Topaz glanced across the car park, then back at her companion, her heart
in her throat. Cameron's flight was due to leave California for Heathrow
in just under two hours, and, as she looked at him, she found herself struggling
to control the emotions that were swirling up inside her. Catching sight
of her gaze, the young medical student cast her a reassuring grin, reaching
out his free hand to squeeze hers gently.
"Don't look so tragic." He murmured. "I might be going 'ome but it's not
forever. Gettin' on that plane ain't gonna make a jot of difference about
'ow I feel about you, Rora, so don't look at me like that, as if the world
is about to end." He kissed her gently. "It's just being put on hold for
a while. Time will fly, we're both busy people, and we'll be together again
before you know it."
"I wish you never had to leave." Topaz's voice shook, and, impulsively,
she flung her arms around him. "I wish I could keep you here forever, Cameron,
I really do. Nothing in the world hurts me more than watching you disappear
through the gate and knowing that you'll be miles away in another country
for weeks and months to come."
"I know. It 'urts me too." Cameron said gently, tucking a lock of her
hair behind her ear. "The lads back at Uni think I'm off me rocker, to be
honest, losin' me 'eart to some bird I don't 'ardly ever see, when there
are apparently lots of chicks in London - but I don't care. We've been through
too much now."
"We have." Topaz nodded. She rested her head against his chest, raising
blue eyes to his green ones.
"Do you love me as much in London as you do when you're in LA?" She asked
him. Cameron grinned.
"Of course I do, you ninny." He told her teasingly.
"If you didn't have to go back to University - and I know that you do
- would you stay here with me?"
"In a heartbeat." Cameron assured her. "But you an' I both know that I
'ave this degree to complete an' I can't really stop with it now, an' waste
all the support me folks 'ave given me."
"I wouldn't ever ask you to." Topaz said softly. "I'm so proud of you,
with your high grades and your big dreams. You're going to make a wonderful
doctor and your patients will be the luckiest ever, you know that. It would
be wrong of me to be selfish and ask you to stay, even if it means my heart
gets broken again. I want you to get your diploma - you've wanted this long
Cameron eyed her tenderly, touched by her words.
"I 'ope I will make a good doctor." He agreed. He winked at her. "And
hey, who knows? Maybe one day I'll be steppin' off a plane 'ere for good,
with a ring in my
"Cam, don't." Tears began to roll down Topaz's cheeks at this and she
shook her head. "Don't tease me. It's painful enough saying goodbye to you
"Who was teasing?" Cameron shrugged. "Come on. I better check in. I do
'ave a flight to catch an' I can't afford another air ticket."
"All the more reason to stop you." Topaz said wistfully. "Okay, I know...can
I carry anything?"
"No, I wouldn't dream of it." Cameron told her. "I can manage jus' fine."
"Cameron, when you said that - about the ring - did you mean it?"
As they made their way to the main departures lounge, Topaz fixed him
with big blue eyes.
"Yeah, of course." Cameron nodded. "I mean, now it's crazy an' we couldn't
'ope to 'ave that kind of a commitment, but sure, when my degree is over,
I don't see why I couldn't get out 'ere an' we could think about it."
"I see." Topaz sighed. "Everything has to happen so far in the future...I
wish it was now. I wish you'd graduated."
"Well, I do too, love, but I 'aven't." Cameron said ruefully.
"I...want to tell you something." Topaz said softly. "Listen to me, Cameron,
it's something important."
"What is it, Rora?" Catching the serious note in her voice, Cameron cast
her a look of confusion. "What's wrong? Has somerhing happened?"
"I..." Topaz bit her lip, gazing into the earnest green eyes and remembering
once again the conversation she had overheard in the coffee shop between
him and Aaron. She sighed, shaking her head.
"I just wanted to tell you that I love you, always and forever." She said
finally, leaning over to kiss him. "That...that's all. Guess...guess it isn't
that important after all, huh?"
"You're always important to me, Rora." Cameron told her gently. "So of
course it is." He kissed her. "And don't fret. I'll be back in Los Angeles
soon enough - on that you have my word."
He lifted his case, heading towards the check in desk and, her heart heavy,
Topaz followed him.
"Yes," She murmured. "But I don't know if you will want me then. I wish
I could give you my word that things won't change, but I can't give this
baby up and you're not ready to take that step. I just hope I'm strong enough
to carry on on my own, and get through this. And...and that I'm only doing
it because I love you."
"Rora, you say something?" Cameron turned, and his companion blushed,
shaking her head.
"I was just realising how much I'm going to miss you." She said, truthfully.
"More...more than you will ever know."
Copper knocked on her friend's bedroom door, a frown crossing her pretty
face as she did so. Topaz had returned home from the airport half an hour
earlier, and had shut herself away in her room, refusing to answer anyone's
calls or to let anyone in. From where she was standing, Copper could hear
that her friend was crying, and, mindful of the singer's delicate state of
health, she was more than a little concerned.
"She won't let anyone in." Sylva's voice came from along the corridor.
"I've tried begging and pleading with her, Copper, she won't open the door,
she has it locked from the inside."
"I'm worried. She sounds so upset, and with the babe and all..." Copper
grimaced. "Syl, have you spoken to her at all since she came back?"
"Well, unless you count her shrieking at me that her life had ended as
she stomped up the stairs, no." Sylva shook her head. "It's so unlike her
to be so emotional and dramatic, too."
"This is all over Cameron, though. It has to be." Copper pointed out.
She knocked again. "Topaz, please, let Syl or me in? We want to help you."
"You can't. Noone can."
"Please, Topaz...at least unlock the door?" Sylva wheedled. "I wanna give
you a hug, if nothing else. You shouldn't be alone in there, you'll make
There was a moment silence, then the sound of footsteps and the door being
opened. Copper and Sylva exchanged looks, then, very carefully, Copper pushed
open the door. Topaz had sat back down on her bed, burying her face in her
"Not that it matters if I get sick." She muttered, her voice muffled.
"I couldn't ever feel any worse than this."
"That's silly talk." Sylva sat beside her on the bed, pulling her upright
and hugging her tightly. "You have a baby to think of, Aurora Stapleton,
you can't just lock yourself in your room and cry for hours!"
"I don't care." Topaz sniffled. "I really d...don't care about anything
much right now, Syl. Just that I...I lost the one guy who ever loved me
today, at the airport. That's all. I will never ever see him again. He will
never hold me again, kiss me again, and...and that's all I can think about."
"Did he take it badly, when you broke up with him?" Copper asked gently.
Topaz shook her head.
"No, because I couldn't do it." She admitted. "I almost told him, even,
because he was talking about one day coming back to LA and rings and stuff.
I seriously think he was talking in terms that one day he might ask me to
marry him, when things were more settled. But now I c..can't. I know it
She buried her head in Sylva's shoulder, sobbing violently, and Sylva
hugged her friend once more.
"Listen, Topaz, I know you love him and you miss him already." She murmured.
"But there was a reason you decided this course of action, you remember?
You did it so that he could get his dreams, because you loved him. And you
did it for another reason too."
"Syl's right." Copper nodded. "There is a tiny life growing inside of
you, Topaz. That's a little person, who needs it's Mommy to be strong and
brave and do what's right and best. I know your heart is broken and you're
hurting, but you really aren't on your own with this, you know. Syl and
Nancy and Cynthia and I are all here to support you, and though we can't
be Cameron, we can certainly try and help. Please, stop this. None of us
want you to miscarry."
Topaz turned her head, opening her mouth to retort, but then she sighed,
shaking her head.
"Life just stinks." She whispered, reaching up to dry her eyes. "I love
Cameron, but there's always something to keep us apart." She sighed again.
"But I know you're right. I feel like crap and I want to just c...cry and
cry, but the baby needs me to b..be stronger than this. It wouldn't be a
lot of damn good if I lost it, after all of this, would it?" She bit her
lip. "I know I want the baby, anyway. Losing it wouldn't solve the problem
and would only make me more depressed. Whatever I do, I can't win."
"Trust me, sweetie, I know how you feel." Sylva said sympathetically.
"I've lost Jack too, remember?"
"I know." Topaz nodded. "I know I'm b...being silly, too. It just feels
like everything is always trying to keep us apart, and, well, now it's succeeded."
She closed her eyes briefly. "I don't feel too good right now, to be honest.
How I drove back from the airport is a mystery to me."
"Are you all right? Should we call a doctor?" Copper looked anxious. Topaz
shook her head.
"No, not that kind of not good." She replied. "I'm fine, Copper, in that
sense. I just feel hollow and wretched and probably will do for a long time
"We'll be working on the video from tomorrow, probably, or the album,
or both." Copper said gently. "Maybe we should ask Misfit Music to give
you a day or two off? We can say you're unwell - after all, they're going
to have to know soon about this baby, and..."
"No, I want to work. I need to do things, to forget he's in England and
not here with me." Topaz shook her head. She groaned. "My head is killing
"I think it'd be best for you and for the baby if you took a nap." Sylva
said, adopting a tone that meant she was not going to suffer any argument
on the subject. "We'll come wake you when it's time to eat, and if you feel
bad at all before then, you let us know, okay? We told you we were going
to take care of you and we meant it. Right?"
"Yes Mom." Topaz muttered.
"Syl is right, you know." Copper said softly. "We don't want to have to
rush you to the hospital, Topaz. I know it's hard but you need to calm down
and take it easy for a bit. Sleep, as Syl said. Please."
"Okay, okay." Topaz rubbed her temples. "I know you're right, I just find
it hard to care much." She offered a wan smile. "I dare say I'll be okay.
It's hormones as much as anything, I think. At least, I hope so. I don't
think I can bear feeling this low for any period of time."
"We'll do our best to cheer you up, I swear." Sylva told her. "Men, with
the possible exception of Aaron, suck, okay? We don't need them!"
"Nice try." Topaz sighed. "I realised today though, Syl, that I do need
him. More than I knew before. If I hadn't have overheard the chat I did
between him and Aaron, I would have told him everything at the airport,
somehow. But I did overhear it, and it would have been selfish of me to have
told him, knowing he doesn't want or expect to be landed with kids yet. I
just have to push on alone and damn well hope I can do our kid justice."
"We believe in you." Copper murmured. She glanced at Sylva. "Come on,
Syl, let's let her sleep."
"Okay." Sylva nodded, getting to her feet. She put a gentle hand on her
"If you need to talk or cry or both, come see me. Don't hide up here."
She murmured. "That's what I'm there for, and I'd be a damn bad best friend
if I abandoned you to weep."
"I guess I know that." Topaz admitted. "Okay, I...I promise. Thanks, both
of you. I can't say I feel better, but at least there's some comfort in knowing
that I have some of the best friends a girl can have."
She stretched out on the bed, making herself comfortable and closing her
eyes. "I hope I can sleep now. I'm so hyped inside..."
That was as far as she got before sleep overcame her, and, very softly,
her companions tiptoed from the room, closing the door with an almost inaudible
click behind them.
"Do you think she'll be okay, in the end?" Copper murmured. Sylva bit
"I hope so." She agreed. "She's pretty strong, I think she will fight,
for her and for the baby. I just think...well, maybe we're going to have
to be patient, that's all. It's sinking in what a big deal all of this is.
I never really thought about the impact of this baby on us till now, but
we're going to be surrogate aunts."
"Yes, we are." Copper agreed. "But maybe that's a good thing, in the circumstances."
"Any way I can help her, I will." Sylva nodded solemnly. "Come on. Let's
give her some peace, huh? After that, she and baby need all the rest they
Across the city, oblivious to the events that were unfolding at the Starlight
Mansion, a dark figure had slipped surrepticiously into a phonebox, a hat
covering her hair and dark glasses concealing her piercing green eyes from
view. As she dialled the number on the scrap of paper before her, she glanced
around her, making sure nobody familiar was in the vicinity. Finding the
area clear of anyone who might see through her hasty disguise, a smile of
pleasure touched her lips.
"Smooth and slick and noone will know it was me." She murmured. "Yes,
hello?" As the phone was picked up at the other end. "This is Cool Trash
magazine? Yes, I have some rather juicy gossip for you."
She paused, then laughed.
"Oh, I won't give you my name." She said. "But I guarantee that you will
be interested in this. I have something to tell you about Zoe Montgomery,
Jewel's video artist...and I just mailed you the proof. Tomorrow morning
your cheap little rag will have the biggest selling scoop this side of San
Diego....so listen very