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

Chapter Eleven: Handling Emily

It was getting dark by the time the two Diablo members reached Misfit Music, and, both full of trepidation they entered the building cautiously, unsure quite how their presence would be received.
"What are we even doing here?" Marissa murmured, casting the security guard on duty a rather wan smile as she did so. "Who's idea was this?"
"We're doing something for your Mom." Luca reminded her as the guard approached. "And we want to speak to Phyllis or one of the Jewels...remember? We're not here to cause any trouble."
"Excuse me, do you have security clearance?" The guard asked.
"Um..not really." Marissa bit her lip. "I see my Aunt."
The guard raised an eyebrow.
"Oh yes?" He asked, his tone falsely pleasant. "And who might that be?"
"Miss Gabor." Marissa responded.
"Oh really?" The guard looked amused.
"She's not lying." Luca took a hand. "Really, you can ask Miss Gabor yourself. Marissa's the daughter of Miss Gabor's half sister, Suzanne."
"And I'm the brother of the Queen of Sheba." The guard told them gruffly. "Go on, scoot."
"Well, that went well." Marissa bit her lip as reluctantly they made their way back the way they came. "What are we s'posed to do now?"
"What are you guys doing here?" A voice from behind them made them start and they swung round as one person, meeting the curious looks of Nancy and Topaz.
"We hoped to see Phyllis." Luca said slowly. "It's rather important - it's about Sirena."
"Well, isn't that a coincidence." Nancy raised an eyebrow. "That's why we're here, too."
"What about Sirena?" Topaz asked.
Carefully Marissa explained.
"It's not a trick." She added hurriedly. "I'm serious. My mother is Suzanne Leroux these days but she was born Suzanne Mayor and she worked for the Misfits in video art and production under the pseudonym Chimera. Her mother was Liza Gabor - only she remarried Steven Mayor and that's how my Mom happened."
"Topaz, I think we just walked onto the set of that soap Syl insists on boring us to death with." Nancy groaned. "Run that by me again? Not only does Aunt Phyl have a daughter but also a sister? Why did I never get to hear of this?"
"Don't ask me." Marissa shrugged. "I was as in the dark as you."
"The name Chimera is familiar." Nancy admitted. "But not once did Mom or Aunt Phyl mention that she was a relative..."
"I think it's irrelevant." Topaz said quietly. "The fact is that our suspicions about Eric being involved were correct - and as bad as we feared."
"If it wasn't for what Mom overheard, I'd really like to think it was all innocent and that Eric did want to bond with Sirena." Marissa looked troubled. "But Mom wouldn't lie."
"I worked for Eric Raymond in Toronto." Topaz said grimly. "I know the kind of man he is. What you said your mother heard fits exactly with the guy who skimped on wages as much as he could and damn well worked all of us to the bone. He's a creep and that's the end of it. He might be Emily's father but she's best off without him in her life and that's a fact."
"Then we have to warn her." Luca responded quietly. He cast Topaz an uncomfortable look. "If you don't mind, we should tackle this together."
"Past is past, Luca." Topaz replied softly. "Forget it. This is more important."
"Should we bother Aunt Phyl?" Nancy glanced up at the big black building.
"We've been kicked out already by the brother of the Queen of Sheba." Luca said dryly. "I don't think we'd be popular, trying to get in again."
"If you were with us you'd be fine." Topaz assured them.
"Queen of Sheba?" Nancy stared. "Advice, Luca. Lay off the caffeine. You're hallucinating."
Marissa laughed.
"No, the guard didn't believe I was Phyllis' niece." She explained. "He got kinda sarcastic."
"So what are we going to do then?" Nancy demanded. "Eric Raymond has a lot of crap to answer for and he's generating more reserves of crap as we speak. I'd like to go give him a nice fist in the face, to be honest."
"That'd be just great, Nance, for Jewel's PR." Topaz looked amused. "Besides, I've a better idea. Whether Eric's about or not, we could go drop in on Sirena at home and give her a friendly warning."
"All of us?" Nancy raised an eyebrow.
"She might believe us better if we all go." Marissa suggested.
"More likely she'll jump on the defensive." Topaz looked doubtful.
"Well, I'm going." Luca said firmly. "Because Suzanne asked Marissa and I to do it and we gave our word we would."
"That counts me in too." Marissa nodded.
"Then Nancy and I will go quiz Phyllis." Topaz suggested.
"We will?" Nancy stared. Topaz nodded.
"We'll get past security, because we have passes and they know us." She agreed. "Besides, if anyone can get the truth out of Phyllis it's you."
"Oh,. great. You mean I can be torn to pieces." Nancy muttered, as Marissa and Luca nodded their farewells, disappearing off towards Luca's car.
"This is for Emily's sake." Topaz reminded her. "Eric probably thinks that, being Sirena and having Phyllis as a Mom, she's rolling in cash, right? He's gonna try and take her for as much as she has."
"Truth is she hasn't as much as you might think." Nancy's expression became grim. "I know that for a fact. Paying her medical bills whilst she was pregnant drained everything she had before she started working for Misfit Music and since then she's had Mike to clothe and feed as well as everything else. She's not exactly poor, I mean, she has a healthy bank balance but she's not a millionaire."
"Nor are we." Topaz reminded her dryly. "Stardom is hard work."
"True, but we split four ways." Nancy pointed out. "Still, though, Emily does have Mike and I know - though don't tell Aunt Phyl - that Em puts aside part of her wages each month. Some she's invested for Mike - college and that kind of junk I imagine, I s'pect Harvey advised her there. But since the Reunion concert, she's also been donating part of what she earns to the Jacqui Benton House at the Starlight Foundation. I think she's repaying Kimber a little for raising her - even though she's not said as much to me."
"So her money is already being split several ways." Topaz frowned. "After all, she doesn't get royalties on composition like you do, only on writing the lyrics. And of course, Mike's needs are gonna be costly ones. That in my mind makes me think worse of Eric yet. He's trying to take food out of the mouth of his own grandson by swindling his own daughter!"
"Nice guy." Nancy remarked ruefully. "Well, if we're going to talk to Aunt Phyl, we'd better do it before she leaves for the night. What do you suggest we say to her, anyway?"
"Tell her Eric's in town, explain what we know and ask her what's going on." Topaz suggested, pushing open the main doors and leading the way across the floor to the lift shaft at the far side, casting a grin at the security guard as she did so. "If Eric was in her office, and Emily and Phyllis have since rowed, she must know something about this, surely!"
"We're about to find out." Nancy said grimly, getting into the lift and hitting the button for the top door. "Either way, we're gonna try and do our bit to stop Emily being taken for a ride!"

"Should I ask exactly how it is you know where to find this place?" Marissa pushed open the door of the black BMW, stepping out and glancing aroiund her. "This is Sirena's apartment building? Why do I think you've been here before?"
"When we first met, I took her for drinks after her show. That was before she decided for some reason I was the scum of the earth." Luca explained. "I dropped her back here. Then I realised she'd left her jacket on my back seat, so I returned it."
"Mm, okay." Marissa grinned. "I believe you."
"Believe me, I don't think Sirena would have allowed anything more." Luca looked rueful. "I barely even got the door opened when I came round with the jacket. Actually, in all truth I think I made her mad because my knocking disturbed the baby. Perhaps that's why she hates me so much."
Marissa looked thoughtful, then she shook her head.
"No, I don't think so." She replied. "Mom's a pretty shrewd character and if she says that Sirena isn't as tough as she seems then I believe her. Perhaps it's more that she's afraid to trust in anyone and is a little too overprotective where Michael is concerned."
"Could be. He's never in the press, and though she'll talk about him on camera or in magazines, you never see him." Luca responded. "Sometimes I almost wonder if he really exists. At least, I would if I hadn't heard him scream the apartment building down that time."
"She's just a mother who loves her son, I guess." Marissa pursed her lips. "Well, are we going in?"
"Sure." Luca nodded, locking his car. "She's a few floors up, so I suggest we take the elevator. Your Mom didn't happen to mention what kind of car Eric drives, did she?"
"Luca, you were there, unless you've forgotten." Marissa grimaced at him, for Luca was almost as much a brother to her as he was to his blood sister Stefana. "Maybe Nancy's right. Maybe you do have to lay off the caffeine."
"I'm sorry, I'm just feeling angry that that jerk is messing about with her." Luca defended himself. "And it wasn't the most comfortable of encounters, meeting Topaz face to face. What if someone had seen us?"
"We all know there's nothing between you, so relax." Marissa assured him, leading the way into the building. "As she said. It's past."
"Yes, I know, and that's why we're going to Sylva's twenty first birthday party, though I know Stefana will freak out." Luca rolled his eyes. "But that's a whole other matter. For now we've more important things - Sirena."
"Indeed." Marissa agreed.
The corridor was quiet by the time they reached the right floor and, with a moment of hesitation Luca rapped on the door of her apartment, waiting for an answer. Part of him hoped she would be alone, but another part of him was dying to meet this Eric face to face and show him exactly what he thought. Like Nancy, he was feeling more than a little violent towards the singer's swindling father.
There was the sound of the lock being rattled back and the door swung open to reveal Sirena herself, her expression quickly becoming suspicious as she eyed her guests.
"Stalkers aren't welcome." She snapped at Luca, going to close it again, but this time Marissa took a hand.
"He's here for another reason, Sirena." She said softly. "Please, will you hear us out? After all..." She paused. "We are family."
Sirena's brow had furrowed at the sound of her words but at the mention of family her expression changed, and she sighed.
"Chimera's daughter." She murmured. "Hell, are you gonna pull that on me now too? Goddamn Diablo!"
"Can we come in?" Marissa asked again.
"You can." Sirena nodded. "But your dog will have to wait in the hall." She sneered at Luca. "I don't want him getting too much at home."
Marissa stared at the singer, dumbstruck by her words, but Luca laughed.
"Okay, I'll stop out here if you want." He said goodnaturedly. "That way I won't be shot for being the messenger."
Sirena shot him an odd look, as if annoyed that he hadn't risen to her bait, but she shrugged, allowing Marissa inside and banging the door shut. She indicated a seat, carelessly dropping down onto the sofa.
"So? Sit and spill." She instructed. "Why are you here?"
"Are you alone?" Marissa glanced around her.
"What is this, Nancy Drew's spy ring?" Sirena rolled her eyes. "Yes, I'm alone. Mike's in San Diego and besides, he's not quite old enough to spill national secrets to the enemy yet."
"I wasn't talking about Michael." Marissa hesitated, then, "Sirena, has your father been here?"
Sirena looked startled.
"How did you know that?" She demanded. "He's no business of yours, cousin or no cousin!"
"It was Mom who asked me to come and see you." Marissa said quietly, a little intimidated by Sirena's confrontational manner. "Please, listen to me. Eric Raymond is bad news. Mom overheard...something between him and Rory Llewelyn. Something about securing your money for some project or other. She said that Eric was paying Rory for information about you - apparently Eric promised Rory funding for us if he helped and Rory agreed. More, he said that he would ensure you were distracted enough to prevent your next single being number one - and allowing ours to take the top spot instead."
Sirena stared, then she snorted.
"You're a member of Diablo and you damn well work for Rory." She snapped. "Why should I believe a word you say? If you ask me, you're here to try and make me go crazy, keep me from getting my work done and my single out so you can chart. Well, forget it. You and your puppydog can go elsewhere, because I'm not listening."
"No, you have it all wrong." Marissa shook her head, anxiety and desperation in her blue eyes. "Please, Sirena, I'm on the level. Mom sent me, not Rory. She told me..."
"If she had something to tell me, she could come and tell me herself." Sirena said darkly, her eyes glinting dangerously. "She didn't strike me as the type who'd get others to do her dirty work for her."
"She took sick again. You know she's here convalescing...well, she near enough passed out in her hotel room." Marissa spread her hands. "I swear, she would've come anyhow if Luca and I hadn't sworn blind that we were going to come and tell you. She was worried."
"She barely knows me." Sirena's voice was flat. "And I don't trust you, cousin or not. You're just a member of Diablo and that means my rival. My father is no business of yours, either, so stop wasting my time, huh?"
Something inside of Marissa snapped, and she frowned.
"A lot of people are trying to help you see sense, and you just won't see it." She murmured. "I know you want a family but you're making yourself out to be a gullible fool instead!"
"Don't you even begin to pretend you know me or what I want." Sirena snapped. "This is my home so if all you're going to do is insult me, you might as well get out."
"I'm not going till you listen to me!" Marissa said firmly. "I don't break promises to my Mom, especially not when she's sick. Besides, I care. When my Mom and Dad split up I was four years old and it's a strange feeling - you don't know for a bit where everything stands. You want things to work and that's understandable, but don't you see? Eric is the biggest conartist you'll ever meet, if Mom is right and I believe her. He'll only screw you over and hurt you in the process."
"I think I'm old enough to make my own decisions, thank you." Sirena's tone was cold. "And I'm done with this. Take your puppy dog, and get lost before I call security on you and have you forcibly removed."
Marissa sighed, reluctantly getting to her feet.
"All right." She said softly. "I hope you're right, and that Eric didn't simply come here hunting for money in whatever scheme he's planning. That's what Mom said. He needs money because his business is struggling...I hope she misheard and things aren't how she thinks they are, because otherwise it's not gonna be pretty."
With that she was gone, and as the door clicked shut behind her, Sirena frowned.
"Stupid girl." She muttered, though in the back of her mind a nagging doubt began to form. Eric had asked her about putting money into some project of his, after all. He'd asked her to play for his patrons, he'd even hinted that if things were successful they could challenge Misfit Music with a music company set up in her own name. She had been angry at her mother and she had gotten carried away, but she had also trusted in his word and his interest in her.
She frowned, shaking her head as if to clear it of such doubts.
"Dad came all the way from Toronto to see me." She murmured. "He did! Marissa's lying - or she's doing what Rory told her...or something. He's my father!"
Unwilling to sit around and dwell she got to her feet, pulling on her boots and slipping on her jacket, grabbing her car keys from the mantlepiece.
"Well, we'll soon know, either way." She muttered. "I'm going to see him, and prove once and for all that this is for real!"

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!