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

Chapter Two: Tensions

"If that goddamn phone rings again this morning I am taking it off the hook."
Nancy Pelligrini dumped the receiver back down into it's cradle, glaring at it as if it had just personally offended. "I swear, for a boy who's pushing his thirties, Taylor really needs to learn not to fuss. That's the third call this morning about the wedding. How am I supposed to finish writing this song for the album so we can lay it down next week if I keep getting calls from a harried groom-to-be asking me to do this or check that or find out about something else? Men!"
"You should be touched that he trusts you." Topaz pointed out. "Besides, it's his big day, Nance. What else is he going to do? He wants everything right and you are his family."
"I know, it's just a pain." Nancy grimaced. "I like Taylor and I like Vi but I'm not playing pre-marriage guidance counsellor for either of them. I'm twenty years old, I'm a guitarist and I want to write music. Not work out precisely this many invitations to expect or that many balloons to organise, or some god knows what else surprise he might come up with. One more call and I'm going to tell him he has a wrong number and has reached the Los Angeles lunatic asylum!"
Sylva smirked.
"Maybe he needs it. He is, after all, asking a hermit's advice on his wedding day." She remarked, flexing her newly painted fingernails and examining the colour thoughtfully. "What do you guys think, is this colour me? I want to find the exact perfect shade for when we go on Dean's show...the new single is hot and I want to make sure I look the part!"
"Sylva, you are on keys, and the camera always follows the singer. In this case, Topaz." Nancy returned dryly. "So I don't think it'll matter if you paint your nails pink, gold, blue or orange, to be honest. Noone will be looking at them."
"That just shows what you know." Sylva retorted. "Just because Dean is your boyfriend does not mean those of us who are young, pretty and single can't flaunt what we have a little for the camera. You know that Jewel are always the hottest item on any show. It's an important image and we have to keep it up."
"Whatever you say." Nancy rolled her eyes. "I'll be more concerned whether or not you actually play that wretched passage right, to be honest. It took us three tries in the recording studio yesterday just to get you to play the right notes and remember that it's in B flat minor. Anyone would think that you were a beginner."
"Anyone would think you were a sadist for even writing it in B flat minor." Sylva snapped back. "It's not my fault if I'm not the world's most perfect sight reader, either! You only gave us the manuscripts the day before and I'm sorry, but some of us have a life outside of the band too!"
"Sure. Playing barbie with a four year old while her dad gets it on with his blond bitch." Nancy snorted. "Nice life, Syl."
"Oh, shut up." Sylva rolled her eyes. "Besides, I bet even you can't play that section note perfect."
"I can too." Nancy retorted. "Here, watch." She stalked over to the big piano that stood in the corner of the salon, sitting down resolutely on the stool and pushing back the cover. This was Nancy's own beloved piano that she had had from childhood, and that had been moved from her family home to the Starlight Mansion some months before. She treated the instrument like it was made of gold, for she would not let anyone touch it without her supervision, and Sylva was still most put out that, even as the group's main keyboardist, she was forbidden to touch the keys.
Deftly Nancy played the sequence, turning and poking her tongue out at Sylva.
"There. See? No wonder Violet doesn't want you to play at her wedding. You're all thumbs!"
"She probably won't want you either." Sylva snapped back. "More likely she'll ask one of her friends, rather than her fiancee's hermit cousin!"
"Will you give it a rest, you two?" Topaz rolled her eyes, grimacing at them. "It gets old, you know."
"Well, I don't see what's so difficult about the piece." Nancy folded her arms, shrugging. "I really don't. The key change isn't a major one and if you're a competant musician you can play it."
"I think the stress of the wedding and everything is beginning to get to people." Topaz suggested. "You two don't fight like this so much these days, and besides, we've an album we're trying to record alongside all of this."
"Do you think we shouldn't have asked Vi and Taylor to come here?" Sylva asked. Topaz shook her head.
"No, I think it'll be wonderful for the Starlight to have a wedding, and Violet is a sweetie. Besides, Taylor is Nancy's family and it's the perfect answer to a difficult problem. I think that everything is getting taken a little too seriously, that's all. Nance, we will get the album recorded in time because we always do. The new single was laid down yesterday and we'll play it on Dean's show this week and everything will go fine. And Vi and Taylor will come and they'll have an amazing wedding and everything will be fine. And Syl, Nancy's worked like mad to get this song done and you know it sounds awesome. You know you'll have it down fine by the time we play it live, and you'll still have plenty of time to shop for the ideal wedding outfit and accessories."
"Thanks, Topaz." Nancy sent the singer a sheepish smile. "Guess I am a bit worked up. It's more the album than the wedding, though Taylor's calling isn't helping. Syl is right on one point, what do I know about wedding preparations? I've never been to a wedding before."
"It's kinda sweet that it'll be right here, too." Sylva mused. "I mean, Nancy, Taylor is your family and so it's right he is married in Los Angeles. He's got no important family in England, does he? He should be here, with you and with Aaron and Jetta and Justin when he ties the knot."
"He will have family when he's married. Violet has plenty of relatives to adopt and fuss him, if I understand right." Nancy replied, carefully closing the piano lid. "I dunno, in some ways I'm looking forward to this. It's a big occasion and I'm kinda curious about how someone can know so absolutely and entirely that they want to commit to someone else for the rest of their natural life. It's quite a scary thought."
"It doesn't always work. Look at my folks." Sylva grimaced. Nancy nodded.
"Yeah, but Mom and Dad are still together." She replied. "And I think they always will be, because Dad adores Mom and Mom loves Dad to death, even if you can't get her to say the words."
"Weddings are so romantic, though." Topaz mused. "My cousin Annette got married when I was fifteen and I was one of her maids. She was the prettiest bride, all curls and dimples and flowing white lace. She and her husband are still together, to my knowledge, and they have a son, Tristan...It was one hell of an occasion, I loved it. I think Vi and Taylor's will probably be just as good."
"I live in dread of Taylor suggesting to Vi I should be a bridesmaid. He teased me that he might." Nancy grimaced. "I am not going to wear a fancy frumpy dress, not even for my favourite cousin!"
"I think you'd look pretty. You could have your hair all curled and styled and you'd be a perfect little angel." Sylva giggled. "Besides, Violet has nieces, doesn't she? They'll probably be bridesmaids, and the Teenangels, if anyone. You can relax, Nance. I think you're safe."
"Will you all just shut up?"
 A fourth voice came from the far corner of the room at that moment, startling all three girls, for they had been so focused on their discussion they had completely forgotten that their fourth was curled up in the corner with her book, seemingly oblivious to everything. Now Copper had set down her book, her brown eyes angry and upset, and her companions exchanged awkward looks.
"It would be nice if you'd be just a little sensitive about where you held long and detailed discussions about weddings, you know." She continued now. "I really don't want to hear what a cute bride your cousin made, Topaz, or how wonderful Vi and Taylor's wedding is going to be! Bad enough that they're coming and imposing their wedding on our home, without you guys going on about it! Isn't there anything else to discuss?"
"Copper, we're sorry." Topaz said softly. "We didn't mean to upset you."
"Well, you did, so shut up, okay?" Copper did not seem at all placated by Topaz's gentle tone, and Nancy frowned.
"Look, Copper, we have the right to talk about whatever we like. It is a free country." She said quietly. "Besides, you had every chance to be a blushing bride yourself, but you decided against it. You really can't complain."
"I can complain if I want. You don't know anything about what happened with Aaron and I, so don't pretend that you do!" Copper flared up at this.
"Well, what I do know is that you broke my big brother's heart and that puts me in one hell of an awkward position." Nancy said levelly. "You are my best friend and he's my blood. More than that, I love my brother and I don't take kindly to people messing with his heart. Okay, you say you had your reasons and maybe you do, that's fine. You have that right and I respect it. What I don't respect is that you make the rest of us suffer by censoring what we talk about and making us feel bad if we even mention relationships, romance or weddings. If you wanted to marry Aaron, you could have said yes. You didn't. Fine. Now butt out and let us talk, okay?"
"Nance, leave it." Topaz murmured, but it was too late. Copper's brown eyes were already tearful, and she got to her feet, stalking out of the room without another word. The door banged violently behind her, sending Jewel's own invite to the Teenangel's wedding flying off the mantlepiece, and Sylva winced.
"Nice going, Nance." She said reproachfully.
"Hey, you know I'm right." Nancy shrugged. "Besides, you guys know I love Copper to death and usually she's the sweetest girl on the planet, but I don't get her frame of mind at the moment. When she wants to be she can be the most infuriating person on the planet. Remember when Rapture was messing her about over her father's death? She was like this then! Impossible to get any sense out of her, and to make it worse, Aaron is hurt." She grimaced. "I don't know which side to take or who's said what. I'm kinda in limbo over the whole thing."
"I don't think any of us imagined that Aaron or Copper could ever fight like they did the other week, or that Copper would refuse any proposal Aaron made." Topaz looked troubled. "It just seems to be that something is very wrong there, because Copper's a romantic at heart and a sucker for a happy ending. Why in hell would she say no to the guy she loves?"
"Something about it bugs me." Sylva admitted. "Aaron...seems to think there's another guy involved."
"Yeah, he said that to me too." Nancy glanced at her hands. "I told him to quit being a ninny, but deep down I don't know, guys. I thought I knew Copper pretty good, but this throws everything out, and where love is concerned I'm not the world's greatest expert. Maybe I'm wrong. Besides..." She grimaced. "I don't know if Aaron's said anything to the rest of you, but he said to me that he heard a phone message on our answer know when he was over here the other week, helping Cynthia to fine tune her new laser unit? He heard the end of the message come in as he was getting a drink. It was something like, 'I'm sorry to rearrange everything like this, Eliza, but I'd like to see you as soon as possible. Give me a call back as soon as you get this, bye.' I don't know who the guy was, and he didn't recognise the voice, but I took a call for Copper last week and it was some guy - who wouldn't give me his name. He just asked for 'Eliza Santiago.' And when Copper took the call she seemed anxious that I didn't hear anything of what was said...It worried me rather."
"Copper isn't the cheating type." Topaz said firmly. "It must've been something else."
"Well, whatever it was, it was odd." Nancy replied. "And she might be my best friend, Topaz, but if she has two timed my brother, and led him on I will not ever forgive her. Noone messes a Pelligrini."
"I doubt it'll come to that." Topaz soothed.
"Do you think Copper and Aaron will make up?" Sylva wondered.
"I don't know." Topaz admitted. "At first I thought they might, but after that big row they've not even spoken to each other, even when they're at Misfit Music or the studio or whatever together. Not a word, barely a look. I think we might have to get used to the idea of them being split up for good."
"It's dumb." Sylva pouted. "Aaron is so Copper's soulmate, too."
"Well, if so, Copper doesn't know it." Nancy looked troubled. "Do you think one of us should go upstairs after her?"
"Probably not, at the moment. She's wound up and we don't want more fighting." Topaz said wisely. "Besides, we have plenty of musical fine tuning to do on the new song before we play live. Maybe you could put your writing aside for a bit and help Syl and I get the gist of it? We do want it to be a hit, after all."
"I guess so." Nancy nodded. She gestured towards the piano. "Here, Syl. You can use it but don't you dare get polish on the keys."
"It's dry now." Sylva told her. "And okay. God only knows I need the practice."

Up in her bedroom, Copper had curled up on her bed, burying her head in her pillow as her tears engulfed her. It was all so unfair!
"He asked me so suddenly, I didn't know what to do or say." She whispered to herself, banging her fists on her bed as her anger seeped out of her. "I love him so much, why did he have to push it so far so soon? I didn't even know...oh, but I do now. No matter what happens, when he knows the truth he'll know that I'll never be the kind of wife he wants. Besides, he seems to be happily getting over me, whatever Nancy says. Whenever I see him he's out someplace with that creepy Stefana girl, so I guess there was more to that than any of us realised! Oh, I hate this. If I could I'd just get in my car and drive back home to Detroit and to Mama where it's safe and I'd never have to see Aaron or Los Angeles again! I was so happy, and now I'm so sad, and all because of a stupid question and a stupid ring!"
She sighed, then shook her head.
"No, it's not that. It's the other thing." She admitted, reaching under her pillow and pulling out the letter, skimming over the contents once more till her tears blurred her sight too much for her to read any more. "It's probably for the best, but if only it didn't hurt so much to lose him! I love him...I love him so bad and I want what's right for him as well as for me. I'm not the one to make him happy, I know that now! But oh, it doesn't stop me from breaking my heart over him! And the others don't understand either - how can they? They don't know how awful things are in my head at the moment, or why I did what I did. Maybe I should tell them, confide in them and get all my fears out, but they'll only say I did the right thing and anyway, I don't want them to know. Bad enough that I know and can't change it. I couldn't face everyone knowing. No, Copper, you're on your own. It'll get better. It had better get better, because otherwise how am I going to stand Violet and Taylor's wedding? How can I watch them say 'I do' when I want to be right there with that ring on my finger, waiting for my turn to walk down the aisle?
How can I ever be happy again?"

Prologue: Sylvina's Voice
Chapter One: Stefana's House

Chapter Two: Tensions
Chapter Three: Backstage At The Dean Stacey Show
Chapter Four: Topaz
Chapter Five: Sylva's Discovery
Chapter Six: Copper Loses Her Temper
Chapter Seven: A Shock For Jewel
Chapter Eight: Sylva Takes The Plunge
Chapter Nine: Fireworks
Chapter Ten: Here Comes The Bride

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!