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

Chapter Eight: A Firm Resolve

"So that's basically how I stand."
Aaron set down his mug of coffee with a grimace. "And I don't know where to go from here. Any ideas?"
"I like 'ow you ask me." His companion said dryly. "Aaron, she's your bird, not mine. What do you expect me to say? You know 'er a lot better than I do."
"She's not my anything at the moment, Cameron." Aaron said sadly. "She won't even take phone calls from me."
Cameron pursed his lips. It was the next day, and Aaron had called him up to invite him into town, for the two were good friends and their friendship echoed the one shared by both their mothers, despite the atlantic divide. Aaron respected Cameron for his intelligence and perception, and had hoped that the redhead might give him a new perspective on the Copper problem, but in truth the Londoner was still jetlagged from his flight over, and was not thinking entirely clearly.
"I'm still beat." He said at length. "But look, mate. Only you know whether or not she's worth fightin' for and whether or not this whole kiddy thing is a big deal to you or not. I admit that babies ain't something which Rora and I 'ave talked about, so I can't put myself in that position. We live so far apart, the whole discussion would be plain ludicrous."
"I realise." Aaron nodded his head. "It's difficult, though. On the one part, I love Copper. On the other, I want a family. Can I reconcile those two things?"
"I don't know. Can you?" Cameron met his friend's troubled grey eyes with earnest green ones. "Look 'ere, Aaron, I study all this crap, about babies an' fertility an' stuff, at university. There are a whole list of options out there to try if you can't conceive properly. Chemotherapy is a bloody nusiance, but look at it like this. She only 'ad one course of it, right?"
"Yes." Aaron agreed. "At least, as far as I know. She had something's Disease, and if I remember right she had an operation to remove a tumour from a lymph gland or something like it, I forget exactly, though she did tell me. The chemo was precautionary, and she's been in remission ever since. Why?"
"Well, chemo affects different people in different ways. Just because she ain't fertile don't make 'er barren." Cameron said frankly. "'Ere, would it 'elp if I gave you some website urls, an' stuff like that to look up? It might 'elp."
"Sure, that'd help a lot." Aaron looked grateful. "I know it sounds awful, to think about this as a reason for wanting someone, but at the end of the day, I don't want to say, oh, it doesn't matter, I love you anyway, and then have it break down in tears." He took a sip of coffee. "I do love her anyway, just for the record. But this is a big deal. I want to know if I can handle it."
"I'll look up the links when I get back to the Teenangel place. I got them scribbled in the back of me notebook - I brought it along to write a speech for the weddin'." Cameron's eyes twinkled wickedly. "Taylor keeps tryin' to get a hold of it. But seriously, Aaron, I don't think you oughta lose sleep an' everythin' over 'avin' kids just yet. Look at the facts 'ere. I mean, bloody 'ell, I'm two years older than you, near enough, an' what in 'ell would I do with a baby at the moment? I'm in university, it's gonna be at least two years yet before I finish because of practical and specialisin' and all that, an' I got no money. I work in a bloody student bar most weeks, an' in wherever I can find over the 'olidays - it's enough to find air fare to fly out 'ere to see Rora! God only knows what I'd do if she suddenly decided she wanted a baby. I wouldn't know where to start an' I've studied it enough in class!"
"I suppose you're right." Aaron frowned. "It's just, it's something I have to think about." He drained the last of his coffee. "Thanks for the help anyway, Cameron. I know you're blitzed from the plane over, but I appreciate it. Anything that helps me make up my mind about what to do right now is worth it."
"No problem." Cameron smiled. "An' now, since we've both got nothin' to do, 'ow about we drop by the multiplex? There's a new action thriller out in the States that bloody London don't 'ave game?"
As the two guys left the coffee shop, they were oblivious to the fact the entirety of their conversation had been overheard. Topaz had arrived at the coffee shop moments after Aaron and Cameron, whose booth had shielded them from her view, and equally hers from theirs. She had recognised their voices from the off, and had been about to go and speak to them, but Cameron's words had made her pause. Her decision, she knew, was now made for her.
"He's not ready to be a father, whilst I'm deciding to be a mother." She whispered to herself, biting her lip. "So that's it. I know how to go from here. Noone else need know that I overheard that, after all, Cam doesn't know I'm here and he doesn't know I'm pregnant. But oh lord, that means I'm going to have to find some way to break it off with him, before the baby comes and he gets suspicious. But how? I love him so much - how can I let him go?"
"You look deep in thought."
A voice startled her, and she glanced up, meeting Sylva's grin with a troubled frown.
"I forgot you were meeting me here." She murmured.
"Has something happened?" Sylva registered her friend's expression, her own grin fading. "Are you feeling ill or something? Do you..."
"No, Syl, I'm fine." Topaz held up her hand. "I just...realised exactly what not telling you know who about you know what is going to entail, that's all."
"Oh!" Comprehension flooded Sylva's features. "What brought that on?"
"Nothing. Just thinking." Topaz sighed. "Oh, Syl, I'm not gonna lie to you. He was here, with Aaron...they didn't know I was here. Aaron was asking Cam for information, you know, medically speaking, about fertility and crap. And Cam said...I quote...'God only knows what I'd do if she suddenly decided she wanted a baby. I wouldn't know where to start.' Meaning me, of course. Not to mention the fact that the whole idea of us even discussing family is apparently 'ludicrous', because of how far apart we live."
Her voice shook, and Sylva slid around so she was next to her friend, hugging her.
"He doesn't know you're already expecting." She murmured. "He'd never react to you like that if you told him, you know. He's a man, he'd stand by you."
"Yes, I know, but I'm not going to be that selfish." Topaz shook his head. "Nancy said that I had to consider the fact that Cameron might want to be a daddy...but now I know that he doesn't, at least, not at the moment. Everything he said made sense, Syl. He has his degree, he's not exactly rich and we live an ocean apart. I have the means to support this baby on my own, and I already made up my mind to keep it. If that means letting Cameron go, well, so be it."
She closed her eyes briefly. "I don't want to cry in a public place. It's just that I'm so in love with this guy."
"I know you are." Sylva said soothingly. "Look, we'll go back to the Starlight, you can have a good cry and we'll talk, okay? And if Cameron isn't ready to play Daddy to this kid, well, don't fret. You're not alone - you have us. None of us will let you down."
"I know." Topaz admitted, a ghost of a smile touching her lips. "Thank God for Jewel. I'd be lost otherwise."
She scooped up her purse. "We can't go back to the Starlight, anyway. The Teenangels are there, and I can't tell them any of this. Cameron is Taylor's best friend, and Taylor is Vi's fiance. She'd feel obliged to pass on the message."
"Good point." Sylva groaned. "Violet asked me this morning if you were on a diet...I kinda looked at her odd, but she mentioned you eating dry toast for breakfast yesterday or something and I kinda lied a bit and said you were always watching what you ate."
"Thanks." Topaz replied. "It's hard to cover with houseguests, especially when I wake up sick as I did yesterday morning. It woulda been okay - I mean, I told Cameron I was hungover from Vi's hen night when I got him from the airport, but I can't blame it on drinking where the Teenangels are concerned. They know I didn't drink because I was driving."
"I don't think they've noticed much other than the toast." Sylva assured her. "But we'll all just have to be very careful to protect anything to do with you and your baby till the wedding is over. It should be all right, there are four of us Jewels at Starlight Mansion, and Cynthia, of course. We can handle six Teenangels."
"I hope so. We're still outnumbered by one." Topaz grimaced. "Okay. I think I'm all right now, I don't think I'm going to cry. I probably could do with some headspace, so let's not go home, huh? I'd rather stay in the city and shop a bit."
"Okay, if you feel up to it." Sylva nodded her head."Retail therapy will probably do you good, anyway." She dimpled. "Spending money always cheers me up."
"Let's hope it's therapeutic today, then." Topaz decided. "Come on. Let's cut outta here."

Back at Starlight Mansion, oblivious to all that was going on in town, Nancy, Violet and Opel had settled down to discuss wedding plans for the big day. Opel, as Violet's maid of honour, and Nancy, by dint of being cousin to the bride and one of their hostesses had been roped in by an anxious Violet, eager to ensure everything that had to be arranged for the big day was ready.
"What about flowers?" She asked for the sixth time, and Opel rolled her eyes.
"Relax, Vi. Nancy's on it." She said with a grin. "Nancy, you do know a good florist round these parts, don't you?"
"Intimately." Nancy pulled a face.
"Pardon me?" Violet stared at her, and Nancy shook her head.
"Nothing." She replied. "But flowers have never much been my thing." She glanced down at her list. "Far as I understand it, everything is ordered or booked that has to be. I spoke to Taylor last night - God is he pushy over details! - and everything for the garden is settled up. I think all that's left is making sure all the guests are here, unless you have things you wanna add to it, Vi."
"Maybe odds and ends." Violet admitted. "I'm so nervous now it's so close, but I'm excited too." She blushed. "Taylor's kinda special to me."
"Well, he has good genes in him." Nancy told her flippantly. "You know, this will be my first wedding."
"First ever?" Opel asked. Nancy nodded.
"I wasn't present at Mom and Dad's." She said wryly.
"Speaking of weddings, Nancy, is it true that Copper turned down Aaron's proposal?" Violet asked. Nancy stared at her.
"Who told you that?" She demanded.
"Taylor." Violet looked troubled. "I mentioned to him that Copper had seemed sad when I'd been here before with Mom, and that she'd been wistful at the hen night...he said Cameron had had lengthy chats online with Aaron about things and that Copper had turned down a proposal. Is it true?"
"I shouldn't be talking about it really." Nancy sighed. "Because we want your wedding to be a big success, Vi, and you shouldn't be worrying about petty Jewel business and the like. But yes, it's true. She did."
"Why?" Opel looked dumbstruck. "I admit that we're not often here to see it, but I thought they were pretty tight!"
"Yeah, well, there were...complications." Nancy shrugged. "I can't talk about them, I'm sorry. Copper wouldn't like me to."
"Oh, of course. We don't want to break a confidence." Violet hurried to assure her. "It's just that I was worried about Copper. Are you sure she's going to be all right, if we have the wedding right here, in her own home?"
"I'll be fine, Vi. Why wouldn't I be?"
The sound of the drummer's voice from the doorway made all three girls start guiltily, and Violet blushed once more.
"Taylor mentioned Aaron's proposal." She admitted. "Aaron spoke to Cameron about it, and..."
"Oh. I see." Copper's pretty eyes clouded. "Look, Vi, that's my problem to deal with, it isn't yours. All you have to worry about is having a wonderful wedding day, and we're going to make sure that you do." She smiled slightly. "Don't worry about me. Things will end up however they're meant to be in the end, and I want you to get married here. I really truly do. Taylor is Nancy's cousin, where else should he get married?"
"You're sure?" Violet looked anxious. Copper nodded her head.
"I promise." She agreed. "How are the plans for the wedding going?"
"Not too badly. Most stuff seems settled." Nancy reported. "I'm going to block Taylor from calling the Starlight Mansion if he keeps ringing me up with this errand or that errand...but aside from that..."
"He's an anxious bridegroom." Opel laughed. "He wants everything perfect." She winked at Violet. "After all, he thinks the world of Vi."
"And so he should." Copper said softly.  "Starlight Mansion is a happy house, full of happy memories of our time and before. It's the perfect place for a beautiful wedding ceremony."
Violet smiled.
"It's going to be a dream come true." She admitted softly. "I've never known before that someone was so right as Taylor is. And I can't repay you for letting us use the Starlight Mansion for the ceremony. It's such a gorgeous estate."
"My mother lived and worked here, and she always said when I was growing up that it was one of the happiest places she could remember." Copper nodded with a smile. "And it's a lot of fun when we're getting ready to go to some big show or party, to gather in someone's room like we did the night of your hen night and primp."
"That reminds me!" Violet suddenly put her hand to her mouth. "I meant to ask you before..Copper, would you mind doing my hair for the wedding? I mean, if it's too much bother, then I understand, but Nancy said you did her hair for the hen night and, well, everyone says you're good..."
Copper laughed.
"I'm honoured to be asked." She assured her. "And if you think I'll make a good job of it, Vi, then I'd love to."
She glanced at her watch. "I gotta run. I have to take back Syl's rental DVDs for her before the place close for lunch and that stroppy woman comes on shift. She charges fines to people she considers to be up themselves - i.e anyone with a steady paycheque. I'll see you guys later, huh?"
With that she was gone, and Opel looked thoughtful.
"She's a sweetheart." She observed. "I hope she works things out with Aaron."
"Well, time will tell." Nancy shrugged her shoulders. "In the meantime, we have this wedding to plan." She brandished the list.
 "So, anything else to add?"

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!