A Christmas Story

Chapter Four: The Truth About Anna

 "Mom's out."
Sylva dropped down onto the couch of the spacious living room that Starlight Mansion boasted, resting her chin in her hands. "Funny, she didn't mention having plans to me. Guess she's taken Aunt Roxy out for a nostalgic sightseeing visit up the cape or something - I don't know." She rolled her eyes. "Which is typical."
"What's up with you?" Topaz pushed open the french doors, pausing as she registered her friend's expression. "You look wound up as hell - something happened?"
"No." Sylva shook her head. "Apart from the fact I've practically no Christmas break, because we're releasing this new single, of course. I'm supposed to know the keyboard part by this time tomorrow - well enough to pass muster, since we're s'posed to try and lay it down with vocal the day after. Beautiful, huh? And I can't play a damn note. I was going to ask Mom to help, but she's not around."
"Can't you ask Nancy?" Topaz frowned, scooping her magazine up off the table and taking a seat. "Copper mentioned that there was a madcap panic on to get this single underway now, but I don't understand why you can't just ask Nance for help. After all, Jewel songs are a team effort,and she did write it."
Sylva blushed.
"Well, let's just say we had a difference of opinion in studio earlier, over a passage she wrote." She admitted. "I told her it sucked, she told me I was just too dumb to play it right...so I told her that it was easy and I'd have it nailed by tomorrow no problem, if it meant so much to her. Trouble is, I can't get the damn middle section right, and it's not like I can hide and just mime the keys - it's a synth solo."
"Ooh. Fun." Topaz grinned. "I'm feeling rather glad that I'm not involved in this particular battle of egos between you and Nance. Sounds to me like a tight deadline and a lost holiday season is taking it's toll on your tempers."
"Totally." Sylva grimaced. "I'll go try it out again later...if it takes me all night I'll nail it, but for now I need a break."
"Well, you could come out and hang by the pool with me...it's nice and relaxing out there, and it's not too hot." Topaz suggested.
"I'd love to." Sylva sighed. "But I need to call my sister in DC as well, and I might as well do that now as any time. I want to find out why she didn't come to LA this Christmas...Aunt Roxy mentioned something...and I want to settle it for myself."
"Okay." Topaz grinned. "The pool will still be waiting when you've done your call, all right? I'm gonna go take my magazine and do absolutely nothing for a few hours."
"Lazy cow." Sylva tossed a cushion in her friend's direction, which Topaz deftly caught, tossing it back.
"Sadie's been teaching you bad language." She scolded. "You need to be quicker than that, you know! And you'll find yourself on diaper duty come January if you don't watch your tongue, Miss Martescu!" She winked. "See you later - happy calling!"
Sylva watched her go, pursing her lips.
"Diaper duty in January. Hell, if I make it that far." She mused. "I can't believe I let her talk me into being there when the kid is born. I must be mad...that's another thing I want to talk to Mom about, though I can't really tell Topaz how badly I'm having second thoughts. I can't let her down, after all. Mom's had kids...maybe she can give me some advice."
She picked up her phone once more, glancing at it, then keying in Anna's number in Washington DC.
"She'd better have her phone with her." She muttered. "Because everything's kinda topsy turvy at the moment, and I don't understand why Annie would have told Mom about a boyfriend and not me! It's not like her...I hope she doesn't think we're growing apart. At least, when she graduates, she might come to Misfit Music and we'd be together again like old times. It's not far till then. I.."
"Hello?" A strange voice came down the line.
"Who the hell is this?" Startled, Sylva's eyebrows shot up into her fringe. "I thought this was Anna Martescu's phone!"
"Oh, it is. I'm sorry - who's calling?" The voice became contrite. "Annie left her phone with me whilst she popped out to get champagne. It's a friend's twenty second tonight, and we're having something of a party."
"A...party? Champagne?" Sylva's mind whirled, then, "This is Sylvina. Anna's sister."
"Ooh, the infamous Sylvie!" The voice laughed. "I've heard so much about you. Forgive me for not introducing myself - I'm John Wraith, Anna's boyfriend. Has she mentioned me to you?"
"Yes, I've heard about you." Sylva tried her best to keep her voice light. "Will my sister be back soon? I'm fairly busy, but I did want to talk to her."
"I could ask her to call you back...?"
"No, I'll stay on the phone, if you don't mind." Sylva said firmly. "It's important."
"Oh, well, okay." John agreed. "I'm sorry that you missed her, actually. We've been here most of the morning, arranging things for the party tonight."
"Here? May I ask where here is?" Sylva was startled.
"My apartment. I live just across the road from Annie's student accomodation, which is a blast." John laughed. "And here she is! I'll hand you over, and give you some sister space!"
There was a rustle in the background, as the phone was handed over, and Sylva heard a few words, too quietly spoken for her to make out. Then her sister's voice came down the line.
"Hi, Sylvie. Guess I'm busted, huh?"
"Busted in a big way, Annie! Why in hell didn't you tell me you had a boyfriend? We've always told each other that stuff." Sylva bit her lip. "Don't you trust me with sister secrets any more?"
"Oh God, Sylvie, no! That isn't it at all!" Anna sounded dismayed. "I didn't tell you because I knew you were still hurting over that Jack guy. I didn't want to seem like I was rubbing it in, especially at Christmas. I'm sorry - did I do wrong?"
"I was kinda hurt you mentioned it to Mom and not me." Sylva admitted.
"Well, that wasn't on purpose. Mom called and got my answering service." Anna giggled. "He was over at mine at the time, and I was in the shower. Mom's cool with it though...well, I'm twenty one, so she should be, right? After all, you and I, we're grown up now!"
"Right." Sylva agreed.
"Sylvie, you're not mad, are you?" Anna sounded anxious. "You're my best friend in the world - I didn't mean to upset you."
"Oh, it's fine. I'm not mad." Sylva assured her. "Besides, you have the right to have your life without telling me. I guess I just miss you - especially at Christmas. Why didn't you come home this year?"
"Sylvie, I am home." Anna said softly. "DC is the only home I've ever known - you know that."
"I meant with Mom." Sylva sounded sheepish. "I'm sorry. Since I've lived here a while now I tend to think...well, did you stop in DC cos of this John guy?"
"No, not exactly." Anna responded. "Dad has Christmas day off this year, and he didn't want to spend it alone. He's had a girlfriend - I didn't mention her to you, because I knew you'd go psycho and anyhow, it wasn't that serious. But they broke up a few weeks ago, and he's kinda lonely. He asked me not to go to California this year, and I agreed. Besides, when I looked at flights out, they were all booked solid anyhow. I would've had to have flown outta state before I found a connector to LA and you know how I feel about flying!"
"Oh, I see." Sylva frowned. "Tell Dad Merry Christmas from me, huh?"
"I will, if you want me to." Anna agreed. "Are you still mad at him?"
"No, but I need a little more time before I can talk to him face to face about stuff." Sylva admitted. "I'll get there, Annie - I'm just not there yet." She grinned. "So, give me the gossip on this John guy of yours, huh? Is he hot?"
"He's in the next room, so I don't want to say too much." Anna sounded embarrassed. "But yeah, I think so."
"Is he at University with you?"
"No, he graduated last summer, but he's been working in DC ever since, and we met about four months ago now, at Gaynor's birthday party." Anna responded. "I really like him though, Sylvie. You know how Mom said that when you meet someone special, you just know? Well, it was kinda like that."
"Evidently, if he was stopping over at yours." Sylva said dryly.
"I never said...!"
"No, but you said you were taking a shower while he was there, and I'm not an idiot. I know what these things mean." Sylva laughed. "Oh Annie, don't be coy. I'm glad you found someone so neat, really I am!"
"No luck with Jack?"
"No. Given up, to be honest. He hurt me...and I've not forgiven him some of the things he said yet." Sylva responded. "Hey, I gotta go - I promised I'd go spend some time doing nothing by the pool with Topaz before I knuckled down to learning this impossible piece of nonsense Nancy wrote for the new single. I'll call you on Christmas Day though, okay?"
"Okay, and I'll make sure I'm on the other end of the phone to answer." Anna promised. "Say hi to the rest of Jewel for me, all right?"
"I will do. Oh, and email me a pic of this hottie of yours, will you? I want to make sure he's good enough for a Martescu." Sylva's voice held a teasing note, and Anna laughed.
"I will do." She promised. "Send my love to Mom and tell her I'll talk to her Christmas Day, okay?"
"Yep, sure." Sylva agreed. "Bye, Annie. I'm glad we talked!"
"Me too. Bye, big sis. Take care!"
As Sylva hung up her phone, she pursed her lips thoughtfully. The call had allayed her fears about Anna's trust, and her motives for staying in DC, but something about the conversation had also bothered her.
"She doesn't think of Cali as home...even though Mom's here." She realised. "For me, it was never a difficult choice which side to take, when she and Dad split, but I know Anna was torn, because she's as close to each of them. What if she stays in DC with this John guy when she graduates? Sounds like she's serious about him, and it is the place she knows best. I don't know if I could handle being a whole country away from my twin on a permanent basis."
She set the phone down on the glass coffee table, sauntering out to the pool and kicking off her house shoes, stretching out on an empty lounger.
"How's Anna?" Topaz asked.
"Busy, but it was good to talk to her." Sylva replied. "I just wish..." She sighed.
"Wish what?" Topaz was curious.
"Well, that things didn't have to change always." Sylva admitted. "When we were small kids, Anna and I would do everything together. Now we're a world apart - a country apart. I'm afraid she'll stay in DC when she graduates."
"Well, she might do." Topaz shrugged. "But that's her choice, Syl. You can't live her life for her."
"No, I know." Sylva agreed. "I just miss the old days. A twin bond is different from any other. I don't want to lose that..."

"Sylvie! Sylvie, we're going to be late!"
Anna banged on the door of the bathroom, an anxious look on her face. "Sylvie! You know what Ms Rosser said last semester - one more late and you'd be in detention! Dad will throw a fit!"
"Okay, okay, I'm ready! Chill out, will you? It's only school." Sylvina pushed open the bathroom door, casting her twin a long-suffering look. "And it's not that late. We'll make it to school on time, so long as you let me drive."

"What, and throw up my breakfast?" Anna demanded.
"I'm not that bad!" Sylvina exclaimed, putting her hands on her hips. "It only took me three times to pass Driver's Ed and get my licence, thanks very much! Just because you passed first time!"
"Fine, you drive, but grab your books and lets hurry!" Anna begged. "Mom's already headed out - she's gone in search of manuscript for some new song and Dad left for work hours ago. Please - I promised Mom we wouldn't be late and you always spend forever in the bathroom, doing your makeup!"
"And what do you expect?" Sylvina demanded, grabbing her schoolbag and hurrying out of the front door, leaving her sister to lock it behind them. "I'm a junior this year, not a baby sophomore! I have to look hot on the first day of school, just in case any cute college guys are looking the right way! Besides, did you see Jason Matheson at the Roll-o-Rama last night? Sheesh, how hot has he gotten over the summer? Cee reckons he has a real thing for me - and you know, it might just be his lucky year!"

"Sylvie, every guy in school has a major jones for you at some point or another." Anna rolled her eyes, slipping into the passenger seat and watching her sister clamber into the other side. "I hope I have a death wish, letting you drive to school on the first day of term, when you've only been driving properly a couple of months."
"Well, we were only sixteen in April." Sylvina defended herself. "Speaking of which, Anna, isn't it time you availed yourself of the Martescu charm and tried to make a little more of yourself? You're stunning - you look like me, so of course you are! - but you hide away in that library with your manuscript books!"
"Well, not everyone can be the centre of attention." Anna looked amused, not at all bothered by her sister's teasing. She and Sylvina were very different people, but inseperable deep down. Sylvina had defended her sister with her fists in the past, and would always side with Anna over the popular crowd she tended to frequent. In return Anna was always on hand when Sylvina was failing a subject, to ensure that they both progressed to the next stage together, and Sylvina never got kicked off the JV cheerleading squad.
"I'm so gonna try out for the full cheering squad this semester." Sylvina announced, as they roared out of the driveway of the large Martescu home and onto the main road. "Rosa Lang and that bitch with the bad bleach job have left now, so there's totally gonna be an opening for me."
"Yes, and very popular you'll be if you and that girl in your History class come to blows again." Anna reminded her. "Remember, Dad said you couldn't be a cheerleader if you got into any more fights - he'd ban you from taking part. If you're gonna try out, be aware that you'll probably have competition, okay? You'd get my vote, but I'm not the one voting."
"Yeah, I know." Sylvina dismissed it with a shrug. "But I'm better than anyone else on the JV, so they'd have to give me a shot. Besides, how else do you suppose I'm gonna give Jason his perfect chance at hooking me, huh? Didn't you know he's a dead cert to be the number one quarterback on the football team this year?"

"I had heard something about it." Anna agreed. "And well, here we are."
"With minutes to spare!" Sylvina screeched to a halt, indicating the big school clock spire with a triumphant wave. "Come on, worry wart! We can walk to homeroom and still have time to gossip before the bell rings!"
"Since when has the bell ever stopped you?" Anna demanded.

"Yo, Sylve, looking good!" A guy in a letterman jacket hailed the older twin from across the carpark, and Sylvina rolled her eyes.
"Dream on!" She exclaimed. The guy, not noticeably crushed, winked at her, then turned to high five his companion. Anna shook her head slowly.
"You are terrible." She scolded. "And you do realise that they don't grade you on flirting and cutting guys down? You know what Dad said. He wants a good report this year - else he might keep his threat and send you to Aunt Cara's."
"Bah, I'm not going to that prison. I'll pass my classes." Sylvina snorted. "I have you to help me, after all - and you wouldn't let me flunk out and be sent away, would you?"
"No, of course not, but I'm not sitting any midterms for you this year." Anna lowered her voice. "I know I sat Math for you in freshman year, but that was only because you were sick and I didn't want you to fail and be kept down. Junior year is different...okay? I'm serious, Sylvie. You're gonna have to do some of your own work this year, or you'll never get the grades for college at the end of next."
"And who said anything about college?" Sylvina raised an eyebrow.

"Dad. Constantly." Anna reminded her. Her sister rolled her eyes.
"Oh, he needs to change the record." She said dismissively. "Don't sweat it, Annie. By the time I'm done senior year, he'll know that I'm not going to any stinky college. I'm going to be a star, like Mom was."
"Well, let's hope he doesn't blow a gasket over it, huh?" Anna responded.

"Hi, Sylvina, Anna." A young man in a teeshirt and slacks greeted them with a grin. "Good summer?"
"Great thanks, Morris." Sylvina dimpled. "You?"
"Grandparents in Ohio." Morris grimaced. "But you know, could be worse. Plenty of stuff to do." He winked. "Catch you later - gotta get to homeroom before the bell!"

"Bye, Morris!" Sylvina called. She grinned.
"He's getting cute, too." She observed, casting her sister a searching look. "You should jump in while he's a free agent."
"Sylvie, shut up! Someone will hear you!" Anna blushed scarlet. "I knew I shouldn't have told you about that!"
"What? So you have a crush, big deal!" Sylvina shrugged. "Besides, we tell each other everything! And I'm not gonna just go up to him and tell him, am I?"
"No, I suppose not." Anna hugged her folders to her chest. "I just can't seem to speak when he's around, that's all. He always says hi to you and me, and I can't even bring myself to say hi back. Pathetic, huh?"
"Yes, but we'll work on it." Sylvina grinned. "Never fear...Sylvina is on the case!"

"It sounds a lot like you and Annie had a blast in High School." Topaz observed, reaching down to idly stir the pool water into ripples with her fingers. "So what's the problem? I know you'll miss her, but..."
"She's got a boyfriend, too." Sylva grimaced. "Not that I begrudge her it, but you know, this is Annie. It just seems strange that she's grown up so much."
"Well, you're both twenty one. You've grown up - why shouldn't she?" Topaz shrugged. "If she's got a decent guy, Syl, you and I both know that she needs to hold on to him. They're not easy to come by."
"Too true." Sylva acknowledged. "I know. I'll get used to it." She sighed. "Besides, we've enough changes to come here this Christmas as it is, and I've a keyboard solo to learn. Guess I'll catch you later, huh? I'm going to go bash some keys into submission for a while!"

Chapter One: Back In Los Angeles
Chapter Two: Christmas Plans
Chapter Three: Like Old Times
Chapter Four:  The Truth About Anna
Chapter Five: The Video Shoot
Chapter Six: Topaz's Sensation
Chapter Seven: Sadie's Tattoo
Chapter Eight: An Unlikely Team
Chapter Nine: Misfit vs Devil
Chapter Ten: An Old Flame
Chapter Eleven: Topaz Again

Chapter Twelve: A Christmas Present

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!