Devil May Care

Chapter Six: Luca...and Sirena

"What are we even doing here?"
Stefana gazed around her in evident displeasure, lighting a cigarette and tossing the match onto the floor, extinguishing it's flame with her foot. "Luca, this place is a hole...if we're going to be stars, we can't be seen in a dump like this!"
"Stop complaining." Luca told his sister mildly. "This is one of the biggest clubs in the city, Steffi, and you know it. You're just being difficult."
"Looks okay to me." Marissa put in her bit, gazing up at the front of the establishment. "It's big and bright and it doesn't look cheap or seedy to me...I reckon we can afford to be seen here, Stef."
"Hmph." Stefana tossed her head. "I think it's a pit."
"It has a long standing tradition of fielding big local acts, though." Madeleine put in. "Even when they've made it big, they rarely refuse a gig here. It has some kind of aura in the music business...I think it could be fun to play here."
"Big acts? Like who?" Stefana put her hands on her hips.
"Well, Jewel, to begin with." Clay observed with a dry smile. "Heard of them? That damn song of theirs seems to be the only thing going on the radio round these parts. I think Blade played here too, before his death...and there have been others."
"Jewel? Hah. I'm not impressed." Stefana rolled her eyes. "Well? Are we going in or not?"
"Who's on the bill tonight?" Luca asked the doorman as they entered.
"Some local bands." The man replied. "Sirena's the headline act."
"Sirena?" Madeleine frowned. "I know that name..."
"I have her first album." Marissa replied. "That's probably why. She's nonsense rock."
"Hey, she the chick who did 'I Want Everything'?" Stefana demanded. Marissa nodded.
"Yep, that's her."
"Hm." Stefana paused, then, "Well. Could be worse." She drifted up to the bar, ordering a drink.
"I think I've heard some of her songs, but I can't say I know much about her." Luca observed, sitting down on a stool beside her. "Hey, sis, just think, if Rory does as he's promised, maybe we'll play here too one day."
"Would be nice." Marissa sighed. "I like it's got more class than any of the backstreet joints we played in Connecticut."
"The music's not bad, either." Madeleine remarked. "Who are this band?"
"Some local group called Ghost." Clay responded. "I just looked them up."
"Never heard of them." Stefana snorted. "Nobodies."
"So are we at the moment." Madeleine reminded her softly. "Don't get all egocentric, Steffi...we're hardly stars yet."
"No, but we're signed to a music label and we're going places." Stefana took a drag on her cigarette. "Are they?"
"Not a clue." Clay shrugged. "But you don't have to be signed to anyone to make good music, kid. Aren't we testament to that?"
Luca laughed.
"I'd say we are, if Rory thinks we've so much potential." He agreed.
Stefana got to her feet.
"I'm going to freshen up my makeup, in case any potential fans are about." She commented. "Catch y'all later."
With that she was gone. Marissa watched her go with a troubled look. She knew the signs all to well. Stefana hadn't gone to fix her makeup...she had gone to take something, and something that the club doorman should've searched her for if he'd done his job properly.
"Mari, you okay?" Clay nudged her. "You ain't feeling ill, are you? You're kinda pale."
"No, I'm fine. Just a bit tired from the whirl of things, that's all." Marissa roused herself from her reverie, sending the drummer a smile. "Its cool we're going to get to hear Sirena play tonight...I love her music."
Backstage, Sirena herself was getting nervous. The club appearance was a practice run for her big concert, for she had felt she needed a warm-up, but even so she had been so out of things she was a little unsure how she would be received.
"These guys are taking forever." She muttered, pacing the corridor behind the stage. "How many songs are there in their stupid set anyhow?"
"Oh, quit it." her mother told her unsympathetically. "You gonna be a wimp at every show you do?"
"I'm not being a wimp." Sirena retorted. "I'm just out of practice, that's all! Didn't you feel odd getting back on stage after I was born?"
"Nope." Phyllis shook her head. "I was damn glad to. I hated every moment of having to hide myself and my actions away from was blessed relief to get back on stage and perform. And that's how you should feel too, if you want to keep Sirena a success."
"I know, I know." Sirena muttered.
"Where's Nancy?" Phyllis glanced around her. "Isn't she playing on one of your tracks?"
"She's tuning her guitar in the dressing room." Sirena replied. "In mute silence...I had to get outta there. The place was like a morgue."
"Well, you got about 2 minutes before you're on...hadn't you better go get her?" Phyllis sounded impatient.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm going." Sirena snapped. "Stop nagging me, mother! I do know what I'm doing!"
"Then stop complaining and pull yourself together." Phyllis retorted.
Sirena rolled her eyes, stomping off towards the dressing room. Though things were better between her and her mother these days, both were feeling the pressure of the situation, and it was only too easy to revert to snapping at each other.
She rapped on the door of the dressing room.
"Nancy, hurry up, will ya? We wanna go on tonight, you know!"
"Okay, I'm coming!" Nancy's voice, harried and edgy came back through the door, shortly followed by the appearance of the girl herself, guitar in hand. Her skin was ashen pale, and her mouth set in a determined line. "Well? Let's go."
"You look like ain't gonna faint on me on stage, are you?" Sirena demanded. Nancy shook her head.
"I'll be fine once I play." She said quietly. "It's just nerves, that's all. Are we going or what?"
"Sure." Sirena nodded, leading her way back along the corridor to the stage door. "Mom? We're ready."
"About time." Phyllis remarked. "They just finished their better get out there and set up pretty damn quick, cause they're going to announce you soon!"
"We're gone." Sirena grabbed Nancy by the arm, pulling her out onto the hot, brightly lit stage as the compere announced the name. The cheers of the crowd settled the singer's nerves somewhat and she grabbed the microphone, eying the punters with a smile.
"Hey there!" She exclaimed. "Remember me?"
More shouts and cheers.
"Okay, well I've a couple of old and new numbers to play tonight, this is a taster for my big concert at the dome in a week or two...just to get your pulses running!"
She paused, enjoying the reaction.
"Before we start out tonight, though, I wanna give credit where credit's due." She indicated Nancy. "Some of you might recognise my lead guitarist tonight as Goldie from Jewel. My new single will be in stores on Monday and it's a song we kinda wrote together...I think you'll find we make a damn good team!"
She raised her hand to indicate to the musicians she was ready.
"Okay, let's do it!"
From the smoky floor of the club, everyone stopped what they were doing, eyes turning to the stage. Sirena was a popular local singer and her absence had been much talked about. The song was upbeat and the lighting effects dazzling, but the star of the show was Sirena herself. A born performer, with all of her mother's skill with the audience, Sirena knew how to capture attention and live up to her name.
"Guess I'm gonna be supporting the competition a little and buying that when it comes out." Marissa looked amused, settling herself more comfortably on her stool as Stefana rejoined them. Her friend snorted.
"She ain't as good as us." She replied archly. "Nothing special...huh, Luca?"
She glanced at her brother, then frowned. "Luca? You on the same planet as us?"
"Huh?" Luca tore his gaze from the stage with some difficulty. "You say something, Stef?"
Stefana scowled.
"Oh, you're hopeless. Put you anywhere near a woman in tight pants and you're lost for the night!" She snapped.
"I can't believe I never took any notice of her before." Luca seemed oblivious to his sister's scorn. "Mari, you didn't tell me Sirena was such a babe!"
"I don't tend to notice things like that." Marissa grinned. "She's..uh...not my type?"
"Well...she might be mine." Luca objected.
Clay laughed.
"Stef has a point...most females are your type, Luca."
"Hey, I'm not a womaniser." Luca defended himself. His gaze returned to the stage. "Boy, is she hot, though...I'm starting to see just what her appeal is!"
"She plays a good tune." Madeleine nodded.
"I don't think that's what Luca meant." Marissa laughed.
"Well, Luca needs to get a grip." Stefana scowled. "If she's such a hotshot celebrity she's probably got an ego to match, and why on earth would she have time for a noone like you?"
"I ain't gonna be a noone for long." Luca replied with a shrug. "And anyway, who said I was planning on even speaking to her?"
"Oh." Stefana seemed to relax a little at this. "Well, good. You don't need some bigheaded witch messing you anyhow."
Clay looked amused.
"He has you." He observed. Stefana's eyes narrowed, and she slapped the drummer.
"Don't even go there." She warned, a dangerous note in her voice. Glancing at her, Marissa could see that the influence of the dose she had taken not long before was still heavily in her friend's system, and she sighed.
"Stef, quit acting like an animal." Luca scolded her. "Clay was kidding about...lighten up."
"I can act like I want, you're not my father." Stefana snapped back. She grabbed her drink, draining her glass. "Okay?"
Luca shrugged, turning his gaze back to the stage. Sirena had launched into one of her earlier hits, and much of the crowd were singing along. The girl seemed in her element, enjoying every moment of her performance.
"She knows how to draw a crowd." He murmured.
"She's a show-off." Stefana sulked. "Her and the nobody guitarist. So she's part of Jewel? Big deal...they're just braindead floozies who probably wouldn't know a good guitar line if it jumped up and hit them."
"Sirena said they co-wrote the new track." Madeleine objected. "So she must know something about music. I don't know much about Jewel...I just know they're a big hit."
"I think that's the one who's dating the TV presenter guy...the one whose show Rory's trying to get us on." Marissa remarked. "Goldie, right? I think I read it in some gossip column someplace."
"Well, if she's sleeping with the media, no wonder they're big." Stefana curled her lip in clear contempt. "If you ask me Jewel are nothing. They've been born with silver spoons in their mouths and they've smarmed their way to their none of them have played backstreet clubs to get to LA!"
"Stef, stop being a drag." Clay instructed. "Whatever you think of them, they're successful and that's something to give them credit for. Besides, as a guitarist yourself, you gotta admit the girl's technique ain't bad."
"I'm better." Stefana replied loftily. "Sirena and Jewel can go to hell...we're gonna knock them right out of the picture when we get to laying down a single. You and Mari write better songs than those jokers put together!"
"Well, I think Sirena rocks." Luca grinned, leaning back against the bar as he watched the singer finish the song, getting another rousing reception. "Did she mention a big concert sometime soon? Maybe I'll check it out, if we're not busy that night."
"Oh man." Stefana rolled her eyes. "My brother, the groupie. Get a grip, Luca!"
Luca frowned, his usual goodtempered nature riled a little by this.
"You can't stop me being interested in girls, Steffi, just like I don't stop you from dating whatever thugs you find attractive, though maybe I should before you wind up pregnant or dead in a dumpster. I'm a free adult too y'know."
Stefana made no reply, merely turning her back on her brother and lighting a fresh cigarette. Luca exchanged looks with Clay, rolling his eyes. Much as he loved Stefana, sometimes she drove him mad.
"Well, I think Sirena's good." Marissa took a sip of her drink, setting it down on the bar. "I don't mind being called a groupie, Stef, I was already planning on going to her concert if we didn't have work. I don't see why we have to hate the competition just because they are the competition."
"You're hopeless." Stefana groaned. "None of you have an inch of competitive instinct!"
"Never mind, Stef, you have enough for all of us." Clay grinned. Stefana merely glowered.
Luca slipped off his bar stool.
"Well, I'm gonna go and make some friendly overtures to 'em right now." He said with a grin, winking at Clay as he did so. Clay laughed.
"Luca knows no shame." he observed.
"You ain't gonna go and chat that witch up, are you?" Stefana demanded, her tone slightly more aggressive than was necessary. Luca shrugged.
"A girl like that has contacts. Maybe she can be of help to us." He said quietly. "I'm more professional than you seem to think, Steffi...this is PR."
"Like hell it is." Stefana muttered under her breath, stubbing her cigarette out with some force on the bar.
Luca eyed her thoughtfully for a moment, but decided it was better not to answer. Instead he headed off in the direction which the singer and her accompanying musicians had departed, once the set was over. There was a security official on the door, but Luca was not the band's PR man for nothing, and, presenting the officer with his Rebel Records identification pass, he convinced him that he had business to discuss with the singer.
Sirena and Nancy were in the dressing room, discussing the night's show when they were disturbed by a knock on the door. Exchanging puzzled looks with the singer, Nancy got to her feet, swinging the door open and eying Luca in definite confusion.
"Can I help you?" She asked.
"I wanted to speak to Sirena, if I could." Luca offered Nancy a warm, friendly smile. Nancy's brown eyes became somewhat guarded.
"Why? No fans are allowed back here."
"I'm not a fan exactly." Luca produced his pass, handing it to the guitarist. "I'm probably your future competition, in many respects. I just wanted to congratulate a fine performer on a good performance."
"What's going on?" Sirena came to join Nancy at the door. "Who is this joker?"
"Luca Ranieri." Luca sent Sirena a winning smile. "My band and I are signed to Rebel Records. I wanted to congratulate you on a great show."
"Your band?" Sirena raised an elegantly shaped eyebrow. "Who are?"
"We're known as Diablo." Luca responded. "We've not done much yet, but we're due to play some gigs in the next week or two. Rory..."
"Rory?" Sirena interrupted with a snort. "Hah. You'll be lucky if you don't get murdered in your bed with Rory Llewelyn in charge." She paused, looking impatient. "Well? Was there something else? We've had a long night and we've other things to do, you know. We can't just stand around talking to nobodies like you."
"Fair enough." Luca spread his hands, his tone even. "If that's how you feel. I just thought that it might be nice to spread a little good feeling, that's all...I never like being at odds with my competition." He smiled at Nancy. "And I suppose that goes for you play for Jewel, right?"
"You were paying attention." Nancy nodded her head slowly. "Yes."
Sirena rolled her eyes.
"Look here, Mr Ranieri, what is this all about really?" She demanded. "It's all very nice saying you want to spread some good feeling...but I don't even know who the hell you are! How did you get past security, and why am I even talking to you? It's gone midnight and I have to..." She trailed off, glancing around her for her jacket.
Nancy put a hand on her arm.
"Harvey said you had the night off." She murmured. "Remember? You can drive to San Diego in the morning, it's late now and you'll only wake them both if you hare off there this evening."
"I guess so." Sirena sighed.
"Then can I buy you a drink, if you're not in such a hurry to leave after all?" Luca's eyes twinkled. "I'd like to talk to you about the music business in Los Angeles, it's on the level, I promise. I'm not going to try anything. I'm just interested."
"Why should I help the competition?" Sirena looked suspicious.
"No idea." Luca shrugged, grinning. "But I'd be grateful if you would."
Nancy laughed.
"Go on, Em. I gotta scoot outta here anyhow." She said, slipping on her own jacket. "Jewel are playing Dean's show in the morning and I need to get some sleep - we'll be up at six as it is."
"I'm sure you can drag yourself up to look pretty for your boyfriend no matter how little sleep you get." Sirena said dryly. "All right, all right. You can buy me a drink, Luca, or whatever you call yourself, and we'll see what kinda things you wanna know."

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!)