Chapter Nine: Rory's Scheme

It was late before the Jewel girls returned to the Starlight Mansion. The weather had held and the party had, by all accounts been a big success, though more than one of the guests had drunk rather more than they should have, and it was a giggly, merry bunch of musicians who returned home at three o'clock in the morning. Only Nancy, who never drank and Cynthia, for whom alcohol meant little were entirely clear-headed, and they propelled their companions inside with looks of amused resignation.
"They'll be fun in the morning." Nancy murmured, as they got each girl to her room. "But I suppose it was a special night - can't begrudge it them."
"No, and it went well, I think." Cynthia agreed. "A good time was had by all, in fact. Well done, Nancy. I think you and Rosita arranged things very well indeed."
"I think we did." Despite herself, Nancy looked proud. "Who says I can't organise a party, huh?"
She winked.
"G'night, Cynthia. See you in the morning."
"Indeed, Nancy. Good night."
Once the youngest Jewel had retreated into her room, Cynthia headed slowly down the stairs towards the basement. It had been a long night, she mused, and after all, computer sensors needed to rest just as much as human-driven ones.
By the time she rebooted her hologram the following morning, she was aware of the smell of scrambled eggs coming from the kitchen and, curious, she made her way up the cold basement steps, pushing open the door and stepping into the kitchen, stopping in the doorway. Hollie sat in her little chair, bib tucked into her clothes, whilst Cameron carefully fixed her breakfast. He turned at the sound of the door opening, casting Cynthia a grin.
"Baby was 'ungry an' Rora's lost to the world." He explained, setting the small red bowl down in front of his daughter and handing her the matching plastic spoon. "Here you go, kid - grub's up. She was frettin' an' makin' a fuss so I figured I'd bring 'er down an' let 'er Ma sleep. You were late back last night."
"It was a busy party." Cynthia nodded. "And I think Topaz will sleep for some time yet."
She crossed the kitchen floor, casting Hollie a grin.
"She seems happy enough in your care."
"Well, I want to prove to myself - an' to Rora - that I'm a responsible father, even though I'm still learnin'." Cameron admitted.
"You had a good night last night, I trust? She was well behaved?"
"More or less." Cameron nodded. "She banged 'er knee on the edge of that old coffee table, but we soon sorted that out." He looked rueful. "First aid is somethin' I can administer! Then she 'ad 'er milk an' we watched cartoons on the Disney channel till she got sleepy."
He paused, then,
"I liked 'avin' 'er." he reflected. "It really sank in, last night, exactly what Rora an' I achieved, an' what the consequences are. When I come to San Diego, I'm gonna make sure I 'ave an apartment with a spare room, so that 'Ollie can come sleep the night from time to time."
Cynthia laughed.
"You know, I hoped you and Topaz might reach an understanding if you came here, but over the last few weeks I wondered if it would ever happen." She admitted. "I'm glad to see that it has. Maybe my judgement was not so very off after all. I think that Topaz is happier now that the secret does not have to remain so."
"It's a lot to deal with, but I'm not really mad at 'er any more." Cameron perched on one of the bar stools, watching his daughter as she ate. "I probably should be, but I think 'Ollie put a stop to that. I was furious at first, but the kid's too damn endearin'. She's 'er mother's daughter, an' that's a fact."
"We've noticed it too." Cynthia grinned. "She has your appearance, but Topaz's friendly nature. I must confess we are all very fond of her. She is the first very small baby I have had any real contact with - I have enjoyed the lesson."
She paused, then,
"Do you think that it will ever be fixed, between you and Topaz?"
"You mean in a romantic sense?" Cameron looked surprised. Cynthia nodded.
"Forgive me if I am presumptuous, but it's become very apparent to me that she's as much in love with you as ever." She said quietly. "I just wondered if the feelings ran both ways."
"I still care about her." Cameron said quietly. "But what that means right now, Cynthia, I don't know. More, I don't think I should discuss it with anyone before I talk to Rora herself, if you don't mind. Part of me would like there to be some kind of, well, resolution, but I ain't countin' on it. Right now we're on speakin' terms an' everything's settled. I want it to stay that way, at least until I get back from England an' me exams."
"I understand." Cynthia nodded gravely. "And I fear I must get ready for work, since Jewel's vacation time does not include me. You mightn't be here when I get back, so I shall see you whenever I see you. At the wedding, if not before."
"Okay." Cameron agreed. "Bye, Cynthia. Drive safely."
"I always do." Cynthia smiled. "Goodbye, Cameron. Bye, Hollie."
Hollie gurgled an unintelligible response, but her attention was still very much on her meal, and she made no attempt to properly acknowledge the hologram's departure. Once they were alone, Cameron cast his daughter a grin.
"Well, it's jus' you an' me again, squirt." he observed, as with a clatter Hollie dropped her spoon onto the floor, announcing that she was finished. With a wry smile he bent to retrieve it, dropping it in the washing up bowl, and scooping up her disk. Carefully he removed her bib, wiping her mouth clean.
"There, now you're clean." He told her. "'Ow about we take you in the front room an' see what's there, huh?"
"Dada." Hollie put her arms trustingly around her father's neck as he lifted her from the chair. Hearing the word, Cameron paused, glancing down at her and meeting the big green eyes with his own.
"Did you jus' say what I think you did?" He asked. Hollie beamed at him.
"Dada." She repeated. Cameron hugged her.
"Good girl." He told her gently. "I'm glad you know who I am now - it's goin' to make life a lot easier in the long run. I just 'ope that this arrangement with your Ma isn't goin' to mean I 'ardly get to see you. I 'ave a feelin' that we might just make a pretty decent team, you an' I. What do you think?"
Hollie just gurgled in some language of her own, and the medical student carefully carried her into the lounge, setting her down on the big sofa and reaching for her doll and her picture books.
"This should keep you occupied till Mummy wakes up." He told her. "Can you show me the dog?"

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Well, so this was all very interesting.
Rory Llewelyn cast his visitor a thoughtful glance, taking in his gaunt features and deep, uninterested blue eyes. It was almost beyond comprehension, he marvelled, that such a ghost of a man could prove to have so many uses, and could be master of so many secrets.
"You are sure this is all true?" he asked presently. The man inclined his head slightly.
"As true as I stand here." He said, in flat, bland tones. "My sources are good - they don't lie."
"What kind of sources?" Rory Llewelyn narrowed his eyes. "Listen to me, Sullivan, you have to tread carefully. You've worked for me for a long time, and I wouldn't like any noses put out of joint by your activities. After all, this is a little closer to home than the usual forays into Misfit Music's affairs. I want to be sure before I act on it."
"You can be sure that I am not mistaken." The man seemed unperturbed by his employer's tone. Rory was a rich man, with power and connections enough to make his errands worthwhile. He was not given to becoming emotionally involved in the duties he was sanctioned to carry out, and therefore had been one of Rory Llewelyn's most faithful spies since the opening of Rebel Records, almost fifteen years earlier. It had been his job to rootle out the truth behind Sirena's parentage some years before, and just as he had done then, he had not hesitated in bringing his employer the information that he sought.
"My source is very close to the ground on this one." Sullivan continued, in the same matter-of-fact tone. "I observed her after she left your office the other morning, just as you asked me to. I saw where she went and asked some discreet questions about who it was she spoke to. Money speaks, Mr Llewelyn, especially with this kind of person. It was not hard to discover."
"And when I think of it, hardly surprising." Rory pursed his lips. "I presume by "this kind of person" you are referring to her dealer?"
Sullivan inclined his head once more to indicate his boss was correct. A smile touched Rory's lips.
"Then I believe we have her where we want her." He mused. "She and her brother have caused me enough hassle over this last week, believing that they can rule the company over my head, and discard any orders I give them. Well, I think not. I will have Stefana come here and I will tell her what I have discovered. I will threaten her with dismissal and have her beg for her work and for my silence on this matter - her brother will do anything for her, so I think you have solved my momentary problem with mutinous employees. However much he hates me, he will not see his sister publically disgraced."
His eyes narrowed thoughtfully.
"That is, if he even knows of it."
He smiled.
"Very well, Sullivan, you've done well, as usual." he observed. "Now I must work out how best to use this valuable information."
"Should you wish me to maintain my observations of Miss Ranieri?"
"No, not for the time being." Rory shook his head. "I will have other plans for you, and I believe Stefana will soon cease to be a thorn in my side. You may go - I have much to think about."
Sullivan nodded, leaving the office as silently and unceremoniously as he had come, and Rory leant back in his chair, considering everything he had learnt.
"It should have occured to me before, with her desperation for cash and her unstable temperament." He murmured. "I am amazed she has kept it quiet so very long. But, now I must use it to my advantage. It is no business of mine whether she wishes to use illegal stimulants or not, so long as noone thinks the company is involved. What matters to me is keeping Diablo well under my control, and this is just the way to do it!"
He reached for his phone receiver, dialling the Diablo estate, and waiting impatiently for someone to pick up the phone. At length Madeleine answered, and before long Stefana was on the other end of the line.
"What do you want, Rory?" She demanded. "I'm busy!"
"Well, that is no way to talk to your employer." Rory told her smoothly.
"I've told you before, I hate you." Stefana snapped. "And if you expect me to talk nice to you, you can forget it. You don't own us, you know."
"No?" Rory tut-tutted. "Really, Stefana, I had hoped better of you."
"What do you want?"
"To see you, of course. In my office, as soon as possible." Rory flexed his fingers. "I have a business proposition to discuss with you."
"Didn't Luca already settle you on that? I'm not gonna be your dogsbody any more!"
"We'll see, my dear." Rory said simply.
"Maybe I don't want to come."
"I think you'll regret it, if you don't."
There was something in his tone that alerted Stefana's suspicions, and there was a pause, then,
"What is this about?"
"Come see me, and then you'll know."
Another pause, then,
"All right, already. But this had better be worth my time."
The phone went dead with a click, and slowly Rory replaced the receiver, allowing himself a chuckle of victory.
"Worth your time?" He repeated. "Well, well. Believe me, my dear, it will be."

Chapter One: A Father Should Be

Chapter Two: Stefana and Aaron
Chapter Three: Sylva Intervenes
Chapter Four: Stefana's Battle
Chapter Five: Common Ground
Chapter Six: A Special Meeting
Chapter Seven: La Familia Santiago
Chapter Eight: Hen Party
Chapter Nine: Rory's Scheme
Chapter Ten: Stefana's Dilemma
Chapter Eleven: A Friend Indeed

Chapter Twelve: Sadie Gets Involved
Chapter Thirteen: The Night Before

Chapter Fourteen: Closure

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!