"Well, here we are."
Nancy took her seat with some hesitation, slipping her jacket off and pushing it onto the back of her chair, gazing around her. "Oh, I hate eating out. Someone from the press always finds us and wants to know what's going on!"
"Especially in this place." Copper agreed. "It's one of the best known celebrity haunts in LA...they hang around this place like a swarm of wasps."
"What time is it?" Sylva wondered. "We're here - but anyone see any sign of Phyllis, Jetta or these girls yet?"
"No, but you know how it is in big business." Nancy rolled her eyes. "I think Aunt Phyl thinks that it makes her look more important if she can keep people waiting."
"Yeah, but it doesn't look good to the new Jewel wannabes if we're sat here like turkeys waiting for them." Sylva pointed out. "Cynthia, will you sit down and quit fidgeting? You have to be here!"
"I know. I would rather have stayed home with your most recent houseguest." Cynthia muttered, obediently taking her seat. "I am sure they will find it odd I don't eat."
"So say you've already eaten but you've dropped by here on Phyllis' request." Copper told her. "Noone's gonna watch you, you know."
"I suppose you're right." Cynthia owned. "Where is Aaron? Is he not to be here also?"
"Right here, Cynnie." A voice came from behind them and the four girls turned, casting their road manager a smile. Aaron Pelligrini slipped into the empty seat beside his fiancee, kissing her hello as he did so. "This is a big deal meeting, from everything I've understood. Aren't you missing someone?"
"Topaz had something else very important to do." Sylva told him vaguely. "And don't ask anything else, Aaron, because we won't tell you."
"Mmm, Syl's being cloak and dagger, that means something's up." Aaron teased. "Don't worry, Syl. I find it best not to pry into girl talk too much. No doubt Topaz has a good reason."
"Yes, she does." Copper nodded. "Thanks for not prying, Aaron. We will explain to you but here is not the time or the place to do it."
"Okay." Aaron grinned. "And if that's the case, maybe a subject change is in order? Here's Mom and Aunt Phyl with the newbies."
"You've met them?" Cynthia asked. Aaron nodded his head.
"Briefly, this morning." He agreed. "I saw them at Misfit Music. They all seem nice girls, so don't worry. I think there are definite friends to be made."
"Well, that's something at least." Nancy let out her breath in a rush. "Ook, guess here goes. I'm gonna have to remember to call Aunt Phyl Phyllis or Miss Gabor all night, aren't I? And as for Mom...mmm...doesn't look too professional if I turn tonight into a family get together!"
"Don't worry about it. They already know you're Mom's kid." Aaron assured her. "But since they know you write the songs and all that, I don't think any of them can claim favouritism."
"Hey, kiddies." At that moment Phyllis herself breezed into the conversation, taking a seat and indicating for her companions to do so too. "I'm glad you're here in good time, I..." She paused, frowning. "You're one short. Topaz?"
"She had to see the doctor." Sylva said neatly, casting the executive a smile. "She sends her fervent apologies but there was nothing she could do to change things."
"Oh." Phyllis pursed her lips, but seemed loath to make a fuss in front of the three excited and apprehensive looking strangers. "If that's the case, then I suppose she's excused." She gestured to her companions. "Girls, I want to introduce you to these three young ladies here. This is Casey, Latisha and Bryony. And of course these," She cast the wannabes a smile, "Are Goldie, Copper and Sylva of Jewel. I believe you met Aaron, their road manager, but this is his chief assistant, Cynthia Benton - she's in charge of Jewel's light shows, among other technical wizardry."
"Wow, really?" Casey's blue eyes opened wide at this. "You did the stage effects when Jewel played the award ceremony?"
"Indeed." Cynthia offered her a smile. "I enjoy working with Jewel - we're very close friends these days."
"This is a bit strange for all of us." Copper put in. "I'm sure you're feeling as odd about as we three are - it's nice to have this dinner to get to know you guys aside from the world of music. Phyllis and Jetta have told us you can all play really well, and they know what they're talking about, so we're anxious to get to know you."
"You're a closeknit bunch, from everything I've read on Jewel." Latisha observed. "It must be hard knowing one of your close friends is leaving you."
"We're going to miss her horribly." Sylva admitted. "But you know, she's our friend in and outside of the band, so we're hopeful from that point of view it won't change matters much." She grinned amiably at the trio. "I guess you probably have things you wanna ask us, too, huh?"
"Lots of things." Casey beamed back. "We're totally thrilled to all be here, of course, but you know, there's so much more to all this than just music, right? Miss Gabor said she wanted to see how we...um...clicked with you guys?"
"Very important." Jetta murmured. "Since whoever joins the group will wind up moving into the Starlight Mansion."
"Really?" Bryony looked startled at this. Copper nodded her head.
"We're all agreed that Starlight Mansion is Jewel's base and therefore that's where we all live." She said. "Bryony...you're from San Diego, isn't that right? Are you worried about moving cities?"
"No, I'd love it." Bryony said fervently.
"San Diego's that bad, huh?" Nancy asked dryly. Bryony shook her head, blushing.
"No, not at all." She responded. "But you know, you can't stay in the same place all the time, and my family is all in San Diego." She grimaced. "That's not always a good thing - I have a brother I always fight with and I'd love to be out of home."
"You live at home?" Sylva asked. Bryony nodded.
"I know, it's kinda tragic, but I don't have a job right at the moment." She admitted, seeming embarrassed. "I did work with Mirage - you know, my old band - we played a lot of San Diego clubs and made money that way, and I'd make extra funds by tutoring guitar and stuff like that, but when the singer died..." She broke off, frowning, as if remembering. "It changed things, so I moved back home."
"That's sad." Copper said gently. Bryony shrugged.
"Life goes that way sometimes." She responded.
"What about you girls? You're both local, right?" Aaron cast Casey and Latisha a warm smile each. Latisha nodded.
"Yeah, I live with my father and my kid sister Amita. Have done since my folks split up, though Mom and I phone every weekend. She travels a lot so it was best this way - I kinda take after her that way." She responded. "I was a full time student till the end of last semester, though, I just graduated...I've been hunting both more substantial work than what I do on weekends at the Gap and a place of my own." She grinned. "I guess I'm lucky, though. My sister and I are very close - and my father thinks the world of us. It was thanks to him that I came to Misfit Music about this."
"Sounds like Mama." Copper mused. "My grandfather convinced her to try out for Jem and the Holograms when they needed a new drummer and she got the job...parents are good things sometimes."
"I agree." Latisha laughed. "I love my Dad to death. I've been singing nonsense since I was two or three and he's always had this big dream of helping me achieve superstardom or something because he knows it's my dream too...I'm glad he understands. I loved college and was determined to graduate, but music is what I really want to be involved in."
"My sister is the same." Sylva told her. "She's at college in DC studying music. She wants to work like my mother in composition and songwriting."
"Your mother is Stormer, right? Of the Misfits?" Casey asked. Sylva nodded.
"Best songwriter in the state." She said proudly.
"Not that anyone would call you biased." Copper giggled.
"I'm curious to know something." Casey owned, as a waitress appeared to hand out menus to all and sundry. "What exactly does a Road Manager do? I always here the term, but you know..." she flashed Aaron a smile. "I don't really understand the term."
"Flirt alert." Nancy murmured under her breath to Copper, who rolled her eyes, nodding.
"Don't worry. I don't think he's gonna bite." She returned, equally sotto voce. "Because if he does he'll get a smart kick under the table."
"From both of us." Nancy assured her friend grimly. Aaron, as usual oblivious to Casey's underlying motives, returned her smile with an amiable one of his own.
"I don't know what the traditional use of the term strictly implies." He said now. "But it's pretty much a case of you name it, I do it. Mostly regarding Jewel's equipment and set up at venues and the like, but I also help out with the computers and stuff at Misfit Music. Cyn and I both do that."
"I know nothing about computers." Casey admitted. "You must be very clever."
"I find that most people have their individual strengths in different fields, it's what makes the world an interesting place." Cynthia observed levelly. "My strength is perhaps mechanics, and your own is music. Life would be most dull if we were all the same."
"You sound so cultured when you speak." Bryony observed. "You don't sound Californian, either - are you?"
"Yes, born and bred." There was a twinkle in Cynthia's eye. "But my father taught me to speak this way. He was a very intelligent man."
Phyllis eyed the conversation thoughtfully.
"I think we could probably leave em to it, if all they're gonna do is talk family crap." She muttered. Jetta grinned.
"Well, then let's change the subject." She responded. Raising her voice, she cast the band members a smile.
"We're plannin' on 'avin' you girls away on tour come the new year." She said. "So there's an 'eck of a lot of work to do between now an' then, if we've to enrol a new Jewel, an' there's that wretched album cover to settle, too. Things are certainly busy."
"Things are always busy." Sylva groaned, rolling her eyes. "This means more early mornings, no doubt."
"Syl isn't a morning person." Nancy grinned. Latisha laughed.
"Who is?" She responded.
"A tour? So soon?" Casey looked startled. "And what's this about an album cover? Is this for Exotic? Isn't it settled yet?"
"Not yet." Copper shook her head. "We want it to be special, since it's Topaz's last album with us. The right idea hasn't shown up yet."
Casey pursed her lips.
"I don't mean to interfere, of course, but surely it's kinda important it's settled soon?"
"Yeah, it is rather." Sylva sighed. "But you see, Casey, we really want it to be right."
"Right, an' on sale." Jetta put in dryly. "Speakin' of which, girls, I 'ave word your new song looks set to 'it the number one spot tomorrow night...which means you'll probably be hauled onto Connie's show sometime this week. She did say if Jewel 'ad another number one she'd find a slot for you."
"Ooh, Connie's show is fun!" Sylva's eyes lit up.
"Connie's Corner?" Bryony asked. "Cool." As Nancy nodded. "She's really awsome, Connie Montgomery. I dunno, I really admire her." She blushed slightly. "When I was a kid, I wanted to be a TV presenter. Lame, huh? But I really did, before I discovered a hairbrush and a mirror and decided I wanted music instead."
"We work a lot with Connie's daughter Zoe, too." Copper observed. "She makes our videos."
"Zoe Montgomery?" Casey's blue eyes became big. "Really? The girl who came out in the presses recently? Her?"
"Yep, that's our Zoe." Sylva dimpled. "It's so funny, too, because we'd worked with her a lot before and none of us had even guessed she could be that way inclined. She never had a boyfriend, that's true enough, but you know, you don't think about these things till they're dropped in front of you."
"Wasn't it weird? I mean, no offence to her of course, but if you and she are working so close together and in video and stuff, well, don't you...feel odd about it?" Casey asked. Copper looked startled at this remark, and Nancy, though she remained silent, raised a single eyebrow, her expression speaking volumes more than words ever could. Finally, Copper regained her composure, and shook her head, casting a glance at Sylva, who was busily studying her menu and seemingly oblivious.
"We don't feel at all weird." She said now. "It's no different really to having Aaron or any of the male technics on set. Zoe has male assistants and people in gallery and stuff. Besides, she's involved with someone. Just because she's that way inclined, as Syl put it, doesn't mean we feel at all uneasy about working with her. She's the best at what she does and a sweetheart to boot."
"Oh, I didn't mean any offence to her." Casey assured the redhead, a smile touching her lips. "I'm sorry. I was just curious. I know her coming out made a big splash in the press, but I'd forgotten she worked with Jewel."
"Will we meet her?" Latisha wondered. "I loved the video you guys did for this new song of yours - it's been playing on MTV a lot and it's really cool and classy. I'd love to meet the chick who produced it. Isn't she our kinda age?"
"Yes, she's two years older than me." Nancy nodded. "But it's in her blood, video artistry. She's second cousin to Vivien Montgomery, who was a huge name during the eighties and nineties for this kinda stuff and still is, really."
"I've heard of her." Bryony looked thoughtful. "I think she came to do a talk at my brother's high school once. He did media studies, and someone in the class knew someone who knew her...so she came and spoke. She was really nice, he said."
"You know, we've never met Vivien." Copper admitted. "But if she's anything like Zoe or Connie, then she's probably a real sweetie."
"As for meetin' 'er, she's a busy girl." Jetta put in. "'Er talent is much in demand an' it's unlikely, until we 'ave a new Jewel settled and ready for video production."
"Well, now you know a little bit about how things work in Jewel's world, and about us." Sylva set the menu down, casting the wannabes a smile as she did so. "And we know a little about you, but not much, not really. I guess one of the things we really need to know is whether or not you have any disgusting personal habits!"
"Syl, this is the dinner table!" Nancy protested. Sylva laughed.
"Aw, c'mon, Nance. This is to do with people we might end up living with. Surely we've a right to know?"
"Well, I bite my nails. Horribly." Latisha dimpled. "Especially when I'm nervous." She exhibited her hands. "So as you can see, they're down to the quick at the moment."
"Nothing a good manicurist couldn't fix." Sylva assured her. "What about you guys? Annoying habits?"
"My friends say I talk too much." Casey looked sheepish. "And I rack up long phonebills too, quite often."
"I guess my worst habit is talking in my sleep." Bryony decided. "I'm always having conversations with invisible folk, if Mom is to be believed." She grinned. "Once I apparently ran for president. My mother came in to close my window in the night and heard my acceptance speech!"
"Now, that would be priceless." Sylva giggled.
"What about you?" Casey enquired. "You folk have any bad habits we should know about?"
"Syl is a mad flirt, Copper cries through romantic tearjerkers." Nancy grinned.
"Nancy's a hermit." Sylva retorted. "You have to forcibly drag her out to things which involve her dressing up smart and playing it posh for a night."
"Like this?" Latisha asked. Nancy nodded.
"Definitely." She admitted. "It's nothing against you guys, but I hate formal functions...this is rather too restrictive for me. I'd rather be at home with a slice of pizza, writing script."
"I think I'd join you." Latisha owned. "I'm fairly down to earth myself about those kinda things. I practically live in jeans." She looked rueful. "Though I'm not sure it's a popular fashion statement. Amita and I had to hunt through my wardrobe for something smart to wear tonight."
"What did you call her?" Casey looked nonplussed. "Nancy?"
"Nancy is my birth name." Nancy admitted. "I don't like Goldie. It's a stage name, an image, but nothing else. These girls have always called me Nancy or Nance - well, I met both of them before the concept of Jewel was born, anyway. Sylva is short for Sylvina and Copper is a childhood nickname, so they're both ok with their stagenames on a regular basis." She grimaced. "I'm not. I'd rather you guys called me Nancy, if you don't mind. I feel more comfortable that way."
"Can be done." Bryony assured her. "I think it'd be very odd, getting used to a stage name."
"When you brats are done yapping, you think you could order your food?" Phyllis interrupted them at that moment, her tone impatient. "We're here for dinner, after all!"
"Oops." Sylva blushed. "Sorry, Phyllis. Didn't realise the waiter was here." She cast the young man a dazzling smile. "I'll have the seafood, if that's okay."
"No problem, miss." The young man returned her smile, making a note on his pad. "Wine?"
"Sure, if you have something nice, chic and french white." Sylva dimpled.
"One glass." Nancy hissed in her ear. "You and Topaz aren't out in some club to get drunk and silly, okay?"
"We don't often." Sylva retorted back, just as quietly. "Especially since Topaz is tee-total at the moment. Besides, think I'd make a fool of myself in front of the wannabes? I don't think so!"
Once the food was ordered, the discussion moved to other subjects and, as they began the main course, Casey's sharp eyes noticed Copper's dazzling engagement ring. She shot the redhead a grin.
"I read in the paper about your engagement - congratulations." She said. "I don't know who the guy is, but he must be a real hunk, huh?"
Nancy and Sylva exchanged looks at this, and burst out laughing, as Aaron looked both sheepish and embarrassed and Cynthia hid a smile. Copper grinned.
"I think so." She agreed softly, holding out her hand so the light caught the diamond. "He means the world to me."
"Yes, but you could be saying that because the guy's sitting right there next to you." Nancy swallowed her giggles, casting her brother an amused look. Casey's hand flew to her mouth.
"Oh! You...and you?" She asked, indicating first Aaron then Copper. The pair exchanged looks, and Aaron nodded.
"Yep. I confess." He agreed good-naturedly. "Copper and I have been seeing each other since what, six months after we met? Finally we decided to take the relationship to the next level, though we've no date settled yet." He cast his fiancee a smile. "And by the way, Copper, the feeling is mutual."
"Aww, that's so sweet." Casey took a sip of her drink. "Doesn't it cause problems, though, with Copper being so much in the public eye? I mean, Aaron, don't you get jealous when there are all the guys fawning over her? Pardon me if I'm wrong, but isn't Copper the Jewel the guys all seem to be hung up on?"
Copper flushed scarlet at this, and Aaron laughed.
"Why should I be jealous?" He asked simply. "I trust her. I know Copper and I know she wouldn't cheat." He winked. "Besides, I know where she lives, and, should I need it, I've a built in spy."
He nodded in Nancy's direction, and the guitarist snorted.
"Like hell you have." She returned playfully. "I might be your sister, Aaron Pelligrini, but Copper's my best friend and believe me I don't like being in the middle of you guys when something's up!"
"It really is a family business, isn't it?" Latisha reflected. She glanced at Jetta, who was deep in conversation with Pizzazz. "You do look like your mother, actually. I can see the resemblance - but Aaron doesn't."
"I look like Dad." Aaron shrugged. "And yeah, I s'pose it is a family business in a way." He grinned. "But A...Miss Gabor has very high standards. She would never have signed Nancy onto the record label if she didn't have the ability she does have."
"I realise." Latisha grinned. "But it must make it easier, though, when you have that talent, to make sure someone sits up and takes notice of it? I'm not talking favouritism, but just, if you have connections, someone will notice you quicker than if you don't. Does that make sense?"
"Perfect sense." Nancy nodded. "And yeah, I guess it's true." She grinned. "But then, we picked Topaz up in a diner in Canada, where she was singing...so I think sometimes luck and talent has something to do with it too."
"Which is why we three are here tonight." Bryony looked thoughtful, then raised her glass. "Okay, I propose a toast. Whoever's destined to be the new Jewel, let the best girl win!"
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!