Blind Faith

Chapter One: News For Jewel

"Ugh, I give up."
Phyllis Gabor slammed her computer mouse down onto the desktop in disgust, glaring at the computer screen as if the machine had personally offended her. "I swear it's eaten another file, Jetta! When is that damn son of yours coming in to fix it?"
"There ain't a cure for incompetent user syndrome, love, except plenty more practice." Her companion, Jetta Pelligrini retorted sweetly, coming to peer at the mainframe over her colleague's shoulder. 
Phyllis snorted.
"Quit it with the smart remarks, then, and find the damn file for me." She snapped. "I've looked in every folder on the hard disk and it's not there. I swear it was there last night, but it's not there now."
"Try 'My Documents'" Jetta suggested calmly, making no attempt to do as her companion said. "It's your own fault, you know. You shouldn't 'ave insisted on so many additional 'ard drives for the network! Things go missin' round 'ere more often than they do in the Bermuda Triangle, an' that's a fact!"
"Sometimes I wish you'd take a trip into the Bermuda Triangle, and give us all some peace." Phyllis muttered, clicking on the folder with very bad grace, and scanning down the filenames for the one she wanted. "So computer technology stinks - I can't help that!"
Jetta laughed. For more than twenty years these two former Misfits had formed the backbone of Misfits Music, Los Angeles's most high flying recording company, and, despite their banter they made a good team, for they complemented each other neatly in the running of the business. Phyllis was the frontwoman, the owner and the funds behind the enterprise, whilst Jetta had the shrewd, administrative brain which kept the company ticking and made sure nothing went on that they did not know about.
Jetta had only returned to work a week previously, for an arson attempt on Misfits Music had left her critically ill, and it had been against all odds that she had pulled through. Though she had not spoken about the incident since her return, there were still traces of huskiness in her clipped British tones that told of the damage the fire had done, and she was a thinner, more fragile looking Jetta than the one who had run the company before. Despite this, however, her sharp tongue and quick brain had been altered none at all by her experiences, and she had been glad to get back to normality as soon as the doctors had allowed her.
"Well, is it there?" She demanded now. "For Christ's sake, Pizzazz, I can't 'old your 'and every time you lose a file! Don't you think I've enough bloody letters to write myself this mornin', without huntin' for yours as well?"
"I don't need anyone holding my hand." Pizzazz retorted, finally locating her file and double clicking on the filename. "It's the new computer system! I had the old one figured, and then that creep Zipper sent the place up in smoke and burnt out everything! I can't be expected to know everything about a machine I've had six weeks, now can I?"
"I suppose not." Jetta relented, perching on the end of her friend's desk and setting down the folder which she had come to seek. "So what is the file, anyway? Somethin' important?"
"Just some company asking about stars and sponsorship and running a commercial or something." Phyllis dismissed it. "I'm gonna tell him no. The offer is no way good enough for any of our people, anyway, and with the company just back up and running we've enough to do."
"Surely the publicity couldn't 'urt?"
"Maybe not, but I can't be bothered with it now." Phyllis shook her head. "Listen up, Jetta, I had another letter this morning. It's...rather more important than some two-bit commercial breakdown. Here." She thrust a sheet of headed notepaper at her companion. "What do you make of that?"
"What am I supposed to make of it?" Jetta glanced at it, raising an eyebrow. "Unless you'd like me to comment on whether or not you should take up the Platinum credit card at a low seasonal apr?"
"Oh, dammit." Phyllis grimaced, snatching the letter back and rootling out another one. "Here. Same colour - damn junk mail."
"Ooh." Jetta's eyes narrowed thoughtfully. "This is a big deal, ain't it? Do our girls know yet?"
"Nope." Phyllis shook her head. "How could they? I got the letter this morning, I told you, and they've been downstairs in the studio most of that. Besides, I wanted to show you first. A nomination of this kind is important - and with the month we've had, they need it. This isn't a state award - it carries international recognition and it's about time Jewel had something else in the trophy cabinet than a California loves you token and some contest prize from Morvania. Don't you think?"
"With my girl writin' the songs, you know I'm not gonna disagree." Jetta handed it back. "So I suppose this means that their schedule is going to be mad for a while, then?"
"Yes, and whatever the new song they're going to release, it'd better be something special." Phyllis agreed grimly. "We've had too much negative press of late, with the fire and the hearing and you playing the tragic heroine. Jewel's new album is late now - they haven't time to be worrying about that sponsorship deal. We have to prime them for an award win."
"Aaron told me that he and Copper were thinking of pitchin' a date soon." Jetta looked thoughtful. "I guess that's off, huh?"
"If I have anything to say about it, it will be." Phyllis said darkly. "Copper isn't getting time off to marry some guy - even if he is your son - at the moment. This is too important, after all."
Jetta grinned.
"In that case, I'll 'ead down to the studio an' send 'em up, shall I?" She suggested. "After all, you break bad news so much better than I do!"
Before Phyllis could retort, she was gone.

Jewel were taking a break from their music when Jetta found them, clustered in the company's main studio as they discussed the latest city news. Sylvina, who had spent the previous weekend with her sister in New York, had returned from the city full of the news of her sister's engagement, and had been only too eager to share the details of her visit to the Big Apple.
"Anna gave me strict instructions that we were to keep an eye on Gaynor in a social sense and make sure she's cool in LA." She concluded, tucking a dark curl behind her ear. "So I said we would. After all, Gaynor's pretty cool company, and it's weird when you move right across the country."
"Is she here full time now?" A graceful girl with long auburn curls and pretty dark eyes asked from her corner behind the drum kit. Sylva nodded.
"She's working with Shana Julian and Regine Cesare." She agreed. "As an apprentice. As far as Annie was concerned, she was thrilled about it, too."
"Well, I'm glad for her." A fair haired girl observed, her accent giving away the fact that she was of Canadian birth. "She sure came to our rescue at the reunion show, when the Stingers blitzed our stuff. I hope we might even work with her, if she settles here. It would be cool, don't you think, to have a designer?"
"It would be cooler still if you 'ad some new music." Jetta lounged in the doorway of the practice studio, a wry smile on her face, for they had not heard her approach and her voice had caused all of them to start guiltily. "Don't you think?"
"We were practicing, Jetta. We just took five." The red-headed girl assured her. "Syl was having problems with one of the faster passages, so we decided to give it a break for a few minutes, then get back to it."
"When doesn't Syl have a problem with the passages?" A dark girl, very like Jetta in appearance except for her dark eyes observed ironically from the windowseat. "She'll get it in the end - and if she spent longer looking over the scripts I gave her before it came to practicing as a group, we'd get on a lot faster."
"Oh, shut up, Nancy." Sylva put her hands on her hips. "Some of us want some semblance of a social life, even if you don't! Besides, I only got back from New York yesterday, and you guys were all going over this from Wednesday. I was with Anna - I had an excuse!"
"Well, you better prepare your best excuses, my girl." Jetta's grey eyes twinkled with amusement. "The boss wants to see you all upstairs, pronto. I think she 'as some news for you."
"News?" The final member of the group looked startled. "What kind of news?"
"If you go, you'll find out." Was Jetta's infuriating response. "Go on with you! You'll 'ave plenty of time this afternoon to get the song right, let me tell you!"
"We haven't even begun laying down a vocal yet, Mom." Nancy grimaced. "It's gonna take more than today, trust me."
"Guess we'd better go and see what Phyllis wants, though." The Canadian jumped down from off the unit, reaching over to switch off the microphone. "She's not the most patient of folk, and the longer we keep her, the longer we'll be here tonight. It mightn't matter to you folk, but there's a little girl in the creche downstairs who would quite like to go home this evening, if at all possible."
"It's okay, Topaz, we're going." The redhead assured her. "Though I can't think what it's about. After all, Misfit Music has only been back up and running a few weeks."
With that, the five girls left the practice room, heading upstairs to the big office which belonged to the illustrious Phyllis Gabor. Since the fire, the whole building had been redecorated, as well as rebuilt in some quarters, and work was still going on at the far side of the company to install brand new offices. Phyllis was fiercely proud of her company, and it had been a cruel blow when she had returned home from a business trip to find the building charred and silent, but now it was back at it's best, and Jewel knew that, before long, things would be exactly as they had before.
"So what do you reckon this news is?" Sylva wondered, as she pushed open the door of the stairwell. "I wish they'd get the elevator moving! Trust Phyllis to insist on the whole thing being re-routed!"
"It's the air vents they're re-routing, not the elevator as such." Nancy said sensibly. "And a good thing, too! Mom almost died in Aunt Phyl's office, unless you'd forgotten. Now she's making sure that if there's ever another fire again, the smoke can't jump through the ducts like that and take someone by surprise. I don't care if it means the elevator's off limits for a while longer. I'd rather know the place is safe."
"I think we all would." The red-headed girl observed gravely. "It's good to have Jetta back, too. She still looks delicate though - have you noticed that?"
"Mom is only delicate when she can't answer back, Copper." Nancy told her with a grin. "Oh, yeah, I've noticed she's not as ferocious looking as she was before, but I'm just glad she's alive and that the fire didn't cause her brain-damage. Things could've been a lot worse - at least this way she'll be able to come to yours and Aaron's wedding. Did you set a date yet?"
"Nope, not yet." Copper shook her curly head. "Though now Jetta is back to full health, we must do so. Part of me hopes it might be before Christmas, but I don't know. The fact that Phyllis has 'news' for us puts me on my guard a bit. After all, God knows what that means, but it's almost guaranteed to result in long hours."
"We've done this job too long." Topaz laughed. "But I think you're right. After everything over recent weeks, it wouldn't surprise me if Phyllis had a huge Jewel publicity blitz up her sleeve, starting with this single."
"Which we are never going to get right, at this rate." Nancy rolled her eyes. "Syl can't play the synth part right, Sadie keeps confusing her chords and we haven't even got to the vocal yet."
"I only messed up the chords once." Sadie, the fair-haired, British born member of the group objected. Topaz grinned.
"You know Nancy. She's a perfectionist at best." She said wisely. "We'll get it down, you know. We always do."
They reached the executive's office at that moment, and Nancy knocked on the door, waiting for the familiar voice to call them in. Once they were assembled before the desk, Phyllis cast a thoughtful glance around the group.
"You took your time." She said at length.
"We came as soon as Mom told us, but we have to use the stairs at the moment." Nancy pointed out. "What's up, Aunt Phyl?"
"I had a letter this morning which is a pretty big deal for you girls." Phyllis eyed them speculatively, then, "It was from a prestigious award nomination commitee, and Jewel have been nominated for the best Rock Act award. Here, this is the letter." She pushed it across the desk, and Sylva grabbed it up eagerly.
"Wow, for real? Do you think we could win?" She demanded.
"We're going to do our damn best to make sure you do win." Phyllis said grimly. "Listen up, kids. We've had a hell of a time at this place lately. You know that, and I know that. The award ceremony isn't till the end of September, but with one thing and another, Jewel haven't had a single out since July. There's no way in hell you're going to get this award if you haven't any recent chart smashes to your name - so I've decided it's time we stepped up your schedule and upped the publicity train. I've already arranged interviews with local radio and a magazine photoshoot for Music Biz - but I need a song to go with it. How far along is the new track?"
"It's crawling." Nancy pulled a face. "We'll nail it, Aunt Phyl, but to be honest I'm not real happy with some of the lyrics I wrote, and Syl's having trouble with some of the melody, since she only got back to LA yesterday from NYC."
"Hm." Phyllis pursed her lips. "Well, I want it nailed by the end of the week, okay? I need it laid down and in video production as soon as is possible. Diablo have had a huge chart hit with their last single - it's been number one for four weeks, and so far it shows no sign of budging off the top spot. I don't know if Diablo are nominees for this award or not, but on their recent publicity hype, I would say it was more than a possibility. It would be the worst thing in the world if Diablo were to get a foothold over Jewel in this country -do you understand me? Aside from being second best to Rory Llewelyn, it would mean that Jewel were beginning to fade out."
"We're not fading out, Phyllis. We're game for whatever it takes." Topaz assured her. Phyllis nodded her head.
"That's good to know." She replied. "I wanted to have you girls away across Europe this month, but with the fire and everything else, it's not been possible. I'm hoping to reschedule your visit across the Atlantic for sometime around October or November, if it's at all possible, and I'm debating the possibilities of breaking Australia and New Zealand's market come the new year. We have plenty to do, and this award would set you all up nicely."
"Australia? Really?" Sylva's eyes widened. "How cool is that?"
"Well, it's just an idea at the moment. I have calls to make." Phyllis responded. "But possibly, yes. You see now why this is so important?"
"It sounds like a buzz." Sadie said softly. "I've never been to Australia, and I'd love to see more of Europe."
"And Cynthia will take her leave when we're away, so Hollie won't be abandoned." Topaz added. "It sounds like a good plan to me."
"I suppose this means that Aaron and I had better wait a while before setting a wedding date, huh?" Copper looked wistful. "I had a suspicion it would, when Jetta told us you had news for us."
"You're going to be tied up here with stuff until the new year, or possibly beyond that." Phyllis said firmly. "I don't want any of my stars running off to get married, or whatever it is you want to do, until we've got it re-established in the public eye that Jewel are the only group worth listening to. You with me?"
"I'll talk to Aaron." Copper nodded slowly. "It's cool, I do understand. It was just, after the fire and all, we wanted to do it sooner rather than later."
She shrugged. "Oh well. Work has to come first, I suppose, and Aaron will say the same when I tell him the deal. Maybe by Spring we can begin to think about it."
"Good girl." Phyllis looked approving. "Well, that's all I wanted. I'm gonna grab a hold of Zoe for the end of the week, to discuss video concepts with you all, so let's have a single down by then, huh? You better get back to work."
"We're gone." Sylva nodded. "We'll have it down by the end of the week, Phyllis - you can count on us!"

Prologue: Texas

Chapter One:News For Jewel
Chapter Two: Zoe Confides
Chapter Three: A New Sound
Chapter Four: A Challenge For Copper
Chapter Five: Plots
Chapter Six: A Secret For Stefana
Chapter Seven: Hope For Zoe
Chapter Eight: Dolorida
Chapter Nine: Jewel's Dilemma
Chapter Ten: Wise Counsel
Chapter Eleven: Decisions For Jewel

Chapter Twelve: Zoe Takes The Plunge
Chapter Thirteen: Her Father's Daughter
Chapter Fourteen: The Awards

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!