It Must've Been Love

Chapter Sixteen: Repercussions
"How could you sleep with that piece of trash?"
Stefana's voice echoed down the hall at an unbearably shrill pitch, followed by what sounded like the crashing of furniture. "How could you? Don't you care anything for the press this band gets? Don't you have any goddamn taste?"
In the small sitting room off the main hallway the three other members of Diablo exchanged looks, and Marissa winced, closing the door slowly.
"I'd not like to be in his shoes right now." She murmured. "Stef is really raging mad."
"Mm, thanks for pointing that out to us, Mari." Clay said dryly. Madeleine bit her lip.
"I hate to say this, you guys, but I actually think Stef has a point this time." She said slowly. "I mean, Luca's a grown man, and it's his business, but there has been a lot of trashy press recently around Topaz, and now he's dragged our names into the fray also."
"She's a girl, he's a guy, it happens." Clay shrugged. "She's a bloody attractive girl, too. You forget, Maddy, that Luca didn't do much wrong here. Sure, he was drunk, but so was she. And he hasn't a girlfriend to consider...Topaz, apparently, has a boyfriend."
"I think had a boyfriend might be more like it." Madeleine responded. "He gave Luca a hell of a punch."
"Well, it made for a lively party." Marissa looked troubled. "What do you s'pose Stef is doing to him in there?"
"I haven't a clue, but I think we ought to seperate them." Madeleine sighed. Clay shook his head.
"Uh-uh. Not a chance. I know Steffi when she's in this temper and I wouldn't go near her for the world! Luca's a big boy and he can take care of himself!"
"He's not had the best night, all things considered." Marissa observed softly. "At least Stef isn't drunk, or it might be worse still. As it is, we're gonna be all over the tabloid press tomorrow. Guys, I think we need to have some solidarity. Luca might have listened a little too hard to his labido, or whatever it was that happened, but he's still one of us and we ought to stick by him."
"Marissa's right." Clay nodded. "He hasn't broken the law, after was a one night stand and let's face it, most of us have been there at one time or another." He smiled. "I'll be honest, if I'd been smashed out of my mind and Topaz had asked I can't say I would have refused her, either. Hell, even if I hadn't been drunk I might've been up for it."
"Clay, that's a horrible thing to say!" Madeleine exclaimed, and Marissa bit her lip, determined not to let him see how hurt she was by such flippant remarks. That was, she knew, the way Clay operated. Often he'd say things just to get a reaction, but when they were writing together he was almost a different person, serious and intent on his composition. It was that Clay that had first attracted her to him, but sometimes she found his wicked side harder to cope with.
He laughed now.
"What was so awful?" He demanded, feigning ignorance. "I was just saying."
"Well, don't." Madeleine snapped. Then, "Oh! Has...has it gone quiet?"
"I think so." Marissa eyed her companions with trepidation.
Clay frowned.
"Anyone want to go see the damage?" He asked.
"I'll go." Madeleine got to her feet, but Marissa shook her head.
"No, Maddy, let me. Stef and you don't get along, in the mood she's in it might make things worse if you were to go."
"Well, you go take Stef out of the picture, and Clay and I will see to Luca." Madeleine suggested. Marissa nodded.
"All right." She said quietly. "Come on."
Slowly the trio made their way down the hall to the big salon, Marissa tentatively pushing open the door. Luca was alone, gazing out of the window, and he turned as they entered. The room itself was a little the worse for wear, as if the angry Stefana had resorted to throwing things at her brother in her rage. In fact, Marissa mused, she probably had.
"Are you all right?" Madeleine asked softly.
"I'll live." Luca responded with a wan smile. "I've survived spats with Stef before."
"Did she go for you?"
"She tried...I wouldn't let her." Luca replied. "I've never yet hit a girl in my life, and I've no intention of starting now, not even with my sister. If she'd have carried on as she wanted to, I'd have had no choice, so I told her either she put her grievances into words or I was walking out here and now and letting her stew."
"She listened?" Madeleine stared.
"I'm her brother." Luca managed another wan smile. "It does count for something."
"Where is she?" Marissa asked.
"I dunno. Stormed out. Up in her room is my guess." Luca shrugged. He frowned. "I'm sorry. This is my fault and I guess she had a right to be mad at me over it."
"Not much we can do now but forgive you and move on." Madeleine came to put a gentle arm around his shoulders. "Listen. Marissa said we ought to promote a united group front on this when the press lay into us, and she's right. Whatever you choose to say or not say, we're with you."
"Thanks." Luca looked grateful. "Now, if you could impress that on Steffi..."
"She won't talk." Marissa said quietly. "Stef is too proud, Luca. She won't breathe a word to anyone even if you wanted her to. It...knocked her for six at the party, when she found it out."
"Mm. I'd rather gathered that." Luca sighed, running his hands through his hair. "As if tonight wasn't awkward enough, tomorrow we have to play live...on the same damn show as Jewel! Everyone will want to know if we're a couple, Topaz and me. If I say yes, well, it's a lie, if I say no, then everyone starts printing that I take advantage of drunken women and that Topaz is easy as they come. So. Either way, I can't win."
"Let tomorrow go however it does." Clay said quietly. "You can't worry about it now."
As her bandmates continued to console their leader, Marissa crept out of the room and up the stairs to Stefana's room, intent on finding out her friend's frame of mind. As she reached the door, however, she heard the sound of muffled sobs, and paused.
She knew the guitarist too well to know that intruding on such a vulnerable moment would not be easily forgiven. Unlike Marissa, who liked the comfort of friendly support when she was upset, Stefana preferred such moments to happen, if they must happen, in the privacy of her own room, without anyone else knowing.
Frowning, Marissa quietly made her way back down the corridor to her own room, sitting down on her bed to think.
"This is Diablo's first big test in the spotlight." She murmured. "Can we hold up?"

Meanwhile, across the city at Starlight Mansion, Sylva had finally managed to coax her way into Topaz's room, and had begun the seemingly impossible task of trying to console her. She had never seen her friend so upset before, for Topaz was not given to meaningless bouts of crying, and to begin with she just hugged her companion tightly till the tears were all but exhausted.
Then, at length, she spoke.
"He'll probably calm down, Topaz. Give him some time."
"You think?" Topaz swallowed hard, her tone bitter. "If I were him I'd never give me the time of day again. He's right...I do value love cheaply. I wish I'd never met Luca Ranieri! No, more, I wish Cameron had never come to America this Christmas!"
Sylva frowned. What could she say?
"I don't think you value it cheaply." She said finally. "I think...I don't know what happened in the club that night or why you had the row you did, but you were upset. I don't think what you did was right, but I also think Cameron has to realise how upset you were."
"How could he?" Topaz whispered. "Oh, I should have told him from the start how easy I was! I should have..."
"Shh." Sylva shook her head. "Now listen to me, Aurora Stapleton. This whole mess happened because you believe you can't keep a decent guy, right?"
"Cameron is a decent guy...and one worth fighting for." Sylva continued. "I don't know whether or not you'll get through this with him, but if you love him, you at least have to try."
"Try?" Topaz stared at her hopelessly. "What do you mean, try?"
"It's Christmas. Chances of Cameron getting a flight out from here to England tomorrow are not great." Sylva said slowly. "I think I have the start of an idea, actually...but for now I need to think it over."
"Tell me? Please, Syl, I'll do anything if it stops him being so mad at me!"
"Mm...well, tomorrow we play live in the centre of the city." Sylva responded. "Remember?"
"How could I forget." Topaz grimaced. "Just what I feel like doing."
"Well, I think you need to give the performance of a lifetime." Sylva dimpled. "With a special dedication to a certain guy."
"You think it has even a remote chance of working?" Topaz looked hopeless.
"Listen, Topaz, the way he's classic jilted lover syndrome." Sylva said with a shrug. "He's mad in love with you like you are with him and one silly mistake doesn't change that, however betrayed he feels."
"Mm. It's a big mistake to forgive." Topaz glanced at her hands.
"You love him?" Sylva asked. Topaz nodded.
"Then you have to try." Sylva shrugged. "Whatever it takes...right?"
"Yeah, you're right." Topaz sighed. "All right, I'll try. For now, though, I need to try and get some rest. I'm exhausted...too much crying and stuff." She cast her friend a weak smile. "Thanks for being the best friend there is, Syl."
"Hey, it's only natural." Sylva winked at her companion, secretly glad to see the smile. "Don't you know I'm the best, period?"
"Oh, get out with you." Topaz tossed a pillow at her friend. "I'm going to sleep, if I can, and try and be as ready as possible for tomorrow." She sighed. "After all, whether or not I have a happy Christmas this year may depend on 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!)