"It's nine o' clock and it's the rock hour here on KBST, so don't touch
that dial! Live in the studio I have with me Goldie and Garnet from Jewel,
who have staked their claim to the chart top spot this week with the first
airing of their slamming new song, 'Dolorida'.
Girls, Spanish! Is
there no limit to Jewel's talents?"
"Well, we wanted something different." Nancy cast the D.J a reserved
smile. It was early on Monday morning, and the song had been doing the rounds
of the local networks for the last forty eight hours. Already it had topped
listener polls and jammed the lines on phone selection channels, and to
all and sundry in California it seemed that Jewel were more than back in
business. "We've been out of action long enough, and we didn't want people
to forget about us. We needed something special just to make that extra
"It's been a hard few months for Misfit Music, if you read the presses.
Did you ever think that the company might go down the tubes?"
"We didn't know, since we couldn't predict Jetta's health. She's made
a fabulous recovery and we're all glad." Sadie said with a shrug. "But
it has put our schedule back somewhat. Now we're playing catch up and we
have to work hard if we're going to regain ground. We're up against strong
competition for this award, after all."
"Meaning Diablo?" The D.J eyed her keenly. Sadie nodded.
"Yes." She agreed. "They've proven how strong they've gotten lately
with their long-running top ten hits. We always take them seriously, but
this is the biggest contest we've faced between us since I came to LA."
"What is the song about? I flunked Spanish at school - what does the
title mean?" The D.J cast a glance at Nancy.
"Heartsick." Nancy said carefully. "It's about a girl who doesn't really
know what to make of her feelings."
"We wanted to appeal to more than just the English speaking communities
with this song." Sadie added. "Hence why the track is half in English and
half in Spanish."
"Some of the reviewers have been calling this Jewel's best track to date."
The D.J observed. "It seems already to be popular with radio channels and
the like - heck, we've had it requested several times on our phone-in hour
ourselves. But it's not what most of us usually associate with Jewel and
your kind of music. Where did the inspiration come from?"
"I wrote it because Jewel needed something different - though of course
I had help with the lyrics, since I don't speak Spanish myself." Nancy said
quietly. "Also, I wanted this song to be special. It's been a hard time
for all of us, but me more than the rest, for obvious reasons. I wanted
this to kick Jewel back into the spotlight and prove that we haven't gone
stale or old or anything along those lines. We needed a big hit song, and,
well, hopefully we'll get it."
"I have to ask you girls this." The D.J beamed across at them. "The press
hype before the single came to us was that Topaz was going to do vocal
on this track. Since she returned to the band, she's seemed to be your
out and out vocalist and you've chopped and changed a lot less. Is it Topaz?"
"No." Sadie shook her head, sending Nancy an uneasy look as she did so.
"Topaz plays bass guitar on this track. We...we all wanted a change."
"Well, we'll hear more right after this message from our sponsors."
The D.J leant over, flipping the dial and a merry jingle rang out across
the radio waves. Nancy grimaced at her bandmate.
"So now what?" She murmured. "What can we say without giving anything
"Whatever we can, I suppose." Sadie shrugged. "We promised. Besides,
after this, he's going to take calls from fans and they'll have other questions
for us. It'll probably be all right."
"So long as the fans don't ask the same question." Nancy said darkly.
"All right. We'll try and keep him off that topic as long as we can, and
hope for the best, huh? I wish Syl and the others were here - Syl can chat
for America about nothing in particular, and it's sucky that all the pressure
is down on us."
"Sylva's doing that breakfast show and Copper and Topaz are handling
the magazine interview, since all these things sprung up at once." Sadie
reminded her. "It is a lot of publicity and it's what we want, isn't it?"
"Yes, if we have any chance of winning this award." Nancy nodded. "Sshht!
We're back on air!"
"Well, the phonelines have been ringing themselves hoarse since the beginning
of the show, so I guess we'd better go to the lines." The D.J grinned.
"Line one, you're live on KBST - what's your question for Jewel?"
"Wow, I'm really live?" A teenage girl squealed down the phoneline. "I
just wanted to ask Jewel if they're releasing another album soon, and if
so is the new song on it?"
"We're working on it as we speak." Sadie agreed, relief in her blue eyes.
"We want to make Jewel's comeback album something special, even though
we've not been away all that long. In show-business a hundred things can
happen in a moment, and we want to be prepared for anything."
"Line two, you're on air. What's your question for Garnet and Goldie?"
The D.J flicked a couple of switches.
"I just wanted to ask if Copper is really getting married soon, and if
it'll all be on TV?" The caller asked. Nancy grinned.
"I don't think they've set any firm date. With all our work lately, they've
been forced to push it back a while." She said. "But I don't think it'll
all be on television. Our good friend Zoe Montgomery will film the ceremony,
of course, and some aspects will be released to the public. But Copper is
a very private person about these things, and Aaron means the world to her.
I think that she'll want as close-knit a ceremony as possible, when the
time comes. Really, though, she's the one to ask about it - not us."
"Is her fiance really your brother, Goldie?"
"Yes, he is." Nancy agreed. "So as you can imagine, I'm very pleased
that they got together!"
"Okay, caller, we haven't time for a personal one-on-one interview today."
The D.J sounded amused, turning another dial. "Line three, you're live
on KBST. What's your question for our two Jewel girls?"
There was a moment of silence, and the D.J frowned.
"Line three? Are you there?" He asked.
"I'm here." The voice was quiet, and somehow vaguely familiar to the
two listening Jewels, though neither one of them could place it. "I'm a
bi-i-ig fan of Jewel's music and I'm so
glad that they're releasing
a new song!"
"Well, we're all glad of that, caller." The D.J grinned. "What's your
question for the girls?"
"I was just curious to know who is singing the vocal on the new track?"
The caller asked, her tone deceptively innocent. "I have all of Jewel's other
disks and I can't work it out for the life of me who is singing this song."
"This is something I think we've all been wondering." The D.J agreed
amiably, as a cold chill touched Sadie's spine. She frowned, as Nancy shot
her an anxious glance.
"At the moment, we can't answer that." Nancy said at length. "Everything...everything
will become clear as we go on, but...but right at the moment my mo...uh,
Jetta has advised us to keep as much detail about the song as close to our
chests as possible."
"We wanted to add a sense of mystique to the track." Sadie added, biting
her lip. "So I'm afraid we're sworn to secrecy on that one for the time
being. Sorry, Caller."
"Speaking of the track, let's play it for y'all now." The D.J suggested,
reaching over to the C.D player and hitting play. As the opening notes
of the song swelled out into the small room, the two musicians exchanged
"What now?" Sadie hissed. Nancy shrugged.
"Brazen it out as much as we can." She replied. "Did the caller sound
familiar to you?"
"Yes, but I can't think why. I hoped you'd know." Sadie murmured back.
"Do you think that the D.J will make it sticky for us now, and press the
"He hasn't yet, but the press will be full of it tomorrow, no doubt."
Nancy looked grim. "It just occured to me who the caller might have been.
In fact, thinking about it, I'm almost sure of it. It isn't the first time
and it sure won't be the last, if my suspicions are right. Damn girl."
"Who?" Sadie's eyes widened. Nancy shook her head imperceptably, one
eye on the D.J.
"Not here. Later." She muttered. "But Mom was right. We really are in
a publicity war."
Three blocks from the studio, Stefana had replaced the receiver on the
pay-phone, a sparkle of mirth in her green eyes. She had sensed the discomfort
of her rivals, in having to answer her question live and without preparation,
and she thanked her lucky stars for the information she had overheard backstage
at Connie's Corner.
"My next task is a letter to Cool Trash. They and Jewel aren't the best
friends most days, though they print the good stuff as well as the bad."
She mused, leaning up against the glass casing of the booth as she considered
her next move. "A letter is better than a phone call and I can type it on
Clay's machine, so it can't be traced back to me. Knowing them how I do,
I'm sure that they'll print the story. After all, it's big news, if Jewel
are cheating the public. Their new song is a fake and I'm going to make sure
everyone knows it's a fake, too! Jewel can say goodbye to this award - it's
Diablo's, fair and square!"
* * *
* * * *
* * * *
The studio was bustling with people by the time Jeff arrived,
and for a moment he paused in the doorway, glancing around the crowds of
people for any faces that were at all familiar. It had been a long time, he
realised, far longer than he had ever intended, but the painful way in which
he had initially left California had kept him away from Los Angeles as much
as his career would permit. He had relished the opportunities to work so
hard abroad, and had flitted in and out of the United States for the best
part of twenty years, restless and always more or less alone. After all,
he mused darkly, he had not just lost Connie's affection when he had departed.
He had left behind him the ghost of a good friend betrayed.
"Jeff!" A cry from the melee startled him from these morose thoughts and
he turned, recognising the speaker with a smile.
"Vivien! Well, and you've barely changed at all!" He bantered, a little
of his old sparkle in his grey-green eyes. "When I heard you were to be
involved in all of this, I had to come and see it for myself. You know,
it's about time someone dug this film out of it's coffin and re-aired it.
Andrew would have wanted it, and when I think of it, so do I."
"I'm glad you feel that way." Vivien beamed at him. "I wasn't sure whether
we'd nail you down, Jeff. We've managed to pull in a fair few of the cast,
and many of the backstage crew, but with Andrew no longer with us and with
yourself travelling wherever you've been, well, we were worried about the
"I'm here, for Andy and myself." Jeff assured her. "And it feels good
to return to Los Angeles in one way, at least."
He paused, scanning the room, then, "Is Connie involved in all of this?"
"Yes, but she isn't here." Vivien leant up against the doorframe, eying
his expression thoughtfully. "Zoe spoke to her about it, but she said that
her memories of this film aren't so good, and she really doesn't want to
excite them all again. I understand that, Jeff, and I didn't push her. She's
going to be interviewed at her own studios, where she usually films her show.
After all, she did lose her fiance in the making of this production. It had
a profound effect on her."
"I remember." Jeff said slowly. "It's a shame, though."
He paused, then,
"She's well, I s'pose?"
"Oh, of course. You haven't seen her show?" Vivien looked surprised. Jeff
"I have." He agreed. "But you know, the public face and private one can
be very different. I never really thought of her going into television presenting,
but she's a natural at it."
"LinZ helped more than anything there." Vivien said soberly. "I'm going
to assume that you know about her accident?"
"Couldn't not know." Jeff agreed. "Like Andrew - an unnecessary tragedy."
"Yes, very much so." Vivien agreed. "But enough of the morose stuff. You'll
want to greet people, and I have things to sort out myself. I have to brief
Zoe on her morning, and..."
"Who is this Zoe?" Jeff interrupted. "Do I know her?"
"I doubt it. You'd left Los Angeles before she was born." Vivien shook
her head, a strange sparkle in her eyes. She gestured across the hall. "That's
her - I roped her in to interview for me, since Connie's not willing to be
involved. Come on and I'll introduce you - you'll meet plenty as things go
"She looks just like you." Jeff decided as they crossed the floor. "I
didn't know you had a daughter, Viv."
"But I don't." Vivien shook her head. "I have one son, and that's more
trouble than it's probably worth, much as I love him." She sighed. "But no.
She might look a little like me, Jeff, but Zoe's not my daughter."
"Not?" Jeff looked startled.
"No." Vivien paused, then,
"Jeff, Zoe is Connie's daughter."
"Oh!" Jeff looked startled. "I didn't realise - is she married, then?
I suppose she was so young when...when she lost Andrew, that she must've
moved on and got on with her life, huh? I'm sorry, it never dawned on me."
"Connie has never married, but yes, I think she did move on." Vivien agreed
gravely. "And she's proven herself a good mother, too - everyone's fond of
Zoe, and you'll soon discover why. She has all of her Mom's bubbly outgoing-ness
without the stubborn temper...she's quite the charmer."
At that moment they reached the far side of the room, where Zoe had been
chatting amiably with Alexa Van Aarden, her mother's old partner in crime.
At the sight of her cousin she dimpled a smile, raising her hand in a wave.
"Hi, Viv - got more work for me?"
"I will have before long." Vivien agreed playfully. "So enough of the
standing around and chatting, huh? I have someone to introduce you to."
She indicated her companion. "Zoe, this is an old friend of mine and of
your mother's, too. This is Jeff Wright. Jeff, my second cousin, and often
far more of a niece to me, in truth - our programme interviewer, Zoe Montgomery"
"Oh!" Zoe's eyes became big, then, "I'm pleased to meet you, Jeff. My
mother's told me about you."
"Then you're at an advantage." Jeff grinned, but there was an amount of
uneasiness in his eyes at her words. "You're interviewing us all?"
"Yeah, that is the plan." Zoe agreed, excitement bubbling in her eyes
as she surveyed him. "Usually I work behind the camera - Viv apprenticed
me and taught me all I knew in that department, but when she asked me to
help out here I couldn't refuse. Not when Mom was so heavily involved here,
and everything. She didn't want to come here herself, but I didn't mind.
I don't know half enough of Mom's old friends - only LinZ, and she's been
gone more than fifteen years now. It's all real exciting for me, especially
looking over old footage."
"It's been a long time for me, too." Jeff admitted. "I've not been in
Los Angeles for more than a night at a time for quite a while - work has
called me elsewhere and I haven't had a chance to get in touch with people
I knew back when. But I suppose this will soon change that." He grinned
across at Alexa, who nodded her head.
"It's just a shame Connie isn't here, else you could exchange insults
across the studio like you used to across the set." She teased, laughing
as he looked uncomfortable.
"Were they very bad?" Zoe looked interested. Alexa nodded.
"Like school-children." She agreed, amused. "Zoe, honey, you must ask
your mother about some of the things she got up to on set. I'm not sure
even John Garram knew how to react to her some days!" A shadow crossed her
face. "Then Andrew had his accident and of course, nothing was the same.
I understand her not coming here, but I will definitely give her a call.
I've missed her over the years."
"She'd like that." Zoe assured her. She glanced at Jeff, biting her lip,
then, "Viv, what's my schedule for today?"
Vivien grinned at her.
"Since he's here, you'd better nail Jeff's interview before he disappears
again, and we don't see him for dust." She said with a shrug. "That all right
with you, Jeff?"
"Fine, though I plan to stay in Los Angeles a while longer this time."
A thoughtful look had crossed the stuntman's face. "Okay, Zoe - I'm at your