always easy to take your own advice."
"Yes, very true." Irene nodded sagely. "I counselled several couples through marriage breakup but when I divorced my first husband I just fell to pieces and couldn't think clearly or coherently about any of it. I know it's hard, Sadie. I'm phenomenally proud of you, because you've been through so much and yet you're fighting back. You've become a real sweetheart, you know - I'm glad to have met this you."
Sadie blushed.
"Alyssa said I was always the sweet one in the family." She admitted.
"Have you had contact with your father recently?"
"Not really." Sadie shook her head. "Got a letter from him a couple of weeks ago - think I mentioned it then, didn't I? But you know, was the usual stuff. James has gone into the military - he's sixteen now, so he's got his wish."
"Your younger brother, yes?"
"Yes." Sadie agreed. "Dysfunctional as hell, us Monahues."
"I don't think Alyssa would agree." Irene told her gently. "Okay, how about work? We haven't really tackled that yet today - how are things there?"
"Oh, work's great." Sadie grinned. "I love my job, you know I do. And Chevonne and I had an interesting heart to heart yesterday, which was kinda nice. I feel like they really trust me - gives me confidence, you know?"
"Yeah." Irene smiled. "And God knows you need that."
"I'm doing my best." Sadie looked sheepish.
"Well, keep doing it." Irene winked. "I have plenty of faith in you!"

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"I can't believe that Jewel are going to be playing live at this big awards ceremony tonight!" Sylva skimmed over the poster with an excited twinkle in her eyes, setting it down on the desk. "Jetta, why didn't we know about this before? I knew we were up for an award for the last album, but playing, too? What gives?"
"We decided that it'd be a good chance to use all this positive publicity of yours and give them a taste of the new single." Sheila Pelligrini or "Jetta", Chief executive of Misfit Music and Nancy's mother to boot cast the keyboardist an amused look. "You've been rehearsing like crazy anyway. No point in wastin' all that work."
"What about stage effects?" Copper looked startled. "And the programme...won't it throw everyone out if we're suddenly put on the bill?"
"No." Jetta shook her head. "Some singer from Maine 'as 'ad to drop out an' Pizzazz acted quick, suggested that since you girls are up for an award an' will be there, then you might as well play Reveal there whilst you're at it."
"Works for me." Nancy smiled. "If the song's out on Monday, we could use the publicity."
"Publicity and us seem to be hand in hand at the moment." Topaz perched herself on the windowsill, rolling her eyes. "Jetta, can't you do something about the tabloid press? I made it very clear on KBST that I wanted to be left alone...and what do they do? Stalk me."
"Topaz, love, you ain't learnt anythin' if you think that the press will simply do as you ask 'em to." Jetta told her unsympathetically. "You girls are California's biggest sellin' act at the even 'ave Sirena beat. Your album is up for a prestigious award, albeit a state one, an' you're about to release a brand new single with a video produced by the woman who's no stranger at present to press 'erself - Zoe Montgomery. Between the announcement of 'er comin' out, the news of Copper's engagement to my son an' of course, your own tidbit of information, Jewel are all anyone wants to 'ear about."
"Well, I don't mind a bit of friendly interest." Topaz admitted. "Or some attention. I was answering fan emails this morning and I had so many nice messages sent to me from Jewel fans about the baby, it almost made me tear up inside. But the tabloids are another matter. They're all for finding out who the Daddy is - and they're so unoriginal, they think it's Luca Ranieri and are predicting some big squabble between Sirena and me over it - you know how convinced they are that because she and he are friendly that they must be sleeping together."
"In tabloid land, Topaz, everyone is sleeping with everyone else." Sylva rolled her eyes. Nancy nodded.
"For once, Syl is right." She agreed. "Hell, they probably think Zoe is sleeping with all of us, now she's come out publically and admitted she's gay. You know what tabloids are like. If you know someone well or are friends with them, you must be sleeping with them too."
"Jetta, when you were a Misfit, did you ever have scandals like this to deal with?" Copper asked plaintively.
Jetta looked thoughtful.
"Well, there were scandals." She admitted. "Thing is, Pizzazz is a rich woman an' most people were scared of 'er. Us too. So the biggest an' juiciest stories often never got uncovered. Not many people knew for a long time that Roxy was illiterate, that I was married or that Pizzazz, as you well know, 'ad a daughter. These things 'ave come out since."
"Well, I wish Phyllis would use some of that scariness to help us out." Topaz frowned. "I'm looking forward to the ceremony tonight and I'm praying real hard that we win, but I can't help worrying that the press will ruin it for us. You know how they are when they're chasing a story."
"Well, we'll just get Cynthia to zap them with her lasers." Sylva said, then clapped a hand over her mouth as she realised who was present. Jetta raised an eyebrow.
"Cynthia and lasers?" She demanded. 
"Private Jewel laser tag joke." Copper said hurriedly, casting Sylva a reproachful look as she did so. "Don't worry, Jetta. Just, erm, adolescent fun."
"Mm, I see." Jetta rolled her eyes. "You know, someone told me you were adults...I'm beginnin' to wonder if you are."
"Aw come on, Jetta, you telling me you never played at laser tag?" Despite herself, Topaz grinned. Jetta laughed.
"Paintballin' was our thing, and food fights." She admitted remeniscently. "Speakin' of which, no trouble tonight, all right? Diablo won't be there, thank God, they're still tourin' in Canada, but there will be a lot of people an' Rory Llewelyn will likely be among them."
"We don't cause trouble, it comes to us." Nancy replied darkly. "Don't worry, Mom. We'll play our song, sit and see if we win our award, and then smile and clap everyone else like good Jewels. We know the rules - no bitching in public places."
"Yeah, an' don't forget it." Jetta returned. "Right, if that's all, can you kids clear off? I got some paperwork to file an' I want out of 'ere by six, if possible."
"Won't you be there tonight?" Nancy looked startled. Jetta shook her head.
"No. Pizzazz will be accompanyin' you to the ceremony." She responded. "I'm 'avin' a night off an' me an' your father are goin' out for dinner."
"Well, don't forget to wish us luck then." Sylva dimpled. "This award is a big deal."
"You don't need luck, or you shouldn't." Jetta told them firmly. Then she relented. "Oh, whatever. Good luck, then. Now shoo! I 'ave enough to do!"
Taking the hint, the band withdrew from the executive's office, exchanging looks as they did so.
"I can't believe we get to play tonight!" Sylva exclaimed. "It rocks!"
"I can't believe you almost landed Cynthia in it." Nancy told her cuttingly. "Syl, you have the world's biggest mouth."
"It's okay, Copper covered." Sylva shrugged, not noticeably dented. "Besides, she's our lighting technician and our light shows use lasers sometimes. If she'd have pushed the issue I'd have told her that."
"Just be careful, huh?" Copper chided. "Cyn's already suffered once from over-interest - remember Stefana and the computer virus she concocted?"
"Will any of us ever?" Topaz shivered. "Poor Cynthia. It's a good thing that Aaron is so good with computers and managed to get it out."
"And a good thing Nancy cracked the password." Copper agreed. Nancy grinned.
"I'm just glad it's behind us." She responded. "Hey, tonight - what do you guys reckon about giving Reveal a special twist?"
"You're really fired up about this show, aren't you?" Topaz grinned at her.
"I have a lot of faith in this song." Nancy admitted, her cheeks pinkened. "Besides, well, this is my music writing that's been nominated for an award - I'm pretty stoked about that."
"Cool Trash reckons we're a shoo in." Sylva reported. "I read their rundown this morning. Now we're you reckon that'll just top it off?"
"It won't matter. It's voted on by the state of California, not a group of judges." Copper said sensibly.
"The album went multi platinum. Most of California already bought it." Sylva grinned. "You know, Jetta is right. Jewel are number one in Cali."
"As it should be." Topaz decided. "We've worked damn hard for this kind of success."
"It's kinda amazing to think that from where we began, pretty much the whole world know our names." Copper looked dreamy. "I'm engaged...we've had top selling singles, albums, and now an award nomination. What next? A Grammy?"
There was silence, then Nancy spoke.
"I suppose that depends whether or not Jewel exist by the time the Grammies come around." She murmured.
"Why wouldn't we?" Sylva demanded.
"Topaz is talking about leaving." Nancy indicated the Canadian. "I know you're not decided yet, Topaz," as the blond opened her mouth to protest, "But it's a possibility we have to face."
"Doesn't mean for a moment that Jewel are done for. Sheesh, Nancy, I'm a little part of this equation." Topaz spread her hands. "If you quit, well, there'd be a problem. You're the songwriter. If Copper left there'd be noone to play beat and if Syl went there'd be no keyboardist with that special Jewel flair. But you three were a band without me - you don't need me to keep going." She shrugged. "I love you guys and singing with Jewel, but I know I'm not an irreplaceable componant."
"Who says?" Nancy raised an eyebrow. "Forgetting for one moment how closeknit a team we've all become, there's the little matter of who'd play bass guitar? I've written bass lines for every song we've released since you joined. I edited the songs we released before that, to include your bass. Now the strong bassline is a part of Jewel's sound."
Topaz looked troubled.
"I didn't think about it from that point of view." She murmured. "I'm sorry, guys. I really didn't. I guess I'll just have to stick with things and come back to you as soon as I possibly can after baby is here. I mean, that's what I want to do anyhow. I just thought I might need some space."
"It'll work out." Copper hugged her reassuringly. "And it's not like you have to quit right now. We've a lot of time to work out what we're going to do and make sure everyone is happy."
"Copper's right." Sylva nodded. "We'll work it out. So don't fret, huh? Everything is gonna be just fine!"

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!