Chapter Nine: Decisions

"It;s no good."
Anna sighed, flicking off the switch of the standalone keyboard she had been practicing on, and shaking her head. "I can't do this...I can't get it right! I'm not made to be a rock star!"
"You're doing great, Annie, don't give up now!" Sylva begged from where she had been watching in the corner. It was the next afternoon, and Jewel were frantically trying to work their new recruit into their set in time for the big show.
"I just can't get the bite out of the notes that you do on the disks you sent me." Anna groaned. "I don't have that rock chick confidence in me, Sylvie!"
"Look, you just need practice." Sylva came over to the keyboard, putting her good hand over the keys and fingering in silently the melody line of the passage. "That's all it is."
"Plus chords." Anna reminded her.
"You're fine, Anna, really." Nancy assured her, adjusting her guitar strap. "Put the keyboard back in gear, huh, and we'll try it over?"
"It really sounds okay?" Anna looked doubtful.
"It's cool." Copper nodded. "And Anna, don't worry if you can't be Sylva exactly. Noone will notice."
"Yeah. So long as you're made up like her, you're dressed like her and you're playing the right notes, everyone will think you're Syl." Topaz scooped up her microphone. "We trying it over?"
"I don't like this song without your bass, Topaz, can't you bung that thing in a stand and tune it up?" Nancy demanded. Topaz laughed.
"Okay, okay, I was just getting warmed up." She returned playfully. "Gimme a break, huh?"
"You girls always like this?" Anna asked.
"Yes, this is pretty normal." Copper grinned. "One or two nights before a concert, Nancy starts getting stressed that it'll be a flop and nags everyone. Syl and she usually wind up spatting over some pointless passage in some song or other, and Topaz and I just grin and bear it. Usually we're all the best of friends."
"They're like my sisters." Sylva admitted. "Only in a different sense to you, of course." She smiled. "I'm glad I'm a twin right now. I couldn't face the mess Mom and Dad are making on my own."
"Me either." Anna agreed. "I'm glad you came to DC when you did, I needed you." She reached over to squeeze Sylva's good hand. "Whatever happens with Mom and Dad, we're never gonna fall out like that, okay?"
"Promise." Sylva nodded. She sighed. "Hell, I guess I never thought how important family was. Took it for granted. Maybe...maybe I'd even hug Sammi right now if she could help put Mom and Dad back how they were." Sammi was Sylva's hated cousin, who lived in England and played with a band of her own.
"That is progress." Copper observed. She sighed. "Did you talk to your mother yet today?"
"I tried calling home and got no reply." Sylva responded. "Annie, were you at home at all?"
"Yes, I went home last night." Anna nodded. "I'm missing so many classes, but I guess I can catch up." She frowned. "Almost wish I hadn't gone home, but I kinda felt I should, considering. Both Mom and Dad were there, but it was silent. Totally silent. They didn't speak a word to each other, and Mom slept in your room, Syl."
"Ouch." Sylva winced.
"Not good." Anna agreed. "I asked her what Aunt Roxy said and she shrugged and said she wasn't sure what was happening. That's all I know...p'raps Aunt Roxy is busy."
"Maybe, but too busy for Mom?" Sylva asked. "She never has been before."
"True." Anna frowned. "Anyway, can we try Beauty Queen now, huh? I think I've about maxed out my ability on Any Other Way and I really need to get this intro right."
"Beauty Queen...seems so long ago now." Copper mused. "I mean, it was our first hit, our first number one. We were unknowns before that song and it caterpulted us right into the spotlight."
"I wasn't even a Jewel then." Topaz reminded her.
"No, you weren't. Seems like forever ago, but it's only eighteen months or so." Nancy nodded.
"Well, all I have to say is that I'm damn glad I have Jewel." Sylva murmured. "And that, well, you guys care about me."
"Course we do, you silly." Copper grinned, twirling her sticks. "All right, let's play!"
Across the city, at the Martescu house, the mood was something quite different. In awkward silence the couple had gotten their breakfast and settled in opposite ends of the house to read or work.
It was Elliot who first decided to break the divide down. He pushed open the door of his wife's bedroom slowly, pausing as he watched her at her desk. She was surrounded by manuscript paper, and he knew she was writing, but what kind of song he didn't know. Her back was to him, and as he approached unnoticed he caught sight of some of the lyrics.
Despite himself, he frowned.
He knew better than anyone that these days Mary's lyrics reflected her mood...and though she appeared calm, she was crying inside.
"Mary?" He said gently. She started, swinging around and pushing her sheets of paper under a book.
"We need to talk."
"We do?"
"Yes. Talk...not yell for once."
"I suppose you're right." Mary sighed, glancing down at her hands. "I shouldn't have yelled at you in the hospital yesterday, Elliot."
"You meant what you said though, didn't you?"
"Yes. Yes I think I did." Mary confessed, a note of guilt in her tone.
"Listen, who are we fooling?" Elliot sat down beside her. "Without Sylvie and Annie around we've nothing to pull us together. Nothing in common...nothing we can share any more. You pull away into your music and I'm always out on some business trip. We can't keep pretending everything is okay."
"I know." Mary said softly. "Last night I called Roxy and asked if I could come to Philly for a bit, you know, get some space. She said she'd get in touch today and let me know the situation...I haven't heard from her yet."
"You're going away for how long?"
"For good." Mary bit her lip as the tears began to fall silently. "I...I guess."
"Forever?" Elliot asked.
Mary nodded.
"I did a lot of thinking." She responded. "And no woman should have to cry as much as I've done over the man they love, Elliot. I...I think I still love you, but I need to leave before I hate you."
Elliot was silent for a moment. Then,
"You want a divorce?" He asked gently.
Mary nodded again.
"I...think so." She said. "No I...I guess I know so. I'm really hurting, Elliot, and I have to end this. Mom always taught me that you don't stay in a relationship that's more pain than gain...well, this one has crossed the line. Sylvie's accident was the last straw...I need to make the break." She looked up at him, anxious. "You won't try and stop me, will you?"
"No." Elliot shook his head. "For once, Mary, we're agreed. I think we do need to go our seperate ways. And I don't want us to, but there isn't really much else we can do."
"I want to be at the stage where I can look back on this and not hold any pain over it." Mary admitted. "I need to know that I can speak to my daughters' father at family their weddings, at Annie's graduation...and not have any spite or resentment for him. For their sake I want to keep a little part of the love I have for you going. Do you understand? For them and for old time's sake."
"I understand." Gently Elliot kissed her forehead, then pulled her slowly to her feet. "You're a special woman, Mary Martescu." He murmured. "And I don't think I ever got to understand how special you are."
Mary smiled slightly.
"I hope we can both be happy in the future." She said quietly. "We've been rowing and rowing, Elliot, but now we've talked like this, now we've said the dreaded D word I feel...better. Safer. Like things are going to be all right. And I shouldn't feel that way, because my world is caving in around me...but I do."
"We can't keep fighting." Elliot said simply. "But maybe one day we can be friends."
"Maybe, one day." Mary nodded. "But it's gonna take a lot of time, Elliot."
"I know. For me too." Elliot agreed. He paused, then, "Will you tell the girls?"
"If you want me to." Mary nodded.
"I don't feel I can talk to Sylvie at the moment." Elliot admitted. "I think she hates me and I don't want to antagonise things with this kind of news."
"Fine, I'll talk to them both after the show." Mary nodded. "You are still coming, aren't you? To see your daughter perform?"
"Sylvie's hurt...she can't play." Elliot frowned.
"Annie's playing for her. She told me last night." Mary replied. She smiled sadly. "Even if we've lost sight of family feeling, they haven't. I'm glad they've each other."
"Me too." Elliot agreed. "And sure, I'll come. Waste of a ticket, after all."
"Good." Mary smiled, then, "Oh! The door! I s'pose I'll go get that..."
She hurried out of the door and down the stairs, turning the key in the lock and swinging the door open, letting out a gasp of surprise.
"Well, whaddya expect?" Roxy Pelligrini folded her arms, eying her friend carefully. "I'm gonna just sit up in Philly when your loser husband's makin' you cry? Where is he...want me to deck him for you?"
Despite herself, Mary smiled, allowing her friend inside.
" It's okay, Roxy, we talked and things are settled." She said softly.
"You made up?"
"No." Mary shook her head. "We...agreed to get a divorce."
"Oh!" Roxy looked startled, then, "I didn't see that coming!"
"Well, both of us think it's the only solution." Mary replied softly. "Will you let me come to Philadelphia and stop with you a while? I mean, after Jewel's show tonight..."
"Sylvie's playing? I thought she was hurt!" Roxy looked startled.
"She is. Anna's stepped in for her." Mary nodded. "But I promised I'd go, and so I will. But after that?"
Roxy looked thoughtful for a moment. Then,
"Hell, I got a better idea." She said. "Leave it to me!"
And before Mary could respond, her friend was gone.

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!