Who Is She, Anyway?

Chapter Seven: Secrets

It was late by the time Stormer and Kimber returned from the shopping mall, both in high spirits and laden with new purchases with the excuse that they were 'purely to promote their new record'. It had been fun to spend time together, since during the normal scheme of things socialising opportunities were pretty rare, so Kimber was determined that all possibilities were going to be both explored and exploited while the Misfits were out of town.
Shana greeted them on the doorstep, eying their bags with amusement.
"Send you two shopping and you come home with half the mall." she observed with a grin, letting them inside. "I know that Kimber is a shopaholic - don't say she's infected you too, Stormer."
"I think I already had it." Stormer dimpled. "It was fun, though."
"You bet it was." Kimber nodded. "And now we've both got clear heads to work on things tomorrow, too. We've a bunch of songs done anyway, since we'd both written extra, and the one we were working on this morning is gonna come together just great now - everything's going real well!"
"That's good." Shana responded. "I suppose when you're ready to record you'll be calling on our services for back-up music?"
"If we can." Kimber looked pleading. "You and Aja and Raya anyway...I mean, Stormer can program a beat into her synth but there's nothing like real drums, and the guitar lines are so important!"
"I'm sure we'll help out." Shana replied laughingly. "So long as you don't want us tonight, that is. By the way, Danse is here - she's stopping for dinner with us this evening. We had a lot of fun at Haven House this afternoon, actually - those of the kids not in school were convinced it would be a good idea to help paint the place up and it's looking great. Much better than it was. Jem asked Danse back for dinner - I think Mrs Bayley's almost ready to serve."
"Outrageous! I'm starving!" Kimber exclaimed. "C'mon, Stormer, we can show everyone what we bought later!"
"Okay...I'm just going upstairs to sort my hair out, then I'll be with you." Stormer nodded. "It's a pain when the wind blows and you have curly hair that just won't behave itself!"
"We know...Raya suffers from the same problem all the time." Shana said dryly. "Lucky for me my hair isn't long enough to be bothered by such things. We'll see you at the table, anyhow. Right, Kimber?"
"You bet." Kimber nodded. "Don't take ages though, Stormer, else we'll eat without you! We've twenty odd hungry girls to feed besides us, don't forget!"
"I'll be quick!" Stormer promised, hurrying up the stairs to the bedroom she had been staying in. Scooping up her hairbrush she carefully removed the flower that she always wore tucked into her curls and ran her brush through her long hair, slipping a band into it to keep it back from her face.
"That's better." She decided. "Now for dinner...Mrs Bayley is such a good cook, it's fun to stay at Starlight Mansion sometimes."
She headed back down the stairs towards the big dining room, pausing outside the door of the main lounge as she heard voices from within. Curious, for she had expected everyone to be at dinner, she peered through the crack in the door, her eyes widening as she observed Jerrica and Aja walking through the far wall of the room and disappearing, re-appearing moments later with Aja's blue jumper. As Stormer watched, half mystified, half terrified, Jerrica made a comment to Aja, then, for no apparent reason touched her ears. A shimmering glow surrounded her and before the bewildered Misfit's eyes Jerrica became Jerrica no longer...Jerrica was Jem!
Confused beyond belief and terrified that she'd been seen Stormer hurried away from the door and into the dining room, a stricken expression on her face. The scene was somehow surreally normal, for the girls were sitting around eating dinner as they had done the night before. Ashley and Dierdra were having a heated debate about who should be first with the gravy, and Lela was busy cutting up the difficult steak for Terri. At the main table Shana and Danse were deep in conversation about something and Raya was chatting to Kimber, presumably about the day's shopping, because the redhead seemed decidedly animated about what she was discussing. Aja and Jerrica...no Jem...no, whoever she was were nowhere in sight and she took a deep breath, taking her meal from the kindly Mrs Bayley and slipping into the same seat she had had the night before, at Kimber's left hand.
Her friend shot her a confused look.
"What's up? You find a spider in the sink or something?" she asked.
"No...nothing's up." Stormer replied. "Really, Kimber. Nothing's wrong."
"Well, if you say so." Kimber shrugged. "Oh, at last! Aja, Jem, you took forever!"
"I just spoke to Jerrica - she's working late at Starlight Music tonight so she won't be with us for dinner." Jem said with a grin. "That's what took us so long."
"Looks great, Mrs Bayley." Aja, who was now wearing her jumper put in, taking her meal and sitting down at the table, casting an interested look at the feuding Ashley and Dierdra, and then picking up the disputed gravy and helping herself.
"Stormer, is something bothering you?" Jem cast Stormer a concerned look, for at her words about Jerrica the young Misfit's eyes had opened wide with disbelief and she had been unable to stop her staring.
"Oh? Who me? No, I'm fine, Jem." Stormer looked startled. She blushed a deep red. "I'm sorry, I was just...just thinking about something, that's all."
"She's probably on planet music again. That's where she usually is when she's acting ditzy, apparently." Kimber grinned.
Stormer did not reply, merely turning her attention firmly onto her meal. As she did so, she tried to make sense of what she'd seen. Aja and Jerrica had walked through a wall...then Jerrica had changed into Jem...none of it made any sense.
"I'm working too hard." she murmured to herself as she mechanically began to cut up her potatoes. She shot Jem a sidelong glance, but the singer seemed to be acting perfectly normally, and more and more Stormer began to wonder if she'd imagined what she'd seen.
But deep down she knew that she hadn't.
The only problem was what to do next. She frowned, considering. Whatever she did, she had to be cautious. Jerrica...Jem...whichever she really was might be angry if she knew that she'd been observed, and Stormer didn't want to upset anyone unduly. More, she didn't know who else might be party to the information, other than Aja.
As she ate, barely tasting the food she was putting into her mouth, something dawned on her, and the irony of it almost made her dissolve into hysterical, panicked laughter.
Pizzazz had spent so long trying to find out who Jem really was so that she could tell the world...and now she, Stormer knew the truth...and didn't want to tell anyone for fear of getting in trouble!
"Some Misfit I am." She muttered. "If I was a real Misfit I'd tell Pizzazz the moment she got back from New York. That'd make her less mad at me, if she even believed me."
But she knew that she wouldn't. Jerrica was Kimber's sister, and Kimber was her friend. For Stormer, loyalty was important.
Once dinner was over - and for the bemused Misfit it couldn't come soon enough - Kimber dragged the young musician upstairs to her bedroom, pulling her inside and shutting the door, leaning up against it and folding her arms.
"Okay, talk." she instructed. Stormer stared at Kimber blankly.
"What happened between us coming in from the mall and you arriving at dinner that made you act like a spaced zombie the whole mealtime, and made you stare at poor Jem as if she wasn't even from this planet, huh?"
"Oh! I...I didn't realise I was staring." Stormer blushed.
"Well, you were, and I'm sure Jem noticed it." Kimber responded. "What's up, Stormer? It wasn't like you. You didn't answer half of the things Aja and I were asking you. What gives?"
"Why did Jem say Jerrica was at Starlight Music?" Stormer asked.
Kimber frowned.
"Maybe she is." she responded, her tone slightly guarded, but Stormer picked up on it.
"You know that she isn't." she reproached her friend. "Jem was lying...why would she do that?"
"What makes you think that she is?" Kimber countered.
"Well, I saw Jerrica here at Starlight Mansion before I came to dinner." Stormer responded, carefully omitting the other things she'd seen. "I didn't think Jem told lies."
"Perhaps she was mistaken. Nobody's perfect, Stormer." Kimber shrugged. "It's no big deal, anyway."
"What if it is a big deal?" Stormer demanded.
"Huh?" Now Kimber looked confused.
"Well, what if Jem wasn't mistaken, she just wasn't telling the truth. What then?"
"Okay, now you've lost me." Kimber replied. "Stormer, whatever my sis...Jem said, I'm sure she had good reason...Ow! Stormer, let go of me!" For in her eagerness the Misfit had grabbed her friend by the wrists.
"You were going to say your sister!"
"Was I? Slip of the tongue. Jem and Jerrica are very similar names and I've known Jem a long time. Easy mistake to make really." Kimber replied almost too quickly. "Will you let me go? You're cutting off my circulation!"
"I'm sorry." Contrite, Stormer released her grip. "But you're lying to me...why? Why is everyone lying tonight? Is everyone always lying round here or is it just for my benefit?"
"What?" Kimber looked confused.
"Kimber, I know that Jerrica wasn't at Starlight Music. You want to know why?"
"Why?" Kimber sat down on the bed, her friend sitting down beside her.
"Because I know that they're the same person!"
"What?" Kimber's eyes opened wide with horror. "Who told you that!"
"Nobody told me." Stormer responded. "Kimber, I saw her change! I don't know how she did it and it freaked the life out of me, but I know what I saw!"
"Oh God." Kimber bit her lip. "Stormer, you can't have...you really can't..."
"Well, I did! I'm sorry, but I did! I heard voices and I looked to see who it was and I saw Jerrica change to Jem." Stormer retorted. "If you don't mind, it's still blowing my mind just a little."
"Listen...Jem's identity is a secret for a lot of reasons, none of which I can tell you without talking to Jerrica first." Kimber responded slowly. "All I can tell you is that it involves a machine and that if the world knew how it was done then it could be dangerous...so you can't tell anyone. Please, Stormer, promise me you won't. If Pizzazz and the other Misfits knew..."
"I haven't any intention of telling them." Stormer interrupted. "They'd think I was insane!"
"Still, promise me you won't tell anyone! Not...not even Craig!"
"Okay, I promise." Stormer sighed. "I promise, okay? To be honest with you I'd rather not have seen anything. Knowing the truth behind Jem is not all it's cracked up to be."
"Okay. Good." Kimber looked relieved. Then, "Danse is still here so we can't do anything about this yet...so I suggest we wait till tomorrow before we talk to Jerrica herself about this."
"You're gonna tell her?"
"Got to, if you want to know the whole deal." Kimber shrugged. "She won't be mad, Stormer...if you'd ever have become a Hologram she'd most likely have told you anyway."
"To think that for so long now we've been wondering who she could be and it's been right there under our noses all the time." Stormer mused, her expression thoughtful. "I know Eric thought it was Jerrica at first, till we saw them together, then he told his private detective that that was impossible. We thought it was impossible...only evidently it isnt. Whatever this machine is, it's gotta be something pretty special."
"It is." Kimber nodded. "My father made it. And that's all I'm saying without Jerrica's knowledge, Stormer. I'm sorry, but that's how it is...you do understand, dont you?"
"No...I don't." Stormer sighed. "But hopefully I soon will do. I'm a bit hurt that you lied to me, but I suppose you did have a good reason, whatever that is and I won't get mad. I just need some time to think it through, that's all."
"Okay." Kimber looked pained but she nodded, getting to her feet. "I'll give you some space. See you in the morning, okay? Sweet dreams."
"Yeah, maybe." Stormer responded. "Goodnight, Kimber. Let's hope things clear themselves up in the morning."

Chapter One: The Misfits On Break
Chapter Two: Chimera
Chapter Three: Kimber's Proposition
Chapter Four: The Stingers' Tour
Chapter Five: Personality Clash!
Chapter Six: Writer's Block
Chapter Seven: Secrets
Chapter Eight: Betrayal
Chapter Nine: Chimera's Plan
Chapter Ten: Double Trouble
Chapter Eleven: Synergy
Chapter Twelve: As If Nothing Happened...

(The Misfits and Holograms and other animated Jem characters are copyrighted to Hasbro Inc. All characters who do not appear in Jem episodes are my own creation. This story is copyrighted to E.A Woolley (2001)