A Jewel Whodunnit...
Chapter Seven: Stefana's Date

"Wow, you came."
Stefana turned, meeting the gaze of the speaker with a slightly aloof smile. He was young and of average build, with sandy hair and grey-blue eyes. She could tell in an instant that he wasn't her usual type, but this was, she reminded herself, more than a pleasure mission. This was her key to stabbing Jewel in the back.
"I always keep my engagements." She said now, fixing him with a searching look. "Jake, that's right, isn't it?"
"Yes. Jake Barren." Jake nodded his head. "Wow. I can't believe I'm really standing this close to Stefana Ranieri..." He blushed. "I'm sorry. I guess you don't need me acting like a crazed groupie, huh?"
Inwardly Stefana did not mind at all being worshipped and grovelled before, but she shrugged, laughing.
"I was interested." She said slowly, as they made their way along the pavement in the direction of the park. "How did you manage to get my address, anyway? All my fanmail goes through Rory Llewelyn at Rebel Records."
"Oh, I...found a way." Jake said vaguely. "It's not so hard when you know, well, the right people." He smiled. "I have a friend who, well, works in the business, and he helped me. You...aren't mad, are you? I mean, I would never stalk you, it's just that I wanted to make sure you got my letter."
"I'm not mad. Initiative is a good characteristic." Stefana smiled, adjusting her soft muslin gloves absently as she did so. The gloves had been a present from another adoring fan, but she had felt that, for the first time, they would be put to better use than just looking pretty. After all, she did not want her prints to be traced.
. "I must say, though, that you're the first fan who's gone to such lengths just to meet little me. I feel quite special."
"Well, you are." Jake told her with a shrug.
"It's ironic that you work at Misfit Music."
"I know. I needed the money." Jake admitted. "I've only worked there a month or two. Saw an advert in the local paper, you know the spiel. It's menial work mostly. Cleaning, fixing, getting tea." He frowned. "Not much to boast about but it pays the bills."
"Well, we all need something to do that." Stefana said, with some feeling. "Even in my line of work I wouldn't call myself rich...it takes a long time to work up the amount of money Rory Llewelyn or even Phyllis Gabor have to play around with."
"Miss Gabor is a loud mouthed old crone." Jake said ruefully. "She's not a businesswoman, she just has a lot of money. The whole place would fall to pieces if it wasn't for Ms Pelligrini, but she's sharp tongued and sour as they come...they're a horrible old pair of witches really."
Stefana hid a smile.
"I have a fairly amicable relationship with my employer." She said airily, mindful of the fact that it was never good to air her private opinions of Rory in public, and especially not to a fan. "So I suppose I'm lucky."
"Well, all I can say is that I wish it had been Rebel Records which had had the job opening." Jake cast her a smile. "It would've been cool to work in the same building as you guys. Diablo's music is so incredible, and you play a mean guitar, you know. Jewel are just..." He made a dismissive gesture. "I dunno what the world sees in them. It's girly rock, but it has no substance or meaning. Not like the stuff you guys write."
"I'm flattered you think so." Stefana said smoothly. "But you know, there really is very little animosity between Jewel and us, even though we're on seperate labels. I think because we're so different, it's helped us to accept each other. In fact," She continued, as splinters of an idea began to form in her mind, "We've been discussing the idea of some kind of collaboration. It's just settling the legal technicalities." She smiled. "Which reminds me, I have some music I really need to drop off at Misfit Music. I don't s'pose you have a car...?"
"For you, anything." Jake grinned at her. "It's this way."
"Great." Stefana bestowed him with a dazzling smile for his help. "You're a star, you know that?"
"You know, you're so nice." Jake observed as he opened the passenger side of the car for his companion, then slipped into the driver's seat, revving the engine. "My friend said he thought you'd be all arrogance and ego, but you're really not. I can see why they call you Diablo's little piece of hell, though - you have this really dramatic look, it's not good girl at all."
"Who says I'm not a good girl?" Stefana purred, raising an eyebrow. Jake laughed.
"Well, what I mean is you're not one of those too good to be true angel types." He amended. "I can't stick them. A girl's gotta have some substance."
"Why, thank you." Stefana winked. "I take it as a compliment, then."
"It was meant as one." Jake nodded.
For a moment or two they drove in silence, Stefana gazing out of the window at the passing scenery as she formulated her plan. She had been inside Misfit Music only a few times before, usually to find some excuse to talk to Aaron, but she had remembered enough of the layout to be able to find the main music studio, where all of Jewel's equipment was kept.
"I'm not alone, so I can't do much." She mused. "Flunkie boy here will get suss if I take too long, and I can't exactly steal anything big. But unless I miss my guess, that freak sister of Aaron's keeps her manuscript books here...and I know that there's a dumpster below because of Phyllis Gabor's frequent tantrums and fondness for tossing things out of the window on a whim. If I can distract him for a moment or two with some business or other, maybe I could get rid of a few choice articles that way, and come back and remove them from the dumpster later, if I can be bothered. Yeah, that's what I'll do. I want to make the least amount of mess, but cause the most possible amount of chaos that I can, so that will work just fine."
She smiled, not noticing the glint in her companion's eye. He too appeared deep in thought, but by the time they had arrived at Misfit Music the glint was gone and he was all charm and friendliness once more, holding the car door for her and leading the way inside.
"It's kinda late." He observed. "So most people aren't working. I think the old crones have gone home, and it's just Nigel the guard and a few late working execs." He flashed his security pass at the guard, who grunted without looking up from his newspaper, and grinned. "You didn't want to give it to someone specifically, did you?"
"No. I'll leave it on the table in the studio, if it's unlocked." Stefana lied easily. "Or if not, in one of the offices. I just said I'd bring it down today and I almost forgot about it." She laughed sheepishly. "Maybe I was excited about meeting you and it slipped my mind."
Jake laughed too at this.
"You're too sweet to me." He observed. "You know where you're going, by the way?"
"Of course. I'm here all the time." Stefana nodded. "Arent...you coming with me?"
"I'll meet you up there." Jake told her. "I just remembered I left a storecupboard on second unlocked and I'll get it in the neck from Miss Gabor tomorrow if I don't go lock it. It has computer stuff in, I think she worries about someone stealing it." He snorted. "Not like she couldn't buy more, but there you go. Apparently having lots of money makes you mean."
"Not having a lot of money to spare, I wouldn't know." Stefana said wryly. It was not far from the truth either, she acknowledged to herself ruefully, for her drug debts ate away at her wages and sometimes she only just managed to break even and keep away people's suspicions. Jake grinned at her.
"I love how you're so down to earth." He commented. Stefana shrugged.
"We worked damn hard to get this far, no other way we could be." She said airily. "Okay, so I'll see you up there? I'm sorry to encroach on our, well, date like this. It's just..."
"I understand. Work obligations are important." Jake nodded. "And yes, I'll be right up as soon as I've locked up. Thanks for understanding."
"No problem." Stefana grinned. Then she was gone across the lobby to the lift, leaving him to his own devices.
"It's not much time to work with." She mused. "But it'll do. I've enough."
She jabbed at the buttons, willing the lift to go faster. Finally it stopped on the right floor and she got out, hurrying to the studio and checking the door. Luckily for her it was open, and she slipped inside, turning on the light and glancing around her.
A look of disdain crossed her face.
"It's ugly in here." She decided. "Fits the band that works here. Honestly, someone needs to get some taste in decor!"
She hurried over to the filing cabinet, taking her nailfile from her purse and deftly rendering the lock useless. Pulling the drawer open she rifled through it, locating what she was looking for almost immediately.
"Nancy: Manuscripts." She read, pulling the folder out and glancing through them briefly, then laughing. "Well, not any more."
Moving over to the window she flung it open, tossing the file out to the skip below. "Ooh, that was fun! What else can I get rid of!" She glanced around her for anything small enough to fit through the gap, spying some electric cabling and a box of amp leads.
"They can go." She decided. "I feel like I'm spring cleaning! This is so-o-o much better stress relief than Mari's hot bath and bed policy, I swear! Ooh, and Nancy's guitar...well, I'm a guitarist, I know how to remove strings." A sly smile crossed her face. "Not that I'm gonna bother being nice about it."
Reaching in her purse for more of her pocket sized arsenal, she located her penknife, slitting the strings at the top and bottom and tossing the remains out of the window. Then she shoved the precious gold guitar, which Nancy had had almost since she had begun playing, back onto the shelf with little or no care whatsoever, dusting her hands together to remove any tell tale marks from her gloves.
"They need to dust that shelf." She muttered. "Damn stuff shows up on black muslin!"
She put her hands on her hips, considering. Then, as she did so, the control board through the studio window caught her eye, and a devilish thought planted itself in her brain.
"What if they couldn't record." She murmured to herself. "Because the technology was kaput!"
Congratulating herself on such a brilliant mode of attack, she deftly slipped into the control room, prising up a panel with her penknife and then deftly slitting a handful of wires, pushing them down out of view so that they wouldn't be obvious at first glance. Satisifed, she slid her penknife and her nailfile back into her purse, leaving the control room with a nonchalant whistle and heading out into the hall to wait for her companion.
He was not long in arriving, and he cast her a grin.
"Okay, I'm done. Did you get your music sorted?" He asked her. Stefana nodded.
"Oh yes. I dealt with the music all right." She agreed, offering him an innocent smile. "Shall we go, then? There's a new restaurant in town and I think it might be fun."
"I'm in." Jake agreed. "We're outta here!"


Prologue: 1989
Chapter One: The "Anniversary"
Chapter Two: Jewel's Sound
Chapter Three: At Sirena's Place
Chapter Four: Jewel's Video
Chapter Five: Fanmail
Chapter Six: A Stranger
Chapter Seven: Stefana's Date
Chapter Eight: The Results
Chapter Nine: A Moment's Weakness
Chapter Ten: A Shock For Zoe
Chapter Eleven: A Surprise For Jetta

Chapter Twelve: Fire!

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!