This first chapter is retrospective and builds the rest of the story. I hope you like! Also, please forgive me if the characters are OOC. I make no profit off this; it's just for fun.
Love is a funny thing. Scary and revealing as well. It opens you up and makes you examine who you truly are. Who you love is a reflection of you, a way for the world to see inside you. Love is vulnerability and surrender, strength and standing fast. It's all the contradictions and comforts this world has to offer in one package. That's where this story begins.
My name is Jerrica Benton. Hm, doesn't ring a bell? How about Jem? Ah, that's better. You see, everyone knows the sparkling, beautiful, mysterious woman who has the world as her oyster; her voice, her face, her body, her smile. But no one knows her mind. No one knows the woman behind the facade. Well, no one but the Holograms, the President and Synergy, the computer program my father created. But that's another story, one that is left for another time.
For three years I have lived my life as two separate people, effectively becoming a woman with a split personality, and yet those personalities are aware of each other. It's beginning to take it's toll emotionally and physically. I've nearly snapped several times; just ask Kimber and the Holograms. Yes, they know the truth and help me cover and keep my secret. But it's not the same thing as having someone who knows you in a way no one else will.
I thought Rio was that man, but ever since I became Jem to save everyone and everything I love, I'm beginning to wonder. Rio and I have been together for nearly 10 years and have been through a lot. But in that time I've also learned things about him that I know would prove to be stumbling blocks to the life I've decided to lead. He's very principled and unshakeable when it comes to his values and beliefs. Liars and deceivers are the two things he can't stand above all things, and that is exactly when I've become. Not exclusively by choice, but out of necessity.
I'm realistic. Yes, I am pretty and smart, but to be the lead singer of a rock group I had to be more. I had to be over the top. Exquisite. Impeccable. Jem.
And that leads me to Rory. Yes, he's known as Riot. And at first, that was the man I knew. Egotistical, full of himself, haughty, manipulative. At the same time though, he was new, gorgeous, had a heavenly voice and was very flattering to Jem. That went right to my head. As Jerrica I was able to fight the feelings of attraction, but not very well. At every turn I didn't know what to make of him, whether he was sincere or not. This went on for a while and then we were stranded in Mexico.
As much as I was angry with Rory for that, I really did need a break. Those three months were pure relaxation. He didn't pressure me in any way. In fact, he took care of everything. All of out food, cooking, shelter, everything. I was incredibly pampered and spoiled. Looking back I wouldn't trade it for anything. Not one did he ask me who I really was or make any sexual advances. We talked a lot about odds and ends, but never anything important. There were a few times when I would catch him looking at me with an expression I couldn't quite place. It was speculative, thoughtful. At the time I didn't think anything of it, but now, I wonder if he didn't suspect who I really was.
Not once, in all the times that Rio kissed both me and Jem did he ever put the two pieces together. You would think after kissing one woman for nearly 10 years you would know her kiss anywhere. Yet, every time Rio kissed Jem, he never realized it was me. He would murmur that I was familiar, but leave it at that. He never imagined that his meek little Jerrica could be the one and only Jem. That was another invisible wedge between us, pushing us ever apart. He even asked several times for Jem to reveal who she was. When Synergy would place us both together he bought it hook, line and sinker every time and then would think nothing of it when Jem and Jerrica happen to disappear at the same time.
Riot was an escape. He let me be whoever I wanted to be. He only expected me to be shallowly as perfect as he is. But when I got a glimpse of the man he really was, I realized that we had more in common than I thought. The night his mother was in the hospital Rory opened up and let me in past his veneer. I saw a man who craved his family and used fame and popularity as a substitute. He created a family in Minx and Rapture, hiding his true self deeper and deeper.
With opening to Jem, it cracked his shell just a bit. When BaNee needed help finding her real father, I as Jem didn't hesitate to ask Rory for help. I knew he would do it for her, but not me as Jerrica. It was one step in the right direction though. Rory and his father's contacts came through, and we found the man BaNee had loved for years. He was a good man and someone I was proud to let my little girl go home to. It was after that when things changed at Starlight Mansion. Soon, all the girls were adopted, leaving the mansion empty and quiet, too quiet for me.
Which leads me to now; the change made me begin to think. All the girls are gone, so there are less people depending on me being Jem all the time. The strain of keeping the secret is beginning to make me feel thin and used up. The responsibilities of the Holograms and running Starlight Music gave me a constant migraine with no relief. Concerts were pure agony and more than once afterwards I slept for more than a day sometimes up to three just from the exhaustion I was feeling. Everyone was worried about me, but not enough to truly step up and make a difference. Kimber was still acting like a child, not wanting to even lift a finger to help me run our father's business. Aja was deep into a long distance relationship with Craig Phillips. Shana, bless her, was concentrating and honing her design skills. Raya, when not practicing was still helping her father at the greenhouse.
I needed help.