Arc Three: When Life Goes On...
Shadow Of The Girl

Chapter Ten: Complications

Chimera pushed aside her dinner plate, getting to her feet and making her way to the window of her hotel room, glancing down to see if anyone she knew was around. She had been all set to go out in search of her niece when her daughter had phoned, wanting to ask a question about the video and, with pressure on and her loyalties torn, Chimera had told her to come to the hotel. Marissa had acquiesced, telling her that Luca would drive them, and Chimera had settled herself to wait.
"But they're not here yet, and it's getting late." She muttered. "Precious time! I know that being a music star is a busy job, but seriously, Marissa, you could have chosen some other day to break your habit of punctuality."
She grimaced, sitting down in the room's comfy chair and ignoring the feeling of discomfort in her stomach.
"I had the goddamn thing removed, it's not going to stop me from doing things now." She muttered. "Besides, I have way too much to do to worry about a little convalescence stomach ache. It'll heal - the doctor said so. And if Marissa and Luca aren't here soon, I'm going to go to Misfit Music and demand to know where Emily is. Even Pizzazz won't be a pain in the butt when she realises what's afoot."
She glanced out of the window once again, as there was a knock at her door and she gave a sigh of relief, getting to her feet and pulling back the chain.
"You took your time." She scolded her daughter as the two musicians entered the hotel room.
"I'm sorry, we got held up by Rory having a rant about something Stefana said to one of the medical staff at the hospital." Marissa looked apologetic. "I think they're about ready to cut her loose, though. I think they'll have to, actually, before she racks up a lawsuit."
"Sounds like young Stefana is on the mend." Chimera looked amused. Luca rolled his eyes.
"You're telling me." He said dryly. "She told the chief nurse that one of the other nurses was having an affair with the doctor in the x-ray department."
"The chief nurse is married to the doctor in the x ray department." Marissa rolled her eyes. "And it turned out to be true."
"Well, she always was an intelligent kid." Chimera laughed. "So what exactly can I do for you guys?"
"Something in your notes didn't make sense - we couldn't decipher your writing." Marissa pulled the sheet out from her folder, handing it to her mother. "Translation?"
"Hmm?" Chimera took the sheet, skimming over it. "It's just some rough notes about the lighting." She looked rueful. "When Sakura was in America, she never had any problem with working out my scrawl - but everyone else seems to think me impossible to read. It's just to do with the various colour combinations that you might want to use. That's all. Nothing major."
"Oh, okay." Marissa smiled. "And maybe Aunt Kaori will come back to America. I hope so, since if she does, Farah will come back with her."
"Yes, very true." Chimera agreed. "I'd like to hope so, I miss them both."
She frowned. "Speaking of family, Marissa, I hate to run out on you but I have something else I really have to do today, regarding another member of our ever surprising family."
"We have family in Los Angeles?" Marissa looked startled.
"Yes." Chimera looked rueful. "And I should have told you a long time ago about my half sister, but we never spoke and it didn't seem important."
"I have an aunt?" Marissa stared.
"More than that, Mari." Chimera shifted into a more comfortable position, trying to ignore the pain as she considered the best way to explain the situation. "You are acquainted with Phyllis Gabor?"
"Well, of course. Couldn't help but be." Marissa nodded.
"She's one of those people you know and avoid if you work for Rebel Records." Luca added.
"Well, that's her." Chimera spread her hands. "You know that your Grandmother was married twice...Pizzazz was her daughter from her first marriage. She hates me because in her eyes I broke up her family...Mom's affair with Dad resulted in me and she left Harvey because of it."
"Holy..." Luca fell silent, his expression incredulous. Marissa's eyes could not get any bigger.
"Phyllis Gabor is your sister?" She managed finally. "Does that make Sirena cousin?"
"Yes, and that's why she came to see me at Rebel Records the other day." Chimera nodded. "I didn't know Pizzazz had any children - I'm out of the loop and I'm not the kind of family she would have told, anyway. But Emily and I had a long chat the other morning...I rather regret the fact that I didn't know. Pizzazz is a liability where children are concerned, but I worked out how old Emily must be, and I was just married to your father when she happened. I could have taken the baby off my sister's hands and prevented any kind of mess."
"Get that, Mari, you and Sirena could've grown up together." Luca observed.
"I'm still reeling from the fact we're family." Marissa admitted. "So what's the problem, Mom? What is it you have to do today?"
Briefly Chimera outlined the conversation she had heard in the office.
"I don't think Sirena's a fool." Luca said once she had finished. "She's not going to suddenly take up with this guy just because he's turned up on her doorstep."
"You don't know Eric." Chimera said darkly. "I do. I worked for the Misfits whilst Eric was in charge at the company. He's a slimy, wily character and Emily is a girl who's badly wanting a family, however tough she seems. More, it wouldn't surprise me if she wants to find a family for that little boy of hers. Struck me when we met that...Michael, is it? is very important to her."
"Poor Sirena." Marissa looked troubled. "I'd hate a Dad like that. I mean, you and Dad aren't married any more, Mom, but it's not like I don't see or speak to my father and I know that Dad loves Farah and I to death still."
"Indeed." Chimera nodded. "Which is why I intend on using this family tie I've discovered in trying to warn Emily what she's up against. I..." She trailed off, her face draining of all colour.
"Mom?" Marissa looked anxious.
"I'm okay." Chimera struggled to regain her composure. "Just a bit sore still from my surgery, that's all."
"Then you shouldn't be running around Los Angeles." Marissa scolded. "I totally forgot about that- you're supposed to be resting. You always were a terrible patient."
"I'm all right, Marissa, and this is more important." Chimera said firmly. She got to her feet, reaching for her purse and her shoes, but stumbled, and it was only Luca's quick thinking that prevented her from falling headlong. He caught her, carefully ushering her back down into the chair.
"Marissa's right, Suzanne. You're not fit to be running around." He said quietly. "Let Mari and I deal with Sirena. You need to stay here and rest up."
"Gah." Chimera pulled a face. "That's why I don't come to LA more often! I knew you kids would fuss!"
"Yeah, and you don't fuss over me when my diabetes has a flare up?" Marissa retorted. "Listen, Mom. You're gonna stay here and rest, else I'll call a doctor and then they'll know at home that you were disobeying orders. After all," She indicated Luca, "I have a witness."
"Okay, okay." Chimera pulled another graphic face. "But make sure you do tell her. Eric Raymond is well known for persuading people to part with money...and from what I heard, Emily is his target."
"We'll talk to her, that's a promise." Luca assured her.
"And we'll come back to see you later." Marissa added. "To make sure you really are all right, so if anything is up, call me. Got it?"
"Geez, you're worse than your stepfather." Chimera rolled her eyes. "Okay, message received. Now get out of here, okay!"
"We're gone." Luca nodded, leading the way out of the hotel room. Marissa carefully closed it behind her, pausing.
"Do you reckon Mom is okay?" She asked at length. Luca nodded.
"Yeah, just over-doing it considering the surgery she's had recently." He agreed. "Some rest will sort her out. Meanwhile, we have to find Sirena. Any ideas where to start?"
"You tell me, you're the one with a crush on her." Marissa shrugged helplessly.
"Well, you're supposed to be her biggest fan musically." Luca reminded her. "Besides, this has nothing to do with my "crush" as you call it. This has to do with Sirena and her father."
"Maybe we should start at the top." Marissa looked thoughtful. "Misfit Music. Maybe one of the Jewel girls knows something that might help us, and even if they don't, we can tackle Phyllis herself."
"Don't you mean Aunt Phyllis?" Luca teased. Marissa grinned.
"Can you imagine me calling her that?" She demanded, leading the way to the lift. "It'll be all I can do to get up my nerve to tell her what we want!"


"You have a nice place here."
Eric glanced around Sirena's apartment with approval, taking a seat on the couch and casting his daughter a smile. "You've done well for yourself despite everything you grew up through - shows fight."
"Well, if I have nothing else, I have plenty of determination." Sirena said ruefully, sitting down in one of the big chairs by the window. "It feels very odd, having you here, you know. But I suppose it dawned on me that I really don't know anything about you, or you about me. And it's true that it's not your fault you didn't know I was born."
"Do I detect some tension between you and your mother?"
"I don't know." Sirena admitted. "When I first signed for her company, I was her priority in a lot of ways...but it feels like the novelty has worn off for her. You know, of having a kid? I'm pushed here or there for composition - if it hadn't been for Jetta's daughter Nancy I probably wouldn't have had a lot of material to use over the last twelve months - and now she's had the nerve to say it's not critical I have a record out in the next couple of weeks. This is my career, and Michael's stability - what in hell should I do?"
"She has you over a barrel, it seems." Eric looked thoughtful, considering things carefully. "After all, you have a small boy to support."
"Yeah, and she delights in calling him my brat." Sirena rolled her eyes. "Like she wishes he wasn't even there. I'm beginning to think more and more that Grandpa bullied her into making up with me and she signed me on because I was profitable, but she doesn't actually care about what I do. She pays more attention to Jewel than she does to's always been that way." She sighed. "I'm friendly with Nancy and I owe her for the music she's pushed my way, but sometimes I do wonder who Mom would rather have as her kid."
"If you ask me, I suspect the answer would probably be neither one of you." Eric said wisely. "Pizzazz was never the mothering type."
"You don't have to tell me." Sirena sighed. "But enough of that. What brings you to Los Angeles? Did you come...just to see me?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes." Eric nodded his head. "My business in Canada is taking a lull and I took the opportunity to return I said before, family's been on my mind for a while now. I've always been a career man, but as you reach the age most men retire, you start to wonder what happens after you decide to throw in the towel. I realised that I really don't have anything there."
"Well, don't think you're the only one." Sirena said flatly. "Grandpa won't be there forever and Mike will grow up and leave home...I'm in the same boat as you."
"Which is perhaps why you invited me here?" Eric suggested. Sirena looked startled, then she frowned.
"Don't know." She admitted. "I was curious. I've tended to believe Mom's side of things for so long, but she never told me about Chimera, and so if she didn't tell me that, what else has she kept a secret? She would've kept me a secret if she had had her way. She didn't even bother to tell you!"
"Image is important to your mother."
"Yes. Her image." Sirena snorted. "Noone else's matters. Only her and her stupid Gabor heritage and damn music company and business empire. Everyone else can go to hell. Me included."
"You changed your name to Gabor." Eric reminded her.
"Of course I did. I wanted to belong to Grandpa's family, and even more, I wanted Mike to." Sirena shrugged. "What else would you suggest I do?"
"Am I to assume, then, that you have quite a rapport with Harvey?" Eric was curious, and inwardly excited. Harvey Gabor, he knew, was still a very wealthy man and as Sirena had said herself, he wouldn't live forever. Sooner or later Harvey would pass on, and if his suspicions were correct, his daughter would feature in the will.
"So keeping her sweet might benefit me in the long run as well as the short run." He mused, as she nodded. "Better and better."
Out loud he said,
"Where is your son, anyway?"
"In San Diego, with Grandpa." Sirena ran her fingers through her thick wavy hair. "Mom led me to believe it'd be a busy week...she was wrong."
"You miss him?" Eric did his best to conceal the note of relief in his voice that he would not have to play up to an eleven and a half month old infant too.
"Yeah." Sirena nodded. "I'm used to having him around."
Eric hesitated for a moment, considering his words carefully. Then,
"I heard about what Riot did with your contract. He always was a slick operator, even when he was leader of the Stingers. Keeping him and his companions within the law was almost as hard as keeping the Misfits under control."
"Rory Llewelyn can go to hell, I don't give a damn about him these days." Sirena dismissed this with a careless gesture. "He lost out - I was his biggest selling act."
"Which is easily proven by the speed with which you secured yourself another recording contract." Eric observed. "You evidently know how to get where you want to be...I admire that." He smiled. "I think you inherited it from me."
"Mom has it too, so maybe I got a double dose." Sirena suggested dryly. "What about it?"
"Well, I've been wondering about relocating my business back to this city." Eric told her. "Canada is all very well, but renewing my paperwork to stay there is always a bind and sometimes - like now - there's a delay in the process and I wind up rather stranded. To work in America again would be much easier."
"Mom would love that." Sirena snorted. "Having you on her doorstep."
"Well, I don't much care to have any kind of contact with your mother." Eric told her quietly. "I've done business with Phyllis Gabor and lost out. I'm not going to make that mistake again. This time I want to keep things firmly on the level."
"What kind of business?" Despite herself, Sirena was curious.
"In Canada, I run a string of nightclubs. You might remember that." Eric spread his hands. "I was hoping that I might extend the empire south of the border."
"Los Angeles has a lot of clubs." Sirena pointed out. "Won't another one be lost among the rest?"
"Well, you're right, of course, but then Toronto also has a lot of clubs." Eric responded. "And I've been fine there. It all depends on the kind of talent you field." He paused, then, "I saw you perform on television the other night...I was proud to be your father. You shone brighter than your mother ever did, out there with the fans screaming."
Sirena stared.
"You saw my concert?" She demanded.
"Of course I did." Eric lied. "You're my daughter. I wanted to know what you were doing - and I was damn impressed. You have way more talent than your mother seems to give you credit for."
"Well, we agree on something." Sirena rolled her eyes. "But there's not a lot I can do about it."
Eric looked thoughtful.
"Well, my dear, maybe there is." He said slowly. "I have a proposition for you...tell me what you think."

Prologue: February 1997  
Chapter One: Sirena's Show

Chapter Two: A Plot
Chapter Three: In California
Chapter Four: About Chimera
Chapter Five: Sirena's Aunt
Chapter Six: A Special Quest
Chapter Seven: The Plot Hatches
Chapter Eight: Eric Strikes
Chapter Nine: Webchat
Chapter Ten: Complications
Chapter Eleven: Handling Emily
Chapter Twelve: A Discovery
Chapter Thirteen: A Birthday Surprise

Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, Sirena, Topaz, Aaron, Sophie, Justin, Elliot, Rosita, 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!