Show's Over Synergy

"I never want to see you again!" He screamed and stormed out. She and Rio had been in enough fights for her to know that he was just blowing off steam but it still hurt when he said things like that to her. She couldn't even remember what they had been fighting about this time. Suddenly her watch alarm began to chime at her loudly reminding her that she and the holograms had a rehearsal in twenty minutes. She sighed and stood up knowing that singing would make her feel better.

"Showtime Synergy!" She whispered and the holographic figure of the glamorous Jem replaced the form of plain old Jerrica Benton. She felt better already and walked out of her office and down the hall to the rehearsal room. She peeked inside to see Kimber already there playing on the keyboard with pages of sheet music to her right and her diary on the top of the stack. 'She must be writing us a new song.' she thought as she reached for the door handle. A hand caught hers preventing her.

Rio.

"Jem," He asked hesitantly, "Can I talk to you?" He looked at her with those eyes of his. 'Jerrica' was still upset with him meaning that Jem really didn't care to talk to him either.

"Rio I really can't right now. We have a rehearsal." She responded pulling her hand free and again reaching for the door.

"Please Jem. It will only take a moment." She sighed, forcing herself not to roll her eyes.

"Alright Rio but please make it quick." She said allowing herself to be led into the recording room. He motioned for her to sit.

"I thought you said this was going to be quick..." She began.

"Please..." He said quietly motioning once more for her to sit down. She crossed her arms and looked at him expectantly, making it clear that she would not be sitting down. Coming to the conclusion that this was the best he would get from her he took a deep breath and cleared his throat. "Jem... Jem I love you. I... I don't really have much more than my heart to offer you... But it is yours if you want it... I'm not doing this very well am I..." He sighed muttering to himself, "Anyway Jem I wanted to know, I mean I was wondering if you would do me the honor of becoming my wife." There. He said it. He knelt down and presented a golden band clinging to a small diamond at the top.

Jem stared wide-eyed at the man before her sinking into the previously offered chair. Her heart had fallen into her stomach. 'I never want to see you again,' he had said to her. She thought he had only been blowing off steam... apparently she had been wrong. All those cruel hurtful words he had said, no, screamed at her... He had meant them... Just thinking that the man she had known and loved all her life couldn't care less about her... The reality of that made her stomach turn causing her to gag. She tried to conceal it with a cough but she couldn't hide the tears which had come unbidden and were now pouring from her eyes. Rio looked at her feeling extremely helpless his face showing complete confusion. He didn't know what had happened... Had he said something wrong? When he tried to comfort her she just pushed him away.

"What... What about Jerrica?" She managed to ask quietly through her sobs. He knelt beside her taking her hand in his, saying what he believed would make her happy again.

"What about Jerrica? She means nothing to me. Not like you Jem. I love you. I don't think I knew what love was til you. Please- What's wrong? Why won't you tell me? I don't understand." He looked at her more confused than ever. She just looked up at him with sad eyes.

"No... No you wouldn't understand..." She looked away laying her head in her hands hoping the queasy feeling in her stomach would subside. "I am sorry for you Rio. That you feel that way." She said rising unsteadily to her feet yet still refusing his assistance.

"Sorry for what? What's going on!" He cried beginning to loose patience with the hysterical girl. How was he supposed to help her if she wouldn't tell him what was wrong!

"You are in love with an illusion..." she breathed silently. She walked to the door and looked out the little window to see the girls congregating to practice. She continued to stare out the door and spoke as if she hadn't heard Rio's shouts. "I mean, it's not your fault Rio. It's mine really. It's all my fault. I wanted to tell you... I tried to tell you... I really did... But then... then things kept happening and I thought I would lose you... You would never have forgiven me for keeping this from you... I didn't want to lose you Rio! You have to believe me... You wouldn't have understood..." She trailed off as Rio threw up his arms in frustration. He kicked over the chair she had been sitting in before suddenly coming to his own conclusion.

"You're married aren't you! I hate deceit and hate liars. You made a fool out of me! I never want to see you again!" He yelled at the top of his lungs. His face was red with fury and his eyes looking at her coldly. To his surprise and amazement Jem actually began smile a little and chuckle.

"That's twice I've lost you today." She said absently still not looking at him.

"Wha?" Rio, not remotely expecting that reaction to his proclamation stood there dumfounded and more confused than ever. He watched as she slowly lifted her left hand clasped around her own waist.

"Show's over Synergy..." She said quietly. She felt the image of the rock star fade from site, leaving Jerrica before Rio. She knew he saw though she would not look at him. Finally she turned seeing, as she had expected Rio sitting gin a chair with his head in his hands. This was a big shock for him.

"I suppose it doesn't matter much now." She said. Ice could not have been colder than the look she shot him. "There's really nothing left to say. You said enough for all three of us earlier." She said including Jem in the count, "Now if you'll excuse me Jem is late for a rehearsal. Showtime Synergy!" She was once again cloaked in Jem's facade and without looking back she flung open the door, stalked out, and slammed the door behind her leaving Rio alone with his thoughts.

Rio watched Jerrica- Jem leave the room. He had known they were the same person... somehow... he'd always known. He truly loved Jerrica, he really did, and somehow he had found the part of her that he loved within Jem too. This explained why he had always been torn between the two women. Jerrica was, he could see for certain now, everything he had ever wanted. She was two amazing women. Now thanks to his ego and pride, he head lost them both.

Jem walked quickly into the bathroom to look at her reflection. She was infinitely grateful for Synergy's hologram which covered her puffy red eyes. She didn't want a million people asking her what was wrong at that moment. Calming herself she walked into the hallway and into the rehearsal room where that others had already gathered. They stopped immediately when she opened the door.

"Sorry I'm late you guys, I had some last minute stuff to take care of." This seemed to satisfy them and they didn't question her further. She picked up her microphone.

"Jem," Kimber began, "We were going over 'Happy Endings' for Raya. Can we run through it with you once before moving on to my new song?"

"Sure Kimber." Jem said absently and the music began and she lost herself in the music... "Tell me I'm crazy, maybe I know but I believe in happy endings. I know it's crazy, but still even so I believe in happy endings. Just as I believe in you, my friend, I believe things work out in the end. Sure as there's a moon and stars above I believe in happy endings, I believe... in..." Jem faded and abruptly stopped singing as a sob caught in her throat. The unwelcome tears came again and she sank unsteadily to the floor. If Kimber played an instrument that she had to old she would have dropped it in her haste to Jem's side.

"Jem! What's wrong?" Kimber put her arms around her sister and although she didn't answer the question, Jem sobbed into her shoulder. Kimber had never seen her sister in such a state before and wondered what could possibly have caused her to be this way. The other girls were not sure what to do but moved to be hear Jem and Kimber in case they could be of any help.

"Jem please..." Kimber began but never finished that sentence for at that moment the door opened and Rio walked in looking pale and very upset.

I need to talk to Jerrica." He said starring at Jem.

"Um... I think I saw her in her office," Kimber lied, "Why don't-" Jem cut her off with a wave of her hand.

"He knows Kimber... He knows. Show's over Synergy." With those words the poor bedraggled, red-eyed Jerrica faded back into sight. Kimber helped her to her feet. Although Rio had witnessed the transformation twice already it still amazed him. How, he wanted to ask... Why, where, when, so many questions in his mind unanswered. Now was not the time to ask them.

"There's nothing to talk about Rio. You made your choice. You chose Jem and Jem isn't real. I'm sorry you had to find out this way but... It's over now." Kimber didn't know what had happened between the two but even though she could be immature at times, she knew that this was between Jerrica and Rio. She gave the other girls a look and they quietly slipped, unnoticed, out the door.

"There is plenty to talk about Jerrica." He said, his voice softening. "For example what a fool I've made of myself in front of the woman I love. I said a lot of terrible things today that... that I didn't mean. I managed to lose you twice today... that's gotta be some kind of record... Anyway... Jerrica... Jerrica I'm so sorry. If there is any part of you that can forgive me... Please... Please let's try to fix this. I know I don't deserve you after the way that I have been acting... I love you Jerrica. Only you. I swear. Please forgive me. I don't know what I would do without you. I'm so sorry..." Rio turned his eyes to the floor and looked away. Jerrica had long stopped crying. Rio had never looked so upset before. She had known him for so many years... She knew that he wouldn't lie to her. In reality he had never even lied to her about Jem seeing as she had never asked. He had been faithful to her and Jem. She couldn't bring herself to throw away their love. Perhaps this time they would get it right now that there were no secrets. She walked slowly over to Rio and slid her hand into his.

"Rio... We've been through too much to just throw it away. And I am at fault too. I should have told you about me from the beginning. It's a long story but first you have to meet someone." She said thinking of Synergy.

Rio looked at Jerrica and pulled the ring from his pocket turning it in his fingers. "I bought this for you... a very long time ago. Please wear it." He asked holding it out to her. She reached out a hand but simply pushed his hand down shaking her head.

We have a lot of problems we need to work through first. On top of that, I could marry you but you could no longer be with Jem. What would that look like? I would look like a fool and you would look like bigger jerk. Things would have to be much different between you and Jem. I think we're better off leaving things as they are for the moment." Rio looked at her with understanding eyes that made her heart soar. Then he smiled at her.

Wow, that's twice I've been shot down today." They both began to laugh and in that moment she knew the wounds, though still stinging and deep, would, with time, heal. He hugged her tight and they just stood there holding each other close for a long time.