A Christmas Story

Chapter Twelve: A Christmas Present

Sylva glanced up from where she had been wrapping the last of her christmas gifts, sending Topaz a smile. It was now Christmas Eve, and, true to her usual harum-scarum habit of leaving everything to the last minute, she was taking advantage of their free day to complete the finishing touches on her Christmas arrangements.
"It's a good thing I've done yours." She said, her voice playful. "Don't you know how to knock?"
"I'm sorry, I didn't...really think about it." Topaz admitted, and in an instant Sylva's playfulness was gone.
"What's wrong?" She asked softly. "Something is, isn't it?"
"I don't know if it's wrong, exactly." Topaz bit her lip, coming into the room fully, and closing the door.
"Then what?" Sylva shuffled up on the bed. "Sit."
"Thanks." Topaz did so. "Look, don't freak out, okay? I know it's Christmas Eve and all that, and there are a million things to do before tomorrow but I think...something's happening."
"Something?" Sylva looked blank, then, "Oh my god, the baby?"
Topaz nodded.
"I think so." She murmured. "I..." She frowned, putting her hand to her stomach. "I feel strange."
For a moment, panic flooded Sylva's senses, then, seeing the look of equal fright in her companion's expression she pulled herself together, putting an arm around her friend's shoulders.
"Are you sure it's now?" She murmured. "I mean, it couldn't just be another false alarm, could it?"
"I dunno." Topaz admitted. "I've been trying to tell myself it is for the last hour, actually, but I dunno. It's not stopping. And then about ten minutes ago I think my waters broke, so...I'm kinda beginning to wonder." She drew a shaky breath, then, "Syl, I'm scared."
"You're not the only one." Sylva muttered under her breath. Then, out loud she said, "Have you told the others?"
"Not yet." Topaz shook her head.
"Well, stay right there, I'll go get them and we'll work out what we're gonna do." Sylva's mind was moving at speed now. "Don't be scared, okay? Everything is going to work out fine. If it is a false alarm, it'll go away again soon enough, and if it isn't..."
"I'm about to be a Mom." Topaz whispered. "Oh my God, do you know how odd that feels?"
"It'll be fine." Sylva repeated. "And...and I'll be right back."
With that she was gone, haring down the hallway to Copper's bedroom and banging on the door.
"Where's the fire?" Copper swung open the door herself, casting her friend a smile.
"Topaz thinks she's in labour...Copper, help." Sylva blurted out.
"What? Now?" Copper's brown eyes widened. Sylva nodded.
"I don't have a clue what to do." She confessed. "I thought I'd be okay when it came but I don't know what I'm doing and she needs a level head. She's in my room, will you go to her? I'm gonna tell Sadie and Nancy then call the doctor."
"Mm, okay." Copper nodded. "Syl, listen. Topaz has more faith in you than she does anyone else in the world these days...are you going to cope with this enough to be there for her?"
"I'll have to. I promised." Sylva frowned. "I'll pull myself together, Copper, and I'll be better when the doctor comes. I just need a little headspace. She kinda dropped it on me unawares."
"Mm, I bet she's not feeling much better about it." Copper frowned. "How did she seem?"
"She said she was scared." Sylva remembered. "I don't think she's far on, Copper."
"All right." Copper nodded. "I'll go and speak to her. You go upstairs and tell Sadie and Nancy - they're working on some musical something or other in Nancy's room."
"Okay." Sylva took a deep breath. "I can handle this. I can. Right. I'm gone."
Copper watched her bandmate head up the stairs to the next landing, then she made her own way down to Sylva's room, knocking tentatively on the door.
"Come in?" Topaz's voice called her through and she pushed it open, sending her friend a gentle smile.
"Are you all right?" She murmured.
"God knows." Topaz admitted. "Where's Syl?"
"Telling Nancy and Sadie and then calling the doctor." Copper told her. "We weren't expecting it this week, so we're kind of at sixes and sevens. Don't worry, though. It'll all be okay."
"That's what Syl keeps saying." Topaz groaned. "I wish you wouldn't. You don't have a clue how I'm feeling."
"I'm sorry." Copper looked startled, and Topaz sighed.
"No, I am." She responded. "I'm not feeling myself, bear with me, all right?"
"It's cool." Copper smiled. "Want a hug?"
"Yes. I badly need one." Topaz managed a faint smile. "I wish Cameron were here."
"Well, we'll do our best for you." Copper promised, obediently sitting down and hugging the singer tightly. "That's a promise."
"I know." Topaz nodded. "Is...is Syl okay? I mean..."
"Startled, I think." Copper said carefully. "But don't worry. She'll be here when you need her...she told me that herself. I'm sure she'll be right back here as soon as she's done spreading the word."
"I was afraid I'd scared her off, she went out of here at such speed." Topaz admitted.
"Syl does everything at speed." Copper reminded her. "It's her first time too, though. She just needs a moment to get herself ready for this, that's all."
"Me too." Topaz responded dryly. "Christmas Eve. Brilliant, isn't it?"
"Well, it's not like you'll be stuck in hospital." Copper soothed, then, "Are you okay?" As her companion paled, biting her lip.
"Mm." Topaz nodded, letting her breath out slowly "It's just took me by surprise, that's all. It's a week sooner than any of us expected. I...think I'm getting the hang of it, though." She smiled. "And I'm glad I'm not going to go to hospital. I couldn't face being there over any of Christmas or New Year, and Dr Finnan didn't think there'd be any problem if I had her here. All I care about is getting it and me through this and out the other side safely, with all limbs intact."
Copper laughed.
"You're sounding more like you now." She observed.
"Well, you're helping." Topaz responded. "I needed someone to talk to me calmly and rationally, stop me from panicking. So long as I'm not alone from now till it happens, I think I should be all right."
She stood.
"I'm going to go sort things out in my room, so I'm ready." She decided. "Will you come help me?"
"Of course." Copper nodded. "You sure you're all right?"
"I'm not an invalid." Topaz responded. "And I'm fine, really. It's not too bad yet...I have plenty of time to do stuff and I need to keep my mind busy."
"All right." Copper dimpled. "Then let's go."
Oblivious to the conversation going on above stairs, Sylva had taken refuge out on the patio, taking a deep breath of the cool afternoon air as she tried to calm her panicked heartrate.
"What now?" She muttered. "What am I going to do? Hell, I'm squeamish over needles! What the hell am I going to be like when a baby pops it's head up and says hi? What if I throw up, or faint, or both? I'm no use to Topaz like this...I feel sick already and it hasn't even begun yet!"
She sank down on the wall, biting her lip.
"I'll have to ask Copper to do it. Have to say I can't...but then Topaz will be upset and I'll hate myself for bottling it." She berated herself. "Why did you have to give her your word, Sylvina? What were you thinking?
"Syl, what are you doing out here?"
 A voice came from behind her and she started guiltily, turning to face the speaker. Sadie was standing in the doorway, a lit cigarette between her fingers, and a concerned expression on her face. "Are you all right? You look ill."
"I feel pretty bad, too." Sylva groaned. "Sadie, Topaz thinks she's in labour."
"What? Now?" Sadie's eyes widened. Sylva nodded.
"That's pretty much exactly the way I reacted." she said soberly. "None of us expected it this week, much less today."
 "Didn't you promise Topaz you'd stay with her when the baby came? Who's with her now?"
"Copper, I think." Sylva twisted her hands together. "Sadie, I'm freaking out. I'm not sure I can do this! I mean, it's such a big job, such a responsibility! What if I can't handle it...hell, what if I pass out! None of the others know that I get squeamish about certain things, and I've never been around a baby being born before, so I don't know how I'll react when it all, you know, happens. You know how I got just sitting in that tattoo parlour. I don't want to cause Topaz more trouble!"
"You had to go outside for air once or twice, but you got through it." Sadie observed. "And you'll get through this, too."
"You think? I don't. I think I might throw up." Sylva said darkly, and Sadie could see her friend's hands were shaking.
"Listen, Syl, take a deep breath and sit down." The English girl spoke gently, leading her companion to the garden wall and indicating for her to sit. "Topaz trusts in you, and that's what matters. I was just as scared, you know, when my sister Alyssa had my niece Megan, but there was very nearly noone else there to be with her, since her husband got majorly stuck in traffic. But then, I couldn't leave Aly alone, could I? She'd done so much for me, letting me stay with them and all...I had to help. And I don't know how, but somehow you stop being scared and unsure about what to do, and you just do it. Trust me. Topaz needs you and you can do this."
"I dunno." Sylva bit her lip. "I feel like a total flake, but..."
"You care about Topaz, right?" Sadie said softly. Sylva nodded.
"Of course I do!"
"Then go to her." Sadie responded. "You'll know what to do, I promise. And all Topaz wants is someone she trusts implicitly to be with her. If you're scared, she's probably twice as frightened."
"I guess you're right." Sylva's expression became one of determination. "Thanks, Sadie. I guess I needed my head putting right. I'll see you later, huh?"
"Sure, with good news, I hope." Sadie smiled. "Send her my love and lots of luck, all right? We're all rooting for her. Waiting is going to be the most horrible part - you have the easy job in some ways!"
"Mm, we'll see." Sylva looked doubtful. "Later."
Sadie watched her go, a smile touching the corners of her mouth. It had felt good, knowing she had helped in a crisis.
"I made a difference, which is something." She murmured. "I almost wish though I was in there with her too. I'd rather that than be sitting here waiting to find out. Still, I'm sure there's nothing to worry about...everything will be fine."


Sylva hurried down the stairs, pushing open the living room door with a bang and startling everyone to attention as soon as she appeared. Sadie was on her feet in a second, realising that Sylva must have news to convey.
"Well?" She demanded. "For heaven's sake, Syl, don't just stand there!"
"Tell us!" Nancy added.
Sylva took a deep breath, trying to calm her pounding heart. Her blue eyes were wet with emotion and for a moment she found it hard to find words. She swallowed, then,
"It's a girl." She managed.
"It is?" Copper's eyes lit up. "What's she like, Syl? Is she tiny? So the doctors were right about the scan. How's Topaz?"
"Is she all right?" Sadie added anxiously.
"Woah, one at a time!" Sylva held up her hands, laughing. "Everything went fine. Topaz sent me down here to tell you. She said it was better done in person than through a cellphone. Guys, the baby is the most adorable little thing I ever saw, I swear. She's so damn tiny! I don't think I ever saw a newborn baby before...not one that small, anyhow. But she's just...perfect. She's amazing."
"And Topaz?" Nancy asked.
"In tears." Sylva grinned. "She's pretty beat, but I think happy would be an understatement. They gave her the baby and she just burst into tears. Good tears, though."
"Can we see her?" Sadie asked. Sylva nodded.
"Yeah, she wants you all." She agreed. "The doc wouldn't let me come down till he'd made sure everything was tidied up and all, he's such a fusspot, but it's okay now." She bit her lip, as her own tears threatened to fall. "God, you guys, Topaz is a Mommy! We have our first baby Jewel! Doesn't it seem crazy?"
"Well, if she wants us up there, I vote we go." Copper suggested, getting to her feet. "Syl, does the baby have a name?"
"Topaz says she knows what to call her." Sylva responded. "But she hasn't let me in on the secret yet. Says she wants to tell us all together, for some reason."
She led the way out of the room and up the stairs, pausing at the top.
"You know, Sadie, you were right...I did cope. I coped fine. It just stopped seeming so scary after a bit and just seemed natural." She smiled. "Thanks for getting my head right. I wouldn't have missed it for the world."
"No problem." Sadie returned the smile. "I have goosebumps myself. Reminds me of when I saw Megan first."
"Wow, a baby Jewel." Nancy shook her head slowly. "You know, we've known for months it was going to happen, but now it has it's a major thing to deal with. Do...do you s'pose Topaz will ever come back to us when she's able to?"
"I don't know." Sylva admitted. "She won't say either way. All she's said is that she'll need time out from working to get used to the baby's needs."
"That makes sense. Every new mother needs maternity leave." Copper said sensibly. "Let's not force the issue, huh girls? For now, let's just be happy for her. And...and wish her a merry Christmas, whilst we're there, too!"
"Huh?" Nancy glanced at her watch. "Holy...Copper's right, it is Christmas Day! Syl, what time was the baby born?"
"Four minutes past midnight." Sylva giggled. "She's a real Christmas baby. Talk about a cliche!"
At that moment they reached the door of Topaz's room, and gently Sylva knocked, waiting to be called in. It wasn't long before the quartette of girls were making their way slowly into the room, not quite sure of what to expect.
Topaz was in bed, something small clutched tightly in her arms, and, though it was clear she had been crying, the smile on her face soon put at ease any doubts that she was all right. She glanced up, meeting their gazes with a tired grin.
"Well, you took your time." She bantered lightly. "Don't you want to see her?"
"Of course we do." Copper scolded, leading the way to the bedside. "Syl was just telling us a little about her, that's all. She said she's a Christmas babe...is she really?"
"Yep, just." Topaz nodded, as Sylva looked indignant.
"Think I'd make that up?" She demanded. Copper laughed.
"Okay, I'm sorry." She responded. "I guess not."
"She's so little." Nancy murmured, sitting down on the edge of the bed and eying the baby with fascinated wonder. "She looks almost like a doll, somehow!"
"Well, unless dolls scream, she's not, I promise you." Topaz said ruefully. "Didn't you guys hear her downstairs?"
"Nothing wrong with her lungs, that's for sure." The doctor laughingly put in. "I'm going to leave you to your friends now, Aurora, but I'll come see you and Hollie tomorrow, make sure you're doing okay."
"Hollie? Is that her name?" Sadie demanded.
"Doctor Finnan, you gave it away!" Topaz exclaimed. "I was gonna tell them that!"
"Oops, my bad." The doctor smiled. "I'm just gonna go, before I get into any more trouble. Take care, and if you have any problems, you know the number to call."
"Yeah. Thanks." Topaz dimpled. "Bye, doc."
"So, she's Hollie?" Sylva asked, as the doctor made his exit. Topaz nodded.
"Yeah. Because she's a Christmas baby." She replied. "Only I'm spelling it H-O-L-L-I-E. I don't want the poor kid to be teased because her name is Holly and she's born on Christmas day."
"It's cute. I like the name Hollie." Copper said. "But why all the secrecy? Why not just tell Syl and let her tell us?"
"Well, because of the other name I'm giving her." Topaz smiled, stifling a yawn. "Man, I'm so tired I could sleep till New Year!"
"Other name? Like, a middle name?" Nancy demanded. Topaz nodded.
"Yeah. Guess so." She agreed. "You see, you girls are all my best friends in the whole wide world and I did want to name her after all of you, bu-u-ut I'm pretty sure that traumatising the poor baby with four middle names wouldn't be doing her any good at all. So...I came up with a solution."
"Go on." Sadie murmured, touched deep down that Topaz had included her in the number. "What solution?"
"Well...and I want to make it clear that this took a lot of thought, I didn't just think it up now." Topaz began. "I decided on it a couple of weeks ago, providing the baby was the girl that they predicted me, which, of course, she is. Anyway, I decided...she's going to be Hollie Jewel."
"Oooh." Sylva's blue eyes opened wide. "Hollie Jewel? That totally rocks! I mean, she's a true blue Jewel baby now!"
"Yes, she is." Topaz agreed. "But seriously, there isn't anyone as important to me as you folk these days...and, well, Hollie is already pretty important to me too. So I thought Hollie Jewel had a nice ring to it."
"It's sweet." Sadie dimpled. "Topaz...can I ask? What...will her last name be?"
"Stapleton." Topaz said slowly. "Because I don't know that Cameron will ever be involved...so Stapleton. Hollie Jewel Stapleton."
"Sounds good to me." Copper squeezed her friend's hand. "Hey, should someone register the birth, or something?"
"Dr Finnan's doing it for me. That's how he knew the name. I told him whilst Syl was downstairs and he's going to do it as soon as he can." Topaz replied. "Don't worry, I haven't forgotten."
"She's lost to the world, isn't she." Nancy observed. "Wow, Topaz...you seem so damn grown up all of a sudden!"
"Wish I felt it." Topaz quipped, then sighed. "No, actually, I really do. It's a hell of a lot...I hope I'm gonna be good enough for her. I can't describe how I feel, not in words, but I do know I want her to have the best of everything."
"Well, she's begun by having the best Mom." Sylva sent her friend a reassuring wink. "Man, what a Christmas!"

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!