Chapter Eleven: Decisions For Jewel
"So you finally met him, huh?"
Fiona Daniels lazed back in her armchair, reaching for her mug of coffee
as she cast her girlfriend a smile. "Was he what you'd hoped he would be?"
"It's hard to say." Zoe frowned, sipping her own drink as she considered
the situation. "You see, I wasn't able to tell him. I wanted to - but he
was talking about his friend and stuff, and I was actually interested in
everything he was saying, since these people took part in Mom's life before
me. If you like, they...they led up to me. I mean, if Mom had married Andrew
Power, I wouldn't be here. If he'd lived, I wouldn't be here. My entire existance
is based on the after-effects of a horrible tragedy. When that sprung to
mind, I wasn't sure I should tell him at all. We were getting on so well,
Fi. I don't want to turn him against me. Especially since I have to do this
"We've had this kind of a chat about your Dad before." Fiona reflected.
"I told you then and I'll tell you now - who you are is nothing to do with
how you came about. If your Dad had been that nutcase who torched Misfit
Music, well, so what? He wasn't any part of you except biologically, and like
that really matters when all's said and done. This is the same thing. It
isn't your fault that guy bought it, or that your Mom wound up with this Jeff
guy out of comfort. That just happened. You might've been the result, but
it wasn't anything to do with you. You see what I'm saying?"
"Yes, I suppose so." Zoe grimaced, setting her mug down on the table.
"I'm glad you were in tonight, you know. You always straighten my head out
for me beautifully."
"Well, you get too wrapped up in things that don't matter." Fiona said
bluntly. "You know it and I know it. Besides, if you don't tell him, you
will never know what he thinks. Perhaps he'll surprise you - and you were
the one who said you needed to know how you stood. Are you going to funk
"Probably." Zoe admitted ruefully. "It's just, well, it struck me that
there's no second chance with this kind of thing. Fi, if it was your father,
how would you treat it?"
"Zo, I'd walk on by as if I hadn't even seen him. I'd certainly not know
him and family ain't ever been a big deal to me." Fiona shrugged. "You
know that. I ain't like you in this. I know that Connie's important to
you and I respect that - she's pretty cool, for a Mom type, and she doesn't
mess with our business. At the end of the day, you gotta decide what to
do here. He might leave town soon as this documentary's done. You gotta
decide if you can watch him disappear without knowing the answer to your
A wry smile touched her lips.
"And I'm not going to listen to plaintive what ifs for the rest of eternity,
so make up your mind and keep it made up." She added.
"Well, whatever I do, I'll do it after we film our interview tomorrow."
Zoe decided at length. "No sense in making it awkward."
"Your Mom knows about all this, I s'pose?"
"Yeah. I spoke to her this afternoon when we were doing her interview.
I can't make out how she feels about it, to be honest. She didn't say a
lot, but she didn't seem upset that I was talking to him." Zoe shrugged.
"We'll see what happens."
"Changing the subject, whilst you've been dancing round television studios
and movie sets, some friends of yours have been hitting the local gutter
press." Fiona scooped up a tattered copy of Cool Trash, handing it to her
girlfriend. "Jewel, page four. Apparently this is the best that rag can
come up with to champion Diablo's chances of winning this big award."
"I don't want Diablo to win that award. Stefana's a bitch and she doesn't
deserve anything." Zoe said angrily, reading over the article. "She probably
made this up, too. What did you hear about it, or did you just read it
in the morning's press?"
"I was working for that mad duo at Misfit Music today, so I heard more
than I probably should have done." Fiona said with a dark smile. "I'm involved
in Sirena's new video - God help me. That girl and I don't see eye to eye
on most things, but I suppose art is art and a paycheque feeds me. Mind
you, it's no fun filming any video without you to tease behind the camera."
"So what did you hear?" Zoe ignored the banter, fixing her green eyes
on her companion. "What did Pizzazz and Jetta have to say about it?"
"Pizzazz on the subject was high-pitched and I didn't see her, beyond
a whirlwind storming into her office and banging the door. Three pictures
fell off the wall and two platinum disks into the bargain." Fiona laughed.
"Quite funny, really, since one of them bashed an intern on the head."
"They could've been hurt." Zoe scolded. Fiona shrugged.
"I don't care. It's that spotty nerd who thinks all lesbians will rot
in hell." She said carelessly. "I thought it served him right - he'd shot
his mouth off enough already."
"Oh. Him." Zoe looked thoughtful, then, "What about Jetta? Did she say
"No, and what she didn't say spoke volumes." Fiona responded. "I gathered
there had been a row between her and the group. Something is behind this,
Zo...I don't think it's what Cool Trash say it is, but there is something.
You're Jewel's bud - Sylva hasn't said anything to you?"
"No. I know they didn't play this Dolorida track live on Mom's show,
but I didn't do the video this time with them. I made them a montage because
I knew I'd be tied up with this project of Viv's." Zoe shook her head. "Maybe
I'll give the Starlight a call in the morning."
"Well, they'd better hope they work it out soon." Fiona remarked acidly.
"Because I did hear that the award committee had been in touch with Misfit
Music about the press speculation, and I gathered enough to know that if
Jewel don't do something smartish to prove this is baloney, they could be
kicked out of the nominations. Which, of course..."
"Would give Diablo a clean sweep to the prize." Zoe's eyes sparked with
indignation. "Noone else is even in the running, if the media is to be believed.
Now I know for sure Stefana must be involved."
"Yeah, I think that way too, but we've no proof and you and I have generated
enough press scandal over the last year." Fiona shrugged. "Jewel are big
girls. They'll handle it. And win the award too, most likely. At least,
that's what I bet."
"I hope you're right." Zoe grimaced. "Bad enough them having to deal
with the fire, without Stefana's scheming too!"
Across town, at Misfit Music, four Jewel musicians were heading inside
the studio building, hearts each full of trepidation. Copper had not come
home the previous night, and though all had surmised that she'd stayed with
Aaron, it had only accentuated the rift of the day before. Nancy in particular
was very quiet, with shadowy, troubled eyes that told of a night with little
sleep, and even Sylva was beginning to get anxious.
"What if she bails on us?" She said now, as she pushed open the main entrance,
leading the way across the lobby. "None of us have seen anything of her since
she left here yesterday - do you think she's really stubborn enough to blow
things for us?"
"She can be obstinate. We know that." Topaz bit her lip, sending Nancy
a sidelong glance. "But I would have thought that the Jewel bigger picture
would have sunk in by now. At least...at least I hope it has. The trouble
is, guys, that even if we can understand why Copper doesn't want to do this,
we can't explain that to the press or the award people without betraying our
promise to her. So either way, we cause problems. And I don't care about the
award, but I do care about people believing we'd cheat. It's just not a Jewel
thing to do."
"We've come through scandals before, and survived." Sadie said softly,
as they headed upstairs. "And those have been based in far more truth than
this one. The first time I sang for Jewel I felt like nothing on earth -sick
and giddy and petrified. I know it's the same for Copper, that's all. We
can't be angry with her. She's just scared."
"Can't we?" Nancy asked darkly at that point. "Look, you guys, I know
what you're saying, but listen. I've lived here my whole life. I've grown
up around the music business and I know how it works. Something like this
can ruin your career. Seriously. This could be the end for Jewel, if we don't
perform the song and put paid to the speculation. If Mom and Aunt Phyl can't
clear things up then they might find themselves making a loss through us.
It's not like a personal life scandal - that's nothing to do with music and
can be lived down, in time. But this..." She shook her head. "This is related
to our career. Our whole fanbase is dependant on the outcome of this."
"That's slightly exaggerating, surely?" Topaz looked startled. Nancy shook
her head solemnly.
"When I was twelve, there was an artist working in LA who was busted for
lip syncing and not recording his own stuff. It was a big scandal." She said
quietly. "He never recorded again. He left L.A. That was it for his career."
"Wow." Sylva grimaced. "That's not promising, is it?"
"The higher you are, the further you have to fall." Nancy agreed grimly.
"And if Copper lets us down, girls, then we've got a long way to fall."
"Maybe she won't." Sadie suggested.
"Well, do you see her?" Nancy gestured around her. The corridor where
the offices lay was deserted, and Sadie sighed.
"No." She admitted. "But that doesn't necessarily mean anything. Maybe
she arrived early and is already with Jetta. Aaron's car is here so she must
"Only one way to find out." Topaz shrugged, heading up to Jetta's office
door and knocking three times.
"Come in!" A voice called, and, exchanging looks, the quartette entered.
Jetta was sitting behind her desk, going over paperwork. She glanced up,
casting them a frown.
"Only four of you?" She observed quietly. "Where's Copper?"
"She hasn't been here?" Sylva asked. Jetta shook her head.
"Not seen 'ide nor 'air of the girl since yesterday." She said. "So it's
that way, is it?"
"She didn't come home last night, so none of us have had a chance to talk
to her about it." Topaz said at length. "We think she went to Aaron's, but
his car is here, and, well, if she isn't with you..."
"We don't know where she is." Sadie finished.
"I see." Jetta knitted her brows. She muttered a curse, then, "Damn obstinate
girl. What the hell is she playin' at? Does she want this to ruin Jewel?"
"I don't know that she's thought of it. She's just scared to perform."
Sadie said quietly. Jetta shook her head.
"Of the lot of you, Copper's the one who'd realise first of all what the
implications are for the band." She said firmly. "It ain't any good, Sadie,
defendin' 'er won't work. The only recourse we have is to issue a press bulletin
and tell them who's singin' the track, and what happened. It's the only
way we can save the reputation of Jewel an' the company, but if Copper refuses
to sing it live, or worse, denies it..."
She held up her hands.
"This is a big deal, girls." She added. "A lot 'angs on 'ow this is 'andled."
"We're starting to realise that." Topaz admitted. "Do you think that this
could break Jewel up for good?"
"It could, love." Jetta nodded. "It definitely could. I 'oped that Copper
would 'ave come to 'er senses by this mornin', but I suppose from 'er no
show I'm to assume that isn't the case. Damn 'er! What a time to get stage
fright! But of all of you, I wouldn't expect Copper to be the one lettin'
the side down."
"I'm not letting anyone down, Jetta."
A fresh voice came from the doorway and the girls turned with exclamations
to face their missing member. Her expression was grave, and her brown eyes
clouded and troubled, but she stepped into the office, closing the door behind
"I'm sorry to be late." She added. "I came with Aaron, but I stopped to
help him set something up downstairs, since it's Cynthia's day free today.
I lost track of time."
Jetta eyed her keenly.
"Whether I forgive your lateness or not depends on what you 'ave to say."
She said at length. "Well? Are you goin' to do your bit for your band, or
is my son marryin' a coward?"
Copper flushed at this, biting her lip.
"I'm not a coward." She said softly. "I never expected to be put in this
position, that's all. But...but I talked to Aaron last night, about everything.
He...he made me see things differently, so...I guess I'll sing."
"Oh!" Sylva hugged her friend impulsively. "I knew you wouldn't let us
"That's why I'm doing it." Copper admitted. "I don't want to - the idea
makes me feel sick - but you guys are my best friends, and almost like family.
Aaron made me realise that it wouldn't be the band I'd be letting down if
I didn't do it, but the people who mean the most to me."
She cast Nancy an apologetic look. "Especially you, Nance. I know how
important this song is to you - I'm sorry."
"It's okay." Nancy's dark eyes had lost their grave look. "So long as
you perform, it doesn't matter. Does it, Mom?"
"No, it doesn't." Jetta's expression had relaxed at the drummer's words.
"If I call the studio and try an' get you a last minute slot on Dean's show
tomorrow, you won't back out on me?"
"I promise." Copper said determinedly. "Though if I faint on stage, I...it
won't be on purpose."
"You won't faint." Sadie assured her, squeezing her hand. "I felt awful
before the first time I sang for Jewel -actually, sometimes I still do,
and you know Nancy does, too. But once you're out there and the crowd are
cheering it doesn't seem so bad. It's a buzz and I bet you don't get the
same thrill sitting behind your kit as you will being in the spotlight."
"Ooh, don't." Copper shivered. "I'm already terrified."
"It'll be all right. We'll help you practice today, and you'll be fine
on stage by the time we're done." Topaz told her. "We can use the studio
downstairs, Jetta - can't we? If we're going to shake Copper's nerves out
of her, we'll need to begin as soon as we can."
"As far as I know it ain't booked up." Jetta cast a glance at her computer
screen, then shook her head.
"Nope, it's free today. You girls might as well get goin' and practice.
I'll call the studio an' see what I can wangle regardin' a slot on Dean's
"What about Aunt Phyl?" Nancy looked startled.
"She's in San Diego." Jetta replied. "So she won't be 'ere till tomorrow
"Nothing's wrong with her Dad, is it?" Sylva looked anxious. Jetta shook
"No, not at all." She agreed. "'Arvey Gabor is one of the most resiliant
old folk I know, so don't worry your 'ead about 'im. No, it's purely business
- checkin' up on a lead Dawson gave us. She wanted to go in person."
She eyed Copper thoughtfully. "I suppose you girls will need a studio
drummer, if you're to pull this off tomorrow." She reflected. Copper nodded.
"I can't sing and play kit." She agreed. "And even if you could set up
the mic, I'd screw up the rhythm or the lyrics."
"Then I'll get onto that, as well." Jetta decided. She indicated the door.
"Go on, shoo! You need all the practice you can get! Tomorrow's show is gonna
be as publicised as possible, so no mistakes, all right?"
"She's so great at boosting confidence." Copper said dryly as the five
girls made their way slowly down to the big studio, pausing to collect their
instruments on the way.
"I'm glad you decided to do it." Sadie said. "We were worried, you know.
Jetta made us realise how important it was."
"I know. Aaron did the same for me." Copper admitted. "And I'm sorry I
gave you girls a fright. I realised that okay, you pretty much coaxed me
into doing it, but I had the power to say no, and I let myself be persuaded.
That being the case, I have to see it through. It's not fair to let the gossip
rags win because I'm playing chicken. Besides, I didn't want to let you girls
down. You are my best friends and that wouldn't have been nice."
"We're glad you think so!" Sylva dimpled. "And we'll school you in everything
you need to know for singing live, don't worry. Won't the world get a shock
tomorrow when they switch on and find that Jewel's rock hearthrob is taking
"I'm not Jewel's hearthrob!" Copper blushed hotly. "And Jetta mightn't
be able to get us on."
"Dean's show? Almost a given that she will." Topaz laughed, indicating
Nancy. "He's biased."
"Well, I'm glad it'll be soon. The quicker I get it over with, the better
for everyone." Copper said matter-of-factly.
"What are we going to say, if people ask why we didn't perform it earlier?"
Sylva wondered. "We can't say 'Copper was afraid to.' No offence, Copper,
but it sounds really unprofessional."
"None taken." Copper assured her. "But I don't know -what can we say?"
"Simple." Nancy shrugged. "We'll tell them that we were saving it for
the Award Ceremony. That we'd planned to spring the surprise on them that
night, only because of the negative press we'd been forced to do it early.
That's all. We've plenty of things we can do for a special Award performance
if the need arises, but that covers us pretty nicely. At least, I think it
"Like mother, like daughter." Topaz's blue eyes twinkled with amusement.
"That's just like something Jetta would say."
"But I'm right, though." Nancy was unperturbed. "It would stop questions."
"So that's the line we'll adopt." Sylva decided. "But next song we do,
guys, let's do a simple English one with no special fancy stuff, huh? This
one's been more than enough for me!"
"I'm with that." Copper agreed fervently. "I don't intend to sing again,
I'll tell you!"
"You haven't even done it live yet." Topaz scolded. "You might love it."
"Maybe, but I doubt it." Copper replied. "I'll settle for getting it good
enough today and playing it tomorrow, if you don't mind."
"I think most of us would settle for that at present." Sadie grinned.
"And don't fret, Copper - the rest of us are happy enough singing these
days. This can be a one off."
"Good." Copper sighed. "Okay. If we're going to do this, let's do it!"