Chapter Five: Copper...and Sirena
"Copper? Copper, where are you! There's a man here to see you!"
Fifteen year old Rosita Santiago hurried up the stairs of the big modern house, pounding on the door of her sister's bedroom. "Copper! Are you even listening? There's a man downstairs and he wants to speak to you!"
"What's all the excitement?" Copper, or Elizabeth, Rosita's nineteen year old sister swung open the door of her bedroom, looking quizzical. "I was napping! You know I've work at the salon this afternoon and I'm beat after playing the club last night. What's all the fuss? What man?"
"He's a businessman, Copper, he's from Los Angeles! He has a card and everything!" Rosita was clearly highly excited. "He's from some big music company there. He said he heard you playing at Santa Monica's the other night and he wants to discuss music with you!"
"Music?" Copper looked taken aback. "But..."
"Come on, no time to hang around!" Rosita grabbed Copper's arm, pulling her out of the door and down the stairs. "This could be your big break, you know! You could be a star, just like Mama!"
"I'm not that good!" Copper protested as they headed towards the house's main lounge at a breathless speed. "Ros, stop it, you're acting possessed!"
"Listen, you play drums as well as Mama ever did. She's said so herself. Maybe you're even better than she is." Rosita told her. "You're only working this stupid hairdressing job of yours because you couldn't get to college, now this could be the answer to your problems!"
"I didn't go to college because I was sick and I didn't graduate senior year." Copper reminded her. "You know that I'm not going to rely on Mama and her money to get me through life, Ros, so I'm working and raising my own college fund, and I'm going to get my High School Diploma if it kills me. I'm so close...I don't have time for this kinda hassle!"
"Don't be dumb. You're clever, you can graduate any time." Rosita told her firmly, pulling open the door to the lounge and shoving her sister inside. "Now get in there, will you? And be nice!"
With that the younger girl was gone, leaving Copper alone in the lounge with the stranger, who had seated himself down in one of the main chairs. He stood as she entered, offering her a smile.
"Miss Santiago?" He asked. "Elizabeth Santiago?"
"Yes." Copper nodded her head, looking confused. "That's me. But...I'm not quite sure why you're here, sir. My sister said something about music..."
"Allow me to introduce myself." The businessman produced his card, handing it to the bemused teenager. "My name is Jason Dawson, and I'm a talent scout for Misfit Music in Los Angeles. I'd heard word from hereabouts that there was a hot young drummer here in Detroit, so I thought I'd come pay the city a visit, see whether the rumours were justified. Well, I heard you play at Santa Monica the other night, and I was, I'm pleased to say, very impressed with all I heard. I don't impress easily, but you have a great deal of talent, Miss Santiago."
"Oh!" Copper looked taken aback. Then, "Please, call me Eliza." She pronounced it "E-lee-sa". "I'm not used to being Miss anything."
"Very well. Eliza." Jason nodded acquiescence. "May I ask how old you are?"
"Nineteen." Copper responded. "Please, sir, you have to understand that I only play at the club every fortnight to put together some extra pennies for my college fund. I've never really thought of making music my career. I always intended to finish school, go to college and get my law degree. Drumming is just my hobby."
"Are you in college now?" Jason asked. A shadow crossed Copper's face.
"No." She admitted. "I...was ill in my senior year at school and I didn't graduate yet. I...I'm kinda resitting, bit by bit, between working."
"I see." Jason looked thoughtful. Then, "You do realise, Eliza, that your talent for this instrument is a very rare one indeed. I've never heard anyone play like you, not anyone who could be called an amateur. You have real professional style, in some ways I could put you in the same category as drummers like Craig Phillips and Raya Alonso...I wonder that you dismiss it as a mere hobby. Believe me, my girl, you have the makings of a star."
"A star?" Copper's dark eyes opened wide as she took in his words, a flush of pleasure rising in her cheeks at the compliment he had paid her. "You really think I'm that good? That I could be as good a drummer as...as them?"
"I never make snap judgements if they're not wholly justified ones." Jason assured her. "It would give me great pleasure to ask you to come to Los Angeles and play for the people there, take a screen test, if you like, for Ms Gabor and Ms Pelligrini. I know they'd sign you to their label in a heartbeat."
"I...I don't know what to say." Copper faltered. Then, "Well, I suppose...I suppose I could give it a try, couldn't I? I mean, if you really think I'm as good as all that. I've never been to Los Angeles, but my mother grew up there. It might be nice to see the city, if nothing else."
"I'm glad I've persuaded you." Jason smiled, holding out his hand to shake hers. "It's been great talking business with you, Eliza. Tell me, do you have a fax number? If so, I can make the arrangements for your audition and fax you all you need to know. The plane ticket to L.A will of course be paid for by Misfit Music. It's company policy."
"I really don't have anything to lose by trying, do I?" Copper mused, scrawling down the fax number onto a sheet of paper and holding it out. "Here, that's our fax number, our email too. And thank you! I never dreamed I could be a musician, but, well, I love drumming and who knows? Maybe it could work out for me!"
As she showed the man out, shutting the door behind him and pocketing his business card, she was aware of eyes on her.
"Well?" Rosita, who had been perched on the stairs throughout the interview demanded.
"He wants me to go to L.A and audition!" Copper exclaimed.
Rosita shrieked with excitement, flinging her arms around her sister.
"Oh! Congratulations, Copper! Mama will be so proud!"
"I hope so." Copper responded. "I so want to see the city she grew up in, and this is my perfect chance! And I always said that I'd pay my own way through college, well, this might be a way to do it. I can pick up my High School Diploma along the way, I'm sure, and then start saving for law school. It's so exciting! Oh, Ros, you'll never guess what he said...he said I was as good as Mama! A professional scout like him...and he said we were in the same league!"
"I told you you were." Rosita grinned. "There's never been any doubt in my mind that you have all of Mama's talent for percussion. You should listen to me. I know these things."
"Yeah, sure you do." Copper laughed. "This is such a buzz! I can't believe how excited I am!"
"What are you girls bleating about now?"
At that moment seventeen-year-old Luis, their brother appeared in the doorway, a bagel in his hand. "I'm trying to reload that stupid computer's memory and you yelling isn't helping me. What's going on?"
Quickly Copper outlined the details, and Luis grinned.
"About time someone out there recognised your talent. You're wasted in this place, all you do is give the rest of us headaches." He observed dryly. "Now, you fancy giving me a hand with this junkheap PC? I told Mama that I'd have it re-configured by the time she got back from filming, but I'm not having any luck and you're the one who's good with computers."
"Okay, I'm coming!" Copper laughed. "I was napping, but I'm too excited to sleep now. So many things have happened to me in the last eighteen months, Luis...do you think I could really be a star, as famous as Mama or...or Craig Phillips or any other great drummer?"
"Definitely." Luis nodded. "Mama's said how good you are and she should know."
"I guess you're right." Copper nodded. "I hope you are, anyway...and I hope Mama won't mind me doing it. I know she left the music industry in a blaze of controversy surrounding her group, but surely she wouldn't mind me going to L.A and trying my luck?"
"So long as you don't sign on with that creepy Jerrica creature, I don't think she'll object." Rosita put in. "I don't know what she did but she hurt Mama real bad, you couldn't doublecross her like that. Santiago family loyalty and all that. But she doesn't run Misfit Music, does she?"
"No. Two ex-Misfits do. The guy called them Ms Gabor and Ms Pelligrini, but I think Mama's mentioned them as Jetta and Pizzazz." Copper replied. "I've never really listened to their music, but I know their company is big business. To be scouted by it is, well, just amazing!"
"Well, you needed the boost. You haven't been yourself since you got sick and had to drop out of school." Luis remarked. Copper blushed.
"It was difficult." she defended herself. "I had all these ideas and ambitions and then bam, they were all gone and I didn't even know if I'd live to see the end of school, let alone worry about graduation. You guys know how hard it was for me...I guess I'm still adjusting now."
"Cancer is an evil thing." Rosita observed absently. "This family seems to have a curse over it with that disease, what with Papa dying and then you getting sick too."
Copper frowned, remembering her father's death. Esteban Santiago had been only fifty-one when he had contracted a brain tumour. Within months he had been dead, and it had hit the family hard. Copper had been fifteen at the time and it had hit her probably the hardest of the three children, for she had adored her father. She knew she bore his likeness in her face and her auburn hair - the same rich colour which had inspired the nickname 'Copper' from a very early age.
"Wait till I tell everyone at school that my sister's gonna be famous!" Rosita bubbled at that moment, clearly trying to lighten the atmosphere. "They won't believe it, it's just so cool!"
"I'm not a star yet. I have to audition and be signed and then I have a lot of work to do to even begin to be a success." Copper chided her. "Oh, but it's nice to dream, though..." she turned to her brother.
"Well, come on, Luis...let's sort out this computer, yeah? I need Mama to be in the best mood possible when she gets in and I still got work this afternoon!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Okay, what's eatin' you?"
Jetta folded her arms, lounging in the doorway of the top floor office which was Phyllis' 'workspace'. "You've barely listened to a thing all mornin' an' you didn't even yell at that kid when 'e gave you tea instead of coffee. What's up?"
"Huh?" Phyllis looked startled. Then she scowled.
"Nothing. Nothing important, anyhow."
"Well, it must be a pretty big nothin', then." Jeta observed dryly, coming to sit down. "C'mon, Pizzazz, I know you too well. An' we ain't never gonna shift this paperwork if you're in dreamland, are we? I got Nancy's graduation later, I can't work all hours!"
"Graduation? Ugh. What a waste of time." Phyllis grimaced. "You'll be bored to death, Jetta. I practically fell asleep at mine."
"I know. I went to Aaron's." Jetta looked rueful. "But it's one of those pain in the butt things you 'ave to do when you got kids. Anyway, don't change the subject. Did somethin' 'appen last night?"
"No." Phyllis rested her chin in her hands. "Riot spouted off some garbage about a new singer, Jerrica bored for her country, usual kinda stuff."
"Yeah, right." Jetta raised an eyebrow. "Why don't I believe you?"
"That's your problem, not mine." Phyllis snapped back. "I sent one of our people to Rebel Records to find out what they could about this new signing of theirs but it's all kinda hushed up - I don't like it."
"Why do you even care?"
"He..." Phyllis faltered, then, "He said her name was Emily."
"Oh!" Jetta's expression registered shock, then. "Couldn't be. Coincidence, that's all."
"Maybe." Phyllis shrugged. "But he was givin' me total attitude over her, Jetta, like he knew something. I just don't like it."
"Pizzazz, nobody knows about Emily, besides you, me, Stormer and Roxy, and none of us have anythin' to gain by blurtin' the story out to the local tabloid press." Jetta said sensibly. "The kid don't even know who her parents are, you saw to all of that. It's gotta be a coincidence. Gotta be! And even if by some fluke it ain't, well, who's gonna tell Riot? Not me, that's for sure."
"Guess you're right." Phyllis nodded slowly. "Okay. So...what we got for this morning, huh?"
"Well, I wanted to discuss somethin' with you. Justin kinda landed us both in it." Carefully Jetta explained about Sylvina. Phyllis frowned.
"Typical male...can't say no." She muttered. "Well? What do you think? Do we take her?"
"You want my opinion?" Jetta looked surprised.
"Don't look so stunned, you do work here for a reason other than just to look pretty, you know." Phyllis rolled her eyes. "You've had more contact with Roxy since the band split - do you think she knows what she's talking about?"
"I never think Roxy knows what she's talking about." Jetta responded dryly. "But...well, she is Stormer's brat."
"I know." Phyllis looked thoughtful. "And I guess Stormer does always give us first pick of her new material - wouldn't do to put her nose outta joint, would it?"
"No-o-o..." Jetta replied slowly. "Though I wasn't thinkin' along those lines."
"Well, we can screen her, but only cos she's Stormer's kid." Phyllis said finally. "If she has Stormer's talent then she might be worth considering. You ever met her?"
"Nope. Not since she was a babe." Jetta shook her head. "I can't tell you a thing about her, bar 'er name."
"Which is awful and sappy, just like Stormer to name her kid something wet." Phyllis snorted. "Sylvina? Hah."
"Well, it can be changed." Jetta shrugged. "Nobody calls me Sheila these days, thank God. Stage names are useful things."
"True." Phyllis agreed.
"Justin suggested we could team Nancy and this Sylvina girl up and make a team of it." Jetta added.
"Hmm." Phyllis considered this carefully. Getting to her feet, she moved across to the filing cabinet, pulling out a sheet of fax paper. "Funny you should say that...look what I got faxed me from that Dawson guy. He's found us a hot tip in Detroit. This is her." She pushed the sheet across the desk, and Jetta skimmed it's contents. "We need something to blow Riot off the scene. If this Elizabeth Santiago is as good as Dawson says, and he's usually right, damn him, maybe we got the makings of a band. You think?"
"I think you might be right." A slow smile crossed Jetta's face. "So long as Sylvina is as good as Roxy told Justin she was..."
"If she's half as good as Nancy, we can't go wrong." Phyllis responded. "So we'll do it, huh? Dawson's arranging for this kid to come to L.A and play for us personally...and if Sylvina - God, I hate that name already! - is coming to you this weekend...we might even be in business for Jem's memorial."
"Sounds good to me." Jetta nodded. "The competition won't know what 'it 'em!"
"That," she said, a self-satisfied tone in her voice, "Is precisely the reaction I'm aiming for."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Miss Raymond? Mr Llewelyn will see you now."
Emily-Jayne jerked to attention at the sound of her name, getting to her feet and heading towards the door marked 'R. Llewelyn', her heart in her throat. She had done as the executive had advised, and had contacted the man whose number Rory had given her, but he had merely told her that for speed's sake anything he located would be sent directly on to the music company itself. Well aware that big questions were quite possibly about to be answered, she entered the office with more than a little trepidation.
"Ah, Emily, my dear." Rory offered her a smile, indicating for her to sit down. "Allow me to introduce my partner, Ms Devereux. Sophie, this is Emily-Jayne Raymond, the girl who made such an impression on me yesterday."
"I am very pleased to meet you." Sophie's voice was gently accented, indicating her foreign birth, and there was a deceptively innocent look about her pretty face. "Rory 'as told me so much of you."
"The man you sent me to said he'd pass information on here." Emily-Jayne was in no mood to beat around the bush with niceties. "Did he?"
"Yes, my dear. You need not worry on that account." Rory nodded his head. "Your details are safely on record and," he patted a sheet of paper on the desk, "We have a contract here all ready for you to sign, if that's what you want."
"Of course I'll sign." Emily-Jayne nodded. "But...aren't you going to tell me what the birth certificate said? I mean, I..."
"You want to know, petite. Of course." Sophie interrupted her gently. "It's only natural, Rory, that the girl has a wish to know who she is, n'est-pas?"
"Yes...I agree." Rory nodded. "But...well, I hesitate, my dear, because I don't want to cause you more pain and confusion. I must confess, when you came in here yesterday you had a familiar air to your bearing, well, now I understand where you get your very special and unique musical talents from."
"Stop messing around and just tell me, will ya?" Emily-Jayne exclaimed, banging her fist down on the desk to highlight her impatience. "I've waited my whole life to know who I really am! You could at least tell me, now you know. If you even know."
"I have a copy of your birth certificate right here, and another safe in my filing cabinet." Rory indicated a grey folder. "My man never fails me, Emily, he knows where to find the most deeply hidden data in this city, and how to extract it, too. But I'd like you to sign with us first...I want a measure of insurance. What I am about to reveal to you might come as a shock, and, well, there is a lot of competition in this city for talent like yours. I want to make sure you sign for Rebel Records, regardless of what this folder contains."
"You will tell me though, if I sign?" Emily-Jayne took the pen he offered her, looking doubtful.
"I give you my word." Riot said solemnly.
With a shrug, Emily-Jayne looped her signiture across the sheet of official looking paper with a flourish.
"There, done." she said. "Now?"
Slowly Rory reached into the folder, extracting a sheet of paper and handing it to her. Her heart began to beat faster as she realised that he hadn't been bluffing. It was a photocopy of a birth certificate - and as she looked down at the name, she could see that it was indeed her birth certificate.
"Eric Raymond." She read aloud her father's name, but it struck no chord of recognition within her. "Who's Eric Raymond?"
"He was a very successful music executive, once upon a time. He even managed the musical careers of both ourselves as Stingers, and the Misfits, too." Rory said slowly. "He left America very suddenly after a blow up at Misfit Music, and I'm afraid that's all I can tell you. I don't know where he is now, or what he's doing."
"Hm." Emily-Jayne turned her attention back to the sheet of paper. "Like it matters anyway. I don't know who the heck he is."
She scanned the certificate for her mother's name.
"Phyllis Gabor..." she read slowly. "Wait a minute! I...I know that name! Isn't she...?"
"Chief executive and owner of Misfit Music? Yes, she is." Riot nodded. "You can see now why I wanted to secure your signature with my company before I showed this to you, can't you? I was afraid you might want to go to her for a contract."
Anger flashed into Emily-Jayne's emerald eyes.
"Go to her? Hah! Fat chance!" She exclaimed. "The witch abandoned me in some reject Starlight Foundation with no money, no past, nothing but a name and a date of birth to go on! She's filthy rich, she could've at least provided for me, but no, she tossed me away like I didn't even matter! I'd rather die than work for her music company!"
"Calm yourself, cherie." Sophie said softly.
"Sophie's right." Rory nodded. "Sadly it's true that Phyllis Gabor is notoriously self-centred and image conscious. I didn't want you to get hurt by trying to approach her, so I thought I should warn you of that."
"She can go to Hell for all I care." Emily-Jayne's voice shook and she crumpled the paper in her fists, tossing it to the ground. "I'll make her pay for this, I swear I will! If she hadn't been well off, or there had been a good reason to abandon me then fine, maybe I could deal with this, but to protect her image? Hah! She'd better watch out, her and her stupid company! I'll show them all!"
"I'm sure you will." Rory said smoothly. "But perhaps it would be best not to reveal that you know her identity just yet? I'm sure you could have a lot more fun by playing cat and mouse, and in any case I have a project for you already lined up. Jem's memorial is coming up, and I want you to sing there. And then, in front of millions of people worldwide you can reveal your secret and destroy her public image forever. Misfit Music will collapse, that old fool of a father of hers will disinherit her and you'll have evened the score. What do you say?"
"I love it." Emily-Jayne's eyes narrowed. "I'll show her that she can't simply toss me aside like an old pair of sneakers!"
"I have no doubt, my dear, that you'll blow everyone away." Rory told her. "Incidentally, you need a good stage name, if we're going to keep your real name in the dark for the time being. Sophie and I have been discussing this at some length, and we believe we might have hit on it. You're beautiful, strong willed and bound to make an impression the moment you get up to sing. We want you to be Sirena, because you couldn't be anything but a siren out there among all the mundane garbage the music world is churning out these days. What do you think?"
"If it gets me where I wanna be, then Sirena's good with me." The newly named singer replied. "Watch out, Phyllis Gabor...Sirena's out for revenge!"
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.