Daisy threw her nailfile across the music studio, sending it clattering
off the metal hinge of the door.
"My nails are ruined! Stupid manicurist...I'm going to rip his head off!"
"Daisy, do you think you could keep it down?" Margot glanced up from her
stack of papers, casting her cousin an irritated look. "If it isn't bad
enough that Phillips woman has taken over Jerrica's office and is sending
everyone scuttling around like flies, I have to spend my time listening
to you complain while I try and make sense of all of this garbage!"
"Well, someone's tetchy today!" Daisy slipped down off the windowsill,
coming to join her companion. "What is that stuff, anyhow?"
"Paperwork Aja gave me to work on." Margot rolled her eyes. "Since for
the time being I appear to be hers for the asking. Part of the joy of keeping
the contracts of existing employees going seems to be that she can give
me all the mundane stuff to worry about while she and whoever she has with
her in the office go over the important things. Jerrica would never have
run the company that way."
"If you ask me, you're mighty cranky that Aja's taking hold of the reins."
Daisy observed. Margot scowled.
"Shouldn't I be?" She demanded. "It's not a good state of affairs for either
you or me. I've got you so much publicity through having a fair amount of
clout in this place. Now, heaven only knows what my job is, except representing
you. And that can seem pretty grim on occasion, when you're echoing round
my head like you are today."
"Charming." Daisy pouted. "Fine. I'll get out of your hair and let you
deal with your dull paperwork."
"Please! And make yourself useful. See what you can find out about Aja
and her new administration, will you?"
"Sure." Daisy shrugged. "So long as you stop yelling at me."
"Fine. Just go!"
Daisy poked out her tongue at her cousin, but obediently pulled open the
door of the studio, heading down the corridor towards the main office. As
she reached the doorway, she could hear low voices and she paused, trying
to make out anything she could.
"Seriously undermanaged..." she heard someone say, then, "Administrative
"Margot's gonna be in an even better mood if they demote her." She muttered.
"Guess keeping on everyone's contract doesn't mean you'll be used in the
same capacity. But dammit, Margot's smart. Too smart for Aja to treat her
like crap. We both need her high up in this administration. I want a hit!
Aja had better realise that Margot's pretty much held this damn company together
since she got here, else it might get ugly for her and this group she wants
Her lip curled as she heard the words 'Teenangel Outsiders' through the
"So it is true, and not just a rumour." She mused. "Great. Just what I
need. Competition before I even got myself off the ground. Oh, I've had
enough of spying for Margot! It only ever brings bad news, anyway. I might
as well go spend some of my money on something nice, before they decide to
take my credit away."
Humming under her breath, she moved away down the hall towards the lift.
As she reached it, she almost collided with an unfamiliar figure.
"Who are you?" She demanded, pushing the stranger away. "And mind where
you're going! This jacket cost three hundred bucks and I don't want you breaking
a tooth on it!"
The woman eyed her in silence for a moment. Then she offered a small smile.
"Hello." She said amiably. "I was looking for Jerrica's office."
"Jerrica's dead, lady." Daisy said irritably. "She decided to go mash her
car into a wall. Believe me, I wish she was in her office too - but you're
a few weeks too late."
"That is unfortunate." The woman seemed unphased. "I will have to speak
with her another time, then."
"Did you not hear what I said?" Daisy's brow creased in surprise. "She's
dead! Kaput! Wormfood. Don't you read the papers?"
"Not so often." The woman shook her head. "I have been asleep a long time."
"Er...that's very nice for you." Daisy took an involuntary step backwards.
"Did you maybe come to see Aja? She's running the place at the moment....tall
"Aja!" The woman's features broke into a smile. "I have recollections of
that name. I should like to see her. I must thank her."
"Look, if you're one of Aja's new administration, you're definitely on
the weird side." Daisy looked confused. "Nothing you say makes any sense.
Will you tell me what you want or get the heck out of here? Because you're
creepy enough to make me want to call security on you."
"Security will not arrest me." The woman seemed perfectly composed, reaching
up to toy absently with a lock of golden blond hair. "This is my husband's
"Your husband? And who's he? Mickey Mouse?"
"Don't be silly, Daisy Buchan." The woman shook her head. "Emmet Benton.
"Me don't be silly?" Daisy exclaimed. "You have a serious fixation with
dead people, did you know that?"
"Well, that's probably because I am one." The woman said matter of factly.
"Will you excuse me, please? I must thank Aja for bringing me back...I was
buried so deep that I didn't think I'd ever be here again. And I have so
much to do. Where did you say Jerrica's office is?"
"You are too crazy for me, lady." Daisy took another step backwards. "And
if it's all the same to you, I'm gonna take the stairs."
Before the other woman could answer, she turned on her heel, fleeing for
the stairwell. As she reached the bottom of the second flight of stairs,
a picture caught her eye and she stopped dead, colour draining from her face.
She swore, tracing a finger over the picture frame and pausing at the names
beneath the fading print. The colours were no longer so bright as they had
once been, but Daisy could clearly make out the figure of a blond woman,
dressed in finery and smiling for the camera as she accepted a bouquet of
roses. In the background stood a man with glasses, a proud expression on
his face, and Daisy knew only too well who he was, for his image had hung
over Jerrica's desk for as long as she'd been at the company.
"That's Emmet Benton." She murmured. "And...Oh God. That was her...I swear
it was her!"
She shook her head.
"No, but it's not possible. It's just not...but I know I saw her. I know
what I saw and I swear, she looked just like..."
She swallowed hard, backing away from the photograph.
"Like Jacqui Benton." She whispered. "Oh God...is Starlight Music haunted