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

Chapter Eleven: A Missing Groom

It was almost time.
Stefana slipped out of the shadows, crossing the road quickly to the hotel, and pushing open the double doors, disappearing inside before anyone could recognise her. It was the day of the wedding, and she had arisen early, determined to check on Jesta and ensure that everything was indeed going to plan.
Jesta was already waiting for her in the hotel lounge, lazily smoking a cigarette. She raised an eyebrow as the guitarist entered, offering a slight smile.
"You're late." She observed quietly. "We said half past, it's twenty five to."
"I'm a star, I can come when I like." Stefana snapped, dropping down into the seat opposite and lighting her own cigarette. "Well? Talk. I don't have all day. Some of us have work to do today, even if some big nonsense wedding is going on at the Starlight Mansion."
"Well, first of all...the whisper is that Copper and Aaron are back together." Jesta said slowly, eying the reaction of her companion like a hawk, and taking great satisfaction from the glimmer of angry hurt that flickered and vanished in the other girl's green eyes. "I don't know more than that, but, Flame, seems to think they had some kinda long chat. Don't ask me where she got it from." She curled her lip in a distasteful smirk. "Though I have my suspicions it's entirely involved with the reason I've got her doing my bidding, as it were."
"Are you gonna tell me what that reason is?"
"Why should I?" Jesta exhaled a careless cloud of smoke, tapping ash in the ashtray on the table before her. "Less people who know, less people who can spoil my fun."
"Watch your mouth. Remember what I'm doing for you." Stefana glowered. Jesta laughed.
"Yeah, maybe, but I'm allowed my own amusement." She responded. "Besides, don't worry. You'll know soon enough. When I'm bored with her begging me to relinquish my evidence, I'll give it up." Her eyes twinkled. "To some sleazy news rag!"
"Mm." Stefana's eyes narrowed. "And the other thing? The wedding?"
"Oh, that's taken care of." Jesta grinned, extinguishing her cigarette and relaxing back in her chair. "Taylor's Stag Night was last night, and he's taken...shall we say...a little trip. By the time he gets back...well, always supposing he will get back. He doesn't know America any better than I do." She shrugged.
"What if he phones home?"
"Oh, simple." Jesta reached into her pocket, setting down something on the table. "I kinda acquired this."
"Flame again?" Stefana picked up the mobile phone. Jesta nodded.
"She's been useful." She mused. "Ive kinda enjoyed getting one over on the bitch, too. She's so damn desperate to keep this secret of hers she'll do anything I ask!"
She indicated the phone.
"Taylor's, in case you were wondering. I'm going to stick it in Jewel's mailbox in a while. I took it for insurance - Flame is at the Starlight herself and she's supposed to intercept any calls made to the house, but I thought, you know, can't be too careful." She smiled. "Noone will know who put it in the mailbox. Anonymous donation, and all that. But it'll impede him contacting his precious Violet."
She spat out the name, and Stefana eyed her companion carefully.
"What gives with these Teenangels? What did they do to you?"
"Teenangel Outsiders are to Britain what Jewel are to America." Jesta pulled a face. "Need I say more?"
"Well, what do I care, in the end." Stefana shrugged. "So long as it's a mess and everything goes wrong, I'm happy." She smiled slightly.
"And if it does, come see me. I don't forget my promises, and you'll have your reward. Just you wait and see."


"You know...weddings are a soppy mess."
Nancy scooped up an apple from the fruit bowl, taking a bite and perching on one of the kitchen stools. "You realise this? After all that fussing about with the wretched florists, too. I thought they were never going to arrive and Taylor's stupid romantic idea was gonna be up the spout. You know who he'd have blamed for that, don't you? And I was terrified I'd wake her up, too. I mean, how was I gonna explain scattering lily petals around the bed of my cousin in law to be when I don't even like the damn things? Taylor owes me big."
Copper sent her an amused look, then shrugged.
"Oh, I dunno." She responded. "Look at it this way. Waking up surrounded in a sea of lilies is something Violet will remember forever and it was romantic and sweet of Taylor, whatever you say about it. He really loves Violet and it shows - I know today is going to be perfect."
"Even though you and Amber have barely spoken two words together since the fireworks between you?" Nancy raised an eyebrow. Copper looked troubled.
"I feel bad about that." She admitted. "I think Amber was wrong, but I went at her too hard. It struck too close to home, Nancy...I wasn't ready to deal with someone else's point of view on the matter yet."
"Amber's tough. She can take it." Nancy assured her. She rolled her eyes. "I tell you something. I can't wait for this whole day to be over."
"Why?" Copper looked startled. "Your cousin is getting married, Nancy, what's so bad about that?"
"Nothing at all." Nancy shook her head. "But with all the trauma of the last few weeks, it'll be nice to go back to cutting our album and some normalcy. Besides, I can't help getting a feeling that something's gonna go wrong. I don't know why, it would just be damn apt."
Copper laughed.
"Nance, you've done a great job for Taylor here and he'll be grateful. Everything is great, Violet is excited and happy and in love and Taylor won't be able to keep away. It's a perfect day waiting to happen! Besides..." Her brown eyes twinkled. "Taylor is only your cousin. What will you do when your brother wants to get married?"
"Play a dirge on the piano and wear black." Nancy muttered. "Goddamn weddings. Waste of time and fuss and attention."
"I'm sorry you feel like that. I think it's romantic."
"Why are you so bouncy all of a sudden?" Nancy eyed her companion suspiciously. "And why are you so keen to talk about Aaron getting married? I thought you couldn't bear the thought of it!"
"Well, things change." Copper shrugged philosophically. " is Violet's day. I want you to get into the spirit for her sake."
With that she was gone out of the door, leaving Nancy staring after her.
As she headed out of the back doors of the Starlight Mansion, Copper cast the big marquee a sentimental smile.
"One day not too long in the future, there might be one of those for me." she murmured, crossing the grass slowly towards it and pausing to absorb the moment. "It's a gorgeous day, too. Perfect for a wedding. Oh, I'm glad that Aaron and I made things up. I couldn't bear today otherwise."
She turned, making her way around the house and stopping in surprise as she registered the flame haired Teenangel sitting on the steps. She hesitated, then made up her mind, slowly approaching her companion.
"Penny for your thoughts?" She murmured gently. Amber lifted her head, meeting Copper's gaze with some surprise.
 "I don’t think my thoughts are worth anything, after my behaviour.” She admitted, moving up to make room for the other girl on the step.
Carefully Copper sat down beside her.
"Don't." she said gently, shaking her head. "I lost my temper with you. I don't tend to lose it often, and I shouldn't have lashed out at you." She gestured with her hand. "This is supposed to be a free country. You're allowed your opinion, even if I don't agree and I'm sorry."
“Yeah well, I didn’t exactly use what they call tact.” Amber said slowly.  “I'm sorry to hear about your problems. If I'd have known, I'd have kept my trap shut.”
Copper bit her lip, looking troubled.
"Nancy was only trying to comfort me, but I wish she hadn't said it." She admitted. "It's hard enough for me to accept, Amber...I really didn't want anyone knowing. But..." she sighed. "I want a family an awful just seemed too cruel after the last few weeks to hear you coming in and complaining about someone who is in the same circumstance as I am, really." She shrugged. "It was bad timing, I guess. No more than that."
“I guess I needed to hear it - was more of an eye opener than you realize.” Amber twisted her fingers together absently. “Seeing Megan, and spending so much time with her, I didn’t realize how close id gotten to her. I figured she would always be there at the foundation waiting for a cuddle. I didn’t expect someone to come out of the blue and want to take her away from me. I was so angry at the other couple that I didn’t stop to think for a second."
Copper looked thoughtful.
"Megan is a lucky little girl, to have so many people to love her." She said softly.
“That’s just it.” Amber said “I didn’t think about them loving her, I just figured it was out of spite - what I deserved. But this isn’t about me - its about Megan….I got up early this morning, and went over to the foundation, and they were there. I didn’t go in; I just watched, and they seemed like such a normal couple, playing with Megan on the grass and she was smiling and happy. She finally noticed me and dragged me over to meet them. They looked more scared than me…as if I was the threat.”
Amber paused, looking uncomfortable.
"And I remembered what you said, it was suddenly close to home, and not just a distant thing. A friend was going through the very same thing, and I felt really bad…I guess what im trying to say is im sorry.”
"I owe you just as much of an apology for losing my temper with you, you know. Maybe if I explain to you a little about the last few weeks, it will make you see things clearer." Copper suggested softly, making herself more comfortable. "You have to realise, Amber, that I've known ever since I had cancer therapy in my teens that this was a possibility.  But you know, it became more than that. You love Shock, right?"
“Of course I love him - but don’t tell anybody I admitted that.” Amber replied dryly.  “I mean yeah, he can drive me up the wall sometimes, but at the end of the day he has been the only one truly there for me, through good and bad.”
"Well, I love Aaron as much as you do him...more than I've ever loved a guy before." Copper glanced down. "And I think you know by now he proposed to me and I turned him down. This was the reason why. Aaron wants a family and I didn't know if I could give him that. Every doctor I went to said the same thing - 'you won't conceive naturally, you haven't a chance'. It's not just a little thing - it takes apart your life and your sanity if you let it eat into you. For this couple, Megan is the answer to that sense of loss. It's you've lost someone. Someone you'll never have the chance to make a part of your life. For these people, Megan is a way to heal the wound." Her eyes glistened with tears. "So you needn't worry for Megan's well being. They will cherish her more than anything they have, trust me."
Her voice shook slightly as she finished speaking, and she swallowed hard, determined to keep her emotions in check.
"I guess I have been acting pretty childish, huh?” Amber looked troubled. “Problem is, I'm not sure I'm ready to say goodbye and let her go yet.”
She turned her head away, dashing away the tears that threatened to spill down her own cheeks.
“Look at us! Blubbering wrecks, when it should be a happy day!”
She paused, then smiled slightly.
“I know I shouldn’t ask you this, but can you cover for me? There is something I have to do.”
Copper glanced at her companion, reading the look in the green eyes and her expression softened. Slowly she nodded her head.
"Do what's right for Megan." She murmured. "The kid will always love you, you know. Whatever happens."
“I know.” Amber smiled again, the same small, reserved smile. “And she will know it, too.”
She got to her feet and, with a backward glance, headed across the grounds of the estate towards the front drive, where the teenangels' hire car was parked. Copper pursed her lips, considering.
"Who would've thought that any good would come of this." She murmured to herself. "But I helped Amber do the right thing for Megan - I hope - and that gives me some hope, too. Maybe things will work out for Aaron and me, after all. Maybe somehow one day we will have a family...and well, if not, at least we'll have given it our best shot." She smiled slightly. "Well well. Maybe I'm getting a bit of closure. I don't say I'm okay with it, I don't know if I ever will be. But maybe I'm in a better frame of mind to fight it. If this couple can go after their dreams of a family, even after what the lady has been through, Aaron and I sure can. We'll be okay..I should have known that from the start. But still, I know it now and that's what matters. And now, I must go help sort out the last of Vi's wedding preparations!"
The percussionist turned, eying Nancy with a confused look, for her friend looked harried and anxious. "Copper, tell me, have you seen or heard from Taylor this morning?"
"Taylor? Why would I have heard from Taylor?" Copper frowned. "I don't understand."
"I just spoke to Cameron, or rather, Topaz did." Nancy bit her lip. "Stupid guys, you can't trust them to do anything right!"
"What's happened?" Copper looked confused.
"They lost him." Nancy said darkly. "Apparently they put him in a dumpster. Noone bothered to tell them, however, that people do empty those things in Los Angeles."
"They lost him? You mean he..." Copper stared. "But what are we going to do? How are we going to find him? Violet gets married in a matter of hours!"
"I know." Nancy grimaced. "Look, there's only one thing I can see. I'm gonna go out and look for him. I know LA better than any of you and besides, he's my cousin, I kinda feel responsible for him."
"What if you don't find him?"
"I have to find him." Nancy responded darkly. "I'm not gonna ruin Vi's wedding, after I went to all the trouble with those wretched flowers and everything else. So he got a bit drunk and stupid, well, fine, and he'll get it in the neck from me when I find him. But I'm gonna get him back."
"I hope you can find him." Copper looked troubled. "Is there anything I can do to help?"
"Mm." Nancy nodded. "Tell Syl and Topaz to man the phone, on no account tell Violet - in fact, keep her busy, will you?"
"I can do that." Copper agreed. "I promised to do her hair, remember?"
"Yes." Nancy responded. "Fine. Then I'd better get going. We've only a few hours and I can't stop here gassing. I'll take my phone and call here when I find him. Wish me luck."
"Good luck." Copper murmured. "I think you'll need it."
Nancy offered her friend a grim smile, then,in a flash, she was gone, leaving Copper to head slowly back inside to track down her bandmates and the bride. She only hoped Nancy would find her cousin.
"Otherwise," she mused. "What happens to the wedding?"

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!