"Whew, that was one hell of a busy show!"
Dean Stacey, popular Los Angeles television presenter, and long term boyfriend
of Jewel's Nancy Pelligrini stepped off the television set with a tired grin
at the production assistant. "How many interviews were you trying to cram
in at once, Julie? I can only talk so fast, you know!"
"Don't blame me. I had orders from upstairs." Julie Kazar returned the
grin with a merry one of her own. "And you pulled it together well, all things
considered. That Latisha girl is good, isn't she?"
"Well, Nancy recommended that the music company sign her on, and you know
Nancy's a real authority on things like music." Dean winked, glancing back
to where Latisha Rowenall was helping to clear the set. "She doesn't seem
full of herself, though. It's a shame in a way she didn't take the chance
to be a part of Jewel, but I can see why she didn't. Her music's good, but
very different from what Jewel pump out."
"I heard some juicy information about Jewel, by the way." Julie tapped
her pen against her clipboard. "You know anything about an award nomination?"
"I know nothing." Dean shook his head. "I've not seen Nancy to speak to
her for a couple of days. She's been holed up at the studio, now her Mom
is all better, and I've been busy here. Are Jewel up for an award?"
"According to my sources, they are, and it's a big one." Julie nodded.
"And to add spice to the mix, Diablo are up for the same award."
"Ooh. Local rivalries abound!" Dean laughed. "I wish I'd known that before
we went on air. I would've quizzed Diablo about their chances."
"Well, I only heard during the show." Julie told him. "It's going to make
for some interesting press, though. Jewel and Diablo are both well loved
in this area, and Diablo have more than achieved over the last year. Their
current song is a real winner and it's been number one forever. Do you think
Jewel can compete?"
"Before the fire, I'd have said no problem." Dean looked thoughtful. "But
Diablo have rather gained ground whilst Misfits Music has been out of action.
Still, I think the girls will come through, Julie. And I should stay objective,
but you know who I'll be rooting for."
"Can't think." Julie laughed.
A fresh voice interrupted the merry banter, and the two turned, Dean casting
the newcomer a warm grin as he recognised who had spoken.
"Zoe!" He exclaimed. "What brings you here? I thought you were tied up
on a video set today?"
"I was, but the thing's been rescheduled till tomorrow. Some technical
glitch." Zoe Montgomery, video artist extraordinaire shrugged her shoulders.
"I figured I'd drop by here and see if my big brother had any plans? I haven't
had breakfast yet and I'm starving - I thought I might treat you."
"I'm always up for that." Dean laughed. "Count me in, Zo. Let me just
grab my jacket, and I'll see you in the lobby."
"Sure." Zoe dimpled. Julie looked amused.
"Anything less like brother and sister than you two I'd find it hard to
imagine." She teased, as Dean disappeared into his dressing room.
"Well, Mom and his Mom were the best of friends, and we grew up like brother
and sister, so I consider it an honourary sibling-hood." Zoe grinned. "How
was this morning's show, Julie? The crowd seemed to be buzzing as I came
"It went well. Busy, but no hitches." Julie smiled. "Which is a production
assistant's dream, make no mistake about it!"
She glanced at her watch.
"And now I have to get downstairs for a briefing before we worry about
this afternoon's stuff. Nice to see you, Zoe - take care!"
Zoe watched the busy assistant disappear across the set, then she hurried
down to the studio lobby to find the presenter waiting for her.
"So what's all this about?" Dean asked, once they were in Zoe's car, driving
out towards the centre of Los Angeles. "You don't usually offer to buy me
breakfast without a good reason, Zoe - what's up?"
"Nothing's up, as such." Zoe reflected. "I've just been doing some thinking
lately, and I figured that you were the one guy who might actually understand
what's going through my head. I haven't really mentioned it to Mom, because
I don't know how she'd take it, but I've been doing some research into finding
"Your father?" Dean looked startled. "Jeff Wright?"
"Mom told me he was a stuntman, and that was pretty much it." She agreed.
"Part of me really wants to find him, Dean. I never had a Dad growing up,
and I'd like one. But, another part of me..."
"You know. I don't know what to expect. Besides, when he and my Mom seperated,
I gather it was a fairly big deal experience for her, if not for him. She's
kept it all hidden for so long, and I doubt he even knows he has a daughter
at all. Mom certainly doesn't think he knows."
"I know." Dean pursed his lips. "So, what's the deal so far? What have
"Well, the last film he did was some time last Fall, as far as I can see.
Since then he's been pretty quiet." Zoe flicked on the indicator, turning
into a side street and pulling to a halt outside a popular breakfast haunt.
"The trouble with stuntmen is that they don't grab the headlines in the
way that the big stars do. You know what I mean? The stuntman's job is pretty
much not to be detected. I know he was on that film because he was on the
credits - but that's where I lose the trail. I don't even know where abouts
in America he might be."
"And you hoped I might be able to help?"
"Well, I thought you might know someone I didn't." Zoe blushed, as they
made their way inside, taking a table by the window. "I already called cousin
Vivien and asked her advice, but she told me honestly that she didn't know
what happened to Jeff after she knew him. She wasn't...very surprised when
I told her that Mom had confirmed him as my Dad, but that was about it. I
think she suspected for a long time, but never had any proof. And, when Mom
told me about him, she mentioned LinZ as well. I wondered..."
"Mom?" Dean looked startled. "Did she know about all this?"
"Mom isn't sure. She didn't tell her, but she reckons that the suspicion
might have been there." Zoe replied. "I wondered if she might have said something
to your Dad, or if your Dad might know where Jeff was now. He is a camera
operator, after all. He films people."
"True, but since Mom disappeared, he's done less and less of the big budget
stuff." Dean looked thoughtful. "He's more or less retired from that line
of work now, anyhow. Still, I'll ask him. It might be that he's heard something."
"Thanks." Zoe looked relieved. "I think I have to find him, for my own
peace of mind. It's like...well, now I know his name, I have to go further.
I have to at least meet him, somehow. The name isn't enough - I always thought
it would be, but it isn't."
"Sometimes you have to know either way, even if it's not the answer you
want, huh?" Dean said softly. Zoe eyed him sharply.
"Something like that." She agreed. "Dean, I didn't mean to bring back
"Forget it." Dean dismissed it with a wave of his hand. "I gave up the
idea of finding out what happened to Mom a long time ago, Zoe. She vanished
- and to all intents and purposes, she really did vanish. I spent enough time
in college building up my hopes and having them dashed each time I failed
to connect a rumour with the truth. I've given up. I'm not even sure if I
believe she's alive out there now, you know. I always did, when I was a kid
- but it's been so long now."
"You never know. They didn't find her." Zoe said softly. Dean nodded.
"Yeah, and that makes it worse." He replied. "If she survived the plane
crash, Zoe, why didn't she come back to Dad and I? It wasn't like we didn't
need her. You know damn well that we did. In a way, I almost wish that she
had been killed. Rather that than...well, than being abandoned."
"LinZ would never have walked out on your or your Dad." Zoe murmured gently.
"If she survived the crash, Dean, there had to be a good reason she didn't
get back here."
"Well, every time they find bones in the Amazon, I wonder." Dean admitted.
"So far none of them have been identified as my Mom, Zo, but sometimes I
want to know. If I can help you in any way in tracking down your Dad, I will.
At least then one of us will have some questions answered."
"Thanks." Zoe smiled. "I knew you'd understand."
She scooped up the menu. "So what's new in Los Angeles? I saw you had
Latisha on your show this morning - what do you make of her?"
"She's good." Dean reflected, his eyes showing relief at the change of
subject. "I see why she didn't want to be a Jewel, in the end, but I think
she'll be a big hit."
He paused, then, "I also had Diablo on. Did you know that they and Jewel
are going head-to-head in some award fight or other?"
"Yes, I did." Zoe nodded her head. "Or rather, I knew that Jewel were
involved. Phyllis Gabor called me yesterday to try and slot in some video
filming time for Jewel's new single, and she told me then. Apparently she
wants this song to blow apart the progress Diablo has been making - and
I can quite understand it, considering how long that wretched song has been
"And here I was, thinking you were objective and freelance." Dean's eyes
twinkled. "My mistake."
"Well, I don't mind working for Rory Llewelyn or Rebel Records, but work
with Diablo I will not do." Fire flashed into Zoe's green eyes. "You know
as well as I do that it was that bitch Stefana Ranieri who blabbed to the
press about Fiona and my relationship, and I haven't forgiven her for it
yet. I don't think I ever will - after all, I almost lost Fiona and my sanity
over all of that, and it wasn't like she did it by accident. It was a deliberate
attempt to spite me."
"It wasn't the nicest thing in the world to do." Dean acknowledged. "But
I think it is better for you now it's out in the open, Zo. Seriously, I do.
You and Fiona seem more secure, and you're not half so stressed or secretive
about it. Maybe she did it to spite you, but Stefana's big mouth did work
out for the best in the long run."
"Perhaps, but I still haven't forgiven her." Zoe said darkly.
"So, what's Jewel's new song, then?" Dean cast her a curious look. Zoe
"Your guess is as good as mine. Even Phyllis hasn't heard it yet." She
replied. "Apparently they're having a few melodic glitches. Still, I know
them, and I know they'll get on top of it before too long. They always do,
"They sure do." Dean looked thoughtful. "And then it'll be full steam
ahead for the award, I guess."
"I think that's the plan." She agreed. "And between you and me, I really
hope Jewel win it!"
* * *
* * * *
"I can't believe that we have to compete with those no-talent bitches
for this award."
Stefana Ranieri dropped down into the shade beneath the big old tree at
the foot of the Diablo estate garden, lighting a cigarette and tossing her
lighter across the grass with some show of temper. "Can you believe it?
Diablo have been number one for a month now, in which time Jewel have done
nothing. And yet now they're our competition? Like they're in our league?"
"I wouldn't think there was much to choose between Jewel and Diablo these
days." Her companion, sunny-tempered Marissa Young settled herself in the
shade, casting her friend a reproachful look. "And I would have thought that
you'd learnt your lesson where hating Jewel was concerned. The feds could
easily have stuck you in prison for your part in sabotaging the studio, you
"Well, they didn't." Stefana shrugged her shoulders, flicking ash in her
friend's direction. "I had nothing to do with the damn fire, anyhow, and
that was all they cared about in the end. Agent Bray promised me immunity
if I spilled on that Barren guy, and so I did. No problem. It's all under
control and history, anyhow."
"You were lucky. This time." Marissa murmured. "The press and Rory didn't
get a hold of how involved you were, else we might not have got this nomination.
It's gonna be tough, competing against Jewel, Stef, but it's gotta be a fair
"Fair? What's the fun in fair?" Stefana grimaced. She took a drag on her
cigarette, exhaling a lazy cloud of smoke. "We're number one, anyhow. They're
gonna have to go some to beat us now. LA is all about Diablo these days,
Mari. Jewel don't stand a chance."
"With the music company in chaos and Ms Pelligrini so ill, I suppose they
didn't have much chance to do anything." Marissa reflected. "I'm glad she
got better, you know. It would've been horrible if she'd died."
"Why do you care? She's not anyone to you." Stefana looked surprised.
"Because it wouldn't have been nice." She said simply. "Besides, don't
you care? I thought Aaron was a friend of yours. It's his mother we're talking
"Aaron is my friend - his family ain't. I don't give two hoots
about Jetta Pelligrini, or the bitch she works with." Stefana said flatly.
"And the fire is old news now. Do you realise, Mari, that if we're number
one again this week we'll have topped our own record for long running hits?
And Rory says the disks are selling by the thousand. This is really the big
time - we should enjoy it. This award will just cap off our year nicely -
it's about time we had some recognition!"
"We've worked so hard for it." Marissa admitted. "I just get a warm glow
whenever I think about it, to be honest. That we could be up for such a major
award...it blows my mind. Whether we win it or not, Stef, the fact we were
even in the running says a hell of a lot about how far we've come since
we arrived in LA. I'm loving Diablo so much - aren't you?"
"If I wasn't, do you think I'd stick around?" Stefana raised an eyebrow.
"Guess not." She agreed. "I suppose Rory will have us working on a new
single before too long, though. The old one might be running up the record
books in the chart, but we have to have something new, too. I reckon Jewel
will have a new song out before too long, so expect early morning summonses,
"If it's to spite Jewel, Mari, I'll be there." Stefana said simply, inhaling
on her cigarette. "I still hate them, and I always will."
"Just be careful." Marissa warned her. "I know you, Stef, and I know you
get into crazy things before you know what you're doing. It's bad enough
you insist on taking those damn things that make you go strange on me, but
I don't want you locked up into the bargain. Remember, there's no adoring
fans or superstardom behind a prison door."
"And I'm not going to end up in any prison." Stefana snapped impatiently.
"I won't get caught next time."
"I hope there won't be a next time!" Marissa looked horrified. Stefana
"Sometimes you have to do what it takes to be the best." She said evenly.
"Besides, you worry too much. I'm in control of what I do and what I take.
Quit fussing. We're gonna win this award, and everything will work out fine.
Chapter One:News For Jewel
Chapter Two: Zoe Confides
Chapter Three: A New Sound
Chapter Four: A Challenge
Chapter Five: Plots
Chapter Six: A Secret For
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
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE
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!