Just A Dream...
Chapter Five: Mind Games
"We've never been so busy in our lives!"
Sylva dropped down into a chair with a gusty sigh. "Here, there and everywhere...they sure like working us hard!"
"With the new song and the album to promote, it's hardly surprising." Copper pointed out, carefully selecting her lucky sticks for the performance. "Anyway, tonight's show is a formality...Connie is Zoe's mother and it's not like it's gonna be a bloodbath out there. We perform our song, chat a bit and then home to bed. The end is in sight!"
"Thank God!" Sylva said with feeling. Topaz laughed.
"This is nothing compared to the hours I had to work in the diner in Toronto." she chided them. "Really, it isn't. And this is all so much more fun."
"It'd be more fun still if we were the only ones playing this gig." Nancy said darkly.
"What's up, Nance?" Copper frowned. Nancy pulled a face.
"Guess who else is on set." she said grimly. "Casanova himself."
"Blade?" Sylva demanded. Nancy nodded.
"I don't wanna face him yet." She admitted.
"So ignore him." Topaz advised. "He's nothing, Nance, if you don't let him get to you. Show him and everyone what you can do on stage, and then cold shoulder him."
"Topaz is right." Sylva nodded. "Guys like that need attention to feed their ego."
"Well, there speaks the expert." Nancy observed dryly, as the door of the dressing room swung open to reveal Cynthia.
"They sent me to tell you that they're ready for you now." She said with a smile. "Are you ready?"
"As we'll ever be." Nancy groaned, getting to her feet. "Okay, Cynthia, we're coming."
"I had the dubious pleasure of observing Blade this evening." The hologram observed, casting Nancy a sidelong glance and observing the girl's involuntary flinch as she did so.
"Don't, it's a sore point, Cynnie." Copper said quietly. Cynthia frowned.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be insensitive." She said apologetically.
"It's okay, I'll get over it." Nancy assured her. "I'm not in love with him now, or anything. It's more that I'm trying to live down the humiliation."
"Blade is a man with a great ego." Cynthia decided. "I wonder if I might have some fun with him tonight? It is very dull just working backstage, you know."
"Careful, Cynthia. He's trouble." Topaz warned. Cynthia laughed.
"Don't worry, Topaz. I can handle him." She said airily. "I don't get caught up in emotions...I'm fairly immune to love."
"That's what I thought." Nancy said darkly. "Topaz is right, he's trouble."
"Have faith." she chided. "I have no intention of putting myself at risk from his charms."
With that she was gone, and Jewel were ushered out on set, all four of them wondering what exactly their newest acquaintance had meant.
"She's a damn fool if she thinks she can play him." Nancy muttered to Copper as they joined Constance on the couch. "He's only in love with himself - she'll wind up messed up as I was."
"I don't think that's on Cynnie's agenda." Copper said wryly. "Now hush...unless you want to cause a scandal!"
Backstage, whilst Jewel were chatting merrily with Constance out on set, Blade was busy prepping himself before the mirror for his first big Los Angeles television interview. He had done Dean's show, but to him that was morning television and barely worth his time - he had no interest in a programme fronted by a man whom he saw as his main competition for teen showbiz idol status. Tonight was different, for Constance's show was long-running and in his mind it deserved the respect that the critics tended to give it. It was, he mused, a show that only the best appeared on. He was unconcerned by Jewel's sharing the bill - an unfortunate coincidence on the part of harried schedulers - for he had already dismissed the fiasco with Nancy as not worth any more of his attention. Unlike Sirena, he had little interest in Jewel or what they did...they ranked beneath him in the big picture of things. At least, in his mind they did.
A voice came from the doorway and he turned, his expression registering both pleasure and surprise as he viewed the intruder. "I hope I'm not disturbing your privacy. I had the fortune to be working on set when I saw you arrive, and I wanted to tell you what a fan I am of your music."
"Hey, I always have time for a good looking babe." Blade, his ego flattered by her gentle and apparently sincere tone, slipping easily into heartbreaker mode. "What's your name?"
"They call me Cynthia." Cynthia purred, coming into the room proper and closing the door. Blade was not to know that she had spent some time over the days since Dean's show collating information off the internet on Blade, his character and the best way to manipulate it through the various program enhancers she had surrepticiously downloaded. Fully equipping her mainframe to allow Cynthia to be the class A flirt that she was about to prove herself to be had been a furtive business, for she had not wanted either Copper or Aaron to know what she was planning for fear of them stopping her. She was about to play Blade at his own game and hope that, in messing with his mind she would avenge the hurt caused to Aaron's sensitive young sister. Eccentric and deranged she could be, but Synergy was nothing if not loyal.
"It's a pretty name." Blade observed now, beckoning for her to join him. "It suits you."
"Thank you." Cynthia's eyes twinkled slightly. "If you say it's pretty then I suppose it must be true."
Blade grinned, absorbing her remarks easily.
"I can't believe you and I haven't run into each other before." He remarked. "You from Los Angeles?"
"Yes." Cynthia agreed. "I've lived here my whole life."
"Then you must've been hiding from me." Blade replied.
Cynthia put her arms gently around his neck, running a hand idly through his hair.
"Perhaps." She murmured. "Or perhaps I wondered what a big star like you could ever see in a girl like me. Surely you have a lot of other girlfriends?"
"Hey, just cos I'm a star don't mean I chat up every girl I meet." Blade objected. "I have standards, you know." He winked at her. "You're damn fine lookin', though. Man, I can't believe you hid yourself from me so far!"
"I had heard you were involved with one of the girls from Jewel." Cynthia lowered her lashes, adopting a slightly more uncertain tone of voice, which immediately captured Blade's dominant instincts. "I was half afraid to come down here tonight in case you laughed at me."
"Jewel? Those children?" He demanded. "Oh, please, Cynthia, give me some credit for taste. I only bother myself with real women...women who can keep up with me."
"Am I a real woman?" Cynthia glanced up at him from beneath her lashes, her resolve doubly hardened by his cruel remarks about Jewel. Blade put his arm around her waist, squeezing her tightly.
"I guess we could find out." He said suggestively. "What you doin' tomorrow night, babe? I got some free time...we could go hang out and have some fun."
"Nothing I couldn't cancel." Cynthia told him smoothly.
"Well, where'd you live? I'll come by and pick you up."
"Oh no...I think it's better that I meet you out." Cynthia seemed a mite hesitant. "My...my housemates think I'm crazy to be so obsessed with you and...and I'm afraid my brother might be mad at me for even talking to you like this. He's very overprotective of me, and I don't want him to hurt you."
"You think I can't hold my own in a fight?" Blade's masculine ego was offended.
"Of course you can." Cynthia hastened to reassure him, resting her head on his shoulder. "But my brother's a big guy...he's a boxer, and...well, he has a nasty temper. I don't want any trouble."
"Okay, if you want it that way." Blade shrugged offhandedly, inwardly unwilling to have an encouter with any guy he felt he might lose face to. "Then meet me at the Red Rock Restaurant at nine. Anyone who's anyone eats there."
"Perfect." Cynthia murmured.
Gently Blade kissed her, and she let him have his way for the briefest of moments, before pulling back with a gasp.
"Oh! You'll be wanted on stage and my brother said he'd pick me up - he mustn't catch me here!" she exclaimed with feigned dismay. "I must go! Till tomorrow, then!"
And with that, she fled the room, leaving Blade preening his ego, to allow her laughter to overtake her fully. She pushed open the door to Jewel's empty dressing room, dropping down into a chair as the funny side of it all engulfed the more mischievous aspects of her personality. It was like this the group found her, and Sylva immediately demanded to know what was so funny.
"I have a date with Blade." Cynthia replied simply.
"And it's funny? Are you mad?" Nancy demanded. "What are you playing at?"
"The date is for tomorrow night at the Red Rock Restaurant." she replied. "Does anyone fancy going rollerskating tomorrow evening?"
"You're going to stand him up?" Topaz stared.
"Of course I am."
"Brilliant!" Sylva exclaimed. "Oh God, I wish I could see his face when you don't show up!"
"For real?" Nancy asked. Cynthia nodded.
"I don't think I could bear a whole night of his company." She admitted. "It surprises me that he can. He appears a very shallow man...I dislike that in a person. They are no challenge."
"Cynnie, you shouldn't." Copper scolded, though there was a smile on her face. "But I must admit I'm with Syl...I'd love to see his expression. Blade the heartbreaker jilted by his newest date!"
"Perhaps you will." Cynthia said with a twinkle in her eye. "If it should be that the press should think he has some hot date tomorrow night...who knows what anonymous tip-offs they might receive? Anyone could have been listening as he asked me out."
Sylva hugged her companion impulsively.
"You're a worse schemer than I am, but you're okay and I'm sorry that I doubted you." she said decidedly. "You're one of the gang now, Cynthia!"
"What I don't get, though, is why are you going to all this trouble?" Nancy demanded.
"You are my friend and Blade hurt you." Cynthia said with a shrug. "I heard the story from Aaron and the pain of it in your own voice when I mentioned him earlier on. Blade is a nasty man...it will not hurt anything but his pride and image to be stood up, and then perhaps he will think twice before he hurts my friends again."
"You did this...for me?" Nancy was dumbstruck. Cynthia nodded.
"Is it wrong to?" She asked anxiously. A tiny smile touched Nancy's face.
"No! Let the creep get what he deserves!" she exclaimed. "I owe you one, Cynthia...Syl's right. You're one of the team now!"
PART FOUR: HARDLIGHT
Chapter One: Aaron's Experiment
Chapter Two: Cynthia
Chapter Three: Back To Work
Chapter Four: On Set
Chapter Five: Mind Games
Chapter Six: Sirena's Scandal
Chapter Seven: Zach
Chapter Eight: A Happy Ending
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.