Chapter Three : A New Sensation
"I'm dying." Sylva groaned, throwing herself down in a chair and pulling
a face. "I'm so tired I swear I could fall asleep here and now. How many times
did we have to play that song this afternoon? Not to mention the fact that
we were playing live in Cardiff last night and we travelled all the way here
at six o clock this morning! It's inhuman!"
"Quit moaning, we're all feeling it." Nancy told her unsympathetically, brushing out her long yellow-streaked black hair and pulling it up into it's habitual ponytail. "And I guess it will be worth it, if it means Jewel have a hit here in the UK."
"Well, I still say it sucks." Sylva replied darkly, reaching for her kohl pencil and touching up her eyeliner till it was perfect.
"We've had no time to go out and enjoy ourselves, not really. I thought this business was meant to be fun?"
"It is fun. It's hectic, but think of all the new things we're seeing." Copper pointed out. "We've been to Wales now...we couldn't
say that before. And tonight we're going to play Top of the Pops live...that's something else we can treasure."
"Any group who is anyone plays Top of the Pops when they're in England." Topaz decided. "That's what Cameron said when I
texted him to tell him we were playing. He's promised to record it."
"Isn't love great." Nancy grinned. "Though I don't suppose many guys can videotape the love of their life to watch later."
"You'd be surprised." Despite herself, an impish look entered Sylva's blue eyes. Topaz swiped her playfully.
"Leave it out." She instructed. "We've a big performance tonight and I don't want to screw up the lyric just because you were making smutty comments backstage, okay?"
"Who said anything about being smutty?" Sylva opened her eyes wide. Copper groaned.
"You're bad as each other." She decided.
"What did I do?" Topaz looked startled. Nancy grinned.
"I think Copper's missing Aaron." She teased. Copper blushed.
"Maybe some." She acknowledged. "I did think since he began working for Misfit Music that Phyllis would spare him or even Cynthia to come on tour with us. But its okay, I'll call him later. I did promise I would call him after the show tonight."
"Speaking of which, we probably ought to get out there." Topaz observed. "It's seven fifteen and it goes on air at seven thirty...aren't we the first act?"
"Yeah, because we're not a chart act...yet." Sylva nodded. "Okay, I'm ready...how do I look?"
"Much the same as ever." Nancy intoned dryly. "But don't worry, Syl. They have surgery to fix that stuff."
"I'll kill you later." Sylva told her companion darkly. "For now I have more important things to do."
When the girls got out on set they found the atmosphere very different to that of the empty studio they had rehearsed in earlier. Where there had been vast empty areas of floor there were now what seemed like thousands of people, some young, some old, all dressed up for a fun night out and all buzzing with the excitement of the show to come. Despite herself, Nancy swallowed hard.
"I really don't feel too good." She murmured.
"C'mon, Nance, we've played bigger venues than this." Sylva cast her a scornful look. "You gonna be a wimp? It's just another TV show, like Dean's or Connie's back in LA. What's the difference?"
"There the crowd are back in seats away from the stage itself." Nancy responded. "Here they're all over the place."
"It'll be fine when we've begun playing." Copper squeezed her friend's arm reassuringly. "I know playing in Britain is a big deal for you because of your heritage, Nance, but Syl's right, we have played bigger and survived. We did the Milennium Stadium last night, don't forget."
"Somehow it's scarier with a smaller and more personal audience." Nancy sighed, fidgeting with her guitar strap as she took her place on the stage, carefully checking to make sure all of her instrument's amp leads were plugged in right. Not long before the tour she had been a victim of someone sabotaging her cables, and so now she had begun to carefully check her own every time she played. "I wish they'd hurry up and announce us. I want to get this over with."
As she spoke, the sound of the programme's upbeat theme echoed around the hall amid cheers and whistles and the cameras focused in on the presenter, a young woman in her late twenties with her hair cut in the latest fashion and a cheeky grin on her face.
"Hi, and welcome to another edition of Top of the Pops! Tonight we've hit songs from NRG and Toadstool, the brand new video from the Teenangel Outsiders and of course, the current number one single in the UK. But first, this group have drummed up a storm in the United States, playing sellout concerts around America and Canada, notching up two US number ones and two successful albums...with a special Top of the Pops preview of their UK debut single, this is Jewel!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Well, another performance over."
Topaz observed, carefully removing her eyeshadow then squinting at her reflection to make sure no trace of her makeup remained. "We can go back and say we've played Top of the Pops now."
"And everyone can stare at us and say 'you what?" Sylva muttered, pulling off her boots and rubbing her ankles. "I never knew standing about on stage could hurt your feet so much."
"Price you pay for getting a size too small." Nancy smirked. Sylva pouted.
"Well, they'd sold out of my size and they were too cute not to buy." She defended herself. "Especially since they were in the sale. They were seventy five bucks originally but I got 'em for $50. Not bad, huh?"
"Syl, you're the only person I know who's happy to pay $50 to have her feet mangled." Nancy rolled her eyes. She glanced at Copper. "Aren't you done on the phone yet? Mom's sending the car round the back in case of trouble since the place was so busy, and we'll be going soon."
"Hang on." Copper covered the mouthpiece, then, "I'm talking to Aaron."
"Long distance?" Nancy whistled. "Who's paying? You or him?"
"Me." Copper responded. "It's all right. He called me last night."
Nancy groaned, rolling her eyes.
"True love." She murmured. "Great."
"Hmm." Sylva cast Nancy a searching look. "Come to think of it, Dean hasn't called you since we came away."
"No, he hasn't." Nancy shook her head. "I told him not to, because I couldn't guarantee where I'd be to take the call at any time, and I was worried he'd mix up time zones and call at a crazy time. I have enough trouble figuring them out myself." She frowned. "And of course, he has a lot of work on. Like we do."
"You wish he'd call you, huh?" Topaz asked her gently. Nancy grimaced.
"That's the trouble with this whole relationship deal." She decided. "I know what I mean before I leave America, and I make him promise to it, and of course, he does...and then I get out here..."
"And you miss him." Sylva finished. "Well, duh."
"Last time I was in England bad stuff happened." Nancy said slowly. "I was kidnapped by a mad uncle and Mom and I almost got killed into the bargain. This time, I wanted to enjoy it, seeing this half of my heritage, you know?" She sighed. "But I'm kinda homesick for LA in a way I never have been before."
"More like Deansick." Sylva snorted. "How the mighty have fallen."
"Syl, don't tease her." Copper chided, switching off her phone at that moment and slipping it into her purse. "This is Nancy's first big relationship and I think it's cool she misses Dean. I miss Aaron too, you know."
"I'm damn used to missing Cameron." Topaz rolled her eyes. "But Copper's right. First love is kinda special."
"Oh shut up talking about me like I'm not in the room." Nancy groaned. "I'm tired already, I don't need the sweet sympathetic remarks. It's cool. If I miss him that bad tomorrow I'll call him from whatever hotel we wind up staying in. Okay?"
"You girls ready to roll?" At that moment Jetta poked her head around the door.
"Yep, more or less." Topaz nodded. "It was pretty cool out there...we've not done a show like that before."
"Nope, it was a new experience for you all." Jetta agreed. "I remember the first time the Misfits played Top of the Pops...it were a real buzz, playin' a show I'd watched as a kid."
"Do you think we went down okay?" Copper looked anxious.
"I think you did all right." Jetta nodded. "We ain't into miracle workin', Copper. Listen. You girls are used to bein' the top dogs of Misfit Music, with top ten 'its in America an' Canada. An' it's well known in the music business that the American chart is one of the 'ardest to crack in the world - but then, you 'ave the advantage there of bein' somewhat 'ome grown. This is different. The UK ain't like America, tastes are different, the whole attitude of the people is different. I think Jewel did good to consolidate on what they've already done...I don't think you girls can sit back an' reflect on it all just yet though. It's good...it ain't perfect yet. We're lookin' at a single release in a very short space of time from now an' we're lookin' at it goin' top twenty at least. Any lower than that an' you might as well not 'ave bothered tonight, because people ain't gonna remember some foreign act that got to number thirty somethin' then vanished into oblivion. Okay?"
"Great." Sylva grimaced. "So you mean even after all the work we've done, we're still not guaranteed a hit?"
"I thought you knew by now, Sylva, that there ain't nothin' guaranteed in this business." Jetta told her dryly. "It ain't all parties an' beaches an' lookin' good for the camera you know."
"I don't think Syl's into work." Nancy grinned. "Though it has been a hard week, Mom."
"'Ard on me too, remember." Jetta frowned. "Arrangin' all your engagements so they don't clash an' makin' sure every opportunity to promote you four is realised."
"Shoulda brought Phyllis with you." Topaz smiled. "I don't know if many people would say no to her."
"Mm...no." Jetta raised a drole smile. "That's pretty much been 'ow she's been the whole time I've known 'er. But someone 'as to run things in LA an' she always sees it as better I go to England when it's necessary, though if you ask me it's only because she ain't sure which side of the road to drive on yet." She glanced at her watch. "'Ere, you girls comin'?" It's almost 'alf eight already!"
"What now?" Copper asked, scooping up her sticks.
"I'm takin' you girls to dinner at a restaurant I know nearby." Jetta told her.
"Food?" Sylva's eyes lit up. "Why didn't you say so before! I'm ravenous!"
"What else is new." Topaz giggled. "Come on. I think we deserve a nice meal, don't you?"
As they headed out the back of the studio to the waiting car, they were accosted by a young man in his early twenties and with a shriek Topaz recognised Cameron.
"What are you doing here? And how did you find me?" She demanded, her eyes big with disbelief. "Jetta had the car run round the back to avoid the crowds leaving."
"Well, I couldn't get in to see you girls play, because I 'ad to work, though I set the dvd player to record before I left 'ome." Cameron winked at her. "But I knocked off at eight an' I thought I'd come by an' see if you were still around. Don't forget, I live in London...you learn these things."
Jetta raised an eyebrow.
"I ought to 'ave security on you." She told Cameron, her tone teasing. "Stalkin' my girls like this."
"Sorry, Aunt Sheila." Cameron's eyes twinkled. "Can I take Rora away for a bit, or do I 'ave to grovel?"
"Be my guest." Jetta smiled. "She knows where she's stayin' and she's a big girl now. Me only requests are not too late an' not too drunk back at the 'otel. We 'ave to go to Manchester tomorrow mornin' and I don't like travellin' with 'ungover musicians."
Topaz flushed red at this, but Cameron laughed.
"I promise." He said good-naturedly. Then he turned to the singer. "Well? Can I take you for dinner?"
"Sure." Topaz nodded, recovering her composure. "That'd be nice. We have a lot to talk about."
"Well, I guess it's cheaper buyin' three of you dinner." Jetta sounded amused as she watched the two head off into the darkness.
"Not with the amount Syl eats." Nancy intoned dryly.
"Shut up." Sylva poked out her tongue. "I have a healthy appetite, that's all. It could be worse, I could be forever fussing about my figure or my weight."
"You gotta give her that, Nance, Syl doesn't obsess about her weight." Copper grinned as they got into the back of the car.
"No...just her hair and her nails and whether or not her lipstick is the right shade for this month's look..." Nancy groaned. "I'm amazed no cosmetics company has asked her to star in their commercials yet...she uses enough of the stuff."
"You don't use enough." Sylva responded. "Praps you need to."
"Something wrong with the way I look?" Nancy demanded.
Sylva opened her mouth to retort, then caught Jetta's eye and thought better of it. It was no secret that Jetta and Nancy bore a strong resemblance to each other, and she did not want to be taking on both manager and bandmate. Copper grinned.
"It's nice to just get a meal and relax." She observed. "I wonder where Cameron and Topaz will end up?"
Chapter One: Jewel In England
Chapter Two: Lovesick
Chapter Three: A New Sensation
Chapter Four: Cameron
Chapter Five: Sadie Gets A Warning
Chapter Six: A Little Love Advice
Chapter Seven: Topaz Makes A Friend
Chapter Eight: At The Halfway House
Chapter Nine: A Shock For Sadie
Chapter Ten: A Family Encounter
Chapter Eleven: Copper Gets A Fan
Chapter Twelve: A Burns Family Secret
Chapter Thirteen: Thicker Than Water
Chapter Fourteen: A Phonecall