Chapter Three: Sylva Intervenes
"I don't think I could feel worse if I tried."
Sylva sank down onto the sofa, uttering a heavy sigh. "It's all such a mess and I can't help but feel like it's my fault. If I'd have kept a better eye on her, she'd never have run after Topaz like that."
"Fifteen month old toddlers aren't predictable. You did your best." Sadie told her soothingly. "Besides, we both know that the issue at the bottom of this isn't to do with you at all. Topaz made her choices where Cameron was concerned...now she has to deal with them. I think we all knew deep down somewhere that she'd have to sooner or later. After all, he is moving out to the states come autumn."
Sylva nodded her head.
"I know, but it doesn't make me feel any better." She murmured. "Topaz has shut herself away in her room with Hollie, as if afraid he might try and abduct the poor kiddy. I feel like I've caused so much bad karma between them, Sadie...first I lied in London, and now this."
"Maybe it's for the best Cameron knows." Sadie reflected. "Hollie might grow up wanting a mummy and a daddy."
"Yeah, but as it is, Sadie, she's going to wind up with one or the other." Sylva grimaced. "Topaz said that he made it clear it wasn't over. That sounds so much like a threat to fight for custody to me. She was right all along - and I couldn't live with myself if he took Hollie away. Topaz loves her so much."
"Cameron hasn't had a chance to love her, though." Sadie said softly. "I'm not taking sides against Topaz," as Sylva opened her mouth to retort, "I'm just trying to see it from his point of view. She broke his heart, and now this has knocked him for six again. If he does anything rash where Hollie is concerned, then its only because he's still reeling from the shock of being a father at all."
"Probably." Sylva sighed. "All I know is that ever since he came over yesterday, she's shut herself away. I can't coax her out, not even to go shopping. She won't leave Hollie alone for a second - she's really scared."
"I don't think she has grounds to be." Sadie decided. "I don't think that Cameron, even as angry as he is, would stoop to abducting the girl. Everything I know about this guy suggests that he's on the level. Maybe he'll seek legal advice, but Topaz has powerful legal backing if she needs it, and Cameron doesn't have a residence or a steady income yet. Courts usually rule in the mother's favour anyway...so she's worrying about nothing. As far as I'm concerned it's more important that Hollie doesn't grow up knowing her Mum and Dad hate each other and that she's the reason that they don't speak. That'd screw a kid's head up."
"You're right." Sylva pursed her lips. "I didn't think of it from that angle, but you're exactly right. Hollie was so interested in that family thing on the tv the other day, then Topaz had me turn it off and it upset her. One day she's going to ask, and..."
She shook her head.
"I can't just sit around here and let that happen." She decided, getting to her feet. "Sade, if Topaz asks where I am, I went to the grocery store for milk, okay?"
"We have milk." Sadie looked confused.
"Well, for anything else, then." Sylva was impatient. "It doesn't matter what. I'm actually going to see Cameron, but I don't want her to know what I'm doing, in case I make things worse. She'd try and stop me, but I have to try, Sadie."
"Oh, I see." Sadie's expression cleared, then, "In that case, good luck."
"You're not going to try and talk me out of it?" Sylva looked surprised. Sadie shook her head.
"No, I think it's a good idea." She replied quietly. "He needs to know the truth about what you said in London, and you're the only one who can explain that to him. Besides, something has to be done. Topaz can't stay this upset, and it's affecting the whole mood. Copper is getting married soon and we want her day to be perfect." "We do." Sylva's expression became determined. "Right then. I'm going to go to the Teenangel place and I'm going to damn well do whatever I can to fix it."
With that she was gone, and Sadie crossed and uncrossed her fingers behind her back.
"I hope she can do some good." She murmured. "Things can't stay like this."
The Teenangel estate was not far from the Starlight Mansion, and it was
in no time at all that Sylva found herself gazing up at the big stone building.
Hardening her resolve, she marched up the steps, knocking on the door.
It was opened in a second by Rose, who met Sylva's expression with a doubtful one of her own.
"Are you sure you should be here?" She murmured. "Cameron's in a hell of a temper, and I don't think you're high on his good list at the moment."
"It's him I came to see." Sylva said. "He's in, then?"
Rose nodded her head.
"Yes. Take him, by all means." She rolled her eyes. "He's a real grump in this mood. Just I hope you know what you're doing. He's really mad about something, Syl."
"I know." Sylva swallowed hard, then, "It's at least partly my fault, too. Could you get him for me? I really need to have words with him."
"Sure, but on your head be it." Rose nodded. "Come wait in the hall - I'll go find him."
Sylva did as she was bidden as the redhaired Teenangel disappeared into the house. There was the sound of raised voices, then Rose's unmistakeable scolding. Within a moment or two, Cameron found himself in the main hall, and he cast Sylva a dark look.
"Whatever message she sent you with, I don't want to 'ear it." He muttered.
"Topaz didn't send me." Sylva held her ground. "I came alone, Cameron. There are things I have to talk to you about, and I won't go anywhere till you promise you'll hear me out. If things carry on like this, it's going to ruin Copper's wedding and I won't have my friend crying on her wedding day. It won't take long, but I need to talk to you."
Cameron, whose expression had become obstinate at the start of her speech, sighed at the mention of Copper. He cursed.
"That's emotional bloody blackmail." He snapped. "How low do you damn Jewels stoop, anyway?"
"Lower than you realise." Sylva looked troubled. "Will you come with me outside? It's private, but very important."
"I suppose I can give you ten minutes." Cameron sighed again, stepping out of the front door. Sylva followed suit, pushing the door closed behind her.
"Thank you." She murmured. "I know you think Topaz is the scum of the earth right now, Cam, and I know you probably hate me pretty badly too, but you have things so very wrong."
"Wrong?" Cameron raised an eyebrow. "That kid is my kid, Sylva. Don't tell me I got that wrong, because I know she is."
"Yes, Hollie is your daughter." Sylva nodded her head. "I didn't mean that."
"Well, what then?" Cameron folded his arms. "I 'ave a baby daughter an' noone bothered to let me in on the story. What 'ave I got wrong that's gonna make that sound better than it damn does at the moment?"
"You blame Topaz, don't you, for spreading about that Luca Ranieri was the girl's father?" Sylva asked softly. Cameron nodded.
"Seems I ain't good enough a father for 'er brat." He said bitterly. Sylva shook her head.
"No! Oh stop being a dope! Topaz never said anything of the kind!"
"But you told me in London..."
"I know, but Cameron, I lied." Sylva interrupted. "The Luca story - it was all a lie. Topaz never asked me to say it, and she got mad at me when she found out that I did. You left me in an awkward position and it seemed the only way out."
Cameron whitened, and he grabbed Sylva by the shoulders.
"Why, dammit!" He exclaimed. "Why would you tell me somethin' like that? Why would you? You're supposed to be Rora's friend - why in 'ell did you lie? What 'as it to do with you?"
Sylva bit her lip.
"I'm sorry." She murmured. "But it seemed like the right thing at the time."
"I don't see why." Cameron's green eyes flashed. "You any idea how badly that affected me, Syl? My work, my studies...everythin'? With the thought that she'd screwed me over a second time with that Ranieri guy? Have you any idea how damn much it got to me?"
Sylva raised her blue eyes to his, seeing the pain in his expression, and she nodded.
"I can see it." She admitted. "And I'm so sorry, Cameron. But you see, you left me no choice. I had to tell you something."
"You were never supposed to know about Hollie."
"And why not?" Cameron demanded. "See, this is what I bleedin' well don't understand! Even if you did make up the Luca story - why didn't Rora tell me the truth! I would've looked after 'er! Hell, I would've been out 'ere like a shot, even if it took every penny I 'ad. I would've come...I wouldn't 'ave abandoned 'er. Why didn't she tell me the truth?"
"That's precisely why." Sylva said softly. "She loved you, Cam. If I'm honest, I'm fairly sure she still does. She didn't want you making sacrifices that you'd live to regret. She knows how much you want to be a doctor, and we all know you're smart and will make a great one. But if you'd come rushing out here you'd have screwed everything up and thrown it away. You've worked so hard - she didn't want you to ruin your life because of her. She told me that she miscalculated - she thought she'd be okay but in the end she wasn't. And she decided she wanted the baby, but she didn't want you to feel pressured to want the same. She overheard you talking to Aaron and she heard you say that you wouldn't know what to do if she decided she wanted kids. It was unfortunate timing, but it was the only thing she could see to do. It broke her heart, Cam, but she did it to protect you."
Cameron stared at Sylva in disbelief, then,
"Of all the harebrained, stupid things to do!" He exclaimed. "Are you serious?"
"Completely." Sylva nodded her head. "That's the honest truth, Cameron, I swear. I'm sorry for deceiving you in London, but don't blame Topaz for that. You have every right to yell and scream at me, if you want, but it's not her fault. She didn't know about it at all till recently. And don't ever believe she didn't want you as Hollie's dad, either. She did - so badly. Maybe she made mistakes - I don't know - but she had good intentions. She never wanted you hurt like this."
Cameron was silent for a moment, digesting this. Then he cursed softly under his breath.
"I wish she'd damn well told me everythin' straight from the beginnin'." He muttered. "And damn right I would've come out 'ere. Yeah, I want to be a doctor - I always 'ave done, an' I always will. But...but you don't understand 'ow big a deal this is to me. Aaron talks about Copper in terms of 'er being the one...well, Syl, I believed Rora might be the one for me." He sighed, running his hands through his hair. "Till all this 'appened."
Sylva lowered her gaze.
"I should never have interfered." She admitted. "I made things worse."
"Yes, you did." Cameron nodded. "But I can't even get angry at you. I'm jus' reelin' from everything you've told me."
"Will you talk to Topaz?" Sylva grabbed his hand, fixing him with a beseeching look. "Please, Cameron? I'm sure you can work things out so you're at least on speaking terms, and I don't like to see her cry. She's terrified you'll try and abduct Hollie away from her, or something - you were so angry when you left our house."
"Abduct the kid?" Cameron snorted. "No, Sylva. I may be angry, but I'd never take a baby from her Ma. I 'onestly don't know what I want at the moment. I still ain't used to the idea that I am a father. It scares me. She's 'ad a long time to get used to it...but I've 'ad it dropped on me."
"Your daughter is the sweetest thing, though." Sylva wheedled. "And I know she'd love to know her Daddy."
"You should know well as anyone that there's no good in a child seein' Mummy an' Daddy argue." Cameron told her quietly. "An' that's all I can see 'appenin', Syl. I damn well love 'er...as much as I ever did. But I'm confused an' hurt an'...I don't know if things can ever be fixed to the point where we're on speakin' terms."
"Then you don't love her as much as you say you do." Sylva said stolidly, fixing him with a pointed look. "If you really love someone you never give up on them, Cameron, no matter how hard it is. If you really really wanted to fix things with Topaz, you'd do it."
"I don't know if I want to." Cameron admitted. "Is it worth it? Or will we jus' wind up fightin' again a few weeks down the line?"
"I don't know." Sylva responded. "But what I do know is that there's a small girl a few blocks from here who's growing up without a Dad. And yes, she's happy and giggly and she loves to play...but she doesn't understand why her Mommy gets so upset when she says 'dada'. Sooner or later she's going to ask where her Daddy is. Do you want the answer to be that he didn't think her worth it?"
"Dammit, Sylva, stop with the emotional blackmail!" Cameron exclaimed. "It's more complicated than that!"
"Yes, I know it's complicated." Sylva agreed. "But it wouldn't hurt anything to just talk to Topaz, would it? Maybe you can never be lovers again without getting hurt, but is there any harm in seeing if you can be friends? If for nothing else other than Hollie's sake...after all, you will soon be qualified and a resident in San Diego. You will be on hand to play a part in the kid's life, if that's what you want to do. It makes sense."
Cameron hesitated, then,
"I do want to play a part." He admitted. "Till I saw Rora the other day I didn't realise 'ow much, but I do. She's my kid - my flesh and blood - an' I want to be a part of 'er existance, not just the guy who 'elped conceive 'er." He shrugged. "Who knows? Maybe you're right. Maybe we could be friends. But right now? It's too much. It's buzzin' in my 'ead and I need time to think over everything you've told me."
"I understand." Sylva said softly. "I'd need time too, in your place."
"You can tell Rora, though, that I won't be takin' 'Ollie anywhere by force." Cameron told her. "That much I do promise - whatever else I do about my rights as a father. If there is any kind of battle for visitation - an' yes, I'll damn well pay maintenance once I'm earnin', if it's what I 'ave to do to see the kid - then it will be done in a court room, above board an' legal."
"I think it'd be healthier if you could come to an agreement without legal assistance." Sylva said acidly. "But it's not my business. I've interfered enough for now - so think about what I said, okay?"
"I can assure you, Syl, that I won't do any other bloody thing all day." Cameron told her dryly. He paused, then, "Thanks for tryin', though. An' for explainin'. I needed to know."
"You're welcome." Sylva assured him. She offered him a smile.
"Do the right thing." She said softly. Then she turned on her heel, heading back towards her car and slipping into the driver's seat.
Cameron watched her pull away, his expression thoughtful.
"Does this change anythin'?" He mused. "Or are we right where we were before?"
PART THREE: TILL DEATH US DO PART
Chapter One: A Father Should Be
Chapter Two: Stefana and Aaron
Chapter Three: Sylva Intervenes
Chapter Four: Stefana's Battle
Chapter Five: Common Ground
Chapter Six: A Special Meeting
Chapter Seven: La Familia Santiago
Chapter Eight: Hen Party
Chapter Nine: Rory's Scheme
Chapter Ten: Stefana's Dilemma
Chapter Eleven: A Friend Indeed
Chapter Twelve: Sadie Gets Involved
Chapter Thirteen: The Night Before
Chapter Fourteen: Closure
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE
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!