"Don't you dare ever do that to us again!"
Sylva put her hands on her hips, glaring indignantly at her hapless companion. "What do you think you were doing, scaring us all to death like that? Dammit, Topaz, what happened?"
"I think it was the lights - I just felt dizzy." Topaz made herself more comfortable beneath the quilt, casting her friend a sheepish look. "I'm sorry, okay? I didn't mean to do it and I certainly didn't expect to. Dr Finnan said last night that he thought it was because I was wound up. He said my blood pressure was up and considering that I'd been prancing around on stage, not to mention blubbing my heart out to you not long before, I suppose he has a point." She shrugged. "I feel better now. And I'm sorry I made such a fool of myself before that, too. I shouldn't have gotten so overemotional. It was just...you know."
"Yeah. Hormones." Sylva rolled her eyes, sitting down on the bed. "And because of it, Miss Mother to be, you're scan has been put off till next Wednesday and you're confined up here for the next twenty four hours on pain of...well, I don't know, but from Dr Finnan's expression I'd say it isnt something nice. You always did have the best timing!"
"Thanks." Topaz grimaced. "Oh, I'm all right, Syl. And if it wasn't for Dr Finnan's fussing I would be up and about in a flash. I feel fine - much better than I did last night. I'm just doing as he tells me because it's more than my life at stake here. If I'm going to get all the grief for having this kid, I'm damn well going to make sure I don't lose it. I wouldn't give the press the satisfaction of that scoop."
"I should think not." Sylva said firmly. "Just don't pull a stunt like that one again, okay? As it is, our plans for this afternoon have been shuffled about and we're gonna have to do that photoshoot tomorrow instead."
"I know. I apologise." Topaz rolled her eyes. "Do I have to grovel too?"
"Nah. We're just glad you're all right." She relented. "I'm gonna let you sleep now, by the way, but I might as well ask - you want pancakes for breakfast? Copper's cooking some - it's the only reason I'm out of bed this early!"
"Sure, pancakes sound great." Topaz stretched, stifling a yawn. "I could eat a horse. I presume we have syrup of some description?"
"Sure do." Sylva nodded. "Don't worry, you'll get breakfast in bed today. Not that you deserve it..." She paused to administer a mock-glare. "But never mind."
With that parting remark she was gone and Topaz pulled herself upright, reaching for the newspaper which Sylva had placed on her nightstand as she had entered. She flicked open the tabloid, turning to the showbiz pages and frowning as she skimmed over the coverage of the award ceremony. The article was far from negative about Jewel's performance or their award, but one line in the text struck home more than the rest.
"Are the cracks beginning to show? Will the hints that Topaz dropped on KBST about her future really result in her leaving the group?" She read them aloud to herself, then sighed, pushing the paper away.
"Good question." She murmured. "I wish I knew the answer."
Glancing towards the doorway to make sure noone was about to see her, she pushed back the covers, making her way over to the window and perching on the spacious windowseat, pushing open the quarterlight and enjoying the sunshine.
"I love Los Angeles and I don't want to leave." She told herself sadly. "I don't want to leave Jewel, either. These girls are like my family and the last thing I want to do is have to go back to Canada and raise this kid without anyone there to turn to. Phyllis and Jetta haven't talked about terminating my contract and stuff if I leave the group, but what else could they do? And my paperwork has to be renewed by the company every year. Time is running out - I wish I knew precisely what I was going to do. It seems so long till January, and yet, hardly any time at all."
She pursed her lips.
"I think the answer is that I have to go to Misfit Music and talk to Jetta and Phyllis properly about what my future will be when the baby is born." She decided finally. "I know I'm entitled to maternity leave and I intend to claim that, whatever else happens. What comes next, well, we'll see. But for the time being, staying in Los Angeles is the important thing, and they're the only ones who can guarantee that. I'll speak to them tomorrow morning. Perhaps then my mind will be clearer. After all, if I keep screwing up Jewel's schedule like this before the babe is even here, what the hell is it gonna be like after January, when I've diapers to change and a hungry mouth to feed, not to mention umpteen sleepless nights to handle?"
She got to her feet, casting a final look out of the window before returning to her bed to await the return of Sylva and her breakfast.
"I love California." She whispered. "Please, somehow, let me stay here!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"I'm glad you agreed to come with us tonight, Sadie."
Jessica cast her companion a grin, draining the last of her drink and setting it down on the bar. "I didn't want you moping at home in the spare room and besides, with everyone here, you're bound to be safe."
"I didn't want to stop at your house alone." Sadie admitted, taking an unconvincing sip of her own glass of bacardi and then sighing. "I'm sure I'm not great company, mind you. I keep thinking about that letter he pushed under my door."
"You assume that it was him that put it there, and not someone else playing a cruel trick." Jessica observed. Sadie shrugged.
"I don't know." She admitted. "But whoever it was was probably working for Neal anyhow. I know he has contacts in cities like this one, and I'm sure he is here, Jess. I don't know if he left that message on my answer machine just to scare me, like he did the first time, but you know, if he did, it damn well worked."
"That's why I wish you would follow my advice and go to the police." Jessica frowned. "Why is it that drug counsellors are always the worst at taking advice themselves?"
"I dunno. I've always been better at giving advice than taking it." Sadie admitted sheepishly. "You know, this is the first time in a long time I've come out with a group from work. It's actually kinda neat. Things can get so intense at the centre, it's nice to just kick back and relax."
"Yeah, that new kid is gonna be a real problem to sort out." Jessica agreed. "Mouthing off swear words to all and sundry and waving fists at the least thing. God knows why we got stuck with him. At least Tony was on hand at the time and soon put him in his place. I've noticed none of the guys at the centre will mess with Tony."
"Good reason for it, too." Sadie said dryly. "Remember, before he came to us he had charges for assault and ABH as well as petty theft. You don't mess with the guy."
"I know." Jessica agreed. "But it's always amused me about him that no matter how much he'll cry war and raise his fists at a foe, he'll never lay a finger on a girl."
"Nope. He lets Chevonne deal with them, and she does." Sadie responded, smiling. "Which is why they make such a good couple. I really hope it works out for the pair of them. They've both fought hard to get over their drug issues and make good and they've both succeeded, in my mind. I really want things to be good for them from now on."
"I'll drink to that!" Jessica laughed, indicating to the barman to pour her another drink. "Hey, and speaking of happy couples, how's Alyssa these days, and her expanding family?"
"Believe me, her family isn't the only thing expanding." Despite herself, Sadie grinned. "She went to some corporate do the other night with Andrew - you remember, I babysat that night? And she was moaning the whole time how none of her posh dresses would fit her. In the end she had to go out and buy a new one!"
"How long has she?"
"The baby's due in November." Sadie took another sip of her drink. "And apparently it's a boy this time, so the doctors think - she and Andrew are both excited about that, after two girls. Andrew was joking about leaving home if it was another girl - he says it's already bad enough with three females at home plus a sister-in-law who's often in attendance."
"Aw, poor bloke." Jessica giggled. "Your sister's lucky, though. Andrew's a nice guy, isn't he?"
"Yeah, really nice." Sadie agreed. "You know, everyone around me seems to be engaged or married or pregnant or whatever at the moment. It's really beginning to get to me."
"Hey, I'm not engaged, married or pregnant!" Jessica protested. "And come on, Sadie, your sister is five years or more older than you! What do you expect?"
"It's not just her. The girl I chat to in America is expecting a baby in January, and one of her friends is engaged..." Sadie pulled a face. "Plus Cece has some new guy who she seems really hot on, all she talked about last night is that she might be moving in with him if things carry on so well. And as for you, well, you mightn't be engaged or anything, but you have been dating that Gareth guy for the last year. You're not totally innocent."
"Okay, so Gareth and I have been together a while." Jessica conceded. "But it doesn't mean I'm going to marry him." She frowned, taking Sadie's hand in hers. "Listen, Sadie, you're letting this Neal business get to you too much. I'm serious. You're a pretty girl and you get a lot of guys looking your way when you're out like this. You should tell the cops about this jerk, then forget about him and live a little."
"Irene's said things like that." Sadie admitted. "But I don't know, Jess. I guess I'm still a little men shy."
"Well, don't let it take over your life." Jessica advised darkly. "Okay?"
"Yes, Mum." Sadie rolled her eyes. "Hey, watch my drink and my purse, will you? I'm going to the ladies to freshen up a little."
"Don't you need your purse for your makeup?" Jessica eyed her quizzically. Sadie blushed.
"Uh, yeah. Would help." She admitted sheepishly, scooping the bag back up. "I'm sorry, Jess. I'm on planet cuckoo at the moment."
"Nothing new about that, honey." Jessica told her sweetly. "I'll mind your drink, don't worry!"
Sadie flashed the girl a smile, then disappeared into the crowd, heading towards the door marked Ladies. The heat and the smoke of the busy club was beginning to get to her, despite her own smoking habit, and she splashed cool water on her face, carefully drying it and touching up her smudged makeup.
"Jess was right, coming out was a good idea." She mused. "God only knows I needed a break and hanging out with some of the guys from work is fun. Apart from Jess, I don't really know any of them that well. Perhaps she's right. Perhaps they're all right and I do need to live a little, instead of hiding away all the time. After all, this is my life and not his. I have the right to live it whatever way I want to."
She glanced at her reflection in the mirror, casting herself a smile.
"Yep, Sadie, you look fine." She assured the girl staring back at her. "Cece wasn't kidding when she said pink was your colour, that new top looks great on you and you know it, so quit hiding out in the ladies' room and go show off a little!"
The door of the ladies room opened at that moment and a stranger cast her a puzzled glance as she finished her pep talk, for Sadie had spoken out loud and once the stranger had disappeared into one of the cubicles the blond girl burst into laughter.
"They must think I'm insane, or stoned." She decided. "Oh well. I'm certainly not the latter, whatever can be said about the former."
She pushed open the door of the ladies room, humming under her breath as she scanned the crowd for the clearest route back to the bar, where Jessica was talking to one of the other people who worked at the centre.
As she made her way through the busy dancefloor, she was unaware that she was being watched, and, until a strong hand grabbed her around the wrist, pulling her to one side, she had no idea that anything was amiss. She let out a cry of surprise, wheeling on her assailant and her blue eyes filled with utter terror as she did so.
"Neal!" She exclaimed. "Oh no..."
"You thought you'd hide out from me here, did you?" Neal eyed her darkly, his grip on her wrist tightening as he pulled her futher away from the safety of the crowd. "Hanging out here, dressed like a hussy, is that what you intended? Avoid my calls and find some other creep to play with?"
"Let go of me!"
"Not a chance, Sadie." Neal glared at her. "No girl walks out on me, not ever. You know that. Remember Marsha? She tried. She failed. What makes you think you're any different?"
Sadie's stomach lurched as she realised the implications of his words. Somehow she gathered her wits together, taking a futile step back as she did so.
"The police took me away." She whispered. "They sent me here. I didn't leave."
"But you also didn't come back, now did you?" Neal's eyes narrowed till they were almost slits. "I won't play games with you, Sadie. You know too much about me and about what goes on back home. You're not safe to be wandering the streets like this. Who knows who you might tell or what you might tell them? No, that's no good at all."
Sadie just stared at him, heart pumping with terror, unable to speak.
"So the only answer, of course, is that you come with me." Neal did not seem perturbed by the look of fear and loathing in her eyes. "I need you where I can keep a close eye on you. Besides," he leered at her. "You're looking good tonight. Could turn a guy's head dressed up like that, you know."
"I don't want to go anywhere with you!" Now Sadie found her voice, wrenching her hand away from him. "And I'm not some slut you can call on just when you feel like it! I don't need you or want you any more, Neal, so leave me alone!"
She made to flee but Neal was too fast for her, and grabbing her firmly once more he pulled her towards the fire exit, shoving it roughly open and pushing her outside, banging it shut behind them. He pushed her up against the wall and though she struggled, he held her fast.
"You don't talk like that to me." He murmured, leaning close enough for Sadie to smell the alcohol on his breath. "You should know better, Sadie."
"Get off me!" Now the demand was more a plea, as Sadie realised how much danger she was really in. "Please, Neal, let me go! I won't hurt you! I haven't told anyone anything, I promise! Noone knows what I saw...you know, about Marsha. And noone knows anything about what happened in Kent. Noone knows anything about you and your business there, I swear. I just...I just want to be left alone. I won't betray you, I swear I won't. I won't tell anyone! Please, leave me alone!"
"It's too late for that." Neal told her darkly, "And besides, I don't believe you."
He shook her violently, causing her to bang and scuff her elbows against the wall. "Tell me the truth. I want to know who you told about me."
"Nobody." Now Sadie was crying. "Please, Neal, not even my therapist knows. I swear! That's the truth!"
Neal raised an eyebrow.
"Nobody?" He hissed.
"Nobody." Sadie echoed. "Really, Neal. I never told the cops anything and...and I never intended to. I won't. I never told anybody about Marsha, either. Nobody at all. I promised you that I...I wouldn't ever say anything and I haven't. I swear I haven't. Cross my heart."
"And hope to die, perhaps?" Neal seemed to find this funny. "Maybe you are telling me the truth, Sadie, but that doesn't matter now." He pushed his bulk up against, her, the sweet alcohol fumes almost choking her and making her feel sick and dizzy. "Now I've tracked you down, I've no intention of letting a loose end escape. My business is ruthless, and I can't afford to have stragglers or turncoats. You understand me?"
Sadie just swallowed hard, staring at him and struggling to draw breath as he pushed against her ribcage. His grip of her arms almost cut off her circulation, and her thoughts whirled through her head in a terrified arc of colour. Was he going to kill her? Here, now, where noone could help her?
"How did you find me?" She whispered.
"A little bird told me where you lived, and I tracked down your number." Neal grinned at her. "Aren't you proud of me?"
He put a hand to her throat.
"Time to end this." He whispered. "Say your prayers, Sadie, because you're going to hell."
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!