Chapter Five: Revelations

"Ugh. Bad day at the office."

Madeleine dropped down into an empty seat, reaching for her bottle of mineral water as she fanned herself with her free hand. "It was so hot out there - anyone else think we were about to start roasting under those lights?"

"They were distracting." Luca nodded his head. "After you with the water, Maddy, if you don't mind. I ain't got a dime on me for the drinks machine and I'm parched. I couldn't have croaked out another note if you'd paid me."

"Sure. Here." Madeleine held out her water, then paused.

"You don't mind taking it from me?"

"Why would I, Mad?" Luca looked confused. "I'm thirsty and you're the only one with the sense to bring Evian along with you."

A smile touched Madeleine's lips.

"I was just checking." She admitted. "You've been so preoccupied about...well, me lately, I wondered."

"Oh, I see." Luca snorted. "Don't be silly. I'm fussing because I worry about you. Not because I think you're a threat to any of us. Besides, when you told us, I did some research just so I knew what was what. And I'm savvy enough to know that drinking your water ain't gonna kill me. Not drinking anything, however..."

He grimaced, and Madeleine laughed.

"Then drink, with pleasure." She teased. "We can't have you expiring."

"We didn't play so good today." Stefana curled up in the corner of the dressing room, rummaging in her bag for her cigarettes and her lighter. "Clay, what were you doing, cueing me a bar too early? It's a good thing I was paying attention, else we'd have really screwed up on Heartbreaker. God knows we should be playing that song in our sleep by now...what gives?"

"Huh?" Clay turned from where he had been absently gazing out of the window, casting Stefana a frown. "Sorry, Stef? Didn't catch that."

"You're on another planet today." Marissa slipped a gentle hand around his waist, and he didn't resist her touch. "Clay, what's eating you? You didn't sound like yourself on were like another person."

Clay frowned.

"Sorry. It was hot on stage...and I had a damn red light glaring off my snare. Was hard to see what was going on."

"That is not what I expect from you."

Sophie pushed open the door of the Diablo dressing room at that moment, shutting it behind her with a sharp click as she fixed piercing brown eyes on the assembled musicians. "Your performance this afternoon was neither spectacular nor eye-catching - I was ashamed to be with you. We fly all this way from America and for what? So you can give the audience a mediocre display of what you can do? I won't have it."

She pursed her lips.

"And you, Clay, need to start focusing your attention back on your rhythms and less on what else goes on around you. You were atrocious today and you know it - or if you do not, you should not be playing for Diablo. You 'ave too many distractions around you - and I will not tolerate it. We are here to play music. I will not take less than perfection from any of you. Is that understood?"

"You're not Rory." Clay said flatly. "Even if you are sleeping with him. My distractions are none of your business, Sophie. So we had a bad day today. It happens. Get over it. When you were a Stinger, are you telling me every single concert you played went off without a hitch?"

"Every concert was planned and executed to perfection. Rory would not have tolerated anything less." There was icy disdain in Sophie's tones. "Just so-so is not good enough for a band who claim to be Jewel's hottest competition in Los Angeles at the moment...and it doesn't matter how rude you are to me. I expect better. Rebel Records expects better. And pay will be docked if I don't see better the next time you play. All of you."

She added, casting a cursitory glance around the room.

"I think you sometimes forget that I am an equal partner in this music company." She added, fixing her gaze once more on Clay. "You'd do well to keep that in mind next time you wish to be offensive."

"Oh, just shut the hell up." Clay snapped. "I had a bad day. I'm sorry. It happens. It was hot, I couldn't see right, and it didn't go well. Get over it already, will you?"


"I'm not listening to another word from you." Clay cut across her, ignoring the tiny gasp Marissa let out at his tone. "If you hadn't brought us here, it wouldn't matter. You did, so the blame lies with you. Not me. Now get out of my way. I don't want to have this conversation any more."

With that he pushed the executive aside, wrenching open the dressing room door and storming out into the hallway.

There was a moment of silence in the dressing room, and then Sophie muttered something very unlady-like under her breath. She narrowed her gaze, fixing each of the remaining musicians with a look in turn.

"I mean everything I say." She said softly. "There will be penalties if the next performance is not what I expect of you."

She pursed her lips, and then turned, leaving the dressing room and pulling the door shut behind her.

"Wooh." Luca let out his breath in a rush. "Consider us scolded!"

"What the hell got into Clay just then?" Stefana demanded. "I'm the one who goes bitching at the people in charge, not him. What's biting him, anyway? He's never usually that fussed when we have a bad day."

"What he said to Sophie..." Marissa sighed, crossing the dressing room to glance out of the small window at the studio car park. "He doesn't like being here. Playing here. It's distracting him and that affects all of us."

"England is his homeland." Stefana pulled a face. "And he was fine about it before."

"No...I mean here." Marissa gestured towards the world outside the window. "We're only a half mile drive from the Wissex county border. He told me so himself. We're playing our next concert inside Wissex...considering the press frenzy, he's not happy and he's on edge. I admit he's not been himself today...or for the last day or two, to be honest. But this runs deep with him."

She sighed again.

"I guess I ought to go make sure he's okay...and that he didn't take a chunk out of Sophie." She added. "She was right about something - he is letting these things distract him from his work. The sooner that stops, the better."

"Do you think it's something you can knock out of him just by talking?" Madeleine looked surprised. Marissa shook her head.

"I know Clay too well to think that." She admitted. "He's stubborn and he won't snap out of it until he's ready to. But I can be supportive and lend an ear. Plus I love him, and it hurts me when he's hurt."

"Clay doesn't show emotion like this as a rule." Madeleine acknowledged. "Which means he must be pretty upset. I think you're right, Mari. Wissex is the reason. Considering the last few days, even coming here is insensitive."

"Sophie's not looking to be sensitive. She's looking to follow Rory's itinerary." Luca said dryly. "Do you think he'll get fined?"

"Maybe." Marissa shrugged. "But I honestly don't think he'd care if he did. Right now, this is all he's focusing on. And I'm gonna do my best to bring him out of it...though I don't know that I can."

Across the studio grounds, Clay had made his way towards the car park, pushing his hands deep into his pockets as he let his anger and frustration bubble and fester inside of him. Deep down he knew that Sophie had been right in her comments, and that went no way towards cooling his hot, obstinate temper. He gave the fire door a bad tempered shove, stomping out into the cool summer air and kicking absently at a nearby pebble, watching with little interest as it skimmed and clattered across the smooth black concrete. He bit his lip, turning his head towards the south, in the direction he knew Wissex lay. Despite his family history, he had never been this close to his father's ancestral home and it bothered him more than he cared to admit.

"And after Grace's visit, what am I supposed to make of it?" He wondered. "Was her trip all part of some elaborate scheme? Could I be in danger, simply because I'm that bastard's son? Or is there something else at work here? And why, dammit, did that jerk McMillan have to dig around and spill the beans about me in the national press? If I'd wanted people to know about it, then I'd have told them. Now it's trickled out all ways and I'm sick of it!"

"You need to stop making a habit of this, Clay."

A soft voice came from behind him and he swung around, registering his girlfriend with a slight frown. "This walking out thing. It's not like you and it's not good for publicity. If people got to hearing about that little spat in the dressing room..."

"If you don't talk about it, people won't." Clay interrupted her with a shrug. "I don't think Sophie will, so button it, Mari. What are you doing out here, anyway?"

"What do you think? Looking for you."

"Well, I wasn't lost, so you didn't need to come find me." There was more of an edge to Clay's tone than he intended, and despite himself his heart sank when he saw the flicker of answering hurt in his girlfriend's eyes. He sighed. "Mari, I'm not in the best mood right now. You're likely to get snapped at if you stay out here. Leave me be, huh? Go back to the others. I'm not good company."

"That's why I came after you." Marissa ignored his words, slipping a comforting arm in his. "Because you're upset and you shouldn't be alone with it. I love you, Clay - it hurts me when it hurts you too, and if you trust me, don't push me away. You don't have to tell me what upset you - I know. But there's nothing that can be done about it. We have to do our jobs...and if that means going into Wissex, so be it."

"I'll bet Rory stuck it on the itinerary on purpose. He saw it as a press opportunity." Clay muttered bitterly. Marissa shrugged her shoulders.

"Probably." She agreed carefully. "But even if he did, you'll only create more press if you continue to react like this. Someone will pick up on it. You should know that by now. They'll be watching all of us, but you especially. It's no different from Los Angeles - the British press will want their scoop."

Clay glanced at the ground, and for a moment he was silent. When at length he raised his eyes to Marissa's, there was a mixture of frustration and regret in them.

"I know you're right." He admitted. "You usually are, and you are again now. I just can't help feeling odd about it all, that's all. You don't understand that part of it...your Mum and Dad might be split, but you've always had a proper relationship with both of them and with a stepfather t'boot. You don't have to go through life knowing your Dad called your mother a whore and denied her any help and support because of you. And dammit, I could live with that, if people weren't joining up the dots and wanting a piece of the story. It's not some romantic tale. It's my life and I'm fed up with being under the microscope."

"I know that." Marissa said softly. "We all know that, we do. But the press only see a story. And as it stands, you're making it a bigger one. Don't you see that?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I do." Clay sighed. "I know I was crap today, Mari. Really not on song. And I'm angry at myself over that as much as anything - I've never blown off a show like that before and I'm not going to make a habit of it. I guess that's annoying me just as much as the other stuff. That what Sophie said was right...I am distracted and I am letting the rest of you down."

"It's not like you to let something else get in the way of your music." Marissa agreed. She grinned. "Not even our relationship does that. Why should this?"

"Because my relationship with you and my music are pretty much on the same level." Clay returned the grin with a weak one of his own. "The two are connected, you know it as well as I do. It's what makes us such a good writing team...or had you forgotten that?"

"Never." Marissa shook her head. "Look, I know you have to get your head around this and work it out in your own way. That's fine - I understand that. But in the meantime, there's no sense in upsetting Sophie or causing yourself more press hassle. All of this anger and stuff - you don't normally let anyone see you feel that way. I've never seen you so..."

She paused, groping for the word, and Clay snorted.

"Emotional?" He asked ruefully. "Oh God, I don't like it any more than you do."

He chewed on his lip, casting another glance towards the Wissex border.

"Mari, if I tell you something, can you keep it a secret?"

"Of course. You shouldn't need to ask me that." Marissa nodded. "What is it, Clay?"

"You know the other night, in the hotel?"


"When I got called away?"

"I remember." Marissa agreed. "What about it? I thought that was more press...wasn't it?"

"No." Clay pursed his lips. "It was Mason's wife, Mari. The Countess. Or...well, Lady Wissex, isn't that what she's known as? Grace Hawthorne."

Marissa's eyes became wide with disbelief.

"Your stepmother came to see you?" She demanded, only just remembering to keep her tones to a whisper. "But why? And why didn't you tell me this before?"

"She's not my stepmother!" Clay snapped. Then he took a deep breath, shaking his head.

"She's Mason's wife. That's all." He added, in a calmer tone. "He's not really my father, so she's nothing more to me than some lady of the manor. And why didn't I tell you? I wasn't really sure how or if I should. It was surreal that she should come and see me...I half wondered if I dreamed it."

"So what did she have to say?" Marissa raised anxious blue eyes to his. "No wonder you've been more wound up these last couple of days!"

"She was...pretty nice, really." Clay admitted. "I mean, considering who she was and where she came from. I could almost have liked her, if I hadn't known she was Mrs Mason Hawthorne."

He sighed, twisting his hands together.

"She wanted me to speak to Mason." He admitted. "She had some bright idea about family reunion or something - I don't know what her motives were, but she hinted at some kind of danger. To Mason - maybe to me. I didn't really understand, and she didn't choose to elaborate. I can't tell if it was real or some crazy hoax...but honestly, Mari, it makes me less and less eager to cross that border and step into Wissex. If she was telling me the truth - Lord knows what might happen. And if she isn't, well, obviously she and Mason have some kind of scheme in place and I'd rather not be playing the game without seeing all of the pieces on the board."

"Wow." Marissa pursed her lips. "That's pretty intense. And she didn't tell you anything about what kind of danger it could mean?"

"No." Clay shook his head. "Only that now that people knew I was his son, it could extend to me. And that...I was needed, or something. I didn't follow her logic entirely."

"Do you think she was putting you on?"

"She sounded sincere." Clay admitted. "Like I said, she seemed a nice person. But either way, it doesn't matter. It's unsettled me, and it's affecting my playing."

"That was never my intention, Clayton."

A soft voice came from behind them and both musicians swung around, seeing Grace watching them. Clay let out a curse, jerking away from her.

"What, are you stalking me now?" He exclaimed. "What are you doing here, eavesdropping on my private conversations!"

"I hoped to speak to you again." Grace seemed unphased by the drummer's dismay. "I had thought, alone. I came to watch you play this morning. I was interested. Curious."

"Well, no doubt you were disappointed." Clay said bitterly. "It wasn't the best show we ever did, and that's largely because of you and your stupid husband interfering in my life and my affairs. Can't you just accept that I want to be left alone? By you, by the everyone. I never wanted anyone to link Mason and me together, and the sooner they forget it the better. Don't you know by trailing me round you're only going to awaken new speculation?"

"If they know I'm here, yes." Grace nodded her head. "But I keep myself to myself, and I make few public appearances outside of Wissex. My health, you know." She pursed her lips, glancing at Marissa. "I didn't realise there was someone in your life."

"Marissa and I have been together a while, not that it's your business." Clay said flatly. Marissa squeezed her boyfriend's arm, getting a grip on her own composure as she met Grace's curious gaze with one of her own.

"What do you want with Clay, Lady Wissex?" She asked. "Why are you following him around all of a sudden?"

Grace glanced at her hands, and in that instant she seemed both fragile and uncertain.

"Mason has no heirs." She murmured. "I don't expect you to know or understand what being a Hawthorne means - what it's always meant. It's not about titles and land...more often it's about survival. About keeping the family alive through whatever has been thrown at it." She raised her head, determination blazing in her eyes.

"I'm a Hawthorne as much as he is." She added quietly. "A distant cousin - one of the few left surviving. But we don't have children. The line will die with Mason. While that is the case..."

She drew a deep breath of air into her lungs, shaking her head.

"I told you already, Hawthorne problems are not my problems." Clay said firmly.

"Now they may be." Grace admitted. "Should Mason die without heirs, his estate and titles pass to his surviving uncle, Trevor Blackwood Hawthorne. Almost thirty years ago, Trevor tried to kill my husband and eliminate the last claimant in his way to the Wissex estate. For that he served time in jail. But now he is a free man. You must understand how frightened I am. Mason may not have always made wise choices, but he is the true heir of Wissex and he has no children. And the estate must not fall into the grip of a madman."

Clay stared at the intruder for a moment, as if not entirely believing all that he was hearing.

"And this sob-story means what, exactly, to me?" He asked at length. "I told you. I'm not a Hawthorne. That was Mason's own choice, not mine. I'm Clayton Blake. An unfortunate mistake in his past, and dammit, mine too. If someone wants to kill your husband, it's his problem. It's not my concern."

Grace stepped forward, laying a gentle hand on his arm, but he shook it off, taking a step away from her.

"You are the only heir Mason has and we need you." She spoke softly, not noticeably put off by his reaction. "For the sake of the whole Hawthorne family and everything it's ever been - this is your heritage."

"A bastard baby born of a stupid fling?" Clay snorted. "I doubt it very much. As far as I'm concerned, I'm a Scot and there's no Hawthorne tartan hiding in my closet."

He grabbed Marissa by the hand.

"Come on, Mari. Let's go. This isn't our problem."

Before Grace could respond, he had turned on his heel, making his way purposefully back towards the studio building, pulling Marissa along with him. As they reached the entrance, he turned his head briefly, seeing Grace still standing there watching him. There was a mixture of dismay and reproach on her face, but he pushed it out of his mind, shoving open the door and heading inside.

"Woah." One in the brightly lit corridors of the studio building, Marissa found her breath. "Do you think she's for real? That there's a madman out there?"

"I don't care." Clay said flatly. "And nor should you."

"But Clay..."

"But nothing!" Clay held up his hands. "I'm a Blake. I'm not a Hawthorne. And that's enough of it."

"I doubt she's going to give up that easily." Marissa observed quietly. "From how she was talking, Clay, I think she wants you. She and Mason. She wants you to become his heir and accept that he's your father. And one day, inherit his estate to prevent this Trevor from getting his hands on it."

"If Trevor isn't a fevered hallucination, then he's an old man. Mason's no youngster himself." Clay shrugged his shoulders. "He'll probably be dead first. And if you ask me, it's all far-fetched. A scheme...some kind of a trick."

"She seemed sincere to me."

"Maybe she doesn't know." Clay responded. "Look, Mari, can we drop it? It's academic, anyhow. You know who I am and where I belong. I have no interest in anything my father might have to say or offer. All right?"

He eyed her speculatively.

"Unless you'd find it more exciting, of course, to be dating a potential Earl-in-waiting instead of just a long haired drummer from a rock band."

"Now you're being stupid." Marissa scolded, reaching up to kiss him. "I fell in love with the long haired drummer, and I still love him more than anything. I wouldn't care if you were an Earl or a peasant, so long as you're Clayton Blake and you're mine. It's not me that's confused."

"Meaning what?" Clay stared at her.

"I know exactly who you are." Marissa shrugged her shoulders. "The question is, Clay, do you?"

"I told you..."

"I know you did." Marissa looked grave. "But just in case there's some truth in what Grace said, I want you to be careful. She didn't say it, exactly, but if this Trevor really is out to kill Mason or anyone else, you must be in his line of sight also. The more the press talk about you, the more he'll become aware that Mason has a son. Even one born out of wedlock. And I don't want you hurt. Maybe it wouldn't be a bad thing to put down your walls and find out more about what's going on. At least, before you stumble into something that might get you killed."

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"It sounds like the pair of you 'ave 'ad a busy day."

Laura set her tray down on the coffee table, and Jetta scooped up a steaming mug of tea with a grateful smile, sitting back in her chair.

"Well, we got a lot done." She agreed. "Justin got all of his meds bagged and we dropped them by the pharmacy on our way back 'ere. We packed up a bunch of stuff - 'is clothes are all sorted, once I'd found them, and most of them can go to charity. I'd say we're well on the way to gettin' everythin' straight. It's a bit soberin', in a way. That there isn't more stuff to sort."

"Did you tell Laura what else we found, yet?" Justin lounged in the doorway, a packet of chocolate biscuits in one hand and the faded album in the other. "You left this in the front hall - I guess the lure of tea was too much for you."

"What's that?" Laura looked startled. "An album? Photos?"

"Yeah." Jetta shot her husband a sheepish look, reaching to take it from him as Justin dropped the biscuits onto the table, taking his own mug of tea and sitting down. "In the wardrobe in Pa's bedroom. There was a whole bunch of stuff, Laura. Some things I recognised - things of Ma's as much as anything else. Keepsakes, I suppose they were. Most of it I've put aside to go with 'is clothes to Oxfam or somethin - they mean nothin' to me. But there's still a fair bit of stuff to sort out. I stumbled across this by gave me a few surprises, I'm tellin' you."

"Surprises?" Laura reached out a hand to touch the fine leather covers of the book. "It's fancy. And old. Doesn't look like the sort of thing your Pa would 'ave just lying about."

"No, but we don't think it ever really belonged to Bertie." Justin took a sip of his drink, setting it down on the table. "It's older than that. Jetta, show her, huh? Show her what you showed me."

Jetta obediently flipped the book open, turning pages. As she did so, a  folded sheet of yellowed paper tumbled out, and she grimaced at her husband, bending to pick it up and setting it down on the edge of the table.

"More junk." She said dryly. "I swear, I never knew anyone for stashin' stuff than my Pa. Probably another bettin' slip. I found enough of them in the back of that wardrobe."

She turned over a few more pages, then paused, holding the book out to her friend, who took it carefully. Laura glanced down at the photographs, then up at her friend, surprise and comprehension in her green eyes.

"This is you!" She murmured. "You and Jeremy, an'..."

"My real parents." Jetta nodded. "Kinda rum, ain't it? That Pa 'ad this all the time. He must have. I think it was one of Gramps' albums, judging by the age of it and the photos at the start. But I'm not sure. All I know is that I ain't never seen it before. Or pictures of Patricia. Not till now."

"I can see why." Laura traced the outline of the woman's face absently for a moment, then, "It would 'ave given the game away right from the off. You look so much like 'er...this could be you, when you and I lived together in England. I swear, aside from that glint you always 'ad in your eye...she's you."

"Thanks." Jetta grimaced at her friend, and Justin laughed.

"Check the baby pictures." He suggested. "There's no doubt in my mind that they're our Jetta. And professionally taken, as well...even despite the age, they've used a good quality of film and the exposure is perfect. Not to get technical and talk shop, but to me that does suggest money behind them."

Laura obediently turned back pages, and a smile touched her lips.

"You were sweet." She acknowledged. "I guess it must 'ave been a shock to find them just like that, huh? After not knowin' quite who you were, now you're suddenly presented with pictures an' noone to ask about them."

"I know who I am." Jetta said comfortably. "Parents 'ave never meant much in my world, you know that. I'm Jetta Pellgrini and my family is in Los Angeles. But yeah, it was a surprise, to say the least."

"I guess he kept them for the day when he told you and Jeremy the truth." Justin suggested. Jetta snorted.

"If that's so, why did 'e never show me?" She asked. "No. More likely they were 'idden away so we'd never find out anythin' that Ma an' Pa didn't want to tell us. We already know they spirited away Jeremy's inheritance. Who knows what they might 'ave done with mine, 'ad that solicitor not stood firm?"

"I guess you'll never know." Laura looked pensive. "But at least you 'ave names and a likeness to go with what 'e told you. I mean, now you know for sure that 'e told you the truth...right?"

"Yes." Jetta nodded her head. "I know that he and Ma weren't actually my parents, and that they died when I was a baby. Or at least, the photos I presume that's what 'appened."

"What I wonder about, though, are the missing photographs." Laura flicked back several pages, pausing to glance at a sheet which bore the marks of long-removed pictures. "Accident or design?"

"Another cover up?" Jetta frowned. "Nah. It's an old book. They probably just fell out or somethin'."

"Something's written here." Laura squinted. "Damn my eyes...they ain't as good as they used to be. I can't make it out. Here, Sheila, can you?"

She held the book out, and Jetta took it back, peering at the faded writing at the bottom of the page. At length she shook her head.

"No." She admitted. "It begins with a T...oh, an' the year's 1956. But I can't."

"I suppose it's not that important. If the picture fell out, then it's probably in the back of Bertie's closet." Justin suggested. He leant over to pick up the yellowed piece of paper. "Were you going to see what this was, or just toss it out?"

"Well." Jetta pinkened, then, "The last scrap like that I found turned out to be a courtin' letter from Pa to Ma. I did not need to read that, I'm telling you. Even if they aren't my real parents, it still made me uncomfortable."

Laura laughed.

"Sweet, though. In a way." She pointed out. "That they were a close couple, despite 'aving you and Jeremy wished onto them."

"They would never 'ave 'ad kids." Jetta agreed. "Sort of makes me wonder if the financial incentive made up for bein' dumped with us."

"Well, if you don't want to read it, I will. I'm curious." Justin said with a shrug. "If it's a letter, I'll tear it up...okay? But it might be something to do with the missing photos." He paused. "That is, if you don't mind."

"Be my guest." Jetta spread her hands, reaching for the chocolate biscuits. "Just spare me the readin' aloud, huh?"

"Promise." Justin's eyes twinkled, as carefully he unfolded the delicate piece of paper, spreading it out in front of him.

"Well?" Laura asked. "Is it a letter?"

"No." Justin frowned. "And it's old...old and faded. But...but I think it's a certificate. A wedding certificate. I'm not all that familiar with how those things look over here, and it's dated 1958, but I'm sure that's what it is. Jetta, I think this is your parents' wedding certificate. Your real parents."

"What?" Jetta's brow furrowed. "My real parents? Give it 'ere, Justin. Let me see."

"Sure." Justin held the document out, and gingerly Jetta took it, pulling a face.

"Ugh, it feels horrible." She remarked. "Like it might fall apart in my fingers at any minute."

She set it down on the table, scanning the contents. As she did so, colour drained from her face and she shook her head slowly.

"No..." She murmured. "No way. I don't...I won't believe it. can't be!"

"Sheila?" Laura looked anxious. "Are you all right?"

Jetta swallowed hard, pushing the document aside.

"Pandora's box." She muttered.

"Pardon me?" Justin stared at her.

"You read it! You've seen what it says!"

"Yes, but I don't understand..."

"Patricia May Burns." Jetta's voice shook slightly. "And J...J...Jeremy Wilson H...Hawthorne, in the county of W...Wissex, Sixth of June, 1958."

"So?" Justin looked nonplussed. "Now you know your father's what? Now you know which wealthy stock you belong to."

"No." Jetta shook her head. "No. I won't accept it. I can't be...I won't be part of that family. Not now, not ever. Not again."

"Sheila?" Laura put a gentle hand on her friend's arm. "What are you talking about? What about the Hawthornes? I've never even heard the name - why does it mean something to you?"

Jetta swallowed hard.

"Things I'd rather not remember." She muttered. "Put it away. It has to be a coincidence. Or a different family. Either way, I wish you'd just torn it up and tossed it without readin' it. I didn't need to know."

She got to her feet, dropping the biscuits back onto the table. Casting the certificate another look of distress, she left the front room, banging the door behind her. Laura and Justin exchanged bemused looks.

"You don't know what this is about?" Laura broke the silence first. Justin shook his head.

"Like you, I've never heard the name before." He agreed. "But whatever it is, it's upset her. And more than seeing the photographs did, as well."

"What's in a name...?" Laura reached over to pick up the certificate. "Something, obviously. Do you think we should go after her?"

"If she wanted to talk to either of us, she wouldn't have walked out." Justin said, but his eyes were troubled. "I don't like it any more than you do, Laura...but Jetta's a grown woman and if she wants to tell us, she will when she's ready. When she's figured it all out for herself. For now, I vote we put that back where it came from and leave it be. It's not our business to interfere."

Prologue: London, England
Chapter One: England's Rose
Chapter Two: Delving
Chapter Three: Wissex
Chapter Four: Grace
Chapter Five: Revelations
Chapter Six: Facing Shadows
Chapter Seven: A Change In Plans
Chapter Eight: County Show
Chapter Nine: Trevor Hawthorne
Chapter Ten: A Sea Chest
Chapter Eleven: Binding
Chapter Twelve: Homecoming
Chapter Thirteen: Hawthorne Blood
Chapter Fourteen: Mayfair

The copyright for the original Jem characters featured in this and other stories by me belongs entirely to Hasbro and their interpretations to Christy Marx and the other writers of the Sunbow Jem series. Their future selves are based on concepts that are entirely my own and are not to be repeated elsewhere without due permission.
All other characters, including their likenesses, are copyrighted to myself as webmistress of Jewel's World from 2001 to the present day and are not to be reproduced elsewhere without permission.
The Teenangel Outsiders, Jesta, Flame, Ryan Montgomery and the future interpretations of Aja, Danse and certain of the other original characters are all or in part the concept of Gemma Dawn whose teenangel outsider fiction world is twinned with Jewel's World. You can visit her site at!
All events in the stories on this site are based on original ideas and are not rooted in any existing Jem fiction nor in any real life event or person.