Chapter Five: Consulting The Teenangels
"She said what?"
Jade Jones, drummer for the Teenangel Outsiders twirled her drumsticks, almost dropping them in surprise at Nancy's words. "You're not serious, Nancy? Copper wouldn't quit." It was later the same afternoon, and the two bands had gotten together to practice as a team when Nancy had dropped the bombshell.
"This whole show was Copper's idea, really." Samantha Phillips, Sylva's talented cousin and daughter of one time Hologram Aja Leith added, shock showing on her clever face. "Are you sure?"
"It's true." Sylva pulled a face. "She came to practice this morning, burst into tears and more or less said she was gonna drop Jewel and go back to school."
"She misses her father." Topaz sighed. "And some screwball woman has convinced her that Esteban would rather she finish her education than play with Jewel. I don't know how she did it - Copper isn't a fool - but somehow she did. I mean, education is important, but considering what Copper went through in her senior year...there's no way in hell Esteban would be anything but proud of her."
"What do you mean?" Veronica Anderson or 'Violet', the Teenangels' keyboardist asked in her soft-spoken, gentle voice, frowning. "What happened to Copper?"
"She had cancer...Hodgkin's Disease." Nancy replied. "She went through a lot - remember her Dad died of cancer, too - and in the end she dropped out of school to focus on getting better. She was half-way to getting her diploma when the talent scouts picked her up in Detroit and Jewel was dreamt up. When we first started out, she used to talk about getting her high school diploma a lot, but she's not done so for ages. I almost think she's resigned it to a part of her memory and has focused on what she can do as Jewel's drummer. Now this has brought it all out again."
"Losing someone you care about is never easy." Lauren Martin, or Opel said softly, and Sammi cast her a glance, but the Teenangel singer's expression was unreadable. "Perhaps Copper just needs some time to settle herself with it."
"No, she meant it this morning." Sylva bit her lip. "We're down a drummer and the concert is only a few weeks away."
"I dunno about you, but I'm worried about Copper." Nancy sighed. "I was angry with her...I guess I was unkind to her, too, after our row...but now I'm just worried. I don't know what Rapture did to her..."
"Rapture?" Sammi's eyes widened. "As in the Stinger?"
"Yes." Sylva's eyes narrowed. "Aunt Aja told you about them, huh?"
"She didn't seem too amused when I told her that they were playing, and she said they were trouble." Sammi nodded. She sighed. "Poor Copper...she's so sweet and she wants to trust everyone."
"She's a gullible fool, then." Amanda Whatson, the final Teenangel and the bass guitarist put in abruptly. "As Sylva said, Jewel are down a drummer...that's the pressing point."
"Amber, don't be like that." Sammi chided her friend gently. Amber sighed.
"All right, don't nag me." She said with a frown. "I'm just trying to be real about this, that's all. It's not good for Copper, and I hope she's okay soon and all that, but what are Jewel going to do?"
"Beats me." Nancy frowned, strumming an idle chord on her guitar. "All I know though is that Jewel isn't Jewel if Copper isn't playing. She's been one of us since the start, and it wouldn't be right not to have her in the band."
"Copper has a lot to deal with." Topaz's expression was troubled. "I wish I knew who we could go to for advice. Copper's Mama would get too upset about it all, I'm sure...and Phyllis and Jetta will explode if they knew."
"Maybe Mum could help?" Sammi suggested hesitantly.
"Aja's got her hands full playing mother to Rose." Violet said softly, and there was a moment of silence, as all thoughts flew to the absent teenangel guitarist. Rosaline Jameson had been Sammi's best friend since they were little children and Aja Phillips had often played mother to them both, for Rose had never known her real mother. Now Rose was seriously ill, too ill to take part in band business and it was partly this which had facilitated Jade's joining of the group, but she was sorely missed, even by Amber who had always been her sniping partner. Rose needed an operation if she was going to get better, and Aja, the Teenangels' manager Steven Russell and the Teenangel Outsiders themselves had decided to bring her to America in hope of finding her absent mother and possibly, a cure.
"Is Rose...very bad?" Topaz asked hesitantly. Sammi bit her lip.
"We try not to talk about it much around her." She said slowly. "But at the moment it isn't good. She doesn't want to go into hospital, of course, because she's afraid of what might happen there, and she's still trying to be independant Rose...but she's not well, Topaz. And I suppose Vi is right...Mum does have her hands full. She's always been like a mother to Rose as well as to me."
"This is depressing." Sylva sounded restless. "I feel like we're at a wake. Copper's dad, Rose's sickness...the mood just dropped in here by about ten mood points in the last ten seconds. Amber's right, the focal point is what are we going to do without a drummer?"
"You can't program a beat into your synth?" Sammi suggested. Sylva snorted.
"What's a synth beat compared to a proper rhythm?" She demanded. "Jewel don't have synthetic beat!"
"Syl, cool it." Nancy ordered. "Sammi's idea is a good one, if we don't have any other choice."
"Maybe...I could help?" Jade offered hesitantly. "I mean, if you really needed a drummer, and Copper won't play...can I help you?"
"You'd be exhausted if you had to play our set and Jewel's, though." Violet looked concerned. Jade shook her head.
"I'm fit enough and the sessions Steevi puts us through are pretty gruelling sometimes." She said. "I'd like to help, if Copper really feels she can't do it."
"You're an angel, Jade, thank you." Topaz looked relieved. "I'm still hoping and praying that we might talk Copper round, but I don't know if we can. But do you think you can learn our songs in time?"
"No time like the present to start." Jade said with a smile. "I'm sure, Topaz. I want to try, anyway. The Foundation kids are relying on this show being a hit, for a start, and I'm sure they all want to see Jewel play."
"You girls do have a big following in California. You're everywhere." Sammi nodded. "Jade, are you sure you can handle both?"
"I'm sure." Jade grinned. "I mean, it's about time I put all my athletic training into practice, huh? I can take it, Sammi. The important thing is that the show must go on, right?"
"Jade's right." Nancy nodded. She sighed. "Well, at least it's a solution. I'm sorry not to be jumping up and down about it, but Copper's my best friend, and I can't help feeling somewhere along the line I've screwed up and let her down again."
"You let her down? She slapped you, remember?" Sylva demanded. "And then dropped her bombshell about quitting? Who's let who down, Nancy?"
"Copper...slapped you?" Opel stared.
"I hope you slapped her back." Amber put in. Nancy blushed.
"I probably deserved it for what I said. We had a fight, leave it at that." She said uncomfortably. "Jewel have been unsettled since the anniversary of Esteban's death and Rapture's just made things worse. Copper's turned into some other girl...I'm glad that Jewel can still play, and Jade, thanks for helping us out...but this whole thing still sucks. If Copper doesn't come to her senses soon, what's gonna happen to our band?"
Chapter One: One Jewel Down
Chapter Two: Fireworks
Chapter Three: Phyllis Steps In
Chapter Four: Esteban Speaks
Chapter Five: Consulting the Teenangels
Chapter Six: Rose Helps
Chapter Seven: Mending Ties
Chapter Eight: Misfit Reborn
Chapter Nine: Dean's Show
Chapter Ten: Sylva and Jack
Chapter Eleven: Sabotaged!
Chapter Twelve: Settling the Past
Chapter Thirteen: Revenge
Chapter Fourteen: Show Must Go On