Just A Dream...

Chapter Five: Rows

"I'm so bored."
Sylva sank down into her chair, a grimace on her face. "How much longer are we going to be hanging about? They wanted us here by two but it's two thirty already and we've not even been near the stage!"
"They had some kind of lighting glitch." Copper told her. "Phyllis said so - she's telling them her thoughts on it now. We just gotta wait here while they fix the technical problems."
"What a drag." Sylva rolled her eyes. "I hate waiting around because of other people's mistakes."
"I hate sitting around listening to you moan. We can't always have what we want." Nancy snapped.
"C'mon, you guys. Take mercy on me." Copper pleaded. "At least we got a career like this, that we all enjoy. I was thinking about that girl we saw last night - made me realise not everyone is as lucky as we are."
"True." Sylva sighed. "She sang good."
"Not everyone can be a star." Nancy intoned quietly.
"No...I guess not." Copper acknowledged. "It's sad though, with such a lot of talent going to waste."
"Yeah." Sylva nodded. "Especially when you consider the money Rebel Records shells out on losers like Sirena. She caterwauls her way through each concert beautifully! And then there's the new guy. What's his name?"
"Blade." Nancy replied.
"Yeah, that's him." Sylva snorted. "And boy is he sweet on himself!"
"Says who?" Nancy demanded. "You don't even know him, Syl."
"And you do?"
"We've talked, yes."
"Sounds like Nancy has a crush." Sylva laughed. Nancy looked cross.
"I do not." She snapped. "We just talked, that's all, about music. And you got him all wrong. He's not arrogant or conceited at all...he's okay. He's not like Sirena...he doesn't like her at all."
"Well, I don't wanna take sides." Copper said slowly. "Cos you know I love both you guys the same, but I have to say I got the same impression as Syl...he did seem to be spouting off some to Sirena when I passed them in the hotel."
"Well, like I said, he doesn't like her." Nancy replied. "He has to keep in with her for business, but that's all."
"I guess you're right." Copper agreed. "After all, some stars do adopt a front to keep up with those they're most closely associated with. Okay, Nance. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt."

"And Syl, you're only against him because he hasn't fallen at your feet yet." Nancy continued.
"Like I'd want him to." Sylva retorted scathingly. "I have standards, you know, and he most definitely does not meet them! He's a loser, Nance...but then you don't know anything about men, so I'd hardly expect you to know what I'm talking about."
"Stop trying to pretend you're some great expert." Nancy spat out. "Some of us have perception that goes beyond any of your shallow flirtings. And you shouldn't judge Blade before you know him. He's not just another star looking to make a quick buck." She paused, remembering the tale he had related to her about his sister. "He's had it tough enough, you know."
"Nancy, how much do you know this guy?" Copper looked surprised.
Nancy coloured.
"We talked once." She admitted. "Yesterday, before our meeting. We talked about music and writing and he seemed really interested."
"Can't you tell when a guy's hitting on you?" Sylva raised an eyebrow. "God, Nancy, how dumb are you? Isn't it obvious to you what he wants?"
"He asked if we could be friends. That's all he wants and that's all he asked for." Nancy shot back.
"Yeah, right." Sylva snorted. "Nancy, you do realise that the way you're acting totally goes against that? You're behaving like a lovesick groupie!"
"Am not!" Nancy protested. "Love has nothing to do with it!"
"Okay, that's enough!" Copper exclaimed. "Stop it, both of you! Who cares what Nancy thinks of Blade! It doesn't concern either of us unless she tells us, Syl, and if she says they're just friends then fine, they're just friends."
Before either girl could retort, Phyllis poked her head around the door to call them on stage, and there was no chance to resolve the fight. As it happened, this was a pity, because it had sparked off a feeling of resentment inside Nancy. What right had Sylva to judge a guy she'd never even spoken to? Just because he didn't fancy her!
As they took their stage positions, she found her mind wandering to the conversation she had had with Blade the day before. A faint colour touched her cheek as she remembered his ease of manner and friendly words.
"He's not arrogant. He's just covering up the hurt of losing his sister, I'm sure." She decided. "He's nice enough and I like him. Who cares what Sylva thinks, anyway? He's nothing to her or vice versa."
Resolving herself not to mention the matter any more, but not liking her bandmate any the more for it, she turned her attention to performing their latest single.
But try as she might, her mind kept returning to Blade. She frowned.
What was that about?
"Nancy, concentrate." Phyllis snapped at her and she blushed, obediently returning her attention to her guitar.
There would be time enough to ponder later.

It was late by the time Jewel returned from their show. It had been successful and had had the effect of improving the temper of both Sylva and Nancy, to the point where their row had been all but forgotten. Claiming tiredness, Copper retired to bed once they arrived back at the hotel, while Sylva and Nancy elected for a late night swim, too high on the performance to sleep yet, and both determined to swim off their excess energy.
They headed down to the pool together, for in truth spats between the two girls did not usually retain any depth, and though they were not always openly the best of friends, neither despised the other's company, particularly when in the close confinement of touring.
Both girls were competent swimmers who loved the advantages of a hotel with a pool, and, challenging her companion to a race, Sylva was the first to dive beneath the surface. Always game for a challenge, Nancy soon followed her, and the race, once begun, resulted in a tie.
As they caught their breath in the shallower end of the pool, they were aware of applause, and, glancing up, Nancy found her cheeks going pink as she realised Blade had been watching them.
"You girls swim good." he observed with a grin. "I'm impressed."
"Gah." Sylva rolled her eyes, flipping onto her back and paddling away. Blade frowned.
"Did I say something wrong?" He asked, coming to sit on the side of the pool. Nancy grimaced.
"Ignore her. She's weird in the head." She responded, secretly irritated at Sylva's behaviour.
"She doesn't seem to like me." Blade adopted a slightly hurt expression, for he had learnt from Sirena's offhand comments and his own observation that there was not always the most secure of friendships between the two girls.
"She doesn't like any guy who doesn't throw himself at her." Nancy responded, then blushed further as she realised the implications of her words. Blade laughed, slipping into the water.
"And what about you?" he asked her playfully.
"I know you like to write great music and you swim." Blade continued. "What else is there in the life of Nancy Pelligrini? A boyfriend, perhaps?"
"No." Nancy shook her head. "With my career...there isn't time for that kinda thing."
Not for the first time she felt uncomfortable making this confession.
Blade's expression became thoughtful.
"I see." He said finally. "I suppose men outside the business don't understand your commitments, and there's always the worry of people throwing themselves on you because of your status...it must make it trying to have a social life." He offered a slight smile - had Nancy but known it he was inwardly fighting scornful laughter at her admissions - "I must admit I haven't taken much interest in that sort of thing since I lost my sister."
Gently he took her hand.
"You're the first girl who's caught my attention in a long while." He said gravely, suppressing all too easily the pangs of guilt for using Raesha in his deception. He had promised her to achieve their dreams, and achieve them he would, even if it meant seducing the competition. After all, the result was the same, and Raesha would never know.
Nancy swallowed hard, feeling nervous.
"I don't know what you mean." She said quietly.
Blade grinned.
"Really, I don't want to worry you." He said amiably. "I hope we're going to get on well, and be on good terms, rather than rivals. In fact...I hope it doesn't make you uncomfortable for me to say it, but I like you a lot."
"Oh!" Nancy's expression was one of surprise. "I..."
Blade laughed.
"You hadn't guessed it?" He asked. "You're modest as well as talented and beautiful. Do you have any flaws?"
This mode of attack completely disorientated the inexperienced Nancy, and, enjoying his victory for a brief moment, Blade changed the subject.
"Your swimming's great - do you dive as well?" he wondered.
"Yes." Nancy seemed relieved at the change. "I like diving...my aunt taught me when I was younger."
"Care to show me?"
"Well, all right."
Carefully Nancy clambered out of the pool, padding around the side to where the diving boards were. She was a confident and competent diver, but for some reason this time she felt nervous. Glancing around her she saw that Sylva was long since gone from the poolside, and for some reason this relieved her. Her heart was pounding incessantly in her chest as she made her way up the ladder, and she paused a moment at the top, composing herself before her dive.
"Come on, lady, outta the way."
A voice came from behind her and she turned, startled, to meet the irritated look of another diver. "You can't take all day, others want to use the board too, you know."
"Gimme a break." Nancy snapped. "Can't you wait your turn?"
"Cool it, sister. This board ain't yours, you know." The man, a burly creature in his early thirties took personal offence at her retort, giving her a shove. It wasn't much, but enough to make her overbalance off the board into the water below. Blade, spying his chance to rise in her estimation was on the scene in a minute, first ascertaining that she was all right, and then approaching the man in question, determined to make it publically clear that Nancy was not to be messed with.
His motivation was nothing more than his own aspirations to use her talent and connections for his own advantages, but to the shaken and bewildered Nancy it appeared more and more like he truly was her knight in shining armour and the last of her reservations about his attention flew away. Sylva was wrong, she decided. Blade wasn't arrogant or selfish.
And...he liked her.
Frowning, she contemplated this.
Could he really like her?
She had never had much faith in her own appearance, though in truth she was equally as pretty as her two bandmates.
"But he likes my music...we share the interest." She remembered with a smile. "What does Syl know about anything, anyway?"
Blade returned to her at that moment, his expression carefully moulded into one of concern.
"You sure you're all right?" He asked.
Nancy nodded shyly.
"Thank you." She said softly. Blade grinned.
"No problem." He replied. A moment's careful calculation passed, and then he put his arms around her waist, picking her up.
"You shouldn't be in the water after a fall like that. I'll help you out of the pool." He said.
Aware of both the closeness of his touch and how little both were wearing, Nancy was unable to contest his idea, and, as he set her gently down on the side, she could not even find the will to resist when he kissed her - hesitantly at first, but then, as he realised he wasn't being pushed back, the kiss became deeper.
When they broke apart, Nancy stared at him in uncomprehending silence.
"I'm sorry." Blade assumed an air of contrition. "You looked so pretty..."
"It's okay." Nancy replied softly. "I...I guess I liked it."
She smiled.
"I better go." She said, getting slowly to her feet. "It was nice...nice to see you, Blade."
"Can I see you again, before you leave?" Blade asked.
For some reason unknown to Nancy, her heart leapt at his request, and she nodded.
"Count on it." She replied. "Good night!"
And then she was gone.
Once she was out of view, Blade allowed himself a grin of triumph. It had been all too easy.
"And the next step is to convince her to donate her considerable talent and gullibility to promoting my career in showbusiness." He decided. "Phase one successfully achieved! The girl's so mad in love with me now she wouldn't think of refusing...and who knows? Maybe there's some fun to be gotten out of her, too!"

Prologue: The Reason For It
Chapter One: Jewel On Tour
Chapter Two: Trapped in Toronto
Chapter Three: Nancy...and Blade
Chapter Four: The Singer
Chapter Five: Rows
Chapter Six: Defection
Chapter Seven: Topaz
Chapter Eight: Sirena Reveals
Chapter Nine: Confrontations
Chapter Ten: A Broken Heart
Chapter Eleven: Jewel Forever

Copper, Nancy, Sylvie, Anna, Blade, 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.