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Pride, Prejudice & Jimmy Choos
a.k.a. The Cliiiiiiimb

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"Fans of famed pop star Lola Dakota were left crushed and drenched this morning when the singer failed to appear as planned for ABC affiliate Good Morning America's concert in the park series…"

The reporter's words were abruptly cut short as the television set was shut off. A statuesque man with thinning gray hair dropped the remote control onto the marble desk top with disgust. Tugging on the jacket of his five-thousand dollar suit, he addressed the other person in the room.

"I thought I paid you to keep a handle on this kind of stuff," he grumbled, shifting through the stack of magazines whose cover headlines catalogued the downfall of the singing sensation.


--Paps target LoDa and gossip maven Jaminez Olsen partying together?--

--Dakota career on its way South?--

--Lola fans left wanting more--

--Pop princess gone wild!--

The woman sitting in one of the high-backed chairs that was positioned in front of the desk swiveled her chair around to face him. The striking contrast between her auburn hair and her light green eyes enhanced the flash of annoyance that covered her face.

"Sure, you pay me to cover the sharks and to make sure that the Dakota franchise keeps its place as the reigning queen of the pop scene, but as long as your client takes her spiral public, there is absolutely nothing I can do to spin this. I'm not here to babysit. Maybe if she hadn't gotten rid of her assistant, she'd be able to make it to her stage dates."

The weary record executive sighed and leaned back in his chair. "I thought this assistant had tougher skin than the last few."

"She almost ran her down with her car in the middle of Rodeo Drive. Working with Lola requires more than tough skin, sir."

"Well, the trades are known to exaggerate in order to sling their wares."

"Dr. Phil called," she stated in answer to his comment.

"Damn. It's gotten that bad?"

She nodded.

"I have half a mind to let that quack have a go at her." He paused and sighed. "I guess I probably shouldn't ask if you know where she is right now," he started, resigning to shaking his head when the woman responded with a pointed look.

"We're lucky if she knows where she is right now."

The sound of someone fumbling with the door handle drew their attention.

"Speak of the devil and she shall appear," the woman continued in amusement.

The appearance of a tall blonde stumbling into the room spurned the man to stand up. "Lola," he ground out. "What the hell are you doing here?"

Lola frowned and lifted a hand to her head as if in pain. With one eye open, she glanced around the room. "This is my suite," she answered, then hesitated, "isn't it?" She grinned widely at the other woman. "Hey, Mercy! What are you doing here?"

"Ms. Mercer is here to clean up your mess," the man answered, eliciting stunned looks from both women.

"Mr. Lane, I thought we'd established that there's not much to be done…"

"My mess? What mess?"

"The concert you missed," he answered. "Good Morning America. Ring any bells?"

Lola's face scrunched. "The concert's tonight."

"No, it was at six o'clock this morning—hence the whole 'Good Morning' part."

"Well that's insane," Lola said laughing and wobbling her way toward the bedroom section of the large hotel suite. "Nobody wants to go to a concert at six in the morning." She turned and saw the expressions on the faces of her visitors. "Relax, we'll reschedule."

"It's not that simple, young lady."

"Sam, chill," she said lifting a hand to ward him off. "I'm Lola. Everybody loves Lola. Remember the TV show? This goose is golden," she said, making an elaborate flourish with her hands and shooting him a self-assured smile. Her expression sobered as her balance suddenly shifted, causing her to reach out and brace against the wall. "Whoa."

Sam glared at her silently for a minute before appearing to come to a decision. "Tess, as of right now, Lola's on hiatus," he declared before turning and stalking toward the door.

Tess hurried after him. "For how long?" she asked near panic.

"I don't know yet."

"Well, what do you want me to do?"

Sam jerked the door open and turned to face her. "Your job," he stated firmly. "Spin it." He glanced over to where Lola was attempting to take off her boots while holding onto the wall. "I'll worry about getting her fixed."

Tess released a long breath when the door closed behind her boss. Her mind was already sorting through a number of tasks that would have to be done in preparation for a sudden break in Lola's non-stop career.

She looked up when the sound of a thud and a giggle announced Lola's introduction to the floor. Sighing heavily, she made her way across the room to help the younger woman get up.

"He can be so dramatic sometimes, don't you think, Mercy?'

Tess turned her head so her nose was out of foul breath range as she escorted her charge to the bed. "So… where were you last night?" she asked, needing the information before the tabloids got a hold of it.

"Ohmigod, Merce, you so should have been there. Stella Cruz throws the best parties." She suddenly looked confused. "Why weren't you there?"

"Hmm, I don't know. Maybe because you had concert this morning… at the crack of dawn."

"Huh." Lola shrugged and patted her chest as a hiccup caught her off guard. "Anyway, the party like just ended twenty minutes ago. Can you believe that? Oh! Himee was there. He asked about you," she teased.

Tess' face clouded at the mention of the name—the nickname of the notorious celebrity gossip mogul who ran a website in his namesake: . She could already guess what the latest blog report was going to do to make her job harder. No longer willing to placate the younger woman, she not-so-gently pushed Lola onto the bed.

"How long are you going to keep pulling this crap?" she demanded, bracing her hands on her hips.

"Don't you start getting all grey-suitey on me too. It's such a buzz kill. I'm just having fun. You know, 'what Lola wants, Lola gets,'" she sang, swaying haphazardly to her tune.

Tess reached out and pulled the blonde wig from her head. "But you're not really Lola, are you, Lois?"

The newly uncovered Lois Lane reached up and ran a hand through her long brown locks, freeing them from the pins that held them hidden under her wig. "I've got five words for you, Mercy," she said, holding up three fingers. "Buzz. Kill."

Laughing at her own joke, Lois flopped backwards onto the bed and rolled until her head was on a pillow.

Shaking her head in disgust, Tess turned to leave.

"Wait, don't leave yet!" Lois called. "It's too bright in here—can you get the blinds?"

The only sound in response was of a closing door.

"Tess? Teeeeessssss….Come on, Tess, have mercy on me!" Lois erupted into uncontrollable laughter and reached to pull the other pillow over her head. It wasn't long before the giggles morphed into snores.

~\s/~

"You know what, Daddy? I'm really starting to dig this idea," Lois said as the plane engines died down. "Lola Dakota checks into Hawaiian rehab facility for bouts of exhaustion," she quoted, pulling her sunglasses over her eyes in preparation for outside light. Still fighting a slight headache, she had requested the shades pulled on her private plane. Smiling at her dad she continued, "Which, to you and me, translates to Lois Lane at her favorite Maui spa."

"Um-hmm," Sam grunted in agreement.

"It'll be great, you'll see," she said, brushing off his pessimism and darting toward the opening door. "A-lo-…" Her words trailed off as she took in her not-so-tropical surroundings, "…ha?"

The arms that she had raised in a victory chant slowly lowered to her side. "There are no hula people out here. I'm supposed to get flowers." She turned to face the man who was now standing behind her. "Daddy, where did Hawaii go?"

He pushed her forward and indicated that she should walk down the stairs. "We're not in Hawaii," he said, stating the obvious. "We're in Kansas."

"Kansas?" Lois repeated, dazedly responding to her father's urgings to move forward. "I can't get Lei'd in Kansas!"

tbc...