A Jewel Whodunnit...
Chapter Eight: A Shock for Stefana

"Seems it all happened last night."
Raymond cast his partner a sour look as Alex entered the office, hanging his jacket up on it's hook and sitting down in his chair. "You want to go out on a date and the whole world goes mad...thanks, huh? We didn't need this, and we didn't need not to be around last night."
"We were around...it didn't happen till after I dropped Sadie off, and I spent most of the evening afterwards working off the calories at the Gabor Estate." Alex responded wearily. "What about you? What's the word on this guy they brought in last night?"
"The one Miss Gabor knocked clean out?" Raymond asked. Alex nodded.
"Not much." Raymond spread his hands. "Guy's mad about the assault, claiming he'll sue or something. Then I told him who hit him and he went rather quieter on the subject."
"Noone sues a Gabor and wins." Alex remembered dryly. "Go on."
"Well, he refused to answer any questions. All we got from him was this sneer and 'ask Stefana'."
"Who in hell is Stefana?" Alex demanded. Raymond sat down on the other side of the desk.
"As yet, beats me." He admitted reluctantly. "There's no employee at Misfit Music by that name."
"Wait a minute!" Alex's eyes sparked with a sudden remembrance. "Stefana...I know the name, I do! In fact, Sadie mentioned it last night, talking...oh, what were we talking about?"
"Spare me, please." Raymond rolled his eyes. "Just get to the point, will you? We don't have all day."
"We were talking about music." Alex paid no attention to his partner's frustration. "And I asked her about the rivalry between the bands in Los Angeles. She said that generally things are okay, but...ah, and now I remember! She did let slip that relations with...with Diablo were sometimes strange. She said that their guitarist didn't seem to like them very much."
"What are you getting at?"
"Diablo's guitarist. You remember Diablo? We spoke to them...remember that I said at the time that one girl seemed awful quiet?" Alex was on his feet now, rummaging through folders. "Sadie mentioned the name Stefana last night, and Stefana is Diablo's guitarist, I'd lay odds on it."
"Holy..." Raymond's expression became one of incredulous surprise. "So you mean that this hasn't been to do with Misfit Music? Is it Rebel Records we're dealing with?"
"More to the point, how does Stefana tie in with Jake Barren or Adam Blakeney or wh/atever he'd like to call himself...and who is this Zipper guy?" Alex demanded.
"Oh, I spoke to Miss Gabor about him." Raymond said. "She told me that he was some thug who used to work for the Misfits' dodgy manager Eric Raymond back in the eighties. She couldn't tell me his real name, claims not to know it. She told me that they'd not seen or heard of this guy in years, not since some fire at a warehouse during a bungled kidnap attempt. She didn't tell me any of the details, said that she 'didn't remember' who was behind the whole business, but Zipper was involved."
"Fire for fire. Interesting irony." Alex paused, musing this over. "Well, look. I vote we go ask Stefana a few questions, see if we find anything out. It could be a red herring...I don't know. I'm not seeing how the girl ties into this whole business, but we need to check it out. I'll go, if you like."
"Sure." Raymond nodded. "In the meantime, I'm going to do some digging into Rebel Records and this Eric guy...see what they'd stand to gain out of a fire at Misfit Music, and, more importantly, see what they know about a man called Zipper and a kidnap back in '89."

Marissa headed across the garden of the big house that had become Diablo's home over the past couple of years, her expression troubled. "Steffi, where are you? I need to talk to you."
"What now?" Stefana appeared from the secluded herb garden where the swingseat was situated, casting her friend a cross look and flicking ash from her cigarette. "I was trying to find some peace and quiet away from Maddy wailing that new song of yours and Clay's. This is the only place I can sleep while she's learning how to sing!"
"Well, the practice is done." Marissa's expression was grave. "Stef, there's a guy here to see you."
"A guy?" Stefana looked surprised. "What guy?"
"Stef, he's from the FBI. Agent Bray."
Stefana stared, and for once Marissa saw real fear reflected in the green eyes. She tossed her cigarette away, biting her lip.
"What do I do?" She demanded. "Mari, I can't speak to him! I don't want to go to jail, it was only a little thing! I mean, I wasn't anything to do with the whole fire, and..."
"Miss Ranieri?" A fresh voice broke across the conversation, and both girls turned to meet the friendly gaze of the agent, their expressions equally unreadable as each other. "Hi...I'm Agent Bray, I think we met briefly the last time I was here." He produced his badge. "Do you mind if I ask you a couple of things? It's relating to the investigation of the fire at Misfit Music."
Stefana stared at him for a moment, then she sighed.
"Depends what the questions are." She said, her expression guarded.
"Well, if you'd like to take a seat, I'll run them by you." Alex said amiably, indicating the garden furniture. Reluctantly Stefana did as she was told. Marissa hesitated.
"Should I go?" She asked.
"No, you're staying with me." Stefana grabbed her friend's hand, pulling her down onto the chair beside her.
"That's fine." Alex assured the keyboardist. "I just want Miss Ranieri's help getting to the bottom of a little puzzle we have."
He took a seat himself. "I understand you know a guy called Adam Blakeney."
"What?" Stefana looked confused. "Never heard of him!"
"He's been using the pseudonym Jake Barren." Alex told her.
"Oooh." Stefana frowned, falling silent.
"You do know him, then." Alex asked. Stefana sighed.
"He wrote me. It was a fan letter." She said slowly. "You know the type. It's not the first letter I ever had like that from a lovesick fan."
"But you decided to meet this one?" Alex raised an eyebrow. "Do you often meet your fans?"
"I was bored." Stefana bit her lip. "Can...can I smoke?"
"Sure, be my guest." Alex nodded, watching the guitarist light her cigarette with a shaking hand. This, he mused, was a totally different nervous tension from that that Sadie had exhibited when they had had that first interview. Stefana clearly knew something, but what? Was she a part of this whole fire business? Or was it something else?
"You were bored, then." He continued now. "That's the only reason why you chose this guy over all the others?"
Stefana looked uncomfortable.
"He sounded ok in his letter." She defended herself. "I didn't know he was someone else."
"What did you do, when you met him? What kind of relationship did you have?"
"Don't insinuate I was in love with him. I wasn't and I'm not now." Stefana's eyes narrowed. "He was a gentleman, he took me to dinner, we walked and talked, that's about it."
"I see." Alex paused, merely fixing his subject with a thoughtful look.
"Don't stare at me! That's the truth!" Stefana snapped, inhaling on her cigarette.
"All right." Alex nodded. "You are aware that we have this man in custody, I hope?"
"What?" Stefana blanched. "Arrested? For what, exactly?"
"For suspicion of arson." Alex told her simply. "And sabotage of electrical equipment. There are more charges too. Ms Pelligrini has cited him as one of the people she saw acting suspiciously on the morning of the fire." He eyed Stefana keenly. "If I were to ask her if she saw you there, what would she tell me, do you think?"
"I wasn't there!" Stefana exclaimed, flicking ash in the detective's direction. "I was never there so don't try and accuse me of something I didn't do, all right? I was in the city that morning, seeing...someone."
"Can you tell me who?"
"Why should I?"
"I need to confirm your alibi." Alex said with a shrug.
Marissa opened her mouth to speak, but the agent had realised what was going through her mind, and shook his head.
"Miss Young, I already know where you were and who you were with that morning, and Miss Ranieri was not with you."
"I can't tell you who it was." Stefana's voice sounded weary now, as she realised that she was dealing with no fool. "If I did, and you went and spoke to him, it wouldn't be pretty."
"I'm sorry?" Alex stared at her.
"I owed him money." Stefana said softly. "I had to pay it back before he got nasty with me. And no, I'm not saying any more than that. All right?"
Alex pursed his lips.
"A loan shark?" He asked. Stefana nodded her head.
"I see." Alex frowned. "Well, let me try a different tack. What kind of relationship do you have with Misfit Music?"
"They're our rivals."
"I meant personally."
"Why should I care? They're not who I work with or work for." Stefana glared at him, taking a final drag on the cigarette and stubbing it out.
"So you don't hate them?"
"Listen, buster. I didn't set fire to Misfit Music." Stefana said quietly. "Whatever that guy tells you, I wasn't there. And I might hate Jewel, but I'm not a psycho. I'm not gonna try and burn the place down just for that, okay? So go find someone else."
"So there is tension between you and Jewel?"
"Professionally, sometimes." Stefana said curtly.
"What about the rest of the staff?"
"I..." Stefana looked taken aback, then she frowned.
"Aaron Pelligrini is my friend." She said slowly. "He works there, he's Jewel's road manager. It's his mother who's in Intensive Care...why in hell would I hurt someone so close to him?"
"Yes. Nothing more." Stefana's eyes glinted angrily, but Alex read enough in them to realise the true feelings that lay there. "All right?"
"What about before the fire? Three nights before the place went up, one of the studios was sabotaged."
"What a shame." Stefana pulled a face. "What do you want me to do about it?"
"Were you there?"
"You're the detective. You want to pin a crime on me, you're gonna have to do better than that." Stefana spat at him. "So there. I..." She trailed off, her complexion whitening and her hand going to her chest.
"Miss Ranieri?"
"I feel faint." Stefana's tone was strange, and Marissa reached for her friend's hand, alarmed by her pallor. "I can't..."
Alex frowned, coming to the girl's side, half wondering if it was a trick.
"Her pulse...it's crazy!" Marissa's eyes widened with fear.
Alex took Stefana's slim wrist in his hand, discovering with some consternation that the keyboardist was right.
"Go and get a glass of water." He ordered. "I'll see to Miss Ranieri."
Marissa was gone in an instant, her mind whirling, and Alex sat beside the guitarist, putting an arm around her shoulders.
"Stefana?" He murmured. "Can you put your head down for me, till you feel a little better? Your friend's gone for some water."
Stefana did as she was bidden, her breathing calming slowly as her heart rate regained some normality. She was still shaking, however, by the time the attack was over, and she raised frightened green eyes to the detective's.
"I wasn't faking." she murmured. "It...was real."
"I know." Alex told her quietly. "And I'm not going to ask you any more questions today...you're not up to it."
"I...I'm just tired." Stefana sighed. "Agent Bray, if...if someone confessed something, and...and it wasn't the fire, exactly, but it was...bad, what would happen to them?"
"Miss Ranieri, I advise you to get a lawyer, before you tell me anything you might regret." Alex told her gently. Stefana shook her head.
"No...no." She replied softly. "It's driving me insane, I can't sleep any more. I...I want to tell you. Please. Let me tell you."
"Miss Ranieri, I'm serious, you should seek legal aid." Alex replied. "And I have nothing with which to record a confession from you."
"I sabotaged Jewel's studio." Stefana didn't seem to be listening to him. "I did it because I hate them and I wanted them to know what it was like to struggle to be a success for once. Jake used me...he must have cut the other wires at the place the night I was there...but I didn't do anything else. I promise. I didn't know anything about the fire."
Alex was silent for a long while. Then he frowned.
"Listen to me very carefully." He said softly. "I want you to think about what you just said to me, perhaps talk to someone who understands law, and if you still want to make an official statement, come to see me tomorrow, when you're feeling a little better. Then we'll take things from there."
"Will I be in a lot of trouble?" Stefana didn't seem frightened any more, just exhausted and fragile, and Alex sighed.
"I don't know." He responded. "I'm sure any help you can give us regarding the man we have in custody will be taken into account. You do understand that you've broken the law, Miss Ranieri."
"I don't care any more." Stefana's voice was barely above a whisper. "I'm just sick of finding out I have a conscience after all."
"I think you should see a doctor, too. Your pulse was erratic and that's not normal." Alex told her. Stefana shook her head.
"It's nothing." She said with a shrug. "I can handle it." She smiled. "May I go now?"
"I suppose you may." Alex nodded. "Do as I said, Miss, and then come and see me if you think you should. I'll...do whatever I can to help you, if you can help us."
"It's a deal." Stefana nodded. She got unsteadily to her feet, as Marissa returned across the grass, water in hand. "I guess I'll go do as you say, then."
Alex watched her go, his expression thoughtful.
"A confession that won't amount to anything if she changes her mind tomorrow." He mused. "It's her word against mine, and that Blakeney guy seems unwilling to talk." He considered. "She was foolish and reckless but she's not the big fish here, and I think I'll do as I told her, I'll protect her from prosecution so long as she gives me her assistance with whatever she knows about our friend Blakeney. Besides, she's clearly unwell - it wouldn't surprise me if her loan shark alibi and sudden ill health today were wound up in drugs somehow. Wouldn't be the first celebrity I'd encountered with a liking for playing it dangerously." He frowned. "Well, back to the office. Time to collate what I've found out, and cross-reference with whatever Ray has to tell. This case gets more bewildering by the minute!"


Chapter One: A Confession
Chapter Two: Jetta's Mind
Chapter Three: Alex and Sadie
Chapter Four: Jetta Speaks
Chapter Five: A Problem For Sadie
Chapter Six: Answer To A Riddle
Chapter Seven: Zoe Acts
Chapter Eight: A Shock For Stefana
Chapter Nine: Some Truths
Chapter Ten: Zoe Takes A Chance
Chapter Eleven: Truth Will Out

Chapter Twelve: A Close Shave
Chapter Thirteen: Zoe's Father


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!