It was dark.
Sleepily Copper turned over in bed, blinking at the display on her clock
radio as she ascertained the time. Half one...she'd barely been in bed an
hour. Once Sadie had returned from Jetta's room, they had discussed the
way to tackle the press conference in some detail, and had agreed uniformly
not to let the press find out the scandal had been as big a shock to the
rest of them as it had to the nation as a whole. They had resolved to take
an early night, for it would not do to be bleary and unprepared when such
an important engagement loomed, and with their busy schedule they had been
quick to fall asleep.
"So what woke me?" Copper wondered, sitting up in bed and frowning.
"I heard something, but what? It sounded like a door - I wonder if one
of the others is up."
Reaching for her dressing gown, she got out of bed quietly, sliding
her slippers onto her feet and padding to the door, opening it softly so
as not to disturb anyone in the rooms next door from their slumbers.
At first she could see noone, though the light was clearly on in the
suite's main sitting area, and with a frown Copper headed to turn it off,
stopping dead as she heard a gasp and turning to meet Sadie's startled gaze.
"You scared the life out of me!" The English girl exclaimed.
"Likewise." Copper looked rueful. "Couldn't sleep?"
"Mmm..." Sadie nodded. "Kinda."
"Want coffee or something? While I'm up I fancy a drink." She suggested.
Sadie nodded again.
"Please. That'd be great." She shivered involuntarily. "It's cold out."
"Out?" Copper looked surprised, registering for the first time that
her companion was not only still dressed, but had her boots on.
"I went for a walk." Sadie blushed. "I needed to settle some things
alone, you know, clear my head and get some closure."
"You'll be tired tomorrow."
"Well, I wasn't going to go to sleep." Sadie shrugged. "I'm too wound
up." She took her wrap off her shoulders, hanging it up on the hook and
as she did so Copper let out an exclamation.
"Huh?" Sadie looked startled, then she frowned. "Oh it's nothing, Copper.
Really, just a scratch."
"Let me see." Copper set down the coffee pot, but Sadie shook her head.
"No, Copper, please don't fuss. I'm fine, it's just a little cut."
"It's not a little cut if you're bleeding all over the place." Copper
scolded. Sadie sighed.
"All right,all right." she said finally, holding out her arm with some
reluctance. "But it's no big deal."
Copper came to join her friend, examining the arm gently.
"Did you get scratched by a cat or something?" She demanded. Sadie shook
her head, her cheeks turning pink as she did so.
"Like I said, it's not important." She murmured. Something in her tone
alerted Copper's suspicions and she eyed her friend sharply.
"Who did this to you?" She asked softly.
"Sadie, your arms are all bruised and you're bleeding like anything.
They're not cat claws, they look like human nails digging in...did someone
attack you while you were out?"
"Did you go to see Neal?"
"Copper, please leave it. I went, I cleared my head, I settled things
and I came back. It's over with now...please let it go." Sadie said wearily.
"I'll go clean up my arm and put some cream on it, it'll be fine by the morning
and I'll wear long sleeves so noone sees. It's not a big deal."
"Well, if you're sure." She said finally, returning to the coffee pot.
"I'll trust you. But Sadie, don't go there again."
"There is nothing to go back for. It's over." Sadie shrugged.. "It didn't
take me long to realise that, anyway. I'm not the same as I was when I left
and it was dumb even to go. I did what I had to do and I've put it behind
me now." She smiled slightly. "Tomorrow Sadie Monahue fixes things properly
and forgets her old life for good."
"Amen to that." Copper smiled. "And I think the coffee's done. Grab
a mug or two, will you? Maybe we can toast your bright future as a Jewel!"