A Christmas Story

Chapter Eleven: Topaz Again

"Something's bugging you."
Stormer set down her newspaper, eying her companion with some consternation. "What is it, Roxy? You've stirred about eight spoonfuls of sugar into that already."
"Huh?" Roxy started, almost dropping her coffee mug. Then she scowled.
"Do you have to creep up on me?" She demanded. "I was thinking, that's all."
"I've been here all the time." Stormer patted the newspaper. "Reading the news. Finding out all about Sylvie's stunning performance on television last night, among other things."
Roxy narrowed her eyes.
"You never told me about Jem's computer." She said quietly, an accusing glint in her brown eyes. Stormer looked stricken.
"What?" She whispered.
"Jem's computer. Synergy. The hologramatic thing that was the bane of our lives twenty years ago." Roxy pursed her lips. "Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about, because I know that you do."
"Kimber made me promise to keep it a secret." Stormer faltered. "It was dangerous, Roxy! I should never have known about Synergy at all, and at the time, with our rivalry, I didn't want people finding out about her. She's a dangerous piece of equipment if used wrongly. I kept it quiet not only to protect Jem, but to protect us too. Think of the chaos that would have been caused, if Pizzazz had ever gotten her hands on Synergy!" She frowned. "How do you know about her, anyway?"
"I met her, at Misfit Music." Roxy said simply. "She's working for Pizzazz now, Stormer, so she evidently doesn't consider the Misfits a threat." She looked thoughtful. "Did you know that? That she masquerades as some chick working for Sylvie's group?"
"Yes, I did." Stormer agreed slowly. "It was made apparent when we played the reunion concert, and she fixed Rapture."
"You didn't tell me." Roxy sounded put out. "And you know gadgets are my thing, too! Sure, don't tell Pizzazz, she'd blow the thing to smithereens just by touchin' it. But I like machines! And hell, I coulda done something with this one. If the Misfits had had something like it..."
"Then we would all have been in danger." Stormer finished. She crossed the room, putting a hand on her friend's arm. "And you know it as well as I do. We were mad, reckless and ruthless...well, you were. I was scared half of the time, and envious the rest of it. I wanted to be like you all, and knowing Synergy's secret put me apart in yet another way, but I realised - as I'm sure you also realise - that the fewer people who knew about such a machine, the better. Not just for Jem and the Holograms, but for the United States - even the world. Imagine, Roxy, what something like Synergy could be used for."
"Hell, I ain't got any reason to tell anyone." Roxy shrugged. "It ain't my business that there's a heck of a computer running somewhere in the bowels of Los Angeles, issuing vigilante justice to those who interfere in Jewel's business and upset her work. She has promise...she's not a wimp. I never thought a computer could be capable of Misfit behaviour, but Cynthia's something else. I ain't got any reason to run crying to the FBI about her. I just thought you woulda told me, that's all."
"I'm sorry." Stormer said softly. "Maybe I would have done, eventually. At the time, I didn't think it was safe." She narrowed her eyes. "What do you mean, vigilante justice? What happened?"
"Well, let's just say it was no accident that Diablo pulled out of their set last night." Roxy winked. "One of them decided to mess with Jewel's stuff, and Cynthia and I put her in her place. Like I said, the computer has good stuff in her - I could get to like her, even if she was built by a Benton. Jerrica was an idiot to betray her...but it does Sylvie and her friends no harm. If Jem stayed one step ahead by using a machine like that, why shouldn't Jewel enlist her also?"
"I hope you didn't cause any trouble." Stormer looked anxious.
"No. I just warned the would-be saboteur that she should keep away from my niece's stuff, else she'd find herself parted from some of her limbs." Roxy looked amused. "She left in a hurry, so I gather she was rather more attached to them than might have been first assumed."
"You didn't hurt her?"
"No, I threatened her, Stormer." Roxy was impatient. "I will hurt her, if she messed with Sylvie or Jewel again - but this was just a warning."
"Roxy, you said your niece's stuff...you meant Sylvie?" Stormer was startled. Roxy frowned.
"Well, that brat of Jetta's ain't ever really felt like a blood relative." She admitted at length. "But I guess I mean her too. She is a Pelligrini, after all - even if half of her genes suck. But yeah, I did mean Sylvie."
Stormer smiled.
"Well, she thinks of you as Aunt, so I don't suppose there's any harm done." She said softly. "But if you ask me, Roxy, you acted for both Sylvie and Nancy last night. You pretend otherwise, but family is important to you. And hey, they are both young Misfits."
"Too true." Roxy smirked. "And for that alone, I guess we should be thankful, huh? We coulda churned out another generation of holo-wimps, but we didn't. Jewel aren't Jem and the Holograms, that's for sure."
"No, they're not, but they're not Misfits exactly, either." Stormer looked thoughtful. "They've brought together both sides of the feud, and made a success of it."
"Whatever." Roxy dismissed it with her hand. "Jetta would agree with me when I say that Nancy is a Misfit born and bred, and your Sylvie has never been slow with her fists if Anna is in trouble. Those aren't Hologram traits, Stormer...and in anycase, you should be proud. After all, once a Misfit, always a Misfit. Ain't that how it goes?"
"Yeah, I guess it does." Stormer laughed. "Okay, Roxy. You win."
She reached for her bag. "And so long as you promise not to intimidate any of the clientele, how do you fancy hitting town for a bite to eat, huh? My treat."
"Well, if you're offering, I ain't gonna say no." Roxy winked. "You should know better by now, Stormer. I never refuse free food!"


"I can't think of anything else I need to get ready."
Topaz sat down on the end of her bed, a thoughtful look on her face. It was the afternoon of December 23rd, and she and Sylva were busy sorting out the last of the baby stuff ready for the big day. "I've still got a little over a week, and I'm fairly sure I've everything I'm going to need right at first. Dr Finnan has approved the location and everything's all set...I feel like I'm at a loose end now. It's almost like I've been building up to it these last few days, and now I've got to sit on my backside for another week and wait."
"Well, at least you are all prepared." Sylva reminded her, sitting down beside her. "And you've got your phone battery charged, too, in case you need to reach me. Jewel are going to have a busy Christmas this year, in terms of work...so I want to make sure you can get in touch if anything happens."
"My phone is primed and ready for all emergencies." Topaz agreed. "Though I'll only need it really if I'm taken by surprise and can't get downstairs. I don't intend on going out again before she comes - too many reporters flocking to get the first pics of Baby Jewel, and besides, it's just too much effort. I've plenty of my favourite films and I can curl up on the couch with a hot drink to watch them all whilst you're out working. I'm finding the quiet life suits me pretty good!"
"Well, don't get too used to it. In a week or so you'll be Mama." Sylva laughed. Topaz grinned.
"I know, but I intend to enjoy it while I can!" She responded. She pursed her lips. "All of this really makes me wonder what Mom would make of it - me having a baby, I mean. Technically that makes her Gran, although we don't speak, so I don't know if it matters either way."
"Do you wish she was here?" Sylva asked gently. Topaz sighed.
"To be honest? Yeah, I do." She admitted. "We were very close until she remarried, after all. Christmas was a special time - she and I would always visit relatives on Christmas Eve, but we'd spend Christmas Day just her and me. We'd open presents and I'd help her to make Christmas dinner..." She paused. "Yet now we don't even exchange a christmas card. It does make me sad, Syl. This baby is her granddaughter, and I guess I wish I had a mother to go to, you know?" She gestured. "If it were you, Mary would look after you and advise you and you'd be in safe hands. I'm fairly sure that Jetta would help Nancy, and I know that Carmen would be supportive of Copper. It's fine, deciding to have a baby and everything, but it does make you remember the empty hole. After all, once she was here, just like me, waiting and wondering what the future was going to be like. What if things go that wrong for me and my daughter, Syl? I couldn't bear it."
"Then don't let it." Sylva responded softly. "And maybe, if you feel like that about your Mom, you should get in touch with her?"
"No...too much water under the bridge now. I'd rather let sleeping relatives lie, if you don't mind." Topaz shook her head. "You girls and the baby - that's my family now. I did pretty good, all in all."
"What was your mother like? Was she pretty?" Sylva wondered. Topaz nodded.
"Very." She agreed. "I inherited my Dad's features mostly - so I'm told - but Mom was a real stunner when she was younger. I remember seeing the photographs. She was very glamorous and very creative, and she and Dad were extremely close. Him dying so close to when I was born meant that I was all she had to cling to...in the end, I suppose she spoiled me." She looked rueful. "I was very spoiled, Syl. You wouldn't know me. My year in Toronto changed me so much."
"I can't imagine you ever being spoiled." Sylva was startled. "What kind of things did you do?"
"I was pampered...I got everything I wanted, pretty much." Topaz glanced at her hands. "I don't say I was always the brat, because I wasn't, but I could be pushy and difficult if I didn't get my way. I'd always dress up and make a fuss of my hair and stuff, even when I was only six or seven, and Mom never stopped me. She wanted me to be happy, and have the best of everything. I went to a private school, and I'd often get to go skiing or whatever with family or friends, whatever the expense. She was my whole world, and I admired her so much."
A shadow crossed her face.
"But then she met Stephen, and things changed. His son, Tony...he hated me. He'd bully me and I'd yell at him...we were the worst possible match for step brother and sister you ever did see. I admit, I played up. I hated his rules, so I broke them at every opportunity. He set a curfew - I'd always make sure I was late home. He disapproved of drinking alcohol - so I'd hang out with friends in bars, even if I wasn't old enough to drink. He was big on impressing the risks of sleeping around and you know, legal limits and all of that." She looked sheepish. "So, one of the first things I did was to get laid at their wedding reception. Unfortunately for me, the guy was one of Tony's friends, so Stephen found out, and then grounded me forever. The war had begun, and it was a nightmare, Syl...I stuck it two years, but as soon as I was eighteen, I was clean outta there. Graduated, left. Bam, just like that."
"Your Mom must've been devastated."
"Well, she never came looking for me." Topaz shrugged. "So my guess is she was glad to see the back of me..."

"I've had enough of your attitude, young lady."
Aurora glared at her stepfather defiantly, her arms folded across her chest.
"So? You can stick it. I'm not your daughter and you can't tell me what to do." She shot back. "I only went to a bar with some friends. Sheesh! Anyone would think I'd robbed a bank or something! If it escaped your notice, I am an adult now! I've graduated high school and I can make my own decisions!"
"Whilst you live under this roof, you live by the house rules." Stephen retorted. "And that means curfew at twelve! It's half past two...I've had enough!"
"Maybe I've had enough of your house rules." Aurora was bitter. "Mom never used to set house rules. I could stay out at Jenna's or Natalie's till two or three, so long as I drove home and didn't walk out that late."
"Your mother's been soft on you." Stephen sighed. "Listen, you silly girl. The only reason the rules are there is to keep you from getting into trouble! I've heard some stories about you, and some of the things you've gotten up to this last year...and incidentally, eighteen is no age to be trawling bars!"
"So? I only had a coke!" Aurora put her hands on her hips. "And who's been telling stories about me? Tony, no doubt. He's holier than thou whilst I'm big bad Aurora! What's wrong, Stephen? Does it upset you to know that your stepdaughter isn't meek and innocent to the ways of the world?"
"You are no age to wind up pregnant, and you're damn irresponsible enough for it to happen!" Stephen thundered. "Don't you even care what happens to you? Don't you want a future?"
"I want you to butt out of my life." Aurora retorted. "Everything was fine before you came along!"

"What is all the noise down here?"
Aurora turned to see her mother at the top of the stairs, her dressing gown tied around her waist. "Rora, Stephen, it's late! Why are you yelling?"
"Aurora has just crawled in...five minutes ago." Stephen glanced at his watch. "It's the third time in a week, Lissa...I'm about to give up."

"I don't want to follow his rules." Aurora glanced at the floor. "He's not my father."
"He's the only father you have ever had, cherie, and he is only trying to do what is best for you." Melissa murmured. "I have spoiled you, and I'm sorry for it, but Stephen is right to set rules and curfews. He doesn't want you hurt...nobody does."
"Well, noone asked me if I was hurt by the fact you decided to marry him without consulting me!" Aurora spat out. "Noone asked me if I wanted to share my house with him and his delinquent son, did they?"

"No, I won't shut up. I've had enough." Aurora shook her head. "You know what? You can keep your house rules and your curfew. I'm going to grab my stuff and sleep at Jenna's tonight - she doesn't have an evil stepfather!"
"If you walk out of that door, young lady..." Stephen's tone was warning.

"You'll what?" Aurora demanded. "You'll hit me? Smack my bottom like a bad little five year old? Or kick me out? Hm?"
"Enough!" Melissa exclaimed. "Stephen, I will deal with this. She is my daughter, and this is my fault. It's time we settled this once and for all."
Stephen cast his wife a doubtful look, but obediently retreated into the kitchen, and Melissa padded down the rest of the stairs, taking her daughter by the arm.

"Listen to me, Rora." She murmured. "I have done everything I could to make your life happy. I could not give you your father, and I spoiled you - I was wrong. Stephen is a good man and I love him very much. Just because your father is no longer with us, it does not mean I am forbidden to love again."
"You used to say you loved him." Aurora whispered, tears pricking at the back of her blue eyes. "And that I reminded you of him...that I was special to you because of that."
"You will always be my little girl, cherie."
"Then why do you let Stephen harass me and Tony bully me!" Aurora demanded. "You don't treat me like I'm your little girl! You know what I think? I think you stopped loving Dad and you stopped loving me too, that's what I think! I think you'd be only too damn glad if I walked out that door and never came back!"
"I am your mother, I will not be spoken to like that!" Aurora had never seen her mother so angry. "Apologise, and go to your room! We will talk again in the morning."
"No, we won't." Aurora shook her head. "I've had enough. I'm outta here. I'm eighteen, I don't need you to tell me what to do and I sure as hell don't need Stephen. I know how life is...I can handle it. I'll go someplace new, get a job, and be fine. You'll see." She narrowed her gaze. "I'm not gonna come back, so don't expect to find me on the step this time tomorrow, okay? Then maybe you'll be sorry that you treated me so badly! If you won't love me, I'll find someone else who will!"

"That's so sad." Sylva hugged her friend tightly. "Aww, Topaz, don't cry!" As a tear slid down her friend's cheek. "I know it must've been awful, losing touch with your Mom that way, but you know, you could call her. You could tell her about the baby, ask her to play a part in its life. It isn't too late for that."
"I'm too proud." Topaz shook her head. "I said I would never go back, and I never will. End of subject."
She sighed, getting to her feet. "Come on. I want to count those baby socks again...I'm sure I'm still short a pair."
"Okay, if you say so." Sylva relented. "We'll count socks. Guess it's like me and my Dad, huh? Not ready yet to talk."
"Right." Topaz agreed. "But it's okay, Syl. I can handle it. For now, I'll take what I've got here in LA and be thankful. After all, there are so many with so much less than me!"

Chapter One: Back In Los Angeles
Chapter Two: Christmas Plans
Chapter Three: Like Old Times
Chapter Four:  The Truth About Anna
Chapter Five: The Video Shoot
Chapter Six: Topaz's Sensation
Chapter Seven: Sadie's Tattoo
Chapter Eight: An Unlikely Team
Chapter Nine: Misfit vs Devil
Chapter Ten: An Old Flame
Chapter Eleven: Topaz Again

Chapter Twelve: A Christmas Present

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!