A Christmas Story

Chapter Two: Christmas Plans

 "Well, as far as I'm concerned, Jewel are going to have a busy Christmas."
Phyllis Gabor dropped a pile of folders onto her desk, glancing briefly at the top one before pushing them aside. "They've done a lot of interviews this week, Jetta, but interviews are no damn good without a song to back it up. We had a new single in the pipeline almost six weeks ago now, and because of all the damned red tape over Topaz's leaving and her final appearance, we've let it get pushed further and further back. Now we'll be lucky if we get the goddamn thing out before Christmas, and it's giving me a headache!"
"Nancy 'as the song written." Phyllis' companion, Sheila "Jetta" Pelligrini perched on the windowsill, a thoughtful look on her face. "Why not just haul the lot of them in 'ere, tell them to stop sittin' around on their backsides an' get recordin'?"
"I wish it was that simple." Phyllis rolled her eyes. The brains behind Los Angeles' most successful music company, the two former Misfits made a formidable team for, whilst Phyllis had the money and the flair, Jetta had the business brain and the shrewd, cunning wit to carry the enterprise through. Their years of working together had turned a mutual respect into close and genuine friendship, and it was well known in musical circles that they were the company to be signed to.
"Well, why ain't it?" Jetta demanded.
"I've just got off the phone with Zoe." Phyllis indicated her mobile with a derisive gesture. "She's booked solid right up until next week. We could get the girls in studio, but then they'd have about forty eight hours to do their video. You reckon that's enough time to package and promote that English brat's first Jewel release?"
"If it's all the time we got, Pizzazz, then it's bloody well gonna 'ave to be." Jetta said ruefully. "We all want a Christmas break this year. Justin an' I are goin' to New York for New Years an' I ain't 'avin' you cuttin' into my free hours because Jewel are behind schedule. So we put off Sadie's first single release - so what? The song is still there, an' we can make a big deal about it bein' a Christmas release. We can still 'ave proceeds goin' to that damn charity orphanage of Kimber's, an' everyone's 'appy. The girls 'ave worked to tighter deadlines an' made it. I say we call 'em in, give them the scoop, an' tell them to get on with it. Sadie's the oldest of the lot, if you come to it. She's damn well old enough to quit bein' kid gloved an' mollycoddled now. She can 'andle it."
"I wasn't planning on mollycoddling anyone, as you should damn well know by now." Phyllis snapped. "Fine, we'll do it your way. But I want this song to be a hit, Jetta. I don't like how Diablo are creeping up the charts, and Jewel have been quiet way too long, with one thing or another. Diablo have had two number one hits, and the next thing we know, that wretched group of Aja's daughter will be challenging for a place on the billboard too! Jewel are the best - Misfit Music is the best - and that's the way it's damn well gonna stay!"
She flicked a switch on her intercom, barking instructions to the hapless woman on the desk outside to put a call through to the Starlight Mansion, and bring Jewel to the office post haste. Then she flicked the switch back, rolling her eyes.
"It's a good thing your damn daughter is a musical whizkid." She muttered. "Else we'd be in trouble. The only other person I ever knew who wrote music for fun was Stormer...it pays to have someone on the books who can churn them out."
"Nancy's always loved music more than anything." Jetta shrugged her shoulders. "In the end, we 'ad to let 'er do things 'er way."
"Well, I'm glad you let her do it for this company." Phyllis said dryly. "At one point I did wonder."
"She's my kid. I didn't want 'er exploited." Jetta responded neatly. "Besides, I was right. At twelve she was no age to be in showbusiness. I'm still not sure she was even ready for it at eighteen. Now, maybe...but then? No."
"The day I let maternal anxiety get in the way of my business instinct, is the day I sell this company and retire." Phyllis said acidly. "You've gone soft, Jetta, you know that?"
"Maybe, love, but you can't run this company without me." Jetta grinned sweetly. "Besides, if you though Jewel were your only worry this Christmas, think again."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Phyllis demanded sharply. "Emily's not recording this December - she and that brat of a grandson of mine have gone to spend the holiday season in San Diego with Dad, because he asked for them and I was only too glad to get the pair of them out of my hair. Heaven knows I've seen too much of that kid recently, and her album is selling well, anyway. What else could we have to think about?"
"Well, I 'ad an impromptu visit at the 'ouse this morning." Jetta rolled her eyes. "As I was gettin' ready to come to work."
"A visitor?" Phyllis raised an eyebrow. "What kind of visitor?"
"Well, it came in through the front door, ate three slices of toast an' marmalade, checked what was on the telly an' dragged Justin out to the beach to mess around with cameras an' surf." Jetta shrugged. "Unlucky for 'im it was a free day, so 'e couldn't refuse."
"Roxy's in Los Angeles?" Phyllis' eyes widened. "Since when? Dammit, Jetta, why didn't you tell me that the Misfits were all gonna be in LA for Christmas? I coulda arranged something! Network television called to ask if I could get something special put together for their big spectacular, the day after Christmas, and I was going to send Jewel along with the new song. If I'd known Roxy would be here, I'd have booked us in!"
"Well, maybe you'll still have time." Jetta shrugged. "And even if you don't, I thought you should be warned that trouble was about. As for not telling you before, well, I didn't know until this mornin'. I gather she's stoppin' at Stormer's - usually the only notice I get before she descends on Los Angeles is a call from the airport demanding to be picked up."
She glanced idly out of the window at the sound of a car pulling onto the main forecourt. "An' unless I'm much mistaken, that's Copper's car, so Jewel are here. Time to give them your speech about how their 'oliday is just ending. I'm sure they'll love you for it."
"Well, I don't pay them to love me." Phyllis said grimly. "It's time Jewel proved they were more than a match for Rory Llewelyn and his stupid band Diablo!"


"You know, Roxy, I didn't expect to see you this Christmas."
Justin Pelligrini lowered his camera, gazing thoughtfully out at the foaming surf. "You've spent so many weeks and months travelling, I never know where you are anymore."
"Well, if you got the means, why in hell not?" Roxy settled herself on the sand, idly doodling patterns in the damp grains. "It's kinda cold today, even for Cali. What gives?"
"I don't know, but it's damn good for pictures of wild surf." Justin remarked. "Why did you drag me down here, anyway?"
"Well, I decided it was time you had a break from that wife of yours." Roxy shrugged, looking amused. "It's Christmas, after all."
"Roxy!" Justin shook his head slowly, a wry smile on his lips. "It's been more than twenty years - am I supposed to believe you still hate Jetta the way you used to?"
"Nah, too much energy to hate her." Roxy sprawled on her front, resting her chin in her hands. "Gimme the camera, huh? I wanna take some shots. And then, well...do you reckon the surf's up to some swimming?"
"I reckon you'll drown before you reach the buoy." Justin said frankly. "I'm serious, Roxy. It's not July...I wouldn't recommend it."
"Spoil sport." Roxy grimaced. "Okay, okay. Gimme the damn camera, huh?"
"Here, but don't get it wet." Justin handed it over. "It's the best one I got."
"Yeah, yeah. I do know how to use it!" Roxy rolled her eyes, grabbing it from her brother's hand and pointing it idly at the surf. "You know, where I come from, people don't make silly fusses about cameras. You break it, you swipe a new one. Simple as that."
"Well, in this case, if you break it, you'll buy a new one." Justin grinned. "Because I don't want to be putting up bail over Christmas."
"Oh please." Roxy snorted. "Like they'd ever catch me! The cops ain't never nailed me for anything...I'd like to see them start now!"
"You're not telling me that you played the law even at Christmas time?" Justin raised an eyebrow. Roxy smirked.
"Justin, if you don't know me by now, you never will." She said simply. "What's in a holiday? Wasn't like Christmas was all that different to any other day back then, anyhow."
"Not at all?" Justin was surprised. Roxy pursed her lips, lowering the camera.
"Well, maybe a little." She conceded.

"It's damn cold."
Roxanne wrapped her coat more tightly around her body with a shiver. "I thought you were going to get some matches or something! We could at least have a goddamn fire! But no, we're stuck here freezing to death!"
"Chill, Rox. It's Philadelphia, not the North Pole." Her companion, a heavy set young man of two or three years older cast her a grimace. "We'll live."
"Some hope, if you can't get heat and you can't get matches." Roxanne snorted. "What in hell are we going to eat tomorrow? Some Christmas this is gonna be."
"Look, Rox, that's how it goes. We take the rough with the smooth - didn't think I'd have to point that out to you!" Link dropped down beside her. "You can have my sweater if you're that cold."
"I'm not a wimp." Roxanne snapped back, through chattering teeth. "I'm just cold, that's all!"
"Well, ain't it better to be cold and safe than warm and beaten?" Link asked bluntly. Roxanne narrowed her eyes.
"We don't talk about that." She muttered. "Not ever, you got me? And you know it is. I'd rather get frostbite than go back, and you know it."
"Juan and Flint are out scouting for food." Link leaned up against the wall of the small squat. "So we won't starve, don't worry. I got a hunch that, in all the Christmas chaos, people won't miss a bit of food here and there. We'll eat, I promise ya. And I'll go get some matches tonight. I found a buck on the sidewalk earlier anyhow."
"Winter sucks." Roxanne grimaced. "What would it take those stuck up folk to give a damn about keeping us warm too, huh?"
"They'd rather pretend we didn't exist." Link scooped up a motheaten blanket from the floor, wrapping it around his friend's shoulders and ignoring her protests. "There. You're going blue, Rox! You ain't as old or as big as any of the rest of us, you need to be warm!"
"Why? Cos I'm a weedy girl, is that it?" Roxanne raised her fists.
"Rox, we all know there ain't a weedy bone inside of ya." Link laughed, unperturbed. "But I'm serious, kid. If you get sick, noone's got money to fix you up or buy you medicine. You know that and I know that. So don't be dumb, huh? It don't suit you."
Roxanne cursed, but saw the logic in his words, and stopped her complaining, pulling the blanket tighter around her.
"Christmas is for suckers." She muttered. She glanced up at the ceiling, taking in the stringy piece of tinsel that adorned the light fixture, concealing the absence of any bulb. "And what in hell is that about?"
"Flint thought it'd put us in the holiday mood. He found it hanging out a dumpster on fourth." Link shrugged. "What of it? It's kinda purdy, dontcha think?"
"Pretty? Bah."
"Aw, c'mon, Rox. I know it's not much, but we gotta get in the Christmas spirit."
"Why?" Roxy's expression became obstinate. "Noone ever did anything for me on Christmas. Why should I care what day it is?"
"Well, sorry to hear that." Link pursed his lips. Then he reached in his pocket, pulling out a ratty piece of newspaper. "Maybe this will change your mind."
"What? Some trashed out piece of paper? I don't understand." Roxy looked confused.
"Unfold it, stupid." Link looked embarrassed.
Still nonplussed, Roxy carefully unfolded the scrunched up piece of paper, a look of surprise crossing her face as she registered what what inside. Slightly tarnished by the print of the paper, but still shiny nonetheless, was a small silver chain.
"What the...?"
"You're always complaining how a girl can't look her best living down here." Now there was no hiding Link's discomfort. "I found it, when we were checkin' out that old chevy Juan was messing with in the scrapyard. I figured you might like it."
The teenanger stared up at him, surprise in her brown eyes, and for the first time, Link caught a hint of gratitude in their expression. He grinned.
"Merry Christmas, Rox." He said with a wink. "Now let's see 'bout getting those matches!"

"What are you thinking?" Justin eyed his sister in interest. Roxy shook her head.
"Just stuff. You know, things from before." She said vaguely. She indicated his bag. "Ain't that your phone bleeping?"
"Yes, which means someone's probably found work for me to do." Justin, knowing better than to pry into his companion's head pulled a face, scooping up the bag and dipping inside it to find his phone. "I might have to bail on you."
"Nothing new there." Roxy shrugged. "Did that when you married Jetta, I'm used to it now."
"Oh don't play that with me." Justin scolded, knowing that she was only playing with him.
"I'll go drag Stormer out for lunch." Roxy grinned back. "Working at Christmas? Sheesh, what a drag!"

 "They went out?"
Aurora Stapleton sat up in bed, stretching and stifling a yawn. "Already? What time is it, Cynthia? Did I sleep in?"
"It's half past ten, Topaz." Cynthia, hologramatic alter-ego of the quirky and free thinking mainframe computer Synergy pulled back her friend's curtains, coming to sit on the end of the bed. "They left a while back - Syl said not to disturb you. I have to be at Misfit Music this afternoon to assist, but I hoped I'd be here still when you awoke. I didn't want you to feel abandoned."
"It's a case of getting used to not being busy as hell." Topaz cast her companion a wry smile, making herself more comfortable on her pillows. "But to be honest, I'm glad I didn't get an early call this morning. I seem to spend all my time sleeping and eating right at the moment, anyway. I'm not sure I'd be of a lot of use to the band, unless Jewel entered a twenty four hour sleepathon."
Cynthia laughed.
"With good reason!" She chided. "You have to take good care of yourself, in any case. Dr Finnan would love none of us if we let you run wild!"
"I'm not an invalid." Topaz protested, reaching for her dressing gown, and pushing back the covers. "I'm just tired a lot, that's all. But hey, in a few weeks time I'm going to be a Mom...that's gonna make all of this sleeping and backache worth it! And in the meantime, I'm going to go hunt up some breakfast."
"There are some waffles that just need reheating, I believe." Cynthia said with a smile. "Copper said she'd left you some, in case you were peckish when you woke."
"Oh, great." Topaz beamed. "Waffles and syrup sound like a good way to start the day. And then I suppose I'd better get to grips with setting up that thing over there."
She indicated the pile in the corner. "I'm told that it will make a perfectly serviceable crib, when it's properly assembled. I just haven't a clue how to do it, and the longer I put it off, the more likely it gets that Baby will spend her first night on earth sleeping on the floor. Dr Finnan is coming to inspect this place at the end of the week, to make sure that I can go ahead with my plans to have the kid here at the Starlight, so everything has to be ready."
"Can I help?" Cynthia asked. "As I said, I'm at a loose end until one o'clock, and I'm happy to do anything for the newest and youngest member of the Starlight Mansion clan." She smiled. "After all, she will be the first tiny baby I have ever seen at proper close quarters."
"Any help will be gratefully received, thank you." Topaz nodded, grinning. "I'm hopeless at reading plans, and I've had a tendency to just pretend it didn't need to be done, but I can't leave it forever. The room is more or less ready, it's just the crib. And then, of course, I have to sort out all of the baby clothes and junk I've amassed over the last few months into some kind of order. It's wild, Cyn! All of this is becoming very, very real now that it's only a few weeks away!"
"It's going to be an interesting Christmas." Cynthia observed.
"Well, the bummer is that I can't really drink it in, if I'm expecting a baby a week along the line." Topaz sighed. "Oh well. There'll always be next year."
"Topaz, tell me, are you really bothered about Jewel going on without you?" Cynthia asked, as she crouched down to examine the pile of wooden pieces. Topaz pursed her lips.
"Yes, but not because they agreed to going on and adopting a new member." She admitted at length. "More that I know they'll be away come January, and I'm going to miss them being here so much. I know I made the right choice, Cyn, in leaving when I did. Sadie is much more musical than I am, and I know that once she's fully got the hang of American life, she'll be absolutely fine here. She's a sweetheart and she needs to believe in herself - Jewel will give her that chance. But on a selfish level? I'm not looking forward to spending January on my own."
"You shall not be alone." Cynthia assured her. "You forget, Topaz, that I am unable to travel beyond these shores in my Cynthia form. The original projectors Emmet Benton built for me are long since out of my hands, and the watch which Aaron constructed for me has many capabilities, but in order to project myself in three dimensional, solid form, I must sacrifice my more long distance attributes." She shrugged. "So I shall be here."
"I'm glad of that." Topaz looked relieved. "I mean, it sucks that you can't travel, Cyn, but I couldn't lose all of you at once. Not so soon after things change."
"When are you due again?" Cynthia asked.
"January 1st." Topaz dimpled. "So it might be a chaotic New Year for everyone this year!"
"It will be interesting, with a new baby in the house." Cynthia looked thoughtful. "I have a feeling things will never be quite the same way again."

Chapter One: Back In Los Angeles
Chapter Two: Christmas Plans
Chapter Three: Like Old Times
Chapter Four:  The Truth About Anna
Chapter Five: The Video Shoot
Chapter Six: Topaz's Sensation
Chapter Seven: Sadie's Tattoo
Chapter Eight: An Unlikely Team
Chapter Nine: Misfit vs Devil
Chapter Ten: An Old Flame
Chapter Eleven: Topaz Again

Chapter Twelve: A Christmas Present

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!