Chapter Nine: I Want Everything
Kimber poked her head around the door of the bedroom, a confused look on her face. "Emily, here you are! Where have you been? You've been away since Friday, what's the deal? We were getting worried about you!"
"None of your business. You ain't my mother." Sirena glanced up from her magazine, shooting Kimber a hostile glare.
"So long as you live at the Foundation, I need to know what you're doing." Kimber reasoned. "Just so I know you're safe."
"You don't really care what happens to me, so quit faking it." Sirena snapped. "You wouldn't even tell me the truth. What's wrong, Kimber, are you scared of who I really am?"
"Oh, not this again." Kimber rolled her eyes, sounding frustrated. "Emily, for the millionth time, I don't know who your parents are. You were abandoned in a box outside the Gabor estate with a typed note stating your name and your date of birth. That's all I know and all I've ever known. That you're Emily-Jayne Raymond and you were born on the twelfth of July, 1990."
"God, you're stupid." Sirena's tone was scathing. "Real stupid. I can't believe that you haven't worked it out. Kimber, my last name is Raymond. Doesn't that mean anything to you?"
"There's no need to be rude." Kimber looked hurt. "And in answer to your question, yes, I had wondered if Eric Raymond was involved somehow in this, if that's what you're insinuating. But he left America in a hurry and I had nothing to tie you to him, even if such a link existed. Raymond is a common name, you know, and you can't just go to every Raymond in America and demand to know if they'd fathered a child. In any case, he's not the kind of man either Jerrica or I wanted you to be messed up with. We both decided, way back when you first came into the Foundation's care, that it wasn't a lead worth pursuing, for your own sake."
"Oh, so you decide now what's best for me?" Sirena flared up. "Twenty years on you tell me that you had suspicions about who my father was and you never followed them up? Do you realise that the last twenty years I've wondered who the hell I am and how I came to be ditched on a bunch of losers like you? Didn't it ever occur to you that, whatever the truth was, I wanted to know?"
"There was nothing to tell you. Only suspicions, and they can cause more pain than they can help." Kimber responded quietly. "Neither Jerrica nor I knew for certain that you belonged to Eric, and we weren't prepared to find out. In any case, we both had situations of our own to handle at the time. It wasn't worth the effort, Emily. The odds of him being your father were not very high. You don't look like him, and he's too canny an operator to allow you to have his last name."
"Well, that shows how much you know." Sirena retorted. "Because I've seen my birth certificate now, Kimber. I found someone who bothered to care enough to help me discover the truth, and now I know who I am. And Eric Raymond is my father, so there!"
Kimber's eyes opened wide.
"He is?" She demanded. "But..."
"But nothing. The truth of it is that for twenty years you could have given me a tiny hint of a clue as to who my family might be, and you might have helped me discover what I needed to know, for my own peace of mind." Sirena's tone was bitter. "But you didn't. You were so immersed in yourself and your stupid band and boyfriend problems that you couldn't be bothered to care about another unwanted brat's needs, could you? Sure, you fed me, you clothed me, but it's hollow when you know that noone really wants you there and you're just another mouth to feed. And how you can claim to have raised me is beyond me...when I was a baby you skipped off to another continent to chase after your own needs and Jerrica, well, she got more and more stuffed into her business and to hell with us! Some Starlight Foundation!"
"You have always had the best we could give you." Kimber's own hot temper flared up at this injustice. "You know that as well as I do. Nobody abandoned the Starlight Foundation at any time, because, for me at least, it's become everything that's important to me. When the Holograms split up I wasn't a whole lot older than you are now and I made some mistakes, I know that, but none of them affected you in any way. You have some nerve to sit here now and pick apart what we've done for you, when you could just as easily have been left out in the rain and cold to die!"
"Maybe you'd have preferred that!" Sirena spat back. "I hate this! You always want to make us feel guilty, and want us to be thankful for what you do for us...but why should we be? You chose to run this place. We didn't chose to be here. The sooner any of us can escape it the better!"
"Funny, isn't it, that none of the other girls feel the way you do." Kimber responded quietly. "But...well, it seems that protecting you from Eric hasn't helped you any. You still have his impossible nature. I think maybe it would be best for all of us if you left the Foundation. You're twenty years old, and that's quite old enough to set up on your own. When my father died I was only nineteen and Jerrica twenty-two...and yet we managed to survive. We've kept you here as long as we could, but I don't like the influence you have on some of the younger girls, and, since you clearly hate us all so badly, maybe you don't deserve our kindness any longer."
"Don't worry, I was going anyway." Sirena retorted. "I don't want to spend my life in a house full of brats, thank you. I have a music contract with Rebel Records, if you even care."
"Rebel Records? You signed on with Riot? Are you mad?"
"Don't tell me what to do with my life, you pretty much just absolved yourself from it!" Sirena snapped. "Yes, I did. Rory says I'm a precious commodity to his company and I have talent. He's setting me up in my own apartment and we're starting work on a single very soon, so there!"
Kimber looked at Sirena long and hard, then sighed.
"If that's what you want." She said resignedly. "Maybe it's for the best."
"I'll go tonight." Sirena said. "I want to be sure I have everything with me so I don't have to come back here ever again. This place is a worthless dump full of no good losers, and I don't want to be associated with it any longer."
"If that's how you feel then there's nothing more I can say." Kimber shrugged. "Goodbye, Emily. I hope that it works out."
With that she left the bedroom, closing the door behind her. Sirena hesitated for a moment, a strange expression on her face. Then she shrugged, turning her attention back to her magazine and pushing the encounter out of her mind.
Kimber, for her part, headed out into the grounds of the estate, sitting down by the pool with a sigh.
"Hey, Kimber!" One of the Foundation's older residents sent her a grin, sauntering over to join her. "When did you get back? Did you find Emily?"
"She's upstairs in her room. I guess we missed her." Kimber replied. "Not that it matters a whole lot. She's moving out, April...something better came up. Apparently Rebel Records have given her the record deal she's always dreamed about, and that's that. Riot's even providing her with an apartment. I wish I knew what his motives are. I mean, we all know Emily has talent, but she's not the most compliant of people, and he's no big fan of people who don't bend to his will. I only worry he has ulterior motives..."
"Eww!" April exclaimed. "Kimber, Emily might be creepy but she's not blind! She's not gonna sign a contract with someone who just wants to get his way with her!"
"That wasn't what I meant. I give Riot more credit than that." Kimber frowned. "There just has to be some other reason why she's such a 'precious commodity' to him. That's what he told her, apparently. It's very suspicious."
"Oh, I see." April paused, then, "Well, maybe she just has the type of talent he's looking for at the moment." She suggested with a shrug. "To be honest, either way doesn't bother me. I'm just glad she's going...she's a pain and a half."
"She's difficult to like." Kimber admitted. "And God I've tried, April. These days, well, you're all more than foster kids to me. You are my family. But she's never wanted to belong...finding out she was abandoned did something to her." she hesitated. "You've never felt that way, have you? About you and your mother?"
"Nope. Not ever." April shook her head firmly. "But then I'm in touch with Mom and I understand totally why she made the choice she did in giving me over to the Foundation's care. She never tried to deny me or avoid seeing me, and really, Kimber, this has always been my home. So no, of course I don't hate her. Actually I admire her for knowing she couldn't cope and asking you guys for help. You've always been so good to me and it's like having a flock of kid brothers and sisters, which I love. Emily's different. Apart from hating kids, she doesn't know why she was abandoned. I think wondering about it has made her bitter. She doesn't even know who she is and having an identity's important. I know I'm April Cavendish, but it's also important to me to know who my mother and my father are, even if I'm not living with them...it's part of me."
"Well, apparently she's found out now what she's been wanting to know for years. I don't think it's helped her to come to terms with it any." Kimber sighed. "She told me she'd seen her birth certificate, I don't know how Riot got a hold of it when we couldn't, but somehow he did. I just hope in the end she's happy, April! I know, I know, I sound all fussy and protective, like Jerrica, don't I? But you girls are like my own kids...I don't like seeing any of you miserable. Even Emily."
"I remember when I first came here." April observed. "I was three years old, and Emily was six...she was always stealing the best candy from the drawer and blaming other people."
"She's learnt to look out for herself." Kimber sighed. "I guess she really believes noone else cares."
"Well, then she's dumb." April decided. "Because the rest of us know that you care about us all, Kimber. You and Shawn. Emily's just odd, that's all."
"Well, I suppose we'll see." Kimber spread her hands. "I'm leaving her life in her own hands now, maybe she can do a better job on her own." She smiled. "Speaking of life, when are you seeing your mother again?"
"Tomorrow afternoon." April dimpled. "And she hopes you'll be here too, because she wants to chat about old times. I think she's been in touch with one of her old friends from here...Krissie? And has some news or something. She didn't give me any details."
"Don't you ever feel cheated that she gave you up and never took you back after she married?" Kimber was curious.
"No. I didn't like him much anyway, and it's not as if it lasted all that long." April was matter of fact. "The idiot drunk-drove himself into a tree leaving her with his boys to bring up, and Joe has a whole load of health problems, so it's better I'm here. And that's fine with me. I do have a mother who loves me, after all...just circumstances are in the way."
"I wish Emily would look on things like that." Kimber sighed. "Dierdra should be proud you turned out as well as you have! Try as I might I can't stop dwelling on that kid, April. Maybe if she spoke to her mother...whoever she might be. I wonder if she was a young mother, like yours, who panicked and couldn't cope. Might explain things." She frowned. "Oh well. We'll see what happens. It's out of our grasp now."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"I'm really not sure about this." Nancy eyed her reflection in the mirror,
looking doubtful. "I look like...well, like her, to be honest." She indicated
Sylva with a jerk of her head. "Only with yellow streaks."
"Silly." Copper laughed. "You look cool, Nancy. Really you do. I said highlights would suit you, and they do."
"I can hardly believe you're the same girl." Sylva admitted. "Wait till Jetta sees you, she'll have a fit! C'mon, let's go show Aunt Roxy your new look!"
"Do we have to?" Nancy demanded. "I can barely stand in these stupid torture instruments you call shoes, let alone walk downstairs!"
"C'mon, you'll be fine. We'll catch you!" Copper promised.
"This isn't fair! It's two on one!" Nancy exclaimed. "I'm surrounded by image crazed teen groupies!"
"Shut up and enjoy yourself." Sylva ordered. "You've never looked so good!"
"Hah." Nancy snorted. "Coming from you, do you really think that's a compliment?"
"What's all the noise in here?" Roxy swung open her niece's bedroom door, stopping dead when she saw Nancy, then laughing.
"Boy, is your mother gonna have kittens when she sees you!" She observed with a smile. "That is a definite improvement!"
"Oh, stop it! All of you! I was happy how I was before!" Nancy snapped. "Now I look all prissy and..."
"You look like a star." Sylva interrupted. "Don't you think so, Aunt Roxy?"
"Yeah, she actually does." Roxy nodded. "You girls worked a miracle, I swear. I can't wait to see Jetta's expression when she sees this!"
"See what?" Jetta's voice came from the corridor behind her and Roxy turned.
"Your Nancy's makeover." She replied, taking her sister in law by the arm and pulling her unceremoniously into the bedroom. "Get a load of this!"
"Oh my..." Jetta stared, speechless.
"It looks awful. I feel so dumb." Nancy frowned. "It wasn't my idea, I swear!"
"I think it's an improvement." Roxy leant up against the doorpost, clearly enjoying the moment.
"Pizzazz is gonna love you." Finally Jetta got a grip on her composure. "You look amazin', Nance...like a real star. Heck, you almost look like a Misfit...'Ere, 'ow did you two talk 'er into it?"
"We kinda bullied her." Sylva admitted, dimpling. "This is Copper, by the way, Jetta. Phyllis said she was in."
"So I was told." Jetta nodded. "Copper? Because you're a redhead, right? 'Ow original."
"Well, I've always been called it." Copper shrugged with a grin.
"It's gonna be our theme too, Jetta." Sylva was clearly excited. "We're gonna be Jewel, you see...it was Aaron's idea. Copper's Copper, and I'm Sylva, since it's a neat, snappy short for Sylvina and I guess I've outgrown Sylvie now. We decided Nancy had to be Goldie to complete the set, and made her over."
"Under protest." Nancy interjected.
"Lighten up." Sylva ordered. "Get into character, will you? You look fine!"
"I 'ave to admit, I never imagined you could look so strikin'." Jetta admitted.
"You don't mind?" Copper sounded anxious.
"Heck, no. You girls needed an image an' you've saved me the time comin' up with one." Jetta grinned. "Jewel is kinda corny, but it'll work...people like simple." She eyed Nancy thoughtfully. "How much did that outfit cost? And the 'air?"
"I did the hair." Copper owned. "I worked in a salon back in Detroit so I figured it would save time and money if I put her highlights in myself, and all that."
"The outfit was seventy five bucks, plus shoes." Nancy added. "We got it on...well, on your credit."
She cast Sylva an accusing look. "That was her idea."
"Oh? An' who's payin' it in the end, when I get my card statement?" Jetta raised an eyebrow, glancing at Sylva quizzically.
"I'll pay it, Jetta." Roxy put in. "I've not had such a good laugh since God knows when, so I'll foot the clothing bill. It was worth it...I just need a camera so I can remember this when I go home. Where does Justin keep his spare ones?"
"No! No photos!" Nancy exclaimed.
"Honey, you're going to be photographed a heck of a lot over the next few weeks." Roxy told her. "You better get used to it!"
"She's right." Jetta nodded. "Within twenty-four hours of me joinin' the Misfits I were in the middle of a press conference with cameras every place I looked. The launch Pizzazz is plannin' is gonna be three times as big, from what she's said. No time to be camera shy now, Nance. You wanted this deal."
"And I still do. I just didn't expect to look like a clown for it." Nancy protested. Roxy laughed.
"This is really priceless." She remarked. "Quit moaning, Nancy. You were a bookworm before, now you look like something worth listening to. An' you girls are gonna be stars!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"I'm glad to see you're in good time, my dear."
Rory swung open the door of the recording studio, ushering his young protegee before him. "Did you have a chance to properly go over the manuscript we discussed yesterday afternoon? I must admit that collaborating on lyrics for the melody worked a lot better than I initially feared it might, with you lacking so much experience."
"I'm not an amateur and I'm not a kid." Sirena bristled. "And yeah, I got it down. Why, what's all the hurry? Why do we have to begin laying down the voicetrack today?"
"Calm yourself, Sirena. There are good reasons." Rory seemed completely unruffled by her impatience. "Tomorrow morning we go to the beach and film your video. Lots of sun, sea and surf...and glamour, of course. The music channels will lap it up. MTV are already interested in having an exclusive first airing of your song."
"So why is there such a rush?" Sirena was not to be diverted from her cause. "You rang me up at half past six in the morning yesterday to shove this song in my face and now we're recording it...what's the deal, Rory?"
"Well, my sources tell me that Misfit Music have an act of their own in the wings, waiting to premiere." Rory responded smoothly. "Of course, I'm sure they're nothing next to you, but it always pays to get the first blow in."
"Misfit Music?" Sirena's eyes narrowed. "Why didn't you say so? What kind of act?"
"I believe it's based around Jetta's daughter Nancy. Apparently some people think she's talented, though I've heard she's an arrogant and self-absorbed kid." Rory sent Sirena a sidelong glance. "I also understand Pizzazz thinks a lot of her. I'd even go so far as to say she's fond of her."
"Really?" Sirena's green eyes were dark with rage. "So she can fawn over someone else's bratty kid, but she pushes me aside like I don't even matter! Well, we'll see about that. This group of hers aren't gonna amount to anything, I swear. She'll regret backing the wrong horse!"
"That's the spirit." Rory looked amused at how easily the girl's pent up emotions could be manipulated. "Well, shall we begin trying to put the vocal on track? If you mean to fight then you need ammunition."
"Let's go." Sirena nodded. "I'm ready when you are."
As they began to run through the vocal dub for the third time, the door of the studio opened and a tall blond woman entered. After murmuring something to Rory, she cast Sirena an interested smile. There was something vaguely familiar about her elegant style and vivid blue eyes, but Sirena could not place who she was.
Rory paused recording, swinging open the door that seperated him from his latest charge.
"That last one was quite stunning, my dear." He told her. "Take a break, and we'll discuss the B-side track options in just a moment. There's someone I'd like you to meet."
"Oh?" Sirena looked curious. "Well, all right."
"So this is Pizzazz's legacy to us all, is it?" The woman spoke with a delicate German accent, and she looked decidedly amused by the whole proceeding. In an instant Sirena realised who she was: Minx of the Stingers, one of Rory's former bandmates. "You sing very well, but then Riot always knows how to pick his stars."
"Sirena, this is Ingrid Krüger, she and I write a large portion of the music that this company produces and, if you want to pursue your own ideas regarding lyrics, she's the person you should consult with." Rory explained. "Minx, meet Emily-Jayne...Sirena. She's going to be a big sensation, don't you agree?"
"Quite unforgettable." Ingrid smiled slightly. "I shall enjoy working with you, Sirena, much more, I feel, than I enjoyed working with your mother. You are a rare talent."
"I'm gonna be the best." Sirena told her. "And I'm going to show that mother of mine what's what, too."
"Minx, for the time being Sirena's mother's name is being kept under wraps. We're planning a little surprise for Pizzazz at the Jem Memorial, aren't we, my dear?"
"You bet we are." Sirena nodded decidedly. Ingrid's clever face lit up with comprehension.
"I understand." She agreed. "It is a good plan. Well, I shall not keep you longer from your recording. I just wished to see what this new star of yours sounded like, Rory. I wish you much luck, Sirena. In everything that you do."
PART ONE: STARSTRUCK
Chapter One: Sylvina
Chapter Two: A Budding Genius
Chapter Three: A Well Kept Secret
Chapter Four: Making Waves
Chapter Five: Copper...and Sirena
Chapter Six: City of Angels
Chapter Seven: At Misfit Music
Chapter Eight: Jewel
Chapter Nine: I Want Everything
Chapter Ten: Sirena Strikes
Chapter Eleven: Stagefright
Chapter Twelve: Team Spirit
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.