Arc Three: When Life Goes On...
Part Two

The Story So Far...
The Starlight Mansion is getting ready to host the wedding of Nancy's cousin Taylor and Teenangel Outsider Violet. However, in the weeks before the hen night, things have turned rather topsy turvy in Jewel's World. Topaz discovers that she is pregnant, and, with Cameron arriving in Los Angeles in a matter of weeks, is left with a dilemma about what to do. Sylva, meanwhile, has discovered that Jack's fiancee Melanie is mistreating Courtenay, prompting a huge row between her and Jack himself. Copper is still moping about Aaron, and, whilst trying to console her, Topaz and Nancy find a letter from a local hospital in her room, sparking the idea that maybe Copper is getting sick again...

Chapter One: The Truth About Copper

"It's two days till Violet's hen party."
Nancy Pelligrini settled herself beside the big swimming pool the Starlight Mansion boasted, resting her chin in her hands contemplatively. "I've taken more phonecalls from Amber this week than I have from Vi, about arrangements and that kind of thing. I've never been to a hen night before - I hope it's not just gonna be an excuse for everyone to get drunk and hideously embarrass themselves."
"Nancy, you don't drink." Sylva reminded her from where she was carefully painting her nails purple. "So I really don't think you have anything to worry about. Besides, Topaz won't drink either, so you won't be alone." She shrugged. "I think it'll be fun."
"You are attracted to parties like a moth to a flame, though, Syl." The third member of the group, video artist Zoe Montgomery cast her a grin. "Thanks for letting me drop by here and check out things for filming, by the way. I want to make sure that Vi's wedding video goes perfectly, because she's such a sweetheart. I want her to have a momento of the occasion."
"It seems very close now." Nancy mused. "Don't you think? She must be nervous as hell. I know if it were me I'd have skipped states and changed my name by now."
"You are just scared of commitment." Sylva jabbed her nail polish brush in the direction of her companion, who looked indignant.
"Look who's talking! Miss femme fatale of rock!"
"Oh, I know." Sylva nodded. "But I'm not scared of commitment. The right guy has just never come along. But take you and Dean - you've been together ages and I bet you're no closer than you were when you first became a couple."
"Dean and I aren't any of your business." Nancy protested hotly, her cheeks pinkening. "And at least I have a date for the wedding!"
"I have a date too." Zoe grinned. "Only it's not for romance's sake, I assure you."
"Oh?" Sylva looked interested. "Who are you taking, then? Or should it be, who's taking you?"
"Well, he's a younger guy." Zoe giggled. "Oh, okay, I'll tell you. It's Ryan."
"Ryan? As in your cousin Ryan?" Sylva demanded. "Oh, Zoe, that's cheating!" As Zoe nodded her head. "Why in hell are you taking your younger cousin to something as big a deal as Violet's wedding? You're not hideously ugly or anything, you could definitely get a proper date."
"Well, Ryan is cool with me." Zoe shrugged her shoulders, a slightly strange look in her green eyes. "I'm not looking to get a date or a relationship or anything like that, Syl, I've too much going on in my life and I don't spend an awful lot of time dwelling on the fact I don't go out hunting up dates here and there."
"That's something I don't get about you." Sylva observed. "You're almost becoming a career chick, and you know, that's fine and all, but what about if you want to settle down, have a family and kids and stuff? Let's face it, Zoe, you're two years older than me, and time ticks."
"Syl, she's only twenty two." Nancy looked amused. "She's not over the hill yet."
"Twenty three in September." Zoe agreed. "I dunno, Syl. I want the whole family thing, but everything is kinda complicated at the moment." She shrugged. "I'm very busy, and there's no one else I can really ask to take me. So, Ryan will make a good date for the wedding." An impish look touched her green eyes. "I think he has another agenda for being there, too. Call me a romantic, but I'm fairly sure he has eyes for someone who's gonna be at the wedding, and I don't mean the bride."
"You do?" Sylva's eyes widened. "Tell!"
"Nah, I'm gonna leave it to the imagination." Zoe giggled. She stretched out. "Oh, I wish I didn't have to be at Starlight Music this afternoon to discuss video concepts with Jerrica Pacheco for one of her new groups. It's so nice and warm here by your pool."
"The problem with showbusiness is that it's damn hard work." Nancy nodded. "Mind you, most of the album is down now, thankfully, and we can take a breather here and there. It's generally a case of playing the usual haunts - your mom's show, Dean's show, KBST and other radio interviews...also, with the wedding coming up, we've taken a break in scheduling concerts. It's my cousin's wedding, so it's gotta be right."
"I'm sure it's gonna be perfect." Zoe nodded. "Hey, so where exactly are Topaz and Copper today? I was surprised not to find them here."
"Topaz went to the hospital, to see a doctor about her pregnancy and to properly confirm it." Sylva said. "I don't know about Copper. She's been sneaking out an awful lot lately."
"I wish she'd tell us what was bugging her, though." Nancy looked troubled. "Oh well, I suppose she will, eventually."
She got to her feet, diving cleanly into the smooth water and swimming across to the other side. "For the time being, I guess all we can do is wait and see."

Across town, at St Martin's Hospital, Topaz had just finished her appointment with the doctor, and had headed down to the cafeteria in order to grab a bite to eat and a coffee, and think over what she had been told. The confirmation of her pregnancy had not been a surprise to her, and in some ways, she reflected, it was nice to know for sure that that was the cause of her uncertain moods and health in recent weeks. She had not been able to face breakfast, but it was now quarter to eleven and her appetite had begun to return.
"I suppose I better work out what to say to Misfits Music. I have to tell them something." She decided, as she joined the queue, scooping up a muffin and a glass of orange juice, and heading to pay for it. "After all, if I'm going to do this, they'll need to know about it. Maybe I'll hold on till the wedding is done, though. I don't want to detract attention away from Violet's big day, and I'm worried that Jetta might freak, since she and Cameron's mother are such good friends. It might be best I do it after Cameron has gone home...I don't want him finding out and screwing up everything in terms of his degree because of it." She smiled slightly. "Besides, I made the choice to keep this baby, so I suppose in a way that makes it my baby, doesn't it?"
Once she had paid for her food, she scanned the cafeteria for an empty seat. As she looked, she registered a face she knew and her eyes widened in surprise.
"Copper!" She exclaimed, and the redhead turned, her own face blanching at the sight of her bandmate. There was nowhere to run, however, and Topaz, determined to settle a few questions of her own, headed through the busy cafeteria to join her, setting down her tray and slipping into the empty chair opposite.
"I didn't expect to see you here." She murmured.
"I didn't realise your appointment was today." Copper frowned. "Are you gonna tell anyone you did?"
"Shouldn't I?" Topaz asked her keenly. "Come on, Copper, what is this? You keep sneaking out - is this where you're coming? And if so, why? We don't get it. Nancy and I happened to see a letterhead on some mail in your room from this place - we didn't read the letter, because it's your business, not ours, but we're both of us worried about you. Nancy was afraid that the cancer had come back, and you were afraid to tell us."
"Cancer?" Copper stared at her bandmate, then she smiled slightly. "Oh God, I'm sorry. I didn't mean for you to think that." She shook her head. "I don't have cancer, Topaz, I promise you that. I'm here for another reason..." She looked pained. "And really, you're the last person I can talk to about it. Don't take that wrong, please, it's just..." She bit her lip. "You came to see the doctor about the baby today, didn't you?"
"Yes." Topaz nodded her fair head, taking a bite of her muffin. "He confirmed my pregnancy. Why?"
Copper shook her head.
"Congratulations, I guess." She murmured. "I'm sure you'll be a great mother."
Topaz frowned.
"I hope so, but I don't like that this is bugging you." She said honestly. "You know you and the rest mean everything to me, Copper, I don't have anyone else. It kinda hurts a little that one of my friends isn't entirely supportive of me right now. I really need you all to be behind me."
"Oh, I am supportive." Copper sighed. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you think I wasn't. You'll make a good mother, I'm sure of that, it's just...." She bit her lip, and Topaz could see tears in her eyes. Instinctively she reached across to squeeze the percussionist's hand.
"Please, tell me." She murmured. "I want to help you, we all do."
Copper swallowed hard.
"It is related, in a way, to when I had cancer." She murmured. "Back in my senior year, none of this stuff seemed to really matter, I just wanted to get well. But oh, I wish...I wish so much that I'd never gone through all that, with the chemicals and treatment and everything else. I hate it so bad, Topaz, you don't realise how it's ruined my life...everything."
"I don't understand." Topaz said gently. "How?"
Copper took a shaky breath of air, then,
"Chemotherapy can make you sterile." She whispered. Topaz's blue eyes opened wide with shock and horror.
Copper nodded.
"I've been to see three different doctors over the last few weeks, trying to find some hope somewhere that I'm not permanently scarred by that treatment, and that there is hope that one day I can have children." She murmured. "But they all say the same thing. I'm not sterile, exactly, but the chances of me conceiving naturally are about one in a million. It's hopeless, Topaz. I'm never gonna have a proper family."
"Is this why you turned down Aaron?" Topaz asked gently. "Because you thought he'd be bothered by it?"
"Yes." Copper's lashes were wet with tears now, and she reached up to brush them away. "We've had so many conversations, you know, about the future. He's always joking about having sixteen kids and a camper van, and I know that's not serious, but I do know how badly he wants to be a father one day. I...I love him, Topaz, I love him so much, but I might never be able to give him that." She swallowed.
"And the phone calls to the house? From the strange guys?"
"Doctors. I asked them not to disclose their identity to anyone but me. Aaron just heard the wrong thing at the wrong time and I can't really explain." Copper spread her hands. "And now you're pregnant, it's like, well, fate's rubbing it in."
"Oh God, I'm sorry." Topaz looked guilty. "I have rotten timing, huh?"
"You couldn't help it." Copper assured her. "And, well, I am happy for you, I really am. I guess I'm just...kinda jealous. I mean, I'm in no hurry to have a family right now, but you know, when you're told you probably never will makes you all the more eager to do it."
"I guess that makes sense." Topaz considered, then, "Copper, Aaron loves you. You could have talked this out with him."
"I don't think so." Copper shook her head. "I've asked him before what the most important thing is in his future, and he always says a good wife and kids. He proposed without any warning, and I handled it badly, but how could I accept him? I can't give him what he wants."
"It's like me and Cameron, huh?" Topaz looked sympathetic. "Listen, Copper, you could have told us about all of this. We're your friends, you know, and we worry about you."
"Well, maybe, but it's kinda...embarrassing." Copper admitted. "It's been hard enough talking to doctors about it. I wasn't sure how you guys would react, and then, with you getting pregnant..."
"I see." Topaz sighed. "I'm sorry I screwed up, Copper. I didn't mean for you to get upset."
"Oh I know that, Topaz, and you don't have anything to apologise for." Copper assured her. "It's just rough, that's all, with Violet getting married and with you having a baby, and I know that I'm not gonna have either of those things." She sighed. "The worst bit about being in love is, even if you know someone isn't gonna be your perfect match, you can't stop loving them as if they were."
"Maybe you're wrong."
"I don't think so." Copper shook her head. "The issue of kids in a relationship is a pretty big one. I'd rather he never committed to me, than find out down the line that I can't give him what he wants." She smiled sadly. "Es la vida. What else could I do?"
"I think you're being too unselfish for your own good, but it's your life and your decision." Topaz said finally. "To be honest with you, I'm relieved you told me and that it's not the cancer coming back. None of us want that."
"Me either." Copper shivered. "I know, Topaz, that if it ever did come back, my chances of beating it again aren't great. The more relapses you have, the worse the prognosis. They told me that when I was diagnosed, that's kinda why treatment was so aggressive at the time. They wanted to be sure, because I was so young and everything, that they'd eradicated it completely. They did a good job, it's just..." She frowned. "Typically human trait, but I can't help wanting more."
"Well, I think we all want more than we can have, sometimes." Topaz smiled, draining the last of her drink. "Come on. Let's take a drive down to the beach, huh, and get away from everything for a bit? I'm sure you need your head clearing, and I've a lot to think about as well."
"Okay." Copper returned the smile with a faint one of her own. "Thanks, Topaz. I guess I needed to spill more than I thought."
"Well, you can always spill to us." Topaz's eyes twinkled. "Finished? Okay, then let's go!"

Chapter One: The Truth About Copper
Chapter Two: Topaz Interferes
Chapter Three: Stefana Discovers
Chapter Four: A Devil At Work
Chapter Five: Dilemmas
Chapter Six: Hen Night
Chapter Seven: Cameron
Chapter Eight: A Firm Resolve
Chapter Nine: Aaron...and Copper
Chapter Ten: Schemes
Chapter Eleven: A Missing Groom

Chapter Twelve: Nancy's Hunt
Chapter Thirteen: Zoe's Revelation

Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, 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. The future world of Pizzazz, Raya, Jetta, Roxy, Stormer, Clash, Synergy, the fate of Jem and her memorial are all copyrighted to me. The future world of Kimber and Shana is copyrighted jointly to myself and Gemma Dawn.
The concept of 'Jewel' is entirely my own, and any apparent link with any fictional or actual person or persons of this name is entirely coincidental. Equally the characters in this fiction are not based on any real life individual.
The concept behind the future world of Danse, Aja and Craig, the idea behind Jerrica's futureworld and the split of the Holograms is copyrighted to Gemma Dawn, whose Teenangel Outsiders fiction is directly twinned with Just a Dream. The character Sammi and any of the other Teenangel Outsider characters mentioned in this fiction are entirely copyright to Gemma Dawn and appear here only with her permission.
Pay her page a visit!