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

Chapter Two: A Plot

"This is not going exactly as I planned."
Eric Raymond paced across his office, a frown on his face as he met the impassive gaze of his solicitor. "You're telling me that no matter what I do I'm not going to win this case? That they're gonna hang everything and damn deport me anyway?"
"Mr Raymond, your resident permit has been proven to be a forgery. Immigration is not going to accept any excuses and you have to return to America in order to apply for the proper paperwork. If I were you my advice would be to claim that this was done without your knowledge and agree to leave Canada till you have proper paperwork."
"And what about my business here? What'll happen to that?" Eric demanded. "I can't run a string of nightclubs in Canada if I'm holed up in New York or somewhere, applying for residency. What do you suggest I do? I'll lose a damn fortune!"
"Mr Raymond, your business is already losing money." The attorney, one Stuart Blythe was clearly unmoved by any of his client's complaints. He had known Eric ever since his arrival in Canada and knew that the American was as dodgy as they came when it came to business deals. It didn't really matter to him, he mused, since he was perfectly prepared to take cash payments for quicker consultations or better representation. It had been thanks to him, after all, that Eric had evaded the authorities as long as he had. However, this time they had hit a brick wall. Finally there was enough evidence to prove that Eric's resident and work permits for Canada had been falsified, and at the very least the businessman was facing deportation. At most, the attorney knew, he could be arrested and charged.
"Well, it will lose even more money if I'm not there to run it!" Eric retorted. "The costs of running this kind of thing are expensive! I can't afford that kind of loss."
"If the records you showed me from your financial advisors are correct, Mr Raymond, then you already are in need of another investor." The lawyer told him calmly. "My advice would be to do as immigration tell you, return to the United States, get your correct paperwork and in the meantime leave the business in the hands of someone you trust. Perhaps whilst you are in the States you will find the answer to your financial problems too."
"Some hope of that." Eric growled. He dropped down into a chair. "Okay, so the nightclubs aren't doing such good business since the employees got themselves a goddamn union and a right to complain about pay and conditions. But how's a guy supposed to make a goddamn profit these days? God knows I built that up from nothing after that bitch kicked me out of Los Angeles!"
"Well, maybe it's time you went to see that bitch." Stuart cast his companion a meaningful look. "I'm sure someone like that must have some money to spare."
"You think she's going to spare me a cent?" Eric snorted. "You don't know Phyllis Gabor!"
"I didn't mean like that." Stuart smiled. "But if you worked with her so closely for so long, I'm sure there must be some way you could...persuade her to cooperate. For old time's catch my drift?"
"I see." Eric's eyes adopted a familiarly scheming look. "Yes, I really do see what you're getting at. You know, you might have something, too." He smiled. "Forget New York. I think Los Angeles might be my ideal port of call whilst I wait for all of this to be sorted out. Don't you?"
"I think that would be a very wise idea." His companion nodded, offering a slight smile. "And I wish you all the luck in the world."


"Someone's up early."
Nancy Pelligrini pushed open the door of the music studio, casting it's sole inhabitant a smile as she did so. "What brings you here at this time, Em? I didn't think the creche opened this early."
"It doesn't." Sirena glanced up from her pile of papers, returning the smile with a tired one of her own. "Michael had a bit of a crisis last night and I've not been to bed yet. He swallowed something - not sure what, but I didn't get any sleep and I decided that once I knew he was all right I'd take him down to Grandpa first thing. I left home at about half four, and I just got back to LA."
"I bet Harvey loved you turning up at that time." Nancy raised an eyebrow. Sirena shrugged.
"He's always up early and besides, with traffic and everything I didn't get to him that early." She responded. "Then I sped back up the freeway to get home before I fell asleep."
"So why are you here?"
"Couldn't sleep." Sirena admitted. "After worrying about Mike getting into stuff and the haring about I'm a total insomniac, so I decided to come here and look over some of the possibles for songs. You know, for the next single. With Mike out of town for a while, I can sleep whenever."
"Oh, cool." Nancy grinned, taking a seat. "I'm here to go over music, too. I've our new song to sort out by Friday if I possibly can, so I want to get a head start on sorting out the key signiture."
"I wish I could write music." Sirena rolled her eyes. "It would make life easier, you know."
"Well, you need to learn to read music first." Nancy told her dryly. "Besides, you do write your own lyrics. That's something."
"True." Sirena acknowledged. "See, though, at Rebel Records I had Ingrid Krueger writing my melodies. She might be a weird snooty witch but she writes good music. Since I came to Misfits Music, you've written some of my hits and that's cool - I like your style. But there's no guaranteed writer for me, you know? I sometimes reckon I'm just pushed to whoever's free to write for me."
"You're profitable. I doubt Aunt Phyl is that dismissive." Nancy shook her head, pulling open the top drawer of the filing cabinet and hunting for the manuscript she wanted. "It's just that Misfits Music works in a different way. Don't tell me you'd rather be working for Rory Llewelyn still!"
"God no!" Sirena shook her head. "Not in a million years! I just wish I knew a bit more quickly what the hell kind of song I'm supposed to be putting lyrics too. That's all. Bit more control wouldn't go amiss. After all, it's my career."
"Telling the wrong person." Nancy shrugged. "Besides, you know I have to write for Jewel at the moment. I love writing for you but Jewel is my priority."
"Jewel is everyone's priority." Sirena sighed.
"Hey, don't give me that!" Nancy put her hands on her hips. "I think you need sleep, girl. You're not sounding a bit like you!"
"Oh, I know, you're probably right." Sirena grimaced. "I don't feel tired but it doesn't mean I'm not. I don't know. Just sometimes I'm not sure quite where Sirena fits into this company. Jewel was always Mom's project and your mother is always actively behind anything in that vein. She supports everything you do as much as she can. I don't say she fixes stuff for Jewel to get the breaks," as Nancy opened her mouth to protest, "But Mom and I don't have that same bond. We're friends, but apart from threatening to beat the crap out of Rory Llewelyn if he didn't cooperate and pay me what I was owed, she hasn't really come out and shown any real interest in my career apart from in a business sense."
"Well, it's a business." Nancy pointed out. "If either Mom or Aunt Phyl showed too much favouritism they'd have legal suits all over. Besides, it's a pain when you've a Mom who does take an active interest." She rolled her eyes. "Mom is never afraid to jump on me twice as hard as she would on the other girls for something. Count yourself lucky! You do good and Misfits Music has made you into a real worldwide sensation. You complaining about that?"
"No...I like that bit." Sirena smiled slightly. "I guess you're right. I'm tired and my brain is soggy." She shrugged, pushing the paperwork aside. "At least working for this place means I keep away from my stalker most of the time. If I was still signed to Rebel Records I'd see him every day."
"Stalker?" Nancy looked startled. "What kind of stalker?"
"Luca." Sirena pulled a face. "Who else?"
"Hasn't he quit yet?" Nancy smirked. "Oh brother. Talk about hopeless."
"He just don't get the fact that I don't need a man and I especially don't need the kind of man he is." Sirena responded. "I mean, no offence to Topaz and all, you know I ain't got issues with her, but any guy who can get drunk and get laid when he's meant to be in love with me really isn't on the level, right? I reckon he's after me for something else. Probably publicity, like Blade." She rolled her eyes. "And let's face it, I have enough of a job raising Blade's publicity. I don't need any more of that kind of hype."
"Topaz loves Cameron." Nancy mused, naming Jewel's Canadian singer, Aurora Stapleton. The previous Christmas tension between Topaz and her English boyfriend Cameron Milligan, a medical student from London had led to a public split and Topaz had compounded the event by getting drunk and sleeping with Luca. It had been a mistake, as all had universally acknowledged, but these days Cameron and Topaz were on 'just friends' terms and the Canadian often wished she could take back time. "And I don't think she slept with Luca for any other reason than she was hurt over their split and of course, real drunk. Maybe it was the same for Luca?"
"How can he be hurt by someone who hates his guts and who has never given him any reason to think he'd stand a chance?" Sirena demanded. "Topaz, well yeah, I can see what you're saying. But if you ask me, Luca slept with Topaz for publicity and he's on at me for the same reason." She held up her hands. "I went down that road with Blade. He got shot, and Michael happened. True, I wouldn't swap Mike now, and sometimes I am at a loss as to how to raise a boy on my own, not being a guy and all, but I'm not going to give him a string of wannabe dad figures by sleeping with any guy who expresses an interest. I just wish Luca would get the picture. He's so damn arrogant!"
Nancy shot her friend a startled look.
"You just totally contradicted yourself." She said in some surprise.
"I did?"
"You said that if hes meant to be in love with you he wouldn't have slept with someone else, but then you said why should he even think he had a chance with you." Nancy responded. "If you ask me it bothers you more than you're admitting that your flunkie flunked someone else."
"You have such a godawful way with words." Sirena retorted. "And you're wrong, incidentally. Luca is about as welcome round me as a swarm of hornets, and that's the last I'm saying on the subject. Here, come make yourself useful and see which of these two you like best?"
"In terms of what?" Nancy obediently set down her manuscript, coming to peer over her friend's shoulder. "Harmonies, melody or what?"
"Just generally, which is most me?" Sirena asked. "I can't get the gist of dots."
"I'd say that one." Nancy eyed the scripts critically. "But I'll play it for you if you like."
"That'd help." Sirena admitted. "Maybe I do need to read music, huh?" She rolled her eyes. "Hard to decide what to sing if you haven't got a clue what's on the page. I know what's on the stave and that's that...anything above or below with whatever those silly lines are are beyond me, and forget about bass clef."
"Ledger lines." Nancy said absently, sitting down at the piano and playing through the melody with surprisingly few slips. "There. How's that?"
" about the other?" Sirena held out the other sheet of paper and obediently Nancy played it.
"I still think the first one is more you." she said. "But it's your decision. And now I really have to take these Jewel scripts downstairs and get some sense out of them, so I'll see you later, huh?"
"Sure." Sirena nodded. "Cheers, Nance."
"Welcome." Nancy responded, scooping up her paperwork and moving towards the door. Soon she was gone, and Sirena was alone once more. Once the Jewel was gone, she pursed her lips, considering.
"Last thing in the world that bothers me is what Luca Ranieri does with his life." She decided finally. "It's just the cheek of the guy."
And this decided, she forced the idea out of her head, turning her attention back to the task at hand. After all, she had a deadline to meet too, and for now, Sirena's career was more important to her.
Finally, though, her tiredness got the better of her and she rested her arms on the table, burying her head in them and closing her eyes as sleep overwhelmed her.

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!