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
"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
"Bah, goddamn married couples." Phyllis glowered. "Go on, then. Get
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 PR...so 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
"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
"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
"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!"