"You don't believe me," she
"I believe you believe what you're saying. That doesn't make it true, Sarah." Cindy stared at Sarah as the two of them sat together on Cindy's bed. "Really, I thought if either one of us was going to go fruit-crackers, it'd be me."
Her two-years-older cousin threw her hands up in exasperation. "I know it doesn't, but how do you explain the similarity between the people I said I met and the cover art on the cd!?"
"Sarah," Cindy replied patiently, "you know you could have just tailored your memory to fit it."
At the implication, Sarah's frown became a scowl. "Don't tell me my memory is faulty. I know what happened. I wished Toby away, Cindy. I wished him away, and Jareth, Jareth the GOBLIN KING came and took him. I didn’t mean it, but it was done, and I had to go through the Labyrinth. And I won. I thought it might have been just a dream or a fantasy…but now…I mean, look at this!" She pointed to the song, the instrumental track bearing her name.
"I don't know what to say, Sarah. It sounds…you know how it sounds. Crazy."
"Well, duh. But come on, Cindy. I wish I could make stuff like this up. I'd be a world famous writer, or do screenplays or something. But I didn't. I swear it, Cuz."
"You can't prove it," she said, shaking her head.
The older brunette smiled. "Oh, can't I?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, you live in Starlight House, with Jerrica Benton, the head of Starlight Music and rumored personal friend of Jareth Trevale."
"Sarah, I wouldn't impose on Jerrica like that!" Cindy shook her head disapprovingly. "She took me in…she's been so kind to me, to all of us here…"
"I want you to believe me," Sarah pleaded. "I want to know I'm not crazy myself."
"Okay," said Cindy. "I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask her. But no promises."
Sarah nodded. "I understand. Thanks, Cindy."
Sarah got up and walked out, not really knowing what to think. Even *she* was having trouble believing herself. No wonder Cindy thought she was crazy. And here she was asking Cindy to basically use the one person who’d been so wonderful and kind to her since her parents had died. God, Sarah, what in hell is wrong with you she thought. But she knew that had been no dream. She knew she had been through the Labyrinth. Jareth was the Goblin King.
As she turned the corner and made her way down the hallway, she was so lost in confusion and worry that she didn’t see Danse.
Danse had stopped outside Cindy’s room when she’d heard Jareth’s name. She’d listened to Sarah with a wry scowl, thinking to herself what an incredible liar the girl must be and pitying Cindy for having such a worthless person for all her family in the world. But she couldn’t have Sarah seeing her eavesdropping, and when the pretty sixteen-year-old emerged, Danse had quickly moved to make herself appear as if she’d only been walking down the hall.
How could Sarah expect anyone to believe that crazyness? How could Cindy believe it? And yet…and yet nothing. Jareth was just some guy, a very handsome and interesting and mysterious guy, but just a guy, as all men turned out to be. Shrugging it off, Danse walked on to the practice room, where the Holograms were supposed to be working.
Instead of playing music, Kimber Benton was jumping up and down excitedly, waving a magazine. It was _Cool Trash_. "Can you believe she did that?" she shrieked. "That's so horrible!"
"But at least Jareth's pressing charges," Aja said.
"Serves them right," Raya agreeed, giving her drumsticks a twirl. She was itching to practice, obviously, and so was Shana, but Aja and Kimber were fascinated, and now that Danse had entered the room, they were dying to spread the gossip.
Danse knew she had to ask them. "What's going on?"
"Here." Kimber tossed her the magazine.
"I can't believe you are all reading that garbage. Danse, don't help them."
Shana was nobly trying to get her to take the high road, but Aja stuck out her tongue good-naturedly. "Don't listen to her. Life is short. Indulge."
Danse looked at the cover of Cool Trash. MINX TALKS! The cover proclaimed. DIRTY SECRETS! OUTRAGEOUS TALES! Danse shook her head, and opened the magazine. Her mouth dropped open. "Jareth?" she cried.
"Minx and Techrat broke into Underground Music, and said they saw monsters," Kimber supplied happily.
"And Jareth will be pressing charges," Raya said with relish. "He's going to get those rats."
"They saw monsters?" Danse's eyes were still scanning the page. Sarah's story was true...or was it? What did this mean? That whole camp of musicians were nothing but trouble…but was Minx such a bad liar?
The dancer was going to find out who Jareth Trevale was if it killed her.
Jareth slammed down the phone, unable to
stop himself. He felt just a twinge of pity for the lawyer he'd
hung up on, but he was still furious. He'd been furious for
nearly twenty-four hours. The sanctity of his home had been
violated. Nothing like this had ever happened to him when he was
king! And if they'd tried it, they would have gone head-first
into the Bog of Eternal Stench--not that he wouldn't like to give
that computer boy and snotty singer a good dunking apiece.
But no. He'd given up being the Goblin King, and that meant dipping his antagonists in the bog was right out. He sat down and picked up the phone again, and dialed the number of Starlight Music.
"Hello?" Jerrica leaned back in her chair, phone to her ear.
"Hello, Ms. Benton. How are you?"
"I think the question is how are you? I've…I've seen the papers."
He sighed. "Doing as well as can be expected. But I am much better, hearing a kind voice..."
She was smiling on the other end. "Thank you. Well, you called me, Mr. Trevale," she said, with a little touch of pleasure at pointing this out. "What would you like to discuss?"
"It's Jareth, Ms. Benton."
"Then it's Jerrica, Mr. Trevale."
"Very well, Jerrica. I want to discuss a diversion."
Jerrica rocked back in her chair. She needed to stop and think. Did she really feel something for Jareth, or was it just her crazy heart searching for a foothold? But Jerrica firmly believed that sometimes, you just have to go with what you wanted. She glanced around. A diversion…something innocent, something to bring her closer to him, without getting Rio's suspicions geared up. Her eyes finally fell on a picture of her with the Starlight girls on the desk. What was it Cindy had been saying? They wanted to meet Jareth? Hadn’t she been planning on taking them? She nodded once. "I know just the thing…"
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