A Christmas Story

Chapter Six: Topaz's Sensation

It was almost midnight by the time Jewel finished their day's work in the studio and, exhausted, hungry and stiff, they congregated on the couch in the living room, munching takeaway chinese food and discussing the day's events. Topaz, they discovered, had long since gone to bed, and was sleeping peacefully, so they moved around quietly, each one of them conscious that their friend needed her rest.
"I still don't understand why that Stefana girl made so much effort to upset Jewel's shoot." Sadie looked confused, finishing the last of her pancake roll and setting down her fork. "What did you guys do to upset her in the first place?"
"Nothing, except exist." Sylva rolled her eyes heavenwards. "Girl took a hate to us the moment Diablo hit Los Angeles. If you ask me, it's all tied up in the rivalry between Rory Llewelyn and Phyllis...they hate each other and there's been bad blood for years. Rory treated Sirena badly - I don't know if you heard about that, but he fired her when she was expecting Michael - and the hate intensified then. Rory would do anything to have Misfit Music and us well out of the way, and Diablo are the best hope he has of knocking us and Sirena off the local and national charts. Bottom line is, Stefana's an unscrupulous cow and Rory's a jerk without morals. The combination's ugly."
"I can't believe she's Luca's sister, though. He seems so nice!"
"Luca's a decent guy." Nancy nodded, taking a sip of lemonade. "But they're siblings all right. Sad, really, but when you get them together you can see the resemblance. She's the real devil in Diablo. None of the others seem to care that much about this so called rivalry between us."
"Luca is the guy Topaz slept with, right?" Sadie asked.
"You know about that?" Copper looked startled.
"Well, we talked a lot online." Sadie reminded her. "Throughout the whole crisis, really, when she and Cameron were first split up." She sighed. "If you ask me - giving my honest opinion as an unqualified counsellor - that one little mistake actually cost Topaz her relationship."
"Cameron was fairly edgy about Luca, it's true." Nancy nodded. "But that was all over ages ago. Then they slept together at Syl's party - or, I hope, after it, rather than at it...and the baby happened." She shrugged. And in a few weeks time, we're going to have a new housemate."
"However it happened, it's still kinda exciting." Copper murmured. "I thought I'd take it badly, with the problems I'm likely to have in that department, but as it gets closer I'm actually excited. Babies are cute."
"Yes." Sadie looked wistful. "That's the thing I'm missing most about England at the moment. Being surrounded by kids. Aly sent me a photo of my new nephew - several, actually - but it's nothing like holding him or playing with his tiny fingers and watching him stare at you."
"You know how to change diapers, right?" Nancy asked sharply. Sadie nodded.
"Of course. I was Alyssa's chief babysitter all through Megan's nappy stage." She agreed. "Why?"
"Because I need lessons." Nancy looked sheepish. "I promised Topaz to help - we all did - but I'm still kinda scared of babies. All I can say is that I'm glad it isn't me about to go through this."
"I'll second that." Sylva agreed. "And at home, too! I think she's insane, if you want the honest truth."
"Well, it's up to her." Copper spread her hands. "And we have to respect that."
She cast Sadie a grin. "How are you liking the madcap world of prepping a Jewel single, huh?"
"It's awesome." A slightly pink tint touched Sadie's cheeks. "I thought it'd be terrible, laying down that song the other day, and that I sang it all wrong, but it actually sounded all right when Zoe played it earlier on. And the video is a blast - it's like playing dress up on a big scale."
She finished the last of her lemonade.
"Zoe's very sweet, too. I like her a whole lot."
"Good, we hoped you girls would get along." Sylva dimpled. "Zoe rocks, and we love working with her. We always have the best time."
"She said something earlier." Sadie remembered. "Forgive me if I shouldn't ask, but is she...I mean, does she...?"
"Zoe's gay." Nancy nodded her head. "If that's what you're trying to ask. She had a hard time with it all when it first came out, though. I think she's cool with it now, and it's never worried us, but we don't mention it unless she does. I think she was perhaps apprehensive about your reaction, judging by how quick she clammed up earlier. It's something she's sensitive about."
"Oh, I see." Sadie laughed. "Well, she needn't worry, if that's the case. I noticed she looked uncomfortable at one point -I was worried that I'd done or said something wrong, but if that's it, then it makes sense now. You can tell her from me that it doesn't worry me in the slightest. Actually, she might have things the right way around." She sighed, putting her chin in her hands. "I've always been attracted to men, and all they do is hurt me."
A silhouette in the doorway startled the quartette and they turned to see their other housemate watching them, her dressing gown wrapped around her.
"Did we wake you?" Sylva looked anxious. "We just got back from the video shoot - we were trying to be quiet."
"No, I just woke up." Topaz spoke in muted tones, and there was a troubled look in her eyes. "It might just be nothing, you guys, but I felt something...well...move, kinda. I don't know if it's anything to worry about or just, you know, one of those things...but it hurt."
"Hurt? Like a contraction?" Sylva's eyes almost fell out of her head as her friend nodded. "Holy crap, Topaz, after the day we've had? You have to be kidding me - please tell me you aren't about to go into labour on me?"
"I hope not. If I am, I'm three weeks early, and Dr Finnan said first babies were often a few days late." Topaz carefully sat herself down on the sofa. "I'm glad you're back. I was worried you wouldn't be - I was coming down to find Cynthia and I heard your voices."
She closed her eyes briefly, and Copper slipped a gentle arm around her friend's shoulders.
"Listen, you just relax." She murmured. "It might be a false alarm - they do happen."
"I know." Topaz admitted. "And I really hope that it is. The trouble is, though, if it is a false alarm, well, then the real thing is still to come. I'm kinda scared - even if I'm overreacting, I didn't want to be alone."
"Do you want anything?" Nancy asked.
"Some water, if you don't mind." Topaz cast the composer a grateful look. "Maybe I just need to sit still a while, take a deep breath and relax. Dr Finnan was here this afternoon, to check everything was fine for the baby's coming and I guess I was a bit wound up over it. Maybe that's all this is...if I relax, it'll stop. Right?"
"And if it doesn't, we have his number." Sadie said gently. "So either way, Topaz, you'll be in safe hands."
Sylva bit her lip, inwardly praying that her friend's contractions were false ones, and that the baby's arrival was not imminent.
"Otherwise, what the hell am I going to do? Play delivery girl, after eighteen hours solid working on that damn video?" She asked herself. "But what else can I do? Hell, I've got goosebumps...I can't let her see how freaked I am. She's scared enough - stay calm."
Nancy returned at that moment with the water, handing it to the Canadian, who took it gratefully, sipping it gingerly.
"Thanks, Nance."
"How are you feeling now?" Copper asked quietly.
"Better for your company, actually." Topaz admitted. "It's been kinda lonely here today - lots of time to dwell. That might be why I'm so wound up."
"It's been a hell of a week." Sadie acknowledged. "Even if you're not chasing around after Jewel stuff, Topaz, then surely you've picked up the stress vibe from the rest of us."
Topaz offered a wan smile.
"Possibly." She agreed. "I spend way too much time with mad folk like you, is that what you're saying?"
"Something along those lines." Sadie agreed goodnaturedly.
"What happened? Did it just start, or what?" Copper enquired.
"I woke up feeling odd." Topaz shrugged. "I don't think my waters broke or anything like that...so I'm not sure exactly what is going on. It just felt...strange. I dunno, maybe it's psychological. Dr Finnan did give me the drill this afternoon, maybe I'm imagining things."
"Well, better safe than sorry." Sadie remarked.
"What time is it, anyhow?" Topaz glanced up at the big clock in the corner. "Half past midnight...sheesh, I've been asleep since four! My body clock is all out, and that chinese smells so good...I don't suppose that there's any left?"
"I thought you were having contractions." Copper scolded. Topaz frowned.
"Well, so did I." She admitted. "But all seems to have gone quiet. I guess it was a false alarm after all...just a busy day or Baby practicing for the big day, huh?"
"You're sure? I mean, we don't want to all go to bed and then find out that it was the real deal after all." Nancy said softly. Topaz took a deep breath.
"I feel better." She murmured. "Panic over, I think. I'm sorry, guys. I didn't mean to scare you all."
"It's okay, so long as you're all right." Sylva assured her, uttering an inward prayer of thanks that she was not going to be called upon just yet. "And I think there's half a pancake roll and some bits and pieces left in the kitchen, if you're hungry."
"Very tempting." Topaz pursed her lips. She looked sheepish. "And I didn't mean to get up just to hunt down midnight munchies this time, I swear."
"It's all right, we believe you." Sylva leant over to hug her friend. "We're just glad you're all right - and that maybe we'll get some sleep in before the big day!"
"I remember Aly having three or four false starts." Sadie mused. "When Megan was on the way. It was actually kinda funny, though, because Andrew would keep getting called from work...and then it would be just test contractions, so he'd wind up going back. His colleagues teased him that the baby was never going to be born - but when she actually had Megan for real, it was kinda a scramble. We couldn't get a hold of him, and I half thought I might be the one holding her hand in delivery. Eventually we got a hold of him, though. I had to look after Shari - and explain to an inquisitive six year old exactly what was going on!"

"But Auntie Sadie...when are Mummy and Daddy coming back?"
The small, fair girl clambered up beside her aunt on the couch, eying the mobile phone that lay on the table. "S'getting late. It's past Mummy's bedtime!"
"It's past Sharita's bedtime, also." Sadie cast her niece a smile. "But tonight's a special night, so I'm gonna let you stop up a while. At least till Daddy calls home to tell us the situation, huh?"
"But where have they gone?" Sharita demanded. "Why didn't we go with them?"
"Well, they went to get your baby sister." Sadie pulled the small girl gently onto her lap. "But she's only tiny, and so she'd be scared if we all went right away - you don't want to scare her away, do you?"
"What's a baby sister like?" Sharita seemed to be thinking this over. "Mummy said that it would be fun, and that you're her little sister...whats gonna happen?"
"Well, for a while, it might be kinda noisy." Sadie grinned. "Tiny babies cry a lot, because they don't know how to talk. Your Mommy and Daddy will need your help, you know, because Baby is going to need a lot of big sisterly advice. You've seen how your Mommy helps me and hugs me when I'm upset. You're going to have to look after Baby in the same way."
Sharita looked thoughtful for a moment.
"She can share my barbie dolls." She said finally. "But she can't have my dog pillow, because that's special."
"You don't have to give her your pillow, don't worry." Sadie hugged her tightly. "Baby will have her own toys and playthings too, but it would be nice if you did share some of your stuff with her. Who knows, maybe she'll share some of hers with you, as you both get older."
"When are they coming back? It's gone twelve."  Sharita pointed a small finger towards the clock on the wall.
"Yes, it has." Sadie agreed, nodding her head. "You're telling the time great now, Shari! And I doubt that Mommy will be back tonight. Daddy will be, but he'll come home probably after you've gone to bed. Babies sometimes take a long time to come, and they'll have to wait a while."
"Graham at school says the stork brings them." Sharita pondered. "Whats a stork?"
"It's a big bird, with a long yellow beak and long legs." Sadie wondered where the conversation was going.
"So why does it have the babies?"
"It doesn't, sweetie." Sadie smiled. "Mummy and Daddy have gone to the hospital, not to see the stork. You know that the baby has been inside Mummy's tummy...she's big enough now to come out and meet everyone."
"I hope Mummy didn't eat her." Sharita remarked. Sadie laughed.
"No, she was just taking care of her." She promised. "Listen, how about we put Bambi on, and watch it for a little while, huh? Till Daddy calls."
"Okay." Sharita seemed to like this idea and Sadie, thankful to have changed the subject set the small girl down on the couch, reaching for her niece's favourite Disney film and pushing the DVD in the machine. Aware that the wait for news might have been a long one, she had chosen three or four of her own Disney disks to amuse the older Knighton girl during the long evening, but she was anxious to know what was happening herself.
"They've been gone since seven. I expected a call before now." She mused, as she pushed play, allowing her niece to snuggle down beside her. "I hope nothing's gone wrong. I thought things were a lot more imminent when they left - maybe I was wrong."
She glanced at the phone. "They say a watched phone never rings - how true that is! Mind you, Andrew might be so busy cooing over the new arrival that he's not gotten as far as spreading the news yet."
"Auntie Sadie?"
"Yes, honey, what is it?"
"Mummy and Daddy aren't going to like the new baby better, are they?"
"Of course not, Shari. What gave you that idea?" Sadie asked gently.
"One of the boys at school said that when your Mummy has a new baby, then they get rid of the old one to a n'orphanage."
"To an orphanage?" Sadie raised an eyebrow. Sharita nodded.
"Is it true?"
"Well, if it was, would Mummy and I have grown up together?" Sadie asked. "Look, Shari, Mummy and Daddy love you very much, and no matter how much they love Baby, they will never stop loving you. They might have to share their time a little more, but you're still their special little girl, and you always will be." A smile touched her lips. "I know because there were five of us, and my Mum made time for each of us - she loved us all very much, even though there were so many of us."
"Oh." Sharita considered, then, "Do you think Mummy and Daddy will have five kids?"
"Well, I don't think they will tonight." Sadie laughed. "I think one might be more than enough for your mother in one night!"
"Auntie Sadie, your phone is flashing!" Sharita pointed, and hurriedly Sadie scooped up the phone, reaching for the television handset to pause the cartoon.
"Sadie, that you?"
"Well, if it wasn't, then someone would've broken into your house and stolen my phone." Sadie teased. "You've been ages calling, what's taken so long?"
"Well, the kid got a bit stuck." Andrew paused. "Don't worry, Sadie, everyone is fine - but Alyssa wanted me to stay with her a while and well, the baby is adorable. She's perfect - seven pounds three ounces, ten fingers and ten toes. Two eyes, a nose and a hell of a scream."
"Did you finally agree what to call her?" Sadie asked.
"Yep. We're calling her Megan." Andrew hesitated, then, "She's gonna be Megan Sadie Knighton. Alyssa wanted her to have your name, and I thought it only right, since you're a big part of the family."
"Oh...I don't know what to say!" Sadie's eyes pricked at this. "Thank you, Andy, and thank Alyssa too. Do you want to talk to Shari? I know it's late, but I thought she'd want to know what news there was, and be reassured a little that just because the baby's here, you don't love her any different."
"All right, put the kid on." Andrew agreed, and Sadie carefully handed her phone to the eager eyed youngster. There was a short exchange of conversation, then the young girl handed the phone back, her eyes bright with excitement.
"Auntie Sadie!" She exclaimed. "I'm a big sister!"

"Sharita sounds sweet." Sylva observed. Sadie nodded.
"She's adorable. As much like my kid sister as my niece in some ways." She agreed. "When I was living with Aly and Andrew, she'd often come into my room in the morning before school, to ask me a question or something. Having her around was so good for me...It was nice to have someone believe in me so utterly and completely."
"Makes me wonder a lot what my little girl will be like." Topaz admitted. "I know it's close now, and I'm very nervous, but talking like this makes me think of her as a real person. I wonder what she'll look like, and what she'll grow up to be."
She smiled wryly.
"But I'm very glad that tonight isn't her night." She admitted. "I'm more than ready to wait a little while longer."
"And we'll agree with that, after the long day we've had!" Nancy stifled a yawn. "I'm going to hit the sack - we've an early morning tomorrow, so if we don't go to bed soon then we never will. Sweet dreams, everyone. Tomorrow, Jewel lay down their first video with their newest member...if we don't fall asleep on set!"

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!