Three: When Life Goes On...
A STARLIGHT WEDDING
Chapter Nine: Fireworks
"I hate to say it, but this morning's session totally knackered
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"Do you want to tell me what kind of news?" Nancy asked. Copper shook
"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
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."
"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
"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."