Devil May Care

Chapter Seven: Partners In Crime

"Well, this morning I'm welcoming some definite favourite guests back once more to the show." Dean Stacey sent the camera a warm smile, gesturing towards the stage as he did so. "Here, with their new single, It's Only Love, it's Jewel!"
As the group began to play their song, to much audience acclaim, one figure stood out among the crowd. His expression was one of calculating consideration, as he observed his rival's biggest sellers play.
"Jewel are dangerous and need to be stopped." He mused to himself. "The crowd like them too much, and Diablo have a long way to go yet before they're in the same league. Unless, of course, I do some meddling."
His expression turned thoughtful. "Perhaps I can use Diablo for that end, too. Not that they strike me as the most troublemaking, ruthless bunch I've ever signed...I wonder."
He got to his feet, slipping out of the back of the studio unnoticed, and getting into the driver's seat of his car, putting the vehicle in gear.
"The only way that Jewel are going to be stopped is if things start going dramatically wrong for them." He mused. "Then Diablo can jump into the void and steal a few fans here and there. Spreading the word that Nancy was quitting to team up with Sirena led them to one nasty KBST interview but it isn't enough...and I'm sure Pizzazz is paying just as close attention to events at Rebel Records as I am to those at Misfit Music. So...I need to find another way. Another...saboteur."
As he considered, a startling idea popped into his head, and a slow smile spread across his face.
"Well, and I might know just the person." He mused, pulling up outside the music company and heading inside. Making his way to the top floor, he paused outside the main practice studio, listening.
Inside, Diablo appeared to be having a difference of opinion, and it was no surprise to him that the cause of the controversy was Stefana once more.
"She's a good guitarist, but she has the worst attitude of anyone I ever signed before." He decided dryly. "Still, if I can harness that attitude to my own ends, then maybe it can work in my favour. She's a little dynamo...she has that killer instinct that I don't think any of the others have."
He pushed open the door.
"I thought you were playing this morning, not arguing." He said lightly.
"We...disagreed on a passage." Luca looked sheepish. Rory smiled slightly.
"Well, whilst you're disagreeing, Jewel are playing the Dean Stacey Show and gaining more positive promotion for their new single." He observed calmly.
"Jewel have been going for a long while don't think we can compete with them, surely?" Madeleine looked startled.
"My dear, longevity is nothing compared to good publicity and great music." Rory bestowed her with a falsely genial smile. "In any case, a large part of Jewel's success is down to their bloodlines. I'm sure you know that Goldie and Sylva are daughters of former Misfits, and Copper is the eldest child of Raya of the Holograms?"
"Either way, they have a lot of support, Maddy's right." Clay set down his drumsticks.
"I hate groups who play on the fame of their parents." Stefana scowled. "And Sirena's no better, either!"
She cast Luca a pointed glare at this point, and Rory observed it with interest. Luca shrugged.
"Sirena and Jewel are not our business. Playing good music is our business." He replied evenly. "In any case, I only bought her a drink last night, Stef, to find out what I could about the music industry in Los Angeles and the right people to do our promotion through. Okay?"
"Yeah, sure you did." Stefana muttered.
A thoughtful look touched Rory's gaze.
"You spoke with Sirena?" He asked lightly. Luca nodded.
"Not that she told me a lot." He admitted. "I did hope she could be of help to us...I didn't realise there was such hostility between Misfit Music and Rebel Records."
"We're not friends. Phyllis Gabor and I are old sparring partners." Rory admitted. "Both of us want to be the best, and the situation has been further antagonised by the disgraceful manner in which Sirena treated this company when she defected to sign for her mother's label."
"Sirena used to be signed to Rebel Records?" Marissa looked startled. Rory nodded.
"She was very successful, with my help." He agreed. "But she's a Gabor through and through, and gratitude doesn't figure in her makeup." He shrugged. "Still, that is ancient history. You are now my priority."
"Wow. I didn't realise she was like that." Marissa frowned.
"I said she was no good." Stefana said bluntly. "You guys should listen to me more often."
Rory looked amused.
"Stefana, may I have a word with you in my office?" He asked genially. "I have something I want to discuss with you regarding your contract."
Stefana eyed the executive suspiciously, but shrugged, slipping her guitar off her shoulder and setting it down on it's stand.
"Okay." She agreed. "I'm bored here anyway. Just make it quick, huh?"
"It won't take long." Rory assured her, holding the door open for her, then following her into the corridor.
Once they were gone, Madeleine groaned.
"Heaven knows what trouble she's gonna get us into now." She said with a sigh.
"I think that Rory's gonna give her a talking to about her lip." Clay observed. "Not that it'll do much good, but still."
"I wish she'd pipe down too." Luca admitted. "But that's Stef for you. She's always been a loudmouth."
"Do you think what Rory said about Sirena is true?" Marissa asked.
"Dunno." Luca shrugged. "Last night she was reluctant to tell me anything except that she wanted nothing to do with Rebel Records and wasn't thrilled about speaking to me, me being the competition."
"Looks like you struck out with that one, huh?" Clay asked. Luca smiled.
"I don't know, actually." He admitted. "I know I said I was just meeting her to find out information, but that was for Stef's benefit, because you know how psycho she is about me and girlfriends. But I like Sirena. She might be tough-talking and blunt and she might not want to give me the time of day, but I still like her. I think I'd like to get to know her better, actually."
"Well, noone ever said Luca wasnt up for a challenge." Clay laughed. "Good luck, mate. You're gonna need it."
Upstairs in Rory's office, Stefana had dropped down into a chair, eying her superior with a wary gaze.
"Well?" She demanded. "What do you want with me?"
"You want Diablo to be a success, don't you?" Rory asked her gently. Startled by his mode of attack, Stefana nodded.
"Of course I do." She snapped. "What do you think?"
"Well, what I said about Jewel downstairs is the truth. They have been remarkably lucky in their parentage." Rory took a seat, meeting Stefana's gaze with a level one of his own. "They're the exact kind of band who hog the limelight that groups like Diablo deserve through dint of hard work."
"So?" Stefana's eyes narrowed. "What can I do about it?"
"Well, your friends are very committed, but I'm not sure any of them have the cutting edge ruthlessness that sometimes being a top star in the music business takes." Rory responded. "You, on the other hand, do. Am I right in thinking that you'll do whatever it takes to get Diablo on top?"
"I'm listening." Stefana sounded a little more interested. "Go on."
"Well, I just thought that you might like to give me a helping hand in promoting Diablo's cause." Rory smiled benignly. "I'm arranging for you to play Connie's Corner the same night as Jewel do next you get my point?"
"You want me to cause trouble for Jewel so they can't play." Stefana nodded slowly. "Why should I? What's in it for me?"
"Diablo's success, surely?"
"Yes...but if I'm gonna do this for have to do something for me." Stefana replied calmly. "Make it worth my while to stick my neck out, without the others getting suspicious."
"You have a canny mind." Rory observed. "I can see I was right to enlist you in this little project of mine. Well, fair enough. You will be paid extra for your assistance. But don't get yourself caught, because if you do, then you're on your own. Does that seem fair to you?"
"I don't get caught." Stefana's eyes flashed with proud defiance. "I've done things that would make your hair stand on end, Rory, and I've gotten away with them scot free. How much extra?"
"Rebel Records will pay you $2000 additional on top of your income as a member of Diablo for every successful sabotage." Rory said quietly. "Do we have a deal?"
Stefana seemed to be thinking things through carefully. Then she nodded.
"All right." She agreed. "It's a deal." She held out her hand and slowly Rory took it, shaking it firmly.
"A pleasure doing business, Stefana." He observed with a smile. "I wish you luck."
"Luck has nothing to do with it." Stefana snapped back. "As you'll soon see. You want me to stop Jewel playing Connie's show? Well, leave it to me. They won't play a note...I guarantee it."

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!)