It was so quiet, somehow.
For a moment she just stood there, watching as the tide lapped lazily
over the shore. A gentle breeze flipped through her thick dark hair, but
she was lost in her thoughts, and she did not notice it teasing at her,
trying to loosen her curls from their tight red clasp. Slowly she made her
way down the stone steps to the sand, pausing, then settling herself down
on a rock not far from the water's edge. Around her, children screamed with
excitement as they played, but she took no notice.
Today was, after all, too important.
She glanced at her watch, a smile touching her lips as she registered
the time, and she turned, scanning the landscape for any sign of him. At
first there was nothing, but then, in the distance, she caught a glimpse
of his familiar features and she was on her feet in an instant, moving
slowly to meet him. Despite her eagerness, it was not in her manner to
throw herself at him, friends or not. It was enough that he had agreed
to meet her, and that now, after long weeks alone, she would see him again.
He greeted her with a warm, genial grin, hugging her tightly. "So, how
"I'm all right." Stefana cast him a thoughtful look, then, "Thanks for
coming. I wasn't sure if you;d be busy or lagged or whatever, today."
"Well, I told you I'd come and see how you were when Copper and I got
back from Valencia." He told her gently. "And I have. Today we start over,
Stef, as friends. Wipe the slate clean - yes? No more tricks and no more
secrets - isn't that what you want from me?"
"You never tricked me or kept secrets from me." Stefana said ruefully.
"But yes. Yes. Aaron...I'm not over it, but I want us to be friends. Need
us to be. But will Copper let you? She and I..." She made a dismissive gesture.
"She hates my blood and that's that."
"Copper told me to come." Aaron told her gently. "She said she'd see
to the unpacking, because obviously you needed me at short notice. She doesn't
hate you, Stef. She's accepted that you and I, we're friends and that's
how it will stay." He eyed her keenly. "So long as you can accept that Copper
is my wife now, and that's also not going to change."
"I know that." Stefana nodded her dark head impatiently. "I conceded
that, you know I did. I coulda blown your wedding sky high if I'd have wanted
to, and you know it. I have the contacts, I know the right people and the
way to cause chaos. I don't have many scruples - it could have been done.
She faltered, shaking her head.
"Not to a friend." She whispered. "Especially not to you."
"I'm glad." Aaron grinned, linking his arm in hers and leading her along
the beach. "I was happy to get your phonecall, too. I was worried about
you, while we were away."
"What, on your honeymoon?" Stefana snorted. "I bet Copper loved that."
"I didn't discuss it with her." Aaron responded. "It was just a private
wondering, how you were doing, whether everything was okay. Is it?"
"I don't know." Stefana looked thoughtful. "But I don't feel like blowing
myself away, Aaron. I don't know...maybe I've taken stock a little. I'm
clean, if that's what you want to know. It's not easy - it's not been long
enough for it to be easy, and I have had a lapse or two. But Marissa and
Sadie aren't tough on me - I mean, they don't yell. They're supportive as
much as they can be. Luca too. Sadie...I hate to admit that talking to a
Jewel helps, but she does. I would never have spoken to her had you not made
me, but...but I suppose I'm glad I did. And she hasn't told anyone. Even
Mari and Luca don't know who it is I'm seeing."
"Sadie's very discreet." Aaron nodded. "She won't betray anything you
tell her, I know that."
"Once I realised that, it got easier." She admitted. "Though it's not
been long yet, Aaron. I have a long way to go - but I will beat this!"
"And no more messing with Jewel?"
"Perhaps." Stefana pursed her lips. "For now, I'm associated with the
husband of one and am being counselled by another. Not to mention Nancy's
your sister. I can't see my way round that one - but I'll find someone
else to play games with if I'm bored. I'm done with Jewel anyway. I need
a new challenge."
"Well, be careful." Aaron warned. Stefana laughed, and despite himself,
Aaron was glad to hear that the hollow, bitter note was already fading
from his friend's laughter.
"Oh, I'm not so dumb or so reckless when I'm sober." She assured him.
"I'll be very careful, don't worry. I'm not gonna get myself in trouble
with the law."
"Well, that's good. So long as you're inside the law..."
"I didn't say that. I said I wasn't going to get myself in trouble."
"Oh, all right." Stefana rolled her eyes. "I'll be good. For now, anyhow."
She fumbled in her pocket, pulling out her cigarettes and lighting one,
exhaling slowly. "So, how was your flight? Isn't it a long way from Spain
"It seems it when you're coming home." Aaron agreed. "I've had a great
two weeks, Stef, but once you start coming home from a vacation, you want
the journey over as soon as possible. It's been fun, too, because we've
come back to our house and it's all new and special. We're going to have a
housewarming party in a few weeks by the way. You're welcome if you want
"I won't." Stefana shook her head, but a tiny smile touched her lips.
"But thanks for asking me. Just that's too far into the lion's den for
me. Copper knows...knows too much about me and about...well...my feelings
for you. It'd be too humiliating."
"I haven't said anything to her about them." Aaron said quietly. Stefana
shook her head.
"No, but she's taken me on about them a couple of times before you got
hitched." She replied. "And I'm proud, Aaron. I don't want her to crow it
over me. Yes, she won - you're in love with her and I can't compete with
that. But I don't have to lap it up."
"You make me sound terrible, you know."
"Well, I don't mean it." Stefana sighed. "I'm sorry. I will get over
it, I know I will. Just it's hard to at first."
"I realise. And I feel to blame." Aaron admitted. "I should have seen
"Nah." Stefana shook her head, flicking ash onto the sand. "I don't
talk about feelings and stuff like that. Usually because I don't have them."
She rolled her eyes. "Like I said, I'll beat it."
"How are things on the music front? I saw a big Diablo billboard as
we drove in from LAX."
"Good." Stefana nodded her head. "Mari and Clay have written most of
our new album and we're laying it down. They've given me a vocal on one
of the tracks - it was an experiment because I kept telling Maddy how she
should sing it. She got mad, but in the end I sounded better, so she told
me to take the track." She smirked. "Maddy's still like an annoying big sister,
but at least this time she conceded I was right and went with my way. It
was fun to sing for once. Kinda a buzz."
"I'm curious." Aaron laughed. "You've not sung for Diablo yet, have
"Well, not since we came to Cali." Stefana shook her head. "I did back
home on the East Coast, from time to time. But we've all been more structured
here." She curled her lip. "And Rory Llewelyn thinks I'm not useful for anything
other than his dirty work."
"Well, maybe Diablo should browse the market for a contract elsewhere."
Aaron suggested. "Starlight Music might be looking."
"From what I've heard, that place is more mental than where we're at
now." Stefana shook her head. "And Misfits Music is not an option for us,
either. No. Better the devil we know." Her eyes glinted with humour. "After
all, we are Diablo."
"I know it's only been a couple of weeks, Stef, but you do look better."
Aaron reflected. "You're smiling more, youve more colour and you don't look
so fragile as you did when I last saw you."
"Well, Mari coaxes me to eat, Luca drags me out with him whenever we've
a free afternoon, Sadie arranges for us to meet here when we meet...I guess
I'm not given time to dwell in my room." Stefana laughed. "Oh, I'm tougher
than I was, so don't worry about me. I had a momentary lapse in sanity,
that's all. I'm on the right road now the chemicals are pumped out of my
system - for good, I hope. I'm remembering what a blast Mari and I used to
have before I wound up having no money for anything any more." She grimaced.
"Though I still owe Luca till the end of time for my credit card bill, he's
been nice and let me keep something from each month's pay so I can buy shoes
or go out or whatever. It could be worse."
"I'd do the same for Nancy." Aaron grinned. "He trusts you, then?"
"Yeah, well, he does ask to see receipts sometimes." Stefana admitted.
She spread her fingers, examining her chipped black nail polish, then,
"I hoped you would come back when you told me you would, and not get convinced
to spend another week." She admitted. "I didn't want to miss you."
"Well, couldn't if we'd wanted. Copper has work and so do I." Aaron looked
rueful. "Jewel are on tour in a week or two's time...why? What would make
you miss me - I don't understand?"
"Jewel are?" Stefana looked startled. "I didn't know that."
"Yes. Going to the East Coast for some rock festival or other." Aaron
agreed. Stefana bit her lip.
"East Coast Rock Festival?" She echoed him, consternation flickering
in her green eyes. "In the next few weeks?"
"You're going? You...and Jewel?"
"Yes, as far as I know. Unless plans have changed between me checking
the answerphone last night and now." Aaron looked confused. "Why? What's up,
"Diablo are playing a festival in Connecticut in a couple of weeks."
Stefana said slowly. "And it sounds to me like it might be the same one."
She grimaced. "Ugh. I don't need a head to head with Jewel this early on!
Especially not there, of all places."
"Your home state, isn't it?" Aaron asked gently. Stefana nodded.
"Yes. Worse, it's my hometown. Hartford." She said bitterly. "Though
don't expect there to be any fond family reunions."
She sighed. "I'm not looking forward to going much. Even less now I know
that we're gonna be upstaged on the bill, too."
"Don't be like that." Aaron scolded her lightly. "It might not be a bad
thing to go back to your hometown a star - and that is what you are, Steffi.
You know it and so do I, even if right now things are rough for you. The
world don't know that. Don't imagine they can see through you and read what's
in your head."
"I know." Stefana managed a faint smile. "And it'll be all right. I'll
tough it out. Normally it wouldn't bother me but it hasn't been the best
few weeks I ever had."
She took a drag on her cigarette. "Oh well. If nothing else, it will
mean I can speak to Sadie without calling long distance." She mused. "That's
something. And I know she can keep discreet, even if the other Jewels are
"Yes." Aaron agreed. "And anyhow, Hartford is a huge city, as far as
I know. You probably won't even see your mother."
"Let's hope not." Stefana said darkly. "The last person I want to meet
when we go to the East coast is that bad excuse for a human being!"
Chapter One: Jewel At Work
Chapter Two: Jetta's
Chapter Three: A Surprise
Chapter Four: Farah
Chapter Five: Jewel's
Chapter Six: An Unwelcome
Chapter Seven: A Secret
Chapter Eight: A Call
Chapter Nine: The Real
Chapter Ten: Machinations
Chapter Eleven: A Reunion
Chapter Twelve: After The Show
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!