"So this is what Los Angeles looks like, huh?"
Stefana Ranieri peered out of the window of the big delapidated van, pulling a face. "It's a dump. We gotta stay here?"
"Quit complaining, Stef. This is our ticket to the big time." Her brother Luca sent her an amused glance, returning his gaze to the road ahead. "This Llewelyn guy's company's a big deal - fronted a lot of major names. We've done good, so don't upset him, huh?"
"Stef always upsets someone." Madeleine Dacourt grinned, turning to wink at the younger girl from her seat beside the driver. "But yeah, you're right, Luca. We don't even have a proper group name yet...we need all the advice Rory can give us."
"I think you fancy Rory." Stefana snorted, lighting up a cigarette and flicking the lit match out of the window. "You've done nothing but talk about him since we left Connecticut!"
"Maddy's just stoked we're getting a deal at long last." Marissa Young reproached her friend as Madeleine rolled her eyes. "And put that out, Stef. We're stuck in here with you, you know!"
"Mom would go ape if she caught you smoking." Luca added. "You keep saying you'll quit, so quit. Make a new start for LA, huh?"
"Make life even more of a drag? I don't think so!" Stefana retorted. "Look, Luca, you might be my brother but you ain't my minder and I'm twenty one - I can make my own choices now."
"God help the world." The final member of the group, Clayton Blake put in with a wry smile. A man of English birth and of few words, when Clayton spoke people tended to listen, and he was a highly talented musician, co-writing the songs that the amateur outfit had put together with the help of Marissa. Though Clay did not know it, Marissa had long since had a crush on him, but she had never had the courage to voice it. Marissa was open and friendly with her peers, but she was also very private when it came to romance, and even Stefana, who had been her best friend since the first day of high school had sent them careering into each other in the corridor did not always know her friend's innermost thoughts.
Stefana and Marissa were an odd pair of friends, for Stefana made a career out of being obnoxious to anyone and everyone she met. She disliked Madeleine, for the black girl had once had a relationship with her brother and had come into the band setup that way as a singer. She had a habit of being deeply possessive of her brother's relationships, and was not above being spiteful or vindictive if the fancy took her. A girl of uncertain temperament and wild impulsive recklessness, her long standing friendship with Marissa was viewed by most as a weird twist of nature.
Marissa for her part was fond of Stefana and had decided long ago that the Italian-American girl would be far more off the rails than she was if it hadn't been for their friendship. They had stuck together through all of the scrapes Stefana had plunged them into, and were closer for it.
"Where is this hotel?" Madeleine gazed out of the window. "I think we went down this street before, Luca...it looks awful familiar."
"They all look the same to me." Luca admitted. "Here, there's a map someplace. Stef, do you have the map Rory gave us?"
"No." Stefana shook her head. "I can't be expected to do everything, you know!"
"I got it, Luca." Marissa grinned, reaching into her bag and pulling out the map. She handed it to Madeleine. "I noticed it on the table this morning and picked it up - I thought we'd need it."
"What we'd do without you I don't know." Luca laughed. "Cheers, Mari. We might get there in time for dinner."
"I think I see it!" Madeleine pointed up ahead. "That the place, Luca?"
"Looks like it to me." Luca nodded, putting his foot down on the brake pedal and screeching into the parking lot. "Okay, gang, looks like we made it. I say we check in and then go find some food."
"Works for me. I'm due a meal anyway." Marissa stretched, pushing open the door. "Can you give me twenty minutes or so to do my injection and then we'll eat? I don't want to mess up and be dizzy tomorrow when we see Rory, wanna make a good impression."
"You know we can always accomodate you, kid." Madeleine grinned at her. Marissa was a diabetic and had been since birth, but she managed it well and crises were rare. Of all of the group, it was Marissa who possessed the greatest musical talent, though Clay was not far behind her, and because of this she had proven herself irreplaceable to the band's music. At first she had not told anyone about her health problems, worried it might jeopardise her situation, but she had found no problems among her bandmates, who had simply taken it into their stride.
"Well, I wanna shower anyway." Stefana said now, reaching for her holdall and slipping out of the van after her friend. "Mari and I are sharing, right?" She grimaced. "How come we share and Maddy gets her own room?"
"Because you two are practically like twins, sis, and Maddy's older than you both." Luca told her firmly, jumping down and locking the driver's door. "In any case, you know full well that you're the best prepped to cope if Mari should have a problem, and we've been travelling a hell of a long time."
"I'm fine, Luca." Marissa assured him. "Just tired and stiff, like you lot probably are. Don't play big brother over me, please...Mom's always let me handle my diabetes my way and I know what I'm doing."
"C'mon, lets leave them to it and get our room." Stefana grabbed her by the arm, pulling her towards the hotel. Marissa, well used to her friend, merely rolled her eyes, allowing herself to be dragged inside. Before long they were settled inside their twin room, Stefana stretched on her bed looking sulky and Marissa unpacking her insulin, eying her friend's expression with some amusement.
"You should have expected to be scolded for smoking when there are signs all over the lobby." She said at length.
"So maybe I don't read dumb signs." Stefana pulled a face. "Sue me."
"They will if you don't watch it." Marissa laughed. Stefana shrugged.
"Well, I don't care." She said petulantly. "I'm going to have a shower and I'm gonna have a fag in the bathroom, so sucks to them!"
She reached for her bag of bath stuff, something tumbling out as she did so. Marissa bent to pick it up, a frown crossing her face as she recognised what it was.
"You told me you'd given these up." She said reproachfully. Stefana grabbed the pills out of her friend's hand.
"So I started again." She said with a shrug. "Chill, Mari. We're gonna be rock and roll chicks - rock stars do this stuff all the time! It's no biggie - just an image thing."
"Drugs are not a joke." Marissa told her firmly.
"Ugh, stop it." Stefana rolled her eyes, flipping open the packet and extracting one of the tablets, gulping it down with mineral water from her bag. "You're starting to sound like that bore Maddy. Leave me alone, Mari. You're too young to understand anyway."
"Im not that much younger than you are." Marissa returned. "And you were the one who got kept back a grade."
"I didn't get kept back." Stefana snapped back. "I got kicked out and missed stuff. It was Mom who made me go back to school."
"Same difference. And we wouldn't have met if you hadn't come to our school." Marissa reminded her. "But seriously, Steffi, these things are gonna kill you if you carry it on. I mean it. Didn't you listen to drug ed classes?"
"Nope, I slept through them." Stefana shook her head. "How do you know something's bad if you ain't never tried it? I know you can't, with your diabetes an' all and it's a drag, but there you go. Don't cramp my fun!"
And with that she turned on her heel, heading into the bathroom and shutting the door with a bang. Marissa sighed. She knew on sight that the tablets were speed, and that meant most likely that her friend was taking them as regularly as she had since she'd dropped out of school at eighteen before her finals, despite promising to give them up three months earlier. Using the amphetamines made Stefana's temper erratic and turned her into an insomniac, a situation she easily solved with alcohol or sleeping pills. Marissa was seriously worried about her friend's well-being, but Stefana had long since made her swear not to 'rat', and so not even Luca knew what his sister was involved in. The two girls had shared a flat after Stefana had walked out of home aged nineteen, and Marissa knew her friend better than anyone. Stefana rarely broke down and never confessed any kind of emotion unless she was drunk, but her out of control behaviour over the two years they had lived together had resulted in two cautions for drink driving, one arrest for starting a brawl at a local club, and one firm telling off for trying to buy alcohol in a bar before her twenty-first birthday. When she had been nineteen she had been involved in a street riot and had been shot in the arm, but she had not taken much from her injury except pride at the scar. During the time she had known Stefana, Marissa had felt more than once that it was a miracle her friend was still alive.
Somehow she had a feeling that a rock and roll lifestyle was the last thing the girl needed if she was ever going to get her life straight.
She had little time to dwell on things, however, for there was a knock at the door, and Madeleine was there, summoning them down to dinner. Calling for Stefana, and putting the incident out of her mind, for Marissa was someone who hated confrontation, the writer scooped up her bag. This was LA and, she hoped, the big time.
Time would tell what would happen next.
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
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE
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!)