Arc Three: When Life Goes On...
Part Three

Chapter Four: Back To Work

In the busy, bustling lobby of Misfits Music, Zoe paused for a moment, looking around her.
"Nothing here has changed." She murmured. "But I feel like I have - inside, at least. For the last few weeks everything has been so crazy, but talking to Syl and to Mom and sorting things with Fiona has cleared my head. I feel better today than I have in ages - I guess bottling it up so long was really starting to drive me mad. At least I know that Mom and Syl are on my side, and maybe in time I'll tell the other Jewels too. No need for anyone else to know - not their business - but Jewel have been sweet to me. Syl especially...I can't believe I was at all worried."
She whistled a merry tune under her breath, waving to the security guard on duty and then heading across to wait for the lift to arrive back on the ground floor. She had received a phone call only that morning from Phyllis Gabor, the owner and senior executive of the music company, asking her to come to the music company to discuss Jewel's next video project, and the idea had excited her. She loved working with many different types of music acts, but Misfit Music commissions were always good ones to take up and Jewel were their biggest selling act. But, she mused, as she stepped into the lift, it was the fact they were all such good friends that made Jewel such a good prospect to work for. They had met up not long after Jewel had been formed, and her friendship with the group had only grown with time.Her sweet and bubbly nature meant that she was one of the few people able to work with Phyllis Gabor without exciting the executive's fearsome temper too often, and she enjoyed working with the people whom her mother had so idolised as a girl.
"I wonder what Jewel's new song sounds like." She mused. "I didn't realise they'd already picked a track to work with. Oh well...guess we'll soon see, won't we?"
She sauntered along the main corridor, calling the odd greeting to employees she knew as she went. At the end of the corridor stood Phyllis' office, and she knocked brightly on the door, waiting to be called inside. Jetta, it turned out, was also inside the company's largest executive office, and Zoe realised that Jewel's next single was to mean business.
"You called me?" She asked, sitting down in the vacant seat in front of Phyllis' desk.
"We wanted to discuss Jewel's new video with you." Phyllis nodded. "Listen, Zoe, it ain't public knowledge yet, but Jewel have been nominated for a state award. Tapestry is up for it and we want to keep Jewel in people's minds. The new song will be off the new album, of course, but it won't hurt for Jewel to have a dramatic and dazzling video for their new single, just so people remember to drop their vote with our girls. You with me?"
"An award?" Zoe looked startled. "Oh! Okay, I see what you mean. Do Jewel know they're up for this thing yet?"
"They do." Jetta nodded, perching on the edge of the desk and setting down her folder. "I spoke to Nancy about it yesterday. The state will know the nominees at the end of the week an' we don't want leaks, so we'd appreciate it if you didn't mention it around at the moment. But it means that the new single 'as to 'ave a snappy, attractive video to showcase the girls an' make them 'votable'. They've 'ad a string of number ones, but they ain't got an award to their name yet, an' this would be a good start to that idea."
"Yeah, I see." Zoe looked thoughtful. "Have they decided the song they want to do yet?"
"I think it's a choice of two or three." Phyllis rolled her eyes. "Wretched girls haven't decided for sure yet, but I know which track I want them to release, so if they don't get a move on, they will be told. My own vote is for track two - it's called Reveal." She pushed a disk across the table. "Here. This is a prototype disk of Jewel's new album music as it currently stands - I had the technics put it together for you. There are three tracks missing, because Jewel haven't laid them down yet, but the single isn't going to be one of them. I want you to listen to this through and talk to the girls, get them to decide what they want to do and then make sure they produce the best damn video they've ever done. I want them to win that award!"
"Are any of their rivals up for it, too?" Zoe took the disk, casting Phyllis a curious look. The executive shook her head.
"If you mean Diablo, no." She replied. "Thankfully. But still, I dont wanna leave this to chance. I want people to believe there is noone else worth voting for other than our girls. You get me?"
"I'm with you." Zoe grinned. She slipped the disk into her bag, getting to her feet. "I'll take it home, play it through and go tackle Jewel. I'm really looking forward to working with them on another project, actually...we always have a lot of fun."
"Well, just make sure you give it your best, okay?" Jetta said quietly. "We 'ave a lot ridin' on it."
"Don't worry, I always give Jewel a hundred and ten percent of my time and effort." Zoe assured her. "I'll be right on it!"
With that she was gone, and the two executives exchanged looks.
"If she quit bein' so bloody 'appy all the time, I'd like 'er a whole lot better first thing in the mornin'." Jetta observed dryly, scooping up her folder once more and flicking through till she found the right document. "But she's good at what she does, an' that's what matters, I suppose."
"She's better than most of the other options about." Phyllis responded. "What's that thing?"
"The invoice for the technicians. Needs to be paid off today or tomorrow." Jetta responded, setting it down on the desk. "Which song do you think they will release?"
"God knows." Phyllis rolled her eyes. "But I hope it's at least one of the first three they laid down. We need something up bear and catchy that will stick in people's heads. This ain't the time for one of your girls meaningful and deep ballad types, you know."
"I think it's whatever comes out of that girl's 'ead." Jetta said thoughtfully. "But I agree. Somethin' up-tempo is good for me, too. I think Zoe will vote that way, as well. She knows 'ow important this is, an' she's right, she does always give everythin' where Jewel's videos are concerned. I guess we leave it with 'er?"
"Yep." Phyllis nodded. "And go back to arranging some goddamn promotion." She grimaced. "On second thoughts, you can do that. I fancy a visit to the massage parlour."
"No you don't." Jetta shook her head. "It's been a bloody busy couple of weeks for me, with me nephew gettin' 'itched an' me son gettin' engaged. If anyone needs the massage it's me!"
"Aaron and Copper's engagement would make good PR." Phyllis' eyes twinkled thoughtfully. "Dont you think?"
"Pizzazz, I'm leavin' it with them." Jetta pursed her lips. "You 'ave no bleedin' idea how messy it almost was."
She grinned, getting to her feet. "I'll see ya later. I got some files to finish before lunch an' Justin is meetin' me in the city for that at one."
"Bah, goddamn married couples." Phyllis glowered. "Go on, then. Get lost."
Jetta chuckled, withdrawing from the office. She was well used to her companion's frequent gripes about her relationship with her husband of more than twenty years, photographer Justin Pelligrini.

Across the city, Zoe had secluded herself in her apartment to play through Jewel's CD, tapping her feet in time to the music as she listened and scribbling down various ideas as she did so.
"Seems clear cut to me which one they should release, from a video point of view." She realised. "It's catchy and quirky and it stands out a mile. I see exactly what Phyllis means." She dimpled, amused. "Well, that's something, at least - if Phyllis and I agree, then I'm not going to be yelled at."
She reached for her mobile phone, dialling the number of the Starlight Mansion and waiting for her call to be answered at the other end. Soon, Sylva's merry voice came down the line and she grinned.
"Hi, Syl, Zoe here." She said.
"Hey, Zo. How are you?" There was the sound of Sylva sitting down at the bottom of the stairs. "We were just about to head into town looking for new outfits for our next tv appearance - how is everything?"
"Everything seems to be working out. I'm actually calling for a different reason." Zoe responded. "You recognise the music, I presume?"
"Sure do." Sylva agreed. "Our new album. What about it?"
"I was at your music company this morning, speaking to your bosses about a new single release." Zoe replied. "I love the disk, by the way - even if it's not complete, it still sounds really good. I also tend to agree with Phyllis, that Reveal is the song to do. I already have a few ideas for a video, actually, if you girls want to go with that one."
"I'll talk to the others about it whilst we're out." Sylva promised. "Hey, you busy tonight?"
"No, not that I know of. Fiona's working upstate today and I was just gonna sit in with a movie, actually." Zoe responded. "I decided I have to trust her, so I'm going to not worry about what she's doing when I'm not there to watch."
"Sounds like a plan to me." Sylva grinned. "But if you fancy sharing your evening in, how about dropping by ours for dinner? We're not working this evening, because the clearup after the wedding is still going on, and it's kinda empty without the Teenangels. We'd love to have you and we could discuss the video."
"Sounds good." Zoe agreed. "Okay, I'll drop by yours about eight then, okay? Ideas in head ready."
"Yep, we'll see you then." Sylva told her.
"Okay. Bye, Syl, and thanks. I'm gonna spend an hour or two scrawling plans for this, now I'm inspired, and I'll be there at eight."
"Bye, Zoe. Look forward to seeing you!"
Sylva hung up the phone, reaching for her jacket and slipping it on as she got to her feet.
"That Zoe, did I hear you say?" Copper poked her head out from the lounge, Nancy in tow. Sylva nodded.
"I invited her by here tonight for dinner, to discuss video ideas." She replied. "Apparently she has been listening to Exotic and she thinks we should be releasing Reveal."
"That's what Aunt Phyl also said." Nancy remembered, bending down to adjust the zip on her boot. "That works for me, by the way, if it makes us less enemies."
She paused at the bottom of the stairs. "Cynthia? Topaz? Are you coming?"
"Sorry, had a sandal crisis." Topaz appeared at the top of the stairs, looking sheepish, and clutching her beige sandals in her hands. "I couldn't find the left one."
"Well, your suede boots are down here by the door." Nancy remarked. "And where's Cynthia?"
"I can't wear boots right at the moment." Topaz shook her head. "My ankles aren't feeling boot friendly, hence the sandal hunt."
"Ooh, forgot about that." Nancy conceded. Topaz grimaced.
"Well, believe me, I wish that I could." She admitted. "Though I suppose I should just be thankful not to be feeling queasy, huh? I've actually been fine so far today - touch wood!"
"Hey, where is Cynthia?" Sylva glanced around her. "Cynnie? Are you with us or are you scanning your hard drive! We wanna go out today!"
"I'm right here, Sylva." Cynthia materialised in the doorway, scooping her watch up off the unit and fastening it around her wrist. "I was choosing what to wear." She dimpled. "Just because it's digitally enhanced does not mean a girl should not take time to look her best. Especially when she is shopping with celebrities and acting as fashion consultant for the day!"
"Come on, we'll take my car." Copper offered, holding up her car keys. "I suppose we're hitting Beverley Hills' most glamourous stores - but what kind of a look are we going to go for this time? I kinda like it when we play Connie's Corner and Dean's show with a theme."
"If we're doing Reveal, I dread to think." Nancy rolled her eyes.
"We're doing Reveal?" Topaz looked startled.
"Well, it isn't a cert." Sylva shook her head. "But Phyllis and Zoe both think we should - Zoe's coming to us for dinner tonight to talk videos - and I don't fancy arguing the point with Phyllis, so I'm guessing we should take the hint and go with it."
"Topaz sings Reveal, though, on the album." Copper remembered. "Topaz, you okay with singing lead again? It'll be two songs in a row you'll have performed lead on, and I know at the moment your health is unpredictable."
"I'm quite happy singing." Topaz nodded. "I think Dean's show was a one off, and besides, if this happened in April, surely I can't be getting sickness for too much longer? I must be..." She paused, counting on her fingers. "Two and a half months or so now. Wow, that's a scary thought. But Dr Finnan said that morning sickness usually recedes around three months, and I do feel better today than I have for a while, so I'm hoping that I've kicked it." She dimpled. "Reveal is an awesome song to sing, anyway. I'd love it to be our next single. It's actually probably my favourite track we've laid down so far, so it gets my vote. I could probably use the work as a distraction too - Cameron leaves tomorrow."
"Well, then it looks like that is settled." Sylva laughed, as they reached Copper's black convertible. "Reveal it is!"


"Well, I kinda think that congratulations are in order." Zoe took a sip of her drink, setting it down on the table, sending her companions a grin. "Though not before time, I have to admit."
It was later that evening and Jewel, with the addition of Zoe, were sat around the dining room table eating dinner, when the topic of conversation turned to that of Jewel's recent nomination.
"Congratulations?" Sylva looked confused. "For what in particular, Zoe?"
 "Phyllis told me that you'd been nominated for an award, or rather, that Tapestry had." Zoe dimpled. "It's about time Jewel had something for the trophy case other than gold and platinum disks, you know. I'm surprised you haven't been nominated for something before this."
"It's kinda exciting." Copper admitted. "But to be honest, it's also going to be pressure. We can't change the album, but we can put people off by bad we have to try and keep everything nice and sane and not cause any major scandals."
"Misfit Music seem to think it's a big deal, also." Zoe nodded. "Hence me being called in now. They want an extra special video - even though this new single won't be from Tapestry, it will keep Jewel in the public eye and be a flagship for the Exotic disk. What I've heard of that, by the way, I like very much indeed." She reached into her pocket, pulling out the disk and setting it down on the table. "I'm gonna leave this with you, in case someone gets wind that I have a preview of this thing and decide to break into my apartment for it or something. The hype over Jewel in this area these days is mad."
"It's stifling, sometimes." Nancy reached over to scoop up the disk. "And thanks, by the way. We don't want pirate copies of Exotic haunting California before we're ready to launch the album."
"Syl says you want to do Reveal as the single." Topaz recalled. "That right?"
"Only if you're with the idea too. Phyllis seemed keen on it and it's a heck of a track, but you're the artists, so the final word is yours." Zoe responded, setting down her fork. "What are your feelings?"
"We like the idea, and we don't want to mess with Aunt Phyl." Nancy said wryly. "So I suppose that makes it a unanimous opinion."
"Good." Zoe's green eyes lit up. "Because I have lots and lots of ideas for how to do this video. The song is so catchy it's bound to get stuck in people's heads, but I was listening to the words and I realised it's actually about you guys, isn't it? How you really are, behind the glamour the press sees?"
"Yeah, it's kinda on those lines." Nancy agreed. "I wrote the lyrics, but I wrote them with imput and ideas from these girls too. More than one track on the album this time will have lyric credits for the whole band, actually, because of contributions and ideas they've dropped on me. Reveal pretty much is as you say, Zoe. The reality behind the fame. People don't actually know us that well, though they think that they do."
"Then I think we need to work on that as a theme, and try and bring out each of your personalities in the video." Zoe responded. "How is really up to you, I'm flexible on that point, though I've some rough ideas. I reckon there's a lot of scope for colour and drama, too - but I think a deep video that means something will stick in people's heads better. We don't want the song dismissed as just another bouncy rock song - it's more than that and we have to capitalise."
"Sounds fun to me." Sylva nodded her head. "The press turns you into some two dimensional fiend, anyhow." She grimaced. "I have no objection to being the femme fatale of rock, but I do object to being labelled as a cheap flirt in that rag that the editors dare to call a local tabloid newspaper. There's more to me than that!"
"I could argue...but I won't." Nancy looked amused. "Besides, I agree with the sentiment about the press. They all thing I'm shy...I'm not shy. I just don't like being messed about with and I like my alone time."
"You're a hermit, as I keep telling people." Sylva nodded. Nancy flicked a pea at her foe.
"I'm not a hermit." She retorted. "Though living with you has made me seriously consider the life change!"
"I've been thinking up imagery to link with you and your music, Nancy, since that's such an important part of who you are." Used to the bantering by now, Zoe took no notice of the spat. "Syl, how are things with you and Jack?"
"They stink." Sylva said simply. "Why?"
"Well, you have this natural rapport with kids, I was wondering if we could co-opt Courtenay, but evidently not." Zoe looked thoughtful. "Don't worry, I will work out a way around it." She indicated Copper. "You are a die hard romantic, so I want to paint you as the romantic heroine somehow - especially since I'm sure your engagement is soon going to be public knowledge?"
"Yes, though I didn't realise you already knew about it." Copper looked surprised. Zoe laughed.
"I observe things - I can see your ring." She said, dimpling. "But I rather had a feeling it would end up that way, when Syl told me you'd made up your row with him. My congrats, by the way. Vi's wedding was so romantic - I can't wait for the next one!"
"And we'll be sure to have you filming it, too!" Copper grinned. "But it won't be yet, Zo."
"What do you have planned for me?" Topaz looked curious. "The real Topaz is kinda a top secret Topaz at the moment - Cameron, the baby, all of that kind of stuff. What are you going to focus on for me?"
"Your heritage. I intend on involving all of your heritages in this video, too." Zoe responded. "I don't know if we will get to travel, I rather doubt it, but it occured to me that you are Canadian, Topaz, Copper is Mexican American, Nancy's half English, and Syl..."
"I'm your mongrel American." Sylva dimpled. "But then, I can fly the stars and stripes in the video, can't I?"
"Yep, that's rather what I thought." Zoe agreed. "Though Martescu sounds Romanian, to be honest."
"I think it is, but too many generations back for me to lay claim to it." Sylva responded. My heritage is basically just a mish mash of people who moved from wherever to the states aeons of time ago, so I haven't bothered to denominate myself as anything but American, pure and simple. My parents and grandparents were born and grew up here - that makes me home grown."
"Okay, then we have Mexico, America, England and Canada." Zoe nodded.
"And Spain." Copper added. "My father's family came from Valencia."
"He did? I didn't know that." Zoe admitted. "All right, I'll make note of that too." She grinned. "You see? So many ideas, so little video space. We're gonna have a great piece of film when we're done, though!"
"It sounds a whole lot of fun." Topaz admitted. "I can't wait for us to get started!"

Chapter One: Zoe And Flame
Chapter Two: Spying For The Enemy
Chapter Three: Connie
Chapter Four: Back To Work
Chapter Five: A Broken Heart
Chapter Six: A Shock For Zoe
Chapter Seven: A Confrontation
Chapter Eight: A Second Leak
Chapter Nine: Press Conference
Chapter Ten: Revelations
Chapter Eleven: At The Starlight

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!