Chapter Six: City Of Angels
"So, what exactly is this all in aid of?"
Carmen Santiago sat down at the dinner table, eying her three teenage children with suspicious confusion. "I get back from a hard day's filming at the lake and not only is dinner made for me, but it is also my favourite meal! What is up?"
Luis and Rosita exchanged looks, then both glanced at Copper, who blushed.
"It's me really, Mama." she owned. "I had a visit today from a music executive, representing Misfit Music. He wants me to go and audition properly...no, screen, that's the word he used. He said I have a rare musical talent."
"Veo." Carmen was silent for a moment. "And what are your thoughts, ninita?"
"I...I kinda want to do it." Copper admitted. "I wasn't sure at first, but, well, it's kinda exciting and a once in a lifetime chance. But it means I gotta go to Los Angeles for the screen test and, well, if they want to sign me, who knows?"
"It is a very big thing indeed." Carmen observed slowly. "Signing for a music company means many changes in your way of life, some good, some bad. You must realise that."
"I do." Copper nodded. "I've thought about nothing else all afternoon."
"We reckon it would be good for her to go." Luis put in. "A change of scene, you know what I mean?"
"Si, that occured to me." Carmen nodded, helping herself to potatoes. "But also I remember that you have been very ill, Copper...are you ready for such an active life? And what of your education? Your law plans?"
"I figured it could be a good way of raising funds for college." Copper replied. "I mean, you know that I want to raise them all myself, after all the money you spent on my medical care over the last couple of years. And speaking of being ill, Mama, it's been a good eight months at least since my last treatment, perhaps longer. I feel fine now, honestly I do. Please say I can go!"
"I am noone to stop you!" Carmen laughed at her daughter's enthusiasm. "But I want to be sure that it is a good plan first, you see? I know that Pizzazz and Jetta can both be ruthless people and I do not want you hurt, you mean too much to me for that. You must promise me to be careful, if you do go. Vale?"
"I promise." Copper nodded eagerly. "Thankyou, Mama! I mean, I knew I could just go and everything, but I wanted your blessing. It wouldn't be fair otherwise, when we've been such a team for so long!"
"You have your head on right. Your Papa would be proud." There was a tear in Carmen's eye as she spoke of her husband. "Si, I will support you, Copper. I wish you much success in Los Angeles. There is, after all, nothing like being a star!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Well, here we are. Back in Los Angeles." Roxy stepped out of the taxi,
gazing around her at the bustling city life. "Woo, does it feel weird, comin'
back here! Last week was kinda...different, I didn't get to see or do nothin',
but the vibes are still the same. Man, I love Los Angeles!"
Sylvina got out of the car, biting her lip at the reference to her recent misdemeanours. She was, if she was brutally honest with herself, surprised beyond belief to even be here, but the night before she and her mother had had a long talk and she understood things a little better now. However, she was no less naive about gaining superstardom, and had no idea of the hard work that she would need to face in order to gain a successful public image.
She looked up at the big Pelligrini estate, and a tiny knot of homesickness formed in her stomach, which she quickly dashed away. This was no time to be kiddish. She was going to be a star, and that was that!
She had never met Jetta or her family, and Roxy had put her out of her misery none, for she had refused to tell the girl anything but the barest snippets of information regarding each of them. As a result she was unsure what to expect. Would they be nice people? Would she like them? And what about this Nancy girl they seemed so keen to team her up with?
Once the driver of the taxi cab had deposited their cases on the pavement and had been paid for his trouble, Roxy led the way up the main path, ignoring the doorbell and pounding her fist three times on the door. There was a momentary pause, then the door swung open roughly to reveal a girl of Sylvina's age, dressed in jeans and a teeshirt, with long black hair over her shoulders and a decidedly irritated look on her face at having been disturbed. She cast Sylvina a disdainful glance, then turned her attention to her aunt.
"Mom's at work, Dad's in San Diego till tonight." she said abruptly, allowing them inside with what could only be described as pointed reluctance. "I guess that is Sylvina."
Sylvina bristled at this disparaging address.
"Yes, I'm Sylvina." she said coolly. "And you, I suppose, must be Nancy."
"Well, that saves me the introductions." Roxy observed off-handedly, sauntering into the lounge as if she owned the place and dumping her case, sitting down in an empty chair. "There coffee going?"
"I guess so." Nancy rolled her eyes, shutting the front door with a bang. Pushing past Sylvina as if she wasn't even there, she headed out to the patio door, where she shrieked her brother's name.
Aaron appeared in the doorway in due course, hot and bothered from his basketball practice.
"What's up?" he asked.
"Aunt Roxy and that girl are here. Make 'em coffee, huh? I'm busy."
"Can't you do it?"
"I told you, I'm busy!"
"Anything. I'm not sitting down and playing hostess to that girl!"
"What's wrong with her?" Aaron came into the kitchen, dropping his basketball in the corner.
"Everything's wrong with her, starting with the fact she's here!" Nancy snapped. "You're the sociable one, now go and socialise, will ya?"
"Okay, but you're coming with me." Aaron grinned. Nancy shook her head.
"Uh-uh. No way." She replied.
"Stop behaving like a kid!" Aaron exclaimed. "Now come on, Nance. This is your career you're blowing here. At least make an effort!"
He put the coffee on, and then, taking his sister firmly by the arm, he headed into the lounge, greeting the visitors with a carefree smile.
"Hi, Aunt R! Guess this is Sylvina, yeah?" He winked at the teenager. "Pleased to meet you. I'm Aaron, by the way. I gather you met my sister already."
"Yes." Sylvina nodded her head. She had been on the verge of demanding they go right back to Washington DC and forget the whole thing, but now Aaron was here, things were looking up.
"He's cute." She told herself. "I wonder if he's available?"
Nancy recognised the look on her face and rolled her eyes, dropping down onto the settee with very bad grace.
"Mom wanted you over at Misfit Music when you were settled." She told Sylvina in the most unfriendly tone she could muster. "She told me I had to drive you down, so I will, but don't for one moment thing I like this idea, all right? They wanna screen you right away, or something."
Sylvina looked angry.
"What exactly is your deal?" She demanded. "Stop acting like some hotshot celebrity, will you? You're no better than me." She paused, appraising her foe. "And certainly not as pretty."
"Some of us prefer brains to beauty, but I'm sure you wouldn't understand that." Nancy's tone was cutting.
"Time out!" Aaron exclaimed. "They're our guests, Nance!"
Roxy, who had watched events unfold with undisguised amusement, laughed.
"Well, you haven't changed any." She observed, her gaze falling on Nancy. "I'm sure your mother is real proud of you."
"Of course she is!" Nancy exclaimed. "I have talent!"
"So you say." Sylvina snapped in. "But I guess when your mother runs the music company, it's hardly difficult to get a recording contract, is it?"
"That shows how much you know." She retorted.
"I'll go and see if the coffee's done yet." Aaron got to his feet, making a hasty departure from the warzone that was developing with frightening speed in the Pelligrini living room. Roxy grinned.
"Listen up, you two, you ain't gonna get nowhere in this business if you carry on like that the whole time. Sometimes you gotta work with people you don't like - look at me and Jetta. It's called being professional."
Fortunately for Roxy, there was noone present to contradict her statement, for there had never been a fiercer rivalry within the Misfits than the one the blond had harboured for the British born sax player.
"I never asked to have her made a part of this." Nancy folded her arms. "Aunt Phyllis promised me a record deal when I was twelve. I didn't realise I was gonna have to share it with miss prissy here."
"If there's one thing I'm not, it's prissy!" Sylvina exclaimed. "And I didn't start this!"
"Well, I'm gonna finish it." Nancy got to her feet. "C'mon. We're going to Misfit Music. Sooner they screen you, the sooner you can go away and leave me and my family alone."
"Well, that's fine by me." Sylvina shot back. "Then we'll see who the real star is around here. Let's go!"
Nancy merely tossed her head, scooping up her car keys from the unit and calling to Aaron to tell him where they were going. Then she led the way out of the house and down the path, unlocking her car and slipping into the front seat, waiting impatiently for her companion to get in the other side.
"Are you this friendly with all your houseguests, or are you making a special effort on my part?" Sylvina was fast losing what little patience she had. Nancy put the car in gear. Then she turned to her foe.
"Listen. My music is everything that's important to me and I'm not going to have my dreams ruined by some stuck up outsider who thinks she's someone just because her mother is a famous songwriter. You might as well know now that I'm not happy about the idea of signing you on with me - even more so now I've met you - and so if you expect me to be all nice and compliant well you can forget it. Oh, and another thing. Leave Aaron alone. He doesn't need some floozie from D.C chasing him, you got that? Like he hasn't got enough girls chasing after him."
"Jealous that he gets all the attention, are we?" Sylvina snapped. "I'm not taking orders from some little music nerd who's so wrapped up in her own ideas of her talent that she's wearing last year's fashions and looking like a real plain Jane, if you wanna know the truth. God only knows how they're going to make you into a star."
Nancy's eyes narrowed at this. She had often been teased in school for the clothes she wore, for she had never taken care to follow fashion trends like the popular kids and, though she was by no means ugly, she had never bothered much with makeup or styling her hair, except to pull it back from her face into a ponytail. To have a stranger making the same disparaging remarks cut deep, but she had too much pride to let it show.
"Ability is more important than image." She retorted now. Sylvina shrugged.
"Sure, but it helps to have both."
"Oh, and I suppose you do?" Nancy raised an eyebrow.
"Of course I do. I was state singing champion last year." Sylvina nodded. "And I had a life, as well. You do remember what that is, don't you?"
"Give me a break." Nancy snapped. "I know the kind of life girls like you wanna lead. I went to school with them. And most of them got pregnant and dropped out, or died of overdoses or something."
"I resent that!" Sylvina exclaimed. "I don't sleep around, I don't do drugs and I don't sell myself short to anyone! I just know how to have fun, that's all. Hanging out with friends, dating, going to parties, bowling, and of course, singing. Just because I have a life and you don't, there's no need to be so bitter!"
"I'm perfectly happy with my life." Nancy shot back. "If you don't like it then that's your problem, not mine. I'm not going to be told how to live by some...some jumped up cheerleader!"
"Who said I was a cheerleader?"
"You just had to be. You're as shallow and as self-obsessed as any of the cheerleaders I went to school with."
"I am not!"
"Well, were you a cheerleader?" Nancy demanded.
"Yes." Sylvina admitted. "But cheerleaders arent all like you described, you know. I'm not shallow and I'm not self-obsessed!"
"Well, forgive me, but I'm having a hard time believing it." Nancy returned, screeching the car to a stop. "Well, here we are. Misfit Music. Time to make an idiot of yourself."
"We'll see who looks the idiot." Sylvina retorted, swinging open the passenger door. "Let's go!"
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.