Devil May Care

Chapter Three: Diablo

"Steffi, are you coming out of there today or tomorrow?"
Marissa knocked on the door of the bathroom of the hotel room, an amused smile on her face. It was the same most mornings. Once Stefana was dragged out of bed, she tended to take a long time getting ready, and a less tolerant roommate would have brought the situation to blows on many an occasion. However, Marissa was a peaceloving soul, and she was too fond of her errant friend to make too much fuss. Instead she knocked again. "Steffi, the car's here and you haven't even had breakfast!"
"All right, I'm ready, chill out, will you?"
The bathroom door swung open and Stefana emerged, her dark hair pulled up into a high ponytail and her makeup done as perfectly as it was every morning. "What's all the rush, Mari? Who cares if we're a little late. Aren't we the stars here?"
"Starlets at the moment." Marissa responded, scooping up her bag and slipping it onto her shoulders. "But the car is waiting, Stef."
"So let's go." Stefana shrugged, pulling on her boots and standing, eying her reflection in the full length mirror as she did so.
"Aren't you hungry?" Marissa demanded.
"Well, I don't have to eat at certain times like you do. I'll eat later." Stefana dismissed it. "Stop being a worrywart, Mari. It's only Rory we're going to see."
"Yeah, just the guy who's gonna make us famous and rich and successful if we do things right." Marissa said dryly, as the girls left the hotel room, meeting up with the rest of the band in the hallway. "Okay, all. She's ready."
"Stef, why is it you're always the last one out of the bathroom in the morning?" Luca sent his sister an affectionate grin with was returned by a dark, unamused glower. "Anyway, since we're all here, mustn't keep Rory's driver waiting."
"A's kinda flash somehow." Madeleine observed as they went to meet the waiting vehicle. "Seems almost undeserved, after how long we've spent travelling in that clapped out old van of yours, Luca."
"Hey, I love that van." Luca protested. "Put her back together, I did."
"We can tell." Clay said dryly. "There's a reason you didn't study auto repair, Luca...and that van is it."
"Fine." Luca folded his arms, but he was too goodnatured to take offence and he could not keep the smile from his lips. "We'll ride limo from now on. Okay?"
"Suits me." Stefana glanced out of the window. "Whaddya reckon Rory wants, anyhow?"
"Probably to discuss our name and our PR." Luca responded. "He said on the phone he had big plans for us."
"Putting pen to paper last night was kinda surreal." Madeleine observed. "We've done so many college gigs and rundown clubs and all of that kinda stuff, practicing in garages and so's very strange to know that by putting our names on that piece of paper someone is going to actually market our hard work."
"It's about time, too." Stefana observed loftily. "We're damn good."
"Modesty isn't one of your strongest attributes, Steffi, is it?" Clay grinned at her. Stefana shrugged.
"Who needs it?" She demanded petulantly. "I'm not in Los Angeles to be modest, Clay. I'm in LA to be a star, whatever it takes to get me there!"
"Well, here we are. Rebel Records." Marissa noted. She frowned. "There's something cold about this it just me who thinks that?"
"It's very...clinical." Clay decided thoughtfully. "But I think it fits the man inside."
"You don't like him, huh?" Luca asked. Clay shook his head.
"Nope." He agreed. "Wouldn't trust him far as I could throw him, to be honest."
"But you signed." Madeleine objected.
"Well, this is a big step up for us, and I'm not stupid." Clay replied. "But what I mean is, I'll be keeping my eye on him and our royalties. That's all."
"I said he was a creep." Stefana folded her arms. "At least someone agrees with me."
"Pipe down, Stef." Luca scolded her, getting out of the car and holding the door for his companions. "He may not be the nicest guy you ever met, but he can do a lot for us, and that's what we have to focus on right at the moment. Rebel Records does have a good reputation in the industry. It fielded Blade, before his death, among others."
"Very comforting, that." Clay said dryly.
"Oh, come on. A nutter killed Blade, Clay." Madeleine pointed out. "It had nothing to do with Rebel Records or Rory Llewelyn. It was to do with Blade, his family and some madman. All in all I think the record company handled the crisis pretty well. They made a commemoration to him and put a stamp on all negative publicity that they could...sounds professional enough to me."
"Sounds like he wanted to turn a profit." Clay shook his head. "Oh, I daresay you're right about Blade's death, Maddy. But the commemoration disk must have made our Mr Llewelyn a pretty penny or two."
"I suppose everyone is in this business to make money at some point." Marissa decided.
"Well, are we going in?" Stefana put her hand on the door. "Quit yattering, will you? I don't wanna be here all day!"
"And this from the girl who camps out in the bathroom every morning." Madeleine murmured. Clay grinned.
"She's harmless enough." He said with a shrug. "Just full of herself sometimes, that's all."
"She's a brat." Madeleine rolled her eyes. "If I wasn't so fond of Luca I'd tell her where to stick herself, too."
Clay laughed.
"I'm sure Stef could find a worthy retort." He said, amused. "Come on. I guess Rory won't wait all morning just to see us."
The music executive was waiting for them in the doorway of his office as they arrived and he cast them one of his vaguely interested smiles, inviting them inside.
"You're in good time. I'm glad to see that." He observed calmly. "I'm not a big fan of music groups dictating how and when they see me." He gestured for them to sit down.
"Last night we dealt with the contractual obligations of the music company's interest in you." He continued. "With the paperwork signed and out of the way, it's time for phase two. Promotion." He smiled. "And for that, of course, you need a name." He paused, looking at them. "Can I ask what suggestions of your own you might have?"
"Nothing really conclusive." Luca admitted sheepishly. "I believe various names were tossed about, Rory, but none of them gripped us as a group. We're really looking to you for guidance here."
"I'm not." Stefana folded her arms, and inwardly Madeleine groaned. "I know what I want to call the band, but this lot won't listen."
"Well, I'm listening." Rory turned his gaze on Stefana, speaking to her rather as an indulgent father might address his spoilt child. "What do you think the group should be called, Stefana?"
"I want to call us Diablo." Stefana ignored his tone, a note of defiance in her own. "Because the first club we ever played was called the Diablo Nightclub, back in Connecticut. We've worked damn hard to get here and I want people to know it, too. We're not just some airhead band who happened to know the right people in the business and who never met before we collided in your office. We're real musicians."
"Steffi, shut up, please?" Luca looked pleading. "This isn't the time!"
"No...young Stefana is right." Rory looked thoughtful, a calculating glint entering his blue eyes. "There are too many manufactured bands in the music industry today. You, on the other hand, are raw talent and determination, like we were as Stingers so many years ago. We too, worked for everything we had. Yes, I like Diablo. I think it will do you very nicely. It suggests..." He paused, meeting Stefana's gaze, "An edge."
Stefana allowed herself a self-satisfied smirk, and Luca exchanged looks with Madeleine, who shrugged.
"Well, I s'pose then Diablo's cool with us too." He said at length. "Clay, Mari?"
"I don't mind. I've always said whatever everyone else wants is cool by me...I just want to play music." Marissa spread her hands. "Clay?"
"As the girl said." Clay grinned. "Music is the important thing, the name a distant second."
"Well, then Diablo it is." Rory smiled. "But please, don't think of the name as unimportant. From now on, it's your marketing label. Your identity. People will look for it, shout it, wish they were part of it. Diablo is more than a word to you's who you are, your exclusive pass to the music industry. Remember that."
"So what happens now?" Luca asked. Rory's smile widened.
"Ah. Now you worry about music, and I worry about how to package you to the public." He said. "I've been talking on the phone with various magazines and radio shows, to find you a slot to talk or to be photographed or to play. I'm also going to get in contact with the producer of Dean Stacey's morning show...he has a cult following and you can gain a lot of fans just by appearing on it. But for the time being, I'm going to arrange for you to have photographs taken - professional ones - and I want you to decide on a debut single. If it passes muster with myself and Sophie, then we'll market it, and Diablo will be off and running. If not, it's back to the drawing board."
"Our music is good. You should sell what song we want, not what you think is best." Stefana's eyes narrowed. "It's our song, after all."
"When you've had more than twenty years experience in the music industry, Stefana, I'll come to you for advice." There was sarcasm in Rory's tone, covered by a light smile. "Is there anything else you want to discuss with me while you're here?"
"One thing." Marissa spoke up now, her cheeks slightly pink as all eyes turned to her. "Rory, I know we passed over it briefly last night, but I wasn't sure you absorbed what I said...every job I've done since I left school wanted to know this when I was working with them, so I guess you should to..."
"Marissa, I understood last night that you are an insulin diabetic." Rory interrupted her, sending her a reassuring smile. "Your health is your business, so long as it's not interfering with your music then it's no concern of mine. Your talent is far more important to me, and in any case since you signed your contract you're covered by Rebel Records' medical insurance policy automatically. Now you're to be stars, you should get used to expecting the best."
"Good." Marissa looked relieved, though Clay's expression had become thoughtful at Rory's words. "I was worried you might not like it."
"Well, you need not worry." Rory got to his feet. "And I think that's all. I wish to see you again tomorrow afternoon, when I hope you will have decided on a song...for now, good luck, and welcome to Rebel Records."

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!)