It Must've Been Love

Chapter Eight: Melanie

"Hey, Sylvie."
Jack Miller swung open the door of his downtown apartment, casting his visitor a warm smile. "Good practice this morning, huh? I just put coffee on, your timing is perfect."
"What can I say? I was born perfect." Sylva returned the grin with a playful one of her own, absently noticing how attractive he looked that morning, then berating herself for thinking that way. She had to get this under control before it took over her whole life!
"Come on in, anyhow." Jack pushed the door back to allow her into the hall. "And take a seat. Someone's kinda looking forward to..."
"Sylvieeee!" An excited cry came from down the hall, neatly interrupting Jack's speech as a small blond haired blur flung herself on the visitor. Sylva laughed, crouching down and scooping the small girl into her arms, secretly glad of her timely interruption, for she had not liked where her thoughts had been heading.
"Hi, trouble." She said affectionately.
"Daddy said you were comin'." Courtenay announced.
"Yep, and here I am. I keep my promises." Sylva agreed. "Did you miss me while I was in Europe and Vermont, huh?"
Courtenay nodded her blond head.
"Don't go away again." She ordered. "'Kay?"
Sylva laughed.
"Well, it's kinda my job, but I'm not planning on going anywhere for a bit." She responded gently. "I'll be in California for Christmas...did you write Santa yet?"
"Daddy did." Courtenay responded. Jack grinned.
"Yes. Santa's gonna be a busy guy this year, if Courtenay gets her way." He observed, amused. "Hey, Court, you gonna play hostess while I get drinks, take Syl into the lounge?"
Courtenay nodded importantly once more, wriggling out of her companion's grip and taking her hand, pulling her towards the lounge.
"Come an' sit." She said. "Daddy's makin' coffee."
Sylva went obediently with her young companion, taking the proffered seat and, much to her surprise and secret delight the small girl clambered clumsily up onto her lap.
"Did you write Santa too?" She asked curiously.
"Mm, Santa doesn't bring toys for grown ups." Sylva responded carefully. "He's far too busy getting presents for all the children."
"Oh!" Courtenay looked startled, then, "I wanna gets you a present then."
"Aww, Court, that's cute, but you don't have to." Sylva hugged her. "So what do you want for Christmas this year then, huh?"
Courtenay frowned, then,
"I want Mommy to come home." She said quietly. Sylva looked startled.
"What? You want your Mommy? Does your father know that?"
Courtenay shook her head.
"Its a secret." She said confidentially. "I tolded it to Santa when he wasn't looking, when we went to the mall an' I sat on Santa's lap."
"Oh, I see." Frantically Sylva's mind was working, trying to work out the young girl's change of heart. Never had Courtenay mentioned her mother before, and Sylva had been of the understanding that the girl had been too young to remember the day the woman had stepped out of their lives. "Do you miss her, then?"
Courtenay hesitated, then,
"Can I tell you another secret?"
"Of course you can. Friends share secrets." Sylva assured her.
"You promise not to tell Daddy?"
"I swear." Sylva said solemnly. "What's up?"
"I want that woman to go away."
"That woman? What woman?"
"Melanie. I thoughted if my Mommy came back an' Daddy would be in love with her again an' he wouldn't want that woman any more, cos he said she was gonna be like a special new Mommy an' I don't like her."
Before Sylva could respond, Jack entered with a tray containing two mugs of coffee and a beaker of juice which Courtenay scooped up eagerly. He cast his guest a warm grin, sitting down on the sofa.
"It feels like an age since we last spoke face to face." He admitted. "You've been busy."
"Yeah, I'm sorry. Downfall of the job." Sylva dimpled, but the smile did not quite reach her eyes. Jack sensed she was preoccupied and he frowned.
"Something's bothering you." He observed. "What's up, Sylvie? Something wrong?"
"No. No, I'm fine." Sylva told him. "Really, Jack!" As her companion raised an eyebrow. "I'm good. Just tired. Oh, and I've missed you guys too - especially this little horror." She tickled Courtenay at this juncture, causing the girl to giggle and almost overturn her cup of juice. Her father hurriedly retrieved it from her grip, casting Sylva an accusing look with made her stop.
"Sorry...I wasn't paying attention." She apologised sheepishly. "She didn't spill, did she?"
"No...I got to it in time." Jack assured her. "I..." He paused, hearing a knock at the door. "Oh! That must be Melanie. I asked her to come by, I wanted you to meet her. Like I told you last night, I respect your judgement."
"Oh, you did?" Sylva tried to inject a note of interest into her voice, quelling the panic inside her. Meet Jack's girlfriend? Already? When she herself felt so uncertain of her own feelings?
As Jack headed out into the hall to answer the door, she swallowed hard. What would Melanie be like? Why didn't Courtenay like her? What was going on here, anyhow?
As the door of the lounge opened she felt the small girl tense up, and instinctively she hugged her tighter. A waft of perfume drifted into the room, shortly followed by an elegant, full-lipped blond whom, Sylva had no doubt, could have easily been a supermodel. She wore stiletto heels, and a stylish outfit which so obviously spoke of expensive taste, and she cast Courtenay a smile as she entered.
"Hi there, kiddy!" She said, her tone all warmth and playfulness. "How're you, huh? Wanna come give me a hug hello?"
"No." Courtenay shook her head, embarassing her father and Sylva both utterly in the process. "Wanna stay with Sylvie."
"Mel, I'm sorry...Court hasn't seen Syl for a know how kids are." Jack hastened to smooth over the situation, but the elegant woman shrugged.
"It's quite all right." She assured him, bestowing an equally radiant smile on the uncomfortable houseguest. "So you're Sylvina? I've heard a lot about you, my dear. Quite the little playmate for Courtenay, I understand."
"She's a very sweet and intelligent kid. I like playing with her." Sylva responded the smile with a genial one of her own. Melanie laughed, taking a seat and removing her heels.
"It's nice to get these things off - my boss is a stickler for well dressed execs and I can never get them in my size." She remarked.
"Coffee, Mel?" Jack asked. Melanie nodded.
"Ooh, that'd be great...thank you."
"Not a bother." Jack winked, disappearing back into the kitchen and leaving Sylva and his new girlfriend together for the first time.
"You're a musician, isn't that right?" Melanie seemed interested. Sylva nodded.
"Yes...I play keyboard in a band based here in LA. We're pretty successful."
"That's neat." Melanie smiled. "I'm not musical myself, I must admit...tone deaf as a matter of fact."
"Sylvie sings real good." Courtenay piped in. Sylva blushed, not understanding why her usual self-confidence had deserted her. For the first time in her life she felt decidedly inferior. Melanie was older than her, evidently successful in her line of work and her friendly, charming nature was disarming to say the least. More and more she felt helpless. How could she hope to compete against a woman who, to all appearances, was perfect?
"I'd be interested to hear you then, some time." Melanie spoke now. "Though I think Jack has your disks, so I'm sure he'll lend 'em to me." She grinned. "You know, I have to be honest, when Jack told me he'd invited a girl over, I was a little...well, hesitant. Didn't know the deal. But he told me you were his best friend and that Courtenay thought the world of you - I can see why. You obviously have a natural way with children."
Was it Sylva's imagination, or was there a slightly wistful edge to the older woman's voice at this juncture? She shrugged it off. Try as she might, she could not find anything to dislike about Jack's chosen girlfriend, and it irked her.
"Nobody's perfect." She told herself inwardly. "So what's her deal, then?"
At that moment Jack returned with Melanie's drink, and the conversation relaxed into idle, light banter and general conversation. Courtenay, Sylva noted, remained quiet throughout, and clung tight to the keyboardist's hand, only letting it go reluctantly when that girl announced that she had to leave. For Sylva it had been both an ordeal and a pleasure, and these two conflicting emotions swirled up inside her as she made her way slowly back to the Starlight Mansion.
So what now?
How could she compete with a woman who was perfect?

Chapter One: Twilight In California
Chapter Two: Diablo's Place
Chapter Three: A Shopping Encounter
Chapter Four: Some New Acquaintances
Chapter Five: A Girl In Love
Chapter Six: Topaz's Advice
Chapter Seven: A Professional Saboteur
Chapter Eight: Melanie
Chapter Nine: A Lover's Tiff
Chapter Ten: Sylva's Decision
Chapter Eleven: One Night At Le Klub Kool
Chapter Twelve: The Morning After

Chapter Thirteen: Stefana Again
Chapter Fourteen: Luca Confesses

Chapter Fifteen: A Christmas Party
Chapter Sixteen: Repercussions

Chapter Seventeen: Christmas Eve on TV

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!)