Devil May Care

Chapter Thirteen: Stefana's Resolve

"So, how did the show go last night, or hasn't Nancy mentioned it?"
Aaron cast his girlfriend an inquisitive look over his milkshake. "I've not seen her since their last runthrough, because Aunt Phyl figured it safest for press reasons to not have both Cynthia and I at the gig, and Cyn was needed for the lighting."
"That sucks." Copper frowned. "Because it wasn't your fault. As for Nancy, I've not seen her, except to check she came home last night. She was lost to the world when I came out to meet you, so I guess it went well, only she's exhausted."
"Good. She came home in one piece at least." Aaron responded. He sighed. "I wish I knew what Cynthia saw at that show that made Aunt Phyl suddenly leave us alone over it. Noone will tell me anything. But it went from me possibly losing my job to suddenly 'oh, don't talk about it. Do you know what it was?"
"I do." Copper nodded slowly. "But Aaron, Cynthia said specifically that you werent to be involved, in case it happened again. She and Aunt Phyl are handling it, and you don't have to worry. You're not to blame in any way."
"Well there's that at least." Aaron smiled, but he still looked somewhat bemused. "Hey, what's the situation between you and this new band of Rory Llewelyn's? You seemed to be getting along with them pretty good backstage at Connie's show, before everything went up the spout."
"It's hard to know." Copper looked thoughtful. "It's very early days with them yet and we don't know each other so well. But one or two of them seem kinda nice. I liked Marissa, their keyboard player, she was sweet. And Maddy and Luca were very friendly, too. It's difficult to tell with the drummer...I think his name is Clay? at the moment, and Stefana didn't stay with us for long."
"I spoke to her." Aaron responded. "She seemed okay, if a little nervous about the show. It's good that Jewel aren't going to have a blood and guts rivalry like there was with Sirena, at least." He looked amused. "But then I don't suppose Aunt Phyl has any more estranged children to knock on her door."
"No, I think that's a mistake she'd have only let herself make once." Copper agreed.
"Speaking of the devil...literally, in this case..." Aaron indicated the doorway, where Stefana, with Marissa in tow had just entered. "We have company. Should we go speak to them?"
"They seem to be coming over to us." Copper observed. "S'pose it would be rude not to smile."
"Don't be like that." Aaron scolded her playfully. "I thought you liked this Marissa girl?"
"Yeah, I do." Copper sighed. "But I also like us having some time together, just you and I sometimes, that's all. We've been so busy lately, and from next week we're in the studio laying down the album, because Phyllis, would you believe it, thinks it would be fun to get it out by Halloween weekend."
"Is she mad?" Aaron raised an eyebrow. Copper shrugged.
"Sometimes I wonder." She admitted. "We're gonna do our best, and of course songs like Takin' It All and the new single we already have laid down to perfection, but's gonna be tight. And of course, we're releasing It's Only Love on Monday, and going on tour November 8th...Topaz is cross because it's after her birthday, but we promised her a party here in LA."
"Did someone say party?" Stefana demanded, sending Aaron a grin and cutting Copper off in mid-conversation. She grabbed a chair, pulling it up to the table and, looking both embarassed and discomfitted, Marissa followed suit.
"I hope we're not interrupting something." She said hesitantly. Copper locked eyes with her boyfriend, but in the end her good heart won out, and she shook her head.
"We were just discussing Jewel's schedule." She responded with a smile. "Getting used to LA?"
"Well, Luca and Maddy went to see an agent about a house that Rory recommended, and Clay's gone along to make sure noone cheats on the legalities of it." Marissa smiled. "So we came into the city to get an idea of our new home a little more." She frowned. "You on your own?"
"Mm, thought Jewel were glued at the mic stand." Stefana put in.
"Well, we're good friends but we need our space too." Copper said quietly. "Nancy had a big show last night and with of midweek she's sleeping it all off. Topaz and Syl went shopping, Aaron and I came here."
"Tell Nancy when you see her that last night's show was awesome." Marissa grinned. "I'm a big Sirena fan, I'm not ashamed to admit it, and I tagged along since we were free...took Luca too, I'm converting him. It was a total blast."
"I'll tell her, and I'm sure she'll pass the message on to Sirena when they speak." Copper replied warmly. Despite the awkwardness of the interruption, she was already becoming fond of the young composer.
She stole a glance at Stefana, surprised at the darkness of the look she received in return. To the best of her memory she had done nothing to elicit any spite from Diablo's guitarist, but then she remembered Cynthia's claim and a troubled frown touched her own expression. Was Stefana really the saboteur? Would she risk Nancy's life to stop Jewel playing? And were the rest of the group in on it? It was hard to believe such a thing of honest, open Marissa.
"How did you like playing Connie's show, Stef?" Aaron asked, casting Stefana a smile. Much to Copper's surprise, Stefana's dark look faded, and a startled look touched her green eyes.
"Oh! Well, it was okay." She said, regaining her composure in a second and offering him a strange smile. "Your girls' fireworks kinda stole the spotlight, but we played good and it was fun. Where we deserve to be, centre stage. Yeah, it was cool."
"Hopefully it won't be long before we release our single." Marissa grinned. "Rory warned us it might not hit the top ten to begin with, but to be honest, any chart placing in the top forty or fifty would do me. I still can't believe that Diablo are going places, it's all been like a dream."
"I felt like that too, when Jewel had their first number one song." Copper dimpled. "It was like we were all totally stunned and delighted all at once."
"Rub it in, why dontcha." Stefana muttered. Copper looked startled, and Marissa sent her friend a look which meant 'shut up!', then offered an apologetic smile. Copper glanced at Aaron, but her boyfriend did not appear to have heard, intent on finishing his drink.
"I was just saying to Copper that it's good that Diablo and Jewel have gotten off to a fairly friendly start." He commented now. "I think it sucks when two groups in the same business can't be friendly just because they work for rival labels."
"Well, I agree." Marissa smiled, and Copper saw only sincerity in her expression. "I was anxious about us meeting you, Rory was very negative, but you weren't like he said at all. I'd like it if we played tv shows together more often...only without the chaos, of course."
"I think I'd like it too." Stefana looked thoughtful, then, "So why become roadie for Jewel then, Aaron? What's in it for you? I mean, isn't it a major drag working for your mother?"
"Nah. I get most of my nagging from Ms Gabor." Aaron corrected himself, remembering that in public at least he had to refer to Phyllis by her proper name. "Mom leaves me to do what I do." He grinned. "And I've done the job unofficially for a while now. Just they didn't want to employ me till I was twenty one and fully trained. Since high school I've done various qualifications and odd jobs at the company and now I'm ready to go."
"Aaron's Nancy's brother, so working with Jewel is kinda logical, Stef." Marissa reminded her friend. Stefana looked startled, her face paling somewhat.
"Nancy's brother?" She murmured. "Oh, I totally hadn't made the connection." She frowned. "I...guess you were fussed when the stage went up like it did, huh?"
"Scared stiff, especially since I was half afraid I'd done something to cause it." Aaron admitted. "But thankfully Aunt...Ms Gabor has cleared me of all involvement. Nance and I have always been close, so yeah, I was pretty worried. By the way, I meant to say a thank you to you guys for helping out how you did. Pass it on to the others when you see them, huh? Luca in particular."
"We will." Marissa assured him. "It was the least we could do...after all, it was a terrible thing to happen and we'd have been gutted if it had been our set."
"If you ask me it was that Cynthia girl's fault." Stefana said darkly. "I swear she was the one who made the ladder nearly fall on me, too."
"She was nowhere near it, Stef." Aaron reproached her gently. "It was just like the accident."
"Maybe." Stefana did not look convinced.
Copper glanced up at the clock, giving a little yelp.
"It's almost half two, we're gonna miss our film!" She exclaimed. Aaron got to his feet hurriedly.
"Man, time flies." He said, grinning at the two Diablo girls apologetically. "I'm sorry, we kinda have to run. It was nice to talk to you again, though."
"You too." Marissa smiled, though Stefana's brows were once more knitting into their dark frown. "I hope we'll speak again soon."
"Likewise." Copper dimpled. "Goodbye!"
Once they were gone, Stefana got to her feet, pacing over to the window of the coffee shop. Surprised, Marissa followed her.
"What's wrong with you today?" She asked softly. "You've been like a bear with a sore head all morning."
"I'm fine, butt out of it." Stefana growled.
"Did you take something?"
"No I didn't, dammit, and not so loud in public!" Stefana snapped. "Now shut up, will you? I want to see where they're going."
"The movies...where else?" Marissa looked at her friend like she was mad.
"Well, I don't like that Copper girl, she's all fake and smily." Stefana glowered. "And it's so obvious she was dragging Aaron away."
"I doubt it. I would think with him being Nancy's brother and having known Jewel so long they're probably pretty good friends." Marissa reasoned. "Why do you care, anyhow? He's hardly the type of guy you usually go in for. He hasn't shaved his head and got a skull tattoo on his hand...he isn't pierced all over and growling with rage...why do you even care?"
"Don't make fun of my taste in men!" Stefana exclaimed. "That was one guy, once, and anyway, this isn't like that. Jewel are our rivals, I wanna make sure there's no funny business."
"Doesn't seem to be any to me." Marissa responded. "And I like Copper, Stef. I like them all, they seem sweet and friendly and not stuck up one bit. I hope Diablo and Jewel will be friends. We can learn a ton from them."
"I'm not playing pupil to that lot." Stefana snapped. "I..." She paused, her eyes narrowing. "That little flirt...come on, we're following them."
"Steffi, did you leave your mind behind this morning?" Marissa demanded, as she was dragged out of the coffee shop onto the high street. "Are you sure you didn't take something? You're acting possessed and more paranoid than usual!"
"Shut up and come on." Stefana instructed.
"Why are we following them? Stef, what's the deal? What's happened now?"
"She was holding his hand...she grabbed at it, I saw her." Stefana's expression was grim.
"So?" Marissa looked helpless. "Stef, what does any of this have to do with us?"
"Never you mind." Was all the response she got, as they reached the cinema, pausing outside. Carefully Stefana pushed open the door, slipping into the lobby. With a bemused shrug, Marissa followed her.
"See 'em?" Stefana demanded. Marissa shook her head. Stefana rolled her eyes, frustrated. She opened her mouth to speak, then she froze, all thought of conversation slipping out of her mind as she caught sight of who she was looking for.
Aaron and Copper...kissing.
Under her breath she muttered the worst expletives she could come up with, grabbing Marissa roughly and pulling her out of the cinema. Once outside she lit up a cigarette, tossing the match down onto the pavement ferociously and stamping on it hard.
"Stef, chill out." Marissa glanced around her, as if worried someone from the press might be watching. "So Copper and Aaron are a couple, so what? What does it matter to you?"
"You saw, huh? Gross." Stefana pulled a face. "Making out in public like that."
"Well, we probably interrupted their date." Marissa realised. Stefana shrugged.
"He can do better." She said darkly.
"Stef, you like this guy, don't you?" Marissa spoke gently. Stefana's eyes narrowed.
"I do not! I don't look for romance and boyfriends like you do, I just wanted to get someone with some experience onto our team."
"You wanted to snipe him away from Jewel?" Marissa looked horrified. "How were you gonna do that?"
"How do you think?"
"Flirt with him? Oh Stef, sometimes I despair of you." Marissa rolled her eyes. "Leave the poor guy alone, huh? He and Copper are happy...and Copper's a sweetheart. We have ample roadies already...we don't need Aaron Pelligrini. Come's getting late and I need to eat soon."
She headed off up the high street. Stefana began to follow her, but then she paused, glancing back at the cinema and muttering another curse, this time almost wistfully.
"He remembered my name." She murmured. Then she got a grip on herself, stomping up the street behind her friend.
Her resolve against Jewel was now doubly hardened.
Somehow she would split up Copper and Aaron.
No matter how long it took...

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

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!)