Blind Faith

Chapter Five: Plots

"What's this about, Zoe?"
Constance Montgomery set her bag down on the unit of her dressing room, casting her daughter a confused look. "I got your text - what's so urgent that you hared right over here? Has something happened?"
"Maybe." Zoe perched on the edge of the chair, her green eyes sparkling. "Listen, Mom, did you know Vivien is doing a documentary about Dead of Night?"
"Yes, I heard something about it." Constance nodded. "What of it?"
"She'd like you to be involved. She's already asked me to help her out and I said I would." Zoe explained. "She wants me to play interviewer, and she said it would be cool to get an interview with you. I promised to come and run it by you myself, see what you thought about it. Apparently she's hooked in the girl you worked with on set - Alexa something - and she's hoping you'll come and give your comment."
"Dead of Night." Constance frowned, pursing her lips. "It's not got the best of memories for me, Zoe."
"I know that." Zoe softened her tones. "But I think Vivien would really like you to be involved."
"Who else is interviewing?" Constance glanced up, eying her daughter sharply. "Alexa Van Aarden - who else?"
"Robin Huntingdon and Cheryl Black Lewis. Vivien said she was gonna be a nightmare." Zoe grinned. "And then as many of the other people she can rope in. The director, of course. He's the one who got Viv on the job in the first place. I cleared my schedule so I could help her - it struck me that this might be my chance to find something out about where Dad is. Maybe even meet him myself."
"Yes, and that's precisely why I'm not sure I should get myself involved." Constance sighed. "Your father and I parted on strange terms a long time ago, Zo, and I don't know how he's going to take the fact I have a daughter - his. It might be better if I didn't."
"We don't know Dad will be involved yet." Zoe admitted. "Vivien wasn't sure. Mom, would it bother you if he was and I spoke to him about, well, everything? You know how badly I've wanted to know about my Dad, and since the fire, it's become even more of a priority. I need to know where I came from, and it all seems so, well, opportune."
"No, Zoe, I don't mind." Constance shook her head. "Or rather, I do mind, but I won't do anything to stop you." She sighed. "Heaven knows you have a right to find out anything you like about the guy, and I doubt you'll find much about him to disappoint you. I'm not surprised that Vivien talked you into fact, I meant to mention it all to you myself, if you didn't know already. But I'm not sure I'm ready to meet your father head on. Not after so many years. I'm not quite sure how I feel about him - and it could wind up messy. You do understand?"
"Yeah, I understand." Zoe said at length. "I told Viv you mightn't be so keen. But it'd suck if you didn't get in on this. You were part of backstage, and I know a lot of your fans now will be interested to find out about that, if nothing else. Here, I tell you what - I could come here and interview you after your show one night, or in between your runthroughs in the afternoon. Then you'd not have to come to the main set, and you wouldn't encounter anyone who you didn't feel comfortable around. If anyone asks, I'll tell them it's because of the death of your fiance during the filming. They'll not question that."
"I could do that." Constance's face cleared. "Okay, Zoe, on those terms, I'll agree. Will Vivien mind?"
"I doubt it." Zoe shook her head. "I'm sure she'll understand - she's that kind of person. And I don't mind coming here to interview you. After all, if I can;t interview my own mother, I'm not gonna manage with anyone else, am I?"
"It's not so easy when you have to pose the questions." Constance's eyes sparkled. "Mind you, you do have the genes for it, I admit. I'm sure you'll do great, Zoe. Oh, but if you'd do me one favour?"
"Of course." Zoe nodded her fair head. "What is it?"
"Can you give Alexa my phone number? It's been a long time, and I'd like to see her again."
"I'll do that." Zoe promised. "No problem. Thanks, Mom. Viv will be thrilled when I tell her you'll do it!"

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"Cool Trash has us two percent up on those Jewel brats in their weekend poll! This award is so ours."
Stefana breezed into the practice room, tossing the aforementioned magazine down onto the unit and casting her waiting bandmates a grin. "See? I told you. We're going to win this award, and that's that. Like Jewel have done anything so far to prove themselves worthy competition! We're totally number one here now. The press doesn't lie!"
"Where I come from, Stef, the tabloid press will lie on a regular basis if it'll sell papers." Clay leaned over, grabbing the magazine up and glancing over the poll. "And forgive me for not being overwhelmed, but Cool Trash aren't Jewel's biggest fans at the best of times. I think they took offence over that keyboardist girl talking about wanting them burnt down. They've been partisan towards us ever since."
"Well, shows they have taste, then." Stefana snapped, snatching the magazine back. "Besides, we're still number one and our new single is going to blow the old one - and Jewel - right out of the water!"
"It would, if you turned up for rehearsals on time instead of half an hour late." Madeleine scooped up her microphone, plugging it in. "But since you're here, maybe we can runthrough?"
"Yeah, yeah." Stefana rolled her eyes. "Why do you think I'm here? For the good of my health?"
"Stef, don't let's fight." Marissa pleaded. "It's great about the article. I mean, that's a Cool Trash reader poll and readers buy cds. Right? So it does matter, Clay, however you look at it. A lot of people read Cool Trash!"
"People who need their brains read." Clay said dryly. "Okay, Mari, I take the point."
He twirled a drumstick. "But we've been waiting long enough for our prima donna to arrive, and I'm not sure going to the newstand for the latest rag was worth the effort."
"For you information, I was with Rory at Rebel Records and I just got back." Stefana bristled, fixing her bandmate with a look of steely disdain. "He gave me the magazine. He wanted to see me, and I drove as fast as I could. And if you're done mewling, I'm ready to play."
"Mewling? Did you swallow a dictionary?" Clay raised an eyebrow. Stefana just stuck out her tongue, checking her guitar was properly tuned.
"All right, we've a full compliment, so we might as well run through." Luca said with a grin. "From the top, everyone, okay? Clay, you can beat us in."
"Sure." Clay nodded, tapping the rim of his snare. "One, two, three..."
They launched into their new song, and, boosted by the news of the poll, even Stefana managed to play her passages through without griping at the stops and re-starts that Marissa insisted upon. Gentle by nature, Marissa was protective of her music, and, mindful of the award, she wanted to make sure Diablo gave their best.
"Besides, we play Connie's Corner tomorrow night, and we record the song the day after." She concluded. "We might as well be perfect."
She glanced at Madeleine, who was glancing over the lyric sheet.
"Will you know the words in time for tomorrow, Maddy?"
"Yeah. I'll run over them tonight when we're done, just to be sure." Madeleine raised her head, nodding. "No problem, Mari. I have the first verse and the chorus down already, and it's just a matter of the bridge and second verse to drum in. It'll be fine."
"Who else is playing Connie's Corner tomorrow?" Luca wondered. "They haven't time-slotted us with Jewel, have they? With all the hype..."
"Jewel aren't ready to perform their song yet." Stefana snorted. "Apparently. I believe it's 'hit a technical glitch". What that means I don't know, but Rory seemed to think that they wouldn't be ready to play when we were. We'll have two weeks lead on them, easy."
"And we can use all the time we can get, if we do have a chance of winning." Marissa mused. "Okay, guys, can we run through it again? From the beginning - I'm still not happy with the tempo of the introduction and I think we need to step it up more. Clay, can you drive the beat a little harder?"
"Not a problem, so long as you can keep up with me." Clay's eyes twinkled. Marissa laughed.
"We'll be fine." She assured him. "We've done this before, you know."
She turned back to her keyboard. "All right, everyone. Let's hit it!"
Once the practice was over, Stefana grabbed her friend by the arm.
"Come out with me?" She hissed. "Le Klub Kool has some big deal evening tonight and I figured it wouldn't hurt our publicity any if we were seen mingling with the fans. You up for it? This place is dull as hell, anyway."
"Clubbing?" Marissa looked startled. "Sure, but if we're on the publicity trail, shouldn't we take the others?"
"I'd rather walk off a cliff than socialise with Maddy or Clay more than I had to." Stefana grimaced. "And Luca thinks he's my father sometimes. I don't need him on my tail if I'm going to have a good time."
"Which means that you're going to get stoned, or drunk, or possibly both." Marissa sighed. "Which will be just great for our publicity."
"I can control what I do, you know." Stefana glowered at her friend. "But if you're going to be that way, I'll go alone."
"No, I'll come." Marissa made up her mind. "It'd be nice to get rid of the cobwebs in my brain after working on that song all week, and besides, someone has to make sure you get in the right taxi to come home tonight. Let me go change, huh? I'll see you out the front in half an hour."
"All right." Stefana nodded. "But we don't need a cab, duh. You can drive us."
"Can I? What if I want to drink?" Marissa put her hands on her hips.
"I thought diabetics weren't supposed to drink." Stefana shot back. Marissa groaned.
"Oh, I don't want to argue with you." She said finally. "Fine, I'll drive, if it makes you happy. See you in a few, okay?"
"Sure." Stefana nodded. She scooped up the discarded magazine, glancing down at the poll once more. "After all, we got something we should be celebrating!"

Meanwhile, across the city at Misfit Music, Jewel were greeting the news of the poll with quite a different attitude.
"It's not that Cool Trash matters in the sense of normal people." Phyllis concluded. "But there are a lot of morons who read it, and the fact that they've voted like this isn't a good sign. I know we've been out of action for a bit and people are fickle, but the rot has to stop here. How goes the song?"
"We're ready to record, pretty much." Nancy glanced at her companions. "Tomorrow we can lay it down, if you like. We've settled all our technical difficulties and we've made sure that this song is going to be something a bit different from all our others."
"Well, God knows you need it." Phyllis frowned. "I don't like taking phone calls from Rory Llewelyn informing me that my band has slipped into second spot, and offering me his commiserations. We're going to show Los Angeles that Jewel are far from finished, all right? This song had better be good - we want it circulating the networks by the weekend."
"It will be, Phyllis. We're sure of that." Sylva dimpled. "We all know the melody to death by now, and Nancy's added a sax line as a counter-melody, too. It really rocks."
"Well, you might be considered biased, love." Jetta put in from her corner. "But I'm glad you're gettin' down to workin' on it. There won't be time for you to play it for us before you record it, so make sure you 'ave us forwarded the first copy of the disk tomorrow evenin', so we can pass comment. We want to schedule you in some bookin's on shows like Dean's and Connie's early next week if we can, so time is of the essence. Not to mention the video situation - which I believe 'as been explained to you."
"Yeah, but a montage suits us." Sadie cast Copper a grin, and the drummer blushed. "We have an element of mystery in this song, and doing the video that way will only help."
"Mystery?" Phyllis raised an eyebrow. "Sounds ominous. Is this mystery going to be expensive?"
"No, not at all." Topaz assured her. We've just maximised our resources a little, and come up with a new blend. That's all."
"Well, we can yak about it all day, but it ain't gettin' the song done." Jetta reflected. "If you're ready to lay down tomorrow, you might as well clear off now an' get 'ere nice an' early tomorrow. I'll make sure the studio techs are prepped for you before I go 'ome tonight. Go on, shoo! We've 'eard all we need to know."
With one accord, the band left the office, and Phyllis shot Jetta a glance.
"You think they can get their lead back?" She asked at length. Jetta snorted, picking up the copy of Cool Trash and tossing it into the waste paper basket.
"Are you seriously worried about Jewel because Cool Trash say so?" She asked. "Pizzazz, it's only two percent."
"Two percent is big enough in showbusiness." Phyllis said darkly. "I remember a Glitter and Gold contest that was lost on one record. These things can be close."
"Yeah, I know that. I ain't a rookie." Jetta said impatiently. "But two percent ain't that damn much at all when you think that Jewel ain't recorded a bloody thing since the fire. Before it, in fact. They've been out of the loop for almost two months with one thing or another. Part of it I suppose is my fault, for gettin' caught in the smoke the way I did. Some of it is yours, for not gettin' the company back up an' running quicker. But Jewel are strong an' they'll breeze through once they've got a single out. Fans are impatient - you know that. Once we keep 'em 'appy, well, then things will sort themselves out. Diablo 'ave 'ad one major hit record, but Jewel 'ave had several. It's still clear who the nation love best."
"Well, I hope you're right." Phyllis said at length. "I know Jewel are strong, and they're the best bet we have at the moment. But I don't trust Riot."
"Why should you?" Jetta shrugged. "He can cause us trouble. It ain't our fault if 'e can't win these things legit."
Phyllis looked thoughtful.
"We had to do whatever it took to win when we were Misfits." She said slowly. "We were ruthless and we didn't care if we broke the rules. Now we're on the other end of it, with Riot and his Diablo brats...I don't like it. I don't like that we have to play by the rules when he isn't."
"Noone said we had to, love." Jetta rested her chin in her hands. "There's keepin' within the law, an' there's bendin' the rules to suit us.The first of those we 'ave to do. Otherwise the company could go down the tubes. You know it an' I know it an' your Pa knew it when 'e 'anded control of this place over to you. But the reason we can't think like Misfits, even if we do play it on the level most days these days."
"What are you thinking?" Phyllis cast he friend a suspicious look.
"Nothin' much." Jetta's grey eyes sparkled with mischief. "'Ow much dirt do we 'ave on Diablo? Anythin' we could conveniently make public this week?"
"Not a whole lot." Phyllis rummaged in a drawer, pulling out a folder. "This is what my contact at Rebel Records sent me, but it isn't much. I know their schedule and I've been keeping an eye on them. Oh, Latisha mentioned something about them arguing in the dressing room before Dean's show the other morning, but that's par for the course where bands are concerned. Much as I'd like to whip those babies back to Connecticut and out of our hair, Riot keeps them too much out of trouble."
"What about your Emily? She an' Luca are cosy. Is there nothin' she's said?"
"Emily is like a clam where Luca is concerned." Phyllis grimaced. "She won't get involved - damn her. I don't know what kind of a Gabor she is, but she won't join in the fight."
"If you ask me, she an' Luca are closer than everyone realises." Jetta said thoughtfully. Phyllis pulled another face.
"Yes, they are. She had the gall to talk to me about relationships a few weeks back." She admitted grimly. "She's sleeping with the enemy in the literal sense. But hell, what can I do about it? She's not my daughter in the way that I can tell her what to do. Not like you can with Nancy. Face it, Jetta. There's nothing low, mean and unethical that we can pull on Riot or Diablo."
"Pity." Jetta reflected. "Of course, I suppose it's immaterial that Stefana was questioned about involvement in the fire that torched this place?"
"She was questioned because she knew that Barren guy." Phyllis frowned. "Ain't that right?"
A slight smile touched Jetta's lips.
"So we were told." She agreed slowly. "Although from the snippets I've 'eard from Nancy an' the others, Stefana was the one responsible for wreckin' their studio two days before. And I know we can't prove anythin' - but would it be worth droppin' an anonymous line in some local rag about Stefana bein' partly to blame for Jewel's lack of recent appearances?"
Phyllis let out a low chuckle.
"Rumours are always fun to spread." She agreed with a wicked grin. "All right. I'll see to it that it's leaked to somewhere bound to print it. Not Cool Trash - they seem to be on Diablo's side these days. But there's Music Bizz, among others. And in the meantime, Jewel have their new song ready to go down, so that's another thing taken care of. What do you reckon they meant by the mystery?"
"We'll find out tomorrow, no doubt." Jetta shrugged. "So long as the song is good, an' a winner, who cares?"
"I suppose you're right." Phyllis looked thoughtful. "Okay. I'll make sure that we've everything ready for the song to go out to radio and tv stations on Saturday. Riot had better watch out - Jewel aren't going to give this one up without a fight!"

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!