Chapter Three: A Shopping Trip
Never have I been more damn glad to get out of a place than I was to get out of that dumb chalet this morning. I didn't sleep much during the night and it bothered me. Did Sylva's bitching really get to me that much? I can't believe that it did. But I tossed and turned most all night long.
Maybe it was more something else...I don't know. I can't stop thinking about Mike...silly as it seems. I've been complaining for ages that I needed a break and to get away from being a Mom for a while, so when Grandpa suggested this I jumped at it, even though I did have to share with Jewel. Actually, though they don't realise it, it's partly thanks to me they're even here. I knew Nancy was feeling stressed out and unable to write, because I caught her in the studio the day after Jewel came home from their European tour, ripping up sheets of manuscript with a vengeance. She looked ready to cry at the time. I don't know what it is about Nancy that's different from the others, but I can talk to her without a problem and I kinda felt that, well, I oughta exercise this whole friendship thing we began almost a year ago now and ask her what was up. A vacation seemed the perfect solution, so when Grandpa offered me the chalet, I asked if I could invite Nancy along. I knew she'd want to bring that Copper girl, but sure, I could've handled that. What I didn't expect was for Mom to suggest all four of them tagged along and got their heads straight, as she put it. Last thing I want to do is share for a week with Sylvina...the girl's more shallow than a puddle. But what could I do? Arguing with Mom is rarely an option, let me tell you! And I did need the break, especially after Mike got out of his pen and managed to demolish my cd rack. How the kid didn't get hurt in the process is beyond me, but it was the last straw...I figured anything had to be better than sitting playing babysitter all the time.
Boy was I wrong. Not only am I stuck with the big mouthed flirt from Washington DC, I'm also missing Mike so badly that I really can't understand what's up with me. It's not so bad when I'm with the others, probably because I'm used to not showing my real feelings in front of people anyway, but when I'm on my own I feel like crying, and that's the dumbest thing ever. I'd just die if Sylva saw me, too...I have to get a cap on my emotions.
Trouble will begin though, I can see it, as soon as she realises I can't ski. I don't care much either way but I'm not going to have her make me look like a freak if I can help it. If it means I don't ski, well fine, I won't. I'll keep out of her way.
Nancy might be okay but Jewel as a whole are trouble.
Although, Topaz was being friendly to me last night. What possessed her to ask me to go shopping? Why not ask Syl? They're thick as thieves according to Nancy. Weird...maybe there's something I'm not getting here.
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"Well, where do we start?" Topaz scooped up a basket from the pile,
glancing at her companion expectantly. The drive had not been long or difficult,
but it had been awkward nonetheless, for Sirena had been silent the whole
journey, staring out of the window from behind her dark glasses and idly
drumming her fingers on the seat of the four wheel drive vehicle they had
hired for the week.
"You're asking me?" The girl replied now. "I wouldn't have a clue."
"Sirena, what's bothering you?" She asked, her tone both gentle and curious and taking the singer off guard. "Don't you want to be here?"
"Tisn't that." Sirena shrugged, pulling off her soft black gloves and stuffing them into the pocket of her coat. "I just don't appreciate the reception I've had, that's all. Considering that this is my grandfather's chalet, and all that."
"I know, and I spoke to Syl last night about it, but you've not been friendly to her either." Topaz pointed out, casting her gaze along the shelves as she spoke. "It works both ways, you know, and we have to live stuck in the middle. Okay, so it's just a week, but the atmosphere shouldn't be this hostile from the off."
"Well, tough. Tell Sylva to behave like a human being and I'll be civil to her." Sirena shrugged. "That's all I have to say."
"Okay. Be difficult." She said finally, sounding frustrated. "Guess I shouldn't have bothered trying to be friendly with you...you just don't get it, do you?"
"You know nothing about me, Topaz. Don't pretend that you do." Sirena replied icily. "Are we shopping or what?"
"Yeah, we're shopping." Topaz sighed. "And no, I mightn't know every detail about your life, Sirena, but I do have something in common with you, you know."
"Oh? Amaze me."
"I don't speak to my mother, either."
"Why in hell not?" Despite herself, Sirena looked startled. "What did you do, tarnish your record with her or something?"
"My Dad died before I was born and Mom and I basically just had each other." Topaz replied quietly. "Then when I was sixteen she remarried, and I didn't like it. Soon as I was eighteen I was out of there...I haven't seen or spoken to my mother since then."
"And you're how old now? Twenty?" Sirena asked.
"Twenty-one last month." Topaz replied. Sirena frowned.
"It's not that long, Topaz. You had her when it mattered."
"Maybe that's worse." Topaz said softly. "I loved my mother more than anyone in the world, and I thought she loved me the same. Then I came home from staying with my cousins in America one vacation and found she'd gotten a boyfriend. The next thing I knew they were getting married, and worse, I had a stepfamily to boot. My stepbrother would bully and chastise me and get me into trouble for things I hadnt done and I couldn't take it any more, so I left. I moved to Toronto and got a job..."
"With my father." Sirena finished, her tone ironic. Topaz stared.
"Eric Raymond. My father. I thought everyone knew that by now." Sirena snorted. Topaz shook her head.
"I didn't make the connection." She admitted. "Raymond's a common name, then you changed it anyway to Gabor like Phyllis, so that Michael too could have your name."
"Well, then you must be pretty dense." Sirena shrugged. "Anyway, it's beside the point. That's the creature that produced the other half of my genes...unfortunately for me."
"I never knew my Dad." Topaz responded softly. "So perhaps we aren't so different. You do have your mother now, and your Grandfather and Mike to boot. I...don't have anyone. Except...well, Jewel."
"Ironic that we're discussing all this in a general store, whilst hunting for food for the week." She pointed out wryly. Topaz looked startled, then the funny side of it hit her too, and she grinned.
"It is." She admitted. "But listen, Sirena, seriously. I don't know why Syl is so determined to be hostile, but it's not how we all feel. You and Nancy are friends and Copper and I want nothing but peace. I asked you to come with me today so that I could tell you that. You mightn't want to be friends with us and that's up to you, but please don't be at war with us."
"Friends?" Sirena laughed bitterly. "I don't make friends."
"You're friends with Nancy, though." Topaz persisted.
"Nancy...is like me." Sirena admitted. "We neither of us make friends easily."
Topaz hesitated a moment, then squeezed her companion's hand.
"Well, you could easily make another right here and now." She said with an amiable smile. "What do you think? There isn't such a gulf between Sirena and Jewel as the papers think and as you seem to think, believe me."
Sirena pulled her hand away.
"Yeah? And what do you get out of this, huh?" She demanded, her eyes narrowing. "Did Sylva put you up to this? Tell you to get me off guard? Is that what you were whispering about all last night?"
"No, don't be silly!" Hurt flashed into Topaz's blue eyes. "I meant it! But if that's how you feel...well, fine. Consider the offer withdrawn."
Sirena bit her lip. She was tired and snappish from her sleepless night, but there had been something in Topaz's expression that had hit her deeper, and she sighed.
"You meant it?" She asked finally. Topaz shrugged.
"It's not important. You're not interested." She said quietly.
"Maybe...maybe I am." Sirena frowned. "Topaz..." She broke off, then, "I just thought..."
"That everything a friend of Syl's does has an ulterior motive?" Topaz asked softly. "Is that why you trust Nancy? Because she and Syl don't always see eye to eye?"
"Guess so." Sirena shrugged. "Not that Sylva bothers me, Topaz."
"I think she does. I think you bother each other." Topaz responded. "But look, I did mean it. I want to be friends with you. If Nancy thinks so much of you, I'm willing to offer my own olive branch. Besides, I've never been into the Sirena hate trail. I was a fan of both your and Jewel's music before I signed my contract you know. And I wouldn't have offered if I didn't mean it."
"What would Sylva say?" Sirena raised an eyebrow.
"What should that matter? Syl knows she doesn't control me. That's why we're such good friends." Topaz responded with a grin. "Well? Are you really gonna snub my friendship twice in front of the frozen peas?"
Despite herself, Sirena burst out laughing at this, and soon Topaz joined her, realising the true humour of her words.
"Guess I can't refuse that." The former acknowledged once she'd recovered her composure. "I guess I should think before I jump in sometimes...I'm not good at that. And if I'm honest, Topaz, you have been decent to me despite what Sylva has said. So all right. Perhaps we can be friends. I'll give it a go, anyway. I sure as hell don't want to fight. I have too many things to worry about as it is with Michael."
"Do you miss him?" Topaz asked, as she grabbed a pack of peas and a bag of potatoes, dumping them with some difficulty in her basket. Sirena nodded.
"All the time." She admitted with a little sigh. "Every damn minute. It's crazy...but I guess I've gotten used to having him around all the time, you know? And even though it's just for a week...I miss him."
"I'm sure he misses you too, you know." Topaz told her gently. Sirena shrugged.
"Who knows what a baby thinks." She said, resigned. "So long as he still knows who I am when I come home, that's all I ask. But if it's this hard to go on vacation for a week without him, it's going to be horrible when I start touring again." She frowned. "P'raps I'm not as tough as all that after all. I didn't know how difficult it'd be to go away for a week and leave him."
"That just proves you're as human as the rest of us, and you love your son." Topaz told her. "Doesn't it?"
"Yeah, guess so." Sirena acknowledged. "Okay, enough of this mushy rubbish. We came to get food, after all, and if we stand about commiserating on our lost family ties all morning everyone else will come take the good stuff. I'll go find cereal and bread, you find some kinda cake or something, and coffee, dammit. I need my coffee in the morning."
"Okay, you got it." Topaz winked. "Who knows, we might even get back in time to ski."
"I...don't ski." Sirena looked embarrassed. Topaz grinned.
"Well, then if Syl is helping the others, I'll give you a hand." She offered. "And there are ski instructors up at the lodge, too."
"Mm. Okay." Sirena smiled slightly. "Might take my mind off things."
"You'll enjoy it." Topaz assured her. "Now, let's shop!"
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE
Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, Sirena, Topaz, Aaron, Sophie, Justin, Elliot, Rosita Madeleine, Marissa, Luca, Stefana, Clay, 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!
The concept of RayzaBlade is copyrighted to my sister Elena...^_^ (Yeah, blame her!)