"This is so boring."
Daisy Buchan glanced out of the window of the office, a pout touching
her painted lips as she watched the people on the street below. "Why
are we still here, Margot? I thought we were hitting the town
tonight...going out like the old days. You've become a drag since you
got hitched and since that old bag Aja took over Starlight Music. We
never do anything interesting any more. You're just worried about
keeping our noses clean and our heads down as if we're not wanting to
be noticed. Did you forget that it's my musical career you're meant to
"Sometimes, Daisy, listening to you whine is enough to give me a
Margot Locke glanced up from the pile of papers that were strewn all
over her desk, an exasperated look on her face. "If you weren't my
cousin, there are some days I could happily strangle you. Don't you
realise how difficult it is to do anything within actual working hours,
without Aja or that godforsaken British turd Taylor Conway breathing
down my neck? My job has gotten way too stressful because of my
interest in you. And it's frankly starting to bug me. A whole lot."
"Meaning what?" Daisy turned from her perch, blue eyes becoming wide at
her cousin's words. "You're not going to back me any more? Is that what
"No, that's not what I'm saying." Margot sighed, rubbing her temples.
"Listen, Daisy. I know it sucks ass to be stuck here after hours some
nights, and I know it's making you whine and me crabby. But this is the
thing. If I work late, then I can do things that otherwise I can't do
during normal hours. Taylor has a wife to scurry home to, and he's
always more than keen to do it, too. Aja doesn't tend to work late more
than she has to. It's the only time the place is quiet and I can have
free roam of the files."
"You have a husband to run home to, as well." Daisy pointed out. "Or
isn't he worth the effort any more?"
"That was below the belt." Margot scowled. "You know that his new job
has meant he's been outta state a lot this last couple of months. Now
please, stop it and let me think. I've already got enough of a headache
and we're both here with your best interests at heart. I wish sometimes
you'd realise how much I sacrifice to help you be the star your mother
and mine always said you could be."
Daisy pursed her lips.
"It's hard to be a star when that bitch Nancy Pelligrini and her
company are prancing around all over the place, doing this show or that
interview while I'm stuck recording an album that's already late." She
said softly. "Don't you think that matters too? I don't want to play
second fiddle to freak girl. God, Margot, the girl even has a poky
little studio in the middle of the city...an old nightclub that someone
just bought for her to use on a whim! Why don't I get windfalls like
that? When Jerrica was alive I at least felt like I mattered. Now it's
all about these Teenangel Outsiders." She spat out the words. "Stupid
British no-talents who can't sing properly and certainly aren't as
pretty as I am."
"While Aja runs this company, I'm willing to put up with the
Teenangels." She said carefully. "At least, I am for now. I actually
have another project in mind right at the moment. And it's something
you might like. It's something which would take a direct hit at your
favourite freak's music company and, well, recent personnel."
"Misfits Music?" Daisy stared, then, "Recent? Like...Robin Sheppard
"Yes." Margot nodded her head. "Him."
"Bah, I don't want him." Daisy dismissed this with a careless sweep of
her hand. "He's creepy. He stares and his hair is too long. Plus, he
talks way too much. I don't do smart guys. They're just no fun."
"I wasn't thinking of him in that sense." Despite herself, amusement
flickered at the corners of Margot's mouth. "No, Daisy. This is more
juicy than that."
She pulled open her desk drawer, fishing around for a battered magazine
clipping. Smoothing it out on the desk, she indicated a paragraph.
"The city is currently buzzing with rumours and stories of a curse
whenever his name gets mentioned." She began slowly. "Yesterday I was
in an admin meeting with Aja, Taylor and a bunch of other execs and the
topic actually came up. One of the bores in PR said that whoever was
doing his PR, it was being carefully managed so as to create
hype...much like Starlight Music did with Jem all those years ago. He
thinks it's all designed and most of it is nonsense...but I disagree."
"Okay, so maybe he is a creepy cursed dude." Daisy slipped down from
the windowsill, coming to perch on the edge of the desk. "What else?"
"Well, when he said it, Aja looked...kinda thoughtful. Then she
exchanged looks with Taylor, and changed the subject." Margot
responded. "It got me to thinking. I know Aja was interested in signing
him too at one point. I even know he spoke to her...I wish I'd been at
that meeting. I just get the feeling that maybe there's something more
to this than meets the eye."
"And you think Aja knows what it is?" Comprehension flashed across
"I don't know." Margot shook her head. "But I intend to find out. I
still have keys to most of the cabinets in Jerrica's old office, and I
have a lot of her filofax data. But first things first. We need to know
whether Aja or Taylor have a file on Robin Sheppard, and whether or not
that file gives us any leads."
"You can't just break into her office, Margot." Daisy frowned. "What
about the security cameras?"
"I'm admin, dummy. I can override most of those." Margot grimaced back
at her. "Now, are you coming? It's late enough that there shouldn't be
anyone around but the security guards. And, if I take this folder with
me..." She patted a fat volume on the edge of the desk. "Then I have a
perfectly valid reason for being in Aja's office. She said she wanted
certain data on her desk for tomorrow morning. So it shall be."
"Well, then let's go raid her office." Daisy said with a grin. "I'm
curious to know what it is about this dude anyhow. One of the tabloids
had a picture of him and Nancy all cosy in her car this afternoon - and
if she's getting some from him, it might be fun to wreck their sad
little lives with a scandal. Whatever it is must be important, if it's
the reason why Aja didn't sign him on. Don't you think?"
"That's what I want to know." Margot agreed. "And it's what we're going
to find out."
Getting to her feet, she gathered up her keys and her security card,
pushing open the office door and beckoning for Daisy to follow her.
Aja's office was at the far end of the hall, the gleaming new nameplate
a cold reminder to both girls of how much had changed since Jerrica
Pacheco's untimely death. Deftly Margot slid her security pass into the
slot, keying in the code that would deactivate both alarm and cameras
from the office. Then she put her key in the lock, turning it and
pushing open the office door.
Daisy flicked on the light as they stepped into the big office,
glancing around them. It was neatly laid out, with everything in it's
own place. Files were carefully labelled, and it was clear from the
pictures on the walls and the photograph on the desk that the new boss
had more than made herself at home. Fighting the urge to dash the
picture onto the floor, Margot crossed the room towards the big filing
cabinet, dumping her alibi folder onto the desk as she did so.
Searching through the keys on her ring, she found the one she wanted.
"Jerrica used to keep all potential artist information in here." She
said in low tones, slipping the key into the lock and unfastening it
with a quiet click. "If Aja's kept Jerrica's filing as neatly as
Jerrica did, then we shouldn't have too much work to do. I'd rather do
as little messing up of the office as possible, if you don't mind.
Aja's sharp and she'll notice - and if she doesn't, her guard dog will."
Daisy chuckled appreciatively.
"Taylor's a weirdo." She observed. "Aside from the ponytail thing he
has going on - which does not work with the suit - he prowls round this
place like he expects the sky to fall in half the time. What's his
"Insecurity of position?" Margot laughed. "Maybe he thinks I'm ready
and waiting to take his place."
"You are, aren't you?"
"I would be, if I could find enough dirt to stick on him and get him
fired." Margot sighed. "Unfortunately, he's useless in that department.
Nothing even remotely improper to use as ammunition. Unless you count
the fact he's some relation of your friend Nancy - but I did broach
that one with Aja on a, well, delicate level, and she said that she
trusted Taylor implicitly in his job. She made it clear that family
loyalties weren't going to come into the equation, and I didn't want to
push her. So for the time being, we'll have to make do with this."
"Taylor Conway is related to Nancy Pelligrini?" Daisy snorted. "That
explains a lot. Are we sure he's not a spy?"
"Yeah, 'fraid so." Margot grimaced. "I did a whole lot of looking, too.
But he's just boring and weird. Not disloyal. Unfortunately. No
cheating on his wife, no aspiring to take his boss's job...just boring."
"Oh well." Daisy shrugged. "If you ask me, something's wrong with him
if he can look at me and not want to cheat on his wife, but whatever.
Back to Robin the cursed redneck. Is there anything we can use?"
"I don't know." Margot bent down to open the final drawer, rummaging
through the files. "I can't...a-hah! Bingo!"
"Bingo?" Daisy hurried to her side. "What is it? What have you got?"
"Aja's file." Margot flipped the folder open, scanning the contents.
"Hrm. Not much. Either she hasn't written everything down, or she
really doesn't know as much as I thought."
"Anything we can use?"
"Not sure." Margot pursed her lips. "Name, address in Arkansas, but
like that's any use when we know where to find him here in Los Angeles.
She trailed off, skimming through the information. "Aja's made a few
notes, none of them particularly revealing. The last thing she's
written is that Robin decided to reject their offer on personal
grounds. She doesn't say what those grounds were, though. I wish she
had more of a nose for gossip. It'd really help if she'd pry a little
more into people's lives."
"She doesn't need to. She has you to do it for her." Daisy grinned.
"You're a pro at that, Margot. Always have been."
"Good damn thing, too, else neither of us would get anywhere." Margot
responded astutely. "Well. Looks like Aja is a dead end. And I
She paused, frowning. Then she tapped the edge of the sheet of paper.
"Wait a minute. That's not a reference."
"What is it, then?" Daisy looked confused. "Looks like a reference to
me. Phone number, details, the works...what's wrong with it?"
"What's wrong with it is that Aja asks for two and this file has three
people to contact." Margot said thoughtfully. "We've got the person who
ran a bar he played in in Arkansas, and we've got some grocery store
manager in the same city. And then..."
A slow smile touched her lips.
"And then we have someone who happens to be associated with the Carrow
County Sheriff's Dept." She added. "Now, which of those three things
sounds like the odd one out to you?"
"I always hate these guessing games." Daisy grimaced. "Just tell me,
Margot turned the sheet of paper over, and her smile widened.
"I thought as much." She said triumphantly. "He doesn't list anywhere
on here that he ever had a job in or around the Sheriff's office. But
ticked the box on the
form which says 'any prior convictions.'"
"Ooh." Daisy's eyes lit up with understanding. "You mean...?"
"Our boy has a record." Margot nodded her head, dropping the file back
into the cabinet and shutting the drawer with a bang. "All we have to
do now is find out what it's for...and then work out exactly what to do
Chapter One: Memory
Chapter Two: Spies and Secrets
Chapter Three: Jack
Chapter Four: Flashback: The
Hartlin Bar, Carrowville
Chapter Five: Margot's Plan
Chapter Six: Confidences
Chapter Seven:Flashback: The
Chapter Eight: Fallout
Chapter Nine: Advice
Chapter Ten: A Friend In Need
Chapter Eleven: Logan
Chapter Twelve: Flashback: Sian's News
Chapter Thirteen: Ambush
Chapter Fourteen: Reconciliation
Chapter Fifteen: Flashback: Farewell
Chapter Sixteen: The Curse
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE
The copyright for the original Jem characters
featured in this and other stories by me belongs entirely to Hasbro and
their interpretations to Christy Marx and the other writers of the
Sunbow Jem series. Their future selves are based on concepts that are
entirely my own and are not to be repeated elsewhere without due
All other characters, including their
likenesses, are copyrighted to myself as webmistress of Jewel's World
from 2001 to the present day and are not to be reproduced elsewhere
The Teenangel Outsiders, Jesta, Flame, Ryan
Montgomery and the future interpretations of Aja, Danse and certain of
the other original characters are all or in part the concept of Gemma
Dawn whose teenangel outsider fiction world is twinned with Jewel's
World. You can visit her site at www.teenangeloutsiders.com!
All events in the stories on this site are
based on original ideas and are not rooted in any existing Jem fiction
nor in any real life event or person.