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

Chapter Three: Backstage At The Dean Stacey Show

"Twenty minutes, girls."
The studio employee poked his head around the door of the changing room, eying Jewel with a warm smile. "You all ready to perform?"
"Just about." Sylva returned the smile with her usual flamboyant grin. "Thanks."
"No problem." The studio employee winked, then withdrew from the room. Nancy rolled her eyes.
"Do you have to flirt with every guy you meet?" She demanded. "I mean, is it inbuilt into your programming? Honestly!"
"He was cute." Sylva shrugged. It was two days on, and an uneasy peace had settled over the Starlight Mansion. The necessity to rehearse the new song, and Copper's naturally peacable nature had meant that she had made a halting and brief apology for her outburst in the hour before the car had arrived to pick them up for the show, and, although she had given no hints as to why she had made the choice she had, Topaz had been quick to accept it on behalf of them all. The singer, though she had said nothing to her companions, was the one who was most suffering from the stress of the situation, for her nights had been sleepless more than once recently and that very morning she had awoken from her tossing and turning with a decidedly uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach. Blaming it on her own bad cooking skills, for the row had meant they had had to cater for themselves for the whole of the two days instead of cooking in their usual team manner. Copper was the only Jewel with natural cooking skills, though Cynthia's computer databanks gave her a workable knowledge of cuisine which she was often game to put into practice, but the girls enjoyed working together to produce a meal and the house had seemed very strange and empty without the usual happy banter and cheerful conversation. Since her apology, Copper had been quiet, but had made an effort to join in the conversation with at least a little of her usual enthusiasm and Nancy had not wanted to make things worse, so her worries about her friend's secrecy had been pushed to the back of her mind. After all, she had said to Topaz as they had slipped into the back of the car, it would not be good for Jewel to be fighting live on air, and they were too big business in Los Angeles now to allow a mediocre stage performance.
"He was kinda cute." Topaz said now. "Copper, what did you reckon? He seemed okay to me."
"I don't know, I wasn't really looking." Copper admitted. She cast Topaz a tiny smile, for she knew only too well that the bighearted Canadian was doing her best to bring her out of her depressed mood and into the conversation. "Sorry, guess I can't play this round of hunt the hot guy."
"Syl can play all by herself." Nancy remarked.
"So?" Sylva shrugged. "Why shouldn't I? I'm free and I'm single and I'm gonna enjoy it."
"Well said." Topaz chuckled. "Hey, busy night tonight!" As the door swung open again to reveal Dean Stacey himself. Hearing Topaz's remark, he grinned.
"Can't not wish my favourite girls luck." He said with a grin.
"Thanks." Nancy returned the grin. "Though I guess we don't need it...if we don't know our songs by now, well, we might as well give up and go home!"
"Such modesty." Sylva giggled. Nancy shrugged.
"Not that." She said. "Just that it's more down to practice than luck, you know?"
"I think Syl is teasing you." Dean reached out to pull her to her feet, kissing her on the forehead. "Hey, I also wanted to see you girls for another reason. Cool Trash has the whisper that you kids are in the middle of some blood feud - and no, I don't know what they're referring to, because the article was very vague and implied more than it said, but I'd keep tabs on that if you have any press appearances. I know things have been rocky between you and Aaron, Copper, so watch out for that, okay?"
"Thanks, Dean. I appreciate it." Copper said softly. "You...won't ask questions about that on air, will you? I mean..."
"Copper, I only know about you and Aaron unofficially, because I'm seeing Nancy." Dean told her gently. "I know when to draw the line between respecting friendship and a hot story, don't worry. Besides, I've plenty to ask you about today. There's the new single, the new album, and this whole story about the wedding at the Starlight in June...which I do want to ask you all about, so be warned!"
"Well, that's a pretty safe topic." Topaz smiled. "Though the Teenangels have only played here spasmodically, so I don't know if everyone will know who Violet is."
"I think you'd be surprised. There's been a lot of talk about it, and of course, that the guy she's going to marry is Nancy's cousin, so that creates even more gossip." Dean grinned. "And you should know by now that anything at the Starlight is news these days." He glanced at his watch, "I gotta go, but I'll see you backstage in a few, all right?"
"Sure." Nancy nodded. "Thanks for not airing our dirty laundry in public airspace. We all appreciate it, you know."
"Just for the record, Dean, there's no blood feud." Copper added quietly. "I might be fighting with Aaron but Nancy is still my best least, I hope she is?" There was a note of doubt at the end of her sentence and Nancy hesitated, then nodded.
"Of course." She agreed. A relieved look touched Copper's dark eyes, and she smiled.
"Good." She said. "I didn't mean to hurt Aaron, really. It just...I couldn't. Please, don't ask me why. I just..."
"It's fine. It's between you and him." Nancy put up her hands. "The less I know, the less I'm involved, and besides, I'm still hoping you work it out." She turned her attention to Dean. "I guess I'd better let you go, huh?"
"It would help, if there's to be a show today." Dean agreed, amused. Nancy sent her bandmates an awkward look, then, carefully, she kissed her boyfriend properly. "Okay, well, good luck to you too, huh? And we'll see you in a few."
"Woo, where are the tabloids." Sylva grinned wickedly.
"Oh, shut up, jealous." Nancy snapped. Dean laughed.
"Okay, I'm outta here before it does get down to claws." He said. "See you soon, okay?"
"Bye, Dean. We'll keep 'em from scrapping, I promise." Copper laughed, and for the first time in the last week the sparkle returned to her eyes. True, it was still muted, but it was there, and Topaz decided that maybe things would be all right, after all.
"I hate this waiting." Nancy sighed, glancing at her watch once he had gone. "I'd rather be backstage."
"Only cos you want to be with Dean." Sylva said archly. Nancy shrugged.
"I like Dean." She said stolidly. "Any reason why I shouldn't?"
"Well, I'm sure his fan club all hate you and want you dead." Sylva giggled. "But no, guess not. At least he's a decent guy."
"Yeah, he really is." Nancy agreed, a slight blush touching her cheek. "I don't like how high profile we are sometimes, but I'd rather take that than nothing at all."
"Sickening." Sylva grimaced.
"How long?" Topaz asked at that moment.
"Ten minutes? Twelve?" Nancy shrugged. "My watch is slow."
"Okay." Topaz nodded, reaching for her bass and idly plucking it. "Anyone seen my pick?"
"On the table, by the door." Copper pointed.
"Cheers." Topaz got to her feet, moving over to get it, but a wave of dizziness overtook her and she reached out frantically for some support, grabbing a nearby chair and closing her eyes as she tried to regain control.
"Topaz?" Copper was alert immediately, pushing her own preoccupations aside as her concern for her friend took priority. "Are you all right?"
"Dizzy." Topaz managed, and Sylva hurried to help her friend sit down. "Woo, that's better. Sheesh, what was that? I just felt like I was gonna pass out all of a sudden."
"You want a drink or something?" Nancy looked concerned, fishing around in her bag for her mineral water and handing it out. "Here."
"Thanks." Topaz took the proffered bottle, taking a sip. "That was majorly weird."
"How do you feel now?" Copper asked.
"Same as before." Topaz shrugged. "Dizziness gone."
"Same as before...which is?" Nancy raised an eyebrow. Topaz smiled ruefully.
"You are too sharpwitted for your own good." She scolded. "I'm okay, Nance."
"You don't look okay. You look pale as heck." Sylva said bluntly. "I didn't notice it before, but you do."
"Have you been feeling bad since you got up?" Copper asked gently. Topaz shrugged.
"Not bad, exactly. A little queasy now and again." She replied. "I figured that it was something I ate...I mean, I cooked my meal last night, and I'm not the world's best cook. I probably gave myself food poisoning or something." She grinned wryly. "I'm not sick, I'm just nauseous, don't worry. I'll be fine. I'm probably only faint because I couldn't face eating anything for breakfast."
"The amount you usually eat, you're probably right." Now that the crisis was over, Sylva laughed. Topaz swatted her playfully.
"You're a fine one to talk." She scolded.
"I hope it isn't my fault." Copper looked anxious.
"Why would it be?" Topaz demanded. "Don't be silly, Copper. I'm a lousy cook, you know that!"
"I meant...because of...well, everything." Copper coloured. "I'm sorry, Topaz."
"Believe me, kid, it's far more likely to be my cooking than anything you've said or done." Topaz told her dryly. "Besides, no harm done."
"Are you gonna be cool to sing or do you want me to take the vocal?" Sylva asked.
"I..." Topaz considered. "Do you mind singing?"
"Nope, it's cool." Sylva shook her head. "I'll sing if you want me too."
"Thanks." Topaz grinned. Then she bit her lip. "Ooh. Actually..."
"What?" Nancy asked sharply.
"I think I'm gonna renege on what I just said. 'Scuse me."
With that she bolted from the dressing room, leaving her bandmates exchanging looks.
"We have a problem." Nancy said quietly. "I'll go tell Dean."
"Good idea." Copper frowned. "Ask him if it's possible to play our video or something this week and just do an interview? I'm half afraid she'll faint on air if she's feeling that ropey."
"See what Topaz says first." Sylva suggested. "Because she'll play if she can, let her decide."
"All right, but I'd go get Dean anyhow." Copper nodded. "Nance?"
"I'm gone." Nancy nodded, disappearing from the room. The crisis had broken down the last of the awkwardness within the band, at least for the time being, and all attention was focused on the Canadian's sudden and uncharacteristic illness. Within a few seconds, however, the singer returned, eying her bandmates sheepishly. Sylva, generoushearted as ever sent her a concerned look.
"Are you really sick?" She demanded. "I mean, do you not wanna do this show? We'll cope if you don't."
"I feel better." Topaz shook her head. "Just one of those things. I'm a bit icky inside but not like I was...I think I'm okay." She glanced around. "Where's Nancy?"
"Gone to tell Dean you're feeling bad." Sylva replied. Topaz groaned.
"Well, we didn't know how bad you were feeling." Copper reasoned. "Or if you were up to it this morning. Do you want to play or not?"
"I'll play, but don't ask me to sing." Topaz replied. "I'm not remembering the words too good...I think I'm having a blonde moment."
"Well, I'll sing, if you're sure." Sylva shrugged as the door swung open to reveal a worried looking Dean, Nancy in tow.
"What's the situation?" He asked quietly. "Topaz...Nancy said you're not feeling so hot."
"I feel better than I did." Topaz owned. "But Syl's gonna sing for me. I'll be fine if I'm at the back with my bass and the cameras are following her. It's not for long, anyhow."
"Are you sure?" Dean asked her gently. Topaz nodded.
"Can't let Jewel down." She said with a grin. "No, really, Dean, I feel better for throwing up, gross as it sounds. I think I ate something bad yesterday, that's all. I'll be fine. It's settling down already."
"Well, all right." Dean shrugged. "Your call." He glanced at his watch. "And we're about due out there. Ladies, care to accompany me onset?"


"It gets harder and harder, working for Jewel under these conditions."
Aaron Pelligrini set down his mug of coffee, shooting his companion a troubled look. "I don't want to let Mom or Nancy down, Cyn, but even seeing Copper at the moment is a trial. I don't get it, I mean, it;s been weeks now and I woulda thought that it would have gotten easier, but it hasn't. Every time I see her I'm angry or confused or hurt or all three at once. It sucks."
"You love her." Cynthia Benton, holographic alter ego of Emmet Benton's ingenious computer "Synergy", cast him a concerned look, resting her chin in her hands. "But you must not let your work suffer in the meantime. I realise it is difficult, Aaron, and I do wish I knew a way to make it easier, but Copper is not talking to me, or indeed anyone about what is going on. In the meantime, all you can do is get on with things as best you can and try and come to terms with what happened."
"Easier said than done." Aaron pulled a face. "I've tried that - I mean, the other week I caught up with some old friends from High School who were home from College and we went to the football...but don't ask me the score because I don't think I was concentrating. Then Stefana asked me to go eat at Diablo's - which was sweet of her, because all I'd been doing is moping around my apartment, let's face it. But I can't remember any of the conversation. And I promised I'd go to her concert tonight - because I know that she's trying to help, bless her. It just isn't helping. Nothing is. No offence, Cyn, but with things so screwed up over Copper, I could be hanging out with every single one of my friends at once and it still wouldn't make me feel better."
"No offence taken." Cynthia assured him. "I do wonder about Stefana's sudden attention towards you, though. Is this not likely to cause complications if you wish to resolve matters with Copper? You must be aware that the two girls are not the best of friends."
"Right now, Cynthia, I'm just glad that I've friends there who're willing to listen and be sympathetic. I must be being the world's biggest drag, if all I talk about is Copper, and it's all I seem to be talking about." Aaron rubbed his temples. "I'm not thinking about Stefana or Copper fighting with each other. I'm trying to reclaim a little of my sanity. I spoke to Cameron last night - he's not sure yet if he's stopping with Taylor and the guys, or coming to mine, or going to the Starlight with Topaz for the wedding, but he's the first guy I've spoken to who understood what I was blithering about and told me I wasn't going mad. But then, he's worked it all through with Topaz, so that gives me a little hope for mine and Copper's relationship. We've been together so long..." He bit his lip. "Our anniversary was in April, you know. We were broken up for it."
"Copper loves you, of that I am sure." Cynthia put a soothing hand on his arm. "I do not know why she refused you or why she has not explained matters to you, but I do believe it will all be straightened out in the end."
"I hope you're right." Aaron pursed his lips. "I wish I could explain in my mind who the guy was who was calling her. Nancy said I was being silly, but when she said it she didn't look as if she believed what she was saying, if that makes sense. I know my sister wouldn't hide it from me if she knew something that I needed to know, but I do wonder if she's as certain Copper isn't seeing someone else as she seems to be."
"Now you are becoming paranoid." Cynthia scolded him. "Remember, I am constantly at the Starlight Mansion, and I have not seen Copper met by any other man."
"But she has sneaked out alone and not told anyone where she is going."
"Yes, but it is a free country. Nancy slips out for walks or drives all the time, and I also like some headspace occasionally, to enjoy the world away from the confines of work." Cynthia replied. "I don't think you can read much into that, Aaron."
"I hope you're right." Aaron grimaced. "I just wish I knew what was going on. One minute everything is great, the next minute, bam, and I've lost my girlfriend. I just wish I knew what the missing bit of the puzzle was, and what precisely happened to make Copper like a stranger to me!"
"I suppose this morning it did not help that everything had to be altered at the last minute because of Topaz's sudden ill health." Cynthia looked thoughtful. "I hope she is all right, it is unlike her to be ill."
"Everyone's acting unlike themselves at the moment, though. Everything is haywire and in the midst of all this my cousin is going to get married." Aaron groaned. "What have we let ourselves in for?"

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!