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

Chapter Three: In California
"Home sweet home."
Eric gazed out of the window of his taxi cab, taking in the sights and sounds of Los Angeles. It had been a long flight south, and he was tired and apprehensive about his return to the United States. He knew as well as anyone that Phyllis Gabor was not someone to mess with without some kind of insurance, and he knew that he would have only one chance to get hold of her money. Gone were the days when he was Misfit Music's chief executive. Now that place was filled by - as Eric called her - that goddamn Brit, Jetta Pelligrini, and he no longer had the kind of access he had once had to untapped riches. Back in the days when Misfit Music was truly great, he mused to himself. Before that bitch had gotten wind of his activities and chased him out of the country.
Well, he was back now, and he was going to damn well show them all what kind of a businessman Eric Raymond was.
"Misfit Music plays by the rules these days." He mused. "But I don't. And that gives me the advantage. Pizzazz is a vain, arrogant woman and she cares more about her image than her company. She'll cough up. I just have to work out the best way of doing this."
The car zipped past a posterboard, curling slightly at the edges in the wind and his lip curled in distaste.
He remembered Jewel. That had been the last time he had spoken to Phyllis face to face. Things had come to a head in his office when, through a mixture of threats and coercion, Phyllis had secured the services of that waitress for her two bit band. He recognised the girl's face on the poster, and his scowl deepened. Aurora Stapleton. When she had been singing at his club, they had flocked in. She had had a rare talent, but like everything else, Phyllis had gotten her way. Aurora had moved to Los Angeles, signed a contract with Misfit Music and adopted the stage name Topaz. And from then on, profits in his business had begun to fall.
"Spite Pizzazz, spite those brats, spite everyone and get my money." He muttered. "Couldn't be more perfect."
He turned his attention back to the scenery, deep in thought. There was also another matter on his mind, the subject which he hoped most of all to use against the wilful businesswoman.
His daughter.
Their daughter.
It had been the biggest shock in the world when, then aged twenty, the young singer had burst into his office, wielding her birth certificate and making various threats, none of which had materialised. He had guessed that she had kept her mouth shut because she, like he, did not want to tangle with Phyllis overly much. He had told her to get lost and she had done as he'd bidden - walked out of his office and his life and that had been that.
Eric hadn't cared. The truth of what his brief and stupid affair with Phyllis Gabor had amounted to had shocked and shaken him. He had told nobody and he had pushed Emily out of his mind. Longer she stayed in Los Angeles, and away from him, the better.
"But perhaps it's time I used that brat to my advantage." He mused. "She's a fiery creature, full of venom and hate and resentment. I'm sure that can be channelled somehow. Something to think on, without a doubt."
The car pulled up outside the hotel, and, thanking the driver in his usual glib, professional manner he took his case, pushing open the main doors and heading up to the front desk. The woman smiled at him as he gave his name, and pushed forward the slip for him to sign. Then he was shown up to his room, and finally left alone to contemplate his next move.
From the window he could see the imposing logo of Misfit Music, across the city skyline and he sighed. No matter where he went, she was still stamping her authority on the world. He had made her a star, and she had repaid him with humiliation and betrayal. Money was Eric's lifeblood, and Phyllis had taken that away, forcing him to leave the country to avoid prosecution for embezzlement. A civil suit had followed, throughout which he had attended court only once - to hear the verdict go in her favour. She had cleaned him out, and he had seen no future for himself in America when she was still there.
Had he but known what was to follow, that even at the time of the hearing she was pregnant with his child...that might have changed things. He would have had a handle, a means of blackmail...but he had not known anything of it till Emily's revelation twenty years further on.
"What is it Pizzazz said to me in Canada?" he mused. "A daughter who's trying to ruin her at every turn? That's precisely the kind of daughter I could get used to having. And Sirena sure is successful in the modern musical climate. Well, let's see if we can get the money from the mother sense in complicating things unless I have to.
And if that fails?
Well...then there's always Emily."


 "So, Syl, where exactly are you holding this monster bash of yours?"
Aurora Stapleton stretched out on the big beachtowel, reaching for her sun tan oil. "Are you gonna have it at the Starlight Mansion, or someplace else?"
"I want to have it at the Starlight." Her companion, twenty year old Sylvina Martescu cast her a grin. "I know it's not every day you turn twenty one, but I figured we'd have the party at home and then go out clubbing or something the next night." She shrugged. "Dependant of course on where you and Cameron wind up."
"Meaning what?" Aurora, or "Topaz" raised an eyebrow. "We're still just friends, Syl, and chat has gotten more and more awkward. What's to suggest he even wants to get back together with me? I know he's been seeing a couple of other people over the last few months."
"At once?" Sylva's eyes almost popped out of her head, and Topaz laughed.
"No, silly. But people from his classes...on campus, you know. They're local. Real, not virtual." She sighed, resting her chin in her hands. "After what happened at Christmas, too, I'm sure he's doubting the point in virtual relationships."
"I don't think it's virtual. If it was, you wouldn't both have gotten so hurt." Sylva said matter-of-factly. "It is long distance, but hey, mistakes happen. Besides, I mailed his plane tickets on Monday - he can't get out of it now. Whatever the truth, it'll come out once he's here and I'm sure he'll realise he's totally still head over heels in love with you, you know."
"Well, we'll see. Don't tempt fate." Her companion warned. "I've not had a good relationship work for me yet - I'm counting on nothing."
"You should have more faith." Sylva scolded. "I thought you were romantic!"
"Okay, okay." Topaz grinned. "Quit it, I get it. Hey, who are you inviting, by the way? I know Cameron and Aaron and the other Jewels, but who else?"
"Emily, if she can come." Sylva responded. "I suppose I'd better invite Diablo." She grimaced. "I don't want that Stefana creep anywhere near the Starlight Mansion after she made poor Cynthia so ill last month but I suppose I can't invite the other four without her, so. Which reminds me, Cynthia's coming too. I've asked Zoe and Dean and Ben and you know, usual kinda people." Cynthia was Jewel's lighting engineer, and also a cleverly powered hologram from a powerful mainframe, Synergy, though few people knew it. Only weeks earlier, Stefana had discovered Cynthia's closely guarded secret and had set about infecting the mainframe with a powerful virus, but, thanks to Nancy and her technologically minded brother Aaron, the computer had survived and made a full recovery.
"The more the merrier, huh?" Topaz asked. Sylva nodded.
"That's the idea." She responded. "I'm even inviting Jack and Melanie...guess I must be mad, or something, but I figured it was time I put some closure on all of that."
"Jack?" Topaz stopped rubbing the oil into her arm, staring. "You haven't mentioned him since Christmas...I thought you were over that! I mean I know you guys are still friends and you've been over to play with little Courtenay once or twice, but still...I didn't think you were still in love with him. I figured you'd accepted that he was seeing Melanie and that was that."
"I wish." Sylva pulled a face. "I'm doing everything I can to get the guy out of my head, but it's so totally not working. Not cool at all. I love Courtenay to death, and Jack's my friend, so I need to get a handle on this. After all, he's really happy with Melanie. So-o-o I figured I'd make a goodwill gesture and invite them. You know. Closure."
"Sure you want them flaunting their relationship at your twenty-first?"
"They won't. Melanie isn't the flaunting type, and Jack gets shy in public of that kind of thing."
"They've done it before." Topaz reminded her.
"I know, but still...look, don't question me, okay?" Sylva rolled her eyes. "I need to get it out of my system, whatever it takes. I'm having no fun on the social scene at the moment and I've not had a proper no strings attached date in a long time. The papers are starting to wonder why and my Mom even asked me if I was feeling okay, when I told her last saturday we'd just had a quiet night in with a movie."
"Well, we have been very busy lately." Topaz remembered. "With the new song and everything." She glanced around her. "Speaking of Jewel stuff, where's Copper gotten to? I know Nancy has holed herself up at Misfit Music to write, but Copper said she'd meet us here when she and Aaron had got back from their lunchdate."
"That's probably your answer." Sylva's eyes twinkled. "She's with Aaron. You know, Topaz, it's the sweetest thing. I swear that there are gonna be wedding bells before too long."
"Copper and Aaron?" Topaz demanded. "I know they're close, but why all of a sudden?"
"Mm, it could be because I know something you don't?" Sylva's blue eyes danced, an infuriating smile on her face.
"Well, then spill it." Topaz ordered. "Or shut up."
"Not sure if I should."
"Then put a sock in it and change the subject." Topaz responded dryly.
"We-e-e-ell...I saw Aaron in the jewellers the other week." Sylva admitted. "I was getting the clasp on that chain of mine fixed - you know the one? I was waiting for them to go fetch it for me, and he came in. He didn't see me at first...but he did talk to the jeweller behind the counter about rings."
"Ooh." Topaz's eyes widened. "Go on...what happened?"
"Well, of course, I said Hi and asked him what he was doing and he got all flustered." Sylva giggled. "But eventually he admitted that he was looking at engagement rings. Looking, mind you, not buying. He said that he's trying to get up the nerve to ask Copper that question - only he keeps bottling it. So he figured if he actually went and got a ring it would give him a little more courage."
"Awww...that's so sweet." Topaz murmured. "Do you think Copper knows?"
"She hasn't a clue." Sylva shook her head. "Why do you think I was looking at that wedding magazine so blatantly at the salon yesterday? I wanted to see if she went coy...she didn't. You know Copper. She'd have blushed her head off if Aaron had spoken to her he hasn't, and she doesn't suspect."
"Wow." Topaz looked thoughtful. "I wonder if he will get the nerve up. Did he choose a ring? You said he didn't buy one..."
"He asked me if I'd help him." Sylva confided. "He didn't want Nancy to know, because she and Copper are so close and he was afraid that Nancy might let it slip."
"Yet he told you?" Topaz raised an eyebrow.
"Hey, I can keep a secret!" Sylva protested indignantly. "Besides which, I caught him in the act. He had to tell me."
"You've kept the secret wonderfully so far this afternoon." Topaz laughed.
"You won't blow it, will you?" Sylva looked anxious. "Aaron would kill me, but you know you're my best friend in the world, I can't keep secrets from you."
"I promise." Topaz nodded. "It's not my business to get involved,anyway. Do you think she will say yes?"
"Of course!" Sylva exclaimed. "This is Copper we're talking about! Queen of the romantic dreaming and the happy ending! Have you not seen her book collection? And she and Aaron have been close as ever. In fact...I wonder if that's what he's talking to her about right now." She looked thoughtful. "He could be, and that could be why she's late. Only he did say he wanted my advice...oh well. Maybe he decided to ask her and take her to choose instead."
"Choose what, Syl?" A fresh voice interrupted their conversation, making both girls jump and turn guiltily to face their friend.
Copper, or Elizabeth Santiago was a strikingly pretty young woman of twenty one, with long auburn hair that curled naturally about her shoulders and down her back. She was hispanic by birth, the daughter of ex-Hologram Raya Alonso, and equally as talented, for she was Jewel's drummer, and the oldest member in the band. Many magazines had also agreed that she was the prettiest Jewel, and, much to her own embarassment, she had more than once appeared in magazine polls for America's sexiest rock star. But, as the others had pointed out to her, it had prevented her from slipping into the background, for Copper was the only Jewel who had never sung a lead vocal, and was generally behind her kit when on stage.
"Um, talking about my twenty first." Sylva gabbled hurriedly, making room for her on the towel. "And um, Melanie and Jack coming. How was your lunch date with Aaron?"
"Too short for my liking." Copper pulled a face, dropping down onto the towel and removing her sandals. "He got a phonecall and had to hare back to the office - I think Phyllis scrambled her computer again, and even if Aaron is our road manager these days, he still has to run when she calls him. So I had to get a taxi out here once I'd changed and it took an age to come. My car is completely out of gas and I totally forgot about refilling the tank."
"Ooh, I see." Sylva grimaced sympathetically, then, "Well, it's nice that we got a day off in the chaos anyhow, even if poor Aaron didn't."
"Nor Nancy." Copper reminded her. "She's determined to finish whatever it is she's working on and when we're busy she hardly gets a moment to put pen to paper."
"She works too hard." Topaz observed.
"Maybe, but you won't talk her out of it. I've tried." Copper sighed, stretching out on her stomach and resting her chin in her hands. "So who else is coming to your party? Jack and Melanie - who else?"
"Usual mob." Sylva grinned. "Big parties are totally my scene - that'll bring Nancy out of her hermit tent and into the world. Besides, Dean's coming."
"And Cameron." Topaz sighed. "I hope it's gonna work out. He did promise to come, either way. Sadie reckons that he's still in love with me...but I can't be so sure."
"Sadie?" Copper looked startled.
"The girl we met in England - remember?" Topaz replied. "She rescued me on the trains and we played at the place she works. We keep in touch via email and we chat online a lot - she's often on when Cameron is, so I see her a lot. Actually, I see her more than Cameron these days." She rolled her eyes. "But that's cool. I like Sadie. I just wish I had a better relationship with you know who. I seem to have better communication with his idle messages."
"He probably feels as apprehensive as you do." Copper assured her. "Don't worry about it, Topaz."
"How does Sadie know about Cameron anyhow? Did you introduce them?" Sylva asked.
"Yeah, once." Topaz nodded. "But I told her the whole story. We tend to whinge at each other about guys a whole lot, actually." She looked rueful.
"Should invite her to my party." Sylva, ever the generous one suggested.
"I will ask her, if you like, but remember, Syl, Sadie's not made of money." Topaz grinned. "And air fares to LA are expensive."
"Sure, I know. If she can't I'll understand." Sylva shrugged. "But I did say I was inviting all Jewel's friends to this, and she counts." She dimpled. "Friend of yours is friend of ours."
"Glad to hear it." Topaz winked. "By the way, is this a press friendly party or a private one?"
"Since Dean amd Ben will be there, and Zoe, I doubt that the media will get to hear nothing about it." Sylva laughed. "I think though that I'm going to invite select press. Like Zoe's cousin, perhaps, if he's in town. People with integrity. Not Cool Trash or that kinda deal." She grimaced. "I don't want a write up the next morning in that kinda rag."
"Sounds sensible." Copper nodded. "Some of them are too nosy for their own good, and noone wants them snooping in the basement and finding Synergy. God knows that poor computer has been through enough in recent months."
"She's her old self again now." Topaz pointed out. "And we know to keep closer tabs on Stefana, that's all."
"I wish she'd fall off the planet." Sylva rolled her eyes. "But failing that, a straitjacket would really help keep her under wraps."
"Syl, you're evil." Copper giggled.
"No, Stefana is." Sylva shook her head. "She's making a career out of messing up our stuff - much worse than Emily ever did. And I mean, there was a logic behind that. All that abandoned kid stuff, you know? Stefana's just a spiteful bitch."
"She's also a spiteful bitch who won't be in our hair for a while." Copper observed.
"Oh?" Topaz looked interested.
"Mm. Aaron told me at lunch - you know how they're kinda friends? Apparently Stefana was out at some club the other night and there was something of a brawl. For once Steffi didn't start it, and wasn't involved, but she got caught in the middle of it and wound up falling headlong down a flight of stairs and knocking herself senseless on the floor at the bottom."
"Sounds like a clear improvement." Sylva remarked.
"Is she okay?" Topaz asked.
Copper nodded.
"Apart from a sore head, and a sprained ankle, yes." She agreed. "Aaron found out from Luca this morning - Diablo were supposed to be playing Dean's show and Aaron was helping out some other band since Misfit Music has a flu epidemic in it's road staff and we didn't need him today. Luca went on air to explain and he told Aaron, who went to see her after he'd done work. She'll be stuck in hospital for the week, whilst they make sure her concussion isn't serious, so we got a respite."
"Clever Steffi." Topaz mused. "I'm glad she wasn't badly hurt, but I'm sure glad she won't be around causing trouble for a bit."
"Aren't we all." Copper groaned. "It's me she hates most of all."
"She's just jealous that you're prettier than she is." Sylva shrugged. "She's like the witch from Snow White - vaguely pretty on the surface and rotten and twisted under it."
"Does that make me Snow White then?" Copper giggled. Sylva laughed.
"If you like." She agreed. "You know, for March, it sure is hot today."
"It really is." Topaz nodded. She scrambled to her feet.  "Hey, how about we go act like three year olds and paddle in the sea to cool off, huh?"
"Sounds good to me, I'm cooking." Copper grinned, getting up. "Syl, you coming?"
"Sure." Sylva picked herself up off the towel. "Last one to the sea is a rotten apple!"
And with that, she was gone.

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!