Just A Dream...
The Jem Memorial
Chapter Nine: The Jem Memorial Concert
"Wow, this is some show."
Aaron gazed up at the front facing of the venue, skimming down the names on the billboard with some approval as he held open the back door of the limousine, helping first Copper, then Nancy and finally Sylva out of the vehicle. He had elected himself chauffeur when the usual driver of the car had been taken ill, for, though he had a part to play in organizing the girls' stage effects, he had wanted to travel with them too.. "And there are some big names playing here with you tonight, too. You three sure you're ready for this?"
"We gotta be." His sister observed grimly, and glancing at her, Aaron could tell that her nerves were in full force. Though she hated to admit it, Nancy was prone to fits of stagefright, but generally a few reassuring words from Copper calmed her down and once on stage she was as happy as any of them to perform to her full ability.
"If Sirena can do it, then so can we." She agreed. "In any case, our single is still number one."
"There's a lot of press." Copper observed, shielding her eyes from the flash of the cameras. "I guess this really is big news. Anyone else nervous?"
"I feel sick." Nancy admitted slowly. "But I'll be okay once we're playing, Copper. I'm just afraid of us screwing this up."
"Well, they do say that amateurs are more prone to faltering."
A fresh voice joined the group, and they turned to see Sirena watching them, a look of contempt on her face. "I didn't think that you babies would show your faces here."
"If amateurs struggle, you'd better watch out." Sylva spat back at her. "And why shouldn't we play here? We are number one, in case you hadn't noticed."
"Well, shall we say that I had a tete a tete with your chief executive not so long ago, and I did feel that in light of the circumstances it would be decidedly unwise to let such novices as you girls perform a show of this magnitude." Sirena purred, ignoring the other girl's jibe about chart position. "Unfortunately for her she seems to have declined by advice."
"Aunt Phyl wouldn't listen to a nobody like you." Nancy snorted. "You really don't know her very well if you think she can be either bribed or threatened to change her mind on something."
Sirena bristled at this.
"I don't care what you think, miss Goldie." She snapped. "After tonight is over you girls are going to wish you hadn't showed. You're all going to get a very nasty shock...and your darling Aunt Phyl will soon learn that I don't bluff." She laughed, her tone lacking in all humour. "I guess determination runs in my family, you could say." She added. "Well, kiddies, I must go and get ready. After tonight, well, we'll see how things stand, shan't we?"
With that she turned on her heel, disappearing into the building.
"If there weren't press about I woulda slapped her one in the mouth." Sylva growled. "Where does that girl get off messing with us and our sound? Is she that jealous?"
"She's trouble." Nancy replied grimly. "More even than you, Syl. And I wish you had slapped her. How dare she try and get at Aunt Phyllis to prevent us from playing!"
"Well, as you say, Phyllis is too strong a character to buckle to that kinda behaviour." Copper said sensibly, laying a calming hand on her friend's shoulder. "Don't stress, Nancy. We can show Sirena best what we can do by playing a great set tonight."
"I wanna know what she meant." Nancy's frown deepened. "What nasty shock? Something's going down."
"I think she was blowing hot air. Trying to scare us off." Sylva responded. "One of these days I'm going to go up to her and knock some sense into her, I swear."
"What? You might chip a nail!" Nancy deadpanned.
"I'm not sappy, Nancy." Sylva snapped. "I won my share of fights at school, you know. I told you I wasn't prissy."
"Woah, and you all look like such nice young ladies tonight!" Aaron joked. "I'm with Copper. Let the girl alone. She just wants you to rise to her and drag your name through the mud."
"And we ought to get inside ourselves, before someone else arrives and before the press get a hint of any bad blood between us and Sirena." Copper added, shooting Aaron a grateful look. "Come on, you two. It's great that you agree on something, but an all out fist-fight isn't worth the trouble, believe me."
"Well, all right." Nancy looked disappointed. "Pity. It was doing wonders for my stagefright, too."
"You'll be okay, kid." Aaron looked amused. "You always are."
"Oh, I know." Nancy shivered, pulling her jacket tighter around her. "It's just scary, that's all."
"Cold?" Sylva stared at her.
"It is November, Syl." Nancy retorted. "Not like it's a hot July day, you know."
"Yeah, but it hasn't been cold once since we came to California. I'm still warm." Sylva objected.
"Yes, but you come from D.C." Nancy reminded her. "Wooah, there's one hell of a crowd in here!"
Sylva turned to glance at the bustling people, letting out a sudden shriek as she did so.
"Mother!" She exclaimed.
From in the midst of the melee, a tall, slim figure was making her way towards them.
"Did you expect me not to be here?" She chided her daughter playfully. "My eldest girl's first big show? I'm so proud of you I could burst, Sylvie...you've done good this time and even your father won't complain when I tell him what a young starlet you've become. I couldn't get on a plane fast enough when Jetta called me and asked if I'd like to come to the Memorial."
Sylva hugged her mother tightly.
"I'm glad to see you." She said sincerely. "And Mom, I gotta introduce you to these guys! This is Nancy Pelligrini and this is Elizabeth Santiago, Copper. Oh, and this is our chauffeur-cum-technician for the night, Nancy's brother Aaron. Guys, my mother, Mary Martescu."
"I've met with Aaron before, though I'm sure he doesn't remember me." Mary's blue eyes twinkled. "He was in diapers then."
Much to the girls' delight, Aaron blushed. But Mary had finished teasing, and turned her attention to asking about her daughter's health.
Nancy stared at the stranger, recognising several of Sylva's features in her face. Despite her tearaway teenage daughter, the years had been fairly kind to the songwriter, and in Nancy's mind she was something of an idol, though wild horses would not have dragged it from her.
"In any case, I'm pleased to meet you all." Mary dimpled at them now. "All of you. Tell me, Sylvie, are Jetta and Pizzazz here yet themselves? Your aunt Roxy sent me to tell them that she wasn't going to any concert to do with Jem, so I guess the Misfits won't quite be out in full tonight, but I'm keen to see them both in any case. it's been a long time."
"They got tied up at Misfit Music and sent us on ahead." Sylva shrugged. "Phyllis was in a tizz over something. Guess they'll be here soon, though. Where are you staying, Mom? Are you gonna be in LA long?"
"Just the weekend." Mary shook her head. "And I'm at a hotel not far from here. I have work to do too, you know, and your father would miss me if I was to stay too long. He knows how fond I am of California...he might be afraid to lose me back here."
"It's great to meet you." Copper smiled at the songwriter. "I wish my mother could've been here too. It's all very daunting when we're such a new act - it's sweet of you to come and support Syl."
"Sylvie and Anna are everything to me." Mary laughed. "And in truth I wanted to see how she was getting on here, out of our clutches. Not too badly, by the looks of it."
"I love LA." Sylva grinned. "Oh, but Mom, there's this one girl who really really hates us, and she's playing tonight. I hope she isn't gonna cause us trouble. Her name's Sirena."
"Yes, I've heard of Sirena." Mary looked thoughtful. "She was in DC a week or two back doing some kind of publicity drive. I didn't get to see her myself, but I think she has quite a following already on the East coast, even at this early stage. Whoever was handling her PR knew what they were doing, and she seems to have played the press beautifully."
"Well, we'll knock her back to wherever she came from." Nancy put in darkly.
"Rivalries are more pain than they're worth." Mary warned. "Trust me, it's something I know from first hand experience." She glanced around her. "Ah! I think I see your mother, so perhaps I'll see you girls later. With any luck, Sylvie, it'll be to congratulate you on a stunning performance. Lots of luck!"
"I'd better take my leave of you too." Aaron agreed, once Mary had left them. "If I'm going to get your equipment properly wired." He winked at Copper. "We've got a really neat stage display planned for tonight."
"We'll see you soon." Sylva grinned at him. "I can't wait to see what you and Copper have done with the lighting for tonight, you've both been so secretive about this."
"It'll be worth the wait." Copper assured her. "Bye, Aaron. See you in a few."
"So that's your mother." Nancy observed once the trio were alone. Sylva nodded.
"Yeah, that's her." She agreed.
"She's really nice." Copper decided. "But Mama always said that she was. Oh, I really wish she was here tonight...whatever Jerrica's done in the past, this is about me."
"And that is why I am here."
A fresh voice came from behind them, and the group spun round almost as one person to face the actress herself. Copper's brown eyes widened, then she flung her arms around her mother.
"I'm glad." she admitted. "This means so much to me, Mama!"
"Si, I know." Carmen nodded. "It occured to me after you girls had left Detroit that it would be wrong to abandon my eldest child because of some past row - it is not your fault, after all, that things are how they are. So here I am. I hope not to see Jerrica tonight, in truth. Many of the principal actors in my new film were asked if they would like to attend but I was going to decline...I'm glad I did not. My father was always there for me and you only have me to be here for you. So I am."
"Well, looks like we have a real family gathering here tonight." Nancy observed dryly. Carmen looked surprised.
"Mom flew in from DC." Sylva dimpled. "And Jetta's gotta be here, being our co-manager and all, so we got a full house."
"Jetta!" A stricken look crossed Copper's face. "Oh no, Jetta and Phyllis, what if...?"
"What's wrong?" Carmen asked gently. Copper blushed.
"I...didn't tell them yet that you're my mother." she admitted. "I wanted to make it under my own steam and I know you and they didn't always get along."
"Ah, I see." She said. "Well, I don't think they would let you go now, Copper, even if Jem herself had been your mother."
"I don't think that would've happened." Copper looked amused. Carmen eyed her daughter sharply, but said nothing, inwardly wondering exactly how much the redhead knew of Jem's real identity.
"Well, in any case, I am proud to be your mother." She said finally. "You are a star in your own right now, chica mia."
"It means a lot to know you think so." Copper grinned. "Thanks for coming, Mama."
"De nada." Carmen's blue eyes twinkled. "And you must go get ready now, I think. You have much to do tonight."
"Yeah, we do." Nancy nodded. "Too much."
"Come on, girls." Sylva grabbed each of her companions by the hand. "Let's go."
Carmen watched them leave, then made her way slowly in the other direction to find a seat at one of the big, fancily decorated tables. Certain ones near the very front were reserved for invited celebrities and music executives, and in the milling crowd she recognised with some surprise both Jetta and Phyllis, older, it was true, but unmistakeable.
"It is strange to be back in Los Angeles, but not unpleasant." She decided, as she moved across the concert hall. "I had forgotten how many happy memories I have of this city, as well as bad ones."
"Raya?" A voice startled her and she swung around, her expression filling with surprise.
"Kimber!" She exclaimed. "It has been so long!"
"I know, and I've missed you." Kimber hugged her friend impulsively. "Please come and sit with me and Shawn, it's been too long. How long have you been in LA? I'm stunned to see you here!"
"I flew here this afternoon, and shall return home Monday. I have filming or I would stay longer." Carmen responded. "I was not going to come, Kimber - in truth I was afraid of myself around Jerrica - but I could not let my daughter down."
"Daughter?" Kimber asked. "You have a little girl?"
"Not so little now." Carmen laughed. "I have two girls and one boy, and it is my eldest, Elizabeth who I support here tonight. She is the drummer for the new band, Jewel...you have heard of them?"
"With Pizzazz doing PR, you can scarecely fail to." Kimber said dryly. "You know, I did think she looked familiar, and drumming is in your blood. She looks a lot like Esteban, doesn't she?"
"How is he, by the way?"
A shadow crossed Carmen's face.
"He is no longer with us." She murmured. "He died four years ago."
"Oh!" Kimber looked horrified. "Oh, Raya, no! I'm so so sorry, you must miss him!"
"Every day." Carmen agreed. "But I am more used to it now. And I have my work and my children and my friends in Detroit, so I am not too alone." She smiled slightly. "And now, perhaps, I have you again also."
"For sure." Kimber agreed, as they reached the table, which at present lay empty, taking their seats. "And I know Shana and Aja miss you too. Shana lives nearby and Aja and I spoke for the first time in years not so long ago. I tried to get her to comr tonight, but she refused. Too much bad blood between her and Jerrica, I guess. I don't know if Shana will come or not."
"Si. I would not have come if it had not been for Copper." Carmen admitted. "I have no wish to see your sister."
"Me either." She admitted. "We're barely more than acquaintances these days. The Foundation is my concern now, but it relies on Starlight Music to fund it, so I daren't upset her if I can avoid it. Still, I'd hardly call us friends, let alone sisters."
"It is a sad way for things to be." Carmen sounded philosophical. "Ah well. We must make the best of it."
Across at the Misfit Music table, which Jetta had quickly encouraged Mary to join, there was quite a different atmosphere. Phyllis had kept Sirena's visit a secret initially, but that night she had suffered an attack of panic and, in her distress she had told Jetta everything. Grim-faced, her friend had told her that she must not avoid the show, whatever she did, for whatever happened there, people would talk about her absense. Phyllis, once calmed had been convinced that this was true, and so she had arrived with Jetta and Justin, Alan being away in Maine at some surgical conference.
It did not help her that he was not there. Much as she denied it publically, she was dependant on him these days for a measure of emotional stability, and she missed him acutely. And, even now the initial waves of panic were gone, she was still uneasy, and her mind was far away from the matter in hand as she absently tore the paper napkin into methodical long strips.
Mary cast her a concerned glance.
"Pizzazz, are you sick?" She asked. "She look so pale...are you sure you should even be here?"
"I don't want to damn well be here." Phyllis muttered under her breath. "I wish the whole damn thing was never gonna happen. I hate sitting around like this and I have no love of Jem, anyway! I don't care that the witch is dead."
"None of us care, Pizzazz, but you know as well as I do 'ow important this do is an' 'ow important it is for us both to be 'ere." Jetta said firmly. "We're 'ere an' we're stayin'. Okay? Whatever 'appens."
"The lady has spoken." Justin offered his wife a wry smile. Jetta raised an eyebrow at him.
"Go do me a favour an' give this to Nancy, will ya?" Was all she said, however. "it's a programme of acts, they might need it."
"Why do I feel like I'm being conveniently got rid of?" Justin looked amused, nevertheless getting to his feet and taking the programme. "All right, I can take a hint. I'll be right back."
Once he had gone, Mary shot Jetta a curious look.
"What was that in aid of?" She asked.
"Pizzazz' daughter is performin' 'ere tonight." Jetta replied darkly. "Sirena, she calls 'erself. Signed to Riot's label an' no end of trouble already."
"Sirena...is Emily?" Shock filled Mary's features. "Oh! I had no idea!"
"Well, don't worry about it." Phyllis put in bitterly. "After tonight, everyone will know it!" She tossed the scraps of napkin onto the floor. "After tonight I'll be ruined!"
"Emily knows who 'er parents are." Jetta explained, seeing Mary's confusion. "More, she ain't best pleased with it all. She apparently made threats to Pizzazz that if Jewel were to play tonight, she was goin' to publically out her. Personally, I don't think it matters whether Jewel play or not. If she's gonna then she's gonna an' we shouldn't be intimidated."
"You can say that. It ain't your reputation." Phyllis growled.
"It could be my job, though." Jetta reminded her. Phyllis rolled her eyes. heavenwards.
"I hate this." She muttered. "I shouldn't be in this position! I shouldn't be scared of my own damn daughter! Why can't she be like Nancy or Zoe? Why does she have to be so much damn trouble?"
She pushed back her chair, getting to her feet.
"I'm going to get a drink." She announced. "I need the walk, and the alcohol. Don't worry, Jetta, I ain't funkin' out. I'll be here before the show starts."
With that she was gone across the floor.
"If you ask me, there's a lot more of Pizzazz in Emily than Pizzazz wants to admit." Jetta observed. "I don't like the kid, Stormer, never did, an' I still believe Pizzazz did right in givin' 'er up, but sometimes I don't know if she thinks so. Sometimes I really wonder."
"You think she wishes she'd kept her?" Stormer demanded. Jetta shrugged.
"She's always 'ad a soft spot for my Nancy, who's as difficult a kid as any I ever came across, but somehow they seem to get along, an' Pizzazz 'as admitted several times that she's fond of 'er." She replied. "I know it's crazy, Stormer, but I almost think sometimes that spoilin' Nancy is Pizzazz's way of settlin' 'er guilt over Emily. I never imagined she'd feel guilty, but she's made six substantial donations to the Foundation over the years, despite how much she still dislikes Kimber and...well, I do wonder 'ow deep it runs inside of 'er." She frowned. "If you ask me she'd've done better never 'avin' the kid in the first place. Or she should've just ditched her on the foundation without a name - now it gets complicated for all of us."
"Jetta, would you have abandoned Aaron or Nancy without a name?" Mary chided gently. "I remember when Aaron was a very small boy, and I remember you admitting to me how fond you were growing of him, even though you neither wanted or liked children at the time."
"Still don't, much." Jetta interjected laconically. "Though I think I 'ave to make exceptions for my two, don't I?"
"Jetta, stop it." Mary scolded. "I know how proud you are of them both. All mothers have a bond with their children, even if the bond is, well, seperated. I'm sure that's what Pizzazz is feeling now."
"I know." She admitted. "An' in a way I've 'ad it lucky, since I've always 'ad Justin to toss the nappies an' babyfood at when my own patience was tried. But Stormer, Pizzazz finally 'as her life settled. She's 'appy with Alan, an' she's more stable than she's ever been in terms of work an' commitments. This 'as sent 'er back into a flurry again. She's been way more irrational since the name Emily came back into circulation."
Mary looked thoughtful. Then,
"You and Pizzazz are closer these days than I realised." She admitted.
"Workin' together like we do, I guess we've gotten to be friends." Jetta smiled slightly. "Ironic, ain't it? Dead set against it when we were Misfits, but, well, time 'as mellowed us both. An' kids, in my case. You're right, I don't think I do regret either of 'em an' I know I'm proud of them. But Pizzazz...this 'as been a secret for a long time. I dread to think 'ow she'll react if it comes out like this."
"Well, I dunno, but I think it might be a very good thing for Pizzazz if this were no longer such a deep, dark secret." Mary replied. "You know that I won't break my own vow of secrecy, but I wouldn't be sorry if she didn't feel so pressured to keep it quiet. It's not good for her, bottling it up."
"Shht. Justin's comin' back, an' so's she." Jetta quieted her friend. "I think the show's about to start. Either way it's gonna be a long night for Misfit Music."
In the darkened concert hall, at the very back, unseen and unnoticed
by anyone, a final visitor to the Memorial settled herself to watch the
show. Shana had been unable to attend, due to the sudden ill-health of
her son, but she had convinced Aja to go, just to see, and to report back.
Aja had no wish to make her presence known, but in truth she was also curious.
She had learnt from her sister-in-law of Sylvina's involvement and was
keen to see her niece in action. One day, she hoped that her own daughter
would be lucky and successful enough to play a venue like this.
"But there's time for that yet. She can't rush into things." She mused as the first act was announced. "For now, this is Sylvina's night. And Jem's."
PART TWO: THE JEM MEMORIAL
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
JEWELFIC MAIN PAGE:
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.