Just A Dream...
Chapter Three: Taylor
Across London, unbeknownst to the girls, Jetta had embarked on a quest
of her own. She had risen fairly early, leaving a message with her son
should she need to be contacted at all, and caught the underground train
out to Ruislip to visit her old friend. She had been in two minds about
Laura's letter since the moment it had arrived, for she did not see any
possible way for the young man her friend had mentioned to be at all connected
to her family. Still, Laura had coaxed her to come and see for herself,
and so come she would.
It had always been her intention to meet the stranger without the added hassles of being surrounded by her young companions, so she had been firm in the intention of letting them do their own thing. Equally, however, it was for their own protection, for it had been some years since Jetta had felt entirely safe on English shores. Since her brother's release from jail three years before she had not set foot in her home country, always fearful at the back of her mind that he might make a third attempt on her life, and the last thing she wanted was for her protegees to be involved in any family conflict that might follow.
Laura met her at the station, and they greeted warmly, as if they had never been apart.
"It's good to see you, Sheila." The redhead observed as they made their way over to her car. "And I'm glad you came. I know you don't hold out a lot of faith in Taylor's story, but 'e convinces me. 'E looks like a Burns, too, if you an' Jeremy are anythin' to go by."
"He isn't a Burns, though." Jetta pointed out, slipping into the passenger seat. "What did you say 'is last name is? Conway? Why do I feel like I should know that name?"
"Dunno, but I feel the same way." Laura admitted. "Anyway, I ain't gonna say any more. I want you to meet 'im and decide. I've thrown the kids out for the day bar Cameron, and 'im an' Taylor are 'elpin' Keith redecorate the front room anyway, so it seemed as good a time as any for you to meet 'im without other people hanging round."
"Sounds good to me." Jetta nodded. "I didn't fancy bringin' the kids for this."
"They are with you though? In England, I mean?" Laura looked hopeful. "It's been years since I saw 'em both an' I wanna see them again."
"Yeah, they're 'ere." Jetta nodded. "Nancy insisted on bringin' 'er housemates along too - bandmates, if you want the truth. But I figured it was better for both Aaron an' Nancy if I said yes. Easier for them to occupy themselves...Aaron is datin' one of them as it is."
"Well, they're all welcome to come pay us a visit while you're 'ere." Laura dimpled. "What are Aaron an' Nancy like these days?"
"Much the same as ever." Jetta smiled wryly. "Aaron wants to be everyone's mate an' Nancy wants to kill the world. Darlin' brats, the pair of 'em."
"I never imagined you with kids." She admitted. "But I'm glad you do 'ave 'em. I think motherhood's mellowed you."
"Maybe." Jetta acknowledged. "This it?"
"Yep, this is it." Laura nodded. "Not bad, eh? I know it ain't your Los Angeles mansion kinda house, but it's 'ome an' I like it."
"It's pretty." Jetta agreed, eying the victorian building with approval.
The front door of the house opened to reveal a tall young man of approximately twenty, with dark reddish hair and features enough like Laura to identify him as her eldest child. His hands and clothes were spattered with paint, and he cast his mother a smile.
"We're takin' a break for tea, if you're thirsty." He said. "Dad jus' put the kettle on."
"That sounds good to me." Laura winked. "Cameron, you remember my friend, Sheila Pelligrini?"
"Sure." Cameron grinned at the guest. "Hi."
"Hi, Cameron." Jetta returned the smile. "'Ere, if you're takin' a break, can I borrow Taylor for a minute? I believe we got things to talk about."
"Sure, no probs. I'll go get 'im." Cameron nodded, disappearing back into the house and returning a moment or two later with a tall man in his late twenties, with dark hair pulled back from his face in a ponytail. He cast Jetta an interested smile.
"Are you Sheila Pelligrini?" He asked.
"That's me." Jetta nodded her head. "Question is, who in 'ell are you?"
Laura ushered her son back into the house, to give the two time to talk, and Taylor smiled slightly.
"I think I'm your nephew." He said simply.
"Nephew?" Jetta looked startled. "What makes you think that?"
"I know I have an Aunt called Sheila who lives in America." Taylor replied slowly. "I know she works in the music industry and she married out there. That's pretty much all I have. My father wasn't very forthcoming on details, and when I spoke to my grandfather he wasn't able to tell me much more. He put me on to Laura, who I suppose has got in touch with you."
"I see." Jetta was silent for a moment. "Taylor, I can't see 'ow you could be my nephew. I only 'ave one brother, an' he's spent most of the last twenty years or more banged up for something or other. Even for the brief periods of time 'e's been free I doubt he'd had time to get a girl pregnant. And your name's Conway...that don't belong to my family at all."
"No...it's my mother's name." Taylor admitted. "It's difficult for me, because I wasn't told anything about my real parents until I was fourteen, and then it was only dribs and drabs. I know I was taken away from my mother when I was two or three, because she was using drugs and they were afraid for my well being. I know she died of an overdose when I was five, and that my father was in jail at that time for something or other. It ain't a pedigree I'm proud of, but it's the only one I've got, so I set about trying to find out who else belonged in my family tree."
"Tell me, what's your Ma's name?"
"Rosemary." Taylor replied. "Well, Rose. But Rosemary is what's on her death certificate - I managed to get a copy of that a year or two ago, when I was trying to trace family for her. I didn't find any."
"Rose Conway?" Jetta's expression became startled. "You're Rose Conway's son? She had a son? Oh my God...and your father? Who is he?"
"His name is Jeremy Burns...I understood him to be your brother."
"Jeremy..." Jetta's eyes narrowed. "Yes. 'E's my brother. But you better know now, Taylor, that we don't 'ave any kinda communication between us. I hate him and he loathes me."
"That's the impression I got from Dad." Taylor admitted ruefully.
"'Ow old are you?"
"Twenty seven." Taylor replied. "I guess I must've come about not long before Dad got banged up."
"Guess not." Jetta was silent for a moment, then, "Well, I suppose if Jeremy's your father then you are my nephew after all."
"I have my birth certificate, if you want to see it." Taylor offered, but Jetta shook her head.
"No...I don't need to." She said quietly. "See, I don't 'ave anythin' to do with Jeremy's family...for the sake of my own it's best that way."
With that she headed into the house in search of her friend, leaving Taylor staring after her.
He sighed, sitting down on the wall that divided the front garden from the pavement, and lighting up a cigarette as he considered. He hadn't been sure of the reception he'd get from his aunt, but he had hoped for more than a casual dismissal.
"It isn't my fault if I'm Jeremy's son. It's not like I grew up with him, or have taken sides." He told himself, a little angry at her behaviour. "I've met him once and I didn't like him then. I wanted to find my aunt and uncle, that's all...she didn't have to be so cold about it."
"What's eatin' you?" Cameron lounged in the porch, eying Taylor quizzically. Despite the age gap, the two had developed quite a friendship, since Taylor lived not far from the student accomodation Cameron spent much of his term time in. Cameron was a bright youth, with a desire to enter the medical profession, and though his education was not cheap, he was resourceful enough to make his student income and the money he made working shift at the guild bar keep him afloat. Taylor had developed a lot of respect for him, and had never seen him as being younger, for, as the eldest of four and with a wise head about him, Cameron was mature beyond his years.
"If Mum catches you smokin' out 'ere she'll kick you out, you know." He added now. Taylor grimaced.
"I know." He admitted. "To be honest though, Cam, I'm going to head into the city and do some thinking. I'm not focused on painting and I think the fumes are getting to me."
"What did Aunt Sheila say to you?" Cameron was nothing if not quick, but Taylor shrugged it off.
"Ain't important." He said, flicking ash onto the pavement and standing. "I'll catch you later, okay?"
"Sure thing." Cameron gave it up as a bad job. "Don't drive too crazy, huh?"
"As if." He replied. "You think I can afford to go driving that old banger into lamposts? Give me some credit!"
"All right. See you later." He said with a grin. "I'll tell Mum you wimped out."
Taylor just shrugged, slipping into his car and revving the engine. Cameron watched him pull away, shaking his head slowly. Taylor wasn't one to discuss personal matters much, but he knew enough about the older guy to know he was upset about something.
"Where's Taylor off to in such a hurry?" His father came up behind him. Cameron shrugged.
"Had other things to do." He said vaguely. "So guess it's just you an' me this afternoon."
"Well, we can handle it." Keith grinned. "For now, though, tea's up!"
PART FIVE: FAMILY FEUD
Chapter One: Invitation To England
Chapter Two: Exploring London
Chapter Three: Taylor
Chapter Four: A Surprise For Nancy
Chapter Five: Jetta Explains
Chapter Six: To Ruislip
Chapter Seven: Romance
Chapter Eight: The Stranger
Chapter Nine: Kidnap!
Chapter Ten: The Aftermath
Chapter Eleven: Bad Blood
Chapter Twelve: An Unlikely Hero
Chapter Thirteen: A Family For Taylor
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.