Chapter Four: Making Waves
"So what did she want?"
Jetta eyed her husband curiously as he re-entered the lounge of the big Pelligrini home, having just finished speaking with his younger sister. "Roxy never calls us unless she wants something or she's bored - what is it now?"
"That's kinda harsh." Justin chided.
"Well, then what did she want?"
"A favour." Justin admitted.
"Hah, I knew it." Jetta snorted. "Go on. What?"
"She's coming to Cali with Stormer's daughter Sylvina. She's hoping we might be able to play hosts a while. Sylvie has big dreams of being a star and the plan is..."
"That Pizzazz an' I will sign 'er on, being that she's Stormer's kid." Jetta rolled her eyes. "Great. And I bet you said yes."
"I did." Justin nodded.
"Without discussin' it with me first?"
"Well, it occurred to me that it might be the answer to your problem with Nancy, only I didn't want to keep Roxy on line while I argued it out with you."
"Oh?" Jetta looked sceptical. "I gotta 'ear this."
"Well, if you have this other kid signing with Nancy...she won't be alone, will she?" Justin sat back down in his chair. Jetta opened her mouth to retort, then frowned.
"Guess not." she admitted. "But we don't know this kid, Justin. Or what she's like. Only time I ever saw Stormer's twins was when they was born...an' you don't get a good look at a kid's personality that way. An' what if she don't have talent?"
"She's Stormer's. She's bound to." Justin reasoned.
"Not necessarily." Jetta shrugged. "Roxy can play guitar, an' you're tone deaf."
"Well, true." Justin laughed. "But we're only half-siblings. She obviously got that from her mother." He looked hopeful. "Will you give her a go?"
"Well, I ain't got much choice now you've landed us in it." Jetta responded with a sigh. "Okay. I'll talk to Pizzazz an' we'll screen 'er. That's all I'll say right now. How long are they gonna be stayin' with us?"
"Roxy only a week or two, but I think the idea is that Sylvina stays longer." Justin eyed his wife anxiously. Jetta rolled her eyes.
"Brilliant." she groaned. "Okay. But if she's trouble, you can deal with 'er. I'm a business executive, not a babysitter."
"Man, you're a hard woman to live with." Justin grinned. "All right, I suppose that's fair. Do you want to tell the kids or shall I?"
"You can." Jetta folded her arms. "Aaron's not here, anyway, he went to some dumb American sports game with some mates of 'is. Nancy's in 'er room with 'er blessed guitar...I think she's writin' again."
"Probably." Justin shrugged. "You should encourage her."
"Not if it's all she ever does." Jetta retorted.
"Hey, didn't you have a social do tonight?"
"Pizzazz 'as it covered. I don't want anythin' to do with the dumb Jem memorial." Jetta replied firmly. "I don't believe she really died, and never 'ave done...it was all publicity an' the witch don't need more of it."
"Fair enough." Justin shrugged. "I'll go talk to Nancy, tell her we're having visitors. Hopefully she'll be okay with it."
"I think that's 'opin' a lot." Jetta said dryly. "But good luck anyway."
Justin made no remark, merely heading up the stairs to the bedroom belonging to his younger child. She was, he admitted as he knocked on the door, a strange girl in many ways, but to him she'd always be his daughter and that was the only thing that mattered. He knew that music made her happy, but, though he hadn't voiced them to his wife, he too had reservations about how narrow her life was. His hope was that signing on with Misfit Music, with a companion to perform with might actually broaden her horizons and make her less lonely.
"But she won't like it." he decided wryly as a familiar voice called him in. Carefully he turned the handle, slipping into the bedroom.
Nancy glanced up from where she had been fixing a new string on her guitar.
"String snapped." She explained briefly. "I was just getting the sequence right, too. Wretched thing."
"Well, can you give it a break for a while? I gotta talk to you." Justin said. Nancy frowned.
"I guess." She agreed. "What?"
"It's to do with Misfit Music and the contract, in a way." Justin came to sit on the bed. Nancy tensed.
"Has Mom said no again?" she demanded.
"No, your mother is willing to sign you on." Justin shook his head. "And you know I have no objections either. But we had a call from your aunt Roxy tonight, and it seems we're gonna have houseguests."
"Ugh." Nancy pulled a face. "What's that got to do with me and my contract?"
"Your Aunt is bringing down someone with her to screen test at Misfit Music. The daughter of another ex-Misfit, actually."
"So she must be Stormer's, right? Only one left." Nancy observed off-handedly. "So she gets a screen test? Woopeedoo."
"The idea is to sign her on with you, Nancy."
"What?" She demanded, her eyes sparking with furious fire. "With me? Whose bright idea was that? I don't do people and I don't do teamwork! I want to be a solo musician, you know that! I don't want the hassle of anyone else!"
"It was my idea." Justin admitted slowly. "That you should team up."
"Thanks a lot, Dad." Nancy was bitter.
"Well, it's not finalised. But your mother agrees that, if this girl is any good, it could be the right choice. Sylvina's your age, you know."
"Better and better." Nancy muttered. "Dad, you know how I feel about people my age! They suck! She'll probably be all...all clothes and hair and talking about boys and wanting to paint her nails in the bathroom when I gotta take a shower. I don't want that kind of a deal!"
"I know." Justin agreed levelly. "But you're on your own too much, Nancy. This is a chance for you to meet someone else with the same interest and ambition as you have. You might well find you have things in common. I know full well you can't talk to others your age because they don't understand how you feel about music. Well, Sylvina does."
"Sylvina." Nancy spat it out. "Stuck up, stupid, frilly name. What kind of person calls their kid Sylvina?"
"Well, Stormer and her husband, that would be my guess." Justin looked amused. "She can't help what she's called, Nancy. In any case I gather she's known as Sylvie at home."
"I don't care." Nancy knew she was acting childish but right now she hardly cared. "I don't want her in this house, I don't want Mom and Aunt Phyllis signing her and I don't want anything to do with her!"
"Well, it's too late for that now. Your Aunt is flying her out this weekend." Justin got to his feet. "Think it over. You might surprise yourself."
"I doubt it." Nancy scowled. "I'll never forgive you for this!"
"Such melodrama." Justin grinned. "I'll leave you to it, before you decide to kill me. Hopefully your brother will be more amicable to the idea."
"Sure he will." Nancy was bitter. "She's a girl. She'll probably fancy him. They all do, you know. They all think they can get to him through me. I've had enough of being Aaron's dating agency!"
Before his daughter could start in on more of her grievances, Justin made a hasty exit, closing the door behind him. As he headed back downstairs he heard the door open once more, then it shut with a loud bang, as if to emphasise Nancy's displeasure.
"It didn't go well then?" Jetta looked amused as he reentered the lounge. Justin shrugged.
"Better than it could have." he said. "I guess we'll see what happens when they meet. I hope we won't have a catfight on our hands!"
Meanwhile, across the city the banquet was in full swing, presided over by the local council officials, and Phyllis, who had always been something of a socialite at heart was in her element. Unlike the more reserved, businesslike Jerrica, she had always flocked to social events like a moth to a flame, and liked to be the centre of attention once there. She had decided, in the end, that it would look better if she arrived with an escort, so Alan had come with her, looking smart as he always did when the two were seen in public. He knew too well that image was a big part of Phyllis' life, but on occasion he had seen past her material side and however flippant and casual she might seem he knew too well that she needed him, and more, that she cared about him. Though he had never said it for fear of frightening his social butterfly away, Alan knew that they would be together a long time into the future.
Though Phyllis had always hated Jem, she was canny enough these days not to voice those feelings in the public sector. Taking part in Jem's memorial concert would be great publicity for several of the acts signed to her label, so she knew that she had to put personal hate aside and be a part of it. Sure, it was for charity and it was glorifying her old foe, but in truth Phyllis had always secretly taken Jem's death as a victory. She was still there, still strong, while Jem had burnt out and faded away.
She glanced around the banquet hall, eying up the competition. In the far corner she recognised Jerrica in her business attire, her husband Rio at her right hand. There was a preoccupied expression on Jerrica's face, and Phyllis took a strange kind of pleasure from it. She knew only too well that some fiercely hushed up scandal had engulfed the Holograms and that these days many of it's principal members were no longer on speaking terms...this had only amused her. She had used her significant influence and financial clout to successfully cover up her own scandal so that noone - not even Alan, who knew her better than any other man - had gotten a sniff at the truth - at least, that was what she supposed, though in truth he had known in secret for some time now that his chosen belle had a daughter. The situation at Starlight Music had been messy and only fragments had seeped out to the press, but they were fragments that had revealed the fragile state of the band, and Phyllis had kept the newspaper clippings in vindictive triumph.
Even Jerrica and Kimber didn't communicate more than they had to these days.
Across the room Kimber caught Phyllis' gaze and frowned. She had never liked the Misfit singer much, though they were on polite terms these days, and there was no longer a feud. In fact, on the odd occasion, Phyllis had even made a donation to the Foundation - all for publicity's sake, Kimber was sure - but the money had helped and the redhead was grateful for it.
She sighed, resting her chin in her hands. Things hadn't been the same since the falling out. It had revolved around Aja, who in many ways had often been Kimber's closest ally in the world...but when Aja had needed her Kimber had been unable to reach out her support. These days Aja was barely around, and when she was, she never came to see Kimber. The redhead knew that Aja still kept in touch loosely with the group's former bass guitarist Shana Julian, nee Elmsford, and had even stayed with her recently, but that was about it.
It made Kimber feel very alone sometimes.
"It's all one big mess." She murmured. "And there's nothing I can do to change it."
"Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you all for coming!"
The man on the stage was smartly dressed, nothing more than another generic business executive in Kimber's jaded eyes. "As you all know, this year marks the twentieth anniversary of the day when the music world lost one of it's most dazzling and mysterious stars - Jem. In memory of her and all she stood for, we plan on putting on a big memorial benefit concert right here in the heart of the city she called home - the City of Angels itself. With your cooperation and support, the memory of the unique musician will live on for another twenty years."
"Unique is one word for her." Phyllis murmured in Alan's ear. The doctor grinned. He had never met Jem, but he knew of the run-ins there had been between the Holograms and the Misfits in days gone by.
"Now, a couple of words from Jerrica Pacheco, executive of Starlight Music and a close friend of Jem's." The businessman continued, and to a smattering of applause Jerrica took centre stage.
"Jem would be both touched and honoured to know that you were all here tonight to celebrate her memory." She began, gazing round at the sea of faces. "Sadly she can't be with us tonight, but what she stood for stays with us all even now. There was never anyone quite like her - she was one of a kind."
Kimber bit her lip. This was one of the things they had rowed about - one of the many things, she added bitterly to herself. Jerrica's hypocrisy regarding Jem was sometimes hard to bear. In the first instance it had been a relief to the eldest Benton girl to rid herself of her domineering alter ego, but when the city had begun calling for a memorial she had been all sweetness and light when asked to say a few words about the infamous singer. She had told reporters how sadly Jem would be missed, what a shock it had all been, and how terrible it was - in short, she had turned it into a publicity event for Starlight Music and the Starlight Foundation. Kimber had tried to put it all into perspective, but in the end she had just had enough. She had never liked that aspect of her sister's character - the instinct to lie, often and convincingly whenever something could be gained by it. It was a Misfit characteristic that Jerrica pretended to be above...but Kimber knew only too well that she wasn't. Deep down she still loved her sister, but she was also disgusted by and disappointed in her.
And here they were, twenty years later, glorifying the memory of someone who had never even been real.
Kimber had noticed Jetta's absence from the get together, and had realised the reasons behind it almost at once. Jetta was a born sceptic, scornful and shrewd, and had made a pointed statement to show her disapproval for the whole event by not showing up. Inwardly Kimber longed to be able to make that kind of a statement, but she didn't dare. Her hands were tied to the Foundation, which relied on the Starlight Foundation and (much as she hated to admit it) the Jem Memorial Fund for over sixty percent of it's funding, and even though she and Jerrica were barely speaking, she could not risk worsening things between them by exposing Jem's death as a fraud.
As the evening continued, various people were called upon to say their piece and finally a date was set - a date for the big Jem Memorial Concert, three months from that day. As the various parties left the hall, Rory took the opportunity of singling Phyllis out from the rest, casting her a glib smile.
"Well, hello Pizzazz." he said smoothly. "I'm surprised that you are here, taking part in Jem's memorial concert."
"Jem can burn in Hell and you know it." Phyllis retorted. "But the concert is a big deal and Misfit Music ain't gonna be left out. In fact," As an idea occured to her, "In fact, we have plans to promote one of our newest and most exciting young acts at the show to blow you and your losers away. What do you say to that?"
Rory's smile widened.
"I say, may the best act win." He murmured. "You see, my dear, we are on the verge of signing a very talented young vocalist of our own who just might prove to be a revelation for you. She certainly was to me."
"There's no way any of your deadbeat acts could match up to ours." Phyllis shot back. Rory chuckled.
"Well, I suppose you're entitled to your opinion." He observed in much the same tone as he might use to a small child. "But well, we'll see, won't we?"
"What's got you so cocky?" Phyllis grabbed him by the arm as he turned to leave. "What's so special about this singer, anyway?"
"She has, shall we say, a good musical pedigree." Rory's expression was falsely genial. "But I'm not sure what else I can tell you. After all, we are rivals in this business and I'd hate to tip off the competition."
"Don't screw around with me!" Phyllis hissed.
"I wouldn't dream of it." Rory winked. "But I think you'll be pleasantly - or perhaps unpleasantly surprised when you see her. Emily is going to be quite a star, I guarantee it."
"Emily?" Phyllis' face paled and her expression became stricken. Rory took his opportunity to make his getaway, inwardly gloating over what he took to be proof of his suspicions. Phyllis, for her part, barely noticed his departure.
It couldn't be the same Emily...could it?
"Hey, snap out of it!" Alan's voice jerked her back to reality. "What's biting you? You look like you just saw a ghost!"
"Huh? Oh, nothing. C'mon, let's get outta here." Phyllis replied absently.
"Nothing? Are you sure? You're acting kinda spaced."
"I'm telling you, everything's fine." Phyllis snapped. "I just hate the fact that Riot got himself some new idiot signed to his company and he's probably gonna wreck her career just because he thinks he can compete with Misfit Music!"
"Calm down." Alan instructed. "Riot's a greasy, slimy, no good creep, as you're always telling me. You know that Rebel Records has never been as big as either Misfit Music or Starlight Music."
"Well that's because they are run by professionals, and not by Riot and his French floozie." Phyllis retorted. "Much as I hate Jerrica smug-face straight laced Pacheco, she can at least run a music company. Riot hasn't got a clue. He just flirts with the girls till they fall for him and sign or he gets that bimbo of his to do the same with the guys. He never changes! It ain't a music label, it's an escort agency, I swear! And how much plastic surgery has that Sophie witch had? I swear her nose has gotten smaller!"
"Woo, you are wound up tonight!" Alan laughed. "Look, how about we go get a drink someplace and you can calm down for a while, huh? Ignore whatever Riot has cooking - it's probably nothing, anyway. You know he likes to wind you up. And you have a surprise of your own in the wings, don't you? That Nancy kid of Jetta's? Or have you lost faith in her already? I thought she was Misfit Music's big tip for the month - you got your own star to focus on!"
"Yeah. Yeah, you bet we do." Phyllis' expression lightened at this. "Hah, so much for you, Riot! Nancy'll blow those no-hopers at Rebel Records right off the charts!"
"Well, then, how about that drink?" Alan suggested. Phyllis nodded.
"Hell, why not? I deserve it." she decided.
But at the back of her mind doubts still lurked. What had Riot meant when he had talked about a musical pedigree? Who was this Emily girl, anyway?
"Emily's a common name. Probably coincidence." she told herself, but deep down she was not convinced.
Somehow she knew that it was her Emily that Rory had been talking about...and somehow she knew that he knew more than he'd let on that night.
Imperceptibly she bit her lip. She only hoped she was wrong.
Otherwise, where did that leave Misfit Music?
PART ONE: STARSTRUCK
Chapter One: Sylvina
Chapter Two: A Budding Genius
Chapter Three: A Well Kept Secret
Chapter Four: Making Waves
Chapter Five: Copper...and Sirena
Chapter Six: City of Angels
Chapter Seven: At Misfit Music
Chapter Eight: Jewel
Chapter Nine: I Want Everything
Chapter Ten: Sirena Strikes
Chapter Eleven: Stagefright
Chapter Twelve: Team Spirit
JEWELFIC MAIN PAGE:
Copper, Nancy, Sylvie, Anna, Blade, 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.