Chapter Twelve: A Broken Secret

 "Hollie, you can't catch the butterflies." Topaz sent the small girl an affectionate smile, carefully reaching out to stop the young toddler wandering off after her prey, and sitting her down on her lap. "They fly too fast for your little hands."
It was the next day, and, encouraged by the bright sunshine, Topaz had decided to take her daughter down to the city park to stretch her small legs and play with the wildlife. A phone call the night before had assured her that Cameron would be spending a second day finalising papers in San Diego, and looking at potential apartments with Aaron, so she had taken advantage of the fact, determined that her daughter should not be holed up within the Starlight Mansion when the weather was so good.
"She's all over the place." Sylva stretched out on the grass, carefully weaving together daisies to form a daisy chain. "You'll need to have her on a leash before too long."
"Tell me about it." Topaz grinned, tucking a wisp of reddy gold hair back into her daughter's clip. "She likes to explore, dontcha Hol?"
"Wants." Hollie pouted, making a renewed grab for the butterfly, but it was long out of her reach, and Topaz laughed.
"You see? I told you." She scolded playfully. "Now, you sit down there while I put your socks back on, and stop wriggling! We're gonna go see the ducks in a while and you can't go feeding ducks with no socks on."
"She'll probably do what she did last time and try and kick her shoes in with the bread." Sylva grinned. "It's nice though, don't you think? Getting a break like this inbetween all the hype and chaos of Copper's wedding arrangements?"
"Yeah." Topaz nodded. "Though I'm enjoying the chance to spend so much time with her, in truth. Getting back into the music business has been harder than I thought, because I feel guilty that I'm not there for Hollie more now. But she only has me to support What else can I do?"
"And at the end of the day, she loves people and adores the creche." Sylva observed. "So it's not all bad."
"But what about when we tour? Nowhere for her to go, except the Foundation." Topaz looked troubled. "I worry about that. Thing is though, if I were to leave Jewel - and the company - permanently, I'd have no reason to stay in America, would I? And I have too many good friends and good memories here in LA now to want to up roots and go back to Toronto. I'm fond of Canada but still, home is where your family or, in my case, friends are. But I hate taking her to Kimber and asking her to play mother to my daughter, when she has so many needy girls to worry about - girls who don't have a mother at all."
"I'd miss you so much if you left." Sylva assured her. She looked pensive.
"Don't you think we've grown up though? As Jewels, I mean? Look at us. You have a toddler. Copper's gonna marry Aaron...then she'll be having babies too, I bet, if she can just get around the fertility problem. I dont think any of us forsaw things being how they are when we started out."
"You're philosophical today." Topaz observed. Sylva nodded.
"I know." She admitted. "Can't think why. Ah well...are we going to feed duckies?"
"Yep, just as soon as I locate Hollie's other sock. She's tossed it someplace again." Topaz lifted the wriggling infant, glancing around for the missing sock. "I hope she knows that this joke is getting old, fast."
"I think I see it." Sylva reported. "It must've blown across the grass...I think it's in the hedge. You put her in the stroller, I'll go get it."
"Thanks, Syl." Topaz responded gratefully, depositing her precious burden gently into the pushchair and carefully fastening the straps. "I'm glad we brought you along."
Sylva headed across the grass, whistling idly as she did so. Pausing at the bush, she soon located the missing sock, carefully detangling it from the rosebush.
"Silly kid." She murmured to herself with a chuckle. "She's gonna drive Topaz mad before too long."
"'Ello Sylva."
At that moment a familiar voice caused her to visibly start, almost dropping the sock in the process.
"Cameron!" She exclaimed. "What on earth are you doing here?"
"Well, that's a nice greetin' for an old friend" Cameron offered her a dry smile. "I'm on 'oliday, ain't I? I was just takin' a walk, an' enjoyin' the Los Angeles sunshine."
"I thought you were in San Diego. Aaron said you were gonna go hunt apartments or something." Sylva frowned, her eyes darting nervously between the Englishman and her friend. Intent on her daughter's needs, Topaz had not noticed the newcomer's arrival, for both she and the buggy were facing the opposite direction.
"Well, that was the plan." Cameron agreed. "But Aaron 'ad a phonecall from some realtors about some 'ouse or other an' 'ad to go see them urgent to fix whatever the problem was. I told 'im I wasn't gonna go 'untin' in San Diego without a native an' that we'd do it another day."
"Oh. I see. Well, I suppose that's fair enough." Sylva admitted. "Is something badly up where the house is concerned?"
"Don't think so." Cameron shook his head. "Jus' one of those agents who can't make a decision without the buyer 'oldin' 'is 'and. Aaron 'ad some choice words for 'im this mornin' when 'e got the call!"
"I can imagine he did." Sylva looked rueful.
"You 'ere alone?" Cameron eyed her keenly. "Or am I to presume from your furtive behaviour that Rora's about?"
"Um..." Sylva bit her lip then, "Sort of."
"Sort of?" Cameron raised an eyebrow. "Look, it's all right. She an' I talked - we made peace. I'm not gonna yell at 'er."
"I realise." Sylva bit her lip, then, "She's just kinda...busy at the moment."
"Is she with another guy?" Cameron asked. Sylva shook her head.
"No. She's with Hollie." She said quietly. A tiny hint of pain touched Cameron's expression.
"The baby." He murmured. Sylva nodded.
"Well, I still want to talk to 'er." Cameron seemed to steel himself. "I 'ave to get that over with sooner or later. Where is she?"
"Syl, are you coming, I..." Topaz turned, stopping in midspeech at the sight of the medical student, her cheeks flushing an uncomfortable red.
"Hi, Rora." Cameron offered her a tentative smile. "Didn't expect to run into you this mornin'"
"Likewise." Topaz jerked to her senses, shaking her head. "I...I can't talk now, Cam. This isn't a...a good time."
She sent Sylva a beseeching look. "Syl, come on...we haven't got all day."
"I'm coming. I got the sock." Sylva turned, casting Cameron an apologetic glance over her shoulder as she did so. Loyal as she was to her friend, the romantic inside her longed to make it a happy ending.
"I ain't gonna yell at you." Cameron looked confused. Topaz managed a faint smile.
"I know, but I just...just have to go." She said softly. "Syl, come on! We've got stuff to do!"
"Okay, I'm coming." Sylva hurried to join her friend.
"Are you okay?" She murmured as she reached the singer. Topaz closed her eyes briefly, swallowing hard.
"He was supposed to be in San Diego." She muttered. "Did you know he was in LA?"
"Not till he jumped me just now." Sylva shook her head. "I'd've told you, I swear. Hey, where are we going? Ducks are that way."
"We're going home." Topaz said shortly. "At least, Hollie and I are."
"Why don't you just talk to him? I thought you had a truce, and he's gonna be coming to America come August anyway." Sylva looked confused. "I don't get it."
"Because as soon as he lays eyes on Hollie he'll know I misled him and that she's his." Topaz bit her lip. "She looks too much like him to be coincidence. And I'm frightened that he'll be angry...angry enough to try and take her off me."
"I hate to say this, Topaz, but I think we're being followed."
Topaz frowned, glancing over her shoulder, then muttering a curse.
"We are." She acknowledged. "Damn him...I don't want to see him. Not whilst Hol's with me."
"Well, what if I take Hollie back to the car and you tell him to leave you alone?" Sylva suggested. "Because he isn't going to give up unless you talk to him."
"Thing is, Syl, I'd do anything to be with him again, properly." Topaz sighed. "I'm so mad in love with him still that it's scary...I don't know where I might end up getting myself. Talking to him is so difficult - even though we've made peace, as it were."
"Rora." At that moment, Cameron caught them up, and almost instinctively Topaz pushed the buggy away, into Sylva's care. "What gives? Last time I talked to you you seemed cool about makin' peace - now you're runnin' away from me?"
"It's just not a good time. I have a baby to think of." Topaz said quietly, as Sylva gently lifted the toddler from the pushchair, setting her down on the ground several feet away as she dismantled the carriage, her eye never leaving the small girl for one second. "We settled things before - I don't know why we need to go over it again. Just because we have a truce, it doesn't mean we need to see each other all the time, does it? It might be easier for you, but it's still difficult for me to see you about the place. I guess I'm still getting used to the idea of...everything."
"I understand that, I suppose." Cameron admitted. "We 'ad a pretty 'eavy duty relationship an' it ended suddenly - it takes some gettin' used to."
"Yes, it does." Topaz agreed quietly. "I wish things hadn;t wound up the way they did, Cam, but I have new responsibilities now."
"I know." Cameron's green eyes became shadowed. "Hollie, isn't that her name? Your daughter?"
"Yes." Topaz nodded.
"Don't you ever see the guy who dumped 'er on you?"
Topaz looked grave.
"No." She said softly. "Though more than anything I wish I could. Noone dumped Hollie on me, Cameron - I chose to have her and I don't regret that choice. I would do anything in my power to make her happy and healthy and a well rounded little girl, but I can't work miracles. She doesn't have a father and that's just how it is. For the best. She takes up so much of my time and my attention, that I don't have time to think much about, well, other things."
"Not even mistakes made?"
"Hollie will never be a mistake." Topaz murmured. "Mistakes are things that aren't wanted - that go wrong. Hollie is the best thing anyone could ever give me, Cameron - so don't ever think of her as a mistake."
"But she broke us up."
"No, I did that." Topaz met his gaze gravely. "I took that decision, not Hollie. She's just a baby, she didn't do anything. She doesn't understand how complicated life can be, or how dense her mother is when it comes to making the right choices with men. I have to go - she needs her mother and I'm all she has."
Cameron's expression became unreadable for a moment, and it seemed almost as if he were going to turn and walk away, but at that moment, Hollie herself decided to have a say. Evading Sylva's wild attempt to grab her she toddled across the grass to her mother, clutching the daisy she had picked.
"Mama, flower!" She exclaimed. Horror flooded Topaz's face as she scooped the youngster up, sending Cameron a frightened glance. Cameron's eyes were fixed on Hollie's face, his expression becoming more and more disbelieving by the minute.
"Mama, flower!" Hollie became more insistant and with some difficulty Topaz turned her attention to the little girl.
"Yep, it's a daisy, Hollie." She murmured. "Like the ones Auntie Syl was making into a chain for you."
Hollie cast the stranger a curious look, then she grinned, thrusting out the fist that held the flower towards him.
"Flower." She told him importantly.
Wordlessly Cameron took the daisy from her, his eyes not leaving her face.
"Hollie..." he murmured.
This was too much for Topaz and she took a step backwards, glancing around her to make sure that Sylva had the car ready to go. As soon as she saw her friend's reassuring wave she was gone across the grass, leaving Cameron staring after her.
"I thought you were gonna keep her away from him." She demanded as she got into the vehicle, putting Hollie carefully into the child seat.
"I tried, but I couldnt hold her and put the stroller down." Sylva looked apologetic. "I thought she'd stay, I didn't think she'd run off like that. I thought she was happy enough with her flowers."
"Well, I guess it's too late now for me to get mad at you over it." Topaz bit her lip. "But God, Syl, what's he gonna do? Now he knows, what's he gonna say to me?"

Chapter One: Madeleine

Chapter Two: Remeniscences
Chapter Three: A Shock For Topaz
Chapter Four: Marissa
Chapter Five: Dilemmas
Chapter Six: Ranieri vs Ranieri
Chapter Seven: Home Truths
Chapter Eight: The Bridesmaids
Chapter Nine: An Olive Branch
Chapter Ten: Stag Night
Chapter Eleven: Demons...and Angels

Chapter Twelve: A Broken Secret

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!