Chapter Two: Fireworks

"Where on earth did you get to?"
Nancy stood in the doorway of Copper's bedroom, her hands on her hips. "Two hours we waited for you at Misfit Music! You knew we had a practice, Copper, and it's not like you to stand us up. What's going on?"
"I had something more important to see to." Copper replied, not even looking up from her magazine. "I'm sorry if I missed practice, but it needed to be settled."
"Your mother came looking for you, you know." Nancy came to sit on her friend's bed. Copper glanced up at this.
"Mama did?" She said, sounding surprised. Then she frowned. "She probably came to try and tell me what to do again."
"She was worried about you - we all were." Nancy responded. "We couldn't reach you."
"I turned my phone off, I didn't want to talk to anyone." Copper said flatly. "Leave it, will you? I settled it, anyhow."
"Well, we have a practice tomorrow morning instead." Nancy said quietly. "At ten thirty. Do you think you can make that?"
There was a note of sarcasm in her voice, and Copper's frown deepened.
"I'll be there." She said softly. "Ten thirty? No problem."
"Well, that's something, at least." Nancy sighed. "Copper, snap out of it, will you? You've not been acting like yourself at all this last couple of days, and I don't like it."
Copper was silent for a moment. Then she pushed her magazine aside, sitting up and looking her companion in the eye.
"You have both your parents." She said quietly. "You know they love you and each other, and that they're proud of what you do. Right?"
"Of course." Nancy nodded. "But..."
"But I don't know that about Papa." Copper did not wait for Nancy to finish her sentence. "He died before I changed my mind about what I was going to do with my life, Nance. Think about it from my point of view for a moment, will you? Imagine that you'd lost Jetta when you were still in High School...wouldn't you wonder how she'd view what you were doing now?"
"Nope." Nancy shook her head. "I always intended to do what I am doing, and I'd have just done it in her memory, that's all. Anyhow, whatever she says, I know Mom's proud of me just because I'm her daughter, so it's not important to me. I don't see why you can't say the same about your father."
"You don't understand." Copper sighed.
"No, I don't." Nancy agreed. "But you're making your Dad sound like a very judgemental man, you know, if you think he could not be proud of you for all you've achieved."
Anger flared up in Copper's brown eyes.
"Papa wasn't anything like that!" She exclaimed. "He loved me and I loved him and that was that! You don't understand...just go away, will you? You're not helping and I don't need you here."
"You're contradicting yourself." Nancy did not go. "First you're desperate to know if he cares, next thing you say he cared for you no matter what. Make up your damn mind, will you?"
"Shut up!" Copper's eyes were filling with angry, hurt tears. "You didn't know him, so don't you try and talk about him! Anyhow, tomorrow...tomorrow I'll know, so there. Tomorrow it won't matter any more!"
"Oh God, you're not really going to go speak to Rapture about it?" Nancy's tone was scornful. "Copper, get a grip. Rapture is a conwoman, Mom said so. I went and I asked her and she said Rapture was not to be trusted under any circumstances. She's taking you for a ride and you're letting her walk all over you!"
"It's not like that!" Now there was no stopping Copper's emotions. "How can I expect you to understand, anyway, when you don't even let yourself feel things for people? Even if you did lose your mother or father you'd probably shrug it off like it didn't matter! Well I'm sorry, but I'm not that cold inside! My father matters to me, and I want to know what he thinks of me, okay? It's not even any of your business and if you were any kind of friend you'd let me do what I needed to do to get closure on this!"
Nancy's brown eyes adopted a stricken look at Copper's words, but she spoke quietly.
"If you ask me, your father would be damn ashamed of you behaving like you are right now." She said levelly. "You're a disgrace to him at the moment, and he must be turning in his grave to see how his clever, sensitive daughter has turned into such a brat because of him."
Thwack! Before Copper knew what she was doing she had slapped Nancy hard across the cheek, her eyes flashing with indignant rage.
"How dare you speak about him...or me like that?" She demanded. "Get out of my room!"
"I'm going." Nancy got to her feet, her expression dark and unreadable, and her tone icy. "But if you think any of us are gonna take this kind of nonsense from you for the next few weeks, you've another idea coming. Get a grip, Copper."
With that she was gone, and Copper buried her face in her pillow, helpless to control her tears. As she cried, her anger subsided into horror at what she'd done, but her hurt and her pride prevented her from going to seek Nancy's pardon, and, emotional and exhausted she cried herself into a troubled, restless sleep.
Nancy, for her part, had withdrawn downstairs, after splashing cold water on her face. Her expression was undecipherable, and her bandmates exchanged startled looks, for both knew that Copper and Nancy were as inseperable as sisters most of the time.
"Well?" It was Sylva who broke the silence. "What's the deal?"
"The deal is that I'm not speaking to that girl until she grows up and acts her age again." Nancy muttered. "She's behaving like a spoiled, selfish brat and I'm not going to stand for it."
"Nancy, she's hurting." Topaz chided. "You know Copper as well as anyone, you know how sensitive she is. Things have all been dragged up over the last couple of days, that's all. Give her a day or two, it'll calm down."
"It might. I won't." Nancy said darkly. "She slapped me, you know."
"What? She hit you?" Sylva's eyes almost popped out of her head. Nancy nodded.
"Yep." She agreed grimly.
"What did you say to provoke that?" Topaz was equally surprised.
"I told her what I thought of her behaviour." Nancy said evenly. "She was throwing a regular tantrum and she wouldn't listen when I told her what Mom had said about Rapture. So I told her she was a disgrace to her father the way she was acting right then and she hit me."
"I don't think that was the most tactful thing you could have said." Topaz winced. "I think if I'd been Copper I would have hit you, too."
"Well, she said things that upset me, too, and I didn't hit out at her." Nancy defended herself.
"Like what?" Sylva demanded.
"She said I was cold and unfeeling and that if Mom or Dad died I'd shrug it off like it didn't matter." Nancy replied quietly.
"Copper said that? To you?" Sylva gaped.
Nancy nodded.
"I think your reaction probably told her that she was mistaken." Topaz said gently. "She shouldn't have said that, Nance. And she shouldn't have hit you. probably shouldn't have tackled her about it all so soon."
"I went to tell her about tomorrow's practice." Nancy said darkly. "She did say she'd be there, incidentally. But I think she's planning to meet up with Rapture anyway, despite what everyone's said to her. So God only knows what that will do. If you ask me all of this mess is Rapture's fault, and she hasn't even done anything yet!"
"I don't like the way this is going." Sylva frowned. "We're fighting...I thought the whole point of this concert was to take my mind and Mom's mind off fighting and divorce and all that kind of crap, but now Jewel are doing what my Mom and Dad have spent the last couple of years doing and I don't like it. I don't need it, either. I thought we were a team."
"I thought so too." Nancy sighed. "I'm sorry, Syl."
The guitarist's tone was so sincere and so lacking in it's normal dry irony that Sylva stared at her for a moment, as if not believing her ears. Then,
"Okay, now it's really freaking me out." She announced. "Nancy's being nice to me...that's just too weird."
"Oh, put a sock in it." Nancy muttered. "I'm tired and mixed up about all this and I don't know what to do. I just have a real bad feeling about what's going to happen next, that's all. From what Copper said, she's gonna go see Rapture tomorrow...and things can only get worse from then on. I only hope that Jewel can make it through."

Chapter One: One Jewel Down
Chapter Two: Fireworks
Chapter Three: Phyllis Steps In
Chapter Four: Esteban Speaks
Chapter Five: Consulting the Teenangels
Chapter Six: Rose Helps
Chapter Seven: Mending Ties
Chapter Eight: Misfit Reborn
Chapter Nine: Dean's Show
Chapter Ten: Sylva and Jack
Chapter Eleven: Sabotaged!
Chapter Twelve: Settling the Past
Chapter Thirteen: Revenge
Chapter Fourteen: Show Must Go On