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

Chapter Nine: Fireworks

"I hate to say it, but this morning's session totally knackered me out."
Topaz dropped down into a deckchair, letting out her breath in a rush. "I dunno, I guess last night was a bit too emotional and everything, I'm still getting used to the idea."
"Did you speak to Mom and Aunt Phyllis yet?" Nancy asked from her corner of the patio where, as ever, she was busy with manuscript and pen, putting the finishing touches to the album's title track. Topaz shook her head.
"Nope. Both were busy this morning, and I was in no mood to descend upon them with the news." She replied. "Besides, I know I have to do it, and I will, but I'm slightly apprehensive. Your Mom is friends with Cameron's Mom, and I don't want word to get back just at the moment. It's kinda making me hesitate."
"You need to tell them, though." Nancy pointed out. "I mean, after all, if they have to arrange maternity leave for you, they'll have to know."
"Yes, I realise. I suppose it's just a long way away at the moment and I'm still getting used to the idea." Topaz admitted. "Is Copper in, by the way? I thought she left the studio when we did, but she took her car, and I havent seen her since."
"I'm here, Topaz." Copper pushed open the patio doors, stepping out into the sunlight and settling down at the poolside, dangling her feet in the water. "I had some errands to run, that's all. It's hot today, isn't it?"
"Very." Topaz agreed. "Syl's gone shopping with Zoe, I hope she remembered her sunblock, else she'll burn like mad."
"She will have. Syl would rather die than be a lobster." Nancy said dryly, setting her manuscript down. "No, it's no good. The heat's too much for me to focus. I think I'm gonna take a swim and then see how I feel, but it's one of those days when I just want to laze about and do nothing."
"Which with you doesn't happen very often." Topaz observed with a smile. Nancy shrugged, diving into the smooth water and doing a couple of lazy strokes to the side nearest Topaz's chair.
"Well, if I took more time off, we'd move at a lot slower pace." She responded.
"In truth, I think that I'm feeling just as lazy." Topaz admitted. "Too lazy even to cool off in the pool." She grinned. "But I'm gonna blame it on hormones, rather than bone idleness. It's nice to get a break, especially with everything else going on. It's quite amazing, when you think about it, that Cameron and I didn't even think about this happening, yet it did. You know? How one night can change your life totally and completely? It's dawning on me that things are never gonna be quite the same again."
"Aaron was conceived like that, as far as I know." Nancy mused. "It was their wedding night, Mom said, and I think they were kinda smashed." She grinned. "Neither seem to remember too much about it, anyway. But I know Aaron was an accident. I'm pretty sure I was one, too. Mom didn't want any children, and after Aaron she was fairly sure she couldn't handle more than one, but I happened, and she got on with it. Dad, of course, was over the moon. He'd always wanted to be a father. It was Mom who took the convincing."
"Mom told me that I was special because I was the only part of my father she still had to cling to." Topaz remembered. She sighed. "Things went so crazy though, when she remarried. I kinda feel like she stopped loving Dad and I stopped being special." She shrugged. "I'm gonna make sure that, whatever happens, that doesn't happen to my kid. I'm gonna love them for who they are, not for who their father is."
"I wouldn't have thought it any picnic to choose to be a single mother." Copper said quietly. Topaz shook her head.
"No, it probably won't be in places." She admitted. "But I haven't had family for so long, Copper, and I want this so bad. I mean, you're lucky." She gestured. "You have a great family. Okay, your father isn't there any more, and I'm sorry for you about that, because I know you loved him to death. But your Mama is awesome and so sweet, and your brother and sister are great too. You know where you belong and everything, you have a family to fall back on. You don't understand how important it is for me now I know I'm pregnant, to rebuild a family of my own."
"Oh, I don't?" Copper's eyes flashed angrily at this, and Topaz looked taken aback.
"Copper, I'm not meaning to offend you." She said. "I'm just saying that I have no family, and now I will have some. You, on the other hand, have a great family."
"You're forgetting, of course, that this baby was an accident and you didn't plan it." Copper said coldly. "Now you're all fussing over it and the fact you're gonna have a 'family'" she sketched quote marks in the air, "But you're not exactly being responsible and telling the father about it. You weren't exactly responsible when the babe was conceived, either. And you're sitting there talking about family and the future as if it's always been your intention to get knocked up, screw up Jewel's schedule and inflict upon us all nine months of hormones?"
"Copper, what on earth is up?" Topaz stared at her friend, hurt and confused. "Okay, I wasn't careful, and okay, I don't know about the Cameron situation, but at the end of the day I am pregnant and I want to make a go of it...are you trying to tell me it's wrong to want a baby? That I'm letting Jewel down?"
"Oh, you don't have a clue." Copper shook her head impatiently.
"Well, it would help if you told me." Topaz said levelly. "Did I say something that offended you?"
"I...guess not." Copper shook her head. "Just don't assume, because I have a good family, and because I...I can't marry Aaron just yet, that I don't understand what it's like to one day want to have a family of my own, okay? If it had escaped your notice, my family aren't here in California either, and yes, they are very cool people, but so what? Most girls dream one day of having a family, so don't presume to be special about wanting it!"
"I don't want kids, at least not yet." Nancy shivered. "No thanks."
"I didn't mean it like that, Copper." Topaz looked stricken. "I'm sorry if you took it that way. I just meant that, well, I've realised since last night how special it'll be to have someone unique about the place, someone who'll need me and, I hope, look up to and love me. And I'm sorry too if it means that I upset Jewel's schedule, but it's one of those things that is bigger than music, you know? It's a life and it's something I can't turn down the chance at. Do you understand now? I'm just trying to get to grips with how big a deal this is."
Copper cast Topaz an unreadable look, then she cursed under her breath, shaking her head.
"It's you who doesn't understand." She said flatly, getting to her feet. "I'm going inside. I've had enough sun for today."
"What in hell was that about?" Nancy's brow creased. Topaz shrugged.
"Did I say anything terrible?" She asked. Nancy shook her head.
"Not that I heard." She admitted. "Oh, this is stupid!" She hauled herself out of the pool, padding across the concrete. "I'm going to go beat sense into her, okay? Be right back."
"Okay, Good luck." Topaz nodded. Nancy grimaced at her, then headed into the house, not caring that she was leaving wet footprints wherever she went. Copper was in the kitchen, making herself a pot of coffee, and she didn't even turn as Nancy entered.
"Did you want something?" She asked quietly.
"Yeah, I'd kinda like my best friend back, instead of this girl who sneaks off places, snaps at people for no reason and generally makes a pain of herself for all concerned." Nancy put her hands on her hips. "I don't know what is going on with you right at the moment, Copper, and in truth I'd probably rather not know the gory details of it, but Topaz is our friend, and whatever happens with Jewel, she has the right to be happy. This is her life, her choice and her right. Now, you didn't strike me as someone who was particularly traditional in terms of the whole no kids before marriage thing, but either way, we have to be supportive of her. It's a big deal and she has noone else to turn to."
Copper turned, anger sparking in her brown eyes, but as she registered Nancy's words she sighed, setting the coffee pot down.
"I know, and I'm sorry." She murmured. "I have a headache, Nancy, and I had some news this morning that I wasn't really expecting to have. That's all."
"Do you want to tell me what kind of news?" Nancy asked. Copper shook her head.
"No. It's too complicated." She responded. "I didn't mean to snap at Topaz, though. Everything is kinda mad here at the moment, isn't it?"
"Yes, and Violet is coming here at the end of the week. I think she might even already be in America, from something Taylor said on the phone to me yesterday, but I don't know for sure." Nancy nodded. "But look. Taylor is my cousin, and I want him to have the best wedding he can have, okay? He hasn't had it easy in his life, after all, and I want everything to be perfect. I know you're going through bad stuff at the moment, and I know things are more chaotic still, now we know Topaz is pregnant and none of us know how that will impact upon the band. But look. This is Taylor's special day, Violet's too. Can you please make an effort to be a good hostess and put everything behind you, at least till the wedding is over? Please? I miss you being the sensitive, gentle one sorting us all out - we need you!"
Tears touched Copper's eyes at this, and she nodded slowly.
"I will try." She promised quietly. "I am sorry, Nancy. My temper is unpredictable at the moment, maybe it's the time of month."
"Well, try not to be so premenstrual when Vi is here, okay?" Nancy told her. Copper smiled ruefully.
"Okay." She agreed. "I suppose I owe Topaz an apology, huh?"
"Yes, you do." Nancy agreed. "You're lucky, though. She's a fairly laid back kinda girl, and I don't think she'll hold it against you. I..."
She broke off, as the sound of the front door slamming startled her, and both girls turned towards the kitchen door in time to see Sylva disappear up the stairs. Though she didn't stop to talk to them, it was clear that she was upset, and Copper frowned.
"I wonder what that's about." She mused. Nancy shrugged.
"Nothing Syl does makes sense to me." She responded.
"Was that Syl I heard, coming back?" Topaz came to join them. Nancy nodded.
"I think she's upset, she slammed the door and stomped off upstairs without a word to either of us." She responded.
"I think she'd been crying." Copper added softly.
"I better go see if she's all right." Topaz decided. She made towards the stairs, but Copper put a hand on her friend's arm.
"I'm sorry I snapped at you by the pool. It wasn't your fault, so ignore it, okay? I just have a headache and I'm probably premenstrual."
"It's cool, Copper." Topaz grinned at her. "It's forgotten, really."
"Thank you." Copper smiled back. "I promised Nancy I'm gonna try and be more myself, with Vi coming here at the weekend and everything else we have to think about. With your hormones, and me in a bad frame of mind, we're not gonna be great hostesses, so Im game to make the effort, since you can't help yours."
Topaz nodded.
"I hope Syl isn't badly upset." She mused. "I know I think what she went to do today, and I have a bad feeling it went wrong."
"Oh?" Nancy raised an eyebrow, but Topaz shook her head.
"No, I don't think I should discuss it." She said. "I'm just gonna go up there, and see if she is all right."
Before either Copper or Nancy could ask any more questions she was gone, knocking gently on her friend's bedroom door.
"Syl? It's Topaz. Are you okay?"
"C..come in." Sylva's voice, wavery and unhappy floated back at her and, her frown deepening, the singer did as she was bidden, opening the door and slipping into the bedroom. The sight that greeted her pulled on her heart strings, for she had never seen her friend so wretched before. It was clear that Sylva was very upset, that she had been crying for some time and that, try as she might, she could not check the tears from falling. Silently she came to sit on the bed, putting her arms around the younger girl and hugging her tightly.
"Tell me what happened." She murmured, and slowly and hesitantly Sylva choked out every painful bit of her encounter with Jack. Topaz sighed.
"Oh God, Syl, I'm sorry." She said gently. "I really am. I thought he'd take it badly but I never thought it'd be like this."
"I sh..should never have let slip that I loved him. I should never have told him that!" Sylva's voice shook. "But it kinda slipped out in the middle of everything and...and he...he thought..." She gulped, swallowing hard, then raising distressed blue eyes to her friend's. "He pretty much told me that I can't ever see Courtenay or him again. That he couldnt stand the sight of me and that was that."
With this, a fresh storm of tears broke and Topaz hugged her again, gently stroking the unruly, tangled curls.
"He'll cool off." She soothed. Sylva shook her head.
"I don't care. I am never letting him hurt me again. If he wants rid of me, well, fine, I'm gone!"
"What about Courtenay?"
"What can I do? He told me that she'll have a mother soon and that she doesn't need me." Sylva spat out the words, her tone bitter. "It's not like I can change that. He's gonna marry that blonde bitch whatever happens. Topaz, why are men so dense? I wanted him stop seeing - and certainly not marry - Melanie, I didn't mean I wanted to seduce him myself! I just want him and that kid to have the best, that's all, and for Courtenay to have a proper mother! Is this what you get when you try and be unselfish?"
"No, this just went wrong." Topaz assured her. "And it sucks, it really does. He shouldn't have said those things to you, and I understand why you're so upset."
"Do we have any Haagen Daaz?" Sylva asked. "I feel like moping in front of the television with a tub of mint choc chip and a spoon."
"I don't know." Topaz admitted. "But you can go see, if you like."
"I will." Sylva nodded. "God, and in a few weeks we're hosting a wedding - in a few days we're hosting a bride to be. I don't think I could be more anti-wedding than I am at the moment!"
"Well, don't let Jack ruin Vi's wedding for you." Topaz chided. "Or for her, either. Listen. I know you, and I know you're a party animal when you get going. You make sure you have a great time at Vi's wedding and reception and forget about Jack, huh? It's his loss anyway, not yours. If he doesn't appreciate you as a friend then he's not worth your time, because I happen to know you're a pretty damn fine friend to have."
A tiny smile touched Sylva's lips, and she reached up to dry her tears.
"Thanks for thinking so." She murmured. "I needed a pep talk."
"Right, then let's go downstairs and find you some ice cream." Topaz suggested, getting to her feet and hauling her companion up with her. "And don't fret, Syl. Things will work out for the best with Jack and Melanie. They always do. Trust me."

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!