"We haven't had a girl's night in like this for absolutely ages."
Copper curled up more comfortably on her favourite armchair, pulling the cushion into place and resting her head on it. "It's so nice, don't you think? Especially if everything is going to change soon."
"It rocks." Sylva reached for a second slice of pizza. "Jewel kick back and relax before the storm." Her blue eyes twinkled impishly. "And boy, should we make it stormy! This whole new Jewel thing that Phyllis and Jetta were talking about this morning...I think we should be as picky as hell where she's concerned."
"We want someone who fits the mould." Nancy said with a shrug. "Far as I'm concerned, the only suitable candidate in the frame is Topaz." She waved her slice of pizza at the singer, who was carefully re-painting her nails a vibrant pink. Topaz glanced up, blushing.
"I'm touched." She said with a grin. "And I love you guys too. But listen, okay? If you find that one of the girls they picked out as good guitarists fits in with you and you want her along for the ride, then I won't be put out if you enrol her into the band. I want this to work out for everyone, okay? I know it doesn't mean you don't want me."
"Good, because we do." Copper dimpled. "But in the meantime, maybe we should look through the folders they gave us this morning about the three of them? We ought to find something out about them, don't you think?"
"I guess we should, since we'll be meeting them in two days." Sylva reached for the top folder, flicking it open. "Okay, we have a Bryony. Whaddya think, is Bryony a Jewel name?"
"Well, if Sylvina is, I guess anything's possible." Nancy said dryly. "Go on, Syl. Give us the low down."
"Well, she's our kinda age...twenty one in October, actually." Sylva skimmed down the sheet. "She played bass guitar for a band in San Diego for three years - some act called Mirage which folded when the lead singer died...no details. Pity. I love a juicy scandal."
"You're just sick in the head. Give it here." Nancy reached out to take the file before the synth player could object, running her gaze down the page. "Boy, is that an unattractive photograph. Talk about a vacant smile!"
"Oh, those things are always awful." Copper grimaced. "The photograph in my file is terrible, my hair is everywhere and I'm not even looking at the camera."
"Yeah, but that was taken after you joined the band." Nancy pointed out. "For Aunt Phyl to have a record. This is a girl who's looking to get a recording contract. She could've made an effort."
"I think she's kinda pretty." Topaz leant over to look. "She doesn't look too bad, Nancy. As Copper says, it's not easy to come across well in this kind of picture. Remember, we have top photographers doing our glossies now."
"Well, this one looks like it was taken with a clapped out poloroid held upside-down." Nancy retorted. "Okay, okay, I'm done making fun of her picture."
"What does it say about her interests?"
"Music, obviously...films and other paraphernalia, says she collects memorabilia from the seventies and eighties." Nancy read. "Then there's a list of the jobs she's worked, all the music qualifications she has - which ain't many, but if Aunt Phyl and Mom have handed them on to us, she probably plays pretty good."
"If you look at it, we don't have many qualifications in music." Copper pointed out. "Even you, Nancy."
"But Nancy's a bestselling songwriter. We won an award, too." Sylva reminded her. "So we're proven. This chick ain't till we've graded her."
"How modest." Topaz giggled. "What about the other two?"
"Well, this one is Latisha Rowenall. She's twenty two, as well." Sylva grabbed the second folder. "Wow, nice braids."
"Let's see?" Copper asked, and Sylva held up the photograph. Nancy snorted.
"Another vacant smile." She muttered. "Doesn't anyone with half a brain want to be a Jewel?"
"Yes, actually." Sylva told her. "This girl just graduated college with like a totally impossible score on her finals. She was majoring in MFL at California State University, here in LA. What's MFL, anyone?"
"Modern Foreign Languages." Copper responded. "I remember looking at courses in that when I was looking for a good path into law." She blushed. "I had prospectuses for the University of Michigan and about seven others even when I was in my junior year - that's how keen I was."
"Well, we're glad you had a change of heart." Sylva dimpled. "But languages - like French and stuff? She can't be that thick."
"What else does it say about her, Syl?" Topaz looked interested.
"Well, says a bunch about her extra-curricular activities at college, her work, yada yada...interests are music, languages and foreign culture, foreign food and travel, that kinda stuff." Sylva replied, pushing the folder across to the singer, who scooped it up.
"Says her main interest is in R&B music." She noted.
"True, but you never know, she might be right." Sylva shrugged.
"And the third?"
"Casey Spiller." Nancy reported, from where she was poring over the third folder. "Oh boy. You have to see this one to believe it."
"What's wrong with her?" Copper demanded.
"Oh, only the fact she has perfect baby blond ringlets and the biggest blue eyes you'll ever see." Nancy snorted. "She looks like a damn doll, not a musician!"
"Nancy, will you stop judging these poor girls on how they look?" Copper scolded, taking the folder from her friend to examine it. "This is more than an appearance, you know."
"Besides, I'm blond, and I have blue eyes." Topaz objected.
"Yes, but you don't put yours in ringlets." Nancy responded.
"Maybe it's just for the photo. It looks professionally done." Sylva peered at it. "What else do we have on this Casey girl?"
"Mmm, well, she's worked several waitress and shop clerk jobs in Los Angeles, but that stuff isn't important to us." Copper reported. "She's twenty one, she was born in Maine but her family moved to California when she was small. Um, she's won several singing competitions at county and state level, and she's played specifically bass guitar since she was twelve. Says here that she's been a member of several smalltime bands in the Los Angeles area, but never any signed to a major label, and the most recent split up six months ago."
"They don't sound too bad." Topaz said thoughtfully. "And if nothing else, it'll give you something to discuss and debate, won't it? No doubt the press will want in on the fuss, too."
"Not yet." Nancy shook her head. "Mom said that they weren't letting the press have a peek at what was going on until we'd met the girls. They only know that they're in contention for the position - they don't know how close they are to it. That way, if none of them prove right, well..."
"One of them will have to." Sylva grimaced. "Else we have problems."
"Well, I can always rewrite stuff if I have to." Nancy sighed. "But okay. Say one of these girls is the perfect new Jewel...will she move in here?"
"I suppose she has to." Copper agreed. "This is Jewel's home."
"Then we really have to be certain who we choose is right for the band." Sylva said decidedly.
"And we have to agree on it, too." Copper bit her lip. "It has to be a mutual decision, not a majority vote."
"Sounds fair enough to me." Nancy nodded. "After all, we'll all have to live and work with her."
"And Topaz is staying." Sylva glanced at the singer, noticing the slightly wistful look in her friend's blue eyes. Much as Topaz wanted the best for Jewel, she knew that it would hurt a lot when she actually had to step down from her beloved role as their principal singer and bass guitarist. "Whatever happens, you always belong at Starlight, Topaz. Okay? You and junior."
"Yes, I know." Topaz dimpled, and the wistful look was gone. "That's something Im glad about, guys."
"We want you to have some input on this new member idea, too." Copper added. "Since we trust your opinion and you've always been one of us."
"It;s not my choice to make."
"No, but she will be your - and baby's - new housemate." Nancy pointed out sensibly. "So it's only fair you get to yay or nay who we choose."
"Okay, I suppose so." Topaz acknowledged. "But I want you girls to really make the decision. You have to work and tour with whoever you choose."
"Well, that's that settled." Copper dropped the third file back down onto the messy pile on the floor, picking up her lemonade and taking a sip. "Now we just have to settle the other rather important thing on Jewel's plate."
"Which is?" Sylva turned questioning eyes on the drummer.
"That wretched album inlay." Copper rolled her eyes. "Exotic. Remember?"
"Oh God, yes." Sylva groaned. "And Phyllis and Jetta were damn unhelpful over it, too."
"They want us to come up with a theme." Nancy sighed. "And I thought we already did that, by recording eleven tracks onto the disk. We have to do the cover, too?"
"Well, I can draw stick people." Topaz grabbed hold of a spare napkin, scooping up a pen and deftly sketching four stick people. "See, look, how's this? That's you, Copper - see, there are your drumsticks..."
"Oooh, okay," Copper giggled. "I thought I had two sets of elbows, but that makes more sense."
"Cheeky." Topaz laughed. "Right. That one's you, Syl...there's your curls and your keyboard."
"I want a really sexy short skirt." Sylva grinned. "Okay?"
"Sure." Topaz drew in a triangle. "There. One skirt. This one here..." She indicated, "Is Nancy. See her ponytail? And that thing is her guitar."
"Not a hideous birth deformity, then?" Nancy said dryly.
"No, that;s just in your head." Sylva told her.
"Hah, very funny." Nancy snorted. "You don't like what's in my head, Sylvina, and you can write your own synth parts."
"I'm guessing this girl here with the ice cream cornet is you, Topaz?" Copper asked.
"It's a microphone!" Topaz protested. Then she giggled. "Well? Is that exotic enough?"
"Not yet." Sylva took the napkin and the pen. Deftly she added flower necklaces around each girl's neck, and placed a pineapple in her own hands.
"Now it's kinda tropical, don't you think?"
"I think Aunt Phyl would just love it." Nancy smirked. "I never knew you had such a hidden talent, Topaz."
"It's very well hidden." Topaz grinned.
"Let's face it, we have a problem on our hands." Sylva sighed. "Does anyone have any idea of something exotic?"
"Well, plenty of ideas, but unless we're going to do another lot of photographs sometime soon, I don't see how we're going to do it." Copper sighed.
"I don't want to be pregnant on the front of this thing, either." Topaz admitted. "It's my last album with Jewel, and we have this whole sexy, sultry thing going on on this album. I'm not embarrassed or ashamed of my pregnancy, guys, but the photographers have been very careful to try and conceal as much as possible in the other shots they've done, because it just doesn't fit the whole image of the album." She blushed. "Lets face it, the more weeks go on the less concealable I'm getting."
"So then, it's either a photo we already have, or we need to find an artist or something?" Nancy asked.
"We could try a cartoon pic." Copper looked doubtful. Sylva shook her head.
"I am not Bugs Bunny." She said firmly. "No cartoons. We either find someone who can draw, or..."
"Or we don't have us on the cover? We could use something else." Topaz suggested. "Photographs of a scene or a wild beastie or something along those lines."
"Well, I guess we'll discuss that with Jetta and Phyllis, see what they say." Copper mused. "But I don't know. I got the impression that, because it's your last Jewel disk, Topaz, they want us on the cover. Besides, we don't always appear on the covers of our singles, so we really need to keep up the thing of being on album covers."
"We weren't on Only The Music. That was just silhouettes." Nancy reminded her.
"Even more reason to keep our faces on this one." Copper responded.
"Come to think of it, we weren't much on the cover of Tapestry, either. Just headshots." Sylva mused. "I guess you're right. Since this is Topaz's last Jewel thing, we ought to all be on the cover."
"Aw, you're making me all emotional now!" Topaz remarked. "Please don't, guys, I don't like thinking about this being my last stint with you girls."
"Then don't leave us!" Sylva exclaimed. Topaz laughed.
"Silly, I haven't much of a choice." She chided. "Look, let's leave the album cover and work and stuff for tonight and settle to watch a good movie, huh? God knows we've enough to do tomorrow."
"I'm with that." Nancy nodded. "Roll tape!"
"So this is Los Angeles."
Sadie stepped off the bus, grimacing up at the gloomy sky. "It would have to rain. I thought the weather here was supposed to be sunny!"
She stifled a yawn, pulling her bag onto her shoulder and glancing around her, wondering where she was.
"I'm so tired I could sleep for a week." She murmured, making her way slowly into the city itself and trying to ignore the spatters of rain that dropped down around her from above. It was almost seven in the morning, and dawn had broken, but it was clearly not going to be one of California's better days, for the rain was becoming more and more insistant with every drop and there was a strange nip to the air around her.
"Nice welcome." Sadie muttered, pausing on the main high street and lighting a cigarette as she assessed her surroundings.
Despite the weather the streets of the city were busy and crowded with people and traffic and suddenly she felt very alone. A girl in a blue coat called a greeting to a boy on a bicycle and a small girl ran to greet a friend, her mother in close pursuit. From somewhere she heard the cries of an infant and the frantic words of the father trying to soothe the squalls, and she bit her lip, thinking of Alyssa and Andrew.
"I want to go home." She whispered, closing her eyes against her tears. "I don't like it here...it's strange and scary and I w...want to go h...home."
For a moment she let her fear rule her, but then she got a grip on herself, shaking her head.
"Home is where Neal is." She murmured. "I can't go back to Birmingham, not if I want to survive. I've been through a lot to come here - and it's like Gladys said. I should go for whatever I want and not feel like I shouldn't have it. Besides, this is Los Angeles. I really made it! I can't be that far from the Starlight Mansion, surely? I mean, a mansion can't be that inconspicuous, even in a rainstorm."
Despite her homesickness, a wry smile touched her lips.
"Even the weather reminds me of home." She realised. "Perhaps it's a better welcome than I thought. I just wish I'd packed a thicker coat - this one isn't watertight and I don't have a hat."
She glanced once more around her, then turned left, heading down the street and glancing all around her as she went for any indication of where she should go. As she reached a crossroads, something tall and imposing caught her eye and she stared up at it, her breath catching in her throat as she read the sign.
"Misfit Music!" she breathed. "That's Topaz's music company! Oh, I can't be far away now!"
For a split second she debated going into the company itself to ask directions to the Starlight Mansion, then her common sense took over.
"Like they're going to tell someone they don't know the way to their biggest sellers' house." she muttered. "Don't be daft, Sadie. This is LA, Jewel's homeland. They're huge out here. Noone's gonna take that kind of security risk."
She turned away from the big black structure, wondering where she should go next.
"I can't walk all around Los Angeles all day." She realised. "I haven't a clue where I'm going and I've thirty cents to my name. I need to find where I'm going - I'm wiped out. It's not easy to sleep on a coach and I've had about four hours total since I left New York. I need to get to the Starlight Mansion. Mm, I suppose I should stop and ask someone if they can tell me where to go. Can't hurt, anyhow."
To think was to act and she crossed the road to where a young woman was unlocking the chain on her motorcycle. Steeling her courage, she cast the woman a smile.
"Hi...I'm sorry to bother you, but I was wondering if you could help me?"
"Depends what the help is, honey." The girl returned her smile slightly, pausing in what she was doing. "What's doing?"
"I...I'm looking for a friend's house." Sadie faltered slightly, but continued. "She lives...um...I'm not sure quite where, but I think it's on the outskirts of the city. She told me it used to be a house for foster girls, once...but now she and her friends live there."
The girls' eyebrow's shot up.
"The Starlight Mansion?" She demanded. Sadie's eyes filled with relief and she nodded.
"Yes...can you tell me how to get there?"
The girl laughed.
"Hey, Jewel fanatic or something?" She asked. "Lots of people go skulking around the Starlight place, till security kicks them out. You won't get very far, even if you do have some fancy accent."
"No, it isn't like that." Sadie shook her head. "Topaz is a friend of mine, she..."
"Yeah, whatever, kid." The girl snorted. "Look, you don't have to fuss. The Starlight is outta town, you gotta take that road. I'd advise you get a taxi, though." She grinned. "These Cali storms ain't nice when they blow up and it's two or three miles walking out to the estate."
"I...I'll take my chances." Sadie said. "That road?"
"Yep. Follow it all the way out and you can't miss it." The girl winked. "Fan's dream, that house...ain't never known one to get in, mind you."
"Thank you for your help." Sadie decided not to argue the issue, for the rain was becoming heavier and she knew she had no choice but to walk, for her money was all but gone. She smiled once more, then, taking a drag on her cigarette she crossed back over, taking the turning that the girl had indicated.
"I hope it's as straight -forward as she says." She mused. "Oh, and what am I going to say when I get there? I'm so tired I could drop now, but I have to at least try to get there. No point me stopping in the city in weather like this...far better I find the Starlight Mansion and see Topaz and the others."
But a tiny doubt nagged at the back of her mind.
What if Topaz didn't want to see her? What if they were busy? What if...what if they sent her away?
She pushed the doubt away, but it returned and despite herself, she bit her lip.
"What if they don't want me?" She murmured. "What on earth will I do?"
Sadie's Diary: August 27th, 2013
Chapter One: Jewel
Sadie's Diary: August 28th, 2013
Chapter Two: Topaz's Bombshell
Chapter Three: News
Sadie's Diary: August 30th, 2013
Chapter Four: Award Night
Chapter Five: A Refuge
Chapter Six: An Old Foe
Chapter Seven: Jetta's Advice
Sadie's Diary: September 1st, 2013
Chapter Eight: Sadie Acts
Chapter Nine: Dilemma at the Music Company
Sadie's Diary: September 3rd, 2013
Chapter Ten: A Change Of Plan
Chapter Eleven: A Journey
Sadie's Diary: September 4th, 2013
Chapter Twelve: Girl's Night
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE
Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, Sirena, Topaz, Aaron, Sophie, Justin, Elliot, Rosita, 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!