Stefana's eyes narrowed and she pulled a cigarette roughly from the
packet, tossing the rest of the box across her bedroom and lighting the
one in her hand rather more angrily than normal. She dropped down onto
her bed, glaring at the telephone as if it had deliberately sought to offend
her. "Dammit! I spend one all night stint filming stupid videos with that
weirdo Zoe Montgomery, and next thing I know, the phone at Aaron's apartment
is being answered by that goddamn bitch who thinks she can play drums! What
in hell is wrong with the man? Is he a doormat? The girl turned him down
flat, humiliated him - what, is he sleeping with her again now? What gives
She got to her feet, pacing restlessly across her carpet to the window
and flinging it open, glaring out moodily at the grounds below.
"I'd like to grab that girl by the throat and chuck her out of here."
She muttered, taking a drag on her cigarette and exhailing a puff of smoke.
"She wouldn't bother me then! What is her game? And hell, if he has taken
the woman back...what is it she has over him? What in hell does Copper goddamn
Jewel have that any other normal chick on this planet doesn't? I was so sure
that the baby business would put Aaron off for life...did I miscalculate?"
She grabbed her phone off the ledge, keying in a number and waiting
impatiently for the person on the other end of the line to pick up. She
had made the acquaintance of the Teenangels' big rival, Jessica Talley,
completely by accident, and at the time had seen little point in the other
girl's suggestion that maybe they could work as a team. She had had several
schemes and plans, none of which had really interested Stefana, but now it
had occured to her how this Jesta girl could be useful to her own schemes
"She hates those Teenangels nobodies, and I hate Jewel. It's a Teenangel
getting married in Copper's goddamn house. Maybe this is a better acquaintance
to have than I thought." She muttered. "Come on, damn you! Pick up!"
At that moment, there was the sound of her call being answered, and
a terse voice came down the line, demanding to know what was up in clipped,
British tones. Stefana scowled.
"Shut your face, Jesta." she snapped. "Listen up. You said we had a
common enemy, well, maybe it's more common than I thought. Whatever you
need my help with in wrecking this fiasco at the Starlight Mansion, count
me in. So long as I get to put one over on that smug bitch Copper, I don't
much care what you want me to do. In the meantime - what's that girl you
have racing round after you like a little lapdog? Flame? Well, if she's such
an obedient little girl, tell her to go find out what's going down between
Copper and their Road Manager, Aaron Pelligrini. I want that Aaron working
for Diablo, not for that no hope band of girls." She paused, her eyes narrowing
into near slits of anger. "Don't come with the insinuations! Aaron's nothing
to me but a better stage show for my band and one in the eye for Jewel, so
don't you forget it. Remember who the big name star is in these parts,
Jesta. I have far more powerful connections in Los Angeles than you."
She paused again, pursing her lips as she considered the other girl's
"Look, I don't care where your money is from. Put it where your mouth
is." She snapped. "I wanna see some action. If you're gonna wreck this
wedding, you're gonna have to do it quick. A press fiasco about a wedding
in tears would do wonders for Jewel's public image, but you're running
out of time to do it. Are you sure your plans are gonna work out?"
She took a drag on her cigarette, contemplating.
"Okay, well you better have it as covered as you think you do. And if
you can get one in on Copper too...well, what hurts one Jewel, hurts em
all and at the moment it might even prove helpful to your little Teenangel
destruction plot." She laughed. "As if it even matters. The Teenangel Outsiders
will never make the billboard charts. Bu-u-ut...if you help me out...maybe
I can help you to break the American market. I know a lot of people, and
contacts, and stuff like that. You never know where it might lead you." She
ran her tongue around her teeth as she listened. "Yes, we're thinking the
same now. Look, if you find out anything about Copper and Aaron, let me know.
Aaron Pelligrini is the best there is in Los Angeles for stage direction
and I don't take no for an answer."
She switched off her phone, tossing it across the room to join the cigarettes
and reaching for her amphetamine tablets, tipping a dose out of the little
clear plastic bag and reaching for her mineral water. She had barely downed
the dose, however, when there was a voice from the doorway. She swung around,
clasping the remains of the dose tight in her hand and banging the glass
down on the unit.
"Marissa, if you're gonna come scare the hell out of me, could you at
least give me some warning?" She snapped.
"I'm sorry. I didn't realise you didn't hear my knock." Marissa looked
contrite, slipping into the room and closing the door. "Were you busy?"
"I was calling a new friend. That's all." Stefana reached over to secrete
the remainder of her drugs back in the unit, dropping down onto her bed.
"Why do you care?"
Marissa eyed her companion thoughtfully.
"New friend?" She asked.
"Yeah. From England." Stefana shrugged. "Get lost, will you? I'm not
in the mood to talk to you right now."
"You're off your head on speed, that's why." Marissa recognised the
look in her friend's eyes, and sighed. "Okay, I'll leave you to sober up.
This new friend of yours isn't to do with drugs, I hope."
"No, it's to do with music. I promised her some assistance in the American
music business if she wanted it." Stefana shrugged.
"And what is she doing for you in return?"
"None of your damn business." Stefana grabbed her friend by the shoulders,
pushing her firmly towards the door. "So get lost. I told you. I don't wanna
talk right now."
"Okay, okay, I'm going." Marissa relented. "But you'd better have sobered
up by dinner. Rory is taking us out to celebrate the end of our video shoot
and the fact four music channels already want to play it. I'm not going
to cover for you."
"Rory can go to hell." Stefana shrugged. "I've got bigger fish to fry."
Marissa eyed her companion thoughtfully, but, knowing she was unlikely
to get sense from her friend whilst Stefana was under the influence of amphetamine,
and well aware that the guitarist's moods could turn hostile, she obediently
left the room, gently closing the door behind her.
"I wonder what she's plotting." She mused. "At least the wedding at
the Starlight Mansion is too close for her to interfere. I can't help being
worried that she'd try, if she had more time. Mind you, it could just as
easily be that this plan involves Aaron. She's seen a lot of him lately.
I only hope she doesn't think that means she's got him away from Copper.
Even if she doesn't realise it, she's in love with him, and I'm pretty sure
Aaron still only has eyes for Copper." She shrugged sadly. "Oh well. I suppose
time will tell. I just really hope Stef isn't getting herself into more trouble!"
"So, run this by me again."
Nancy stretched out in front of the television set, taking a chocolate
biscuit from the plate on the table and casting her redhaired companion
a confused look. "You and my brother had it out in his apartment and now
you're on speaking terms again?"
"Effectively, yes." Copper nodded, her eyes twinkling. "It's cool, Nancy.
We had one of the longest talks in history. I suppose you could say, effectively,
that we've made up. He's gonna be my date for the wedding again, and well,
everything looks like being all right."
She leant over to hug her friend. "Thanks, by the way. I know you had
some part in this, and I don't know how you found out, but thanks anyway.
I guess I was so preoccupied with how I was feeling about this, I didn't
realise that he might feel differently."
"So you're back together?" Topaz put in from her corner. Copper nodded.
"Yeah, we are." She agreed. "And things feel right. Obviously things
aren't exactly the same as they were before, but you know. Change
can be good too, and I'm glad to have him back."
"I'm glad you do too." Topaz looked sheepish, then, "I told Nancy, Copper.
I'm sorry, I kinda...hoped she might be able to help someway."
"Well, it's okay. I'm too content to be mad." Copper assured her. "Does
Sylva know too?"
"Yeah, I do." Sylva's own voice came from the doorway. "I bugged Topaz
till she told me this morning. I didn't wanna be out of the crowd on this."
She pouted. "You were leaving me out!"
"Where are the Teenangels?" Copper asked.
"Some of them are upstairs, I think some are out." Nancy shrugged. "Exploring
LA, probably. It's a big vacation for them, at the end of the day."