Arc Three: When Life Goes On...
Shadow Of The Girl

Chapter One: Sirena's Show

"Good Evening Los Angeles!"
As the lights danced across the auditorium, a lone star sauntered into centre stage amid cheers and whistles from the crowd. Scooping the microphone up off the stand, she cast the excited fans a grin.
"Well, something's got you buzzing!" She commented, receiving a rowdy cheer in return. "I hope you're gonna keep up, because the party's only just beginning!"
With a signal to the band who often toured with her, the singer launched into one of her more recent hit singles, much to the appreciation of the melee of people who had queued in the rain to get tickets.
When it came to the big time, Emily Gabor had finally made it. Ignominious though her start in life had been, Emily had never lacked the determination to pursue her dreams and at the age of twenty she had quit the foundation forever, taking a gamble into the world of rock music and fulfilling what was, in many ways, an inherited destiny, for soon after she had discovered the truth about her parents' identity. At first she had been angry, and unwilling to forgive the cover up of her birth, but these days she and her mother had a growing relationship, and, though they were generally more like friends than mother and daughter, Emily was content. She had changed her name with Phyllis' help from Raymond to Gabor, in order that her baby son Michael should be able to inherit the proud family name, and these days all was right in her world.
From the back of the auditorium, a figure watched her, ignored by the crowd and unnoticed by the singer. This was Luca Ranieri, lead singer of rock band Diablo and one of Emily -or Sirena's - main rivals in California. However, music and rivalry were the last things on Luca's mind. He had come to watch her perform for quite another reason.
Luca had never quite defined what it was he saw in Sirena. She was powerful and dynamic, capable of living her life on her terms without anyone's support or interference, and she did not seem to care whether or not people liked her. She had scorned his friendly approaches from the start, but it had only made him all the more intrigued. Bit by bit he had begun to wonder exactly what had made Sirena into such a confrontational young lady, and whether or not he could ever break down her tough shell.
"She can't be hard all the way through. She has a baby son and from all accounts is a very good mother." He mused. "So there must be a soft Sirena in there someplace. I just have to dig her out."
He glanced back up at the stage. The song she had just begun had been a recent number one hit, and had vied for the top spot with his own band. Sirena's longevity had won the battle, but he hadn't minded. He had a great amount of admiration and respect for the singer whose music had been an instant hit in her home state, and which was now beginning to spread across the globe. Diablo's own prowess extended only to the United States and the Billboard chart, but there was time yet, and Luca wasn't worried. He knew that their time would come, and besides, tonight was his night off.
"She's awesome live." A voice at his elbow made him start and he turned, casting his companion a smile. This was Diablo's chief songwriter and keyboardist, Marissa Young, and a self confessed Sirena fan. It had been her idea to come to the concert, once they had realised Diablo had no bookings that night, and Luca had jumped at the chance. It had been some time since he had had an opportunity to speak to the singer, after all.
"She is." he agreed now. "I just wish she was as friendly to me as she is to her fans, Mari. She laughs in my face no matter what I try."
"Mmm." Marissa looked thoughtful, taking a sip of her drink and making herself more comfortable. "Well, noone ever said she was gonna be easy to break down, Luca. I dunno. Perhaps that's a lost cause, huh? I mean, I love her music but...she's kinda scary in person."
"No, not scary." Luca shook her head. "I don't know, I want to figure her out a little more. I'm determined that there has to be a nice girl inside all of that hate, and I want to find her. You know me." He grinned. "I like a challenge."
"Can't argue with you there." Marissa dimpled. "Hey, does Steffi know you're here tonight? You know how she feels about Sirena."
"Marissa, my sister dislikes me speaking to anyone of the opposite gender." Luca rolled his eyes. "Yourself excepted. She can't even stand Maddy and Maddy's part of the band. I didn't tell her I was coming with you tonight, no. I've learnt over the years that what Stefana don't know won't hurt her. Besides, I think she went to some club or other tonight to see an act she likes. She need never know I was here with you watching Sirena."
"Well, keep me out of it, I don't want the blame." Marissa told him. Stefana Ranieri was both difficult and possessive, but she and the sweet natured, soft-hearted Marissa had been best of friends ever since their early high school days. It was a pairing that many did not understand, and sometimes Marissa found her friend exasperating, but nevertheless she was fond of Stefana. In turn, the younger Ranieri would generally turn to Marissa if she was in trouble - not a rare occurance for, though Luca and the rest of the world were oblivious, Stefana was hopelessly addicted to amphetamine pills and her behaviour was often erratic and unpredictable.
"Don't worry. My lips are sealed." Luca promised his companion now. "By the way, did you hear back from your mother?"
"Yeah, actually, not long before we came out." Marissa nodded her head with a smile. "She really is coming to California. You know Mom - she drops in at a moment's notice anywhere, but this is a health trip, far as I can gather. You know she wasn't so well a couple of weeks back? I think I told you."
"Yeah, you did." Luca agreed. "Is she all right?"
"She is now, though she had her appendix out, from what my stepdad said in his email." Marissa responded. "But since she can't work properly for another week or so she's taking a break and dropping in to see me before heading down to do some arty film in Mexico. She's always been a restless soul so the change will be good for her."
"It'll be good to see Suzanne again." Luca observed, for he had known his friend's mother for some years. Marissa grinned.
"Well, with my twin sister Farah still in Japan with Aunt Kaori, I think she feels she has to come check up on one of her girls." She joked.
Luca laughed.
"Probably." He agreed, then, "Hey!" As the music changed, "Do I know this one?"
"An old song, off her first album." Marissa told him. "It's one of my favourites from the disk, actually."
"Oh, I see." Luca looked thoughtful, his gaze returning to the stage. She looked stunning beneath the bright lights, with her thick wavy hair pulled back from her face in a long ponytail and her green eyes sparkling with enjoyment. He frowned.
What was it about this girl? He'd never been so singularly fixated before...not for such a length of time without his attention being reciprocated. Luca was no casanova but he did not find it difficult to talk to or attract women, and Sirena's reticence bothered him. It wasn't that he was so arrogant that he expected her to fall at his feet. It was her overt hostility from the first moment they had met. He had done nothing to offend her, and yet she had taken offence anyway.
It bothered him more than he liked to admit.
"And no matter how many times she tries to publically humiliate me, I keep coming back for more, fool that I am." he mused dryly. "Great, Luca. Real great."
Up on the stage, Sirena had no idea that Luca was even there. She was wholeheartedly enjoying the freedom that being under the lights gave her, for, for the briefest of instants she found herself swept up away from the hassles of everyday life. Singing was, she knew, in her blood, and there was no career she would rather do more.
The song had been written by a friend of hers, Nancy Pelligrini, who played lead guitar for Jewel. In their years playing Jewel had become the sweethearts of all California, topping music charts across the state and even though only one of their number - Nancy herself - was California born and bred the west coast state was fiercely proud of the group which it had placed it's own faith in before they had become a national and then international sensation. Jewel were big bucks, to but it another way, and for a long time Sirena had hated them, but the walls had broken down since baby Michael had come into the equation. These days she was amicable with all four of the band's musicians, but it was Nancy with whom she had struck up her most important friendship. Neither girl was naturally inclined to bonding with other people, but they had gravitated together all the same since Sirena had put pen to paper with her mother's music company, and now it was not uncommon for Nancy to pen a track for the singer as well as producing the music for Jewel themselves. As the guitarist often said, Sirena's music required a lot more bite than Jewel's and it was always a challenge she relished, especially if someone had upset her temper that day.

Sirena's set passed in something of a blur and, after being called back on stage for multiple encores, the young and vibrant singer withdrew to her dressing room to relax, still buzzing from the effects of being on stage.
"Another sell out show."
A voice from the doorway made her turn, and she cast her mother a superior look, though the sparkle in her green eyes told Phyllis that her daughter had loved every minute of performing.
"What else do you expect from Sirena?" The girl said now, flexing her nails and examining them for chips in her blood red polish. "I swear, Mom, I've never had such a blast as I've been having recently. Music's great, hits are rolling in, album is triple platinum and still selling...what in hell more could I want?"
"An idea for your next single would be nice." Phyllis Gabor said dryly, sitting down in a vacant seat and casting her companion a contemplative look. "You do realise, I hope, that you can't call on Nancy to help you this time. She's embroiled in producing Jewel's new hit as well as plotting out ideas for their album, so she's already run off her feet. You're going to have to settle for something else this time."
"That's cool." Sirena shrugged, unconcerned. "It wouldn't be the first time I've performed a song Nance didn't write, Mom. I'm not dependant on her pen and inspiration, you know."
"Yes, I know." Phyllis agreed. "But the advantage with the Jewel girls, kid, is that they do have an on board song writer and can produce their own sound. You barely read music- if at all - and though you're a revelation up on stage, you're hampered in the composition department."
"Oh, and like you were any better when you were a Misfit?" Sirena raised a perfectly shaped eyebrow. "I don't see the name P. Gabor on any of the band's composition credits, and believe me, Mom, I had every single Misfit LP and cassette I could find as a kid at the Foundation."
Phyllis pursed her lips.
"Like I said, Jewel produce their own sound." She said finally. "As did the Misfits. When you're a group, Emily, it don't matter who's writing the notes till it comes to royalties and hell, do you think I cared who got the revenue? Stormer was welcome to it. I didn't care.I didn't need the money. I wanted to be a singer and a star, not holed away in a poky room someplace doodling notes and harmonies."
Sirena looked amused.
"Like you even could have." She said with a grin. "Don't come that with me, Mom. You were as hopeless as I am when it came to composing, admit it."
"Well, I never tried a solo career." Phyllis returned. "So it never made a difference. And besides, it's irrelevant. Right now we have to work out where your next hit is coming from...not whether or not I could write for America, okay? Maybe I'll speak to Stormer, since you brought it up...she's written some good numbers for some of our other groups since she's been back in LA. If I set her to writing something with more bite than the ballads and slow songs she's been working on recently she might find it a nice change." She rolled her eyes. "Trouble with musical genius is, though, that it ain't at your beck and call. Give me good old fashioned paid results any day. Waiting for Stormer's inspiration to hit exactly the kind of style you need after so many years out of the Misfits might take forever."
"Nancy's the same way." Sirena mused. "Jewel's sounds are eclectic to say the least."
"Works for 'em, though." Phyllis shrugged. "And I dunno...somehow their music always shouts Jewel at you, without being stale." She grinned. "Like yours does Sirena. Which is why it's so important we find something that fits you."
"Well, you're my manager, that's your problem to fix." Sirena told her with a shrug. She stretched. "As for me, I'm off to get a drink, then home to see what destruction my son has caused in my absence."
"I thought Mike was in San Diego with Dad?" Phyllis looked startled. Sirena shook her head.
"No. Grandpa had something come up urgently with a friend of his down there, so Mike's stay got postponed." She said. "He's going down tomorrow instead for a week or so's stay, while I work. I bribed one of the foundation girls to sit for Mike tonight instead. They're all gaga over him anyway, and, well, I'm one of them, so there wasn't a problem."
"Guess not." Phyllis fell silent for a moment, then, "What time will you be back from San Diego tomorrow, then?"
"Dunno. Depending on traffic, about one? Half one?"
"Okay. Come see me at two, then. We'll discuss your next single then." Phyllis got to her feet. "And don't be late, huh? I've an appointment with my hairdresser at three thirty and I want things settled by then!"
With that she was gone, leaving Sirena staring after her, amusement clear in her green eyes. Phyllis was a force to be reckoned with in the business world these days, but she was still as vain and fussy about her appearance as ever.
"Still, since I've been with Misfits Music, Sirena has gone globally platinum, so she must know something about this business." She mused to herself, standing and scrutinising her reflection in the mirror. "And whaddya know, this foundation of Sylva's really does last under the stage lights. She might be something of a bubbleheaded flake but she knows her cosmetics. I must remember that." She grabbed her jacket, slipping it on over her shoulder and scooping up her phone to call her car to the back door of the venue. but as she did so there was a knock on the door. Frowning, she called them in, and the door swung open to reveal one of her security team.
"What's up?" She demanded, lighting a casual cigarette and grabbing her mineral water from the unit. "Something wrong?"
"Not wrong, exactly." The man, who was a regular on Sirena's tour dates and who went by the name of Lee Ridgeway shook his head. "Just some guy asking to speak to you. He ain't causing any trouble, seems to know you. I said I'd come speak to you."
"A guy?" Sirena's eyes narrowed. "What kind of guy?"
"He has a security pass for Rebel Records, but I didn't catch his name. I figured since you used to work there he might be a bonafide acquaintance." Lee eyed her keenly. "Yes or no?"
"Rebel...?" Sirena trailed off, her green eyes sparking with anger. "Ooh, Luca Ranieri! Right, that's it. I'm coming to deal with this myself."
"You need my help, Miss Gabor?"
"No, I think I can handle him." Sirena told him decidedly, taking a drag on her cigarette and flicking ash ferociously onto the floor. She shoved the door open, marching down the corridor to where the remainder of the security crew were preventing Luca from making any process.
At the sight of her, he grinned.
"I wanted to compliment you on your performance." He said.
"Well, gee, ain't that sweet of you." Sirena arched an eyebrow. "I have a groupie. Luca, when are you going to get off my case? For the zillionth time, I'm not looking for a guy in my life and if I was it sure as hell wouldn't be a loser like you." She fixed him with a piercing look. "Besides, I thought you'd shifted your affections to a certain Jewel can't play us both, you know."
"There's nothing between Topaz and I." Luca said quietly. "And I just came to be complimentary, not to talk you into bed."
"Well, then you've paid your compliment." Sirena told him coolly. "But listen. I don't take up on compliments from guys who get smashed and seduce my friends and colleagues, you understand me? I have wayy too much class to be looking into someone else's left overs."
She inhaled on her cigarette, blowing a cloud of smoke his way. "And that said, I've other things to do. Ciao, loser."
"Miss Gabor, your phone." At that moment Lee appeared beside her, her forgotten phone in his hand. "Someone's on the line for you."
"Oh, dammit." Sirena cursed, flicking ash from the cigarette and taking the phone. "Hello?"
There was a moment of silence, then her features changed.
"Are you all right?" Despite the snub administered, Luca was worried.
"I haven't time to play games with you." Sirena's tone was different now, not mocking but harried and anxious. "Mike's apparently swallowed something he shouldn't and I gotta..." She trailed off, shoving the Diablo singer aside and heading out with some speed towards the back door of the venue, her security men in bewildered pursuit. The door banged shut behind her, and before long Luca heard the sound of a car. He frowned.
"Mike." He mused. "Where do I know that name...Oh! Her son!"
His frown deepened.
"I hope the kid's all right." He mused. "But she's a weird mix of people, for sure. One minute she's up on her high horse taking me to pieces and I can't think for the life of me what I see in her, and then the next she's frightened over the safety of her baby and I want to protect and help her again. Man, I need to get a grip! Whatever else Sirena needs in her life, she's made it damn clear that it ain't me!"

Prologue: February 1997  
Chapter One: Sirena's Show

Chapter Two: A Plot
Chapter Three: In California
Chapter Four: About Chimera
Chapter Five: Sirena's Aunt
Chapter Six: A Special Quest
Chapter Seven: The Plot Hatches
Chapter Eight: Eric Strikes
Chapter Nine: Webchat
Chapter Ten: Complications
Chapter Eleven: Handling Emily
Chapter Twelve: A Discovery
Chapter Thirteen: A Birthday Surprise

Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, Sirena, Topaz, Aaron, Sophie, Justin, Elliot, Rosita, 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!