Cece swung open the door of her apartment, casting her neighbour a startled look. "What in hell's wrong, girl? You look like you saw a ghost!"
"Heard one, more like." Sadie, her face ashen and her blue eyes big with fear murmured. "Cece, can I ask a big favour? Can I crash with you tonight?"
"Crash with me?" Cece stared. "Hey, you know you're always welcome here, but what's up? You don't usually ask to sleep over and you only live a floor above me. What gives?"
"I don't really want to talk about it." Sadie responded softly, slipping past her friend into the apartment with a sigh, and dropping down onto the couch. "I just don't feel too safe upstairs. That..that's all."
"Well, if you say so." Cece shrugged, closing the door. "Tea?"
"Yes. Please." Sadie nodded. "I could use it - and make it strong, huh?"
"No problem." Cece hurried into the kitchen, putting the kettle on, then returning to the lounge, fixing big, curious eyes on her shaken companion. "Look, I was going to go out with a couple of girls from work tonight - Rachael wanted to drop by the cinema, see the new Bond movie. You want to come?"
"I'm not going out of this building till it's light." Sadie shook her head. "I don't want to screw up your plans, though. I...I guess I'll be okay here on my own."
Cece eyed her companion thoughtfully, her eyes narrowing. Then she shook her head.
"You're whiter than snow, Sadie. I ain't leaving you here like this." she decided finally, reaching for her phone and dialling the number of Rachael, one of her colleagues. "I'll tell Rachael another night. We'll have a girlie night in instead, huh? You and me."
Sadie looked startled, then she smiled wanly.
"Thanks, Ce." She murmured. "I'm sorry I intruded."
"You're always welcome." Cece dimpled at her. Then she made contact with her colleague, and her attention was fully taken by the call. Sadie glanced around her friend's cosy apartment, taking a deep breath of air to calm her shattered nerves. Even after all this time, hearing his voice on her answer machine had scared her half to death.
"How in hell did he get my number, though?" She asked herself yet again. "I had it changed, went out of the phonebook...only a few people know it. How could he get it? Who in hell does he have spying on me?"
She glanced at Cece, panicked suspicions flooding her mind, but she quickly got them under control, shaking her head. Cece was her friend. Noone in Birmingham was spying for him.
"He probably just got lucky dialling." She muttered. "Which is more bad luck for me. Now I'm scared to even go out."
"Sadie, you're wound up as anything!" Cece dropped her phone receiver back into it's cradle, sitting down beside her on the couch. "You look positively petrified. Did you watch a scary flick too many or something? What's wrong, girl?"
"I told you. I don't want to talk about it." Sadie whispered. "I just...just needed to get out."
"This ain't like you." She remarked. "Hey, sounds like the kettle. You want sugar and milk?"
"Sugar, no milk. I need it black." Sadie responded quietly. Cece looked puzzled, but disappeared once more into the kitchen, reappearing moments later with two cups of hot tea and pushing one towards her friend, who took it gratefully. Her hand shook as she sipped the warm dark liquid, and Cece pursed her lips. She was fond of Sadie, but sometimes her neighbour's behaviour could be downright strange.
"She never dates, never talks about where she used to live, never mentions family except that sister of hers." She mused. "She'd rather babysit than come out some nights, and now she's scared to be in her apartment? With the doors locked and a security guard the size of Goliath downstairs? What's gotten into her now?"
She reached into her pocket, taking a cigarette from her packet and lighting it. After a moment's hesitation, she held the packet out to Sadie.
"You're wound up enough and it probably won't help ya, but you want a fag?" She asked flippantly. Sadie took one gratefully, letting her companion light it for her, then taking a deep drag, exhaling a cloud of smoke.
"Thanks. I left mine in my flat. I was just...in a hurry to get out."
"So I gather." Cece responded dryly. "Hell, Sadie, please tell me you're not hiding from the law or something? I mean, you didn't get a call from the CID, didya? Friend of mine got a real scaring when she hid her boyfriend in the attic, after he got accused of that mugging. I don't want to be hiding you from the boys in blue"
"No, Cece, I swear. I'm not in trouble with the police." Sadie shook her head. "I just had a call from someone I knew a long time ago, and I didn't expect - or want - to hear from him. That's all."
"Him?" Cece's eyes burned with curiosity. "Ex-boyfriend type?"
"Something like that." Sadie's tone forbade any further questions and with a sigh Cece gave up. She flicked ash into the ashtray on the coffee table, then,
"Well, we could watch a movie. I still have this great flick out from the rental store." She suggested. Sadie shrugged.
"Works for me." She agreed absently.
"I can call out for pizza - it'll be fun."
"Sure." Sadie did not seem to be entirely paying attention and Cece rolled her eyes, reaching for the DVD and pushing it resignedly in the machine. There was no snapping Sadie out of it when she was in one of her preoccupied, daydreaming moods, after all. Sadie, for her part, was relieved that her friend had stopped asking questions. Cece's inquisitive nature was provoked only out of concern, but she was in no mood to talk about it. Neal inspired the deepest sense of fear that her young heart could produce, and she was, as the other girl had pointed out, petrified.
"What if he is out there, waiting for me? What then?" She murmured softly to herself, taking a sip of her drink. "Hell, how am I ever going to be rid of him?"
"Wow, look at all the lights!"
Sylva stepped out of the big black limousine, casting a well practiced grin at the waiting cameras as they flashed and clicked in synchronised waves around them. "Hey, Los Angeles! Looking good tonight!"
"It's mad." Copper decided. "What do you think our chances are, Syl? Are we gonna win that award?"
"I don't know, but I have a feeling we're gonna get asked that very question a few times." Sylva gestured towards the entrance of the venue with a taffeta gloved hand, rolling her eyes. "The press lie in wait for us."
"So they do." Nancy grimaced. "Come on, Topaz - you coming or what?"
"I'm coming, I just got my boot stuck under the driver's seat." Topaz, her cheeks flushed with embarassment clambered out of the back of the vehicle, and Sylva sent her an amused grin.
"Good start." she observed. "Hey, do you s'pose we should be signing autographs?"
"You've time for a few." The voice of Phyllis Gabor came from behind them, and the quartette turned. "Keep the crowd sweet, okay? More time you spend with them, the less time the press will have to quiz you."
"Good point." Nancy acknowledged. "I'll take fans over reporters any day."
"Hey, Copper, are you really getting married?" One exciteable fan asked as the drummer carefully signed her programme, casting her a smile as she did so.
"Yes." She agreed. "Though Aaron and I haven't set a date yet."
"Is it true he's your road manager?"
"Mmhm." Copper grinned, turning and indicating the car, where Aaron himself, present by dint of his status to the group was emerging. He was dressed smartly and evidently uncomfortable in such formal attire. Despite herself Copper hid a smile. She knew how much her fiance hated to dress up.
"That's him now." She told the fan in soft, confidential tones, handing the programme back.
"Ooh, he's really cute." The girl's friend exclaimed. Copper laughed.
"Yes, I think so too." She admitted shyly. "Thanks for coming tonight - its so important to us to have our fans behind us."
"We voted for Jewel!" The first girl assured her. "We have all your albums and your singles and we're going to buy Reveal on Monday!"
"Well, tonight we're going to play a very special version." Copper told them with a wink. "So I hope you enjoy it."
Then she had to move on to the next autograph hunting fan, but, as the other Jewels had remarked before, it was difficult not to like Copper on sight, and the two young girls stared after her, each inwardly resolving that one day they would be just like her. Copper had an easy, natural way with people and a gentle air which was less confrontational than Nancy's blunt, shrewd wit, and less intimidating than Sylva's teasing, playful nature. Topaz too was a natural with the fans, but tonight she was more than a little nervous. Despite the positive emails she had received, there had also been negative remarks that she had not told the others about. She didn't know who had sent them, and she surmised that they weren't fans of Jewel but perhaps adoring followers of Diablo's lead singer Luca, whom the press were beginning to turn to as number one suspect in the baby's conception. Jealousy of fans was not uncommon in this business, she knew, and she had deleted the offending emails, but it had made her apprehensive about her reception tonight.
"This award is important to Jewel." she murmured to herself. "And nothing is going to happen to let us blow it."
"Topaz, will you sign my programme please?" A girl in the crowd pushed forward to the rope seperating stars from the melee, waving her programme anxiously. "Sure." Topaz nodded, casting her a smile. "What's the name?"
"Louisa." The girl dimpled. "Thank you. You sing so great, you know - I want to be a singer too."
"You do, huh?" Topaz grinned. "Well, it's a lot of hard work, but if you're really committed to it, you should definitely go for your goals. You never know where you might end up."
"Louisa, why are you listening to her?" A second voice came from the crowd and an older girl pushed through to join the other. "You follow her advice and you'll wind up no better than she is - across the scandal pages of whatever newspaper, playing guess the father of the baby."
Topaz reeled back as if struck, staring at the older girl in dismay. Louisa, her expression stricken, hurried to apologise.
"Topaz, I'm sorry, my sister..."
"It's okay." Quietly Topaz regained her composure, though her blue eyes still reflected the hurt. She signed the programme, handing it back. "I hope you enjoy the show tonight, anyhow."
With that she walked away, determined not to let her indignation show.
"Tara, you shouldn't have said that to her!" She heard Louisa's voice in the background. "I like Topaz, she's a great singer and I do want to be like her! If you're gonna be rude to people you shouldn't have come!"
"You want to be like her? Hah." The older girl's voice was scornful. "Another showbiz slut? Please, Lou. You've brains and ability. You don't need to sleep around to get press attention."
Topaz paused in the centre of the walkway, composing herself. She had never felt so angry or so humiliated before, and she didn't like it. Absently her hand went to her stomach, and she bit her lip.
"There will always be some who will judge me." She murmured. "I knew that. But...is that how people see me? Some slut from Canada who sleeps around to get Jewel in the presses? Is that all they think I'm good for?"
"Topaz, are you okay?" A voice at her elbow startled her and she turned to meet Sylva's concerned blue eyes. "You...aren't feeling ill, are you?"
"Ill?" Topaz stared at her. "No, I...I'm fine." She sighed, rubbing her temples. "Just tired I think. I'm okay. Are we done with the autographs?"
"What's eating you? You usually love meeting the fans."
"Yes, usually." Topaz grimaced.
"Oh, come on." Sylva dimpled, linking her arm in her friend's. "There are some guys over here who think Jewel are hot babes and I'm sure they'd love to have the autograph of our lead singer."
"You mean lead slut." Topaz snapped, pulling her hand away. "I can't deal with this, Syl. I'm going to the dressing room...I'll see you there."
With that she disappeared through the melee of security people and into the building, leaving Sylva staring after her. Topaz's tone had been brusque and snappish but Sylva knew her friend too well and she had seen all too clearly what the Canadian had been trying to hide. There had been tears in the pale blue eyes, and the keyboardist frowned.
"That's not like her." She muttered as she feigned a smile and signed a couple of programmes, her mind elsewhere. "I hope she's not having another attack of hormones. That's all we need tonight."
"Where's Topaz?" Copper came to join her at that moment.
"She went to the dressing room." Sylva shrugged. "Perhaps she wanted to talk to the technical people about her microphone and everything."
Copper looked thoughtful, but said nothing, and the trio continued towards the waiting press reporters.
"Missing someone tonight, girls?" The Cool Trash reporter sent them a false smile. "Where's your lead singer?"
"Topaz is inside." Sylva said quietly. "She's had enough of being bothered by you guys as it is. When are you going to leave her alone and realise that we're talking about her life here, not some sleazy soap opera?"
"Leave it, Syl." Nancy touched the other girl's arm. "You're wasting your breath. Come on, we've time to tune up before we have to go out there and smile for the press."
"Well, I don't know about tuning up, but I'm going to get some sense out of Topaz." Sylva groaned. "I'm starting to get a bad feeling about tonight, guys. What if this is just the start? What if everything goes wrong?"
"It'll be fine." Copper soothed. "Come on. We're professionals...and we have an act to produce."
"So here you are."
Sylva slipped down next to her friend on the wooden bench backstage, relief in her blue eyes. She had hunted for Topaz high and low, for the singer had not been in the dressing room when the other girls had arrived, and the keyboardist had half been afraid her friend had left the venue entirely. "Topaz, why did you run off like that? What's wrong?"
"Oh, everything and nothing." Topaz murmured, sighing heavily. "I'm sorry, Syl. I had to get away - all those people, I felt stifled all of a sudden." She turned her gaze to meet her friend's and to Sylva's consternation she realised that the Canadian had been crying.
"What happened out there?" She said softly. "What did you mean, lead slut? Did someone say something?"
"And then some." Grimly Topaz outlined what the girl had said. "It hurt...is that how people really see me? Some airheaded slut who just sleeps with any guy she fancies to get the front page headlines on the local tabloids?"
"Of course not." Sylva's blue eyes flashed with indignant anger. "She had no right to say things like that about you! I bet she's just jealous because you're the best singer in this state at the moment and that's that! Besides, you're not a slut. We know who the baby's father is, even if the tabloids don't, and we know how long you and he have been involved." She hugged her companion tightly. "It's not anyone else's business, so ignore them."
"Thanks, Syl." She whispered. "I needed that." She bit her lip. "Out there I felt...alienated. It's the first time since I joined this group that I've ever felt really ostracised like that. Not even when I slept with Luca...I mean, there was gossip and interest and you know, all of that business, but why in hell is it such a big deal all of a sudden, just because I admitted on air that I was pregnant? Is it that bad a thing, to be in the public eye and having a baby? What's wrong with the world?"
"Listen to me, Topaz. There is nothing wrong with you or the fact you're pregnant. Whoever that girl was, she had her brain in backwards and I'd like to tell her so." Sylva said darkly. "The tabloid press have just taken what you said on KBST and made a meal out of it. They've warped the whole business and made you sound like something you're not, that's all."
"Nancy said it would get like this - I should have listened." Topaz sighed. "I feel wretched inside at the moment. Certainly in no mood to go out and sing."
"You will though, won't you?" Sylva looked anxious. "You have to show people that you're not bothered about what they say or think!"
"But I am bothered, Syl." Topaz confessed. "I didn't think I was, but I really am. I had a few not so nice emails from - I think - Diablo fans as well as nice ones the other morning. Now this...and the Cool Trash stuff, to top it all off. I'm getting ready to be a Mom, tomorrow I have my first scan, and it's so special for me...now these people are trying to ruin it!"
With that the Canadian's composure collapsed and she burst into tears once more. Sylva hugged her again.
"Don't cry." She murmured. "Please, Topaz. You mean the world to the rest of us, you know that. Don't let these morons get you down. It's not like you!"
"I think my hormones are on strike again." Topaz mumbled. "It stinks, but I feel like crap."
"Come with me." Sylva stood, pulling the older girl to her feet. "Now listen up, Topaz. We're gonna get you cleaned up, we're gonna change into our stage wear and we're damn well going to do the best ever performance of Reveal out there. Then we're going to be demure, pretty and attentive, we're going to damn well win that award and then we're going to..."
"What if we don't win?" Topaz interrupted.
"Well, that's life. We don't, well, we don't." Sylva shrugged.
"Yes, but what if we don't win...because of me?" Topaz demanded. "Because of all the negative vibes? What if that girl out there isn't the only one who's been turned against me by all this chaos? What if..."
"Quit it with the what ifs, will you?" Sylva held up her hands. "Look. If we win we win. If we don't, we don't. And if we don't it won't be because of you. Besides, we'd rather have you and stand by you than any dumb award." Her eyes twinkled. "And the rumours are that we have won. Only rumours, mind, but Dean murmured something to Nancy as we came in, and she thinks it means we've clinched it. So don't fret, huh? You've nothing to worry about."
"I hope you're right." Reluctantly Topaz dried her tears. "I'm coming." She sighed. "Are you sure it'll be okay, though? I...I never thought I'd say this, but I don't feel like I want to go out on stage and sing. I...I just want to curl up and hide away. I feel ugly and useless and...dammit, pregnant! Everyone will be staring at me!"
"Yes, because you're our lead singer tonight." Sylva told her dryly.
"That's not what I meant!"
"Well, stop meaning it and come get ready." Sylva coaxed. "You look beautiful, Topaz. Whether you feel like it or not, you look great. Radiant, even."
"Really?" Topaz looked doubtful. Sylva nodded.
"Really." She responded. "Do I ever lie to you?"
"No." Topaz conceded. "All right. I'm coming." She sighed. "Once I clean up my mascara. I'll meet you in the dressing room, okay?"
"Sure thing." Sylva's eyes twinkled. "And then we'll show every loud mouthed idiot out there just how much Jewel rock!"
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
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE
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!