Devil May Care

Chapter Nine: Backstage at Connie's Corner

"Well, it's been a while since I had you girls here."
Constance Montgomery greeted her guests with a smile, a friendly twinkle in her blue eyes as she ushered them backstage to the dressing rooms. "Zoe said you'd been working hard on your new video and new single and's busy, huh?"
"Sure. Too busy, actually." Sylva rolled her eyes.
"It's nice to be back here though." Copper added. Connie grinned.
"Well, you're gonna be first up, so you better scoot and get ready while I go and greet Diablo." She responded. "It's their first time, so I want to put them a little at ease about how we run things here."
"Diablo?" Topaz looked startled. "Isn't that Rory Llewelyn's new band?"
"Yes, thats right." Connie nodded. "They're billed to be the next big sensation from what I hear, so I thought I might as well bring them along." She grinned. "Oh, don't look so worried! Competition is good for you."
"Yeah, I guess." Nancy looked doubtful. "Okay. Well, we'll go sort out ourselves in the dressing room and not worry about Diablo."
"It might be interesting to hear them play." Copper added. "To see why people are making such a fuss."
"That's the spirit." Connie grinned. "I'll see you later, okay? You know the system by now."
"Yep. Thanks Connie." Topaz nodded with a smile.
Nancy pushed open the door of their dressing room.
"Well, I didn't think we'd encounter them with a TV slot so soon, but I guess Rory knows what he's doing." She said doubtfully. "I didnt realise they even had a song in the works, to be honest."
"Guess they do." Sylva shrugged. "Who cares, anyhow? We're better than they'll ever be, let's face it. Jewel are here to stay, whatever Rory Llewelyn thinks."
"Well, don't go saying that on air." Copper warned. "It's not good press."
"Hey, girls, mind me intruding?"
The door swung open at that moment to reveal Nancy's brother Aaron, Cynthia in tow.
"Aaron!" Copper sent her boyfriend a grin. "What are you doing here?"
"Aunt Phyllis sent me along to make sure that everything on your set was perfect, and Cynnie came along to help." Aaron responded, greeting his girlfriend with a kiss. "I thought it'd be a nice surprise."
"Very nice." Copper winked. "Hey, you have plans for after the show?"
"Not unless you have plans for me." Aaron returned amiably. Copper grinned.
"I'm sure we can find some." She responded.
Cynthia perched on the unit.
"You know, you girls are not alone here tonight." She observed. "Riot and his crew are about...Riot is talking to Pizzazz as we speak."
"Talking to or having a confrontational argument with?" Nancy asked dryly. Cynthia laughed.
"Well, you know how they are." She responded. "I don't think it's too friendly, but they're keeping it professional."
"Things have been worse between them since Rory kicked Sirena off his books." Topaz observed. "I'm amazed Phyllis hasn't throttled him on the spot."
"Well, from the expression on her face she's sorely tempted." Cynthia grinned. "He;s brought his new group along, too."
"Mm, so Connie said." Sylva nodded. She looked curious. "What are they like, Cyn? I mean, what do they look like and all?"
"Five members...two I'd say were Italian-American, one African American, two caucasian." Cynthia responded. "Didn't get to see much else of them, and certainly didn't speak to any of them."
"Well, Luca seemed...all right." Nancy looked thoughtful. "Though he was blatantly hitting on Emily. But he seemed genial enough, perhaps they will be ok and Copper is right."
"I think we should go out and greet them, then." Topaz suggested. "Show good faith."
"Ugh, do we have to?" Sylva grimaced.
"No, Topaz is right. Otherwise the press will have you down as snobs tomorrow morning." Aaron put in his bit. Copper nodded.
"And we don't want any negative publicity that we can avoid." She agreed. Sylva sighed.
"All right. I'm coming." She said reluctantly. "But only if we're all going."
"Well, Cynnie and I have to get to work on set, so we'll leave you girls to socialise." Aaron grinned. "Have fun, huh? I'm sure they wont bite."
"Let's hope not." Nancy said ruefully. "We don't need any bitter rivalries starting up right now."
She pushed open the door of the dressing room, heading out apprehensively into the corridor, her bandmates in tow. Diablo were in the warmup area, their instruments nowhere in evidence, as they stood around discussing the situation.
"Hey there." Luca was the first to spot the newcomers and he cast them a smile. "Goldie...right? And so this must be Jewel."
"You have a good memory." Nancy nodded her head. "And yes. We wanted to wish you good luck tonight."
"That's sweet of you." Marissa offered them a smile. "It's the first time we've played on television so we're a bit nervous."
"Speak for yourself." Stefana told her friend curtly. Madeleine laughed.
"Well, I'm glad that there's not going to be any bitterness between our band and yours." She observed. "The way Rory talks about you..."
"Misfits Music and Rebel Records have a long standing rivalry, but there's no reason it should spread to us." Topaz smiled.
"Then we should introduce ourselves properly." Luca decided. "I'm Luca, I play guitar and sing...this is my sister Stefana who also plays guitar. Then Marissa plays keyboard, Clay plays drums and Maddy..."
"Tinkers and sings." Madeleine dimpled.
"Topaz, Copper and Sylva." Nancy quickly introduced her companions.
"Wow, you all have stagenames." Marissa observed.
"Mm. Kind of." Copper nodded.
"Stage names are so fake somehow." Stefana put in archly.
"Stef, shut up or I'll shut you up." Clay threatened.
"You're British!" Nancy looked startled. Clay held up his hands.
"Guilty." He admitted. Nancy smiled.
"My mother Jetta was born in London." She said. "So I'm half English myself."
"Whoopee doo." Stefana muttered.
"I've heard of Jetta." Clay's expression became thoughtful. "I believe the Misfits were a big hit in Britain."
"Big hit everywhere." Sylva dimpled.
"Gah, I've had it with this nice chat. I'm here to play, not chat up the competition." Stefana glowered. "I'm going to go warm up in our dressing room. Call me when we're gonna do something productive, huh?"
With that she stomped off, and Luca sent Jewel a sheepish look.
"I'm sorry about Stef. I think she's...nervous." He said slowly. Copper grinned.
"It's okay. Nerves affect different people in different ways." she responded. "You guys came from Connecticut, right?"
"Yes." Madeleine nodded. "We've kinda scraped our way up the ranks, if you like. By fluke Rory's scout happened to drop by one of our gigs and the rest is history. He came out to meet us, we agreed to come to's all happened so fast but in a way it's been a long time coming."
"Well, welcome to LA." Topaz said warmly. "It's a bit of a big change about, moving here, but it's fun too."
"You're Canadian, I think?" Marissa asked. Topaz nodded.
"Yep, from just outside Toronto." She agreed. "I was kinda...head hunted when Jewel were on tour by Phyllis Gabor. I guess I understand what you mean about a long time coming, too...I was singing in a seedy diner for peanuts before this lot came by...but I've loved every minute of being a Jewel."
"You have a big following. It's impressive." Luca grinned. "And Goldie, you play a mean guitar, you know."
"Thanks." Nancy looked self-conscious. "I've been playing a long time."
"How does he know what kind of guitar you play?" Sylva looked confused, then, "Oh! He was at Sirena's club playing, wasn't he?"
"Yeah, I was. Sirena's pretty awesome on stage." Luca nodded. Sylva raised an eyebrow, but a glare from Topaz kept her silent on the topic of her favourite rant.
"So who writes your music then, or do you write as a group?" Marissa seemed interested.
"Nancy." Copper responded. "She's written everything we've done, except our cover version of the Misfit song."
"Nancy? Who's Nancy?" Madeleine looked puzzled. Copper blushed.
"Goldie." She corrected herself. Nancy grinned.
"I don't like my stage name." She owned. "I feel like a goldfish, so it's for press only, pretty much."
"Goldie the goldfish." Clay laughed. "Oh, I like it. Yeah, I can see what you mean."
"Well, we kinda wished it on her." Copper owned. "Copper is a nickname I've had since childhood, because of my red hair, and Sylva's real name is Sylvina, so there's a logic there. But we kinda made Nancy into Goldie when Jewel started out."
"What about you?" Madeleine eyed Topaz curiously.
"Topaz is my birthstone." Topaz explained. "I'm used to being called by it now."
Far away from the merry banter, Stefana had secluded herself in the Diablo dressing room, contemplating her next move.
"Those stupid Jewels." She muttered. "They think they're so great. Rory was right, they are full of themselves. Well, that's cool by me. I'll show them that they can't come and patronise us, just because they have the reputation to go with it. This should be a good test of what I'm capable of. Need to be thinking right, though...need to be fully alert.""
She grabbed her purse, tipping a small pill into her hand and swallowing it down with a gulp of mineral water, then reached for her cigarettes, lighting one as she contemplated. "Sabotage. Stop the smug goody two shoes Jewel from playing...Hmmm. I wonder..."
She got to her feet, flicking ash from the lit cigarette as she did so, and pushing open the door of the dressing room as an idea entered her head.
"Jewel are chatting with Luca and the others, so they won't be in the dressing room." She decided. "Fine...then maybe their instruments will take a little trip."
Then she frowned. "No, that's no good. If Luca likes them so much he'll offer to let them use point then in even trying that one. I need a plan B. I need..." She paused, a slow smile crossing her face as she caught sight of the set where Jewel would be playing. Aaron and Cynthia were busy setting up Jewel's sound equipment, bantering as they did so, and slowly she sauntered up to them.
"Hi there." She said silkily, casting Aaron a smile as she did so. "Are you with Jewel?"
"Yes." Aaron, always amiable to strangers nodded, returning the smile. "I'm Aaron...I guess you could say I'm playing road manager tonight. And you? I suppose you're one of Diablo, are you?"
"My name is Stefana." Stefana agreed. "And yes, my brother and I play with Diablo. It's our first ever appearance on TV tonight...I'm very excited."
"I bet." Aaron grinned. "Congrats on you guys hooking a contract, by the way. It's a tough world, the music business."
"Aaron's right." Cynthia came to join them, eying Stefana with a penetrating gaze that made the young guitarist uncomfortable, though her tone was light enough. "Stefana, did you say? I'm Cynthia."
"Pleased to meet you." Stefana responded, her tone not encouraging further conversation with the hologram. Cynthia, sensing she wasn't welcome merely smiled, heading back to work, but several times she cast Stefana a thoughtful look, as if trying to work out her motives.
Aaron had not noticed the chilliness with which Stefana had spoken to Cynthia, and he cast the newcomer another smile.
"What brings you up here?"
"Taking a look at the set, calming my nerves." Stefana lied with ease. "This is where Jewel are playing, huh?"
"Yep." Aaron nodded. "Do you know where you'll be, yet?"
"Not a clue." Stefana shrugged. "I leave that stuff to Luca to find out."
"He your brother?"
"Yes." Stefana stepped onto the stage, glancing around her with a smile. "Wow. Jewel must have some act, huh? I..."
"Stefana, look out!" Aaron grabbed her by the arm, pulling her to one side of the stage as the ladder which had been leant up against the lighting gallery toppled backwards with a clatter. Stefana took a startled breath, too stunned to even yell at the technicians for their clumsiness. Aaron sent her a concerned look.
"Are you all right? You look pale." He said softly. Surprised by the concern, Stefana managed a nod.
"I'm fine." She agreed, then, as she regained her wits and her plan returned to her, she smiled. "Though a bit shaky. Could you...?"
"Get a glass of water? Sure, no problem." Aaron grinned at her. "Just sit down there, I'll be right back."
Cynthia clambered down from where she had been working.
"That ladder could have hurt you." She observed idly. "You should be more careful where you walk."
"Did you knock it down?" Stefana demanded, her anger now taking over as she surveyed the hologram. Cynthia smiled.
"I'm a professional. I don't undertake such careless endeavours." She said sweetly. "But I don't think you should be around Jewel's set, should you?"
"I'm talking to Aaron. Not to you. Get're just a stage-hand." Stefana snapped.
Cynthia raised an eyebrow.
"Very well." She said evenly. "I have things to collect anyway. But your attitude does you no credit." With that she turned on her heel, heading back out towards the waiting van.
Stefana pulled a gruesome face at the retreating figure, then glanced around the set. Though the lighting technicians were still at work, neither Aaron or Cynthia were about and noone was paying her any attention. With a small smile on her face, she moved over to the amplifier, unplugging the wires and refixing them in the wrong sockets.
"That should make their performance go up with a bang." She decided, retaking her seat. "Now, when that wimp Aaron gets back I'll tell him I felt a little faint after my shock...he'll never think I tampered with the wires. More likely I can get the blame on that stupid Cynthia girl instead."
She chuckled.
"Watch out, Jewel." She murmured. "You ain't seen nothing yet!"

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!)