Just A Dream...
A Gabor Legacy
Chapter Twelve: Sirena vs Pizzazz
"I'm still not sure about this."
Phyllis paced across the lawn of her father's estate, a frown on her face. Her initial resolve had faded somewhat upon arrival at the San Diego Gabor mansion, where she had spent most of her childhood and where Harvey had now made his permanent home, selling off a vast number of the other estates around America in the process. The memories of the big house had unsettled her even more, for she was about to add a new memory to those already existing - an encounter with her daughter.
"Emily needs you." Harvey got out of the car, moving across the path with surprising agility for his age, and inserting the key in the lock. "You always said you were tough, Phyllis...we're about to see just how tough, aren't we?"
"Don't use that tone." Phyllis grimaced. "You always used that when you were telling me off."
"You never listened when I tried." Harvey reminded her. "I'm surprised you remembered."
"Well, you were away such a lot." Phyllis sighed. "Brings back memories, coming back here."
"Of course it does." Harvey smiled. "Not all of them bad, I hope."
"No. Guess not." Phyllis paused, remembering some of the more illicit activities she had gotten up to when her father had been out of town. She had thrown more than one wild party throughout her highschool days, and she knew that even now Harvey had no idea of exactly what lengths she had gone to through her 'wild' childhood. The majority of her exploits she had kept dark...which is why, she presumed, the truth about her daughter had come as such a shock to him.
She wished all the more fervently that he had never found out. The way she was feeling right now scared her more than she cared to admit. She was unsure, afraid, nervous even, about the encounter that was looming - and they were all emotions that Phyllis Gabor had always prided herself on scorning. As Pizzazz of the Misfits she had been strong, obnoxious, confrontational and determined...but now those feelings had deserted her completely. Had she had a mirror to hand, she knew she would not have been able to look herself in the eye.
She had not told Jetta what she was going to do...in fact, she had not told anyone she was leaving town. She had left a brief email for Alan and a note on her desk to Jetta saying she had things to see to and would be back in a day or two. She didn't want anyone to know what she was about to do...she was afraid of it going horribly wrong. She had no idea what to say to Sirena when she saw her, or how her daughter might react. All in all she wished herself miles away.
Harvey saw her expression and paused in opening the door, coming to give her a reassuring hug. For once Phyllis did not push her father's affection away. Instead she smiled slightly.
"Think I needed that." She admitted abruptly. "Jus' don't tell anyone, okay?"
"Come on." Harvey grinned. "We have more important things to deal with."
He pushed open the door, leading the way inside and waiting for his daughter to follow him before shutting and locking it firmly. Ushering Phyllis into the main lounge, he instructed her to sit down and relax, then headed upstairs to find his grand-daughter. Inwardly he too was nervous, for in the short time he had known Sirena he had become very fond of her, and wanted nothing more than to reunite the two. But he knew only too well his attempt would be hit or miss.
He knocked on the door of the room which Sirena had begun to make 'hers' since her arrival in San Diego a few days before, waiting for his grandchild to call him in. Then he swung open the door.
Sirena was sprawled on the bed, leafing through the tabloid press with a gloomy expression on her face.
"It just gets worse. Apparently now I'm dead." She reported with a grimace, tossing the offending article to the floor. "When the hell are they gonna leave me alone? I don't need this! Next thing you know they'll be camping on your front lawn!"
"Stop it." Harvey chided her gently, coming to sit on the end of the bed. "Ignore them. They have nothing better to write about. In any case, I've something else to turn your mind to."
"Oh?" Sirena raised an eyebrow. "What's that, then? Where did you go, anyway? The housekeeper just said you'd gone out of town...I didn't think you worked any more."
"I don't. This was a personal matter." Harvey replied. "I went to Los Angeles to see Phyllis."
A shadow crossed Sirena's face.
"Oh." She said quietly.
"Yes." Harvey nodded. "We...talked for a bit. She came back with me, you know."
"What?" Sirena looked startled. "Mother...here? But why? What does she want, to gloat?"
"No...not at all." Harvey shook his head. "I think she wants to help you, actually. If nothing else, you ought to talk to her, see what comes of it."
"What's the use? She's never given a damn before." Sirena rolled her eyes hopelessly. "At the moment I'm barely in control of either my emotions or my body...this is not the time to have a showdown with my mother."
"I know you don't believe it, but she does care about you." Harvey told her. "And I have to take my share in the blame, Emily. I wasn't a good father to her always and she grew up more or less without a stable parental influence. If she couldn't cope with you it's partly my fault for not being there for her."
"Rubbish." Sirena snorted. "She was just scared for her image, that's all."
"Perhaps." Harvey nodded. "But she admitted to me something else, Emily. She told me she was afraid...that she didn't know how to raise you. She panicked...in much the same way as you did when you first found out your situation, no doubt."
"To be honest I guess I'm more sympathetic towards her now than I ever have been." She admitted. "But...I thought about it and I'm gonna end the chain. I ain't gonna give up on my kid because I know what it's like to be abandoned and unwanted. I know how horrible that is to grow up with. Sure, I may not be a good mom an' it'll probably drive me round the bend, but he or she will know who to call Mom all right, and that's what matters."
"And I'll support you all the way." Harvey hugged her. "Now come on...please?"
"All right." Sirena groaned, getting to her feet. "I'm coming, but this is a bad idea. I'm telling you there's nothing to be repaired between her and me. How you and she can be related I don't know...you're so good to me and she's so cold." She bit her lip. "She told me that as far as she was concerned she had no daughter...I was a mistake and she dealt with it."
Harvey did not reply, merely following her out of the room and down the stairs. At the door of the lounge she hesitated, but Harvey took her by the hand, leading her inside.
At their entrance Phyllis turned from where she had been gazing unseeingly out at the patio, and Sirena stopped just inside the door. There was an awkward silence, as neither one knew quite where to begin, and in the end it was Harvey who broke the quiet.
"I'm going to see to coffee." He said quietly. "And let you talk."
"No coffee for me." Sirena shook her head. "I...mustn't. Milk...would be fine."
"Of course." Harvey nodded with a smile. "See you girls soon."
And then he was gone, leaving them alone.
"Milk's hardly the kinda drink I pictured you takin'." Phyllis observed quietly. Sirena frowned.
"It ain't." She replied shortly. "But I care about what happens to my kid."
Phyllis flinched at the tone.
"You don't know a damn thing." She muttered. "You ain't got a clue what you're gettin' yourself into."
"Yes I do." Sirena shot back. "I know exactly what I'm doing. I know what it's like to be ditched on a nothing Foundation and grow up with next to nothing of my own when my mother is rolling in money and scared of wrecking her image. I'm not having that for my kid!"
"Do you think I'd have brought you up any better?" Phyllis demanded. "A kid I never wanted or knew how to deal with? You'd have hated me more than you do...and I'd have long given up on you!"
"I idolised you growing up." Sirena's voice shook. "The Misfits were my inspiration! It drove Kimber mad but I went to thrift stores and music stores and got every damn one of the songs you ever recorded. It was you that made me want to be a singer...do you have any idea what a blow it was to find out that the person I'd looked up to so much was the mother I'd never been allowed to have? My whole life I told myself that my mother must've had a good reason to give me up...but you didn't. You just hated me and wanted me out of your life."
"You hated me first." Phyllis folded her arms. "You wouldn't shut up crying."
"That's what babies do."
"I know that, thank you." Phyllis snapped. "But you saved it for me! Others could get you to sleep - Aja took you and you were quiet as a lamb...but I went near you an' you screamed to hell!"
"Some excuse for what you did." Sirena's tone was bitter. "You don't know how much I've hated you since then, you know. Since I found out. Since Rory..."
"Damn Rory Llewelyn." Phyllis exclaimed. "He has no business in any of this. He's used you and he's messed over me enough, and you're still willing to give credence to what he says?"
"He at least told me who I was!" Sirena spat back. "You never did that!"
"I'm not your mother, Emily. Not the mother you want." Phyllis shook her head. "Listen up, kid, and listen good. I told you once I have no daughter...that's the way I cope with what I did twenty one years ago. It don't mean that I've forgotten you...or that I don't have regrets. But it was done and done for the best. You'd do better letting it go and moving on...I can't give you the kinda support you need. I couldn't handle a babe of my own - there's no way in hell Id know what to do with yours."
"God, don't you understand?" Sirena demanded. "All I ever wanted was to be acknowledged! Not hushed up like some sordid secret! I just wanted some recognition...some sign that I wasn't just another thing to be forgotten. That's all! Dammit, I just wanted my real mother to take an interest in what I did...some hope of that, huh? You fawn your attention over that damn Pelligrini girl...but what about me? Your own flesh and blood? You don't got time for me!"
"Stop it!" Phyllis covered her ears. "Shut up!"
"Why should I?" Sirena snapped. "It's the truth! Are you scared of the truth, Mother? Is that what it is?"
"What do you want me to say?" Phyllis exclaimed. "That I love you and I'm sorry? Because I can't, dammit! I'm not sorry! I did the best thing for both of us, whatever you think about it!"
Sirena was silent for a moment, staring at her mother in disbelief.
"You're not sorry...but you do love me?" She asked, her tone incredulous.
Phyllis looked startled.
"I...I guess I do." She admitted slowly. "In...well...a way, I suppose..."
Sirena's green eyes were touched with tears.
"I love you too." She whispered. "But I didn't know it till I came here...till I knew I was in the same situation as you were, and I understood how you must've felt. I didn't know how badly I wanted my mother till now...I just didn't think you wanted me."
"I...guess I didn't think so either." Phyllis' own expression was one of confusion as she tried to work out where the conversation had gone to, and how the hostile atmosphere had begun to trickle away. "God, Emily, I don't know what the hell I can do in all this. You don't need a mother...you're no child now."
"You're the only one who knows what it's like." Sirena said softly. "Kimber don't know. She and Shawn have no kids, and she's always hated me anyway. Grandfather can't tell me. I don't have a grandmother...I only have you."
"Your Grandmother was the witch who started this whole mess too many years ago." Phyllis said bitterly. "She's dead now, thank God. Good riddance."
"I can't imagine why anyone would leave Grandfather." Sirena said thoughtfully. "He's the nicest guy I ever met. Most men don't have any respect for me, either in a business or an emotional sense. He...never treated me like the press do, or like Rory or Blade did. He treated me...like a lady. Like I was worth something."
"Daddy's always been a gentleman." Phyllis acknowledged. She laughed ruefully. "We ain't much alike, you know."
Sirena offered her mother a tiny smile.
"This isn't how I figured we'd end up." She admitted. "Talkin' like nothing bad ever happened."
"I ain't never felt as weird as I do now." Phyllis responded, sitting down on the sofa with a sigh. "Jetta told me...that I had to settle the situation with you one way or another. She knows more than you tell her, Jetta...perhaps she's right. Damn, perhaps motherhood is instinctive after all. There's no way in Hell I'd have chosen this, but when Father told me what Riot did to you I was mad as heck that he'd treated a Gabor like that."
"I ain't a Gabor." Sirena reminded her.
"Yeah, you are." Phyllis responded. "You look like one. More even than I do. Who cares if you have the name? You got the bloodline."
"Guess I should thank you for being able to sing." Sirena said ironically. Phyllis looked uncharacteristically grave.
"Don't." She said quietly. "I don't know what this is gonna lead into, Emily, but for heaven's sake don't start thanking me for anything. I ain't been a mother to you and I've no intention of beginning now...wouldn't know where to start."
"Perhaps that's for the best." Sirena nodded slowly. "I've grown up by myself...having a mother actin' all maternal over me now...I don't think I could stick it. That ain't what I want from you. I just want...hell, I dunno. I guess I just want you in my life...as a friend. I...ain't got many of them."
Phyllis was silent for a moment. Then she sighed.
"Hell, why not?" She said finally. "I s'pose it can't hurt to try it. The press will latch onto it...but in truth I don't care so much as I did. I was worried 'bout what Daddy would do if he knew and well, now I know his reaction." She narrowed her eyes. "And you leave that Llewelyn jerk to me. I'll teach him to mess with one of my family, don't you worry."
"What are you gonna do to him?" Sirena's eyes widened in surprise. "I don't want a big court battle!"
"You won't have one." Phyllis replied. "He's counting on the fact that you have noone in this world to support you, so he's exploited that in dismissing your contract how he has. What he doesn't realise is that Misfit Music is about to get involved...soon as he realises I'm all behind takin' him to court and suing the hell out of him he'll back off and settle out of court. Don't you worry...I'll see to it. He won't know what hit him."
"I'm beginning to see why Jewel tend to get the upper hand." She observed. "You're one tough cookie."
"Well, I don't think you're all that different." Phyllis admitted. "You scared me a coupla times acting more like me than I would."
She frowned. "Listen, kid. Are you sure you wanna bring this baby into the world? You're not gonna keep out of the public eye long, especially if Blade is the father..."
"He is, and yeah, I am." Sirena nodded. "It took a while to come to terms with, but I made up my mind now, and when I make up my mind I don't change it easy. If it means being splattered over the tabloids, well, fine. Maybe I'll make some cash from it. I ain't got a job now, after all."
"We'll see about that." Phyllis said decidedly. "You wanna sing, and you're damn successful. If Rebel Records are dumb enough to ditch you, well, it's their loss. You can sign on with Misfit Music."
"For real?" Sirena looked startled.
"Yeah. I mean, when the baby's old enough and all."
"I don't want you to sign me just because you feel you should."
"Emily, I ain't never done anything out of duty. My conscience ain't that strong." Phyllis laughed. "I want you cos you're good, no other reason. Ask Jetta. I don't sign anyone unless they got what it takes. You do...but then, you're a Gabor. How can you fail?"
"Maybe I'll be a real Gabor one day." Sirena looked thoughtful. "I've thought about changing my name since I knew who Grandfather was...I'd like the babe to have his last name and...well, I guess I want it too. Wanna belong, you know?"
"Doesn't worry me, kid." Phyllis shrugged.
"Can I ask you one thing?"
"Why Emily-Jayne? Why such an awkward name?"
"It wasn't." She replied simply. "It was meant to be two names - Emily then Jayne. But somewhere they messed it up. Don't blame me, blame the Foundation. I only ever called you Emily."
"Makes sense." Sirena acknowledged. "Hm. Well, maybe I'll be Emily Gabor then. I dunno...kinda sounds good, dontcha think?"
"You need any help with the legalities, lemme know. I got contacts." She said airily, as Harvey opened the door, bringing in the drinks, which he summarily handed out. He glanced between the two, and smiled.
"Noone's dead yet, then?" he observed lightly.
"I think we found common ground." Phyllis said quietly. She glanced at her daughter. "You stayin' in San Diego?"
"Yes. For now, at least." Sirena nodded. "I'm gonna go speak to the police department tomorrow, anyway. They wanted me before to help ID the guy they caught for the shooting of Blade...but I wasn't feeling good and I blew 'em off. Still, it's gotta be done, right?"
"Too right it has." Phyllis nodded. She shuddered. "I can't imagine...you must've been so close."
"Were you afraid for me?" Sirena asked hesitantly.
"It was a shock when I found out how close you came." Phyllis said levelly. "Don't push me, Emily. I can only go so far."
"Okay." Sirena shrugged. "Me too, in truth." She sighed. "In a way I'm glad he'll never know what he left me with. This way the kid will never have the disappointment of being rejected by its father...and Blade woulda rejected both me and it if he'd known."
"You're best off without your father, kid." Phyllis told her firmly.
"God, I know." Sirena pulled a face. "That's another reason I want the name change. I ain't got any feelings for him...he means nothing to me."
Phyllis eyed her carefully, but said nothing. Instead she glanced at her father.
"I'm not staying in San Diego, but I'll come down this weekend, once I've settled Riot." she said with a frown.
"Riot?" Harvey looked confused. "What has he to do with anything?"
"Riot is Rory Llewelyn." Sirena explained. Harvey's eyes narrowed.
"That explains a lot." He said grimly. "After how he treated your mother, it's no surprise he's exploited and used you."
"Well, we're going to settle that." Phyllis said determinedly. "He's gonna learn once and for all not to mess with a Gabor!"
PART SIX: A GABOR LEGACY
Prologue: Twenty One Years Ago
Chapter One: Sirena And Blade
Chapter Two: Nancy's Heart
Chapter Three: Coup D'Etat
Chapter Four: The Reaction
Chapter Five: Nancy Finds Out
Chapter Six: Dilemma
Chapter Seven: Facing Phyllis
Chapter Eight: Scandal!
Chapter Nine: An Unexpected Shock
Chapter Ten: A Revelation
Chapter Eleven: Harvey Takes A Hand
Chapter Twelve: Sirena vs Pizzazz
Chapter Thirteen: Settling Rory
Chapter Fourteen: At Misfit Music
Epilogue: A New Beginning
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.