Just A Dream...
A Gabor Legacy
Chapter Five: Nancy Finds Out
Sirena stared at the waiting black limousine without enthusiasm, as reporters jostled to ask questions, and cameras clicked and flashed around her. She was not, she mused, really in mourning, though she was shrewd enough to know that it would be taken better if she were to wear black on her first public appearance since the shooting, and the security men were so numerous and protective of her that she did not feel afraid.
The problem was that she had not wanted to return to LA.
It all still seemed unreal to her, like some badly organised dream. She had not wanted to leave Harvey's kindly, if impromptu hospitality, even despite the frequent intrusions of the police department as they began their investigations. Nor had she wanted to reenter the real world, for she knew that the questions that she would be asked were not ones she wanted to answer. They would bring her back to cold reality, and that was somewhere which she was not yet ready to go.
"Sirena, a couple of words for Cool Trash magazine?" one reporter called, and was quickly dealt with by the biggest security guard as she was ushered into her car. She hoped absently that the stepped up security was not going to become habitual.
Rory had barely spoken two words to her since the incident. She knew, of course, that the loss of Blade was a big deal to Rebel Records, but she also knew that Blade had been too young and precocious to leave a will, and that he had no family to lay claim to his royalties. Rebel Records, therefore, would not do too badly when all was settled, and Sirena knew this only too well. Somehow, though, it seemed wrong to even be concerned with money when someone had died.
She caught a hold of herself. This kind of thinking wasn't like her!
But events in San Diego and Harvey's subsequent kindness to her had made her begin to see things in a slightly different light.
She had not known that he was her mother's father, and therefore her grandfather...equally Harvey had made no connection between his waif and stray and Phyllis herself. But, even so, a bond had been formed between them, and Sirena had found herself promising to visit next time she was in San Diego. Why she'd said it she didn't know. She saw no reason to hurry back to the city, and yet...
"And yet he's the only person who's ever treated me like I was more than just a nusiance." She realised. "I...I liked him, and that's why I want to go back."
Rory had arranged a television appearance for that very night and she had been angry at him for it, though she had kept her feelings hidden this time. The show was already billed to feature Jewel, and upstaging them was always a priority in her mind. Whether they knew about Blade's fate she neither knew or cared...the one comfort she took from all the hysteria was that she was still the centre of press attention, albeit somewhat soured by the more intrusive and insistant nature it was beginning to take.
"That's how it should be." she had told herself. "Even in these circumstances. I gotta be strong, can't let people convince me I cared more for Blade than I ever did. I walked away, he didn't...that's the way the cookie crumbles."
They would go straight to the television studio. She had given no interview since the shooting and she knew that Rory would get a lot of money for her appearance that night. How much of it she'd get remained to be seen.
She frowned. She still felt shaky, if she was honest. She'd not eaten much since it'd happened, and though she had declined medical attention, she wasn't sure she was quite herself. Shock, she knew, could manifest itself in several ways, and she'd felt more and more unsettled since she'd left the safety of Harvey's extensive estate. She hoped the interview would not be long...she wanted nothing more than to go home and to bed.
This too was not like her. She rolled her eyes. This was crazy!
The studio was busy by the time she arrived. Adopting an air of sombre dignity she made her way along the corridors to her dressing room, for once to preoccupied to complain about it's decor or the way in which she was bustled about.
Rory followed her, closing the door behind him.
"Tonight is a big deal. Don't you blow it." He warned her.
"Blow it?" Sirena looked startled. "What do you mean?"
"The police in San Diego will find Blade's killer, I've no doubts about that." Rory sat down in a chair, fixing her with a grim look. "It's inconvenient, but sadly unavoidable. In the circumstances, we must do the best we can to keep all publicity about him and about Rebel Records positive. A lot of light will be thrown on his short but eventful life and career, and you must play your part in that. Your publicity depends on your cooperation - this could yet turn into an advantageous setup for all of us."
"Blade's dead." Sirena's tone lacked all emotion. "What's good in that, Rory?"
"If it sells records then plenty, my dear." Rory said quietly. "This little liason of yours has been most useful so far...now he's dead you must carry on your part in it. I am glad to see you wearing black - very fitting for a singer in mourning."
"You want me to go out there and act like I just lost the love of my life?" Sirena demanded.
"Well, it will get you the sympathy vote, if nothing else." Rory replied. "In this business you have to be ruthless and since you are now solely Rebel Records' biggest selling performer, we have to hype this for all it's worth."
"I can't do it."
"You will do as you are told." Rory told her firmly. "Your contract may depend on it."
"I'm not in love with Blade and you know I never was!"
"Who cares? The truth is not important, Emily. Image is the thing that matters here - your image." he frowned. "What kind of person will people think you are if it gets out that Sirena the rock singer was merely playing games with poor, victimised Blade?"
"That's not how it was!"
"No, but it's how it'll come across." Rory responded. "Don't be foolish, think of your career." He stood. "I'll leave you to contemplate what you intend to say."
Once he was gone, Sirena sighed, sinking down further in her chair. Great. Just great.
She didn't usually have any problem with lying, but where a man had died she felt some unease. Rory had not taken into account Sirena's own reaction to the shooting, for he had failed to see that, beneath her sharp, temperamental exterior was someone both sensitive and imaginitive to all that went on around her.
To him it was a business inconvenience that the company would handle by cutting their losses and enlisting some other star into the spotlight.
To her it was something which would haunt her dreams for some time to come.
"Creep!" She muttered, clenching her fists. "Damn you, Blade! What in hell did you do to get shot and leave me here in this mess, huh? Can I go out there and lie for the both of us, when so many things might be riding on what I say?"
She opened the door of the dressing room, heading to get herself a drink of water. She had been on Constance Montgomery's late night chat show more than once in the past and she knew both the set and the manner of things implicitly, but it didn't make her feel any more comfortable tonight.
"Hey, watch where you're going!"
A voice startled her and she met the annoyed gaze of Nancy Pelligrini. Her own expression darkened. Brilliant. Just what she didn't need - a run-in with the Jewel she hated most of all.
"You watch where you're going." She snapped back. "I have more important things to worry about than the likes of you."
"Oh, I see you're really the grieving widow." Nancy retorted. "Forgive me if I don't feel the slightest bit of sympathy for you. I guess I was right after all and it was all just for show."
"You're just a kid, what do you know?" Sirena spat out. "You'd run a mile if ever a guy was insane enough to show an interest in you."
"Who says?" Nancy demanded, for this was still a sore point, her doubts about Dean fresh in her mind.
"Me." Sirena's eyes narrowed. "Blade told me all about you."
"Well, I don't care that he's dead, and nor do you." Nancy replied. "But I bet you'll just go out there and feed your sobstory to the world anyway."
"Go to Hell." Sirena retorted. "What I have to say has nothing to do with you, Nancy. Unless you're totally dense, which wouldn't surprise me, you'll know that yesterday I watched someone die. Not just anyone, but someone I knew. That ain't my favourite way to spend any day." She put a hand to her head. "Now, grow up and leave me alone. I ain't got time for...for this."
She faltered as the world swayed slightly, and she grabbed out for the wall to support her. Startled, Nancy stared at her foe, unable to work out what was going on. Sirena was very pale, and for the first time the young guitarist wondered if the shooting had had a more pronounced effect on the singer than she'd first thought.
"Are you okay?" She asked, after an awkward moment of silence.
"What do you care?" Sirena tried her hardest to regain her composure, but it was beyond her feeble energies. "Get outta my way, kid!"
She pushed past the younger girl, feeling sick and afraid that she might humiliate herself in front of her foe.
Nancy was too shrewd not to realise it, and, after a moment's hesitation she headed off in the direction her rival had gone, diverting en-route to grab a glass of water. She did not know what had happened to inspire her sudden compassion for the elder girl, nor did she question it. Everything was every which way with the world as it was, and for some reason it seemed the most natural thing in the world to take the singer a drink.
Sirena, she found, was sitting on a bench outside the ladies restroom, little colour in her cheeks. She eyed Nancy with a defensive glower.
"What?" She demanded.
Nancy held out the drink.
"I thought you might need this." She said quietly. Sirena looked taken aback.
"For your sickness."
"Who said I'm sick? I'm fine!"
"Sirena, Blade was shot dead yesterday. Like you said, that's a big enough shock for anyone." Nancy replied. "Take it. You're white as a sheet and it'll do none of us any good if you pass out on air."
Sirena shot Nancy a doubtful look, but took the cup hesitantly, taking a ginger sip of the cool liquid. She mustered a faint smile.
"Don't bother." Now Nancy too felt awkward. "I don't know why I did it anyway."
Sirena sighed heavily.
"Me either." She admitted. "Nothing's as it should be at the moment."
"Will you miss him?"
"Who, Blade? God knows." Sirena rolled her eyes. "It was routine...I don't like changes."
"And good publicity." Nancy said acidly, sitting down beside the other girl.
"Screw the publicity." She muttered. "It's one thing when everyone wants to hear what you gotta say, but a total other one when the press won't leave you alone. I don't wanna be here tonight, but Rory gave me no choice. I don't wanna talk about Blade!"
"So don't." Nancy shrugged. "If you can't cope with the pressure, Sirena, you shouldn't be playing for such big stakes."
"It isn't a game!" Sirena flared up at this. "God, don't you realise that? Don't you know that it all stopped being a game yesterday afternoon at half past one when Carl Arca was shot dead in cold blood? Is that totally beyond your tiny brain? Any of us could be next!"
"You think that's likely?" Nancy raised an eyebrow. "Blade was a jerk and he probably upset enough people in his life. Is it surprising someone hated him enough to want him dead?"
"Why am I even talking to you about this?" She demanded. "You're the enemy...God, you're worse than the enemy!"
"What do you mean?" Nancy looked startled. "I was only trying to help you, you know!"
"Well, I don't want you to." Sirena scowled. "And don't pretend you don't know why I hate you, Nancy Pelligrini. You and your whole family. You think you're so clever and good at everything, I know you do, and I know you look down on me. I'm just a nothing charity kid noone wanted in your eyes." Her voice shook slightly. "I can't even go to my own mother because she hates the sight of me. You all do! Don't pretend it's not true!"
"I don't care where you came from." Nancy snapped back. "I'm not a snob, Sirena! It's your bad attitude that bugs me! You descended on us, uttering threats! And I'm sorry that you don't have a relationship with your mother, but that's nothing to do with me, is it?"
"It's everything to do with you." Sirena said darkly. "Don't play it innocent with me, Nancy."
"I've never even met the woman!" Nancy protested.
Sirena opened her mouth to snap back a retort but paused, confused.
"You...you really don't know who she is, do you?" she demanded.
"Why in hell should I?" Nancy demanded. "She's your mother, she ain't mine! Just cos you have a bee in your bonnet about growing up wherever you grew up without her doesn't mean you can lash out at every kid in Los Angeles who ain't from a dysfunctional background!"
Sirena let out a hollow laugh.
"Is that what you think?" She retorted scornfully. "Is that what you really think I do, Nancy? Has it never occured to you that there's a real reason why I hate you all so badly, you most of all? And I thought you were meant to be clever!"
"If you're just going to insult and bait me then I'll leave you alone." Nancy got to her feet. "I've had enough of this."
"My mother is Phyllis Gabor." Sirena said softly. "Now what do you think?"
Nancy's own face drained of colour and she stared at her foe in disbelief.
"No, it can't be! She can't be...you're lying! Aunt Phyl would never..."
"She did." Sirena interrupted her. "Ask her if you don't believe me. Go on, I dare you. Ask her what her relationship with Eric Raymond really amounted to. Ask her what happened between them all those years ago. Ask her what became of the baby girl she had in July '90. Go on, ask her!"
Nancy's expression became stricken.
"You're serious!" She realised, her voice little more than a whisper. "Oh my God...you're damn serious!"
"Deadly serious." Sirena said quietly. "Ironic, ain't it, that my mother means more to you than she does to me?"
Nancy bit her lip, her mind racing. As she looked at her foe, she became aware for the first time of the girl's brilliant green eyes, eyes which were identical to those belonging to Phyllis herself.
"Oh my God..."
"You're speechless." She observed. "Unusual for you, isn't it?"
"I...I have to go." Finally Nancy got a grip on herself. "I..."
She trailed off, disappearing down the corridor and back to the safety of Jewel's dressing room.
Sirena took a sip of water. She felt slightly better for having discomfitted Nancy, but also a grudging amount of gratitude for the girl's impulsive kindness.
"I can't go on screen and lie about Blade and my relationship." She decided. "But I won't tell the whole truth either. I'll cover my back and say as little as possible. Rory can't go mental over that." She sighed. "The sooner this is all over, the better, and life can go back to normal."
"And who knows...there might be storms brewing in the Jewel camp!"
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.