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

The Story So Far...
After an encounter at hospital, Topaz has discovered the reason why Copper turned Aaron down, and slowly the word spreads. Despite Stefana's best attempts to use it to put Aaron off Copper forever, the two are reunited and, after Copper catches Violet's bouquet, admit that they are engaged to be married. After overhearing a conversation between Aaron and Cameron, Topaz realises that she really is going to have to make a painful choice if she is going to keep her baby, and the wedding itself is almost brought to a standstill by the plotting of Jesta and Stefana. Meanwhile, Zoe has been acting strange and secretive, and Sylva is convinced she is seeing a married man. However, events at the wedding reception indicate that Zoe's secret affair lies in quite a different direction...
Chapter One: Zoe and Flame

There was a moment of silence, as Sylva stared at her companion with a mixture of surprise and disbelief. Zoe began to look uncomfortable.
"I should never have told you." She murmured. "I'm sorry...forget it, okay?"
"Flame?" Finally Sylva found her voice. "'re..?"
"Gay? Yes. No. Oh, I don't know." Zoe sighed helplessly. "I've dated guys, liked high school I never felt like this about any girl, Syl. But this is so different somehow. Like...I can't explain it." She frowned, pursing her lips. "It doesn't matter. I don't expect you to understand and I...I've said too much already."
She stood to leave, but Sylva grabbed her arm, pulling her back down.
"Uh-uh. You're not walking out on me after dropping a bombshell like that." she instructed. "You're totally sincere about this? I mean, you're not putting me on, right?"
"Of course not!" Zoe exclaimed, and Sylva held up her hands in mock surrender.
"Okay, I'm sorry!" She exclaimed. "I've never had anyone, well, come out to me before. I kinda don't know how to react. I never had a clue, Zoe...really, it never occured to me."
"Mm, I know. We've kept it well hidden." Zoe responded quietly. "And I wouldn't have told you tonight, only...well, she was..."
"Kissing Gavin Sewell." Sylva finished. Zoe nodded morosely.
"Well, one thing's for sure, you have lousy taste in women." Sylva was starting to recover her wits now and she offered a smile which Zoe weakly returned.
"Maybe you're right." She acknowledged. "But I can't help it, Syl. Like I said, you can't always help falling in love with someone who's bad for you, can you?"
"No...guess not." Sylva seemed to be thinking this over. "Wow. No wonder you went so psycho at her just now. I did wonder a little why she came out to see what the deal was, it didn't seem like her to be so conscientious and I didn't know you even knew each other that well. Now, though, it makes a lot more sense, believe me."
"Are you....okay with this?" Zoe asked tentatively, her green eyes apprehensive. "I mean, I haven't even told Mom yet."
"Connie doesn't know?" Sylva stared. Zoe shook her head.
"No. Dean's the only one who does, and he doesn't even know who it is I've been seeing. Just one night I needed someone to confide in and he's always been my big brother, even though we don't share any blood." She responded. She frowned. "Well? Are you?"
"I'm still reeling some." Sylva admitted honestly. "But sure. I guess it's cool." She grinned. "It's better than what I thought, at least. I was really worried you were breaking up someone's family."
She eyed her friend critically.
"Well, it'd be better, of course, if we can find you someone with better morals and an IQ higher than her miniskirt, that is. We need to fix your taste, make no mistake!"
"Guess I'm just hopeless." Relief was clear in the film artist's eyes. "I know I should tell Mom, Syl, but how do you tell your mother you've been seeing a girl for a year?"
"Ask Dean." Sylva suggested, an impish twinkle in her eye. Despite herself Zoe laughed.
"Stupid!" She reproached her companion. "Anyhow, Dean's in no situation to give that advice. LinZ isn't around to tell."
"Mm. True, I forgot that." Sylva conceded. "Look, Zoe, if your Mom loves you, she'll accept it. I know Mom would say she's happy so long as Annie and I are happy."
"Yeah." Zoe glanced at her hands. "It's still hard though. And Flame acting like a class A flirt all the time doesn't help me any. If she knew how many times she'd made me cry..." She stopped, shaking her head. "No...I guess it's not all her. I mean, relationships are tough, and this is so new to us both. I dunno...I just wish she wouldn't try and hide things so blatantly. I don't think she's as sensitive to stuff as me."
"Listen, if you've been together a year there must be something between you." Sylva pointed out. Zoe shrugged.
"Who knows? There isn't tonight." She said bitterly. "I thought things were getting better - we had this huge blow up row about a pregnancy test or something she had on her which turned out to belong to one of the Haven House kids - but the truth is, she doesn't seem to know what she wants. Add that to how confused I still am about it all..." She paused. "Syl, thanks for listening. I didn't realise how much I needed to talk it out with someone, but I did. So thanks."
"No problem." Sylva assured her. "It's gonna take me a while to get my head around it, but still."
"You won't tell anyone, will you?"
"Not if you don't want me to." Sylva promised. "In any case, that kinda thing is really down to you."
"I know." Zoe shivered. "The bare idea gives me goosebumps. But then, in a way it would be nice to go public and have everyone know that Flame and I were dating. You know? But I'm really not sure that I want to take that step, and commit to a lifestyle I don't know is right, yet. I'm not even clear in my head if I'm bi or gay or what."
"My motto in high school was go with the flow." Sylva remembered. "That help any?"
"Mm...I think I've already lived up to that for a year." Zoe said ruefully. "But it doesn't make it any easier to escape the fact that sooner or later, if this goes on, I have to come out, or go mad. Possibly both."
A third voice entered the conversation at that moment and Zoe glanced up, meeting Flame's gaze. The dancer's eyes were unusually sombre, and she cast Sylva a dark look.
"Get lost, will you? I want to talk to Zoe in private and I don't need airheads getting in my way."
"You're the only airhead here." Sylva spat back.
"Fiona, Syl knows." Zoe said wearily. "I told her."
"What?" Incensed, Flame grabbed her girlfriend by the arm, pulling her roughly to one side. "Why in hell? That girl's mouth is bigger than lake Michigan!"
"Because I'm her friend, Flame." Sylva, sharp-eared as ever had overheard. "And you made her cry." Her gaze narrowed. "You better know now that you're not even a cent good enough for her, and what she sees in you I don't should think yourself lucky to have her, not treat her like she doesn't matter."
"Oh, butt out of business which aint yours!" Flame shoved Sylva roughly out of the way. "If I wanted advice from a brainless keyboardist I'd ask for it! You haven't a clue what you're talking about, anyway." She glared at Zoe.
"Why did you tell her? We'll never hear the end of it now!"
"If you hadn't have decided to kiss Gavin Sewell in front of every available witness at this damn wedding I wouldn't have gotten upset and I wouldn't have needed Syl to play comforter." Zoe retorted. "And if you had even the tiniest amount of backbone about our relationship, the least you could have done is told him you were already involved!"
"Oh, please, he's a loser and I've not the time of day for him." Flame dismissed the other dancer with a careless gesture, though there was a slight look of unrest in her green eyes, for her gaze kept flitting to Sylva, as if she wanted to say something else, but could not with her foe present. "He was drunk and he made the move on me, that's all. If you'd stuck around you'dve seen what he got for it, too. He's wayy below my notice."
"What about me, then? Am I below your notice?" Zoe demanded.
"Hell, Zoe..." Flame frowned. "Look, I can't talk about this in front of Miss Braindead 2013. Tell her to run along, will you? I want to talk to you in private."
"Zoe?" Sylva cast her companion a questioning look. Zoe hesitated, then sighed.
"I think we do need some space to talk." She admitted. "Do you mind?"
"No..." Sylva shook her head. "But if she upsets you again I'll knock her head in for her!"
With that she was gone, leaving the two girls alone.
"She's such a bimbo, I don't know what you see in her company." Flame muttered.
"Jealous?" Zoe countered.
"Don't be stupid." Flame looked exasperated. "But you know what a blabbermouth she is! Always into this or that gossip - hell, Zoe, I don't want to be a tabloid sensation!"
"Syl promised me she'd keep it a secret and she keeps her word." Zoe said coldly. "Unlike you. You said that if you came to the wedding with Gavin there'd be no funny business. I don't care if he did make the move on you. You probably led him on, you flirt with guys like him enough."
"Oh, for heaven's sake." Flame groaned. "Zoe, stop it! I thought that you were cool with Gavin taking me to the wedding. We agreed it'd be a good cover. And yes, I'm sorry I let my guard down enough for him to force himself on me, and believe me it made me feel like hurling, but I didn't have a lot of choice." She lowered her voice. "I'm already scared at what Jesta is going to do about us. She knows too much to be messed with, and I was already supposed to wreck Violet's wedding. I couldn't do that to a friend, but equally I needed some insurance. Okay, I let Gavin come on to me strong, but it gives out the right impression, if we're going to keep this under wraps. Flirting isn't a crime, anyhow. I thought you trusted me."
"Hard to trust someone who kisses some guy in front of everyone." Zoe was bitter. "I know Jesta is a pain, Fi, and I'm glad you didn't wreck the wedding, but maybe all of this sneaking and worrying isn't worth it. Maybe it's just time to come out and admit it, huh?"
"Come out?" Flame stared at her. Then she shook her head. "No, Zoe. Not yet. I can't." She bit her lip. "I daren't. I mean it. Either this stays a secret, or it doesn't happen at all."
"Well, I'd be happier with keeping it secret if it didn't seem you were using the secrecy to seduce any guy you met!" Zoe snapped back, hurt. "Maybe I'm being jealous and possessive, Fi, but I'm hurting. I'm fed up of feeling like I'm not enough for you, that I'm boring and dull and predictable and you need entertainment elsewhere. You can't have your cake and eat it, you know!"
Flame stood stock still, staring at her companion, then,
"Hell, is that what's behind all of this?" She demanded. Zoe nodded slowly.
"I..guess." she admitted hesitantly. "I never fell in love like this before, Fi. Not ever. And this whole situation is so confusing that sometimes I wish I knew what it was all about. There isn't anyone I can talk to, apart from Dean and you made me promise that I wouldn't tell him who you were. I'm totally alone and when you're off playing games with some guy makes me insecure. I haven't anyone to tell me I'm being silly, and you...don't seem to care."
"I didn't realise it got to you so much." Flame looked stricken. "Hell, Zoe, I didn't mean to make you think I didn't care! You know I'm as confused about this deal as you but dammit we've been living like this for a year now, doesn't that tell you that I don't find you dull or boring or predictable?"
"Do me?" Zoe asked tentatively. Flame bit her lip, then lowered her voice.
"I don't understand all of what's happened between us." She said quietly. "So I don't really know how to answer that. But...I guess so. And I'm not ashamed of us, either, I just want to know what the heck is going on in my head before the world starts offering opinions on it, that's all."
"I'm going to tell Mom." Zoe said softly. "I need to talk to someone about this and I love Mom to death. I...need to know her reaction."
"Okay." Flame said slowly. "If it makes you feel better, talk to her. But Zoe, I'm not ready to come out yet. I'm not even sure if I need to. I mean, I don't know if this..." She indicated her companion, "Is experimental or if the flings I've had with guys is the experimenting. I need to know that first."
"I think I do too." Zoe admitted. "But if we're going to work that out, Fi, you can't keep flirting with people like you want to keep your options open. If we're going to have a relationship at all then I want to know you're committing to me the same as you'd commit to a guy you fell in love with. Otherwise, well, I don't think my heart can handle being messed about when it's already so confused."
Flame was silent for a moment. Then she nodded.
"I'll try." She promised. "And Zo, I am sorry...about the Gavin thing."
"It's okay." Zoe murmured. "I'm sorry that I threw a stone at you."
"It;s a damn good thing you're a lousy pitcher." Flame observed offhandedly. "Listen, we can't talk much here, nor can we make things up properly...are you okay with me now, though? I mean, if you like I won't speak to Gavin again tonight."
"I'd appreciate it." Zoe admitted. "I guess I can't help being a bit jealous." She smiled. "And yeah. I suppose we're okay."
"Good." Flame's eyes reflected a look of relief, though her tone was fairly nonchalant. "Then shall we go back to the party? We can talk any more about things later, in the privacy of your apartment or mine. Here...too many people, and God knows we've said enough already."
"Okay." Zoe nodded. "I'm with that." She got to her feet.
"You sure that Sylva girl won't talk?"
"I'm sure." Zoe agreed. "She might be a gossip and a flirt, Fi, but she's loyal. I asked her not to talk about it to anyone and she gave me her word. She won't say a thing."
Flame frowned.
"I hope you're right." She murmured. "I really hope you're right."

Back inside the big mansion house, where the party was still buzzing, oblivious to the revelations inside, Nancy had cornered Copper and dragged her over to the windowseat, pulling her down and demanding to know why noone had told her about the engagement beforehand.
"First of all, I'm the only one, apparently, who didn't know that Aaron was planning to propose to you in the first place." She began, settling herself comfortably on the windowseat and taking a sip of her drink. "Secondly, I'm your best friend and I'm Aaron's sister and yet neither of you thought to mention that you were gonna be married after all? What gives, Copper?"
"It's not like you to wanna be in on all this stuff." Copper grinned at her. "Seriously, Nance, the only reason why Aaron and I didn't tell you after I accepted him was because we didn't want to take attention away from Violet's big day. We agreed that we wouldn't say anything about it till after they were married - and I did tell you we had settled things and were back together, so you knew we weren't feuding any more."
"That's true." Nancy looked contemplative. "Wow, you're gonna be my sister in law, after all. I always dreaded Aaron getting engaged or married as a kid, because most of his girlfriends hated me and I hated them. Mackenzie was the exception, but, well, I'm sure you remember Mackenzie."
"Mackenzie Davenport? Yes." Copper nodded her head, remembering the band's first Christmas together, and the sudden arrival in Los Angeles of Aaron's ex-girlfriend, eager to make up bonds with the young road manager. "Couldn't forget her. But Aaron still writes to her, and emails her, you know."
"Doesn't that bother you?" Nancy looked startled. Copper shook her head.
"No. Apparently she got engaged to some guy at her college last fall." She responded with a grin. "She and Aaron are really no more than friends now, and if he invites her to our wedding, I won't mind a bit. I'm not generally the jealous type. Well, not usually."
"Well, you can consider yourself lucky." Nancy's dark eyes became impish. "I had a whole bunch of schemes worked out to tackle my future sister-in-law with should Aaron spring an engagement on us and should I disapprove of the candidate. But I like you. You'll do. I can definitely put up with you being a part of my family."
"Thank you!" Copper laughed. "In truth, Nancy, I'm so happy - and I've been like that ever since we made up and Aaron told me he hadn't given up on me. He knows and I know that having a family might be difficult, but he says that he'd rather fight the odds with me than take on any other girl he didn't really love." Her cheeks pinkened slightly. "He's one in a million, and I love him madly. I would've been an idiot to turn him down twice."
"You were dumb enough to turn him down once." Nancy told her archly. "Of course he's one in a million. We share genes!"
Copper grinned, hugging her companion impulsively and almost making her spill her drink.
"You're a best friend in a million, too." She said teasingly. "And though Aaron and I aren't going to be married for a while yet, when we are I want you to promise me something."
"Promise? Like what?" Nancy looked suspicious.
"I want two chief bridesmaid or maid of honour figures." Copper said. "I want Rosita and I want you. Ros is my sister and you will be my sister once Aaron and I tie the knot - so I want you both. I decided it would be neat to have two. Opel has been a fabulous Maid for Vi, but there's so much for a Maid of Honour to do, and Rosita is scatterbrained at the best of times when it comes to organisation. I think it's her artistic temperament - she has Mama's acting abilities, you know. But you and I have been through God knows what things together since I came to Los Angeles and, well, being Aaron's sister too - will you?"
Nancy stared at her friend in abject horror.
"But...I'd have wear a...a dress!" She exclaimed, setting down her drink on the nearby sill. "A frilly, fancy dress!"
Copper burst out laughing at the look on her companion's face.
"Yes, you would." She agreed. "But it would only be for one day. I intend on Syl, Topaz and Cynthia being maids too - so you wouldn't be alone. And it'd mean a lot to me, Nance. Really it would."
 Nancy sighed, reluctantly nodding her head.
"Guess I can't refuse that." She acknowledged. "I can't believe you're thinking like this already, though, if you're planning a long engagement."
"I know, but I think it's Vi's wedding, it has me in the mood." Copper's brown eyes sparkled. "It feels nice, knowing that the bouquet thing happened as if to tell me that I was doing the right thing, and knowing that Aaron and I will tie the knot in time. It won't be till Topaz has had her baby, obviously, because it's important that I have my best friends as my bridesmaids and well, bridesmaids are supposed to be chaste and virtuous, like the bride - not popping out of their dresses."
Nancy snorted.
"Chaste and virtuous?" She demanded. "That'll be the day."
Copper poked out her tongue.
"I intend to look like a very chaste and virtuous and beautiful bride." She said firmly. "I want a wedding like this one today - with flowers and romantic words at the altar and..." She broke off, biting her lip.
"What?" Nancy, sharp eyed as ever, was quick to notice the change of expression on her friend's face.
"The only thing I really wish is that Papa would be here to give me away." Copper admitted. "Mama could do it, but it's not the same thing. It should be a man, and it should be Papa."
Nancy looked thoughtful for a moment.
"Well, Luis could give you away." She said at length. "He might not be your father, Copper, but he's your blood and he's not much younger than you. In fact, if I remember him right, he's quite a bit taller than you are. Wouldn't Luis do?"
"Yes, that's probably what I will do." Copper nodded, thinking of her younger brother. "It's just sad, though. Aaron will have both his parents there, and Papa is...some other place." She seemed to shake herself out of her reverie. "Oh well, life works that way, I suppose. And he told me before he died that, whatever I did and wherever I went he'd be watching me with I guess he will be there, after all." She smiled. "If just in spirit."
"What did your Mama say when you told her you were engaged to Aaron?" Nancy asked. Copper laughed.
"She was thrilled for me." She responded. "She got very excited and started talking in rapid Spanish about flowers and dresses and God knows what - and family to call in Mexico and Arizona. She was pretty stoked about it all. Rosita shrieked the place down - I could hear her - and Luis sent his congratulations. I think they were all pretty excited."
"Even though you're marrying Jetta's son?"
"Mama has always said that Aaron is not Jetta and besides, they have a truce that Mama still holds up as valid." Copper said with a shrug. "She has no ill will towards your mother, and I don't think Jetta cares either way whose daughter I am, to be honest. Aaron told me that Jetta said she could about bear to have me as a daughter in law - which coming from Jetta is saying a lot and I was touched by it. She doesn't tend to waste time on emotional outpourings."
"If Mom said that, she meant it." Nancy nodded. "And I'm glad, because the Holograms and Misfits spent most of the eighties fighting, but that doesn't mean our generation should fight too." She grinned. "I'm a Misfit kid, you're a Hologram baby, and you were the first real friend I ever made, so that should say something."
"People never stopped to get to know you properly, that's all." Copper returned the grin, watching in some amusement as Nancy looked embarassed. "You're really quite sweet, deep down."
"Sweet, Copper, is something I will never be." Nancy shook her head. She got to her feet, grabbing her companion by the hand. "Come on. I've abandoned Dean and you've disappeared on your fiance - so we'd better go back and be sociable." She smiled. "But I'm glad, after all, that you're the one who's going to marry my fool brother. Like Mom said...I think I can about put up with that."
"Meanie." Copper pulled a face at her, but obediently followed her friend back into the crowd to find their relevant partners. "So long as my wedding is half as special as this one, I will be quite happy - even with you as a future sister in law!"
Nancy cast her a parting grimace, disappearing into the mass of people, and Copper paused, glancing around for Aaron. As she did so, she spotted Sylva sitting in the corner, a strange, uncharacteristically contemplative look on her face. She headed over, setting a hand on her friend's shoulder.
"Is something the matter?" She asked softly. Sylva started, glancing up and casting her friend her usual bubbly smile.
"Oh! Hi Copper." She grinned. "No, I'm okay. I was just thinking, that's all. You know, about how easy it is to fall in love with someone who isn't right?"
"Why so philosophical?" Copper sat down beside her. "Jack on your mind?"
Sylva shrugged.
"Maybe." She acknowledged. "Is Zoe still here?"
"Haven't seen her. Why?"
"No matter." Sylva dismissed it. "I'll call her or something. It's do with videos." She pulled a face. "Feels odd not to have a date. I never did it before."
"That can always be fixed."
A fresh voice came from behind them, and both girls turned to see Violet's older brother Devlin, a glass of champagne in his hand and a smile on his face. It was clear he'd been drinking, though was far from drunk, and he fixed Sylva with a thoughtful, lingering stare that almost made her shiver inside. "Since there's music and I understand you're a musician, would you care to dance?"
"Dance?" Sylva stared at him. "What about Sammi? Didn't you come here with my cousin?"
"You're Sammi's cousin?" Devlin looked surprised. Slowly he eyed her up and down, then, "You don't look at all alike, you know."
His lip curled into a seductive smile.
 "She didn't tell me you were such a babe else I'd have asked you to be my date for tonight instead."
Copper gasped at such temerity, casting Sylva an anxious glance. Sylva and Sammi had not always shared a good cousinly bond, and Copper had no way of knowing how far Sylva might go to spite the Teenangel.
But Sylva, it appeared, had something else on her mind.
"I'm sorry." She said quietly. "But I have ethics and morals and I don't do things like that to my relatives."
"Ethics and...?" Devlin stared. Sylva offered him a smile.
"When you've bought a dictionary, look them up." She said sweetly. "And then try L. For loser. C'mon, Copper...let's go, huh?"
"I'm glad you did that." Copper murmured as they moved away, leaving Devlin speechless behind them.
"Well, what do you expect?" Sylva raised an eyebrow. "One, I'm in love with Jack. Two, I'm not a cheap date. And three, Sammi is blood. Sometimes I hate her, but I have a sense of family pride. Besides, what isn't good enough for her sure ain't worth my time." She grinned. "Come on. It's a let's party, huh?"

Chapter One: Zoe And Flame
Chapter Two: Spying For The Enemy
Chapter Three: Connie
Chapter Four: Back To Work
Chapter Five: A Broken Heart
Chapter Six: A Shock For Zoe
Chapter Seven: A Confrontation
Chapter Eight: A Second Leak
Chapter Nine: Press Conference
Chapter Ten: Revelations
Chapter Eleven: At The Starlight

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!