"I don't see why we have to go, anyhow."
Stefana stamped down the hallway of the house Diablo had made their
own since arriving in Los Angeles, a look of clear displeasure on her pretty
face. "Jewel aren't even signed to our record label!"
"It's something that we got an invite." Clay told her unsympathetically,
his eyes twinkling with amusement. "Remember, Jewel are the hotshots in
this state, even if they don't act like it."
"They do too act like it, and that's why I hate them." Stefana pouted.
"Besides, I don't see why we should be associated with such scandal mongers!
You've seen the press!"
"Steffi, only a fool takes notice of the tabloids." Clay told her smoothly.
He glanced at the clock on the wall, frowning. "Where's everyone else? I
expect Luca at least to be down here by now."
"Luca said he doesn't want to go." At that moment Marissa appeared at
the top of the stairs, adjusting the strap of her white dress as she did
so. "Maddy's talking to him now...it all seems quite irrational. He just
suddenly announced that he didn't want to."
"If Luca doesn't go, I'll be damned if I'm going to!" Stefana exclaimed.
Clay's brow furrowed into a frown.
"We're all going." He said darkly. "Else people will want to know why.
I'm gonna get to the bottom of this myself."
He headed up the stairs, past Marissa who cast him a startled look.
She met Stefana's gaze, shrugging.
"We're such a happy family tonight." She remarked. "You any idea what's
up with Luca? He's your brother, after all."
"I'm not his keeper." Stefana said moodily. "I don't want to go, Mari.
Stupid waste of time party. We'll probably be frisked as we go in, as well!"
"Well, don't take anything that they might be frisking for." Marissa
sent her friend a pointed look. Stefana let out a groan of frustration.
"Who are you, my Mom now?" She demanded. "Like they'd find it anyway!
No security guard is gonna know one type of powder from another if he looks
through my makeup and anyhow, Im not looking to share it out, you know."
"Powder?" Marissa looked frightened and she grabbed her friend by the
arm, pulling her to one side and lowering her voice. "You have powder? Hell,
Steffi, what is it?"
"The usual, quit fretting." Stefana replied carelessly. "What, you think
I'm snorting crack now?"
"I think it's bad enough you take the stuff you do." Marissa muttered.
it's not cocaine?"
"I'm not a mug, Mari. I know what's what." Stefana snapped. Marissa raised
"Matter of opinion." She said quietly.
"Shht!" Stefana hissed. "Someone's coming! You want to land me in it?"
Marissa sighed, but made no further remark as Madeleine appeared at the
top of the stairs. She cast the two younger girls a smile.
"Well, its a first for the girls to be ready before the guys." She observed.
"Is Luca sick?" Marissa asked. Madeleine shook her head.
"Seems fine to me." She replied. "Clay's taking it in hand, anyhow. He
told me to make sure our car was here on time, so, that's what I'm gonna
"I still don't want to go." Stefana seemed unwilling to break her sulk,
flinging herself down onto the bottom step, and resting her chin in her hands,
glaring defiantly at the singer. Madeleine eyed her thoughtfully, then shrugged.
"You know, we're not going to a kids party, so I hope you're gonna act
your age when we're there." She said quietly. "It'd be nice if for once
you'd act as beautiful as you look and give people a good impression."
"Yada, yada, yada." Stefana feigned a yawn. "Don't even bother, Maddy,
because the moment you start on in that droney voice of yours it sends
me to sleep."
"Stef, shut your trap."
At that moment Clay reemerged, his bandmate in tow. "Well? Are we going
"We're going." Madeleine nodded, casting Luca a curious glance, for the
singer looked troubled and not like his usual amiable self. "I think I just
heard the car."
"Then here's to a good evening." Clay sent Luca a meaningful look. "And
hopefully, to very few morning after hangovers. Got that, Steffi?"
Stefana just pulled a face, opening the door and stalking down the path
with very bad grace. Marissa and Madeleine followed, leaving the two guys
to bring up the rear. Luca hesitated, and Clay frowned.
"People will talk." He said quietly. "You have to go."
"It was a damn silly thing." Luca rubbed his temples. "I don't like the
girl like that, Clay...I don't know what possessed me."
"Drink and a healthy male labido." Clay said dryly. "Look, chalk it up
to experience. Not many guys get to say they've bedded a Jewel."
"Shut up, I don't want the girls to hear you!" Luca looked anxious, glancing
at the retreating figures, but they were too involved in getting in the
car to hear. "Steffi especially. You know how she gets! Plus, it'll do neither
Topaz or me any good if it gets out!"
"No, I agree." Clay nodded his head. "To be frank, I wish you'd told
me about this before tonight. But, as things stand, all we can do is go
and smile it out. The press will talk if we don't, and they're nice girls,
all in all."
"Mm." Luca sighed. "Okay. I'm ready. Let's go."