Just A Dream...
The Jem Memorial

Chapter Eight: Some Answers

"Kimber, what are you thinking?"
April paused in her arranging of the flowers on the windowsill, glancing at her guardian with a concerned look on her face. Kimber looked up, pushing her letters aside and sighing.
"I got my invite to the Jem Memorial Concert this morning." She said sadly. "There was a time, you know, when Jerrica didn't need to send me formal invites. We used to be like real sisters, once upon a time. Sometimes I think that showbusiness isn't worth the hassle any more. It was such a dream when everything was going on...but now I don't even know where Aja or Raya are, and I don't speak to my only sister more than a couple of polite words here and there. She's changed...grown so cold...and even Rio doesn't seem to see it. I don't know, April. It just seems so hopeless. And there shouldn't be a Jem Memorial without all of the Holograms there."
"Maybe Jerrica is inviting them too." April suggested, coming to sit down at the table. "I know there were a lot of fights, Mom told me enough about them, but maybe she wants to make amends too - perhaps this is a part of it."
"No, not Jerrica. Not these days." Kimber shook her head. "She's pushed things too far for that." She sighed. "You know something? I hate myself more and more for it too as time goes on. I should have done something...but I was such a kid. Sometimes I think I'm still such a kid."
"It wasn't your fault."
"Aja needed me." Kimber sighed, burying her head in her hands. "She was always like a sister to me too, April...how could I turn my back on her?"
"You can't focus on the past all the time." April said sensibly. "Look, why don't you go out for a while, get some fresh air and some perspective? There's not much to do here that we can't do ourselves, and Shawn will be back by midday, won't he?"
"Yes, he will." Kimber nodded her head. "You're too good to me, April. I think I will go out...to be honest I have a bad feeling about this memorial for some reason. I don't like the idea at all. But it's done now, and can't be changed...so I suppose I'll have to go and smile through it as ever. At least you girls will benefit from it. That's all that it's worth to me now." She frowned. "Boy, have I changed...I never used to think of things in such a jaded way as this!"
She got to her feet, heading into the hallway and slipping on her sandals, pulling her jacket on over her shoulders and scooping up her car keys from beside the phone. "I'm going to call round and see Shana, see if she at least has had an invite." She decided. "I don't think I could face being the only Hologram there."
"We'll see you later." April grinned at her. "And relax, Kimber! It'll be okay, really it will!"
"I wish I could believe it." Kimber murmured, pushing open the front door of the house and heading out to her car, sliding into the front seat and slipping the key into the ignition. "But I seriously have my doubts."
She shut the car door with a bang, pulling out of the driveway and onto the main road. She and Shana did not see each other often these days because of the constraints of both of their other commitments, but Kimber took comfort in knowing that at least here was one friend who didn't bear her a grudge.
Shana did not live far from the new foundation Headquarters, and Kimber pulled her car to a halt outside, pushing open the door and making her way slowly up the front path. As a young girl she had been flighty, impressionable and often naive, but she was not so much that way now. Flighty and impulsive she still could be, but experience and age had taught her many hard lessons and had drummed a sense of responsibility into her head. Things she would have shrugged off many years before now weighed heavier on her mind, and she hoped Shana's calm words and soothing reassurance would help her lighten them.
She rang the bell, waiting for her friend to open the door. From inside she could hear the voice of Shana's young son, Zak, and then footsteps. A key turned in the lock and the door swung open.
But it was not Shana who stood before her, and Kimber gasped in surprise.
"Aja?" She exclaimed.
The woman at the door looked equally stunned, then, as conscious thought returned to her her expression clouded.
"I'm sorry, Shana isn't here." She said quietly. "Goodbye, Kimber."
"No, wait!" Kimber put her hand out to stop the Chinese-American from closing the door. "Please, Aja, don't just slam the door in my face! I want to talk to you!"
"You want to talk to me?" Aja raised an eyebrow, her eyes doubtful and her tone edged with irony. "Now you want to talk to me? You couldn't be bothered to answer my letters, but now you spring yourself on me like this and expect me to listen to you?"
"Letters?" Now Kimber was taken aback. "What letters?"
Aja's eyes narrowed.
"Don't play that game with me." She said darkly. "Letters I sent to you, Kimber. More than one. I had thought that you valued me enough to at least grace me with an answer...I can see that I was wrong."
"But I never got any letters!" Kimber protested. "I swear, Aja, I never did! If I had I would've written to you at once, but Jerrica didn't know where you were, or at least that's what she said!"
Aja hesitated, then pushed the door open fully once more.
"You promise that you didn't get my letters?" She asked, her tone calmer.
"I mean it, Aja, I didn't." Kimber crossed her chest solemnly. "Cross my heart I didn't."
Aja sighed.
"I believe you." She said quietly, allowing her former bandmate to come into the house. "Though what happened to them I don't know."
"Where did you send them?"
"Starlight Mansion. Where else?"
"Aja, we haven't lived at Starlight Mansion for a long time. Any of us." Kimber sat down on the sofa, watching her companion send Shana's son upstairs to play on his video games, then taking a seat herself. "Things got very chaotic after you left. Aside from Shana's wedding..."
"Which nobody bothered to tell me about." Aja interjected bitterly.
"What?" For the second time that morning Kimber's expression bore shock. "But Jerrica said..."
"Let me guess. She told you I didn't want to go." Aja said grimly. "Shana already filled me in on the elder Miss Benton's slick work."
"Oh Aja, I'm sorry." Impulsively Kimber went to hug her companion, but Aja pushed her back.
"No, Kimber. I'm not here to make friends. I learnt already what being friends with the Benton sisters is all about, and if you don't mind, I'd rather keep out of it."
Kimber looked stricken.
"But Aja..."
"I mean it." Aja shook her head. "I came here to see Shana, but also I came because one of my nieces was in some trouble and Stormer needed my assistance. I'm beginning to wish I'd never offered my services."
Kimber bit her lip, her blue eyes filling with tears.
"We never used to be like this." She murmured. "Aja, I didn't mean to hurt you, I swear I didn't! I'm sorry...I've wanted to tell you that for so long but I didn't know where you were or if you were even alive. I never heard from you, I thought you hated me and then Jerrica...well, I darent cross her to much, Aja. We don't speak much these days, but the Foundation is in my hands and Jerrica controls the funding for it. If I step too far out of line the Foundation will suffer and it's pretty much everything to me now."
Aja looked at Kimber long and hard. Then she stood, coming to sit beside her friend on the sofa.
"I guess I'm sorry too." She said finally, putting an arm around the younger woman's shoulder's almost instinctively. "Over the years I've lumped you and Jerrica together and it isn't fair. Just because you're sisters, after all...I know it must've been hard for you. But Kimber, it's been hard for me too. I never did anything to be pushed away like I was and it hurt me a great deal, if you must know."
Kimber swallowed hard.
"I've missed you." She murmured. "I know that things would've been right if you'd been here, Aja. I...I know you'd have been able to help me make decisions and know how to go. I never thought I'd have to stand out on my own like I have."
"So much for the Holograms, huh?" Aja spoke dryly, but there was little humour in her tone. Kimber rolled her eyes.
"Sometimes I wish we'd never gotten famous." She admitted. "Did Shana tell you about the Jem Memorial at all?"
"I think I heard it mentioned." Aja nodded.
"Are you going to go?"
"Me? Hah." Aja snorted. "You think that Jerrica is going to bother wasting paper on me, Kimber?"
"Well, I'm inviting you." Kimber said firmly. "I have as much right to as she does, after all, the Foundation is my concern these days. And Aja, it would be so nice to have you there."
"I'd rather not go." Aja shook her head. "I might lose my temper."
"I wish you would." Kimber frowned. "Someone needs to put Jerrica back in her place. Sometimes I wish it was like it was when we were younger, when we were at least on friendly terms...but I don't think it can be now, Aja. She's changed since we got rid of Jem, you know that enough yourself. If I'd have known..."
"None of us guessed it would happen this way." Aja shook her head. Kimber sighed.
"I know." She said. "Well, I guess I'd better go. I left April in charge at the Foundation, and though she knows what she's doing she's only seventeen."
Aja laughed, a hint of her old twinkle back in her blue eyes.
"What's this? Kimber Benton with a shred of responsibility?" She demanded. Kimber smiled slightly, fingering the gold ring on the fourth finger her left hand.
"Kimber Harrison." She corrected quietly. "I wanted you there, Aja...so badly I almost called it off twice. I needed reassurance that I'd done the right thing."
"But you love Shawn...at least, you always did to my memory." Aja looked confused. "What do you mean? Once he'd gotten his divorce I know you planned marrying him...what happened?"
"Oh, it's not important. It was too long ago now and in the end I made the right decision." Kimber waved it away dismissively. "I just wasnt sure if marrying him was right...after all we'd been through."
"I couldn't imagine you with anyone else." Aja admitted. "Do you have children?"
Kimber looked wistful, then shook her head.
"Shawn and I never did." She responded. "The Foundation are my family now."
Aja paused for a moment. Then,
"You're lucky you have them." She said softly. "My daughter is everything in the world to me."
"You have a daughter?" Kimber looked startled. Aja nodded.
"Samantha. We call her Sammi." She agreed. "I might be biased, Kimber, but she has so much talent for music...she and a friend of hers are pursuing some kind of musical contract. I have to admit I'm not real happy about her doing it, after I was burned, but Craig seems behind her and I guess he knows what he's doing." She sighed. "I can't jeopardise her happiness by making her choices for her. She's a sensible girl at least."
"I couldn't imagine any girl of yours not having her head screwed on right." Kimber smiled. "Well, it was nice to see you at least. No, it was outrageous to see you! I've missed you so badly and I'm glad we've made amends. I feel like a weight has been lifted off me, to tell the truth."
"Me too." Aja smiled slightly at her friend's use of words. "Though I'm all the more angry at Jerrica, at least I'm beginning to learn that my real friends - the Holograms - cared about me all along. Take care, Kimber...maybe I'll come see you at the Foundation soon, if you tell me where it is these days."
"Shana can give you all the details there." Kimber dimpled. "She and Regine sometimes help out and make clothes for the girls if the budget is tight. Bye, Aja...and you take care too. Maybe it won't be so many years until we meet again this time!"

Chapter One: Starlight Mansion
Chapter Two: Discovery!
Chapter Three: Zoe
Chapter Four: Top Of The Charts
Chapter Five: Aaron's Secret
Chapter Six: Sirena's Plan
Chapter Seven: Reboot
Chapter Eight: Some Answers
Chapter Nine: The Jem Memorial Concert
Chapter Ten:  Revenge
Chapter Eleven: Repercussions
Chapter Twelve: A Temporary Solution
Chapter Thirteen: Wild At Heart

Copper, Nancy, Sylvie, Anna, Blade, 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.
Sammi and the concept of Aja's future life are copyrighted to Gemma Dawn.