Part Two

Chapter Nine: Daisy Again

"And it must have come as a great shock to you."
"Oh, Connie, it was awful." On the big television set, Daisy settled herself on the couch, meeting Connie's interested expression with an earnest one of her own. "Jerrica was such a good woman, and such a visionary in the business. She'd had some real hard times before I met her, but the company was really going places and I liked working for her such a lot. It was a tragedy...such a tragedy."
"Yes, I believe many people in the business have also expressed their regret for her death." Connie nodded her head. "It's amazing how many people remember Jem and the Holograms - even those who were kids or younger when the group split up. An act like that is not easily forgotten - Los Angeles owes a large part of it's musical history to Jerrica Pacheco and the legacy she left."
"I couldn't agree with you more." Daisy gripped Connie's hand. "You know, it still breaks my heart to think how alone and desperate she must have been. But the music industry is such a hard place to survive in. I'm learning that. There's such a rivalry between different acts and companies, you have to get used to the pressure."
A regretful look touched her face. "There is a lot of jealousy between acts, I'm learning, and people are never all they seem to be. I wish Jerrica was still here to guide me, but I intend on doing my very best in her memory. She'd want me to do that, after all...we were working on such a big publicity campaign when she died that I know she'd want me to carry it on."
"Ugh, can anyone else believe they're hearing this?"
Sylva slipped back from the wings, casting Nancy a graphic scowl. "She's so nauseating I think I might throw up. Do you think Connie - or anyone - is buying it?"
"Probably. That bitch knows how to sweet talk anyone." Nancy said bitterly. "You wouldn't believe how she had the high school principal wrapped around her finger. Tell you this...if she'd been sleeping with him it wouldn't have surprised me."
"She's been badly advised, that's all." Jetta emerged from where she had been talking to the production assistant. "Speakin' out like she is about the music industry. Very badly advised. There are rivalries in this business, but we all know about them and we keep them behind our closed doors. It does noone any good to be let in on the secret, and it's certainly not good to badmouth your competition on live television, even if she ain't given any names."
"She probably means us." Nancy sighed. "She already hates me beyond reason, and Syl gave her a mouthful when she was bitching at us at lunchtime. She's a nasty creature. She'll remember it for all eternity."
"I don't care if she was upset about it. I'd say it again." Sylva shrugged her shoulders. "I'm sorry, I refuse to be bothered by an upstart singer who hasn't even had one hit single yet, and who may never have one, if the new owners of the company don't keep her on."
"You mean Aja and the rest? They'll keep 'er." Jetta said grimly. "They will 'ave to. There'll be some legal red tape that says as much. She's under contract."
"Poor Aja." Copper glanced out at the heavily made up singer, then sighed. "She's gonna have her hands full."
"Maybe we are too, if she's decided she can topple Jewel." Sadie looked pensive. "Is it gonna be business as usual, then?"
"Probably. We do seem to attract them." Topaz sighed. "Oh well. We've survived worse. Daisy doesn't seem overly smart to me. Just petty and shallow."
"That sums her up pretty good." Nancy agreed.
"You kids button your lips." Jetta said sharply. "If she's been badly advised, it's 'er problem. It ain't yours. I am not gonna 'ave my musicians bitchin' behind the scenes about a singer from a rival company. Not on a public and, may I say, objectively run television set. It'd be 'ot gossip for the rags an' we don't want it. You with me?"
"Yeah, Jetta's right." Copper nodded. "It's not professional, girls. Besides, it's as Syl says. She's not done anything big yet. We don't need to worry about her right at the moment."
"Do you reckon Aja and the Holograms will run Starlight Music?" Nancy asked. Jetta shrugged.
"Looks to me like they'll 'ave little choice in the matter, if it's in the will." She replied. "Guess we'll see. Why?"
"Well, it occured to me that the Teenangel Outsiders are out of contract in England." Nancy spread her hands. "So..."
"They might sign for Starlight Music!" Sadie exclaimed. "Oh that would be cool. Rivals we could get along with...and it'd be neat to have Amber within hanging out distance. I'd welcome that."
"I wonder how they'll like Daisy." Topaz pursed her lips. "And if Aja will keep on that cousin of hers...Margot?"
"Margot." Nancy nodded. "Probably. If there's red tape, they'll probably have to deal with everyone somehow."
"I'm glad Cyn is with us tonight." Sadie mused. "Makes me believe she really is getting to grips with Jerrica's death."
"Well, Dr Nolan gave her a clean bill, though told her not to do too much too soon." Jetta responded. "That's all I know, but it's enough to put my mind at rest. Ain't nothin' that crazy shrink can't rootle out of the human brain."
"Oh? And how many times have you been to see her, Mom?" Nancy asked playfully. Jetta snorted.
"Never." She admitted ruefully. "I don't need a shrink. And if I did, she scares me."
"Cynthia said it wasn't a whole lot of fun, delving into the things she's trying to shelve." Copper remembered. "But I think she was relieved to get the okay. She seemed a bit out of it earlier, but she's more like herself again now. I guess we just work with it, and let her deal with it in her own time."
"I think that's all we can do." Sylva agreed. "Hey, has she done? God, that must have been the longest interview in history!"
"It's the first time Connie's had to rid herself of an interviewee by practically begging production for a commercial break." Topaz giggled. "Poor Connie."
"I expect talking about Jerrica's death is probably close to home for her still, with the scandal about Vivien in the presses." Sadie said wisely. "So if we can keep talking about our new song and avoid that issue, I think she'll probably like us better."
"We'd rather the world was talkin' about your song, anyway." Jetta said dryly. "An' you're on after the go! You look stunnin' tonight, the lot of you. Go make an impression!"
"We intend to." Sylva dimpled. "Come on, guys! Let's show them how a pro act does it!"
As the Jewel girls headed off towards the set, Jetta scanned the backstage area for the Starlight Music singer, spotting her talking to a man at the water fountain. Frowning, she headed across.
"Miss Buchan?"
"Yes?" Daisy looked startled.
"Jetta Pelligrini. Misfits Music." Jetta said quietly. "I jus' wanted a couple of words."
"Look, if your sad act company wants to sign me, they're too late." Daisy raised an eyebrow. "I'm at Starlight, and you had your chance."
"Believe me, Miss Buchan, my colleague 'andles those kinds of decisions." Jetta's tone was cool. "I merely wanted to speak to you about your interview tonight. You're new in the music business, an' its tough, we all know that. But a word of friendly, professional advice. Be careful 'ow you court the media."
"Are you telling me my job?" Daisy looked angry.
"I'm speakin' to you, music company employee to music company employee." Jetta said levelly. "An' passin' on the message that in this business, guardin' your tongue in public is a wise move. Unless you want to be facin' lawyers an' lawsuits before you cut your first album."
"Well, please, don't bother." Daisy snorted. "You and your company aren't a patch on what Jerrica did at Starlight Music, despite all the pressure and the issues. She was the biggest rock legend of the eighties, and you guys never could take being second best. Wouldn't surprise me if you and your company had something to do with her suicide and that the affair story was a shield. I know that Gabor woman's made of money."
Jetta eyed Daisy long and hard for a moment. Then she shrugged.
"All right." She said resignedly. "Don't say I didn't give you warnin'. The media ain't nice an' they backlash on you if you say too much. But if you ain't interested in learnin' 'ow things work, I'll leave you to yourself. Good luck with your single. I'm sure Jerrica would 'ave been most proud of you."
She turned on her heel, heading back across the set and leaving Daisy bristling with anger.
"Where does she get off telling me what to do?" She seethed. "First the daughter, then the mother? Misfits were always second best to Jem...and Nancy has always been second best to me. Dammit, and I'm gonna show them both that's the case! I'm going to be the best singer Los Angeles has produced since the day Jerrica sent Jem off that bridge, and Jewel are seriously going to wish they'd never heard of Daisy Buchan!"

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"I need to know quicker than that, Nancy."
Phyllis Gabor sat back in her seat, fixing her young companion with a meaningful look. "Jewel's album is late now. Another month slips by and the press are still all over the Starlight Music tragedy...where do you think that's going to leave Jewel, huh? The thing needs to be finished...and I'm damn sick of waiting for your muse to wake up!"
Nancy grimaced, sending a sneaky peek across the room at the clock. It was the following morning, and she had been dragged unsuspecting into her surrogate aunt's office to be subjected to a long lecture on the delay in Jewel's current album production.
"I've told you, Aunt Phyl, I'm almost done. We need one more track and I'll toss some ideas around with Sadie tonight, see if we can't get something together by the weekend." She said at length. "But I can't write to order, you know I can't. The only reason that Jewel have been able to go so far so fast is because I seem to spend half of my life writing music."
"And now you aren't?" Phyllis's eyes bored into hers, and despite their close bond, Nancy felt cowed.
"No, I'm writing more than ever at the moment." She admitted. "I'm just feeling none of it is much good. It's taking over my awake and asleep hours, and I wouldn't mind that, except that when I finish a song it's never quite how I envisaged it when I started out. Guess all the craziness in the press and the raid and everything has upset my equilibrium."
"Well, we don't have time to baby your equilibrium." Phyllis said darkly. "So give it a kick in the butt and get a move on, okay?"
"Miss Gabor?"
The door of the office swung open at that point, and a nervous intern poked her head around the door. "Miss Gabor, Ms Pelligrini needs you. It's urgent."
"Damn Jetta...does she know I'm busy?" Phyllis sent the unfortunate intern a glare. "Nancy, if I didn't know better I'd say your Ma was trying to rescue you."
"I think it unlikely." Nancy muttered. "She's mentioned to me that the album is late, too. Working under pressure is one thing, but perpetual nagging is another."
"Well, I suppose I better see what she wants." Phyllis sighed. "Where is she, anyway?"
"In the main studio, Miss Gabor." The intern offered a quick, frightened smile, then withdrew. Phyllis snorted, getting to her feet.
"Why do we never employ interns with spines in this place? They're all scared jellyfish." She observed. Nancy grinned.
"I think that's working with you, Aunt Phyl. It has that effect on people."
Phyllis eyed her thoughtfully.
"I'm fond of you, but don't push it. Right now I'm frustrated with you too." She said warningly. Nancy sighed.
"All right, I know you are. Me too, in truth." She admitted.
"Come down to the studio with me, anyhow. We're not done on this subject yet, and I refuse to let you scuttle off just because your Mom has lousy timing."
"Okay. I was heading that way anyway, after our meeting. I have to retrieve my manuscripts, they're locked in the main cabinet."
"Fine. Then let's go." Phyllis pushed open the door of the office, mock-holding it open for her companion, who rolled her eyes.
"Maybe it's Daisy getting to me." She mused aloud.
"It isn't like you to let anyone get to you." Phyllis said pointedly. "You're a Misfit kid. You ain't Jerrica Benton. You're not a neurotic mess, don't let her fiasco of a death get you thinking like a jellybrain, okay?"
"Daisy and I go pretty far back. I make an exception for her when it comes to getting to me." Nancy ran her fingers through her hair. "Has Mom mentioned her to you?"
"Yes, she has, but I refuse to play high school games with you and your new competition." Phyllis said bluntly. "You're an award winning performer and songwriter. She ain't neither. So you forget her and produce some award winning songs, and she'll take care of herself. Got it?"
"Yeah. I got it." Nancy agreed. "Sorry, Aunt Phyl. Guess I'll do better."
"Good." Phyllis looked satisfied, as they reached the main studio and she slipped her pass key into the lock, pushing it open and stopping dead.
An exclamation passed her lips as she surveyed the devastation in front of her. In the middle of the room was Jetta, Aaron and Cynthia with her, and all three had similarly grim expressions. At the sight of the owner, Jetta spread her hands.
"We got a problem." She said simply.
"What in hell happened here?" Phyllis regained control of herself, glancing around her. "It looks like a damn earthquake hit it or something! What gives?"
"Someone's been in here." Aaron said unecessarily. "And every single unit of equipment has some kind of damage to it. About half is totalled beyond repair. The rest, Cynthia and I are gonna start working on as soon as you give us the go ahead. But whoever did this meant business. This was no casual sabotage. There was real hate behind it."
"I can see that." Phyllis bit her lip, and there was a moment of silence. Then, "Do we have a suspect? Jetta, have you been onto security?"
"Yes. Nobody has been in the building without their pass keys or id or something to get them in here." Jetta agreed. "I spoke to Gerry in the surveillance department and the lobby cameras record a fuzzy image of a blond entering...but since we can't get a clear picture, we can't prove it wasn't Topaz or Sadie or someone else with valid clearance. And there is something else...Cynthia?"
"My pass key is missing." Cynthia said solemnly. "I had it when I left your office yesterday morning, Miss Gabor, and when I went to see Dr Nolan. I have no idea when I first parted company with it, but I missed it at Connie's Corner last night, when I was sorting my belongings before leaving. I do not know what has become of it."
"So that's probably how whoever it was got in here." Phyllis sighed. "Cynthia, as soon as you and Aaron have done what you can with this junk, get down to security and ask them to issue you a new pass key and to cancel the stripe on your old one, just to be safe."
"Do we think this was Daisy's handiwork?" Nancy asked quietly. Jetta eyed her daughter thoughtfully.
"Do you think she'd come so far into enemy territory?" She asked. Nancy shrugged.
"Syl said some things to annoy her in town yesterday lunch time." she said. "And you said you spoke to her at the show. She's a nasty piece of work and she hates me, at least. I work here. Plus, she could have taken Cynthia's key at Connie's Corner, when she was busy and we were performing. The dressing rooms aren't usually locked backstage, just the backstage area itself. She would have had the time to do it. Don't you think there could be a connection there?"
"And it was a blond on the camera." Aaron added. "Nancy might be right. It might be Daisy."
"Damn her, she'd better hope it wasn't." Phyllis's eyes glinted. "I hope you told security to get to the bottom of this. If someone's swanning in and out of my company with a stolen pass key, I want to put a stop to it! This kind of damage is antisocial, if not damn expensive!"
"My manuscripts!" Nancy blanched, as she caught sight of the dented cabinet. "Oh hell, don't tell me they were messed with too?"
"Two of the drawers were pulled out. One remains, but is badly dented and I have struggled to get it open." Cynthia said slowly. "Are you telling me all of your music was in there?"
"More or less. the FBI were at the house, I wanted it somewhere safe." Nancy was close to tears now. "Please tell me they didn't ruin my music. Please tell me it's all right!"
"We don't know, Nance. There's so much paperwork on the floor in here we can't tell what's what yet." Aaron said gently, coming to put his hand around his sister's shoulder. "But we'll go through and check right now, okay? You know what you're looking for, and Cyn and I will help. Your music's more important than the equipment, anyhow."
"I think it proves Daisy was behind this, then." Jetta said darkly. "If she targeted Nancy's music."
"Not just Nancy's." Cynthia bent to pick up a folder, handing it to the executive. "Also the Misfits. Whoever was here was leaving a significant message...against Jewel, the Misfits, and everything this company stands for."
"Nance, come take a look at this." Aaron crossed the floor, scooping up a pile of documents, then passing them to his sister. "This looks like your I right?"
"Yes." Relief flooded Nancy's gaze. "Yes. And...and everything's here, if a little dusty and dog-eared. Oh, thank God. Though heaven only knows where safe is now."
"Home should be safe, Nancy. The FBI have given up their quest there now." Cynthia reminded her.
"Yeah, but noone expected anyone to total our main studio here." Nancy pointed out. "And if they can sabotage here, what's to stop them planning a similar raid on the Starlight Mansion?"
"There is no way Starlight Mansion's security system would let anyone unknown or unwelcome through." Cynthia spoke with certainty. "But I am glad you have your music, Nancy. Maybe the rest of the Misfit music is around here too, somewhere?"
"Well, it is..." Phyllis crouched down, gathering some scraps of paper together. "But there ain't much left of it. If I didn't know Stormer had all of the original copies, I'd be looking for someone to tar and feather on the spot...or I might still, actually. But whoever was here was making a point. Cynthia's right. This wasn't just an attack on Jewel. It was an attack on the Misfits and Misfits Music too. And whoever was behind it, I want them stopped, before they can play their little game again!"

Chapter One: A Troubled Conscience
Chapter Two: Resurrection
Chapter Three: Under Pressure
Chapter Four: A Confrontation
Chapter Five: A Nighttime Chat
Chapter Six: Smokescreen
Chapter Seven: Under Siege
Chapter Eight: Back To Work
Chapter Nine: Daisy Again
Chapter Ten: Vandal
Chapter Eleven: A Devil Returns

The copyright for the original Jem characters featured in this and other stories by me belongs entirely to Hasbro and their interpretations to Christy Marx and the other writers of the Sunbow Jem series. Their future selves are based on concepts that are entirely my own and are not to be repeated elsewhere without due permission.
All other characters, including their likenesses, are copyrighted to myself as webmistress of Jewel's World from 2001 to the present day and are not to be reproduced elsewhere without permission.
The Teenangel Outsiders, Jesta, Flame, Ryan Montgomery and the future interpretations of Aja, Danse and certain of the other original characters are all or in part the concept of Gemma Dawn whose teenangel outsider fiction world is twinned with Jewel's World. You can visit her site at!
All events in the stories on this site are based on original ideas and are not rooted in any existing Jem fiction nor in any real life event or person.