Chapter Three: Jetta Discovers
"Syl, what's bugging you?"
Topaz cast her friend a concerned look as she helped the elder twin unpack her belongings. "You've been kinda off all evening...not like you at all. Is something up?"
"I don't wanna talk about it." Sylva said briefly. "So don't ask me, Topaz. Please."
"Well, okay." She said finally. "I guess if that's how you feel."
"I was just concerned. It's not like you to be quiet."
"Well, I'm tired. We had a long day."
"All right." Topaz shrugged. "Well, that's pretty much your stuff settled. I liked Anna, by the way, and your Mom was great helping Nancy out the way she did."
"Mom...Mom's the best." Sylva's voice shook slightly, and Topaz's brow creased in concern.
"Please, Syl, tell me what's up! Is something wrong with your mother?"
"Oh, get out and leave me alone!" Sylva snapped. "I don't need you butting in my business like this!"
"If that's what you want." Topaz gave up, getting to her feet. "Guess I'll see you in the morning...sweet dreams."
"As if." Sylva muttered. She didn't watch her friend leave, for, had Topaz known it, she was fighting tears. Though she had assured Anna before they'd left that she was 'all right' and that she'd talk it over with one of her bandmates that evening, she couldn't bring herself to say the words. Fiercely proud, Sylva's world had always been secure and the chance that divorce might threaten her happy family had knocked her for six. More, she felt the blame keenly. She loved her father, but she adored her mother, for it had been Mary who had always championed her desire to be a star, and it made her feel wretched that she could have caused, however involuntarily, her beloved mother such heartache.
She lay down on her bed, resting her head on the cool pillow and closing her eyes against her emotions. Maybe in the morning it would feel better - she hoped so. But she couldn't imagine it. In those few words, Anna had managed to put question marks over everything that sensitive Sylvina had always held dear.
In the room next door, Topaz was pondering her friend's strange behaviour. Unable to just let it go, she headed out onto the landing once more, knocking on the door of the room she knew was Copper's. The redhead had known Sylva longer, and Topaz had a lot of respect for the older girl's perceptive nature.
"Come through, it's open. I'm just drying my hair." Copper's voice came through the door and Topaz turned the handle, slipping into the bedroom.
"I'm glad you're still up, I know it's late." She said quietly. "I wanted to talk to you about Syl."
"What's up with her?" Copper paused, switching off her hairdryer and taking a towel to her long waves of hair. Though she generally styled it straight, when wet it curled wildly, and she looked almost gypsyish with her long hair all over her shoulders.
"I love your hair curly." Topaz remarked as she came to sit down beside the other girl. "But yeah, Syl. She's...odd, Copper. She won't talk to me, says she's fine, but I know she isn't."
"She's still being quiet?" Copper looked surprised. Topaz nodded.
"Yeah. I think Anna said something to her that put the frighteners on her."
"You reckon?" Copper looked thoughtful. "Now you come to mention it, Anna was kinda odd about wanting to talk to her. And Mary seemed tired...when we met her at the Memorial she seemed, well, forever young, if you like. Chirpy and friendly and exactly the kind of mother you'd picture Syl having, only perhaps a little less insanely loud. But she wasn't like that today. It was like she was glad of Nancy's dilemma to distract her from something else."
"Yeah." Topaz nodded. "Not having met her before, I wasn't sure, but I do know Syl, and the girl in that room down there is not her."
Copper was silent for a moment, then,
"Do you think someone's sick?"
"I dunno." Topaz frowned. "I'm worried about the kid, Copper. Syl's been a good friend to me, even if she is kinda scatty and tactless sometimes. I don't like seeing her upset. And I know she is, even though she won't tell me."
"What's this, meeting of the girl scout association in here?" At that moment the interconnecting door between Nancy and Copper's room opened and Nancy herself made her entry, stopping dead at the sight of the two girls talking. "Didn't you forget someone? Where's scout leader Syl?"
"She's in her room." Topaz said simply. "What brings you in here?"
"I wanted to borrow Copper's shampoo, it's great at getting rid of tangles." Nancy replied. "I had a fight with my hairbrush, and lost. What about you?"
"We're worried about Syl." Copper admitted. "Do you think she's been acting at all odd since we left the Martescu place?"
"Well, she hasn't opened her big mouth much." Nancy considered. "Why?"
"She's unhappy about something, but she won't talk to me." Topaz replied.
"So give her her space." Nancy shrugged. "There's nothing worse than someone forcing you to bare your soul."
"Yeah, but Nance, that's you." Copper pointed out. "You're a very private person, and you like to handle things yourself. Sylva isn't like that, she likes to discuss things with us."
"Too damn much she does." Nancy rolled her eyes.
"Nance, this is serious." Topaz chided. "She's not herself!"
"Well, maybe she's tired. Give her the night, see how she is tomorrow." Nancy shrugged. "Can I use the shampoo now?"
"Don't you care at all?" Topaz asked. Nancy grimaced.
"Right now I'm tired, it's half one in the morning and I want to wash my hair before I fall asleep." She replied. "Syl and I have never been bosom buddies...it's probably nothing. She's prone to overreaction about little things, anyway."
"Here." Copper tossed the shampoo towards her friend. "I hope you're right, by the way. She did seem subdued. But I guess we're all tired, huh? Perhaps it will blow over with a good night's sleep."
"Let's all hope so." Topaz grimaced. "Okay. Guess I'll go to bed and let you do the same. No doubt we'll have a busy day tomorrow, anyway."
"Guess so." Copper frowned. "Good night, Nancy, Night, Topaz. Let's hope the morning brings a better frame of mind."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"So, what's the plan of attack for this morning?"
Nancy sat down at the breakfast table, glancing around her for any sign of her mother. "Mom been down and said anything yet?"
"Nothing." Copper, who was already eating, her long hair tied in two braids from her face shook her head. "I haven't seen her. Syl either. Topaz, believe it or not, has already done eating."
"Topaz? Up early?" Nancy looked surprised. "What brought that on?"
She took a slice of toast, asking a nearby waiter for a cup of coffee. Copper shrugged.
"Anxiety about Syl, she said." She replied. "She's gone upstairs to get the girl up...and here's Jetta. Doesn't look like she's in any better frame of mind."
"Where are the rest of you?" The executive dropped her newspaper down on the table. "It's almost nine! Don't you care that this is your career?"
"We're here, Mom." Nancy pointed out calmly. "And Topaz is up...it's just Syl."
"Damned girl." Jetta muttered, sitting down. "Well, she'd better hurry up. You 'ave a photoshoot this mornin'."
"We do?" Copper looked surprised. "Oh!"
"Well, why did you think you were 'ere? To sunbathe and shop?" Jetta demanded. "This is a business trip!"
"Mom, are you mad about something?" Nancy ventured. "You seem kinda wound up."
"Mind your own business, kid." Jetta frowned. "It's nothin' to do with you."
Nancy looked thoughtful, shrewdly surmising that her mother had had another altercation with Phyllis, but she made no further remark. In due time Topaz joined them, a frown on her face.
"Syl won't come down." She said quietly. "She says she doesn't feel well."
"What?" Jetta's expression became one of anger. "What does she mean, she doesn't feel well!"
"What she said, I guess...but this was a conversation through a door, Jetta. She won't open up to me."
"Great." Jetta scowled, getting to her feet. "Right. I'm going up to see what this nonsense is about. You girls finish eatin' an' wait in the main salon, okay? I'll sort this meself."
And before anyone could stop her, she was gone.
Nancy and Copper exchanged looks.
"Why do I think that that wasn't the cleverest thing Jetta ever decided to do?" Copper was the first to speak. Nancy grimaced.
"Mom in a temper isn't to be argued with." She said dryly. "Let Syl handle her...I'm doing as I'm told."
Upstairs, Jetta had made her way crossly along the corridor to the room belonging to the elder Martescu twin. She had, as Nancy had surmised, had a row over the phone that morning with her business partner, and though it had been over something relatively minor like travel expenses, she was still smarting over it. Not knowing anything of what Sylva had discovered the day before, she had every reason to believe this was just petulance on the part of the synth player regarding an early morning, and she was having none of it.
She rapped on the door.
"Sylva? It's Jetta...come out of there!"
There was silence, then,
"I don't feel well...didn't Topaz tell you?"
"We don't pay you to not feel well. Open the door."
"Sylva, now!" There was no contradicting Jetta's impatient tone, and reluctantly Sylva slid back the lock on the door, swinging it open. Jetta opened her mouth to continue her scolding, but stopped dead at the sorry sight before her. Sylva was dressed only in her nightgown and dressing gown, her hair still tied in the ponytail she wore for bed and no makeup anywhere in evidence. Most striking was, however, the notable redness of her eyes and the look of despair that they held. She frowned.
"I told you. I don't feel well." Sylva muttered.
"Rubbish. You've been cryin', that's all." Jetta was matter-of-fact. "Did you girls 'ave a row last night or something?"
"No. Well, nothing big." Sylva frowned. "It's nothing, Jetta."
"Big girls don't cry over nothing." Jetta told her sharply. "Get up, get dressed an' pull yourself together! We 'ave work to do this morning!"
At this, something inside of the girl snapped, and she shook her head.
"I'm not doing anything, I'm staying here!" She exclaimed. "You don't understand, so don't tell me what to do!"
With that she stormed back into her room, slamming the door.
This did nothing for Jetta's temper, and she banged on the wooden door again.
"Sylvina, open this door right now!" She exclaimed.
"No way!" Sylva shrieked back. "I don't wanna talk to anyone, leave me alone!"
"Right." Jetta's eyes narrowed. "Then I'll call your mother and tell 'er 'ow you're acting...I'm sure she'll be real proud of you."
The door flung open with a bang at this.
"Don't call Mom!" Sylva's anger had transformed into horror at Jetta's words. "Please, Jetta, don't! You don't understand..."
With that, the tears returned, and she withdrew into her bedroom, dropping down onto the bed and burying her face in her pillow. Taken aback and feeling pretty awkward, Jetta approached the girl slowly.
"Sylva, get a grip." She murmured, the edge gone from her tone. "This ain't like you. What's up?"
"I can't tell you." Sylva gulped, not raising her head from the pillow. "I can't tell anyone."
"Well, either you can get up, clean up an' come downstairs like a sane 'uman bein', or you can tell me what your reason is for not wantin' to do today's shoot. An' it 'ad better be good, cos I ain't phonin' Pizzazz again for anythin' less than wonderful." Jetta sat down on the bed. In truth she was somewhat uncomfortable with emotional situations, but her loyalty to Mary and to Misfit Music was enough to pursue the girl's problem.
Now Sylva raised her head, biting her lip.
"Mom and D...Dad might be splitting up." She choked out. "I f...found out yesterday, when we went to see them. Only Anna...Anna said we had to be strong, for Mom. You c...can't call her...I've caused her enough trouble already!"
"Splittin' up?" Shock flashed into Jetta's eyes, then, "Oh!"
"I'm so scared." Sylva admitted. "Jetta, have you ever felt like your whole world was falling apart?"
Jetta was silent for a moment, then,
"You're damn lucky to 'ave a family who you mean so much to." She said quietly. "If divorce is the right thing for your Ma and your Pa, you can't be selfish and think of yourself. They're goin' through crap too, most likely...if I know your mother like I think I do. Look. Clean yourself up. 'Ave you spoken to the others about this?"
"No." Sylva shook her head.
"Maybe it's time you did." Jetta replied. "I'm gonna call the venue an' tell 'em we're gonna 'ave to postpone our shoot because of the ill 'ealth of one of the band...you can 'ave today to sort your 'ead out. You ain't much good to me like this. But pull yourself together, Sylva. In this business you gotta be tough, whatever crap is goin' on around you. Take it from me...you 'ave to focus else you'll lose ground."
Sylva swallowed hard.
"I...I'll try." She murmured. "I...I don't want to let you all down."
"Good kid." Jetta stood. "You want me to send the others up to you?"
"No...I want some time alone." Sylva shook her head. "I don't want them to know I cried."
"Fair enough." Jetta nodded.
"You won't mention this to them, will you?"
"Not my business, love." Jetta shrugged. "Music is my business. I'll let you 'ave your space."
Sylva watched the executive leave, then sighed heavily, flopping back onto her bed. Inwardly she knew that Jetta had been the wrong person to confide her secret in, because the former Misfit was not given over to open displays of affection or sympathy. But she had needed some reassurance...and some time. And she knew that, awkward as it had been, Jetta had shown her some understanding by agreeing to the postponement.
She closed her eyes, turning things over in her head. She'd barely slept the night before, and when she had managed to drift off it had been to restless, troubled dreams that gave her little respite. The more she thought about it, the more certain she was that any divorce on the part of the Martescus would be her fault...and she couldn't bear it.
Jetta, for her part, had headed back downstairs, a troubled frown on her face. The last thing she wanted was to get involved in the emotional issues of her protegees, but concern had overcome her natural indifference. She had not forgotten the quiet, gentle support Mary had given her all those years ago, when she had feared Justin dead, and she knew that she owed her former bandmate a debt. Now, perhaps, was her chance to repay it...but how?
"Of all people in the world I never imagined Stormer would split with 'er fella." She mused, sighing. "Maybe Sylva's exaggeratin'. Wouldn't put it past 'er, she's an emotional basket-case at the best of times."
"Mom, is Syl coming down?" Nancy greeted her in the doorway. Jetta frowned, shaking her head.
"She's not well." She said simply. "I'll postpone the shoot...she said she'd be all right by tomorrow."
"Maybe I should go talk to her." Topaz looked concerned. Jetta shook her head again.
"She said she wanted to be alone." She said firmly. "So none of you bother 'er, all right, unless she comes to you. Well, you 'ave the day off...I can't say I'm glad of it, but you do. You might as well make the most of it...I 'ave to see to cancellin' the shoot an' then I 'ave someone I must see."
"Yes, Jetta." Copper said sombrely. Once the executive was gone, however, she turned to her bandmates.
"Things are bad." She murmured.
"Mom went upstairs in a rage...she came down looking like someone just gave her the shock of her life." She agreed. "What on earth did Syl say to her to make her change her mind about postponing the shoot?"
"Perhaps she's really sick." Copper sighed. Topaz shrugged.
"Perhaps, but I'm sure there's something else to this." She replied. "I don't care what Jetta said, I'm going upstairs to see if she wants some company."
"Don't force it, Topaz. If she told Jetta she wants to be alone, then let her." Copper shook her head. "There's no point in upsetting her more...if she is upset."
"Guess not." Topaz conceded. "I wish she'd just talk to us, though!"
"Should we go out or stay at the hotel?" Nancy wondered.
"Well, I vote we stop here this morning, go swim in the pool or something, and see if Syl wants to come out shopping after lunch." Copper suggested at length. "We can't do much else."
"Okay, sounds like a plan to me." Nancy nodded. "Topaz?"
"Yeah, I guess." Topaz nodded, sighing. "The pool it is."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
As the younger Martescu twin pulled her car into the driveway of the small student house she shared with a group of her college associates, Gaynor Fitzpatrick swung open the front door, eying her housemate quizzically.
"Sallie said you cut class this morning." She said, as Anna locked her vehicle, heading up the main drive. "And you weren't home last night - everything all right?"
"No, it isn't." Anna said soberly. "Gaynor, can I talk to you someplace private?"
"Of course. Noone else is home, I'm the only one with this afternoon free, remember?" Gaynor nodded, leading the way inside. "What's eating you, Ann? You left happy as can be and you come back looking like someone died."
Anna sat down on the couch, eying Gaynor sombrely before she began. Coming away to college had never been an easy task for the timid younger twin, but Gaynor had been her roommate and from day one they had teamed up, combatting their homesickness together. After Sylva, Gaynor was Anna's closest friend, and they had no secrets from each other. Gaynor was a textiles student, specialising in fashion design, whilst Anna's love had always been music, but despite that they still had plenty of things in common and had both jumped at the chance of sharing a house together for their sophomore year, even if it meant sharing with other girls too. As it was, the three other students - two juniors and a fellow sophomore Sallie Parker - were all of a fairly amiable disposition, and Anna had found it less difficult to settle away from home.
But right at that moment she felt more homesick than she ever had before.
"Ann?" Gaynor's pretty face adopted a look of concern. "Did something happen at home?"
"Mom and Dad..." Anna hesitated, then the whole story came pouring out, and instinctively Gaynor hugged her friend.
"Oh God, I'm sorry. It must've been bad for you to be there in the middle like that." She said softly.
"You have no idea. I couldn't do anything!" Anna responded. "I had no idea till I went home that anything was wrong...though I suppose I should've been suspicious when Mom spent Christmas in England with my aunt and uncle and Dad was working. But because we were in Vale I didn't really think about it."
"Does your sister know?"
"That's the worst thing." Anna admitted. "Gaynor, Sylvie's in Washington at the moment with her group, they're playing here. She's walked right into the middle of it and she's not taking it so good. I tried calling her mobile this morning but it's either switched off or she was ignoring it...I think this is hitting her worse than it is me."
"You have each other." Gaynor pointed out. "She shouldn't push you back. But is it really...I mean, do you think..."
"They'll split up?" Anna finished. "I...I don't like thinking like that, Gaynor, but Mom only cries over big things. I'm kinda scared they will and I know Sylvie thinks so too."
Gaynor looked grave.
"I'm sorry." She murmured. "I don't know how I can help you, but I'm here anyway, if you want a shoulder to cry on. All right?"
"I know you are." A tiny smile touched Anna's lips. "I'm glad you are, too. Im kinda worried Sylvie won't talk to her friends about it."
"Some friends they are, if she can't." Gaynor observed.
"No, it's not that." Anna shook her head. "It's Sylvie's pride...she doesn't like to let people know things in her world aren't perfect. I'm worried she'll bottle it up and it's not good for her." She frowned. "Man, I wish I knew what was gonna happen to my 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
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE
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!