"Well, so how was the wedding, then?"
Constance Montgomery greeted her daughter at the door of her apartment
with a smile, ushering her inside. "I understand that it was very pretty
and romantic from the snippets the press have inhaled, but you were there
- was it?"
"It was a beautiful ceremony and Vi was a stunning bride." Zoe nodded,
taking a seat on her mother's couch and sighing. "It was pretty much perfect,
apart from a little scuffle Amber had with a troublemaker. Everything went
to plan in the end, though. I think the video will come up pretty good."
"That isn't the reason why you called me though, is it?" Constance fixed
her daughter with a curious look. "What gives, Zoe? You sounded worried and
anxious on the phone, and you look like you haven't slept - did something
happen at the wedding? Are you all right?"
"I really don't know how to answer that question." Zoe bit her lip. "You're
right, Mom, as usual. I didn't come to talk about the wedding. I came to
talk about something else." She eyed Constance nervously. "You...you love
"That's the most stupid question you ever asked me." Constance raised
her eyebrow. "Why would I not, Zoe? Did you murder a few people and rob
a bank or something? You're my girl, of course I love you. Why even ask?"
"It's complicated." Zoe glanced at her hands. "It's messy and
actually. Mom, I need to talk to you about something and I...I really need
your support. Dean, well, he reckons that you'd be okay, knowing about it,
but well, you're my mother, and I'm a little afraid to tell you. I...I don't
want you to hate me or be angry at me or anything. I don't want that at all."
"Are you in some kind of trouble?" Constance asked softly. Zoe glanced
"No, not trouble." She assured her mother, seeing the concern in the older
woman's eyes. "I mean, I'm not pregnant or in trouble with the law or anything
like that. It's not that kind of thing."
"Okay." Constance sat down beside her. "Then tell me. What is so terrible
that you're afraid I will be angry with you for it?"
"I've deceived you a little." Zoe admitted. "Actually...actually, a lot.
You see, Mom, I...I've been seeing someone for about a year now, and, well,
I didn't tell you. I was afraid of how you'd react if you knew, and it kinda
just spiralled. I was mixed up about it, and I didn't know how to broach
the topic. I still...I still don't, really." She blushed. "It's just, last
night I fought with....with them - it's been happening a lot lately - and
I realised that bottling it all up has begun to have a bad effect on me. It's
taking it's toll on my temper and on our relationship and I...I realised I
needed my Mom's support. I needed to know you wouldn't think badly of me."
"I don't understand." Constance looked confused. "Why would I be upset
about you having a boyfriend, Zoe? You're an adult...I don't control your
life. You're a sensible girl and can make your own decisions better than
I ever did, anyhow!"
"It's...not what you think it is." Zoe shook her head. "Oh, Mom, there
is no easy way to say this. I've been seeing a dancer...and it's not a guy.
She..she's a girl, her name is Fiona and...and I guess what I'm trying to
tell you is...is...is that I'm not attracted to guys, I'm in love with a girl!"
Tears touched her eyes as she made her confession, and Constance stared
at her daughter in shock.
"What?" She asked gently. "A girl?"
Zoe nodded her head tearfully, unable to speak, and Constance gathered
her wits, holding out her arms to her companion. Zoe, a spark of hope touching
her expression, was quick to accept the embrace as her tears began to fall
"Listen to me, you silly kid." Constance murmured, gently stroking the
fair hair. "There have never been very many people in my life who have always
stuck around. From the moment you were born, I had someone who loved me and
looked up to me and trusted in me implicitly and unconditionally. You always
have, and I know it's because of you that I've grown up and been able to handle
things in life properly, instead of staying an immature, stupid, selfish kid
all the time. Why should I stop giving you the unconditional love you've always
given me, huh? You are my little girl and whatever makes you happy is fine
with me. I loved you when you were born and I love you now. If this girl
makes you happy, then fine. Like I said, you're an adult. It's your life,
not mine, and I would never tell you how to live it."
Zoe raised a pair of uncertain green eyes to her mother's gentle blue
"Really?" She whispered. "You...mean that?"
"Of course I mean it." Constance scolded. "When have I ever told you anything
that I didn't mean, huh? I mightn't always have been the most conventional
of mothers, Zoe, but I've always given it you straight up."
"That...that's true." Zoe admitted. She swallowed hard, a smile touching
her lips. "I was so worried about telling you...I was really afraid that
you...well...you'd be disappointed in me."
"I can't pretend I'm not surprised." Constance said slowly. "It never
occured to me that you could be that way inclined, to be honest - maybe
that was dense of me. But I've never had any problem with the concept, Zoe.
When your cousin and I worked together, I met more than one person in the
same boat as you. It didn't make them any worse as people, in my view. Some
of them were a hell of a lot of fun to hang out with, if you want to know
the truth. And besides, you're my Zoe. How could I ever be disappointed in
The sincerity in Constance's voice took away the last of Zoe's doubts
and she leant against her mother, comforted, as if she was once more a small
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner." She said sheepishly. "If I'd have
known you'd react like this I woulda told you from the start."
"I wish you had." Constance admitted. "But I'm not angry you didn't. I
know it's probably been a big deal to handle, hasn't it? Did you say Dean
"Yes...I needed to talk it out with someone and I wasn't sure how to come
to you." Zoe looked ashamed. "I'm sorry."
"It's all right, you silly girl." Constance laughed. "Trust me, there
are a lot of things that, as a mother, I would have considered a lot more
horrendous a discovery than this one! Tell me about this girl - Fiona, did
you say? What is she like?"
"She's...not a bit like me." Zoe sighed. "This is part of the problem,
actually. I'm not entirely clear in my mind, but I'm fairly sure now that
I'm not really attracted to men at all. I never really have been - none of
my dates in school ever lead anywhere and my date for my senior prom was
Dean, who, let's face it, might as well be my brother, because we grew up
together and we've always been close like that. And then this happened."
She bit her lip. "She's very outgoing, very pretty, very vivacious and striking.
She's strong and confident and...well, I don;t think she's as sure as me
inside that she's attracted just to women. I think she might be attracted
to both, and, well, that's where the fighting comes in. She...can be a flirt,
"You get jealous?" Constance asked gently. Zoe nodded.
"Believe me, kid, jealousy runs in our family genes very strongly." Constance
said ruefully. "But listen, if you don't like her flirting, tell her to stop.
If she cares about you, she will."
"I did, last night." Zoe confessed. She ran her fingers through her hair.
"I think we settled things a bit, actually. She stopped at my apartment and
we talked basically till dawn about stuff. She admitted that she still doesn't
know whether this thing with me is experimental or if it's not...she's more
confused than me and it's unsettling. I probably should take the hint and
walk away, find someone more settled with things - but that's just it. I
can't. I like Fiona a lot."
Constance looked thoughtful, as if remembering something deep in her own
"If you're in love with her, Zoe, then you'll regret giving up so easily."
She murmured. "If you talked things over last night, she obviously wants
to make it work out. If you've been seeing each other for a year, well, you've
got something going for you."
"I hope so." Zoe looked pensive. "I guess we will work through this. I
need to stop being possessive and jealous and insecure, I know that. I have
to trust her. And she needs to not stretch my trust so much - we both know
that. We've had a rough patch, but I hope it's behind us. She did say it
was ok to talk to you, too - she's more shy of telling people this than me,
so that was something. She understood that I needed to know how you felt."
"And now you do know." Constance hugged Zoe tightly. "So you needn't worry
any more, okay?"
"Okay." Zoe nodded. "Thanks, Mom. It means a lot." She smiled.
"I feel better about it all, actually. Who knows? Maybe things will work
out okay for Fi and I, after all!"
"It feels very empty here, with the Teenangels gone back
to their place."
Copper sprawled out on her lounger, a pensive frown on her face. "Funny,
but I miss having them here. Rose is mad at the best of times, and it was
fun, like having a long sleepover."
"Well, they couldn't impose here forever, and obviously, they have Teenangel
things they want to do." Nancy said sensibly. "Besides, we have one or two
album tracks to cut, and we have to choose a song to release as the next
single. Which means, of course, more studio hours, press time and a new video.
We can't play good hostesses as well."
"I'll be glad to be busy." Topaz pulled herself out of the pool, perching
on the side to fix her hair back from her face more firmly. "Cameron leaves
the day after tomorrow. He doesn't want to, but he will lose his job otherwise,
and he needs the cash to pay his rent whilst he's at uni. So he's going."
She gestured. "And that's it. Gone."
"Have you made up your mind what to do yet?" Sylva asked from where she
was lazily paddling a lilo towards the centre of the pool. "Will you break
up with him or what?"
"I want to do it at the airport, I...guess." Topaz frowned. "Well, I don't
want to, but I think I have to. I don't know, really. I will try and do the
right thing...that's all I can do." She rolled her eyes. "Then I have to
go see the bosses, and explain things to them. They're not gonna like it,
but I suppose I can take it as read that, with the way Phyllis reacted to
Rory Llewelyn's treatment of Sirena, they won't kick me out of the company
"Nah, Mom wouldn't stoop to that." Nancy said decidedly. "They might grumble
at the inconvenience, Topaz, but they'll give ya the maternity leave stuff
and all that. They've had to before, and Mom's moaned to Dad about it at
home, but in the end they'll sort it all out."
"Good." Topaz slipped back into the cool water. "I'm thinking of asking
them for four or five months leave, if I can, to just adjust to things.
It might...mean problems for Jewel, though." She grimaced. "I'm sorry. I
can't see how I can do it without it affecting you."
"We'll work it out, don't worry." Copper assured her. "Bands can take
hiatuses, without splitting up. Besides, maybe there will be other things
for us to do." She indicated Nancy. "Nance might do some more work with
Sirena, for example."
"I'd like to." Nancy owned. "But we're both always so busy."
"There, then." Copper dimpled. "You'd get a chance to do that. I might
go home for a week or two to see Mama and Ros and Luis, even. Don't worry,
Topaz. We can handle a few months break."
"We sure can." Sylva nodded. "Jewel won't be forgotten that quick, after
all! Tapestry was number one on the billboard album chart forever, practically!"
"Ooh, that reminds me." Nancy put in. "Mom told me something when I spoke
to her on the phone this morning. I was asking her about the new song and
when we were talking about having it done by, and she mentioned that Tapestry
has apparently been nominated for an award."
"An award?" Sylva stared. "For real?"
"Yep." Nancy nodded. "It's a state award, it'll be presented here in LA,
and it's important cos it's voted for by the people of Cali. It's one of
the nominations - Mom and Aunt Phyl got the news this morning. So-o-o...we
might be in line for a nice trophy for the cabinet in the lounge!"
"Nice." Topaz dimpled. "Think we can win?"
"With Tapestry as successful as it was? Please, Topaz, how could we fail?"
Sylva rolled her eyes. "When is the ceremony, Nance?"
"Oh, not till August. End of summer or early fall." Nancy replied. "They
announce the nominees officially at the end of the week, but there's plenty
of time for the public to vote on who they want to win. We won't know for
sure till August or September."
"Well, it's still cool." Copper decided. "And if it's voted for by the
people, then if we won it it would mean twice as much somehow."
"Remember that, it's good for an acceptance speech." Sylva's blue eyes
"We haven't won it yet." Topaz splashed her friend playfully with water.
"So don't count chickens before they hatch!"
"Who's countin' chickens?"
A fresh voice greeted them from the patio doors, and Topaz let out an
"Cameron! What are you doing here?"
"I came to see you, before I 'ave to go back to bloody England and a stupid
nine to five job, that's what." Cameron responded, coming to the poolside.
"Cynthia told me you girls were out 'ere - am I intruding?"
"No, but you're gonna get soaked if you try kissing Topaz right at the
moment." Sylva said with a grin.
"Mm, Speaking of soaked..." Topaz dived beneath Sylva's lilo, deftly overturning
it and sending her friend spluttering into the pool. Nancy laughed.
"Nice one." She observed.
"Pig." Sylva came up for air, bedraggled and indignant. "I'll get you
"No you won't." Topaz shook her head. She made her way to the side of
the pool, clambering out and kissing Cameron hello. "You must be hot as
"Well, then I'll 'ug you and cool off." Cameron grinned. "Nice suit, by
"This thing?" Topaz blushed, glancing down at her swimming costume. "It's
okay. Came from some beach photoshoot."
"It suits you." Cameron told her, as they sat down on the patio surrounding
the pool, Topaz still dripping wet. "I can't believe I 'ave to go 'ome to
rainy England when you girls are sunnin' yourselves around a bloody pool!
Life ain't fair. Come September I'll be dissectin' body tissue an' you'll
be prancin' glitz an' glamour. I chose the wrong career!"
"You know you can always be the fifth Jewel." Topaz teased him, though
her blue eyes were sombre at his words. Cameron snorted.
"Not unless you fancy a chart flop." He said bluntly. "Music ain't my
forte. I leave that to my sisters, and you."
"Body tissue? Ew, gross." Sylva pulled a face, grabbing her lilo and clambering
back aboard it. "Don't you know it's rude to discuss dissection when people
are trying to chill, Cameron? I don't wanna even think about what you do
"Well, medicine kinda requires it, love." Cameron looked amused.
"Cameron, I wanted to thank you, by the way." Copper said at that point.
Cameron looked surprised.
"Thank me? What for?"
"For talking to Aaron about the...the fertility stuff. The websites and
things." Copper's cheeks turned pink. "I appreciate it. I know that he and
me getting back together and getting engaged is a big part because you helped
him understand a little better what I was going through."
"Hey, think nothin' of it." Cameron grinned at her. "Aaron's a mate an'
'it didn't take much persuadin' to convince 'im to talk to you, you know."
He winked. "So next time I'm out 'ere, will it be for more weddin' bells?"
"I don't know." Copper admitted, catching sight of the distressed look
that flashed across Topaz's face at this. "It's going to be a long engagement,
Cameron. No date set yet - not even in our minds. I'm just enjoying being
someone's fiancee...it's a warm and cosy kind of feeling."
"Blech." Nancy grimaced. Copper laughed.
"Aw, you're glad really, Nance." She chided. "Don't be like that."
"I will send you the therapy bill after I've had to strut around in frills
and lace for the day." Nancy muttered, but the look in her eyes belied her
tone, and Copper grinned.
"Okay." She agreed amiably. "Suits me."
"All seems very soon and all grown up." Sylva said pensively. "Violet
getting married, and you next, Copper. Don't you reckon?"
"A bit." Copper nodded. "But there's no rush for us, and Vi and Taylor
were a perfect couple to take that step - if you know it's right, then I
don't think it's too soon."
"I agree." Topaz said softly. "Age isn't an issue, just love."
"Philosophical." Cameron remarked, meeting his girlfriend's gaze with
his own teasing one. "What's got you so pensive?"
"Thinking about you going." Topaz admitted truthfully. "I wish I never
had to say goodbye to you, Cameron. It hurts so so much and I hate doing
"I could abduct you and take you with me to England." Cameron suggested
playfully. Topaz rolled her eyes.
"Sometimes I'm tempted." She retorted. "But seriously, Cameron...I love
you a whole lot, you know that? Even if we're miles apart, don't forget
it. I will always love you as much as I do now."
"Sure, but why so solemn?" Cameron asked her. "Ain't like we'll never
see each other again. If I can find the funds I'll be out next 'oliday to
'arass you." He grinned, getting to his feet and hauling her up with him.
"Come on. Get changed an' lets go someplace, huh? Jus' you an' me...some
alone time before we 'ave to say goodbye."
"Okay." Topaz nodded her head. "Sounds good to me." A sad smile touched
her lips, then she turned, heading in through the patio doors and up the
stairs to her room. As she did so, she paused to watch Cameron pour himself
a drink and settle down in the kitchen to wait for her. She sighed heavily,
swallowing hard to control her emotions..
"I want to make the most of every moment we have." She murmured to herself.
"After all, who knows when we might meet again?"