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

Chapter Six: Copper Loses Her Temper

Sylva entered the Starlight Mansion in high dudgeon, tossing her car keys onto the unit so hard they skidded across the polished surface, leaving a mark where they had been, and banging the front door hard so hard behind her that the house shook. The only thing on her mind since she had left the park had been Courtenay and the small girl's tears as Melanie had hit her.
Muttering the worst insults she could find under her breath, she stormed into the sitting room, flinging herself down into a chair.
"What's eating you?" Nancy demanded.
"Oh, everything." Sylva glowered. "And it's none of your business, either. Is Topaz up?"
"I havent seen her." Nancy, well used to Sylva's tantrums, shrugged. "She came in and went up to her room and that was the last I saw of her, to be honest."
"I'll go and see." Sylva decided.
"Nice hair, by the way." Nancy called after her.
"Amazed you noticed." Sylva muttered, mounting the stairs two at a time and knocking on her friend's bedroom door. "Topaz, are you up? It's Syl."
There was a mumbled reply which Sylva took to mean 'come in', and she swung open the door, slipping inside her friend's room. Topaz was curled up in bed, tucked up still in the duvet, but she was reading a book and she cast Sylva a grin as her friend entered.
"I like the hair." She said. "But not the scowl. What's happened since I left the salon, Syl?"
"Oh, everything and then some." Sylva grimaced, dropping down onto her friend's bed. "But first off, how are you?"
"Crap, to be honest." Topaz said bluntly. "It's revenge of the fish, part two."
"You're still sick? I thought that had passed!" Sylva looked startled.
"Not sick like this morning, just tired and groggy and wanting to go back to sleep forever." Topaz told her. "Seriously though, Syl, I needed the day's rest. I'm sorry I bailed on you, but I reckon by tomorrow I'll be okay. It's just been one of those days."
"God has it." Sylva rolled her eyes. "You'll never believe it when I tell you what I saw."
"Why do I feel that this is going to be a long story?" Topaz eyed her friend dryly, setting her book aside and pulling herself more upright in her bed.
"If you're gonna be like that, I won't tell you!" Sylva looked hurt.
"Oh, I didn't mean that." Topaz was contrite. "I'm sorry, go on. Tell me. What did you see?"
Briefly Sylva outlined the events at the park, and Topaz frowned.
"Are you sure? Melanie hit the kid?"
"Yes. Twice." Sylva grimaced. "And shook her pretty hard for good measure. I know Courtenay can be a brat sometimes, Topaz, all kids can, but I swear I've never had the urge to treat her like I saw Melanie doing. And I'm pretty sure it was because she'd run over to say hi to me, that's all."
"She shouldn't have run off, though. It's dangerous, and you don't know who might be about." Topaz mused.
"Yes, but Topaz, she hit the girl! She's not even Courtenay's mother and she just grabbed her and shook her and hit her!"
"Okay, Syl, I get the picture." Topaz said gently. "What are you going to do? Tell Jack?"
"I guess so." Sylva sighed. "Topaz, this might not be a big deal to you, but it is to me, okay? I love that kid like she was my sister, and..."
"I know you do." Topaz interrupted. "And I'm as stunned as you are, believe me, that Melanie would hurt her like that. It's not at all that I'm not interested, Syl, just take it as read that my brain today isn't fully responsive." She smiled. "What will you say to Jack, anyway? You can't just blurt it out."
"I could." Sylva pouted.
"Yes, and very successful you'd be, too." Topaz shook her head. "He loves Melanie, remember. He's not gonna take your word over hers without proof."
"Then he should look at Courtenay! She already has a big bruise on her upper arm!"
"Which you can't prove Melanie did. She could have done that anywhere." Topaz chided. "I agree it was wrong for Melanie to hit out at Courtenay but you have to be careful how you handle this if you don't want to get Jack mad at you, okay? Tell him by all means, but do it carefully, huh?"
"Guess I see what you mean." Sylva sighed. "Okay, I will. I guess you're right. I'm going to give it tonight to think about what to say, anyway. I mean, Melanie isn't living at Jack's and he will have Courtenay tonight, not her, I'm sure. So she's not in any danger right now."
"Maybe you've read more into it than there is. Perhaps it was a one off."
"Well, even so, it shouldn't have happened." Sylva responded. "No wonder Courtenay hates her! I always wondered why she did, but now it makes sense! Melanie isn't the nice sweet girlfriend that I thought she was and Jack thinks she is!"
"It's always the nice ones." Topaz observed with a grin. Sylva grimaced.
"Isn't it, though?" She demanded. "What's with that, anyway? I remember something Zoe told me about that Jesta girl who's always getting under the Teenangels' skin - apparently when she kicked it off with them, she acted like she was their best friend and all! People like that are so two faced, they suck. I wish everyone would just be how they really are all the time, then it would be so-o-o easy to pick out the losers a mile off."
"Yeah, but it would make life a little less surprising." Topaz reminded her. "Besides, bad people can do good things and good people can make mistakes. It's not as clean cut as that."
"Maybe not." Sylva admitted. "But think about it, though. It would be nice, wouldn't it if people like Melanie and that Jesta and...ooh, that Stefana bitch were all put in a big spaceship and sent off into orbit? Don't you think the world would be a better place?"
Topaz laughed.
"P'raps." She agreed. She stretched. "You know, I think I feel a bit better. You must be therapeutic. Fancy calling out for pizza tonight? Or is Copper in a cooking mood? After last night I daren't try, in case I kill myself with bad cheese or something."
Despite herself, Sylva grinned.
"I haven't seen Copper." She responded. "But sure, pizza sounds good. And then I'm gonna sit and work out exactly what I'm going to say to Jack. Practicing the new song can wait a while - I've bigger things on my mind!"


"Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the show!"
It was the following evening and, on the set of Studio 1, the live television experience that was Connie's Corner was getting well underway. The host of the evening, Constance Montgomery herself cast a playful grin at the audience, settling herself comfortably on her couch. She was well known in the business these days for being both one of the most sympathetic but also one of the most successful interviewers, for she was able to pick apart information and ask the right questions at the exact right moment to get her show the scoop. Stars loved her for her down to earth, friendly interview technique, whilst the fans loved her natural ability in front of the camera. From the wild groupie of the eighties, Constance had settled and grown up into a woman with ambition and drive. This wasn't to say, however, that she had grown up cold, for she had become a mother at a young age and her daughter's upbringing had been the main factor in her own maturing. She had forged a close friendship with that television icon of the eighties, LinZ Pearce, who had vanished in an air crash over the Amazon some years before, and, devastated, she had done everything she could do to help LinZ's only son, the eligible Dean Stacey to realise his own dreams in front of the camera. She saw it as a posthumous thank you, though noone knew if LinZ was alive or dead, and had continued to thrive in the very business to which LinZ herself had given her all.
Tonight the studio audience was buzzing, for she was about to host the first exclusive showing of Sirena's latest music video, and two of California's biggest and most talked about musical acts were to perform live in the studio. Jewel were without a doubt the favourites with the Los Angeles viewers, because they considered them 'home grown', even though only Nancy of their number had actually grown up in California. Diablo, however, had a fierce following too, and, since achieving their first number one single in recent weeks, they were being talked about as Jewel's biggest band on band competition in the state. Sirena, for whom none of this rivalry business meant much any more, had simply laughed off the suggestion that she had been replaced in the public eye by this rock group from Connecticut, and the rumours abounded as ever as to precisely what her friendship with Diablo's singer Luca Ranieri - Stefana;s precious older brother - really amounted to. Sirena was successful, though, and the most successful solo artist the state had seen in ten years, for, now under the able backing of her own mother, the legendary Phyllis Gabor, the young, ambitious singer had gone from strength to strength and had become a household name all across America and Canada. She and Nancy were good friends, however, and she was amicable with the rest of the group too these days, so she had calmly told the press that she was above inter-musician rivalries now, and far more focused on her own career and her young son.
"Boy, have we a show for you tonight!" Connie dimpled at the audience, as the camera focused in for a facial shot. "Remember Sirena was here the other night, and she promised us the first showing of her brand new video for her single, Shadow of the Girl? We'll have that for you later in tonight's show, so stay tuned to the screens, and don't touch that dial! We also have, live in the studio for you tonight, both Diablo and Jewel, keen to talk about what the future holds for them all, and of course, the real scoop on this wedding rumour at the Starlight Mansion. Is it true? What are the details? You'll find out live, right here this evening!"
Backstage, in the big spacious dressing room that Jewel liked to call their own when playing Connie's show, the band were carefully tuning up their instruments, able to hear the cheers of the crowd outside.
"Sounds like a full house tonight." Topaz mused, as she carefully fixed a new string to her guitar. "There. Wretched thing had to break, didn't it?"
"You aren't gonna pull a fainting trick on us tonight, are you?" Nancy demanded. "We're gonna go out there in front of the crowd under all those lights and stuff - that ain't a good time for a blackout!"
"Nancy, I feel absolutely fine tonight." Topaz told her with a smile. "Ready and raring to go, in fact. I really hate that I couldn't do Dean's show, but I'm up and ready for this one, no problems."
"Good." Sylva said with a frown." I'm not in the mood to sing tonight. I'm still thinking about Jack."
"Jack?" Nancy asked. "What about Jack now, Syl?"
"None of your business." Sylva told her firmly.  She cast Copper a glance.
"Hey, you're kinda quiet tonight - are you gonna be all right out there, Copper?"
"Huh?" Copper looked startled, looking up from where she had been idly toying with her lucky drumsticks.
"I asked if you were gonna be all right. You're on some other planet to us." Sylva told her. Copper blushed.
"I'm sorry." She said contritely. "I guess I am miles away. But yes, I'm okay. Playing, and all." She glanced up at the clock. "When are we on?"
"Last segment I think." Nancy told her. "So we've a while yet."
"Nice to see you girls bothered to show up on time for the show."
A fresh voice interrupted them from the doorway and Sylva turned, glaring at the intruder.
"What are you doing here, Stefana?" She demanded. "Don't you know this is a dressing room for stars? Not wannabes!"
Stefana raised a perfectly shaped eyebrow, leaning up against the doorpost.
"Yes?" She purred. "Well, I'm not sure that's entirely true, Sylva. After all, would you say that stars let their road managers do odd jobs for any old band?"
"I beg your pardon?" Nancy stared. "What are you talking about now?"
"Aaron helped us out at our concert last night." Stefana told them sweetly. "He offered, I didn't ask. I helped him pick out what to wear and then he helped up with stage equipment. I'm sure it was a nice change for him." Her gaze swept across to Copper, whose face had paled at her words. "He did say it was something of a relief to get away from the tension of working for Jewel."
"Stefana, get lost, will you?" Topaz said quietly. "We have to play tonight and so do you. We're professional musicians and you won't affect our act by trying to bait us before we go on. Aaron is his own person and it's nice that he helped you out. If that's all, could you go?"
"It's not quite all." Stefana seemed unperturbed by the singer's words. "By the way, Topaz, if you're such a professional musician, how come you were throwing up backstage at Dean's show, huh? Very professional that turned out to be!"
"How did you know that?" Topaz stared. Stefana laughed.
"Aaron mentioned it." She said idly, examining her black painted nails carefully as she did so. "He and I have been getting very close lately, as I;m sure you've noticed. He wants...a real woman, and besides, I'm almost sure that soon enough he'll decide working for you children is not enough of a challenge for him. He had a good time last night, which is more than can be said for any of the times he's had with you girls lately." She fixed Copper with another pointed smile.
"You say one more word, Stefana, and you'll regret it." Copper's brown eyes flashed with uncharacteristic anger. The remaining three Jewels exchanged anxious looks. Copper did not often lose her temper, but when she did, she tended to do it wholesale, and Aaron was still a sore point. "I don't care what you think, Aaron would never be interested in a girl like you."
"Why not?" Stefana shrugged. "I'm not messing him about, leading him on then turning him down. You know he spent eight hundred bucks or more on that ring, Copper. What would the press say if they knew what a heartless bitch their little drummer hearthrob really is, huh?"
"Why you..." Incensed, Copper lashed out at her foe, bringing her hand down hard across the guitarist's cheek. Before any of her friends could stop her, she had grabbed Stefana, pushing her hard up against the wall.
"Listen to me, Stefana." She said darkly. "You do not and will not ever understand the grown up problems that real couples have, or the real world reasons why things don't always go according to plan. You can flirt with Aaron as much as you like, flaunt yourself, even strip, if you want to, but he has morals and standards and honey, you will never meet them. So go try and seduce him into working for Diablo. You'll never succeed."
"Get your paws off me!" Stefana shook herself free. "And you're wrong, because he agreed to help us with our set here tonight, too."
"Aaron's doing Jewel's set, with Cynthia!" Nancy protested.
"Yes, Nancy dear, but we play first and he's also helping supervise ours." Stefana shrugged. "Maybe he's not tied to your beloved Aunt Phyllis' purse strings after all, huh?" She laughed, pushing Copper aside. "And as for you, Copper, well, you had your chance. Aaron is gonna wind up coming to work for Diablo because he can't bear to be around you - how does that make you feel, huh? He can't even bear to be in the same room as you, now that you hurt him. He's even talking about taking back the ring and that's that, forgotten. So there." She winked. "When he's working for a better team, then you'll see who has the last laugh."
With that, the girl was gone, and Nancy shut the door firmly behind her. For a moment noone spoke, then Copper sank down onto the unit, burying her head in her hands. Her shoulders shook and at first her friends thought she was crying, but when she raised her gaze to theirs they realised that there was nothing but pure rage in her brown eyes.
"How dare she come in here like that?" She demanded. "Barge in here, bait and insult the lot of us and then suggest Aaron would work for her tinpot company, anyhow? How dare she?"
"Copper, cool it. She wanted to get you wound up and she succeeded." Topaz said gently. "You shouldn't have gone for her, if she tells the press..."
"Noone would believe Copper hit out at her. She's the sweetheart of the band, and Stefana's a spitfire at the best of times." Sylva said with a shrug. "I think she should've hit her again. Actually, I was quite tempted to."
"Syl, that isn't helping." Topaz cast her friend a dark look. Sylva shrugged again.
"So? It's true." She said, unrepentantly. "She's a bitch and she's had it coming to her. And Aaron! What in hell was he doing at a Diablo show with her? When I get my hands on him..."
"No, Syl, leave it alone." Copper shook her head. "Aaron's a free guy, he can do what he wants." She shrugged. "He won't leave Misfit Music because all of his family ties are there." She sighed. "Though I guess Stefana was probably telling the truth when she said he can't bear to be in the same room as me. I can't bear it all too good either."
"Do you still love him?" Nancy asked gently. Copper nodded.
"More than anything on this planet." She murmured. She held up her hands. "Please, don't ask me stuff. I can't...I really can't answer those kind of questions."
"But you do love him...if that's true, Copper, isn't it worth trying to rescue your relationship?" Topaz asked. Copper shrugged.
"He thinks I'm seeing someone else." She said softly. "Who can blame him, either? I can't tell him any more than I can you."
"Are you seeing someone else?" Nancy demanded. Copper looked hurt.
"What kind of girl do you think I am?" She protested. "My own best friends think I'm a cheater too? Oh, great."
"No, we don't, but it's been weird for us at home, Copper, and it affects us all. Aaron's like one of the family." Sylva said.
"He is one of the family. My family." Nancy added. "And his interests are as good to me as yours, Copper. I can't take sides."
"Well, I give you my word that there is noone else." Copper said solemnly. "I still love Aaron. I think about him, dream about him and cry myself to sleep over him every night, if you must know. But I couldn't say yes to his proposal - it surprised me - and everything spiralled from there."
"I guess that's understandable. You're young and it's cool if you're not ready to marry yet." Topaz reflected. "I mean, it means a big committment...and of course, family - kids and all of that."
"Yes." Copper nodded sadly. "It does." She stood.
"If noone minds, I'm going to go get some air, clear my head a little." She said. "I won't go near Stefana, I promise. I just need some fresh air, it got rather intense in here for a minute there."
"Sure. Go." Topaz told her. "We'll see you when its time to go on. We've a while yet, as Nancy said."
"Okay." A glimmer of a smile touched Copper's lips. "Bye all. Thanks for understanding."
Then she was gone, and her companions exchanged looks.
"But do we understand?" It was Nancy who first spoke. Sylva shrugged.
"I dunno, but if she still loves him, we so have to get them back together and put Stefana's nose firmly out of joint." She said.
"I don't think we should interfere." Topaz shook her head. "It's personal and between Aaron and Copper. His pride is hurt, her heart is broken - interfering couldn't help and might make it worse. Let them handle it, Syl. If it's meant to be it'll work out."
Across the studio, Copper had slipped outside, away from the busy crowds of fans who gathered around the studios, hoping to catch a glimpse of Connie's guests as they arrived and left. She sat down on the wall, closing her eyes as she considered everything.
"I should not have hit Stefana, but I'm damn glad I did." She realised. "She got me so mad. And I'm glad she knows that I'm not just going to sit back and let her treat me like garbage just because things aren't working out for me at the moment. We're not sappy little wimps, Jewel. We can fight back too." She looked rueful, realising how like Sylva such a sentiment was. "Gee, guess some of that Misfit gene is wearing off on me, too!"
His voice made her heart stop in her throat and she swung around, seeing him watching her. His expression was unreadable, and she bit her lip, feeling awkward and uncomfortable. They had not been alone together since the row, and she had no idea what to say. Stefana's words still burned in her ears, and she found herself confused and unsure. Was Aaron really switching sides? What was going on?
"We haven't spoken in a while." Aaron broke the silence, as it became almost unbearable. Copper shook her head.
"No." She agreed softly. "We haven't."
"Can we now, do you think?"
Copper hesitated, then slowly, she shook her head.
"There is nothing to say." She whispered. "You've decided what you're doing, and I have a show to play. Ex...excuse me."
Before he could stop her she took off across the tarmac, hurrying back into the building towards the safety of the dressing room. She dared not look back, for she knew that she could not bear to see the expression of hurt and confusion on his face, the same expression she had seen the night of Sylva's party, when she'd turned down his proposal.
For the millionth time she wished he had never asked her.
"But it's too late now." She whispered, closing her eyes against the tears that longed to fall. "It's gone too far to be changed now, and I have to be strong. I can't cry, I can't let Stefana see me weak and I can't let Jewel down on stage. They are what I have to focus on now, not Aaron. If he makes the choice to be with Stefana, then that's his choice and I can't change it. I just have to carry on, somehow, and hope one day it stops hurting. I just wish I knew how long it was going to take! Am I ever going to get over him? Or am I going to be in love with a man I can't have for the rest of my life?"

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!