I wrote this just now and thought I'd post it (unbetaed). I've never done a Jem and the Holograms fiction before, but Kimber just spoke to me. I hope you like it.
Disclaimer: The charactes belong to someone else. Rhino records? Hasbro?
"Ooooh!" I shouted as I slammed down the phone. "Jerrica!" I shrieked, but there was no one to hear me. They were all outside by the pool, oblivious to my major life crisis.
My sister, Jerrica Benton, was nowhere to be seen, unless you knew where to look. Only a few of us knew that Jem, the lead singer of Jem and the Holograms, was really Jerrica in disguise. It was easy for me. I had known her as Jem for almost three years and it had stopped being hard to treat her like my sister.
"Jem," I hissed to the pink-haired singer. She was in a bathing suit, lounging in the sun without a care in the world.
She turned and said "What is it, Kimber?" As if she didn't know!
"Did you tell Shawn I was seeing Jeff again?" I demanded.
She put her fingers to her face in the most innocent way. "I guess so. I didn't realize it was a secret."
"Ooooh!" I said again. "I'm never letting you take my phone calls ever again!" As a teenager, I didn't realize this was not a threat.
"Why's Jem taking your phone calls anyway? She doesn't live here. Don't you have a answering service, darling?"
I glared at Riot. I didn't even know why he was there. Actually, I knew why he was there. He was trying to pick up Jem. I just didn't know who invited him. Normally, I found Riot, bare-chested, blonde hair flowing down his back in all its glory, attractive. At that moment I wanted to throw him into the pool, and see how his perfectly coifed hair looked then.
I was sick of Jerrica using Jem as an excuse not to be my sister anymore.
As I turned and stalked away I heard Riot ask if he could put some lotion on Jem's back. Jem replied, as if she didn't know he was flirting with her. "Sure, thanks, Riot."
I found my way to the practice room, where all our instruments were set up, meaning to play my keyboard loudly and possibly write an up-tempo song, which was usually my solace. I had to stifle a groan when I found Rio Pacheco there, pretending to be working.
He looked up when he heard me enter and I was startled to see that he looked sad. Rio usually had about one facial expression tops.
"Hey, Kimber," he said.
"Hi, Rio. How come you're not outside?" I asked before I could stop myself. It was clear why he wasn't outside. It was practically the same reason I wasn't: Jem and Riot.
My sister's love life never used to be complicated. I was the one who had many boyfriends. Jerrica loved Rio. Rio loved Jerrica. It seemed so simple. But when Jem was in the picture there were more variables. For starters, Rio didn't know that Jerrica was Jem.
"Are you…are you okay?" I asked Rio, my good nature taking control over my anger.
"Yeah, sure," he said, putting on a tough face, "There's a lot to be done before the tour starts up." Then he tightened a bolt he had already tightened.
"Uh-huh," I said, understanding. I felt bad. Jem treated him horribly sometimes. Most of the time I didn't care because I found Rio incredibly boring. He had been around forever, and sometimes I failed to notice he was even there. Other times he really got under my skin. Kind of a like a brother would, if I had a brother.
"You know, Rio, if you ever want to talk… you know. I'm here." The words were hollow. I couldn't picture strong-silent Rio ever opening up to me about his love life. The last time we had discussed romance was when he railed at me for stringing along two guys, the jerk.
"Uh, yeah, thanks, Kimber." He was clearly uncomfortable.
"And if you want me to push Riot into the pool, I'm willing."
He appeared startled that I noticed. Maybe he still thought of me as a girl in pigtails that didn't understand anything. Maybe he thought his brave face was fooling people.
"Hey, if Jem wants to date the jerk, it's not my problem, right?" He lied. "Do you know when Jerrica is getting back?"
"Um… I'm not sure, Rio," which was sort of true. Who could ever tell what Jerrica would do next? She could strut or hide behind a parasol, after all.
"She's really been working hard lately," he said thoughtfully.
Oh, yeah, really working hard on her tan, I thought.
"There's a lot to do with the tour coming up…" I hated lying for my sister. It made me feel dirty. If I was going to lie, I wanted it to be for me.
"She hasn't been around much…" he looked down at his hands, realizing that he had stopped working a long time ago. "Kimber, is she… is she keeping something from me?"
Boy, I thought, if you only knew.
I wanted to say, "Nah, she's just busy," the way I had so many times before. But there was something about the pained look on his face that gave me pause. Was Rio Pacheco really a human being with feelings?
"Rio," I said, sitting down in front of my keyboard. "I think things are just… confusing now for Jerrica."
And that was the truth.
"But why won't she talk to me?" he asked, earnestly.
I raised an eyebrow. Was the man clueless? Did he think no one noticed how he mooned after Jem?
"I think she's trying to let you… decide things for yourself." This was perhaps an overstatement. Jerrica wasn't around because Jem was around so much. But I also knew that Jerrica really wanted Rio to choose for between her and Jem. Specifically, she wanted him to pick Jerrica.
I wanted to shake him. "About you… and Jem."
He stared at me like I had three heads.
"Rio—you kiss Jem, dance with her, get jealous of her and Riot. Just because Jerrica isn't around, doesn't mean she doesn't see it."
He started to pace. I could tell he didn't understand. I guess in his world things were a lot simpler in romance. He assumed because Jerrica didn't complain that she wasn't upset.
When he looked at me I could tell he was utterly confused. "Does she want to break it off?"
I threw my hands up. The man was impossible. It was like talking to a rock, really. "Rio, she loves you. It's not so easy." I stood up and put my hands on my hips. "I've dated more than one guy before," I flashed him a look to remind him of how he had treated me when he had first found out. "Liking one person doesn't make you stop liking the other. And when the guys find out, sometimes they're mad, yeah. More likely than not they accept it and try to push our romance further so I'll forget about the other one." I felt like I was explaining simple math to him.
"I love Jerrica too!" he announced, making me feel suddenly uncomfortable. Maybe I shouldn't have left he pool. "There's just something about Jem. I don't know her well, but I feel like I do, like I've known her as long as I've known Jerrica."
"If you would only talk to Jerrica," I pleaded. "Tell her this and you can work things out."
Golly, I thought, if only Jerrica knew the reason he liked Jem was because she was so much like Jerrica!
"It's not that easy, Kimber," he replied. He turned around and began fiddling with some knobs. He was back to treating me like a kid, like I didn't understand things at all. I rolled my eyes, so much for trying to help him out.
I walked away; I didn't want to deal with him in one of his moods. I knew the only reason he didn't want to talk to Jerrica was because he didn't want to admit to wronging her in anyway, as if admitting his feelings for Jem would make him evil. He was too proud. And he hated deception too much to acknowledge that he was attempting to deceive Jerrica, only failing very badly at it.
I found my way into the kitchen, thinking that I'd have some ice cream, become fat and never have to worry about men again. Ms. Bailey was there cooking something yummy, she greeted me and went back to work.
"Oh, Kimber," she said while I was riffling through the freezer. "I was cleaning in Jerrica's room and found some messages I think she forgot to give you."
I whirled on my heel. "What messages?"
"Oh, I don't know. One was from a Brad or Brian or something. He was in town for a few days and wanted you to call him…"
"Brandon from the Backside Boys, called me and Jerrica didn't tell me?" I shrieked.
Ms. Bailey was shocked. Immediately I felt guilty for shouting at her. This was not her doing. It was not her fault that I spent my life tiptoeing around Jerrica's love problems and trying to make things right for her and Rio while she single-handedly ruined my entire existence!
I all by ran back the way I came. Rio was sitting at Raya's drum set, looking thoughtful.
"Rio," I said without preamble. "Jerrica hasn't been around because she uses a hologram to turn into Jem. Jem is Jerrica. Jerrica is Jem. The only reason she hasn't told you is because you always freak out about lying and deception, and before you run off and do that again, remember you were the one who went around mooning over Jem.
"The way I figure it, she lied to you; you lied to her. You're even now so you can all live happily ever after and have really boring babies or something.
"It'd save the rest of us a lot of grief."
I walked away with a smile on my face, knowing Jerrica would never forget to give me a message again.