Chapter Eleven: Headline News
"Fireworks on a television set as Jewel's new song goes up in smoke."
Rory dropped the newspaper down on his desk, casting his companion a smile. "New rock group Diablo offer their assistance as Misfits' Music's big sellers crash out. Stefana, my dear, you leave me speechless."
"I did what you told me to." Stefana said curtly, perching on the windowsill. "I sabotaged their dumb set and they didn't get to play. Now I want paying...unless it escaped your notice, I ain't rolling in cash just yet and I have a few things I need to settle up with people."
"You will be paid." Rory told her dismissively. "We have an agreement, and I have no intention on going back on it. You just need to have patience."
"Listen, Rory." Stefana's eyes glinted dangerously and she banged her fists down on the desk. "I'm not a patient girl. You promised me a bonus and I'm not gonna sit around and wait until you can find a reason to weasel out of paying it. You pay me here and now or else the agreement is at an end. You hear me? I can't afford to play games with you. I need the money!"
"What do you need the money for so badly?" Rory asked her coolly. "A young wannabe rock star with a big future is suddenly in debt? What did you do, blow your credit cards on new clothes?"
"Don't be stupid." Stefana snapped back. "And it's not your business anyway. It's just money I borrowed from a...a friend and I need to pay it back, that's all. You promised me..."
"Oh, all right." Rory rolled his eyes, opening his desk and pulling out a tin. Opening it, he counted out several hundred dollar bills, passing them across the table. "There. Satisfied? You're paid."
Stefana scooped up the money, counting through it meticulously then folding it, shoving it into the pocket of her jeans.
"Right." She agreed. "But listen. I'm only going to be your saboteur like this if you pay me promptly afterwards, okay?"
"Maybe I don't like taking orders from my employees." Rory's tone held an edge. Stefana eyed him disdainfully.
"And maybe I could leak to the press exactly how the Jewel performance was sabotaged." She snapped back. "Don't play with me, Rory, I know too much."
"You also have too much to lose." Rory's eyes narrowed. "I told you that if you were caught you were on your own. You breathe a word and I'll cut you loose, remember that."
Stefana glowered at him, but, realising he was right, she ventured no further comment.
Instead, she picked up one of the papers, skimming through the article.
"The way they write this, it sounds like Jewel have a bunch of clowns running their set." She murmured. "I don't like that Cynthia girl they use...maybe this will cause trouble for her as well as Jewel."
"Cynthia? Who in hell is Cynthia?" Rory demanded.
"One of Jewel's roadies, I guess." Stefana shrugged. "I don't care what her real role is, she just gets on my nerves!"
"Please, save your venom for Jewel." Rory told her firmly. "Whoever this Cynthia girl is, she's not the big prize and you don't need any private feuds."
"So what's next?" Stefana demanded. "Diablo's success is also a condition of this deal, you know."
"Well, aside from the very successful set you played on Clash's show last night..." Rory paused pointedly, then, "I'm arranging a press conference for this evening. I'm going to stress my concern about the risks you were under on set last night and do my level best to get the press on your side. Then..." He tapped his diary, "I had a phonecall this morning from the owner of Le Klub Kool asking to have you play there three nights next week after hearing what you can do. It's a high profile club date and it attracts a lot of press publicity, so I accepted. Diablo are on the up."
"Good." Stefana looked satisfied. "Well, it's as it should be. And, if Jewel can't stand the heat, they should get out of the way. Diablo are here to stay!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"What is the meaning of this!"
Phyllis slammed the newspaper report down on the table, glaring at the unfortunate occupants of the office as she did so. "This is not the kind of publicity I expect for my company's main act! I pay you two to organise shows, not blow up my stars!"
"Aunt Phyl..." Aaron began, but the executive was in a rage and she silenced him with a look.
"I don't want to hear your excuses. I want the truth!" She snapped. "This isn't a game! Nancy could have been killed, Jewel could have been discredited forever, not to mention this company, and, in case you hadn't noticed, Riot's new band is all over the paper as the good samaritans of the piece!"
She turned her steely glare on Cynthia.
"Well? What have you to say about it?" She demanded. "Is being a member of the illustrious Benton family suddenly driving you to sabotage me?"
"That's rubbish." Cynthia was not cowed by the former Misfit's temper. "I didn't sabotage the set and nor did Aaron. We checked the cables and they were fine, this wasn't an accident and it wasn't our fault."
"Cyn, you don't know that." Aaron murmured. "You have no proof."
"Proof? Proof of what?" Phyllis' temper began to cool somewhat in light of a possible explanation. "Speak, damn you! What do you mean?"
"Someone switched around the cables." Cynthia said simply. "While I was out at the van getting cables and Aaron was busy elsewhere. The technicians are the ones you should question, they might have seen who and how."
"There's something you're not telling me." Phyllis' eyes narrowed.
"I don't want to cause ripples without proof." Cynthia met the executive's gaze with a calm one of her own. "And I don't want to involve Aaron in things. This isnt his fault."
"Fine." Phyllis gestured to her bemused adoptive nephew. "Aaron, get lost. I'm done with you. Cynthia and I have things we need to discuss."
"Aaron, I said go." Phyllis snapped.
Aaron exchanged looks with Cynthia, who shrugged. Then he obediently left the office, closing the door behind him.
As soon as he was gone Phyllis fixed Cynthia with a searching look.
"Okay. Explain." She demanded.
Carefully Cynthia outlined what had happened, and her suspicions. All the time Phyllis' expression grew blacker and blacker.
"Rory Llewelyn. I knew he was behind this!" She exclaimed.
"I can't prove it though." Cynthia said regretfully. "I wish I could. I don't like that girl one bit. She's bad news."
"Well, Rory's going to lap up the publicity over it." Phyllis groaned. "There's nothing we can do?"
"Not unless Misfit Music wants a law suit that they might just lose." Cynthia responded gravely. "I swear that's what happened, P...Ms Gabor, but I can't prove it."
"I believe you." She said finally. "All right. Get outta here, will you? I need to talk to Jetta. Far as you and Aaron are concerned, this is done with. Just make sure next time noone gets near the equipment without proper authorisation. Okay?"
"We will, don't worry." Cynthia nodded. "I have no intention of letting Stefana anywhere near Jewel's stuff again."
"Tell Jetta to come in here, will ya?" Phyllis instructed. Cynthia acquiesced, withdrawing from the office, inwardly indignant at the whole situation. She and Aaron had begun working full time for Misfit Music following the reunion concert the previous June, for that had been the same month Aaron had celebrated his twenty first birthday and he had said that Cynthia was the best around for organising stage lights. Having seen what the computer could do, Phyllis had agreed, and the team relished the professional role they now played in matters. Aaron had proudly accepted the title of 'road manager' for Jewel, and Cynthia was his willing assistant, for loyalty was the human trait she had mastered best.
To have their actions called into question had not made her any more tolerant towards Stefana Ranieri or Diablo.
"Well, what's the fuss now?" Jetta poked her head around her business partner's door, looking enquiring.
"You seen the press?"
"Seen it, 'eard about it, 'ad several fits about it." Jetta nodded wryly. "You forget, Pizzazz, that it were my daughter who almost got blown up on telly last night, an' I watched it go out live. If Clash 'adn't come on after the break an' assured everyone that nobody 'ad been 'urt I'd 'ave been there in a flash in person!"
"Well, it's not good anyway, even though none of them were hurt." Phyllis groaned. "I just spoke in detail with Cynthia about what happened."
"Oh?" Jetta looked interested. "None of the girls 'ave said a thing to me."
"Well, surprise surprise, Riot is right in the thick of it." Slowly Phyllis outlined all the hologram had told her.
Jetta looked thoughtful.
"Cynthia's well known for tellin' it 'ow it is." She mused. "An' she's level 'eaded, that's why she's so good for the job you 'ired 'er for. I'm inclined to say it 'appened the way she said it did. What do we know about this Stefana girl?"
"Nothing much." Phyllis responded. "Though I've left a message on Jody's phone to get in touch with me as soon as possible. I want to know whatever I can find, see if she's the kinda girl who'd do this. Cynthia seemed certain she wasn't to be trusted."
"Noone involved with Riot is to be trusted." Jetta responded. "So, what's the plan?"
"We put it behind us and move on. It's all we can do." Phyllis replied sadly. "It sucks and I want to go tell Riot what I think of his little scheme, even better, land him with a law suit, but I can't. I've no proof. Best thing we can do is try and carry on and pretend it didn't happen...Nancy and Emily have the big show tomorrow night, after all, and that should just detract from some of the negative hype, especially if people see Nancy is all right and playing again."
"Well, she assured me 'erself that she's fine." Jetta replied. "I called Starlight Mansion last night an' spoke to 'er. She said 'er guitar was a bit mangled but that Cynthia was gonna fix it up for 'er and she'd gotten 'old of a spare for tomorrow's show, so she's none the worse for it."
"Well, she's a plucky kid." Phyllis managed a slight smile. "She gets it from her mother."
Jetta allowed herself a wry grin.
"You're tellin' me." She agreed. "I didn't bring my girl up to be soft an' self-pityin'."
"Thank god." Phyllis responded. "Well, I guess we oughta get back to work. See what we can do to repair Jewel's standing, and try and ignore Riot's press hype."
"There hasn't been any, yet." Jetta pointed out. Phyllis looked grim.
"There well be." She said. "You can count on that."
Prologue: New Blood
Chapter One: A Comeback...And A Beginning
Chapter Two: Rumours
Chapter Three: Diablo
Chapter Four: Misfit Music
Chapter Five: Consulting Zoe
Chapter Six: Luca...and Sirena
Chapter Seven: Partners In Crime
Chapter Eight: Luca Makes A Discovery
Chapter Nine: Backstage At Connie's Corner
Chapter Ten: An Eventful Night
Chapter Eleven: Headline News
Chapter Twelve: Sirena's Show
Chapter Thirteen: Stefana's Resolve
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE
Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, Sirena, Topaz, Aaron, Sophie, Justin, Elliot, Rosita Madeleine, Marissa, Luca, Stefana, Clay, 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!
The concept of RayzaBlade is copyrighted to my sister Elena...^_^ (Yeah, blame her!)