A Model's Tale

Chapter Seven: Enter The Dancers

"Okay, so this is it, then? This is the big television set we're billed to work on for the next few weeks?" As the dancers entered the studio, led by Danse, one of the group of girls paused to assess her surroundings, a thoughtful look on her face. "Well, Giselle, I'll give you this much...you done good getting this gig. It's big."
Danse turned, casting her companion a smile.
"Yes...it is." she agreed. "Listen, Eboni, you're gonna play this by the book, right? I mean, you're an old friend of mine and I'm not going to let an old friend struggle but there's gotta be no wild stunts, all right?"
"Hey, I'm not a kid any more! Relax!" The girl referred to as Eboni laughed, tucking a strand of dark hair behind her ear. "I'm not gonna blow this chance, Ellie. Trust me. I need this gig too much, and I need the exposure. You know only too well that things ain't been so hot for me since you know who screwed me over."
"Yeah, I know." Danse paused. "That's partly why I'm doing this for you. You always helped me out back when we were younger, if I ever needed a place to go...so I felt I owed you one. Only..." She glanced around her, lowering her voice. "Eb, I do worry about you and some of the things you got messed up in." She murmured. "You gotta get yourself straightened out and that's another reason I decided to get you in on this job. I want to help you get your life together."
"I don't have a life these days." Eboni retorted.
"You do. That's just you being defeatist." Danse scolded. "Pull yourself together and show me a bit of the old Eboni charm, huh? I hardly know you any more!"
"Well, I can understand why you'd not want to be seen dead with me." Eboni laughed dryly. "I must have more blots on my copybook than most people, you know? Talk about life's big screw up." She paused. "I really do appreciate you coming through for me like this, Ellie." She said sincerely. "Means a lot to know there's someone who cares."
"Well, I do." Danse responded. "I don't abandon friendships, Eboni, even if the friend has gone astray. I know you've been hurt, but still...time to put that behind you and move on."
"I know. I guess you're right." Eboni shrugged. "Well, this is a start, anyway. What's the deal? I mean, what do we do? Do we go meet up with someone or what?"
"I'm going to catch up with Jem and the others. If you wanna come with me you can, and I'll introduce you." Danse replied. "Just play it nice, all right?"
"Nice? Okay, got it." Eboni grinned. "Wow, long time since I've been nice...think I can pull it off?"
Danse laughed.
"You better, or we'll both be out of a job." she said with a grin. "I wonder where they are...hey Video! You seen Jem?"
"They're with Lin-Z at the moment, I think." Vivien Montgomery, the mastermind behind the Holograms' videos joined Danse with a grin. She cast Eboni a curious look. "Who's this?"
"This is Eboni - she's a dancer, like me, we go way back." Danse explained. "Eboni, this is Vivien Montgomery, Video. She does the music vids for Jem and the Holograms, along with Anthony Julian...I believe you've worked with him on something else?"
"A long time ago." Eboni nodded. "Back when he was just starting out filming and I was a real rookie dancer." She offered Video a smile. "Nice to meet ya."
"You too." Video was nothing if not polite, but there was something in Eboni's striking appearance that indicated danger. She indicated across the set. "Hey, if you guys wanna come with me I think they're just finishing off over there."
"Sure, I guess we could come and hang around." Danse grinned. "Eb, you coming?"
"I'll catch you up. I wanna explore this set a bit, if that's okay. Get the feel of the place." Eboni responded. "That okay?"
"Fine. I'll see you in a while then." Danse nodded. "Don't get yourself lost, okay?"
"I can take care of myself." Eboni winked. "Later, Ellie."
"Ellie?" Video cast Danse a confused glance once Eboni had gone. Danse rolled her eyes.
"She always called me that. Short for Giselle." She responded. "We went to dance school together...we were roommates, actually."
"Really? I guess that explains how you know her." Video observed. "I dunno, Danse, she seems kinda...well...scary to me."
"She's all right, Video, really." Danse cast a glance across the studio in the direction her friend had gone. "She's just been very badly hurt, that's all. She made a silly mistake, married young...and it didn't last. I'm not sure exactly of the specific details, she wouldn't even tell me his name, but as far as I understand it when Eb did fall properly in love, this husband of hers wouldn't give her a divorce, and so she lost out again. She's kinda bitter and ironic these days...but I dunno. I want to help her get her career back together...she's gotten so off track in recent years."
"That's sad." Video frowned. "She's lucky she has you as a friend."
"Well, I hope so. She's in things pretty deep." Danse paused. "Video, if I tell you something do you swear to keep it to yourself?"
"I promise." Video nodded. "What is it?"
"Well, I sometimes wonder if she's wound up in drugs. Sometimes...well, things she says...I wonder."
"Oh!" Video looked shocked. Then, "Have you asked her?"
"Don't like to. Don't wanna seem like I'm picking on her when she's down." Danse sighed. "It's difficult, you know? One minute she's depressed, the next she's shrugging the world off her shoulders. She's always been that way, and sometimes it makes her hard to figure out."
"Maybe doing this will give her some confidence to get her life back on track then." Video suggested. Danse shrugged.
"I hope so. I really hope so." she agreed. "She's one heck of a good dancer, Video...but you're right about her confidence. It's all an act." She sighed. "Thanks for keeping this quiet, by the way. I needed to talk to someone about her so I could get someone else's point of view - if you spot her doing anything she, well, shouldn't be...let me know, huh?"
"Sure. I know you wanna protect her, and she should appreciate it." Video grinned. "Hey, looks like Lin-Z's done with Jem...now we can find out exactly what she wants us to do!"

Across the far side of the set, the Misfits' lead singer was also greeting the band's own own film production team. Although the show would be going out live, there was plenty to do regarding stage and display, and as a result Pizzazz had decided, most reluctantly, that it would be necessary to involve Chimera and Sakura in the show.
Chimera, or Suzanne Mayor was a young artist who revelled in the freedom working with film and colour gave her. At just twenty-one her ability far outweighed her years, and she was tipped as one of the hottest young talents around. She had picked up an award for her last Misfit video, a stunt which had shot the song to the top of the American charts, so, despite her personal dislike of the girl, Pizzazz had seen the need to keep her on their side.
Sakura, Chimera's closest ally was the technical one of the two. While Chimera dreamed and designed, Sakura connected the circuits or programmed the lights to follow her companion's instructions. They were opposites in character, for Chimera was confident and sparky, whilst Sakura was shy and eager to please, but they had been best friends a long time.
"So what's the deal, then?" Chimera perched herself on the stage, swinging her legs idly. "What am I here to do? I mean, are we running a set for a Misfit video, or are Sakura and I here just to be chivvied into stage design, huh?"
"You'll do what you're paid to do." Having observed Kimber and Shawn's touching make-up scene, Pizzazz was not in the best of moods. "I havent decided yet whether we're gonna shoot a video here - maybe. We got a lot to do before the show, mind...and the stage needs somethin' doing to it. That's your job."
"What kinda thing you wanting?" Chimera asked.
"You're s'posed to be an artist. Design something." Pizzazz snapped. "You know the song, right?"
"Yeah, yeah. Everyone and his dog knows it." Chimera rolled her eyes. "You couldn't have written a new song, I suppose that would be too much work?"
"Stop being cheeky." Pizzazz retorted. "You're hardly out of school and you think you know how to run a musical career! For your information, smart mouth, we just got back off tour the day before yesterday and there hasn't been any time for Stormer to write anything. Okay?"
"Fine, suit yourself." Chimera shrugged. "Tisn't my problem if you mess up your big live appearance. Kura and I work for a flat fee, after all." She glanced around. "You seen Sakura?"
"It's not my job to keep tabs on your puppydog." Pizzazz was dismissive. Chimera scowled.
"You leave her alone. She does her bit." She snapped. "I'll see you later...don't break too many mirrors with that face, will ya?"
And with that she was gone.
Pizzazz flounced across the stage to the far side, flinging herself down into a chair. Across the set her bandmates observed her mood and kept a safe distance.
"Looks like she's on the warpath again." Roxy observed dryly to Stormer, who nodded her head.
"I guess she's sore that things didnt work out breaking up Shawn and Kimber." she agreed. "Hey...Roxy, who's that girl, over there?"
"What girl?" Roxy squinted.
"The one with the black hair."
"Jetta?" Roxy demanded. "I don't see her!"
"No, not Jetta. Look, there!" Stormer pointed. "I've never seen her before, have you? You think she's one of Pizzazz's hirees, or something to do with Jem?"
"She doesn't look like the kind of girl who'd hang out with Jem." Roxy snorted. "Maybe we should go and introduce ourselves, huh? She looks like she might be kinda fun."
"Well, okay." Stormer nodded, slipping off the stage. "Till Pizzazz cools down it's probably best we don't have a runthrough, anyway."
"I'm in no rush to do any work." Roxy smirked. "C'mon, quit lagging! We ain't got all day."
Eboni had paused outside the back of the studio, lighting a cigarette and sitting herself down on the cold hard concrete to consider things. It had touched her when Giselle had asked her to come and work on the television set. Eboni was proud and would never ask for money, but somehow her old friend knew things were pretty desperate in the girl's bank account. She hadn't had many legit dancing jobs in recent years, and subsidising what she did earn with other less straight forward lines of work had left her with very few illusions about the world she lived in. Life revolved around money, and if you didn't have it, you didn't survive.
Of course, if she was totally honest with herself, she knew all too well that she'd be able to make ends meet better if she gave up the many vices that got her from one day to the next. She had smoked ever since she was a young girl of sixteen, and had pigheadedly refused to give it up, despite Giselle's wheedling throughout school and the years that had followed. These days, however, she was dependant on more than just the cigarette. She knew she drank too much, though she fell shy of labelling herself alcoholic, and she had dabbled in various other things since she had lost out in love. Her marriage still held good and was legally binding...without a divorce she had had no way of leaving America to go with her French lover abroad, and he was equally unable to stay, so she had lost him. It had had a marked effect on an already troubled and emotional character, for love had never come easy to Eboni. She had been abused by her stepfather from the age of nine, which had left her wary of men and had cheapened her opinion of herself. Her marriage had been a desperate attempt to flee the hell of her homelife and it had ended almost as soon as the vows had been exchanged, for they had been young and irresponsible. Afraid of the public scandal, he had refused her her request for divorce, and she was bitter in consequence.
She glanced up as the two Misfits approached her, taking in their appearances with a thoughtful look. She was enough up on the showbiz scene to know who both the girls were, but what they wanted with her she didn't know.
"To what do I owe this pleasure?" she asked, lazily flicking ash from her cigarette. "Roxy and Stormer of the Misfits, unless I'm much mistaken."
"Well, you got taste." Roxy looked impressed. "Though anyone knows who we are. Who are you?"
"Eboni." Eboni responded.
"Are you working on set for Jem?" Stormer asked shyly. Eboni nodded.
"Apparently. I'm a friend of Giselle Dvorak's...she got me this gig. I haven't met Jem yet."
"Oh, Jem's a bore." Roxy rolled her eyes. "Too good to live, I swear."
"Giselle who?" Stormer's eyes were bright with curiosity.
"Who cares!" Roxy exclaimed. She sent Eboni a grin. "You sure don't look like a friend of a Hologram."
"Well, to be honest I've not met any of them yet, either." Eboni admitted. "You guys work with them, what's the deal? Ellie only ever has good to say about them."
"Well, whoever this Ellie is, she's cracked." Roxy settled down beside the dancer, indicating for Stormer to do the same.
Eboni took a drag on her cigarette, eying Roxy thoughtfully.
"Well, I've never known her to be a bad judge of character yet." she observed. "Can I ask something?"
"Sure." Stormer nodded.
"Why are bigtime celebs like you girls out here with a down and out dancer like me, huh?"
"Well, you looked bored...and you looked like you could do with some fun." Roxy shrugged. "How'd you like to help us mess the Holograms a little? Nothing serious, just they're up to run through their song in a little while and, well, who wants to hear that racket?"
"I...shouldn't." Eboni looked doubtful. "This job is a big deal and I can't afford to lose it. Need the money...too many debts."
"Hey, if you mess them about a bit Pizzazz might snap out of her sulk. She's got loads of money...I'm sure she'd be only too happy to help you out, if you helped us." Roxy shrugged. "Since you're gonna be working with Jem and co on this set, you'll be perfectly placed to cause a little mischief."
Eboni looked startled. A pang of guilt flashed through her as she remembered her promise to Danse, but the memory of her drug debts hung heavy over her, and slowly she nodded.
"Well...maybe." she conceded. Roxy grinned.
"Cool." she observed. "Hey, you comin' in? It's boring out here, no press, no cameras, nothin', and Stormer an' I got an interview with Lin-Z this afternoon."
"We do?" Stormer looked startled.
"Well, we'll make one." Roxy shrugged. "I heard Pizzazz say something about Lin-Z interviewing Jem - gotta get a word from the Misfits too y'know."
"Oh I see." Stormer looked amused. "Where's Jetta, then? We can't do an interview without all four of us."
"Who cares where she is? We don't need her." Roxy shrugged. "Eboni, you coming? Pizzazz is inside."
"Sure, let me just put this thing out." Eboni nodded, getting to her feet and trailing the two Misfits back into the building. "I must say I..." She trailed off, her expression changing as she caught sight of someone across the floor. She cursed.
"I don't believe it!" she muttered. "Of all places!"
"Is something wrong, Eboni?" Stormer looked concerned. Eboni's green eyes narrowed.
"Just slightly." she responded darkly. "That guy over there..."
"What guy?" Roxy squinted. "Oh, you mean Shawn? What about him? He's just some wimpy guy who hangs round the Holograms. He's dating Kimber...guy has no taste."
"Oh he is, is he?" Anger sparked into the dancer's eyes. "Dating Kimber? Hm. I must meet this Kimber girl..."
"What's the deal?" Roxy demanded. "Hey, you and Shawn have some kinda unfinished business or something?"
"Me and half the women in America, damn him." Eboni cursed again. "Only I have more claim to be annoyed with him than most."
Stormer and Roxy exchanged looks.
"How d'you mean?" Stormer asked.
"He's my goddamn husband, that's how." Eboni snapped. "Not that he seems to remember that little fact most of the time."
"What?" Roxy's eyes opened wide. Then, "Wait a minute, girl, you're serious? You're married to Shawn Harrison? No kidding?"
"I wish I was. That guy ruined my life, what's left of it." Eboni scowled. "That's it, I'm outta here. I'm not sticking about to be belittled and humiliated by him again. My self-esteem can't take it."
"No, wait a minute." Roxy looked thoughtful. "I got me an idea here. How about you hang on a while and trash li'l miss goody two shoes Kimber and her date, huh? I'm sure Pizzazz would just love to meet you."
Eboni hesitated a moment, then her anger got the better of her and she nodded.
"Fine." she agreed. "Whatever. Let's just get it over with, huh?"

Chapter One: Meredith
Chapter Two: On Set
Chapter Three: The Misfits
Chapter Four: Old Rivals
Chapter Five: Kimber
Chapter Six: Saffron's Story
Chapter Seven: Enter The Dancers
Chapter Eight: Blast From The Past
Chapter Nine: Kimber and Eboni
Chapter Ten: Visit From The Backers
Chapter Eleven: Chimera's Secret
Chapter Twelve: Danse Takes A Hand
Chapter Thirteen: Decisions
Chapter Fourteen: Saffron's Advice
Chapter Fifteen: Closure


(The Misfits and Holograms and other animated Jem characters are copyrighted to Hasbro Inc. Eboni, Saffron, Chimera, Sakura and all other characters who do not appear in Jem episodes are my own creation. This story is copyrighted to E.A Woolley (2001)