Just A Dream...

Chapter Nine: Confrontations

Sirena left the office in high spirits, leaving the door swinging shut behind her. In her triumph she failed even to see Phyllis herself heading towards the room, but the executive was not so blind. Guessing the girl's motives, her brows knitted into a scowl and she set her teeth for battle, ignoring the protests of the secretary and barging straight into the office itself.
Eric glanced up in irritation at the further interruption, an irritation which grew into anger as he surveyed his visitor.
"What the hell are you doing here?" He demanded. "You've got some nerve, showing your face here!"
"And you've got some nerve addressing me like that!" Phyllis exclaimed, banging her fist down on the desk. "What did she want here? What did she say to you?"
"My business is none of yours." Eric snapped. He picked up the forgotten birth certificate, waving it in her face. "What the hell do you call this? What games are you playing with me, Pizzazz?"
"Games?" Enraged, Phyllis grasped her former employee by his tie, pulling him towards her over the desk. "Is that what you think it is? God, do you have any concept of what you put me through twenty years ago? Do you have any clue what it's like to find out that you're pregnant, and that the father of this damned baby is the world's biggest corporate sleaze? Do you have any idea what that would have done to me, if it had got out? If Daddy had found out? I could kill you for it! You talk to me about my nerve? You put me through months of hell, hours of agony...and the problem of this wretched daughter who is hell bent on destroying everything I've made of myself since you left my company on the brink of financial ruin!"
"Put me down!"
"Not a chance." Phyllis' eyes narrowed. "Not until you tell me what she wanted here."
"It was business." Eric muttered reluctantly. "Regarding the contract of one of my waitresses."
"Aurora Stapleton?"
"None of your business."
"Oh, I think it is." Phyllis tightened her grip. "Because that's why I'm here too. About Aurora. I want her signed to my music label and you know that I always get exactly what I want, Eric. Don't you?"
"I have a business arrangement with the girl."
"Which can easily be dissolved." Phyllis dropped him back onto his chair. "You can name your price for her, I don't care. Whatever Emily has tried to bribe you with I can double in an instant. Triple, if you like."
"What would Daddy say?" Eric demanded.
"Daddy has retired." Phyllis shot back. "I control things now. I spend the money the way I choose...and I want Aurora Stapleton. I won't take no for an answer."
She paused, leaning closer to him.
"I won't ever forget what you did to me." She murmured. "I have business interest in Canada too, you know. I chased your sorry butt out of America, I can whip you outta Canada just as easily. I'm not a woman you cross, Eric. You should know that."
Eric was silent for a moment. Then he opened the drawer of his filing cabinet, extracting a folder and holding it out.
Phyllis took it, flicking through it, then nodding her head.
"Good boy." she observed. "You've gained some sense then, since we last met."
She shut the file with a snap.
"Aurora Stapleton is no longer under contract to your company." She said in low tones. "You understand me?" With one fluid movement she ripped the file in two, dropping the two halves into the bin. "She's a free agent."
"And what do I get in return? The kid's threatened to expose our relationship if I don't cooperate with her - how can you better that?"
"If you want to be still in a job come tomorrow, you'll do as I tell you." Phyllis replied. "You'll be well paid for it. I told you, name your price."
"Any price?"
"Name it. Money is nothing to me, and nor are you."
"Half a million dollars. US dollars."
"Done." Phyllis replied, pulling out her cheque book and writing a cheque to that effect, signing it with a flourish. "I hope we never have the misfortune to meet again."
"Likewise." Eric snapped. "I'd appreciate it if you'd go."
"I'm going. This place is beneath me." Phyllis got gracefully to her feet. "Later, Eric. Let's hope this time things really are settled."

"Half a million dollars?"
Aurora's eyes almost popped out of her head. "But how do you know I'm even worth ten cents to your company? That's a hell of a lot of money to be spending on a girl you know nothing about!"
"It's nothing." Phyllis dismissed it. "What's important is keeping Jewel afloat, and you're going to do that for us. I didn't mention it at the diner the other day, but there has been some kind of internal disagreement and one of the group has decided to mess us about a bit. While my business partner and I are exploring the contractual rights we have regarding her, Jewel have a tour to finish...and finish it they will. You're a good singer, you'll soon pick up what to do. Do you play an instrument?"
"Not really." Aurora replied. "I had a few guitar lessons as a kid - nothing special, but I know the basic chords."
"Good." Phyllis nodded approvingly. "You'll be fine."
She paused.
"I'll need your personal information for the company database." She said. "And you'll be coming to Los Angeles indefinitely...leaving Canada isn't a problem?"
"Hell no." Aurora shook her head. "I like Canada, but I hate working in that pit of a diner. I'm cool about coming to California. Might finally get me a tan!"
"What about family?"
"No...we're not in touch with each other." Aurora shook her head. "I got no ties in Toronto, Ms Gabor."
"I'm Phyllis to you." Phyllis told her. "Got it?"
"Okay, cool." Aurora dimpled.
"You better get your belongings together. I've booked you a room at our hotel, and you're one of the gang now." Phyllis responded. "Also, from now on I'm going to adopt the name Topaz when I talk to you...you'll find that Copper and Sylva already refer to you by it."
"It'll take a bit of getting used to, but I think it's kinda cute." Topaz laughed. "I'm game to try it, anyway. I'll go pack my stuff, and be at the hotel in about an hour, if that's okay."
"I'll have a car come pick you up." Phyllis stood, holding out her hand to shake her newest recruit's.
"Welcome to Misfit Music, Topaz."

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.