Silence greeted the singer's statement, then Sylva gripped her friend's hand, squeezing it. Her expression was uncharacteristically serious.
"Whatever you decide, we'll back you up." She murmured. Nancy nodded.
"Are you okay?" She asked hesitantly. "You look kinda...shook up."
"The girl just found out she's pregnant, Nancy. Wouldn't you be shell shocked?" Copper asked, a little more edge to her tone than normal. Sylva snorted.
"If Nancy got pregnant I'd be shell shocked, let alone her." She put in. Nancy pulled a face.
"This isn't the time." She snapped. "Topaz? Are you all right?"
"I think so." She agreed. "My head is still whirling a bit, but it all makes a lot of sense now, you know? When I think about these last couple of weeks, I have woken up sick or dizzy more than once. I'm two weeks late, which I have never been in my life before...and, well...I kinda felt that I was before the test result showed up. I think I expected it to go pink."
"We probably oughta give you some space and time to work out what you want to do." Copper said quietly. Topaz shook her head.
"I don't need to decide. I know already." She said softly. "I was up there waiting and thinking about stuff, you know? About the realities of what it would be like if I was, and all of that." She swallowed hard. "Man I'm tearing up, this is dumb! I was really freaking out at the idea, totally panicking and wondering what in hell I was going to do. But...the weird thing is, as soon as I saw the result it was different. It was, well, like I was...relieved. Not afraid any more, but actually relieved that I'd come up positive."
"But...?" Nancy looked bemused. Topaz nodded.
"I know...I can't explain it either. All I know is that that's how I felt." She replied. "It kinda struck me all at once what the hell that little pink spot meant...you know? It...it means a life, Nancy. A child...my child. And I knew then that I wanted it so badly. I didn't know I wanted it till now...but I do." She shrugged. "I don't have any family of my own any more, my dad is dead and I don't speak to my mother or anyone else back in Canada. You guys are the closest thing I have to family these days and, well, it's always been enough, since I came to LA. But sitting up there, it dawned on me that maybe it wasn't enough any more, and that maybe I wanted family more than I realised. Either way I...I guess I made up my mind. I'm gonna be a Mom."
"You're so young, though!" Nancy protested. "Less than a year older than me...are you sure you're gonna cope? I mean, well, if you're not planning on telling Cameron, that means you'll be a single Mom, like Emily, and I know that she's had plenty of trouble raising Mike on her own, even with Aunt Phyllis helping her out here and there."
"Yeah, I know, and I see your point, Nance." Topaz nodded her head. "Sirena wasn't much younger than I am now when Mike was conceived, I realise that. And if this had happened in Toronto, when I was working in the diner, well, I would've had no choice about what I'd have had to do. But this is different. I have a good steady income, and I might only be twenty one, but, if it was conceived around Syl's birthday party, and I can't think of when else it could have been, then I will be twenty two before it's here. I have plenty of time to prepare myself and get ready for this...I want to do it." She bit her lip. "I just realised - is it gonna be a problem for you guys? I mean, this is my home but it's your home too - I just realised that I'm gonna be landing you with a screaming baby to deal with."
"Babies are cute." Sylva assured her. "Besides, Topaz, it's up to you. I told you, we're on your side. And if that means dealing with a squeaking baby, then fine, we'll deal with it. We've faced bigger challenges and come through them."
"Can't think of any right now." Nancy murmured.
"Nancy, Copper? Are you gonna be okay with this? And you too, Cynthia? I don't want to cause trouble here."
"The first Jewel baby." Cynthia smiled. "To be honest, Topaz, I have often wished that Starlight Mansion had had a Hologram baby of it's own, but it never did. Aja left before Sammi was born, Kimber was not here when she gave birth to Rose, Jerrica never had children, whilst Raya and Shana both got married and left before they had theirs. The house was always a home to fostered children, but it never had it's own baby as such. Now it will have - I cannot think of anything happier."
"Topaz, if it's what you really want then we will all support you, and of course we'd want you to stay here." Nancy said levelly. "I just wanted to make sure you'd really thought it through. There's a heck of a lot to arrange if you're going to have a baby, I saw a lot of Emily's paperwork and everything else just settling up medical insurance and all of that business. It'll be twice as much when it's here...that's all. If it's what you really want, well, fine. As Syl said, we're on your side."
"It is what I really want." Topaz murmured. "I never realised that I was lonely for family until now - and I can't let this go, guys."
"Then congrats, I guess." Copper came to hug the singer, a reserved but genuine smile on her own face. "And don't worry, we...we will back you up and play babysitter and stuff. We're a family now in our own way, after all."
"Thanks, Copper." Topaz hugged her friend tightly. "And now I'm just gonna sit and cry and look stupid a while, so don't mind me. Someone put on a movie, huh, before I crack up? And wasn't someone phoning for pizza? Suddenly I have an appetite."
"Are you sure that you're not gonna tell Cameron about this?" Sylva asked. Topaz paused, then nodded.
"I don't know how I will handle him being here in a week or two without telling him, and it might be that I wind up changing my mind when I actually see him." She said slowly. "But I'm going to do my best not to be selfish about this. Cameron's family are not rich, guys, but they've put a lot of money and effort and everything into helping Cameron achieve his dreams of being a doctor. He's good, too. He finishes top of his class every year and he even took a year out to work to make money to get himself through. He's put so much into this and I know it's what he really wants, but if he knew I was pregnant, well, he's a gentleman. He'd throw everything away and come out here. Of course, ideally that's what I'd want him to do, but you know, when you love someone that much, you can't do that kinda thing." She looked rueful. "After all, I'm making all the decisions here, and it was my mistake that caused this anyway. I told him I was fine, and well, I was wrong and I wasn't fine after all. So it's not like it's his fault. He'd probably just be angry with me, because he always asks to make sure I'm okay before we do anything. He'd think I lied to him to get pregnant so I'd have an excuse to drag him out here, and I'm not having that." She shrugged. "Besides, I grew up without a Dad. I was fine - it can be done. And it's not like the baby will lack for love or attention here, right? I mean, you can't be neglected at the Starlight Mansion, with everyone coming in and out!"
"Well, if that's how you feel, none of us will interfere." Nancy said quietly. "It's your business and we'll respect that and say nothing to Cameron. But part of me hopes you do change your mind, Topaz. He's gonna be a Daddy too, and it might well be that he'd want to know."
"Maybe, and a couple of years in the future I'd agree with you, but not now." Topaz shook her head. "He's so close to his dream and God knows I've put him through enough grief as it is. No, Nancy. I know what I'm doing, so let it go, huh?"
Nancy spread her hands.
"It isn't my business to interfere." She said simply.
Sylva reached across for the DVD player handset.
"Well, with that all settled, time for a movie?" She asked. Topaz nodded her head.
"I think, after the last few minutes, we all need a good laugh." She said with a rueful smile. "For now, I'm just gonna sit and let it truly sink in. From tomorrow, I have a heck of a lot of things to think about, but from tonight, I just want to kick back and relax!"
"I can't believe it!"
Zoe Montgomery fixed her companion with a disbelieving look. "You're for real? She's really pregnant?"
Zoe Montgomery was Jewel's video artist, the highly talented daughter of television presenter Constance and, due to the proximity in her age to the members of the band, she was close friends with all of them. It was Sylva especially, however, with whom she could often be found hanging out and sharing gossip or information, and it was not uncommon for the two of them to head into the city to shop together when there was a free moment for them both. Zoe worked freelance, although her most frequent employer was Misfit Music, so she often picked up tidbits of information about Diablo or acts at Starlight Music, and she had also worked extensively for the Teenangel Outsiders in England. She was fond of all the groups she worked with, and was as excited as anyone that Violet's wedding was due to be staged at the big Los Angeles mansion house. They had met up outside the big music company, where Jewel had spent the morning rehearsing a new song for the album, and were now sitting underneath the shade of a big chestnut tree in the park, for the weather was especially hot that day.
"Yes, she is." Sylva nodded her head. "And keep it down, Zoe, will you? I don't know how many people Topaz is telling yet and though she said it would be okay for you to know, I don't think she wants it becoming public knowledge just yet. Especially not before the wedding, because of the whole Cameron deal. Not to mention that she has to speak to Jetta and Phyllis about maternity leave and boy, that's a talk I wouldn't envy anyone making!"
"Wow." Zoe pursed her lips. "You know, it's so strange? I always thought that it'd be Aaron and Copper who settled down and had kids first of you guys. Didn't you? And now they're not even speaking, and it's Topaz who's gonna have a baby. I wouldn't have seen that coming in a million years!"
"Me either, to be honest." Sylva admitted. "It's kinda weird for me all round. Topaz is my best friend and I love kids, so I'm excited as hell for her, but for once I think I agree with Nancy on something. I think she should tell Cameron, regardless of other things. I mean, I won't interfere, it really isn't my business to, and I don't want her mad at me, but if you were the father, wouldn't you wanna know?"
"Strangely enough, Syl, being the father of Topaz's baby seems a highly unlikely role for me." Zoe giggled. Sylva swiped her friend playfully.
"Silly." She scolded. "You know what I mean. Wouldn't you?"
"Yeah, I guess I would." Zoe conceded. "But at the end of the day, maybe it's a case of Topaz wanting this baby badly for herself, too. You said yourself that she has no family she speaks to. Maybe she doesn't realise it, but perhaps it's a case of her not wanting to share this baby too much. Cameron has a big family, if I remember right, and they love him to death. Topaz doesn't have that."
"I didn't think of that, but you might be right." Sylva looked thoughtful. "Anyway, either way I'm kinda glad you had a free day to come shopping with me today. Staying at home at present is a pain and I'm still trying to work out how to tackle the situation with Jack."
"You haven't seen him yet, huh?" Zoe asked. Sylva shook her head.
"This is pretty much the first free morning I've had since I saw Courtenay and Melanie at the park." She admitted. "I'm kinda stumped, though. What do you say to the guy? Excuse me, but your girlfriend's beating up your kid?"
"It might not be as severe as all that. She might just have lost her temper once and you happened to see it." Zoe pointed out. Sylva nodded.
"Topaz said the same, but I still don't think it matters how many times it's happened. It shouldn't happen. She's Jack's kid, not Melanie's, and I've never seen him hit the girl."
"Well, then he probably ought to know, and the unambiguous truth is probably the best method." Zoe shrugged. "Speaking of unambiguous truth, Syl, what exactly is happening at the moment with Aaron and Copper? I actually saw the guy at Rebel Records this morning, if you believe me."
"Rebel Records?" Sylva stared. Zoe nodded.
"Yeah. He was with Stefana." She agreed. "They were talking about something - she had her arm linked in his and they seemed very pally. I didn't stop to talk to them or anything, I was busy finishing up with one of the other acts Rory Llewelyn has on his books, but it startled me."
"Well, all I know is that Copper loves him still, but everything kinda spiralled." Sylva shrugged. "The truth is...well, noone knows, but as far as I can gather, he took her by surprise with the proposal, she hurt his pride by saying no, and things have gotten progressively worse. Aaron thinks Copper had another guy on the go, she says she didn't...but Nancy has taken weird calls from guys who won't give their name, asking for Copper. I don't know, Zoe. It's mad."
"It's tragic." Zoe sighed. "I did hope that there'd be another wedding after Vi's to look forward to. It's not like I ever intend to get married myself, but it's such a happy occasion...I love weddings."
"You aren't gonna get married?" Sylva asked. "Why not?" She dimpled. "You never know, Zoe, you might meet someone at Vi's do. I heard that the best place to hook up with a future sweetheart is at a wedding."
Zoe shook her head.
"I guess marriage just isn't my thing." She said quietly. "Besides, I'm not going to Vi's wedding looking for guys, Syl. I'm gonna leave that to you. I'm going to enjoy the occasion, film it, of course, because I promised Violet that I would...and watch one of my dear friends on the happiest day of their life. Taylor is a real sweetie and he and Violet make a really cute couple. I'm a sucker for that kind of happy ending."
"I don't think I could ever marry a man who smoked." Sylva grimaced. "I couldn't live in a sea of the stuff, however much I loved him."
"Well, Violet won't have to." Zoe said matter of factly. "Taylor quit."
"Since when?" Sylva demanded. Zoe laughed.
"Over New Year." She responded. "It was his resolution, but if you ask me I think there was more to it than just raising money for the foundation. I think it was more a case of he wanted to do it for Violet."
"Mm, I'd forgotten the Teenangel resolutions for the Foundation." Sylva admitted. "And I don't think I ever knew Taylor's, we were so busy with everything. But if he gave up for her, that's sweet. How did you come to know all of this, anyway? Don't tell me you exercised your nosey gene and asked him?"
"No!" Zoe blushed violently. "I'm not nosey! But no. A..friend told me all about it."
"A friend?" Sylva raised an eyebrow. Zoe nodded her head.
"Yes." She agreed. Then she grabbed her companion by the arm. "Speaking of friends, am I mad or is that your friend Jack over there?"
"Jack?" Sylva turned to look in the direction Zoe was indicating, squinting against the sunlight. "Oh God, I think it is. I guess this is it, then. Time to go for the plunge, right?"
"Yeah, guess so." Zoe grinned. "Look, I don't wanna get involved, Jack doesn;t really know me and I don't think he'd be comfortable if I was in on this so I'll see you later, huh? I have some tape to finish splicing, anyway."
"Sure, okay." Sylva nodded. She swallowed hard. "Wish me luck."
"Good luck!" Zoe laughed. "See you later!"
Sylva watched her friend hurry off towards the car park, then she got to her feet, carefully smoothing down her skirt and making her way purposefully across the grass to where her friend was standing at the railings, watching the ducks and other birds fight over bread. The park was fairly empty, for most people were at work and children were at school, and somehow she was glad of it. It meant they were less likely to be intruded upon by eager fans looking for autographs.
"Hi, Jack." She called. The tall figure turned, casting her a warm grin.
"Sylvie! How's my favourite babysitter this afternoon?" He asked playfully. Sylva glanced at him and despite herself her heart skipped a beat. Somehow he looked even more attractive in the warm sunlight, and she hesitated, debating how to break her devastating news.
"I'm all right." She said finally. "I'm glad I saw you, I wanted to talk to you rather urgently."
"You did?" Jack looked startled by her solemnity. "Well, I have some news for you too."
"Really?" Sylva stared. "What kind of news?"
"No, you first." Jack grinned. Sylva shook her head.
"Nah, you go." She told him firmly. "What's this big news of yours, huh?"
"Well, okay, if you insist." Jack laughed. "It's kinda special, really - I'm very excited about it all."
"I asked Melanie to marry me, and she said yes."
"Oh!" Sylva stared at him, her blue eyes opening wide with shock and horror. "Marrying Melanie? Oh...oh no! But...but you mustn't!"
"Excuse me?" Jack's brow creased in confusion. "What do you mean, Sylvie? Why shouldn't I marry Mel? She loves me and I love her, and Courtenay needs a Mom, you must see that! What's so wrong with the idea?"
"Courtenay needs a Mom, but not one like her!" Sylva exclaimed. "Jack, you don't understand, Melanie and Courtenay don't have the same kinda relationship as you have with Court. It...it's different."
"Well, of course. Courtenay is my daughter and there's a lot of adjustments to be made by both Mel and Court." Jack nodded. "But..."
"No, I don't mean that." Sylva shook her head impatiently. "She treats Court roughly, I've seen it myself. She shakes her about and I saw her hit the kid once, too! You can't marry her!"
"What?" Jack's eyes widened with disbelief, then, "Why are you saying these things, Syl? I don't understand, I thought you liked Mel! I thought you'd be happy for me! You are my best friend, you know that! I need your support! This is the first time since Courtenay's mother left that I've been so wholeheartedly committed to a woman - don't you want Courtenay to have a mother?"
"Of course I do! I love that kid to death!" Sylva protested. "But Melanie isn't the right person, Jack! She's never going to be the kind of mother figure for Courtenay that you want her to be, why can't you see that?"
"I really thought you'd be happy for me." Jack turned away from her, and Sylva's heart ached. Her eyes filling with tears, she grabbed him by the arm.
"Oh Jack, how can I be?" She whispered. "I want what's best for you and for Courtenay, I always have done. Why else do you think I stopped and sat back and let you get close to Melanie? I thought she was perfect for you, and that she'd be a far better mother for Courtenay than I ever could be. But at the end of the day, I was wrong. I know what I saw and I don't like seeing Courtenay cry. I have to put her best interests first, Jack, I'm sorry. What else can I do?"
"What do you mean?" Jack's eyes narrowed and he fixed her with a confused look. "What do you mean, you stopped and sat back? What are you talking about, Sylvie?"
Sylva bit her lip, her cheeks flushing red.
"I love you." She whispered. "I wasn't ever going to tell you, but I've always loved you, right from when we first met. It broke my heart when you met Melanie, but I wanted you and Courtenay to be happy and I thought you were. But now..."
"But now I'm committing to Mel and you can't take it?" Jack interrupted, his voice angry. "Now you think you can muscle in and interfere, when you think things are getting too good? Oh, I should have seen this coming! I should have realised there was a reason you spent so much time hanging about me and Courtenay. You were hoping to find an opportunity to slip in, spread some stories about Mel and then take her place, right? Oh, this is brilliant. I thought you were my friend, Syl!"
"I am your friend!" Now the tears fell, and Sylva was helpless to stop them. "And I'm not making it up! Jack, you have to see..."
"I've read plenty in gossip columns about your band and your reputation with guys." Jack interrupted her once again. "The femme fatale of rock today, that's what one of them coined you as. But I thought they were wrong and that I knew you better than that. I believed in you and trusted you - hell, what kind of example have I let you set my daughter?"
"No." Jack shook his head, holding up his hands. "I understand things perfectly now, Sylvie." He frowned. "You're still a child, and I've let a child take care of my own. I'm sorry it worked out this way, but I can't believe you would stoop as low as this, and try and split me up from the first woman I've really been in love with since I lost Courtenay's mother. I thought you could be a friend and that you'd be supportive, but I guess I was wrong, and you're no better than the airhead that walked out of the door with another guy and left me with a tiny baby to raise."
"That's stupid!" Now Sylva's temper flared up in self defence. "You haven't a clue about me, if that's what you think! How dare you compare me to Courtenay's mother? I'm the only damn person in her life who's shown her any kind of love apart from you, and I don't care if you see it or not. I love Courtenay and I'm glad I told you the truth, even if it means you're too dense and male to face it! Fine. Go marry Melanie. But when you come home one day and find your daughter is in the hospital because she pushed her down the stairs or something, well, don't come running to me!"
"If you say another word..." Jack's eyes narrowed.
"What, are you gonna hit me now?" Sylva demanded. "Is that it? Is that why Courtenay's mother left?"
"I never hit a woman in my life, and I have no intention of starting now." Jack told her coldly. "I guess I'm seeing for the first time the real Sylvina, aren't I? Well, I'm glad I saw through you before I asked you to help be involved in my wedding. Now I know what you're really like I don't think I want anything more to do with you."
"And as for Courtenay, that goes for her too." Jack interrupted her once more. "She'll have a mother soon, anyway. She won't need you."
Sylva stared at him for a moment, the tears streaming down her face. Then, with a choking noise she turned, fleeing across the grass and leaving him staring after her. She did not know where she was going, just somewhere to be alone, for the tears would not check themselves and they blurred her sight. Finally she collapsed to the ground beneath a sheltered copse of trees, curling up on the grass and sobbing her heart out. Jack had been the first man she had ever loved, and now she had lost even his friendship.
"And I didn't even do anything wrong." She murmured. "Why couldn't he understand? Oh, why couldn't I make him believe me? What happens to Courtenay now?"
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
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE
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!