The Story So Far...
Topaz has decided that, come Winter and the birth of her baby, she will no longer be a Jewel, because she believes it is not fair to constantly upset Jewel's schedule. This feeling is strengthened in her after a bad experience at an Award ceremony, and her mind appears to be made up. Upon Topaz's request, Misfit Music have trawled their files for potential replacements and have come up with three candidates: Bryony Richards, a musician from San Diego, Latisha Rowenall, a California State University graduate with a lot of musical talent and ability, and Casey Spiller, a waitress cum rock performer who has been a part of numerous locally based bands.
Meanwhile, an encounter in a club with her violent ex-boyfriend has caused Sadie to flee home for America, in the hope of claiming sanctuary with Topaz and the others at the Starlight Mansion. Alone and homesick in Los Angeles, only one thought is on her mind.
What if they don't want her?
Chapter One: Conference
"It's so horrible out here."
Sadie shivered, pulling her jacket more tightly around her as she forged forward through the driving rain and wind. It felt like she had been walking forever. She was now so wet that she no longer felt the dampness of the jacket as it clung to her skin, and yet the rain continued to fall relentlessly, as if determined to drench her all over again. She had taken more than one wrong turning, for the road was long and winding and in places it had not been clear which way she had to go, so by now the whipping wind had chilled her young body to the bone. She stifled a yawn, gritting her teeth and pushing on. There was nothing else for her to do, after all.
A crash of thunder followed by a flash of lightning made her jump and her heart leapt in her chest at the shock. Pausing for a moment to catch her breath, she surveyed her surroundings. In the cold and dizzy haze she now found herself in, the only thing keeping her exhausted body going was the hope of finding her friend's home.
A car whooshed by her, sending up spray from the puddles but she was so wet now she did not even notice. She sneezed, feeling disorientated and lightheaded.
"It's all the bad weather, it's confusing me." She murmured to herself. "I must keep going. I can't be far away now, surely? I can't be far..."
She shivered again, coughing.
"Damn asthma." She muttered. "It's never liked cold weather. What's with this, anyway? I thought California was supposed to be..."
She trailed off as, her vision obscured by the weather, she almost walked into a signpost. Squinting at it, she felt giddy with relief as she made out the words.
"Starlight Mansion." She murmured. "Oh God, I'm here. I...I must be here."
She glanced around her, picking a shadowy building out of the haze of the storm.
"That must be it." She mused. "Oh, I hope so! I don't think I can walk much...much further! I hope someone is in and that they won't turn me away! Please, don't let them turn me away! I have nowhere else to turn!"
"Well, I suppose I should say welcome to Misfit Music."
Phyllis Gabor, owner and chief executive of Los Angeles' most influential recording company cast her gaze around the room's three occupants, a thoughtful look on her face. "I think you all know why you're here. You're a part of the sweep Misfit Music has begun to locate a new member for Jewel, one of our most successful and best known acts. You're here because you've made the grade in terms of talent and ability - what remains is for you to make the grade where our girls are concerned, also. Jewel are a big hit act, I don't think there's any denying that. Part of their success is down to the way they operate as a team, and therefore, of course, the new Jewel must be able to fit smoothly and easily into this team without any hiccups. Are there any questions?"
"Please, Miss Gabor, I have a question." The slim dark girl in the corner raised a hand, meeting Phyllis' quizzical green eyes with earnest brown ones. "I was just wondering when we were going to get to meet Jewel? Ms Pelligrini mentioned that that would be part of this process - are we to meet them soon?"
"I was getting to that." There was a slight note of impatience in Phyllis' tone, though she masked it well, for the question had been asked in good faith. "I've spoken to my colleague and also to Jewel themselves and it has been arranged for you all to meet with the members of Jewel tonight, for a meal, to basically get to know each other. It's as important that you get along with them as it is the other way about...and so we wanted a fairly informal, unmusical setting to give you your first encounter with them. They're all eager to meet you, of course. This is the first time since Jewel set out that we've had to utilise this kind of process, and it's something as new to them as it is to you."
"I can't wait to meet them in person." A blond girl observed. "I can;t believe I'm even in the running for this. Jewel are phenomenal in this state, everyone is always talking about them! I can't imagine what it must be like to be one of them."
"Well, you'll soon get a taste for it." Phyllis told her firmly. "Tonight, you will each be collected from your homes or hotels and taken to the restaurant to meet the band. We've done our bit as a music company. The choice is now entirely in their hands. As far as Jetta and I are concerned, you're all damn good enough musicians to be a part of this project. It's just down to you to prove yourselves as Jewel material to the girls themselves, that's all."
She gestured towards the door, as if to dismiss them and, taking the hint, the three girls got to their feet, leaving the office.
Once outside the door, the blond girl spoke.
"She's pretty full on, isn't she?"
"She's a professional." The third girl, who had kept her quiet in the office pointed out. The black girl nodded.
"Phyllis Gabor is - and always has been - notorious in Los Angeles, ever since her Misfit days." She responded. "She's pretty much everything I expected her to be - very different from Ms Pelligrini, but just as professional and just as clued into what she's doing."
"It's a huge deal, this." The blond reflected. "Do you s'pose we're the only candidates? From what Miss Gabor said, there sounded like there were others."
"Dunno." The third girl shrugged her shoulders. "All I know is that I've been swept up here from San Diego and stuck in a hotel under promise not to reveal anything that goes on at Misfit Music to the press till we're given the say-so."
"Jewel are big business. I understand why they've imposed the embargo." The black girl remarked. The blond grinned.
"Well, even though we're rivals, I vote we stick together a little tonight." She suggested. "After all, this is just round one. We're only meeting them and it'll come across so much better if we're amicable to each other and not at each other's throats."
"I'm all for that." The black girl looked relieved. "I really didn't want to be involved in a cuthroat fight. My father persuaded me to come here, and so far the people have been great. I'm glad you girls are as nice, too." She smiled. "I'm Latisha Rowenall, by the way, in case you didn't pick it up in there."
"Casey Spiller." The blond responded with a dimple. "And you're Bryony, right?" To the third girl, who nodded, looking startled.
"Yes, Bryony Richards." She agreed, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. "I'm surprised you remembered."
"Well, I've a good memory for names." Casey told her. "Ooh, though, it's so exciting! I almost wish that I'd been whisked to a hotel like you, Bryony...it would make it even more magical somehow!"
"You think we're even in with a chance?" Bryony asked. "I mean, even if there aren't others in the running, Miss Gabor did say herself that any one of us are good enough but we have to pass muster with Jewel. I hope..." She trailed off, frowning.
"You hope what?" Latisha asked gently.
"Well, they're in the public eye so much." Bryony responded. "You don't s'pose they'll be really stuck up and full of themselves, do you?"
"They don't come across as it, in their press releases and stuff." Latisha looked thoughtful. "That's one of the only reasons I let Dad talk me into this. They seem so nice and he said it might well be the doorway into music I've been hoping for."
"Are you mad, girl?" Casey stared. "You telling me you had to be talked into this?"
"Well, I'm not really a rock and roll star." Latisha grinned. "At college I was involved in music extra curricular stuff a lot, but it was largely r&b. Sure, I play guitar, but I've always played. My musical leanings aren't necessarily in Jewel's genre."
"Any road to stardom is as good as another." Bryony remarked. "Once you're there, you know, you can do as you want."
"That's what Dad said." Latisha agreed. "And he's usually right, so here I am." She grinned. "Hey, if we're going to be friends through this, how about we go and grab some coffee somewhere, talk about tonight?"
"Sounds good to me." Casey owned. "I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to wear. What do you wear to meet rock and roll superstars?"
"They're just girls our age." Bryony pointed out. "They're probably not that different from us."
"Several leagues richer, maybe." Latisha looked rueful. "I owe enough money on student expenses as it is, you know. I don't think I can afford a whole new outfit for tonight. I'll have to ransack my wardrobe."
"I wonder what they will be like." Casey murmured. "They're so chic and I have so many good ideas to bring to a band...not that you girls don't, of course." She added hastily. "I'm just still sorta in shock about all of this, that's all. It's a blast!"
"I think we're all still reeling." Latisha admitted. "Okay, so we're on for coffee? And whatever happens tonight and over the next few days or weeks, girls, I'm glad we're gonna deal with it on friendly terms. After all, it might be fun to go it as a team!"
"So what did you make of 'em?"
Back on the top floor of Misfit Music, Jetta poked her head around the door of her business partner's office, raising an eyebrow. "You reckon there's a new Jewel among em?"
"Dunno." Phyllis admitted, leaning back in her chair and folding her arms across her chest as she considered. "They're all pretty girls, I guess that's something, and they don't seem to be hiding any vicious homicidal tendancies. Most importantly, they can all three play. I'm not sure, Jetta. I'm more looking forward to seeing how Jewel tackle them tonight."
"Jewel are already a mix of opinions about everything." Jetta rolled her eyes, dropping down into a vacant seat. "I can't see 'ow they're ever going to agree."
"They'll damn well have to, even if I have to pin them down and make them." Phyllis assured her. "It's bad enough to be losing Topaz, Jetta. I ain't letting the other three mess about and screw up the band with indecisiveness. Jewel are our biggest selling act at the moment. Nothing is gonna be allowed to get in the way of maintaining that."
"There are a lot of whispers in the press about Topaz quittin'." Jetta responded. Phyllis nodded.
"I know. I saw the papers this morning." She agreed. "It ain't good, Jetta. Creates hype and uncertainty."
"So what do we do? Issue a statement saying that Jewel are not splitting up?"
"Nah, not yet." Phyllis shook her head. "If we can get a little bit of free publicity out of the rumour, I suppose it ain't all bad. However, keep tabs on it. If it gets outta hand I'll be lining up legal suits."
"Local press are scared of you." she observed. "They won't cross the line."
"So they should be." Phyllis responded. She frowned. "I don't like all this change, though. Change never does anything any good. If something works, why mess with it?"
"Duckie, if you 'adn't been up for a little change, I woulda never been a Misfit." Jetta reminded her lightly. "An' then who'd be filin' your bloody tax forms for ya, huh?"
"Mm, okay." Phyllis conceded. "But that's one example. This is different. Jewel were a trio before, they could be a trio again. If it wasn't for the fussing and Nancy complaining about bass lines or whatever it is...and I damn well paid for Topaz to come to California. Ive no idea of letting her trot off to be a full time stay at home Mom, not with the talent she has. She's damn well gonna be a solo star for this company else she'll be back to Canada before she can blink, and I;m gonna make sure she knows it, too!"
"Topaz don't want to go back to Canada, and from what the girls 'ave said, she don't want to give up 'er music, neither." She responded. "I dare say it'll figure itself out. One of these girls will be adopted by the others, we'll 'old a press conference, on the 'ype of which we'll release Exotic..."
"If those wretched girls can come up with a concept for the inlay." Phyllis interrupted with a grimace. "They're nothing but trouble at the moment!"
"Well, kids will be kids." Jetta remarked. "An' I'll make sure I mention it tonight, at the meal, if you don't. By the way, who else is comin' to this shindig?"
"Aaron, because he's their road manager." Phyllis responded. "I told Cynthia to be there too. I'm never quite sure if that girl lives at Starlight Mansion or not, you know, it's never clear, but she's damn close to Jewel in terms of work hours and besides, she's pretty levelheaded. I want her in on this." She pulled another face. "She didn't want to come, mind you. Tried to weasel out of it, but I told her she either came or she lost her job, so she's coming."
"She doesn't generally come to corporate functions." Jetta reflected. "What was 'er reasonin' for missin' this?"
"Oh, claimed she had dinner plans elsewhere." Phyllis responded. "I told her that she didn't have to eat dinner with us if she had some secret date goin' down, but I wanted her there or else. She promised she would be."
"So it's you, me, Jewel, Aaron and Cynthia." Jetta mused. "What about Topaz? She included?"
"Yeah. She might as well, it'll put a cap on any negative press about her and the other girls not getting along." Phyllis nodded. "And besides, Nancy seems to think that Topaz is stopping at Starlight even when she's not in Jewel any more...so I s'pose she's relevant to this, too. After all, the new Jewel will have to be prepared to move into Starlight Mansion with the others. It's just easier."
"Right." Jetta nodded. She pursed her lips. "Which means they'll 'ave to live with a screamin' baby, too. Bloody lucky for them!" She laughed. "I can't tell you 'ow glad I was when Nancy an' Aaron learnt to put the screechin' into actual words I could understand!"
"You and your damn kids." She muttered.
"Hey, Nancy does okay for this company, if you ain't forgot." Jetta retorted. "What time are we meetin' up tonight, anyway?"
"Oh, around eightish at the Red Rock." Phyllis responded. "And no, before you ask, Justin isn't welcome! This is a business engagement, not a meet the neighbours and bring the family do!"
"Fine, relax, I wasn't gonna ask 'im." Jetta looked amused. "And I know Alan's in San Francisco till tomorrow too, so I'm not gonna let you be the only one with no date."
"One of these days, Jetta, I'm gonna shut your mouth for you permanently." Phyllis scowled at her companion, but Jetta knew the older woman well enough to know when the threats were empty and she grinned.
"Aw, I'm sorry." She said, not noticeably contrite. "So, eight o' clock at the Red Rock? Okay. Will be there. I've a couple of things to settle up this afternoon, then I'm gonna cut out of 'ere, okay? Plenty to do before tonight."
"Sure." Phyllis nodded. "Ain't much to do here at the moment, anyway." She grinned. "Besides, the real show is gonna be tonight, when we let those three loose on our girls. I'm rather hoping sparks will fly...and either way, I think it's gonna be a night to remember. The girls are all so different and so are Jewel...I'm rather looking forward to the outcome!"
Chapter One: Conference
Chapter Two: An Unexpected Houseguest
Chapter Three: The Wannabes
Chapter Four: Sadie Confides
Sadie's Diary: September 6th, 2013
Chapter Five: A Spy
Chapter Six: Inspiration
Sadie's Diary: September 7th, 2013
Chapter Seven: Cynthia Lends A Hand
Sadie's Diary: September 8th, 2013
Chapter Eight: Into The Lion's Den
Sadie's Diary: September 9th, 2013
Chapter Nine: Latisha Admits
Chapter Ten: Dinner At The Starlight
Chapter Eleven: Truth Will Out
Chapter Twelve: The Newest Jewel
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!