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

Chapter Nine: Aaron...and Copper

"There's a ton of information up about this stuff!"
Aaron pushed back the chair of the computer table, pursing his lips as she glanced through the webpage. "Cameron, half of this is in medical jargon - come play translator, would you?"
"Sure." With a grin, the redhead joined him at the computer, his lunch in one hand as he perched on the edge of the desk. "It's simple enough, Aaron. Look." He took the mouse, clicking a link. "This is what you're after. There are a whole bunch of support groups out there on the net for stuff like this. Thousands of men an' women whose ability to 'ave children 'as been compromised." He looked sheepish. "Oncology an' haemo-oncology is where I'm lookin' to specialise, so I've been through all this stuff. It's about dealin' with patients an' makin' sure all the options are available. Not only that, they 'ave to know the pros an' cons and the options they 'ave. But of course, even when your life is saved, it's not necessarily all 'unky dory." He clicked another link, waiting for it to load up, then gesturing at the screen. "When we were studyin' the science of this in class, our lecturer told us to go check out a few of these pages. Said it were just as important to get inside the mind of the patient as it was the body, an' understand their fears an' reservations. This is one of them support group places I mentioned. If anywhere will give you an idea of what's goin' on in Copper's mind, an' what 'er options are, this will."
"I see." Aaron looked thoughtful, taking back the mouse and scrolling down the list of letters, pausing and selecting one. "All these people wrote the website because they have the same problem Copper does?"
"Yes." Cameron nodded. "Maybe you should read through a few of the questions an' answers. It might answer your own questions about Copper an' whether or not you two 'ave a future to fight for."
"Presuming, of course, I can get the girl to speak to me." Aaron muttered. Cameron grinned.
"Look, mate, I've been through 'ell an' back with Rora an' it's done me no 'arm in the long run." He said. "When it comes to it, you 'ave to decide to fight an' roll up your sleeves an' damn well fight for it. I didn't think back when we broke up an' she wound up in bed with that Diablo singer guy that I'd ever be able to trust 'er again, but I do. I can't even remember the guy's name."
"Luca Ranieri." Aaron murmured absently. "You needn't worry, by the way. He spends a lot of time with Sirena these days, and there is talk of them getting together."
He frowned, pausing the cursor by one paragraph and highlighting it.
 "You know, this could even be talking about me and her."
He began to read. "I don't know how to explain this to my partner. I love him a lot, but we both want a family and I'm afraid this could break us up. Also, I'm suffering a lot from depression and mood swings at the moment, because I don't know what to do or what my options are. I don't even know if I can confide in my friends. I feel like I'm letting everyone down and I'm starting to wish that I'd never had the cancer treatment, which is stupid because I know it saved my life. I just feel so hopeless about all of this - is there any way you can help me?"
"Sent by some bird in British Columbia." Cameron mused. "See, Copper ain't the only one an' you ain't the only couple out there with this kinda issue to deal with. At the end of the day, though, Aaron, I can give you these links an' all the information I know on chemo an' that...but you gotta make up your mind about where you wanna go from 'ere." He shrugged. "I can't tell you that."
"It's okay." Aaron assured him. "I...think I've almost made up my mind." He grinned. "And I appreciate your help. I know you probably want to go hang with Topaz or sleep off your flight, so thanks for putting up with me."
Cameron shrugged.
"Don't mention it." He said with a grin. He indicated the remenants of his sandwich. "Besides, you've fed me, that usually guarantees you my attention. You can repay me by 'elpin' me put together a speech for Taylor's weddin'...okay?"
"Sure, if I can." Aaron nodded, logging off the internet and switching off the PC. "But if you don't mind, there's something I have to do first."
"Well, I'm gonna 'ead back to the Teenangel place an' catch some sleep." Cameron stifled a yawn. "But I'll give you a call when I feel a bit more 'uman an' we'll talk about it, huh?"
"It's a deal." Aaron agreed. "Hey, I'll give you a lift. I'm going in that direction, anyway."
"Oh?" Cameron raised an eyebrow. Aaron grinned.
"I'm going to see Copper." He replied.

"Two minutes to spare."
Oblivious to the conversation in her former boyfriend's apartment, Copper had completed her errand, pushing open the door of the DVD rental store and stepping out into the Los Angeles sunshine. Her expression became one of amusement as she registered the fact that the clerk behind the till was coming to lock up behind her for lunch, and she laughed.
 "Syl will be pleased, she spends enough of her life paying these folk petty fines. That woman is a pain in the butt."
She glanced up at the sky.
"Another nice day." She mused. "Nancy's talking wedding plans, and Syl and Topaz are shopping. Maybe I'll go for a walk. I'm starting to come to terms with this whole wedding idea, actually. It's funny, but when I told Violet all that stuff, I really meant it. Maybe I;m coming round full circle. Who knows...perhaps I'll even enjoy the big day itself. Weirder things have happened."
At the sound of her name, the drummer swung around, her hand flying to her mouth in surprise and consternation as she registered who had called her name. Her cheeks flushed an awkward red, and she shook her head, slowly taking a step away from him.
"Aaron, now isn't a good time." She murmured. "I...I have a lot to do."
"Yes, and so do I." Aaron said levelly, but there was a spark of determination in his grey eyes that told her he wasn't going to be easily fobbed off this time. "But I'll be damned if I'm going to let you run away from me again, you know. At the very least, you owe me an explanation for why you turned me down. If you cared about me at all, you should have given me that."
"Aaron, please." Copper's brown eyes became clouded and troubled. "What I did was for the best for us both, can't you trust me on that? It doesn't matter why. At the end of the day, I would be a terrible wife for you, with all your hopes and dreams for the future. I can't be what you want me to be and we'd only wind up with recriminations and fights. I didn't want that."
"You could have told me that you couldn't have children."
Copper blanched.
"What?" She whispered. She grabbed him by the arm, pulling him to one side. "Who told you that? Who? How did you know?"
"Stefana told me." Aaron said simply. Copper stared at him.
"I wouldn't tell that girl anything so private as that!" She exclaimed. "What in hell has she to do with anything?"
"She overheard you talking to Topaz. She thought that I should know, and she's right. I should." Aaron carefully extracted his arm from her grip. "I thought that you at least loved me, Copper. In my book, couples talk about things that bother them. They don't wait till one of them is down on one knee to run off and cause confusion and heartache. That's not right. It's not fair, either. You could at least have given me some indication that you weren't ever going to marry me. I might have jumped the gun, but I love you, what else would I think? And I wasn't alone. Syl thought it was a sure thing too. She even helped me to choose the perfect ring."
Tears welled up in Copper's brown eyes.
"Don't you understand?" She murmured. "I said no because I love you. You want a family, want children, and I'm already having a hard time dealing with the fact that I may never have kids of my own. Your proposal came out of the blue, I didn't expect it and I'm sorry if I handled it badly, but I panicked." She glanced down at her hands. "Isn't it for the best that we leave things here? Nothing is ever going to change the reality of this, after all. I can't be a mother, at least, not naturally...and you've always said you wanted to be a father. Those aren't little things that can be easy pushed aside, Aaron. They're big deal issues."
"Yes, I know they are." Aaron nodded his head. "And I've spent some time thinking them over, too. But Nancy reminded me of something Dad's always said, and she's right, damn her. A couple who is worth something can overcome anything in it's way...does our relationship really mean so little that we're both gonna chuck it away at the first hurdle? Doesn't the last three years mean anything at all?"
"Oh, Aaron..." Now Copper really wasn't far from tears and she swallowed hard. "It means everything. I've never ever had a relationship like this one before, when I'm so comfortable with a guy, someone who knows me so well and understands me so easily. I've never ever hated anything as much as I hated having to turn you down at Syl's party, but it wasn't time. You said I should have talked to you, well, you should have given me some indication of what you were thinking, rather than just springing it on me unawares. That wasn't fair, either, in a way. It meant that I had to face up to the thing I'd tried to forget about. I've known since I was sick that there was a chance the chemotherapy would stop me having kids, but at the time, well, I just wanted to get better. Who cares about having a baby at eighteen or nineteen when your whole life is in the balance? Then it only mattered that the cancer was gone, and gone for good. Now..." She shook her head. "I can't change it."
Aaron was silent for a moment, then,
"You do realise that turning me down solved nothing." He said quietly. "I still love you as much as I did then. Yeah, I'm a lot more hurt than I was then, but it doesn't change the way I feel about you one bit. You can't turn love on and off, Copper, however hard you try. I don't know if I will ever get over you. It sure doesn't seem like it right now."
"I still cry myself to sleep some nights." Copper admitted, as her tears began to fall. "And I'm sorry I hurt you, Aaron. I really truly am. But...I didn't...I didn't know how to talk about this, I didn't want.." She shrugged. "Oh, what does it matter?"
"I'm sorry I accused you of seeing someone else." Aaron told her, gently reaching up to wipe away her tears. "I should have known that you would never do that to me, but I was upset and I didn't understand." He shrugged. "But I'll be straight with you. I didn't kow how to settle this either, when I found out. I bugged Cameron this morning, even though the poor guy was still jetlagged, and picked his brains for information. He gave me some internet sites to look at, and when I got back to my apartment we went hunting on the internet after information on chemotherapy, on fertility problems and everything else. I wanted to understand, and, well, having read through a few pages of letters and emails from people who are going through what you are, I began to realise just a little how badly this has affected you. Reading through some of those letters, well, I began to see things from your side as well as mine." He smiled slightly. "Maybe it's even affected your judgement."
"What do you mean?"
"What I mean is, that you've only stopped to look at the problem, but Copper, you haven't thought to look at the solution." Aaron said gently. "Even if you can't get pregnant naturally, there are options - fertility treatment, IVF, even adoption. Think of the Foundation, and all the children there who don't have a Mommy or a Daddy? Who said family had to be blood, Copper?"
Copper stared at him.
"And what if none of that worked out?" She demanded. "You're clutching at straws, Aaron, you're not facing the facts!"
"Then, if none of that worked out, it was never meant to be, I guess." Aaron shrugged. "I did a hell of a lot of thinking about this, Copper, and every time I come up with the same conclusion."
"Which is?"
"That I love you and that I'm not giving up on you without a fight." Aaron told her firmly. "I'm a Pelligrini, and we don't quit. Mom told me herself that Dad never gave up on her, even though she wasn't having any of it to begin with. They're happy and still together, and I intend to follow his example. As far as I'm concerned, my proposal still stands."
"But...what about children?"
"Yes, I want children." Aaron nodded his head. "But Copper, I don't want them with just any old woman. I'd rather have you and have the adventure of trying to overcome this, even if, in the end, it failed, than have some...well, some airheaded bimbo I didn't love, and who I'd wind up divorcing and fighting for custody for the rest of my life."
Copper's brown eyes softened.
"Really?" She murmured, as if unable to believe her ears. "Really? You've really though this through? I don't want you to regret it, and..."
"How could I regret it?" Aaron interrupted her, putting his finger to her lips. "When I'd be with you?"
A slight smile touched Copper's lips, then, impulsively, she flung her arms around him, kissing him.
"Then you will have me." She said softly. "Always and forever, Aaron."
"Was that a yes?"
"I guess it was." Copper nodded. "Yes, Aaron. I love you and I want you so of course I will marry you." She grinned through her tears. "I'm sorry to have put you through so much. I guess you must really love me a lot to still be here now, trying over again."
"I do." Aaron said simply. "I couldn't even take the ring back, Copper, even though Steffi tried to get me to let go of you. She's done her best to snap me out of things, whatever you think of her motives - she's been a good friend and if she hadn't told me about this, I would still be wondering what on earth went wrong and what I did. So really, it's thanks to her that we're here right now, making up."
"I suppose it is." Copper acknowledged, though a wry smile touched her lips, for she strongly suspected that was not the outcome the young guitarist had hoped for.
"I vote we go back to my apartment, so I can give you the ring and we can talk somewhere a little less public." Aaron suggested, holding out his hand to her. "That is, so long as the ring is okay, I mean..."
"It's beautiful." Shyly Copper accepted his hand. "And I'd be honoured to wear it. I'm not sure I deserve to."
"I think you do." Aaron told her gently. "Look, Copper, I admit that it's been a rough few weeks, for me as well as for you, and I wish you'd told me what was up from the start. Maybe we could have come to this conclusion sooner. But when Cameron showed me those websites and the letters from those people, it explained a lot of things and I realised that I wasn't really the villain - you were just frustrated and frightened and you didn't know what to do."
"I'm not sure I even do now." Copper glanced down at her hands. "But I promise, Aaron, no more secrets and no more running away. If we have problems, we face them together, right?"
"Right." Aaron agreed softly. "As any good couple should."
"I was going to go for a walk." Copper reflected. "But somehow your apartment suddenly seems a lot more appealing."
"Then let's go, huh?" Aaron looked amused. "My car isn't far from here."
"Sounds good to me." Copper agreed. "I think that there is a lot to still talk about, Aaron. I will marry you - of course I will, I'd be nuts to turn down such a special guy twice when I love him so dearly - but I think I still need time to come to terms with everything I've been told these last few weeks. you mind a long engagement?"
"No, I don't mind." Aaron told her. "So long as I get you in the end, I don't mind at all." He smiled. "We're only twenty two now, we've plenty of time yet."
"Yes." Copper nodded. "And I don't think we should mention it to the others yet. Not till after Vi and Taylor's marriage is past, anyhow. I don't want to steal her limelight, and this is her big day on the horizon." She giggled. "After all, I'll have my own big day soon enough, won't I?"
"You'll be the most beautiful bride there ever was when it comes to ours." Aaron laughed. "I agree, though, no sense in taking Taylor and Vi's thunder. We'll drop the idea on them at the reception, or something, and see how they react."
"Okay." Copper agreed, then, "You know something? Mama always says that if something feels right then it almost always is right. She told me that when Papa asked her to marry him, she knew right away that it was the right thing for her to do, and that they were meant to be together. Even now he's gone she still loves him and she's never even looked at another guy, even though she has plenty of admirers who'd love to take her out. I didn't know then precisely what she meant, but I think I do now. This feels right. Turning you down hurt a hell of a lot, even though I was the one doing the turning down. Accepting you feels like the decision I should have made all along." She looked sheepish. "Thank God you're stubborn enough to give me a second chance!"
"Always." Aaron told her. He unlocked his car, pulling open the passenger door for her and with a grin, Copper slipped inside.
"Maybe Violet's wedding is better timed than I thought." She mused. "I should be angry at you for discussing this with Cameron, but I could actually give him a big hug and a kiss for helping sort it out."
"I think Topaz might object to that." Aaron laughed, getting in the other side and closing the door, leaning over to give her a kiss on the cheek. "Besides, I want you all to myself."
"Okay. You hug and kiss Cameron. I'll just tell him thanks." Copper's brown eyes twinkled with amusement, and Aaron rolled his eyes.
"Oh yes, this feels back to normal." He decided, putting the vehicle in gear. "It's good to have you back, Copper. I've missed you like hell."
"It's good to be back." Copper murmured. She cast him a smile, then. "Guess I know for sure now, that this is where I belong. In your car, going to your apartment - this is right." She stretched, settling herself more comfortably in her seat. "I guess I owe Steffi a thank you too, huh? Mm, maybe I'll hang on to that one. She doesn't like me all that much."
"I think she's mad you upset me. She's been a good friend, really." Aaron responded. Copper laughed.
"I'm sure she has." She acknowledged. "Oh well, I'll let you thank her on my behalf. For my part, I'm going to enjoy being someone's bonafide fiancee, I'm gonna phone home and see how loudly Rosita shrieks about it, and then I'm going to look forward to Violet's wedding with a passion." She winked at him.
"After all, I'll be taking notes for our perfect wedding 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!