Chapter Three: A Well Kept Secret
"So, where do we go from here?"
Mary sat down on the sofa, an apprehensive look on her face. "I know you have something in mind, Elliot...what do you think the answer is?"
"You won't like what I think." Elliot sighed, taking the seat beside his wife. "Mary, I know you adore the both of them, but Sylvie is out of our control and she's gonna wind up hurt."
"I'm afraid of that too." Mary bit her lip. "She's so headstrong..."
"Spoilt is how I'd put it." A fresh voice joined the conversation and both turned to see Roxy lounging in the doorway. Mary looked stricken.
"No! Roxy, she isn't spoiled! Just...impetuous and..."
"And damn stupid." Roxy interrupted. "Runnin' away like that - don't she have a clue about anything? The world's a bad place!"
"Not Sylvie's world." Elliot shook his head. "It's always been safe and secure from every angle. Maybe that's part of it...she's bored. But I've had enough. Something has to be done."
"I wish you'd tell me what you want to do!" Mary exclaimed.
"I want to handle this, Mary. It's time Sylvie learnt that she can't always have her own way, and you'll just be soft on her and let her off again." Elliot folded his arms. "For her own sake, she needs some discipline!"
"You saying I can't discipline my own daughter?" Mary's eyes widened. "Elliot, she's my child too, you know, I do have a say!"
"You won't like it."
"I want to know!"
"I want to send her to my sister."
"Cara?" Mary's eyes opened wide. "Elliot...that would just be cruel!"
"There's nothing wrong with Cara...you make her sound like an animal!" Elliot protested.
"Well, I don't want any daughter of mine sent away to that house." Mary folded her arms. "I don't care what you think, Elliot, I'm not having her go there. Sylvie's sensitive, she needs affection in her life - not just scolding."
"What's up with this Cara chick? What's so bad about her?" Roxy looked curious, sinking down into an empty seat. She had stayed with the Martescus since Sylvina had first disappeared, and had not yet gone home, wanting to play her part in determining the girl's fate.
"She doesn't believe music is a career for a young lady." Mary said quietly. "She and I have never gotten along, Roxy...and she thinks Sylvie's dreams are a waste of time. Says she should knuckle down and do a proper job. We don't stay there very often, but when we do...the house is cold. There's no emotion, no laughter, nothing. Her daughter Ryana is a mouse...daren't speak without her mother's permission, most likely. I'm not having anyone do that to Sylvie."
"Woo!" Roxy let out a low whistle. "She sounds just great!"
"She's not as bad as all that." Elliot frowned. "She has strict ideas on discipline but Ryana would never do the things Sylvie gets herself into."
"She'd never dare try." Mary muttered.
"Isn't that a good thing?" Elliot demanded. "Don't you want Sylvie to be safe?"
"Of course I do!" Mary exclaimed. "Elliot, I already lost one child, I couldn't bear to lose another, but I don't think Cara's ideas on Sylvie's future are right, that's all. She'll squash all the fun out of her!"
"She wants her to go to college. That makes sense." Elliot put in.
"Not every kid was meant to go to college, Elliot." Mary replied. "I never did. Nor did Roxy."
"No. You guys were lucky. But it's hard in the real world without a college diploma." Elliot responded. "Anna is going and she intends to study music, so why not Sylvina? It might teach her to knuckle down."
"If y'ask me it'll drive her out of her mind." Roxy said bluntly. "Poor kid, doin' more lessons! Ain't school bad enough?"
"I don't say college is a bad idea, just that I don't think it's Sylvie's scene." Mary added. "She's only gonna act out more if we force her to go...she'll drop out and then where will we be? Worse than we are now."
"The kid wants to be a star, right?" Roxy looked thoughtful.
"So let her." Roxy shrugged. "Send her to L.A. Send her to my brother an' Jetta and get her signed to Misfit Music. They'll sort her out." A mischievous grin settled on her face. "I'll take her there myself. I wanna see Jetta's face."
"You really think the best idea is to let the kid have her own way?" Elliot was incredulous. "Brilliant, Roxy! No wonder you never had kids!"
"Listen here, Elliot, I know what I'm talking about." Roxy's brown eyes narrowed and for a moment Mary thought they'd been transported back twenty years to the heyday of the Misfits. "I grew up rough, remember? An' it ain't no picnic, makin' it to be a star. It'll teach her more than your dumb sister ever could."
"I think Roxy's right." Mary admitted. "It's no easy thing when you start off trying to make a name for yourself in the music world. We worked so hard those first few months I thought my brain might explode."
"She'll take it as a victory."
"Not once she's met Jetta she won't." Roxy looked amused. "And Nancy, of course..."
"My niece. Jumped up little brat with her head in the clouds and an ego as big as god knows what." Roxy responded. "Tipped as some music genius but I just think she's a brat, personally." Her lip curled in distaste. "Reminds me of her mother."
"You and Jetta get along better these days."
"Sure. But we both changed." Roxy shrugged. "This kid of hers is a pain. That'll sort Sylvie out, I promise you."
"And what if Jetta says no?" Elliot asked.
"She won't. I'll talk to Justin, leave it to me." A knowing look crossed Roxy's face. "He'll persuade her."
"I don't like the idea of sending her away." Mary frowned. "She's still so young..."
"Anna's young and she's going away." Elliot pointed out. "If Roxy's so sure that this won't be all roses and easy pickings and might help Sylvie grow up then maybe it is the answer."
"Anna's going to college, and it's only a hour's drive away if she's in trouble." Mary pointed out. "California's the other side of the country!"
"Well, if it makes you happy, Stormer, I'll stay over a while with her, harrass Jetta a bit and mess about with Justin and his pictures." Roxy suggested. "I kinda miss Cali sometimes, to tell you the truth. The weather's always gorgeous out there an' I could do with touchin' up my tan."
"Mary?" Elliot glanced at his wife. Mary nodded slowly.
"Okay. If Roxy goes with her at first, then I'll say yes." she said finally. "I know you think I'm overprotective and sappy but I couldn't let go of her completely, you know? I'm her mother, not Cara...I'd feel like I wasn't fit to raise her, and I couldn't bear that. In any case, with Anna going...well, I knew that Sylvie would leave home too, of course, but to be losing both of them so soon..."
"She'll be fine, Stormer, you gotta stop being soft over her." Roxy told her bluntly. "She's eighteen, that's plenty old enough to make a name for herself. I was out on my own at fourteen!"
"Yeah, but you were streetwise. You knew how to survive and had people you could rely on. Sylvie doesn't have that." Mary pointed out. "I'll be okay, Roxy. Plenty of work on and everything anyway. I'll just miss her, that's all."
"Then it's decided? If Jetta and Justin are agreed, Sylvie's going to them?" Elliot asked. Mary nodded.
"I guess so." she agreed. "I hope they say yes...I don't want her sent off to Cara's."
"Leave that to me." Roxy responded. "I'll call Justin tonight, explain the problem." She winked. "He's always game to help out his kid sister!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Emily, aren't you done with that book yet?"
Emily-Jayne Raymond shut the dusty volume with a snap, glaring at the speaker over the top of it. It was always this way. She would go down to the library, the record office, anywhere, and Cecile would insist on coming with her, but once an hour was up the younger girl would always start to bleat about being bored. It was the trouble, she decided, with being brought up a foster kid, one of the many parentless girls whose childhoods and educations were seen to and supervised by the giant corporation that the Starlight Foundation had become. Once upon a time the foundation had been small, merely catering to a handful of children in one house in Los Angeles, but these days it was a nationwide institution, thanks to the proceeds that came to it annually from the Jem Memorial Fund and the generous donations of many sponsors across the country. It had been tied to Starlight Music back then, and it was true that the Music Company was still it's chief benefactor, but the two had become more seperate entities. While Jerrica Pacheco ran Starlight Music, her sister Kimber had sold her shares in the record label and had taken full control of the Foundation. Flighty and impetuous as a kid, Kimber had found an affinity with her new cause, and had proven a surprising natural in running the corporation. Of course, she didn't see to the business side of it, for she had never been good with figures, but she had always been hands-on with the foster girls where possible and the people in charge of the Houses nationwide had been handpicked on her approval. She herself presided over Los Angeles' branch of Starlight, whose newly built house had been dedicated to Jacqui Benton, the Foundation's original founder and Kimber and Jerrica's mother. It accomodated thirty five girls in all, and the old Starlight Mansion had long been shut up.
Emily-Jayne had no time for Kimber, not like the other girls. She had discovered the truth of her abandonment at the age of six or seven, and it had cut deep into her. She did not like to play pretend like the other girls, pretend family, pretend life. She wanted to know who she was, and had resented Kimber for not telling her all she had wanted to know. The truth was, of course, that aside from her name, Kimber knew nothing of her headstrong charge's background. The eldest girl still at the Foundation, for she had no money and nowhere else to go, she was roped in these days as a pseudo-helper. She supposed it was meant to be a way of her paying back to Kimber and the others all they had done for her. This made her laugh. They'd brought her up, but so what? It hadn't been their job to, so therefore it had been charity.
And she had hated being a charity kid.
Since she had turned eighteen, two years earlier, she had become obsessed with finding out the truth of her identity. Not knowing whether the name she had been told was even her real one had proven a stumbling block, but she had persevered - after all, she had had no more to go on. After pestering a number of people in high places she had so far come up almost every time with an infuriating blank, and it was beginning to get to her.
Surely someone in this dumb city knew the answer to the question she had been asking herself ever since the day she had first been told the truth...who was she?
It didn't help, of course, that Cecile, one of the newer residents of the Jacqui Benton House had developed a fondness for her. No, more like an adoration. Cecile was twelve, orphaned in a road accident, and had lost a big sister in the crash at the same time. She had, it seemed, adopted Emily-Jayne as a surrogate and Kimber had urged the impatient elder girl not to push her away, saying it was 'part of the grieving process'. All very well, but what about her needs? Over the years Emily-Jayne had learnt to put herself first, for she had never believed that anyone else would bother doing it for her. To be abandoned, that was bad enough, but to be abandoned and lied to...well, that was worse still.
"I'm trying to find out information, Cecile, can't you pipe down?" She snapped out now. "You know full well that I came here to try and trace more of my real family - maybe you shouldn't have come, if you're bored."
Cecile's soft blue eyes began to fill as they all too often did with tears, and Emily-Jayne rolled her eyes.
"Oh God, don't cry!" she exclaimed. She fumbled in her pocket for loose change. "Look, how about you go to the movies, huh? Go see that new film you wanted to see. I'll come meet you there in an hour or two and we'll go walking or something, right?"
Cecile brightened at this, taking the proffered money.
"Thank you, Emily!" she exclaimed. "You're the best friend ever!"
With that she slid down off the table and hurried down the hall, disappearing across the road to the big multiplex cinema. Emily-Jayne sighed, rolling her eyes.
"Stupid kid." She muttered. "Why can't she find someone else to idolise?"
She turned back to the book. It was a book of newspaper clippings, and she had held out a faint hope that in one of them there might just be a birth announcement, someone to trace her back to, but she had had no luck. She sighed.
"If only there was some way I could get my birth certificate, but I don't even know if I was born in this dump of a city or not!" She exclaimed. "It could be anywhere and it's probably miles down under corporate junk." She glanced at her watch. "Oh, great, and now I'm running late for my meeting with Mr Llewelyn. Great going, Emily. How can you hope to be a singer if you don't keep your appointments?"
Singing was Emily-Jayne's pet hobby, and always had been. She had dreamed of being a singer - another reason for her resentment of Kimber, a musician who had already made it to the top - her whole life, and had finally, after being on a year long waiting list gotten an appointment with Rory Llewelyn, head of Rebel Records. She knew she had ability, people had always told her that, and she could turn on the attitude no problem, but she had never been patient, and the waiting had been hard on her temper and her nerves.
Returning the book of cuttings hurriedly to the desk, she sped across the road and down the main high street to the big steel building that had become Rebel Records in the course of the last decade. Barely stopping to check her makeup or appearance, she barged into the lift, hoping against hope that it wouldn't be held against her.
She was in luck. Mr Llewelyn, it transpired, was running ten minutes late with his appointments that morning, and she found herself shown straight into a spacious office by a smiling secretary, with no comment made on her tardiness.
The man behind the desk sent her a lazy smile. He oozed charisma and charm, and something about his self-assuredness both captivated and repelled her.
"Miss Raymond?" he asked. Emily-Jayne nodded.
"I understand you're twenty years old?"
"Yes, that's right."
"And you want to be a singer." There was almost humour in his voice, and Emily-Jayne bristled at it.
"Look here, Mr Llewelyn, either hear me sing or tell me to go, but don't play games with me. I'm not going to be messed around just for your amusement!"
"Well, you have spunk, my dear, I'm impressed." The man's smile widened. "Yes, of course I shall hear you sing, since you've been so kind to pay us a visit this morning. You do understand, though, that I have a lot of people who I see every day..."
"I know that." Emily-Jayne interrupted. "But I can only do my best, so I don't care about them."
"That's good to know." Rory laughed. "I must say, I like your attitude. I hope I shall like your voice just as much. Would you sing me something, so I can judge?"
"I thought you'd never ask." Emily-Jayne smiled slightly. With a moment's pause to compose herself, she sang a section from one of her favourite songs, from a band whose music she had grown up adoring.
Universal Appeal, by the Misfits.
At first Rory made no remark, though he recognised the track all too well, but as she reached the chorus something in her voice struck him as being decidedly familiar. He frowned. Where had he heard that before? That strong, vibrant, no-nonsense note of confidence?
"I'm most impressed." He said when she had finished. "Tell me, Emily - may I call you that? Have you ever sent us a demo tape?"
"I did, but it got returned and I don't have the musical facilities to knock them up easily." Emily-Jayne replied.
"I see." Rory paused. "Your voice has a very familiar quality to it, very strong and independant. I must say I like it very much."
"So...so I'd like to see you again, at the same time tomorrow, when my partner Ms Devereux will be here." Rory smiled at her once more. "Bring along your birth certificate, so I can make a note of your details...you'll certainly go on our record, though of course I can't guarantee you a contract."
"I don't have my birth certificate." Emily-Jayne admitted. "I don't even know who my parents are. All I know is that I'm Emily-Jayne Raymond and I was born on the twelfth of July, 1990. That's it."
"Really?" Rory raised his eyebrow. "Most intriguing, I must say. But it's company policy that we see birth certificates to authenticate identity. It's not our policy, you understand, to take on people who have a dodgy history somewhere else in life."
"I've no record!" Emily-Jayne protested hotly.
"I never said that you did, my dear." Rory told her sweetly. Then, "Wait a minute. Your surname is Raymond?"
"Yes." Emily-Jayne looked surprised. Rory's eyes became thoughtful.
"Really? That's most interesting. You know, I did know someone once who went by that name. And, as I recall it, he left state - and country - in rather a hurry."
"What are you trying to tell me?" Emily-Jayne looked suspicious.
Rory reached into his desk drawer for a business card, pushing it across the table.
"Here. See this man. He'll be able to find your birth certificate for you, I've no doubts." He said. "I've decided, my dear, that you are a definite prospect for this music company and I'd like to be able to discuss it with Sophie as soon as possible, so I'm anxious that there be no delay on the technical side of things. You understand?"
Emily-Jayne's eyes lit up with pleasure, and all of a sudden it struck Rory where he had seen those emerald eyes before, and why that voice had sounded so familiar. He made no comment, however, as she took the card, pocketing it.
"I appreciate it." She said quietly. "You're a good businessman."
"I should hope I am." Rory sounded amused. "Believe me, my dear, you've been quite a revalation. I hope to see you tomorrow, with good news."
"I hope so too." Emily-Jayne nodded. "Goodbye, Mr. Llewelyn."
As the door shut behind her, Rory swung back on his chair, letting out a low chuckle of amusement.
"Well, I can honestly say I never expected that." he told himself. "But those eyes...Pizzazz's eyes, unmistakably so. The hair, well, she must dye it, of course, but I'm almost certain I know who the brat's parents are. This kind of information could be most valuable to me, should I use it wisely. The girl obviously resents not knowing anything, so if I should enlighten her, she'd no doubt be eternally grateful to me. And, of course, once she knows who her mother is, so long as she's told in the right way, I've no doubt I'll have a willing ally in pursuing my overall aim in this business...bringing that jumped up billionaire's daughter and her tinpot company down to nothing!
Watch out, Pizzazz...the fun has just begun!"
JEWELFIC MAIN PAGE:
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.