Just A Dream...

Chapter Eight: A Happy Ending

Aaron pushed open the front door of the Pelligrini house, dumping his jacket on the floor and banging the door shut behind him. With a dark frown on his face he stomped into the kitchen, pouring himself a glass of orange and then sitting down on the stool to go over events.
How could Copper be so blind?
Did she really like that Zach guy?
And Cynthia and Nancy...what had they been playing at?
"They both know how much I like Copper. Why were they all for her getting to know this Zach guy?" He asked himself. "Some friendship that is, introducing the competition. Wait till I get my hands on Cynthia...where's my key to Starlight Mansion? I think it's time Synergy and I had words!"
"Something wrong?"
His father's voice from the doorway startled him, and he looked up, meeting Justin's enquiring look.
"You look like someone stole your thunder." His father commented lightly. "Want to tell me what happened?"
"Oh, nothing." Aaron groaned. "Just women, that's all."
"Women?" Justin looked surprised. "Which women in particular?"
"Copper." Aaron sighed.
"Did she turn you down?"
"Turn me down? I haven't asked her out!" Aaron replied. "And it doesn't look like I'm ever going to, because Nancy and my so called friend Cynthia seem keen as heck on matchmaking her with some creepy guy called Zach who works in a coffee house!"
"I'm sorry? I think you lost me someplace." Justin sat down on a stool, eying his son in some confusion. "Who's Zach?"
"Some friend of Cynthia's, apparently. I didn't even think she had friends round here." Aaron replied darkly. "I wish she hadn't. Anyway, we had coffee at the place he works, and he was all over Copper with compliments and stuff and she fell for them! She couldn't see what a creepy sleaze the guy was being!"
"Hmm, I see." Justin paused, then, "Is it possible that you're a little jealous of this guy paying attention to the girl you like?"
"Don't be silly! Copper's my friend, I don't want her getting hurt!"
"Aaron." Justin looked amused.
Aaron frowned.
"Well, maybe a little." He conceded. "It's just...I've liked Copper forever and I don't know how to tell her...only now this Zach guy is on the scene I probably won't ever get the chance, either."
"You want my advice?" Justin asked.
"Go on." Aaron sighed. "I'm pretty desperate, it can't hurt."
"Thanks a bunch,kid." Justin laughed. "Your faith in me is overwhelming...don't forget what a challenge it was for me to get your mother's attention! I do know a little bit about romance, you know."
"Well, okay. Then tell me."
"I think you have to go for broke."
"You mean tell her?"
"Yes. You have to talk to Copper and tell her how you feel. You never know, she might feel the same way. Otherwise...well, some other guy will if you don't. Copper's a pretty girl with a nice personality...she's not going to be available long if you don't take your chance while it's there."
"I guess you're right." Aaron frowned. "I snapped at her a bit this afternoon...guess I can't blame her for being flattered by a guy's attention. I mean, she doesn't know that I want to be more than friends, does she?"
"Nope, not unless she's psychic." Justin agreed.
"Thanks, Dad. Guess you do know something." Aaron stood, putting his empty glass in the sink. "Guess I'll head over to Starlight, see if she and the others are home and ask to talk to her. I need to do this before I lose my nerve."
"Go for it, kid. You never know if you don't try, at least." Justin told him. "And even if she doesn't feel the same, you'll always be friends, right?"
"Hope so." Aaron nodded, scooping up his car keys. "Okay, I'm gone. Wish me luck!"
"Good luck." Justin grinned. "Though I'm sure you won't need it."
But Aaron was already gone.

"Copper? You're very quiet."
Cynthia cast her friend a concerned look as they got into a taxi, Nancy telling the driver to take them home. "Didn't you like the film?"
"Yeah, I did." Copper replied. "I guess it's just that a romance film is not...well...I...I guess I can't help thinking about Aaron still. I don't want him mad at me. He's one of my best friends in this state."
"He's not usually so prickly. He'll cool off." Nancy told her with a shrug. "Don't fret, Copper! Syl and Topaz will probably be back at Starlight soon anyway, and if you're going to mope we'll have to find something to do with you!"
"We could throw her in the pool." Cynthia adopted a mischievous smile. 
"No way!" Copper exclaimed. "I'm okay! I'm just a little hurt, that's all."
"Suit yourself." Cynthia shrugged, glancing out of the window. Then, "Well, it seems you will not have so long to wait before you ask him what was wrong...he's here."
"What?" Copper glanced out of the window, her brown eyes lighting up some at the sight of Aaron perched on the wall outside Starlight Mansion, clearly waiting for them to come home. "Guess he didn't want to fight either, huh?"
"Guess not." Nancy met Cynthia's gaze with a grin. "Okay, Cyn and I will pay the driver. You go talk to him, okay? I don't want my brother and my best friend at war!"
"Okay, I'm going." Copper swallowed hard, pushing open the door of the taxi and making her way slowly across the grass.
"Hi." She said softly.
Aaron turned, smiling at her slightly.
"Hey." He returned. "I kinda hoped you'd be back soon."
"How long have you been here?"
"Not long." Aaron shrugged, unwilling to disclose the fact he'd waited for over an hour. "Can we go for a walk? I want to apologise for snapping at you before...and I want to talk to you, friend to friend, without anyone else interfering."
"Sure." Copper agreed. "Nancy's got the housekey, anyway."
"Okay." Aaron got to his feet. For a moment they walked in silence, then,
"Copper, do you really like that Zach guy?"
"Why do you care?" Copper seemed startled. "He's just a guy I've spoken to once...he's a friend of Cynthia's, how can he be bad?"
"Cynthia, as you know full well, is both eccentric and unpredictable." Aaron said quietly. "Who knows what sort of person she's made friends with since I adjusted her projection units?"
"Well, he seemed okay to me." Copper replied. "I've always been a pretty good judge of character...mostly, anyway."
"Do you fancy him?"
"Why all the questions?" Copper countered. "Look, Aaron, we're friends but you don't own me. I can be friends with who I like, you know!"
"I'm not saying you can't!" Aaron protested. "I just...don't want you to get hurt."
"And you think I can get hurt by talking to a guy in a coffee shop?" Copper demanded.
"I guess not." Aaron sighed. "I don't like him, though."
"Why not? What's wrong with him?"
"He..." Aaron paused. "He likes you."
"So that's bad, is it? Liking me?" Copper looked confused. "What is it, don't you think any guy has it in him to find me attractive?"
"Don't be daft!"
"Well, I'm sorry, but you're coming across dafter!"
"Copper, listen to me." Aaron grabbed her by the hand. "I don't like the way Zach flirted with you today, I admit it. Do you know why?"
"No, but I wish you'd tell me, because right now I'm thinking one of the world's most level-headed and openminded guys has been possessed."
"Because I love you." Aaron murmured.
"What?" Copper stared at him, disbelief clear on her face. "What did you say?"
"I love you." Aaron repeated. "I...I guess I always have. Since that day at the airport, when we first met. You're so pretty...so brave...and you make me laugh so much. I...I guess I was kinda jealous when that guy flirted and you responded. I...I like you a hell of a lot and I couldn't bear the thought...that you might like him more."
Copper's hand flew to her mouth.
"I don't believe it." She whispered. "You really feel that strongly about me?"
"Yes." Aaron gazed at his hands. "I'm sorry, I had to tell you. I...couldn't keep it in any more."
"It's okay." Gently Copper took his other hand in hers. "In some ways...I'm glad. You see, I...kinda like you too."
"You do?" Relief and hope mingled in Aaron's grey eyes. "For real?"
"Yeah, for real." Copper grinned. "It's been coming on a while, I think it began for me when we were fixing up Synergy. We spent so much time together and I learnt so much about you - I liked your company. But...I missed you so much when we were on tour, it confirmed what I'd suspected."
"Thank God for that." Aaron let out his breath in a rush. "I was so worried you'd hate me for it."
"Why would I ever hate you?" Copper reproached him. "We're friends!"
"Well, I think we've been friends long enough, don't you?" Aaron said playfully. "What do you reckon?"
"I reckon we've been going round in circles and driving everyone insane in the process." Copper laughed. "Nancy and Syl and Topaz and Cynnie have all been dropping hints that I should tell you...did they know how you felt?"
"Yes." Aaron agreed. "But I had no idea that they also knew...Oh so that's what they were up to!"
"What?" Copper looked confused.
"Nancy and Cynthia this afternoon. They were pushing your attention towards Zach so I'd get jealous and tell you how I felt!"
"Sneaky devils!" Copper grinned. "I bet they planned the whole thing, Zach and all."
"Probably." Aaron agreed. "Tell me honest, Copper, did you like him?"
"Sure, I liked him." Copper shrugged. "But he's just a guy to me, Aaron. I'm in love with you."
"Good." Aaron grinned. "Can I kiss you, then?"
"You'd better." Copper laughed. With a smile, Aaron obliged, putting his arm around her shoulders.
"Well, that seals it." He murmured. "Enough misunderstandings, huh?"
"Sure." Copper agreed. "But..." She looked mischievous. "I have a little plan to get our own back on our little matchmakers for the scene earlier. They made us both feel wretched and that's not on."
"Go on, I'm interested." Aaron replied, looking curious.
"Well, how about we make them believe we had some huge row...make them feel guilty for interfering." Copper suggested. "That'll teach them to mess in our relationship!"
"Relationship? Sounds good." Aaron grinned. "Okay. I'm in. I had no idea my kid sister was such a schemer."
"Cool." Copper winked. "Come on, then. Let's go put the wind up them a bit!"

Nancy and Cynthia were not alone when the two teenagers returned to the house. Sylva and Topaz had returned too, and had been quickly filled in on the plot, Cynthia excluding the fact that Zach had in fact been nothing more than a hologram. It was Sylva who first noticed them returning, and a frown crossed her face as she surveyed them.
"Well, I don't give you guys many points for matchmaking." She said finally.
"What's up?" Nancy joined her at the window.
"Look at the space between them! They look like they couldn't bare to touch each other if you paid them!"
"That's daft. They're crazy about each other." Topaz put in.
"Well, they look like they're crazy at each other right now." Sylva responded. "Come see for yourself, if you don't believe me."
"It's all right, I hear the door. They're coming in." Topaz shrugged, settling herself more comfortably on the couch. "To be honest, though, I can't see how any matchmaking scheme could fail to get them together."
"Ssht, they'll hear you!" Cynthia exclaimed. "Act natural!"
"Whatever that is." Nancy sat back down in her chair, reaching for the television handset and flicking through the channels as the door opened. "Hey, Copper...Aaron. Where did you get to?"
"We had to talk about things." Copper said quietly, not meeting her companion's gaze. Aaron too seemed unwilling to make eye contact, and Cynthia frowned.
"Is something wrong?" she asked.
"No, nothing's wrong. Everything's fine." Copper said primly, sitting down in a vacant seat and picking up a magazine.
"Guess I'll be going then." Aaron was similarly indifferent. "Can tell when I'm not wanted around here."
"Wait a minute, what's the deal?" Topaz held up her hands. "I've had a hard day, will someone please tell me what's going on?"
"Well, someone doesn't like his friends being talked to by other potential friends." Copper said simply. "That's all."
"Someone else shouldn't throw themselves at potential friends like they want to make them potential lovers." Aaron returned. "But what's the point in even discussing it? I'm off home."
"Stop it." Nancy bit her lip.
"Stop what?" Aaron cast her a surprised look. "Something up, kid?"
"Zach was our fault." Cynthia looked slightly uncomfortable. "Well, mine mostly. Nancy mentioned something to me that Sylva said and I acted on it...I...got him to come talk to Copper today. I...I thought..."
"What did you think?" Copper asked curiously.
"We thought that..." Nancy broke off. "Oh, to Hell with it! We're all fed up with you mooning over each other without talking it over between yourselves and we wanted to kickstart things!"
"Only it appears I miscalculated and it backfired." Cynthia looked troubled. "I apologise."
"Me too." Nancy glanced at her hands. "We shouldn't have interfered."
Copper and Aaron exchanged looks. Then they both burst out laughing.
"Oh, your faces!" Copper exclaimed.
"Huh?" Nancy stared.
"Priceless." Aaron agreed. He grinned.
"You mean you were putting us on?" Cynthia demanded, her expression slightly angry.
"Like you were us, earlier on?" Copper asked lightly. Cynthia looked sheepish.
"I suppose so." She acknowledged.
"So are you and Aaron really an item now?" Sylva demanded.
"Guess you could say that." Aaron nodded, coming to put his arm around Copper's waist. "We finally talked to each other instead of talking to you guys."
"So we did do some good, then?" Nancy asked.
"I guess you did, but neither Aaron or I liked the technique." Copper chided. "We pulled the little prank just now to make a point, Nance. It's all very well to play matchmaker, but it's no good if it backfires and makes people even more miserable."
"Bah, you both suck." Nancy pulled a face. Copper just grinned.
"Aw, don't be sniffy." She scolded. "Isn't this what you wanted?"
"Guess it was." Nancy conceded. "Nah, I'm glad you finally got it together. It's been on the cards long enough!"
"Well, there's something to celebrate tonight, at least." Topaz observed. "Congrats, you two...you deserve each other."
"Can we go out and celebrate, then?" Sylva begged. "It's been one hell of a drag of a day for Topaz and me, we need some fun!"
"Retail therapy would put me right." Topaz laughed. "I'm just glad the test is over. I know they won't find anything on it, so the story will soon die down. Noone will challenge Phyllis' patience too much when it comes to legal battles."
"Too true." Nancy nodded. "Aunt Phyl is fearsome competition."
"I guess we'll never know for sure where the story came from, but I'm kinda glad in some ways it came out how it did, in a way I could deny." Topaz said philosophically.
"I still bet it was Sirena." Sylva muttered.
"Well, maybe." Topaz shrugged. "Though she'd have to be pretty bitter, to pick on someone she doesn't even know."
"She's a twisted old witch." Sylva replied. "I told you she was bad news for us."
"Well, it's done with." Topaz replied. "And it's taught me to take better care with my relationships in future. Also, it's taught me that it's not always good to be in the public eye, and that you guys are the best friends on earth. Especially you, Syl."
"Naturally." Sylva dimpled. "Come on, let's go downtown and have some fun! We'll be back in the studio tomorrow laying down that album, so we should take this opportunity to chill. Cyn, Nancy, Aaron, Copper, you coming?"
"Oh, why not?" Aaron grinned. "Come on. We've plenty to celebrate, anyway. Jewel's new album on the cards, a big hit single being released next week, Copper and I finally getting things together, Topaz's joining of the group and a new friend...Cynthia."
"Yep, we sure do." Copper nodded, linking one arm in her new boyfriend's and the other in Cynthia's. "So let's go show Los Angeles how Jewel can celebrate!"

Chapter One: Aaron's Experiment
Chapter Two: Cynthia
Chapter Three: Back To Work
Chapter Four: On Set
Chapter Five: Mind Games
Chapter Six: Sirena's Scandal
Chapter Seven: Zach
Chapter Eight: A Happy Ending

Copper, Nancy, Sylvie, Anna, Blade, 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.