Chapter Eight: The Bridesmaids

"So, sis, when do I get to see your wedding dress, huh?"
Rosita put her hands on her hips, turning to fix her older sister with an inquisitive look. Across the room, Gaynor was carefully adjusting the hem on Sylva's bridesmaid dress, whilst Topaz and Sadie examined their reflections in the mirror, and Cynthia coaxed Nancy that it was time she tried hers on, also. It was two days on, and Copper had made up her mind which bridesmaid dresses she wanted for her wedding. Gaynor had offered her assistance to ensure each one was a perfect fit, and so the front room of the Starlight Mansion had become a mess of pins, dresses and bridesmaids.
"Noone gets to see the dress till the big day." Gaynor looked up at this. "Copper and I are agreed that we want to surprise everyone - even you guys! It's coming along nicely, that's all you need to know."
"Aw, Copper!" Sylva protested. "We don't even get a sneak peek?"
"Nope." Copper's eyes twinkled with amusement. "Gaynor's right. We're gonna spring it on you on the big day, and not before! It's safer that way."
"I suppose so." Sylva pouted. "I just wanted to see, that's all."
"I'm sure you'll approve." Gaynor grinned. "Copper has very good taste in designs."
"Modesty!" Copper exclaimed, and Gaynor tossed an empty pincushion in the bride's direction. The sudden movement attracted the attention of the small girl who had been curled up in Copper's lap, playing with her doll, and she struggled to sit more upright, gazing around at the assembled girls with big green eyes.
"Well, Hollie, what do you think?" Topaz cast her daughter a smile, coming to display her dress. "You think this looks okay?"
Hollie gurgled some unintelligible word of her own, reaching out a small hand for the fabric. Half afraid she would damage it, Copper reached out to stop her, but Hollie had no intention of hurting the dress. She put her tiny fist against it, and giggled, stroking the soft cloth gently.
"Flower." She announced, pointing to the elegant brocade that ran along the edge of the bodice.
"Yep, flower indeed." Topaz agreed. "You approve then, kid? This is my bridesmaid's dress for Copper's wedding."
"Pwetty." The baby touched the fabric again, then grinned. "Hollie wants."
"Uh-uh, kid." Topaz shook her head. "Fraid this is one function you're not gonna attend. Everyone's going to be too busy and I can't have you running underfoot, so you're spending the wedding day at the Foundation. Besides, with a certain member of the congregation present, it's the only thing I can think of to keep you safe."
"Hollie wants!" The infant became insistant, reaching out with both hands this time and Copper had to grab her hurriedly to stop her from falling.
"Careful, Hol!" She exclaimed. "Don't want you to hurt yourself!"
"She's always had a thing for pink." Sadie observed, coming to sit down on the chair opposite. "She went after my guitar in the studio once, remember?"
"I'll never forget. She almost fell off the unit." Topaz nodded her head, sitting down beside Copper and taking the infant in her own arms. "Here you go, baby. You can have a proper look at it now."
"Careful, Topaz. If you get that all creased up it's gonna cause Gaynor a hell of a lot more work." Sylva warned her.
"I'll get it dry cleaned if need be." Topaz assured her. "And Hollie's not hurting it. She's just interested, that's all."
"She's the cutest thing." Rosita dimpled. "Copper told me you had a little girl, but not one as cute as this. It's a shame she isn't coming to the wedding - I think she's old enough not to scream the whole place down."
"So do I, but it's not a good idea." Topaz said slowly. "Hollie's father is attending, and let's just say that having Hollie there would not be the best plan I'd ever had."
"Oh, I see." Rosita knelt to touch the tiny fists. "I didn't realise it was that complicated."
"My love life is always complicated." Topaz groaned. "Hey, Hol, that's my hair! Hands off!" For the small girl had caught sight of her mother's brightly coloured hair tie and was doing her best to reach it. "Stop it, you little horror! That tickles!"
"She only wants the hairtie." Nancy observed from the doorway. "Can't think why."
"She's attracted to bright colours." Sadie said. "Babies often are. Nance, are you going to put your dress on? When Gaynor's done with Syl's, she's gonna want to check yours fits properly too, you know. She's done with Topaz, Ros and I, and we know Cyn's is fine. You're the only one left."
"I don't want to." Nancy sighed. "It's pink!"
"Please, Nance." Copper begged. "It's for my wedding day, and I just want everything to be perfect. Pretty please?"
"Okay, okay." Nancy rolled her eyes, grabbing the hanger from the rack. "I'll go put it on. But noone is allowed to laugh. Okay? Syl, you got that?"
"Fine, we won't laugh." Sylva agreed. "Though I haveta admit I can't wait to see you in a fancy dress. Never thought I'd see the day."
Nancy muttered a curse, stomping out of the room with the dress over her shoulder.
"Poor Nancy." Cynthia looked amused. "She must really care about your wedding, Copper, to put herself through such hardship."
"I think the dresses are gorgeous." Sadie examined her reflection once more. "And when we've all got our hair done as well, we're going to look awesome."
"Well, they certainly go well with the fabric that Copper's dress is going to be." Gaynor's eyes sparkled. "There you go, Syl. I'm done with yours now, if you want to go change out of it carefully. I'll take it tonight and stitch the hem so it's fine."
"Okay." Sylva dimpled. "Thanks, Gaynor. I'm glad we have you on hand to sort these things out."
"I'm really enjoying this whole wedding buzz." Gaynor admitted. "And doing Copper's dress is a lot of fun."
She scooped up her tape measure, heading across the room to where Topaz and Hollie were sitting.
"I have one more set of measurements to take, though, aside from Nancy's." She observed playfully, getting down on her knees and putting the end of the tape measure on the tip of Hollie's nose, making the infant giggle.
"What's this about?" Topaz looked startled.
"Well, it seems a shame that everyone else is getting a pretty new dress, and not Hollie." Gaynor shrugged. "I have some of the cutest baby patterns back home, and I'm dying to make her something, if you'll let me."
"Wow." Topaz stared, then, "Sure, Gaynor, be my guest. That'd be fab."
"Well, then I need to know how big the little terror is." Gaynor gently wrapped the tape measure around the baby's middle, watched all the time by curious green eyes. "Don't worry, Hollie, this won't hurt you. I'm just gonna find out how big you are, so I can make you a pretty dress, like Mommy has. Okay?"
Though Hollie's grasp of speech was still limited, the designer almost thought the small girl understood, for she sat very quietly whilst Gaynor made careful note of her measurements. By this time Nancy had slid uncomfortably back into the room, dressed in the hated gown, and Gaynor scooped up her bits and pieces again.
"All right, Nancy. Your turn." She said warmly. "Stand up straight for me, huh? You're about Syl's height, so I suspect I'll have to take yours up a mite too."
"Fine, whatever. Just do it quickly." Nancy muttered.
"I don't know what you're making such a fuss about, Nance." Sadie said with a shrug. "The dress looks fine on you."
"Better, I think, than the scowl she is wearing with it." Cynthia laughed. "Topaz, shall I take Hollie from you whilst you go change? It would be a shame to mess up your gown, after all."
"All right." Topaz agreed, carefully handing the infant to her holographic friend. "Thanks, Cyn. I'll be back in a few."
"Are you sure you don't want me to check your gown, Cynthia?" Gaynor paused for a moment, glancing at the hologram. "I've not seen you in it yet, and it might need adjusting."
"No, it's fine. I assure you, it is a perfect fit." Cynthia replied smoothly. "Thank you, Gaynor, but I believe you have more than enough work to do."
"Well, if you're sure." Gaynor shrugged. "But if you change your mind, you know where I am. I'm almost done with Copper's dress now - I just need her to try it on to do some finishing touches, and when I've taken up these I'll settle down and see if I can't make Hollie something pretty to wear. She might not be able to wear it to the wedding, but there's no reason why she shouldn't have something special to wear to fancy occasions."
"I did think about getting her baptised." Topaz admitted, re-entering the room at that moment, with Sylva in tow. "I'm undecided. My mother was a Catholic and I was raised that way - though I'm very lapsed now. I almost think that Hol should be baptised, you know?"
"I think it's up to you." Copper said with a smile. "Hollie's your little girl, after all."
"Well, if I did do it, I'd have a hard time choosing a second godmother." Topaz looked rueful. "Syl would always be one, of course, but I'd not know how to choose between the rest of you."
"I'm her unofficial godmother, because I was there when she was born." Sylva explained to the confused Rosita. "She calls me Auntie Sylvie - though she calls all of us "aunt"."
"Well, 'tata'." Sadie dimpled. "She's so cute."
"She really is." Rosita nodded. "I love kids. I always hated that I was the youngest in our family - I didn't get any baby sister or brother to coo over!"
"No, but you were a cute baby, I remember when you were born." Copper's eyes twinkled. "I was four and a half, so I got to hold you. Luis thought you were the ugliest thing on the planet, and when Papa gave you to me to hold, you gave the poor boy a fist in the face. It was a scream."
"Luis and I have always had such a close relationship." Rosita giggled. "But I suppose the advantage of being the youngest is that I might get nieces and nephews. At least, with any luck."
"I hope so." Copper agreed. "Even if they're adopted ones."
"Topaz, do you have any brothers and sisters?"
"No." Topaz shook her head. "I have a step brother and sister, but I hate them beyond belief. I've no blood brothers or sisters, so Hollie hadn't got aunts and uncles."
"Cameron has two sisters and a brother." Sylva objected. Topaz shot her a dark look.
"Cameron isn't in the picture." She said pointedly, and the synth player blushed.
"I know." She admitted. "Sorry."
"It's sad she hasn't got a Papa." Rosita remarked absently. "It's not easy."
" Dad died before I was born, and I never met him." Topaz agreed. "But this is just how it worked out. Maybe one day she'll have a father figure. I hope if I do ever give her a stepfather, though, that I'll take the time to listen to her feelings on the subject first. I had mine foisted on me - I don't think I've forgiven Mom for it, even now."
"They say these things run in families." Rosita looked unusually thoughtful. Topaz looked startled.
"What do you mean?"
"Nothing, probably." Rosita smiled. "Just that your mother was a single Mom, and so are you."
"Yeah, I'd thought that." Topaz admitted ruefully. "Guess it is true. Guess it must be in the genes."
"Okay, I'm about done with you, Nancy." Gaynor announced at that moment. "You can take the dress off now. I'll take the ones that need adjusting, and I'll sort them out tonight. Won't take me a moment."
"Thank God for that." Nancy looked relieved, disappearing out of the room to change, and Gaynor laughed.
"Someone should tell her there's nothing wrong with a pretty dress." She said, amused.
"She's going to dye the yellow streaks from her hair for my wedding." Copper told her. "Says the yellow won't go with the dress, and I do see what she means. She wants to be 'natural'."
"She looks a lot like Jetta, when her hair's natural black." Sylva remembered. "It's been a while since she wore it that way, though."
"I thought about doing the same thing." Sadie admitted. "She and I are quite a contrast - me with my white blond and her with her jet-black. Think I should rid myself of the pink streaks for Copper's wedding, too? Copper, what do you think?"
"It's up to you." Copper grinned. "Though remember who you have to get to dye the colours back in again afterwards, okay!"
"Well, I could go to Gaston at the salon, if you didn't want to do it." Sadie reasoned. "And you'd have to do Nancy's anyway. She won't go near the salon at all."
"No kidding." Nancy re-emerged at that moment, handing the dress to Gaynor. "Copper's the only one who I let near my hair where dye is concerned!"
"Ros, you and I had better change, then Gaynor can take the dresses with her. She's looking after them." Sadie realised. "Come on."
"Sure." Rosita nodded. She followed the newest member of the group out of the front room and up the main stairs to the floor where their rooms were situated. At the top she paused.
"She's gonna be a beautiful bride, isn't she?" She murmured. Sadie nodded.
"She is." She agreed. "But then, she deserves to be. She's a sweetheart, your sister."
"Yeah, I know." Rosita looked pensive. "She's been through such a lot in her life really. I'm glad she found a guy like Aaron who means so much to her."
"I know she was sick when she was younger...that must've been hard on all of you."
"Hardest on her, but yeah, it wasn't fun." Rosita agreed. "Papa died of cancer too, you see, and you must know by now how close Copper was to him. I mean, we all were...but Copper especially. I know that the one thing she wants most is for her father to be there at her wedding, and I feel sad that I can't make that happen."
"Life can stink sometimes." Sadie reflected. "But I'm sure he'll be there in spirit."
"Me too." Rosita nodded. "I believe he watches over all of us, anyway. He promised us he would."
"How old are you, Ros?"
"Nineteen." Rosita looked surprised. "Why?"
"I just wondered." Sadie pursed her lips. "I have a sister who's about your age."
"Cool." Rosita grinned. "You have a big family? I love big families...I wish there had been more of us."
"I have two sisters and two brothers." Sadie agreed. "It's neat how close you and Copper are though, Ros. I'm...not so close to all my siblings. My older sister, Alyssa - she means everything to me, her and her family, but it's not been so easy with the others. My younger sister and I - her name is Georgia - we never got on very well as kids and we grew apart. She's had a lot of problems in recent years - I guess that helped repair the bond a little. Seeing you with Copper made me wonder how George and I might get on now, if she were to come visit me in LA. I'd like her to, but a little part of me wonders if the bonds we formed last time I was in England were only because George was vulnerable then, and maybe she doesn't need me now."
"That's sad." Rosita looked sympathetic. "Papa dying made us all closer together. We all knew that we only had each other to get through it, so we bonded. I miss Copper like anything now she's here in LA, though I'm thrilled she's getting married. I always wanted my big sister to be happy - especially since there was a time when none of us really knew if she'd live to enjoy all of this kind of stuff. To have her happy and well - that means the world."
"Yes." Sadie looked thoughtful. "I rather feel the same about Georgia." She shrugged. "Ah well. Guess we'd better change out of these before Gaynor comes chasing us, huh?"
"Guess so." Rosita dimpled, pushing open the door of the room she was staying in. "It's gonna be such a fun day, Sadie - I can't wait!"

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

It was raining again.
Aaron pushed open the door of the coffee house, pausing and glancing around him for his friend. Recognising a familiar face in the far corner, he raised his hand in a wave, heading over to join the other guy.
Cameron glanced up from his coffee, returning the smile and indicating for Aaron to take a seat.
"I wondered if you'd make it." He observed, taking a sip of his drink and setting it down on the table. "I was about to give up on you."
"Sorry." Aaron grimaced. "Got kept waiting in the jewellers whilst they found the right rings and everything. They had a new person on and I had to double-check everything - Copper wouldn't forgive me if I turned up with the wrong rings, after all."
"Nope, I guess not." Cameron smiled. "It's cool, mate. I figured out what 'ad 'appened."
"I can't believe you've been in LA as long as you have and this is the first time we've gotten to hang out." Aaron observed. "You all set for the bachelor party?"
"Yeah, set as I can be." Cameron nodded. "The Blue Moon Club, is that what you said?"
"Yes." Aaron nodded. "Logan's idea - some best man idea about remembering old times. It was the first over eighteen club we ever hung out at."
"I've been to the Blue Moon." Cameron remembered. He frowned. "Long time ago, though. Who else is coming to this shindig?"
"Oh, Logan, you, Taylor, me and some friends from local. Couple of guys from work, old school friends - that kinda thing." Aaron responded. He laughed. "I did kinda say to Dad he was welcome if he wanted to come along, but he thought it would be safer if he didn't. Besides, it's Mom's birthday that night, so he's taking her out to dinner. It's all worked out pretty well, considering."
"Neat." Cameron remarked. "Well, I won't be ditchin' you in any dumpsters, don't worry. That kinda joke gets old, fast."
"I'm glad to hear that." Aaron laughed. "Though looking back on it, it was all kinda funny."
"Yeah, it was." A smile touched Cameron's lips. "Taylor's bachelor party was fun, all in all."
"What I can remember of it." Aaron pointed out. Cameron nodded.
"Well, there is that." He acknowledged. "But I could use a good pub crawl with friends, to be honest. Get into the swing of things."
"Did you go see those people in San Diego yet?" Aaron wondered. Cameron shook his head.
"No, but I must." he replied. "I was looking over the papers last night, and the residency they're offering me is a chance of a lifetime. A large part of me really wants to take it up, but moving across the sea is a big commitment. I don't know if I know enough people in California, let alone enough of life here to survive."
Aaron eyed him keenly.
"I'd not want to stop in Los Angeles long without Copper, either." he observed thoughtfully. Cameron looked uncomfortable.
"I'm doin' me level best not to think of the girl." he reproached. "I'm lookin' at San Diego from another angle, so forget Rora for the minute, would you? I stopped to consider everythin', and it occured to me how little I know of American life. You 'ave different currency, different words for everythin'...and what if I can't take what the hospital in San Diego throws at me? I know that one of the reasons I was so interested in applying abroad was because I wanted to see things I wouldn't see so often in downtown London, but it struck me the other night that I'd be dealin' with all kinds of trauma situations - gun crime is a lot more common in the states than it is back 'ome. Would I be takin' on more than I could 'andle?"
"Well, I can't answer that one for you." Aaron told him with a shrug. "I don't know the first thing about working in a hospital, or the stresses that doctors go through. What I do know though, Cam, is that even when we were kids playing airplanes round the tree at your old house, you wanted to be a doctor even then. And I don't see why you couldn't settle into life here. Sadie's done it. Mom's done it. It's not impossible. Yeah, you'd see different things, but surely that could only make you a better doctor in the long run? Noone's saying you'd stay here forever, but it'd be good work experience, to be able to say you've done a variety of things in a number of places. Don't you think? You wouldn't be totally isolated - Los Angeles ain't far away and we'd hang out if you were within driving distance, you know that. And hey, the pay slip could be worse."
"There is that." Cameron pursed his lips. "I guess you're right. And patients are still patients, whatever accent they speak with."
He grimaced.
"Okay, I'll come clean. Rora is the problem."
"I thought she might be." Aaron bit his lip contemplatively, then, "I didn't know how complicated things were between you two, but as I told Copper, I wanted you to come, and so did she."
"I'm glad to 'ear it." Cameron told him with a wry smile. "Oh, I'm a big boy, I'll get over it. In the meantime, though, I 'ave to work out whether San Diego is pushin' it too close to the mark."
"Whatever you do, Cam, don't let Topaz get in the way of it being the thing you want." Aaron told him wisely. "Because you'll regret it otherwise."
"I know that." Cameron agreed. "Oh well. I guess I'll go to San Diego at the end of the week, talk to them an' see what the place is like. I might love it as soon as I get there, after all."
"Yep, you might." Aaron nodded. "When do your finals begin, again?"
"Ugh, don't remind me." Cameron grimaced again. "April twelfth. Three weeks of bloody exams, whilst you and the missus are swannin' off on your bleedin' 'oneymoon. Life ain't fair."
"I s'pose not." Aaron looked amused. "But when you're a full blown doc, Cam, you'll be earning twice what I do."
"Doubtful." Cameron snorted. "I know a bit about Misfit Music an' I know that the Gabor woman ain't stingy with 'er pay cheques."
"No, that's true." Aaron agreed. "But still, if you're doing what you always wanted to do..."
"Right." Cameron nodded. "And I can't imagine doin' anything else now, so I guess that's that for me. Three weeks of exams it'll 'ave to be, and I bloody well better 'ad pass them!"
"You will." Aaron assured him. "Taylor says you're top of your classes most of the time."
"Well, sometimes." Cameron looked pensive, then, "I 'ad a blip round Christmas an' new year last year, mind you. Couldn't get me 'ead off you know who, bunked off classes an' pretty much scraped through assignments without really knowin' what I was doin'. In the end my tutor hauled me in an' gave me an earful. Worked, like, I got me 'ead straight, but it took a bit of time to get me grades back up where they should be."
"You should never let a chick get to you that much."
"Oh, an' you've never felt so messed up where Copper's concerned?" Cameron raised an eyebrow.
"Cam, I never pretend to understand how women work." Aaron laughed. "But okay, you win. I guess I wouldn't be any different. Mind you, I know Copper is the maybe that has something to do with."
A look of pain flashed briefly into Cameron's eyes, then,
"I believed Rora was, too." he murmured. "But now I guess I 'ave to realise she ain't. When I were doin' practical, Aaron, one of the things we 'ad to deal with were antenatal, birth an' post-natal care. I 'elped deliver three or four kids, an' it kinda took it out of me. I couldn't think of anythin' but Rora an' whoever he is. It ain't been fun."
"I don't understand." Aaron looked confused. Cameron shrugged.
"Don't bother about it." He said darkly. "I don't understand either, but it's 'ow it is."
"Well, the girls don't tell me everything." Aaron admitted. "I'm sorry though, Cam."
"Me too." Cameron raised a smile. "'Ere, you gettin' a drink?"
"I suppose so." Aaron nodded sheepishly. "You want another coffee? My treat."
"Sure." Cameron agreed. "Milk an' sugar, ta."
"No problem." Aaron got to his feet, heading up to the counter to order. As he did so, however, his friend's words preyed on his mind.
What had Cameron meant?
"Oh well." He shrugged, handing over the amount due and scooping up the two steaming mugs. "I suppose it's not my business and I'd do best keeping out of it. God knows that's usually the best plan when Copper's friends are involved!"
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!