Chapter Two: Anna's News

Sylvina Martescu threw her hat up into the air, catching it easily and grinning at her companions. "Oh, it feels good to be back in DC!"
"It's the first time that Jewel's done a show in DC."  Elizabeth Santiago, or 'Copper', remarked, pulling her holdall from the back of the limousine and swinging it onto her shoulder. "Weird that we've not stormed the capital yet."
"Well, that's about to change." Nancy Pelligrini looked amused. "With Syl around, I doubt anyone could miss us."
The final member of the group, Canadian Aurora Stapleton, or 'Topaz' laughed.
"True enough." She agreed. "Syl makes an impression wherever she goes..."
"Don't, you're getting Jem and the Holograms on us." Nancy pulled a face. Daughter of former Misfit Jetta, she and her group were signed to the music label her mother now worked at with fellow misfit Phyllis Gabor, and her loyalties had always been entirely with Jetta's band. Copper, the daughter of onetime Hologram Raya Alonso put her hands on her hips.
"What's wrong with Jem and the Holograms?" She demanded playfully. "You dissing my mother's drumming, Nance?"
"Not a bit." Nancy replied with a grin. "Just the Misfits were always the classier act..."
She grabbed her bag, running into the hotel with the redhead hot on her tail.
"Children." Sylva rolled her eyes, grabbing her own bag and shooting the amused Topaz a long suffering look. "Come on. Let's show these people we have some sense of dignity."
"Are we going to see anything of your family whilst we're here?" Topaz asked as they rejoined their bandmates and Jetta herself inside the lobby of the hotel. Sylva shrugged.
"I really don't know." She admitted. "Annie's at College and I dunno if she can take any time off, even to see me." She frowned. "And when I spoke to Mom last night she sounded...well, strange about it, to be honest. I did think she'd be keen to see me and meet you and everything, but she didn't seem to be really listening to me. It wasn't like her - I hope she isn't getting sick."
"Well, you can go pay her a surprise visit, huh?" Topaz suggested. "We're bound to have time."
"Guess so." Sylva nodded. "What rooms are we in, Jetta?"
"You each got your own rooms this time." Jetta, or Sheila Pelligrini turned from the desk, four room keys in her hands. "So take your pick of them, I don't mind who 'as what, jus' get yourselves settled. You 'ave the rest of the day free, so quicker you settle, quicker Sylva can show off 'er 'ometown to you."
"Well, sure." Sylva dimpled. "We're only about half an hour from where I used to live...I know all the best stores!"
"I bet you do. I bet you're their favourite customer." Nancy observed wryly.
"I thought Phyllis was coming with us on this tour." Copper frowned. Jetta nodded.
"She thought so to." She agreed. "But she 'ad other priorities."
There was a slight edge to her tone, and all four girls realised at once what she meant. Only two weeks before, Phyllis' only daughter Emily had given birth to a baby boy, and Jetta was still having trouble coming to terms with the new rapport developing slowly between grandmother, mother and child. She had not liked the fact that Emily, or 'Sirena' as she was known in music circles had been offered a contract with Misfit Music, either, and things had come to a head over the previous Christmas period. Since then they had more or less laid the matter to rest, and all in all Jetta had washed her hands of the affair, but the birth of baby Michael, coming as it had so unexpectedly three days early had induced Phyllis to abandon her executive meeting plans to be with her frightened daughter. Jetta had not liked having a sudden and additional workload thrust upon her once more, but she was wiser to the risk to the company than before, and she was too fond of Phyllis to do as she'd have liked and walk out with her nose in the air.
However, that did not mean she was happy with the situation. She still saw Sirena as nothing but trouble for her old friend, and could not understand the change in the girl's fortunes. The situation had not been much bettered any by the growing friendship between Sirena and her own daughter Nancy, once deadliest of foes, which had begun during the latter stages of the singer's pregnancy, and, had Jetta but known it, Nancy had already written music for the other girl.
"Sirena again." Sylva pouted. "Damn girl. Why does she get all of Phyllis' attention all of a sudden? We're her stars, not her!"
"Quite." Jetta nodded, pursing her lips. "But there ain't much any of us can do on the subject. Come on, get lost with ya. I don't want to see 'ide nor 'air of you till dinner at the earliest - I 'ave some important calls to make confirmin' your appearances 'ere, so don't 'ang around 'ere."
With that she deposited the keys in her daughter's waiting grasp and swept out of the room, the door swinging shut behind her.
"She's miffed." Copper was the first to speak. Nancy nodded darkly.
"That's an understatement." She said slowly. "She and Aunt Phyl had a blazing row about this the other night - I was finishing up with my music at the record company and I heard it. In the end Mom just gave up and walked out...I don't like it when they row."
"Again?" Copper looked startled. "Didn't they settle this?"
"Ye-es." Nancy nodded. "I thought so too. But Michael came early and Emily wanted Aunt Phyl with her...noone's quite sure what possessed her, but Aunt Phyl went...and Mom got stuck with another bunch of meetings and decisions. And of course, that's why it's only Mom on this tour."
"Damn Sirena." Sylva muttered. "Is she trying to break up our music company?"
"It won't happen." Topaz said sensibly. "They're just letting off steam about things now. Jetta and Pizzazz know they're a team and it's the best way to get success. This Sirena business will settle down when Jetta's more used to it. Really, when she thinks about it logically, it's not much different from Jetta worrying about you, Nance."
"Perhaps, though not in Mom's eyes." Nancy responded. "I finally had some joy with Mom and gleaned some information to the effect that Aunt Phyl didn't deal with either her pregnancy or the emotions after she gave up the babe so well...I reckon that's why Mom thinks Em's stirring things up. She doesn't believe that all Em wants is her mother in her life, and God knows they've been apart long enough."
"Well, maybe them rowing is a good thing, if they're getting things out in the open p'raps they'll stick it behind them more quickly." Copper shrugged. "Nance, do you think Misfit Music will suffer for it?"
"Doubtful." Nancy shook her head. "It's like Topaz said, they know they're a team. It's just awkward till it does blow over."
"It all sucks." Sylva took one of the keys. "Change the subject, we have more interesting things to discuss than Sirena smug face."
"Well, this is your hometown. Lead the way." Topaz grinned.
"We'll dump our stuff first, then I vote we go pay a visit home." Sylva decided. "You haven't met my mother yet, Topaz, and I wanna make sure she's not sick."
"Sounds good to me." Nancy admitted. "I'd like to ask her advice, actually. I've had a couple of problems on writing the melody for the new song, and there ain't a better songwriter in America than your mother, Syl."
"You better believe it." Sylva sounded proud. "She's won so many awards for her writing! She did this soundtrack for some animated movie thing a year or two back and she got so much praise for was awesome."
"She's...kinda an idol of mine." Nancy admitted self-consciously.
"I'm looking forward to meeting your sister, too, if we can." Copper observed once they had ditched their belongings in the bedrooms. "I know she'll be studying and all...but can't we take a car up to see her, if necessary? I can't get my head around the idea of two of you...even if you are different in character."
"Real different." Sylva agreed. "Yeah, I'll see. It depends how busy we are."
"We need a taxi?" Topaz asked. Sylva nodded.
"Probably quickest." She agreed. "Someone hail a cab, huh?"
Ten minutes later the four girls were standing outside the big Martescu home. It was well-sized and nicely positioned, with the walls decorated with roses and other climbing flowers, and Sylva smiled contentedly, heading up the front steps to ring the bell.
"Home." She murmured. "Well, guys? Whaddya think?"
"The flowers are beautiful." Copper murmured.
"It sure doesn't look like a Misfit's house." Nancy observed.
"Well, Mom is a different kind of Misfit." Sylva replied. "When she was performing, she always wore a flower in her hair, remember?"
"True." Nancy acknowledged. "Copper's right, though. It is pretty."
At that moment the door swung open, and the girls found themselves face to face with a girl whose features were identical to Sylva's, only with her makeup far less boldly done and her hair pulled high in a ponytail.
"Annie!" Sylva exclaimed, her tone one of surprise. "What are you doing home?"
"I came to see Mom." Anna replied, equally surprised. "You?"
"Likewise. Is she home?"
"Sure." Anna hesitated, then, "We need to talk, Sylvie. We really really do."
"What's up?" Sylva frowned. "Something wrong?"
"Maybe." Anna sighed. "Not in front of your friends, though, I...don't want to be awkward."
"Oh!" Sylva seemed to remember then that she was not alone. "Annie, these are Aurora Stapleton - Topaz - , Eliza Santiago - Copper - and Nancy Pelligrini, my bandmates and the girls I live with these days. Guys, this is my twin sister, Anna Martescu, if you hadn't already guessed."
"Wow, you two are alike!" Topaz exclaimed. "It's nice to meet you, Anna."
"You too." Anna smiled. "Come on in. I'll go tell Mom you're here...she'll be glad to see you, Sylvie."
"Well, it's obvious which Martescu got the looks in this family." Nancy remarked as the girls made themselves comfortable in the front lounge, and Anna ran upstairs to locate her mother. Sylva sent her bandmate a withering look.
"Duh. We're identical."
"Nancy's winding you up, Syl." Copper stretched, stifling a yawn. "It feels good to sit down, you know. It's been a long day."
"Anna seems nice." Topaz commented.
"I wonder what's bugging her?" Sylva frowned. "She said in her letter she wanted to meet you she's less than enthusiastic that we're here...what gives? Her and Mom's too, too weird!"
"Sylvie." At that moment the conversation was interrupted by a voice from the doorway, and Mary came to give her daughter a hug which even the sophisticated Sylvina did not repel. "It's good to see you...DC misses you badly."
"I'm glad to see you too, Mom." Sylva told her. "You don't mind me bringing Copper and the others, do you? I wanted to introduce Topaz to you."
"No, not at all." Mary smiled, but it did not quite reach her tired blue eyes. "I've been looking forward to meeting her, and seeing you all again." She sent Topaz a grin. "Welcome to Washington, Topaz. You're quite the singer, I hear."
"Well, I guess I have to be good at something." Topaz replied good-naturedly. "These three are the instrumental whizzes, I'm afraid."
"Nancy wondered if you might be able to give her some advice on our new song." Sylva added. "Would you?"
"I can try." Mary nodded. "Did you bring the manuscript along? I'll take a look at it. Anna, did you put coffee on?"
"Yes." Anna nodded.
"Then perhaps you and Sylvie would like to go catch up with each other, while I take a look at this." There was clearly a hidden message in Mary's words, which only the younger twin understood. "I'll pour out when it's done."
"Sure." Anna seemed relieved. "Sylvie...can we go out back then? I...have something I want to show you, it's kinda important."
"I guess." Sylva looked confused, but nodded. "I'm coming...catch you guys soon, okay?"
"Go ahead, Syl." Copper nodded. "We'll be fine here."
"Well? What gives with all the weirdness?" Sylva demanded, once the two girls were out in the spacious Martescu garden. Anna bit her lip.
"I'm sorry, Sylvie, I didn't mean to be cryptic." She said slowly. "I guess I'm kinda shy round your friends, know how I am with strangers."
"It's cool, I know that." Sylva nodded. "But it's kinda like neither you or Mom want us here. What gives?"
"We do want you here." Anna reassured her. "It's just...well, things are kinda...strange at the moment."
"Strange how?"
Anna paused, then,
"Mom and Dad had a big row the other night, Sylvie."
"A row?" Sylva looked taken aback. "What kind of a row?"
"It was horrible." Anna bit her lip. "I never saw them so mad at each other before. They both said things...and then Dad left the next morning for some business trip without speaking to either her or me. Mom...I saw her cry, Sylvie. She...she told me it wasn't the first time they'd rowed."
"Oh my God no." Sylva paled. "You're not serious? I mean, they will work it out, won't they?"
"I don't know." Anna looked troubled. "It's preying on Mom's mind a lot...she's begun talking about our brother and things since it happened, she's kinda...bewildered, I think. Doesn't know how to handle it. I'm worried."
"Oh God." Sylva bit her lip. "No...Annie, they have to work it through. They've been together too long...they love each other! Don't they?"
"Mom says so." Anna nodded. "But I'm afraid, Sylvie...You don't know how glad I am you're home. We agreed this morning, Mom and I, that I should tell you the situation when you got here, but...well, I don't think she wanted me to mention how emotional things are. I cut class this morning so I could stay another day with her."
"You cut class?"
"Mom needed company." Anna said gravely. "I told her it had been cancelled...she need never know I lied." She reached for her sister's hand, squeezing it. "I've missed you more than ever these last few days." She admitted. "I didn't know how to cope with this on my own."
Sylva was silent for a moment, then,
"What caused it?" She asked.
"It's not important." Anna dismissed it, but Sylva was not so easily dissuaded.
"No, Annie, tell me. I need to know. Why did they row?"
"Mom said I wasn't to go into that kinda detail." Anna met her sister's gaze gravely. Sylva's expression became one of horrified comprehension.
"It was about me, wasn't it?" She whispered. "About my music...Dad's never liked me doing my own thing like this!"
"Anna, tell me, for heaven's sake! Am I right?"
"Oh, Sylvie..." Anna bit her lip. Sylva's blue eyes filled with tears.
"Oh God no..." She murmured.
Anna hugged her sister tightly.
"It isn't your fault." She comforted. "Really, Sylvie, it isn't. And they fought about other stuff too. It's just that since you left, Dad hasn't been happy. He thinks you got off too easy for your running away incident, and he and Mom still don't agree on it. That's all. In the heat of the row it kinda came up and made things worse, but it isn't your fault and Mom will be mad at me if she thinks I told you. She doesn't want you to feel to blame, because you did nothing wrong."
"Leave me alone." Sylva pulled away. "I need...I need space, Annie, I need..."
"Sylvie, don't do this." Anna looked troubled. "We have to band together, for Mom's sake! You know how sensitive she is."
That was the last straw. The tears fell, and Sylva put up no opposition this time for her sister's comfort. Different as the two girls were, there was noone in the world who meant as much to Sylva as Anna.
Once the synth player's tears were exhausted, Anna led her sister quietly indoors and up the stairs to the little bathroom that connected the twins' rooms. In silence, Sylva cleaned herself up, fixing her makeup more automatically than with any real enthusiasm. Then,
"Can you tell?"
"No." Anna shook her head. "I'm sorry to give you such bad news, Sylvie, when you were so happy to come home and all, but I had to. Mom was afraid you'd think she didn't want you here, after your phone I volunteered to tell you. I didn't mean to make you cry - I feel awful about it now."
"Well, don't." Sylva said firmly. "You're right, we have to band together and be strong for Mom. Oh, but when I get my hands on could he hurt her like this?"
"Mom said things to him too." Anna said quietly. "It was an even fight, Sylvie, there's blame on both sides. I never knew Mom had such a temper...she practically flew at him when he mentioned you."
"I've never been the kind of daughter he'd be proud of." Sylva's tones were strangely calm. "You've always been that, Annie. Good grades, going to college, don't answer back and have your work in on time. Your room is tidy, you don't get into trouble...I guess maybe he feels you'd all have been better off if I'd been the stillborn baby and not Joseph."
"Don't talk like that." Anna scolded her. "It's crazy, and you know it! More, if you go saying that stuff to Mom I'll be mad with you myself! You know how much losing Joseph hurt her!"
"Sheesh, don't yell at me!" Sylva protested. "I'm just saying, that's all. Dad's never had as much time for me as he has you."
"I'm yelling at you because you're spouting drivel." Anna said firmly. "And I won't have you hurt Mom more with it. You're old enough to use tact, so use it."
"Who gave you a backbone?" Sylva demanded.
"Well, we're grown up now, and I've been away at college on my own. I can stand up for myself just fine." Anna replied. "But...I do miss you, Sylvie. A lot. It's odd not being together any more and I don't like it. I wish you'd never left DC."
"I wish I'd never come back here." Sylva muttered. "I don't need this emotional hassle, Annie. I don't need it at all. I have to go back and pretend like everything's fine when it isn't!"
"Can't you talk to Topaz and the others?" Anna looked surprised.
"Well, maybe." Sylva admitted. "Not Nancy, she'd make fun of any weakness...the other two, perhaps. But I don't want the world knowing, Anna...Mom and Dad have to make this up. They just have to! Else what happens to our family?"

Chapter One: The Martescu Home
Chapter Two: Anna's News
Chapter Three: Jetta Discovers
Chapter Four: Marianne
Chapter Five: Nancy Speaks Out
Chapter Six: Elliot
Chapter Seven: Another Row
Chapter Eight: Sylva's Solution
Chapter Nine: Decisions
Chapter Ten: The Show

Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, 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. The future world of Pizzazz, Raya, Jetta, Roxy, Stormer, Clash, Synergy, the fate of Jem and her memorial are all copyrighted to me. The future world of Kimber and Shana is copyrighted jointly to myself and Gemma Dawn.
The concept of 'Jewel' is entirely my own, and any apparent link with any fictional or actual person or persons of this name is entirely coincidental. Equally the characters in this fiction are not based on any real life individual.
The concept behind the future world of Danse, Aja and Craig, the idea behind Jerrica's futureworld and the split of the Holograms is copyrighted to Gemma Dawn, whose Teenangel Outsiders fiction is directly twinned with Just a Dream. The character Sammi and any of the other Teenangel Outsider characters mentioned in this fiction are entirely copyright to Gemma Dawn and appear here only with her permission.
Pay her page a visit!