Just A Dream...

A Gabor Legacy

Chapter Seven: Facing Phyllis

It was the next day before Nancy got up the courage to speak to Phyllis about what she had discovered. Though they had always had a strange sort of bond and Nancy felt closer to the executive than she did to anyone outside her immediate family, she was still apprehensive. Phyllis had a fearsome temper when aroused, and the young teenager had no mind to be on the receiving end of one of her rages.
She had not slept much the night before. Between trying not to think about Dean and contemplating Sirena's revelation she had tossed and turned, unable to get much respite. She had risen early as a result, resolved at least to settle one of the issues that very day.
And, as daunting as Phyllis' temper could be, talking to Dean about his feelings struck her as twice as scary a prospect.
She had decided in the end that such an encounter should not take place at Misfit Music, or with the knowledge of any of her bandmates, so after a hurried breakfast and a hasty note to her housemates that she had gone for a drive to think, she headed out to her car, putting it in gear and pulling out in the direction of the Gabor Estate. As a small girl she had always loved spending time there, with its luxurious pool and immense grounds. She and Aaron had always found things to occupy their different interests, and her memories of it were always happy ones. Now, though, a tiny seed of doubt had planted itself in her mind about the woman she had grown up calling 'aunt'. Why had she abandoned her child?
"If it's really true, of course...but I can't see why it wouldn't be." She mused, pulling up on the gravel drive and getting out of the vehicle, locking it firmly and making her way slowly to the door. She rang the bell, half hoping not to get an answer, but the door was opened by Alan, who shot her a surprised look.
"Hello there, Nancy." He grinned at her. "Early to be about. What brings you here at this time?" He indicated his bag. "I was just off to the hospital."
"Is Aunt Phyl up?" Nancy asked.
"Yes. She's having breakfast." Alan nodded. He looked rueful. "I woke her this morning getting ready and she wasn't best pleased. She's out on the patio...I gotta run so I'll leave you to it."
"Sure." Nancy smiled soberly. "Thanks."
She slipped into the house, through the many corridors to the back patio, where her 'aunt' was indeed sat in her dressing gown, eating fruit salad and flicking idly through a fashion magazine. She glanced up at the sound of the french doors, shooting her adoptive niece a surprised look.
"What brings you here?" She asked. "It ain't like you got an early start at the studio...don't Jewel have the day free? What gives?"
"I wanted to talk to you." Nancy spoke hesitantly. "About something that happened recently."
"Sit down, then." Phyllis told her. "This about Blade? Cos if it is, do yourself a favour and forget him. Take it from me, he was a jerk and you're best off without his cramping your style."
"It's not about Blade." Nancy shook her head. "Aunt Phyl, we've always got along kinda good, right? And you've never minded me coming to get your perspective on something if I don't feel I can go to Mom...I mean, you've helped me put things into perspective and stopped me getting soft over situations. You always make things straightforward and you always tell me it as it is...right?"
"Yes." Phyllis looked confused. "What's up? You in some kinda trouble, kid?"
"No." Nancy shook her head. "It's something else."
"Spill." Phyllis set down her spoon, eying her protegee curiously. "You look like someone's cat died or something. What you moping over, if it ain't Blade's death? Please tell me it isn't some guy...I've just eaten and I don't want a deep and meaningful chat about love to turn my stomach." She pulled a face.
Nancy surveyed her companion thoughtfully. She had always loved Phyllis' offhand, independant manner and it had encouraged her to confide in the other woman, since the executive was never one to make too much of situations and often dispelled her fears as nonsense. But this was something quite different, and she hesitated as she decided how to approach the matter.
"Do...do you trust me?" She asked finally.
The question was so utterly out of the blue that Phyllis stared at the young guitarist for a moment, as if trying to ascertain where such a query had come from. At length she nodded.
"Sure, I guess so." She acknowledged finally. "You're pretty much the only kid I've ever gotten along with. Why?"
Nancy bit her lip, then,
"Aunt Phyllis, why didn't you tell me you had a daughter?"
Phyllis' face drained of all it's colour at this and she gazed at her companion in horrified silence, struck speechless by her words. Unnerved by this obvious confirmation of Sirena's story, Nancy too fell silent, twisting her hands together. It was Phyllis who broke the silence first, and her exclamation made Nancy jump.
"Damn that girl!" She exclaimed. "Damn her!"
"Aunt Phyl..."
"No. Don't." Phyllis silenced her. "This isn't any of your business, Nancy, and you had no right to intrude on it." Her tone was cold and angry, and Nancy began to feel even more uncomfortable.
"I...I'm sorry." She murmured. "I just..."
"Well, you shouldn't." Phyllis snapped back. "It was a long time ago and it's nothing to do with you. It was before you were even born. I suppose it was her who told you?"
"Yes." Nancy nodded slowly. "Aunt Phyl, why do you hate her so much? I've known you my whole life...there's noone I look up to more than you, except perhaps Mom...I never imagined you capable of this."
This was too much for Phyllis and she bit her lip, touched more than she cared to admit by the teenager's faith in her. Her anger faded, and she put a hand on Nancy's arm.
"There's a lot you don't understand." She said quietly. "And that you don't know, Nancy. I was twenty-six...yeah, okay, it ain't that young, but I was alone and I was unsure what in hell I was s'posed to do. And I didn't abandon her. I gave her to people who knew how to look after kids more than I ever will."
"Why did you never tell anyone?"
A bitter smile touched Phyllis' lips.
"There are things you don't tell people in the position I was and am in in life." She said slowly. "Especially taking into account who the kid's father was. I couldn't face the humiliation of it, to be honest with you, and I didn't see why I should have to." She paused.
"I ain't a Mom, Nancy." She said quietly. "Not a proper one. I never had a proper mother and I never had a clue how to be a parent. Hell, even your mother knew better what to do when kids came along and upset her life...and she always said she hated them as much as I do. Take it from me, motherhood ain't a natural instinct. It's damn impossible!"
"Didn't you regret it?"
"Regret it? Hah! Why should I regret it?" Phyllis demanded. "I had an affair I should never have had, for reasons even I can't explain! It had a result that I didn't know how to handle - why should I regret giving her up? It was a solution to the problem and the best thing I ever did. For me and for her, whatever the hell she says about it!"
Nancy frowned.
"She thinks you hate her." She said.
"Oh, so you're best pals with her now, are you?" Phyllis snapped.
"No, of course not." Nancy shook her head. "But last night at the studios...I don't think she was feeling the best and she said a lot of things to me that I'm sure she wouldn't have mentioned if it hadn't've been for the shock of Blade's death."
She paused, registering her companion's startled look. "What?"
"What has Blade to do with anything? Don't try and make me believe my brat of a daughter fell in love with him!"
"Aunt Phyl, she was there when it happened. Didn't you know? It's been all over the papers - she was only maybe a foot away from him when the nutter opened fire."
"I don't read news 'bout Emily. I leave that to your mother to handle." Phyllis said quietly.
"Mom knows about her?"
"Yes. She, Stormer and Roxy were the only ones to know I was pregnant. They helped me to cover my tracks...I guess I realised then more than I ever did before that I was important to them and they cared what happened to me." Phyllis replied. "Listen, kid. You're best keeping out of this, and away from Emily. It's done with, it's over and that's that. Emily's a grown woman, she don't need me any more than I do her, If she's bitter then that's her problem - she's not my concern."
Nancy eyed the executive thoughtfully, but did not comment.
"You better keep your mouth shut on this, by the way." Phyllis continued. "It's not something I intend on becoming public knowledge. Do the others know?"
"No." Nancy shook her head. "I haven't said anything to them. I wanted to talk to you first."
"Good. Keep it that way." Phyllis looked relieved. "There are some things that the world need never know, and this is one of them."
As Nancy left the estate, she pondered over the conversation.
She was by no means convinced by Phyllis' claim to have no interest in her daughter, for when she had mentioned Sirena's presence at Blade's shooting, and the danger the girl had been in there had been no masking the concern in the executive's expression.
"She does care, but God she has a funny way of dealing with it." She mused, turning left and heading into the city proper for coffee. "I can't believe she's told noone all this time. And Mom too! Man, I need to get this outta my head before I get all confused and start feeling sympathy for Sirena!"
She stopped the car not far from the group's favourite coffee hangout, getting out of the vehicle and locking it. It was still early, and for once there were no reporters about to hassle her. All tied up with harassing Sirena, she supposed.
She turned at the sound of her name, her heart sinking into her boots as she recognised Dean coming to join her. She mustered a faint smile.
"I didn't expect you to be about this early. You alone?" Clearly the presenter had something on his mind. "I was gonna stop by Starlight Mansion on my way back from the studio - show finished airing half an hour ago. You getting coffee?"
"That was the idea." Nancy agreed.
"Mind if I join you?"
Nancy hesitated, then shrugged.
"Sure, if you want to." She replied. "But I'm paying my own way, okay?"
"Okay, if you prefer." Dean nodded, following her into the coffee shop. Once inside, he led the way to an empty table, indicating for her to sit down.
"We need to talk." he said quietly. "Don't you think?"
"I don't see what about."
"Well, our little discussion last night might be a good place to begin." Dean said acidly. "I did think you were a stronger person than that."
"What do you mean?" Nancy looked startled.
"Running away from the issue like you did."
"There is no issue, Dean." Nancy frowned. "Either we're friends or we're not. That's all there is to it."
"Of course we're friends, and you know it as well as I do." Dean replied. "But you can't just play pretend, Nancy, and ignore what else we talked about. You asked me a question straight out and I answered it - you don't seem to be able to deal with that answer."
"I never said you could fall in love with me." Nancy muttered.
"And I never said that I was."
"No, I know. You didn't need to." Nancy replied. "Because it was all over your face. You are, aren't you? Syl was right for once."
"Yes...she was." Dean admitted. "But I'm still angry that she poked her nose in. My feelings are none of your - or her - business unless I choose to talk to you about them, which I didn't. I know as well as you what your feelings are regarding relationships and I respect them. Give me some credit for being a good friend and not imposing emotional hassle on you!"
"You're imposing it on me now!" Nancy replied. "Look, Dean, what exactly do you want me to say? If we're friends as you say we are, what use is it even talking like this? It's irrelevant!"
"You're running away again." Dean said quietly.
"How am I?" Nancy demanded. "There's nothing to run away from!"
"You're acting like a child!"
"Well, if that's the case, maybe you don't want to spend the morning in my company." Nancy shot back. "Enjoy your coffee, won't you? I'm going home!"
And before he could stop her she had left the coffee shop, getting into her vehicle and putting it in gear.
As she drove away, however, tears began to prick at the back of her eyes. She frowned.
What was wrong with her? He was the one messing her about, she should feel angry, not...
Heck, what did she feel?
"Too much stuff to deal with in one morning." She told herself with a groan as she pulled onto the front forecourt of Starlight Mansion. "I've upset Aunt Phyl, argued with Dean and it's barely ten o' clock!"
Copper came out to greet her. "There you are!"
She frowned at her friend's expression. "Something wrong?"
"I wish I knew." Slowly Nancy relayed the encounter with Dean. "I dunno what to do, Copper. He's gone and ruined all of the things I thought we had as friends. I can't help thinking that he wants more from me than I can give him."
"You know as well as I do that Dean's not the kind of guy to force his attentions on a girl - I'd think totally the opposite, in fact." Copper linked arms with her companion, leading her inside. "If he says he's your friend, Nance, then he is."
"Maybe, but I wish this had never happened." Nancy grimaced. "It's got me all confused, Copper, and I really don't know how to deal with it."
Copper paused for a moment, considering. Then,
"Has it ever occurred to you that maybe you're reacting like this because you have feelings for him too?"
"What?" Nancy looked stricken. "Copper, you are kidding, I hope. I'm not a relationship person and after Blade I promised myself I wasn't going to get involved with anyone else, not ever. Relationships might start off good, but they always end and it hurts more then than it did before - it's not worth the pain. Why in hell do you think I'd let myself have those kind of feelings for Dean, when he's meant to be my friend?"
"Aaron and I were friends before we fell in love." Copper reminded her. "And we're still together."
"That's different. You know how to handle relationships and Aaron's the kind of guy everyone wants to be pals with." Nancy responded. "In any case, you're older than me."
"Only by a year." Copper objected. "And what about your parents? Or Phyllis and her partner? Or Syl's parents? There is such a thing as love that lasts forever you know, and if you don't try it you'll never know if you've found it."
"Gah." Nancy pulled a face. Copper laughed.
"Seriously, you can't spend your life with your head in the sand." She said. "You gotta be strong and deal with things head on."
Nancy sighed.
"Do you really think I like Dean?" She asked doubtfully. Copper shrugged.
"Only you know if you do or not." She replied quietly. "But you gotta figure it out, Nancy, before you lose his friendship as well as his love."
"Guess so." Nancy sighed again. "I'm gonna grab a drink, and then I'm going back to bed. I didn't sleep so good last night and maybe that'll make my head clearer over it all."
"Okay, I'll tell the others not to disturb you." Copper replied. She smiled. "Good luck, Nancy...with whatever you decide!"

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.