It Must've Been Love

Chapter Thirteen: Stefana Again

"Ladies and Gentlemen, let's hear it for the fabulous Jewel!"
Amid resounding applause and several wolf-whistles, Topaz stepped down off the dais, leading the band backstage and out of the spotlight once more. For the first time in her musical career she had hated every minute of performing, hated the public's attention and interest in what they did and where they went. Connie had been generous and had spared many of the leading questions she could have asked about the tabloid story, but it had been her duty to the viewing public to at least mention it, and all in all the group were glad to be offstage.
Jetta met them behind the scenes, her expression one of mild disapproval.
"Well." She said, pursing her lips up thoughtfully as she surveyed them. "I think some people 'ave been spendin' too long out celebratin' the season an' not practicin' their music."
"What do you mean, Mom?" Nancy looked startled. "We did okay out there, the crowd liked it."
"Okay, not brilliant. Liked, not loved." Jetta responded pointedly. "It weren't the worst I've ever 'eard, but it were damn complacent for a band who're contestin' the Christmas number one an' who're playin' live on television on Christmas eve to a predicted audience of millions."
"I'm not feeling brilliant, Jetta. I'm sorry." Topaz sighed. "It's been a rough day or two, with the tabloids, and I'm not feeling myself today. I'll sing better on Christmas eve. I promise."
"You better." Jetta looked thoughtful. "Listen, love. Scandal sheets are nothin' if you don't let 'em drag you down. Okay? Remember it. Now scoot. Your car's waitin' an' you 'ave to change yet."
The girls scooted, all privately glad that the shrewd executive had not pressed the point. They slipped into the dressing room with some relief.
"Thank God that's done. I felt awful out there, like everyone was staring at me and knowing what I'd done." Topaz groaned, grabbing her hairband and pulling her golden hair back into a ponytail.
"Paranoid." Nancy remarked.
"Guilty consciences usually are." Topaz sighed. "It's no good, you guys. I have to tell him the truth."
"You sure you should?" Copper paused, meeting her friend's gaze with a concerned one of her own. "I mean, I'm all for honesty, but the poor guy is going to be shattered."
"I know." Topaz admitted. "But we were broken up. Technically I didn't cheat on him."
"Topaz, you slept with another guy." Nancy pointed out. "Whether you were broken up with Cameron or not, it's gonna hurt. I mean, if Dean did it to me..." She shivered, not liking the thought.
"Nancy, shut your big mouth." Sylva ordered. "It's not helping. We don't need the hermit's guide to the world of love, okay? Pipe down. This is a grown up problem."
"Can it, both of you. I'm tired." Topaz rubbed her temples. "I need an aspirin and bed."
"What exactly did you say to him on the phone earlier?" Nancy wondered.
"I told him I was sorry too that I yelled at him, but that I was feeling like crap and really hungover, and that could I call him tomorrow, when I was feeling more rational?" Topaz replied. "He was remarkably understanding. I told him about Connie's show, anyhow, and the car coming, and I think in a way he was relieved that we didn't have to talk the whole thing out again. I just wasn't ready to settle it with him there and then, you know? I need a day to think things through. I mean, how do you tell the guy you love that you got drunk and slept with someone else, huh?" She groaned. "I guess I'll think of something. This winter break has been one nightmare after another."
"Tell me about it." Sylva rolled her eyes, meeting her friend's gaze with a meaningful one of her own. Topaz nodded.
"Well...maybe it'll get better." She sighed. "It's our party soon...that should help lift the mood. Right?"
Deep in conversation, none of the bandmembers heard the soft snort of derision from behind the closed door, or the sound of footsteps quietly creeping away down the corridor. As she reached the fire door of the studio, however, she burst into laughter, hurrying out to her car and getting in as she replayed the tidbit of information in her head.
"That is priceless and I could not have hoped for better." She decided, clenching her fist in triumph as she put the vehicle in gear. "I need to put the word about...oh, but how? Tabloids? Nah. No good. Too obvious, been there, done that. And every time I do that, well, there's a risk that someone will leak who's feeding them the information."
She frowned, considering.
"Perhaps it's time to bring Rory in on the game." She considered, screeching out of the parking lot and heading towards Rebel Records. "He's sleazy and sneaky, he'd know the backroutes to spreading a good rumour in Los Angeles."
To think was to act, and she was soon heading up to the top floor where Rory's office was situated. The high position of the office reflected largely the executive's ego, for he liked to feel he was looking down on the people and businesses that surrounded him.
Pounding impatiently on the door, Stefana heard an irritated call of 'come in!' and carefully she slipped inside, casting her boss a deceptively sweet smile. Rory's business partner, Sophie Devereux was also present, and she eyed the young guitarist with some interest.
"You wanted something, Stefana?" Rory looked less than thrilled at her presence.
"I wanted to talk to you...alone." Stefana sent Sophie a hostile glare. Sophie laughed, putting the folder she had been going through down on the desk.
"Stefana, cherie, I am a partner in this business. There is nothing I am not privy to."
Stefana folded her arms.
"Sophie is well briefed on the arrangement we have, Stefana, and backs the idea as much as myself." Rory said with a frustrated sigh. "If you have something to tell us, for heaven's sake get it out and then get out, will you? You've taken long enough about it!"
"Quite the opposite." Stefana said primly, sitting down in a vacant seat. "I've been carefully monitoring, and destroying, Jewel's nice squeaky clean image. You have read this morning's paper, I trust?"
"Yes..." Rory frowned, then, "You were responsible for that?"
"Oh, yes." Stefana examined her nails idly, feigning indifference. "And it's just the start. There's more, Rory...oh boy, is there more!"
"Well, go on." Now Rory seemed a little more interested. "How do you mean, more?"
Slowly Stefana recounted all she had heard backstage at the studio, oblivious to the fact that in doing so she was unwittingly stabbing her own beloved brother in the back. Rory's eyes widened and he let out an amused chuckle.
"Oh, I knew one day that girl would let them down!" He exclaimed. "Working in a sleazy diner for Eric Raymond...she's the one who Jewel's scandals will come from, I guarantee it!"
"Do you know the identity of her impromptu beau, Stefana?" Sophie looked curious.
"No. That's my next plan." Stefana admitted. "But listen. Every time I leak to the tabloids in person it's a risk. It could hurt you and it could hurt me...that's not good for either of us. I want this particular scandal to slip out as a rumour that some fool has printed, as opposed to a direct leak. Can it be done?"
"Nothing easier." Rory fixed her with an eagle eye. "I suppose you're wanting to be paid for this."
"It would be nice."
"It's not exactly part of the's not sabotaging their performances."
"It is too!" Stefana flared up. "Tonight their playing was mediocre and they got a rocket from Jetta about it, too. Not a show that did their play for Christmas number one any good at all!"
"Well...I'll tell you what." Riot leaned forward. "If Jewel are not number one for Christmas...I'll pay you as if this were part of our agreed plan. But if they are...well, it's tough. Does that seem fair?"
"Seems a little late for you to worry about fair." Stefana told him coldly. "But I s'pose it'll do. It's not like the press haven't paid me good for my snippets of info, after all. Just keep your word, Rory, and I'll keep mine. Okay?"
"I always keep my word." Rory said quietly. "Just do it."

Chapter One: Twilight In California
Chapter Two: Diablo's Place
Chapter Three: A Shopping Encounter
Chapter Four: Some New Acquaintances
Chapter Five: A Girl In Love
Chapter Six: Topaz's Advice
Chapter Seven: A Professional Saboteur
Chapter Eight: Melanie
Chapter Nine: A Lover's Tiff
Chapter Ten: Sylva's Decision
Chapter Eleven: One Night At Le Klub Kool
Chapter Twelve: The Morning After

Chapter Thirteen: Stefana Again
Chapter Fourteen: Luca Confesses

Chapter Fifteen: A Christmas Party
Chapter Sixteen: Repercussions

Chapter Seventeen: Christmas Eve on TV

Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, Sirena, Topaz, Aaron, Sophie, Justin, Elliot, Rosita Madeleine, Marissa, Luca, Stefana, Clay, 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!
The concept of RayzaBlade is copyrighted to my sister Elena...^_^ (Yeah, blame her!)