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

Chapter Ten: Schemes

Stefana's eyes narrowed and she pulled a cigarette roughly from the packet, tossing the rest of the box across her bedroom and lighting the one in her hand rather more angrily than normal. She dropped down onto her bed, glaring at the telephone as if it had deliberately sought to offend her. "Dammit! I spend one all night stint filming stupid videos with that weirdo Zoe Montgomery, and next thing I know, the phone at Aaron's apartment is being answered by that goddamn bitch who thinks she can play drums! What in hell is wrong with the man? Is he a doormat? The girl turned him down flat, humiliated him - what, is he sleeping with her again now? What gives here?"
She got to her feet, pacing restlessly across her carpet to the window and flinging it open, glaring out moodily at the grounds below.
"I'd like to grab that girl by the throat and chuck her out of here." She muttered, taking a drag on her cigarette and exhailing a puff of smoke. "She wouldn't bother me then! What is her game? And hell, if he has taken the woman back...what is it she has over him? What in hell does Copper goddamn Jewel have that any other normal chick on this planet doesn't? I was so sure that the baby business would put Aaron off for life...did I miscalculate?"
She grabbed her phone off the ledge, keying in a number and waiting impatiently for the person on the other end of the line to pick up. She had made the acquaintance of the Teenangels' big rival, Jessica Talley, completely by accident, and at the time had seen little point in the other girl's suggestion that maybe they could work as a team. She had had several schemes and plans, none of which had really interested Stefana, but now it had occured to her how this Jesta girl could be useful to her own schemes too.
"She hates those Teenangels nobodies, and I hate Jewel. It's a Teenangel getting married in Copper's goddamn house. Maybe this is a better acquaintance to have than I thought." She muttered. "Come on, damn you! Pick up!"
At that moment, there was the sound of her call being answered, and a terse voice came down the line, demanding to know what was up in clipped, British tones. Stefana scowled.
"Shut your face, Jesta." she snapped. "Listen up. You said we had a common enemy, well, maybe it's more common than I thought. Whatever you need my help with in wrecking this fiasco at the Starlight Mansion, count me in. So long as I get to put one over on that smug bitch Copper, I don't much care what you want me to do. In the meantime - what's that girl you have racing round after you like a little lapdog? Flame? Well, if she's such an obedient little girl, tell her to go find out what's going down between Copper and their Road Manager, Aaron Pelligrini. I want that Aaron working for Diablo, not for that no hope band of girls." She paused, her eyes narrowing into near slits of anger. "Don't come with the insinuations! Aaron's nothing to me but a better stage show for my band and one in the eye for Jewel, so don't you forget it. Remember who the big name star is in these parts, Jesta. I have far more powerful connections in Los Angeles than you."
She paused again, pursing her lips as she considered the other girl's words.
"Look, I don't care where your money is from. Put it where your mouth is." She snapped. "I wanna see some action. If you're gonna wreck this wedding, you're gonna have to do it quick. A press fiasco about a wedding in tears would do wonders for Jewel's public image, but you're running out of time to do it. Are you sure your plans are gonna work out?"
She took a drag on her cigarette, contemplating.
"Okay, well you better have it as covered as you think you do. And if you can get one in on Copper too...well, what hurts one Jewel, hurts em all and at the moment it might even prove helpful to your little Teenangel destruction plot." She laughed. "As if it even matters. The Teenangel Outsiders will never make the billboard charts. Bu-u-ut...if you help me out...maybe I can help you to break the American market. I know a lot of people, and contacts, and stuff like that. You never know where it might lead you." She ran her tongue around her teeth as she listened. "Yes, we're thinking the same now. Look, if you find out anything about Copper and Aaron, let me know. Aaron Pelligrini is the best there is in Los Angeles for stage direction and I don't take no for an answer."
She switched off her phone, tossing it across the room to join the cigarettes and reaching for her amphetamine tablets, tipping a dose out of the little clear plastic bag and reaching for her mineral water. She had barely downed the dose, however, when there was a voice from the doorway. She swung around, clasping the remains of the dose tight in her hand and banging the glass down on the unit.
"Marissa, if you're gonna come scare the hell out of me, could you at least give me some warning?" She snapped.
"I'm sorry. I didn't realise you didn't hear my knock." Marissa looked contrite, slipping into the room and closing the door. "Were you busy?"
"I was calling a new friend. That's all." Stefana reached over to secrete the remainder of her drugs back in the unit, dropping down onto her bed. "Why do you care?"
Marissa eyed her companion thoughtfully.
"New friend?" She asked.
"Yeah. From England." Stefana shrugged. "Get lost, will you? I'm not in the mood to talk to you right now."
"You're off your head on speed, that's why." Marissa recognised the look in her friend's eyes, and sighed. "Okay, I'll leave you to sober up. This new friend of yours isn't to do with drugs, I hope."
"No, it's to do with music. I promised her some assistance in the American music business if she wanted it." Stefana shrugged.
"And what is she doing for you in return?"
"None of your damn business." Stefana grabbed her friend by the shoulders, pushing her firmly towards the door. "So get lost. I told you. I don't wanna talk right now."
"Okay, okay, I'm going." Marissa relented. "But you'd better have sobered up by dinner. Rory is taking us out to celebrate the end of our video shoot and the fact four music channels already want to play it. I'm not going to cover for you."
"Rory can go to hell." Stefana shrugged. "I've got bigger fish to fry."
Marissa eyed her companion thoughtfully, but, knowing she was unlikely to get sense from her friend whilst Stefana was under the influence of amphetamine, and well aware that the guitarist's moods could turn hostile, she obediently left the room, gently closing the door behind her.
"I wonder what she's plotting." She mused. "At least the wedding at the Starlight Mansion is too close for her to interfere. I can't help being worried that she'd try, if she had more time. Mind you, it could just as easily be that this plan involves Aaron. She's seen a lot of him lately. I only hope she doesn't think that means she's got him away from Copper. Even if she doesn't realise it, she's in love with him, and I'm pretty sure Aaron still only has eyes for Copper." She shrugged sadly. "Oh well. I suppose time will tell. I just really hope Stef isn't getting herself into more trouble!"


"So, run this by me again."
Nancy stretched out in front of the television set, taking a chocolate biscuit from the plate on the table and casting her redhaired companion a confused look. "You and my brother had it out in his apartment and now you're on speaking terms again?"
"Effectively, yes." Copper nodded, her eyes twinkling. "It's cool, Nancy. We had one of the longest talks in history. I suppose you could say, effectively, that we've made up. He's gonna be my date for the wedding again, and well, everything looks like being all right."
She leant over to hug her friend. "Thanks, by the way. I know you had some part in this, and I don't know how you found out, but thanks anyway. I guess I was so preoccupied with how I was feeling about this, I didn't realise that he might feel differently."
"So you're back together?" Topaz put in from her corner. Copper nodded.
"Yeah, we are." She agreed. "And things feel right. Obviously things aren't exactly the same as they were before, but you know. Change can be good too, and I'm glad to have him back."
"I'm glad you do too." Topaz looked sheepish, then, "I told Nancy, Copper. I'm sorry, I kinda...hoped she might be able to help someway."
"Well, it's okay. I'm too content to be mad." Copper assured her. "Does Sylva know too?"
"Yeah, I do." Sylva's own voice came from the doorway. "I bugged Topaz till she told me this morning. I didn't wanna be out of the crowd on this." She pouted. "You were leaving me out!"
"Where are the Teenangels?" Copper asked.
"Some of them are upstairs, I think some are out." Nancy shrugged. "Exploring LA, probably. It's a big vacation for them, at the end of the day."
"I think Vi's eating out with her family." Sylva remembered. "She was getting ready upstairs. She was kinda excited about seeing them all together again so close to her wedding - you know her brothers and everyone are here now." She grinned. "Her elder brother is a cutie. I saw him as she left. Sadly, though, my cousin got in first."
"He's Sammi's wedding date, isn't he?" Copper asked. Sylva nodded.
"Meaning I'm still dateless." She remarked. She sighed. "Oh well. I'm still thinking about Jack, anyway. You know how it is when you're missing a guy, you think you see him everywhere? But the worst bit is, I miss Courtenay. I feel a bit like someone took my baby sister away. It stinks. The broken heart part I can kinda work with, I mean, it happens, I've you guys to cry to, but at the end of the day I'm mad at Jack but not at Courtenay. None of this is her fault and I promised her that next time we met, I'd curl her hair. Now that's a promise I won't get to keep and it bugs me, dammit. I don't like breaking my word."
"You can't help it." Copper said gently. "If Jack doesn't want you to see Courtenay, what can you do?"
"Nothing." Sylva admitted. "I even spoke to Mom and she said I can't really change things. Besides, I haven't seen any of them since we rowed, whatever I might think I see on the street in a lovesick delusion, and I did try and call his place one time, but got the machine. I dunno. I'm gonna put him out of my mind, I suppose. I just wish Courtenay wasn't at the centre of this."
"Who's Courtenay?"
At that moment Opel, with Jade in tow entered the living room, Opel scooping up a biscuit from the plate and taking a seat on the sofa, whilst Jade curled up in the corner closest to the television. "A girl who's got a guy you like?"
"No...his daughter." Sylva shrugged. "It's not important, Opel. She's just the cutest little girl, and I miss being able to see her. Her Dad and I were friends, but we fell out and now I can't play with her anymore."
"I didn't realise you were the kid loving kind." Jade looked surprised. Sylva nodded.
"Love them to death." She admitted.
"Syl's a natural with them, actually." Topaz remembered. "I know it might seem strange, guys, but when you see her with Courtenay, she knows exactly how to get the kid's attention and respect." She winked at her friend. "One day she'll be a good Mama herself."
"Not yet, please." Sylva rolled her eyes. "I have plenty of living to do first, trust me!"
"I wish you could get Amber to think that way." Opel sighed.
"What's wrong with Amber?" Nancy asked. "She seems like the last person on the planet to be thinking about starting a family!"
"Well, normally I think we'd agree with you." Jade looked troubled. "But, well, she's got this rapport with this kiddy at the Starlight Foundation, and she seems determined to adopt her, despite the fact that it's going to cause her so many problems if she does. She'd probably have to leave the band, not to mention the paperwork and, well, she's kinda on her own."
"I wondered why she was distant at Vi's hen night, and why she left so early." Copper looked thoughtful. "Why the urge to adopt now? What gives?"
"Megan was the daughter of a homeless woman who died, and Amber was the one who brought the kid out of her shell." Opel said quietly. "You might remember her, actually - I think she was there when we played together for the foundation."
"I remember." Sylva nodded. "Strange, shy little girl. But she did seem to like Amber."
"They have a bond." Opel nodded. "And Amber wants to take that bond further, by becoming Megan's mother. I just don't know if she's thought it through."
"Well, family doesn't have to be blood." Topaz pointed out. "Look at me." She gestured around the room. "This is my family. It's everything I have."
"I suppose so." Jade acknowledged. "But Amber can be impulsive and, well, I don't know." She shrugged. "I wonder where she is tonight. Vi was hurt that she didn't stop for the whole hen night, and she's vanished off out again. It's unsettling."
"I'm sure all will be fine." Copper said gently. "Amber's smart, she'll work out what's best, and I know she wouldn't do anything to ruin Violet's big day. I'm sure whatever is best for Megan will come through in the end and she'll see what she has to do."
"I hope you're right." Opel sighed. "The wedding isn't far off now. A couple of days, that's all it is."
"And it's gonna be a success, don't worry." Nancy said firmly. "This is Jewel turf, and Taylor's family. We're gonna give them a wedding day they will never forget!"
Before anyone could respond, there was the sound of the front door slamming, with such force that the whole of the mansion seemed to shake. Opel bit her lip.
"Why do I think that means Amber's back?" She murmured.
"She has been in that kind of mood lately." Jade admitted. "I wonder what's up with her this time."
The door of the living room was flung open at that moment, effectively terminating any more ponderings on that subject, for the fiery ginger haired guitarist was indeed back at the Starlight Mansion, and, from her expression, it did not seem that her trip out had gone anything according to plan. A brown manila folder was clasped to her chest, and she glared around at the room's occupants.
“We have a motto in this house." Nancy observed quietly. "If you break it, you pay for it to be fixed. That goes for doors, too."
“Its not broke.” Amber snapped back at her. “Besides, make me!”
“Amber!” Jade looked horrified at her friend's brusqueness. “Jewel are our hosts! You cant say things like that to them! What's gotten into you?”
"I'm having a rotten day!” Amber retorted, flinging the folder down onto the coffee table with such force that various sheets and pictures fell out, scattering all around it.
“So we can tell.” Opel leant across to scoop up some of the furthest ranging bits of paper. “No need to take it out on us though, and make the mansion look like a dumpster."
Copper moved over to help her, pausing as something on one of the bits of paper caught her eye. She narrowed her eyes thoughtfully.
"This is adoption stuff, isn't it?" She murmured. "About that kid Opel and Jade were talking about? I didn't realise there were other people who wanted to adopt the girl too."
"Popular kid." Nancy observed offhandedly.
“You should have seen it, the guy was trying to give me a guilt trip!" Amber was clearly fuming. She gestured at the folder. "Giving me that crap hoping I'd change my mind! He basically told me I was a child!"
"Well, I can see how he made the mistake." Sylva remarked, rather tactlessly. "If you stormed his office acting like that."
"Syl, shut up." Topaz chided, giving her friend a meaningful look. Sylva pouted, but obediently fell silent on the subject.
“I didn’t storm his office.” Amber snapped. “But it’s a good job I left when I did, or I would have done something I'd have regretted!”
“What happened?” Opel asked gently.  “If I had known that was where you were heading, I would have tried to stop you.”
“Why do you think I didn’t tell you”/ Amber said wearily “I went in...seems Kimber has been talking to him. Told him I didn’t know what motherhood was about, when she has room to talk. She didn’t exactly do a bang up job herself!”
“That’s not fair" Opel chided. "Kimber did what she had to do.  No situation is the same, and be thankful Rose isn’t here! She would have knocked your lights out by now!"
“Yeah well, he decided to throw me a guilt trip, telling me all about the prospective parents, and how wonderful they would be for Megan!” Amber replied. “And he was there telling me all about her cancer, like it was my damn fault!”
"What?" Copper's head jerked up at this, as the other Jewels exchanged anxious looks. "Wait a minute, the woman who wants to adopt Megan had cancer? What do you mean?"
Its all in that dumb folder.” Amber cast a careless hand towards the discarded pile of documents. “I wasn’t paying much attention, other than the women cant have kids. Cervical cancer or something."
"Oh, I see." A strange flame flickered in Copper's brown eyes. "And so you decided that it'd be better for Megan and for this family if you ruined the only chance that poor woman probably has of having children by trying to take on a kid you're evidently not mature enough to handle. If you can't even stop and think about other people and their needs, Amber, it's no wonder Kimber didn't want you to adopt Megan!"
"Copper..." Topaz put a hand out to calm her friend down, but Copper took no notice.
“Mature enough!” Amber's temper flared once more, and she got to her feet. “Mature enough is living on your own for god knows how many years, and having no choice but to be grown up! As for Megan, its not a matter of this women having had cancer, she loves me as much as I love her! Doesn’t that count for anything in this world?"
“Amber calm down.” Opel grabbed Amber by the arm, in an attempt to calm her down. “This is the last thing we need right now, its Violets wedding in a few days!”
“Ive had everything I love taken from me, and you just like everyone else want me to loose Megan!" Amber exclaimed. "Well, forget it!"
"You've never had your life taken away from you, though." Copper's voice shook, and Nancy could see she wasn't far from emotional, angry tears. "You've never been in the situation where someone can't tell you if you'll live to see tomorrow, next week, next year, even ten years from now. You might love Megan, but if you really loved her, Amber, you'd want her to be happy. Besides, you can have your own children. One day, when you're ready to settle down, you can make that choice. This couple...the woman has been through far more than you will ever understand, and I only hope you will never have to go through it yourself. She's still going through it now. You have no idea what it's like to be told that you might never be a mother...that adoption might be your only chance to be happy and have a family...and then to encounter people like you who could have their own kids, but who insist instead on taking away from those who can't!"
"Copper, please, calm down." Topaz begged. "Amber doesn't know what things are like from that point of view. She just wants to adopt a little girl she loves."
"Oh, you can shut up too." Copper glared at her friend. "You're not a whole lot better right now, are you?"
Amber, for her part, stood stunned into speechlessness, staring at the redhaired Jewel. Copper had never been anything but gentle and sweetnatured in her company before, and she had had no idea that the girl possessed such a temper.
“I can see I am not welcome here.” She said finally, scooping up the paperwork and heading for the door.
“Amber, wait!” Jade exclaimed. “Don’t go!”
"Let her." Copper muttered. "She'll never understand, no matter what I say."
Nancy reached over to hug her friend.
"Things will work out for you. Copper, don't let Amber rile you up. It's just bad timing, that's all." she murmured. "And besides, you don't know that chemotherapy will stop you having kids. You only suspect it."
“Amber, what about Vi’s wedding!” Opel protested, as the bass guitarist scooped up her car keys, slipping her coat back on.
Amber made no reply, simply turning on her heel and leaving the room, the door swinging shut behind her. Silence reigned for a moment, only broken by the sound of Copper's tears as her emotions got too much for her. Nancy hugged her tightly.
"Stop it." She scolded. "No tears. Amber's in a temper, but when she calms down, she'll realise you're right."
"It's not just Amber." Copper shook her head, swallowing hard. "It just brought it home to me, how hard it's really going to be. I know Amber loves this girl, but she can't just think of things from her point of view. I shouldn't have lost my temper with her, but I couldn't help it. She wasn't seeing the bigger picture."
"Amber's clever, so if she doesn't see the bigger picture it's because she chooses not to." Nancy observed. Opel nodded.
"Nancy's right." She said, her expression troubled. "I just hope she comes to her senses in time for Vi's big day."

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!