Sarah’s mother sighed wearily.
"I’m sorry, darling. We won’t be able to go to
that party next Friday."
"What party?" Sarah asked.
"Didn’t I tell you? Jeremy had three tickets to the Sun Records party, you know, that thing the Stingers and the Misfits were playing at."
"Oh, well. I don’t like those bands much anyway."
"I thought you adored Riot."
Sarah rolled her eyes. That was BEFORE she found out what a creep he was. "Things change."
"Anyway, dear, I just wanted to call and tell you that we canceled…the party’s been called off until they can find someone to replace the Misfits and Stingers."
Sarah sat up straight. "Really?"
"Yes, but since you didn’t know about it, I don’t see how it matters. Ciao, love!"
Sarah dropped the phone back onto the cradle and stood up, rushing out of Cindy’s room to the den, where the girls were moping around, trying not to talk about the end of Starlight House.
"Cindy! Mom just told me that they canceled the party!"
"Great," she said, non-plussed.
"So?" Marcy added, straight-forward as ever. "How does that help us?"
"Doesn’t that buy some time for the Holograms to find Jem?"
Laura let out a soft sigh. "Sarah, listen…Jem’s never abandoned us before. She’s not just missing. Something terrible must have happened to her. If she isn’t here, then she’s not showing up."
Sarah thought it over. It was possible…but she didn’t think that was what had happened. She opened her mouth to argue with Laura, but Ashley’s voice cut in.
"Wait a minute! What’s wrong with us? Even if something *did* happen to Jem, she wouldn’t want us acting this way! She worked so hard for Starlight House, everyone did. And Sarah’s come in here offering us another chance and all we’re doing is acting like it’s all over."
"Yeah," said Cindy, sitting up. "We ought to be thinking of a way to get the Holograms back into the party!"
"There must be *something* they can do…" Marcy frowned, deep in thought.
"Well," Laura said in her soft, shy voice. "I think I maybe have an idea…"
Jerrica Benton, standing just inside the
door of the mansion, closed her eyes and rubbed them tiredly. It
had been a very long day. Yet another very long day in a string
of long days, actually. She wanted nothing more than to put a
finger to her Jemstar earrings and disappear behind the facade of
the rock star, if only for a few hours. But Jerrica Benton
couldn’t afford to vanish for even five minutes. The
investigators were still unconvinced that she had nothing to do
with the Underground Music break in. They practically prowled the
halls of Starlight Mansion, and it was everything Jerrica could
do to keep them from sending her girls to foster homes during the
investigation. If something crucial happened and she wasn’t
there, what would happen to them? And anyway, her girls needed
her right then. It was about nine in the evening, and the girls
usually waited for her in the living room. She would come in, and
all of them would pretend it wasn’t a premeditated meeting,
and they would tell her about their day, talk about their idols,
share their secrets. It was really her favorite time of the day.
She wondered, as she started through the rooms, how many more
nights she would have with them.
She smiled. The kitchen and dining room were spotless. Raya was doing as told and keeping them on task. Jerrica knew it was good for them not to break their routines, and besides, the little chores might give them some measure of distraction. She sighed, sad again. She missed the bustle of after-dinner clean-up. The chatter and laughter of the girls. Marcy’s jokes, and Laura’s light-hearted singing. And their new girl, Cindy, coming slowly and gently out of the shock of her parents’ deaths.
Enough melancholy, she told herself firmly. And she walked, completely unnoticed, into the room where the Starlight girls were arguing.
"No!" Sarah said. "You don’t understand. He’s not what you think he is!"
"Sarah’s right," Cindy said. "There’s a little more to the story than that…"
"But it’s the only way," Ashley countered. "Unless you know where Jem is."
"Yeah," Marcy added. "I’m going to tell Kimber about it."
Sarah shook her head. "No," she said again.
"Tell Kimber about what?" Jerrica interrupted. The girls spun around to face her.
"The party’s been postponed!" Ashley cried. "We still have time to think of something!"
"What?" Jerrica asked. "Why?"
Marcy laughed. "Misfits and Stingers backed out. Who knows why. And who cares? It gives the Holograms a chance!"
"But, Marcy, girls…You know Jem can’t be there."
"We thought of something better," said Ashley.
"No we didn’t," Sarah hissed.
"Yes we did," Laura said, her voice firm and stronger than they’d ever heard it. "I think we should get Jareth Trevale to play with the Holograms. He can sing the leads. They can do some Holograms songs, and some of his songs. I’ll bet they could learn them in no time. You can set it up, Jerrica."
"I’d…I’d have to talk to the other Holograms first," Jerrica said, trying to keep herself in check. The girls had one hell of an idea, one that might just save the day…but she didn’t want to get their hopes up. Or hers.
"Then go talk to them!" Ashley urged.
"I don’t think this is a good idea," Sarah said. It was the voice of someone who knows they’ve been beaten, and probably for the best. She didn’t want Starlight to go under.
But she didn’t trust Jareth Trevale any more than she did Jareth the Goblin King.
Not one bit.
Kimber didn’t have to think twice.
"Are you kidding? I’d love to!"
Aja nodded. "This could be fun, Jerrica. We should have thought of this in the first place."
"Can you imagine the crowd we’re going to draw?" cried Raya, her dark eyes lighting up at the idea. "Everyone’s going to want to see this concert. We can do some of our songs and some of his..."
"Well, *that* you’ll have to discuss with Jareth," said Jerrica. "And to do that, we’ll have to find out whether or not he wants to do this."
"Are you going to call him?" asked Raya.
"He’s not taking calls," Jerrica said thoughtfully. "Who knows why? We’ll have to send someone. I can’t go…"
"I know just the person," said Raya. "In fact, I know just the *people*."
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