Chapter Eight: Jack and Courtenay
"I think we can safely say, you know, that Sylva is back to feeling
like her old self again." Nancy observed her bandmate's shopping bags with
a look of amusement on her face. "Don't you think, Topaz? Definitely more
like the Sylvina we all know."
"Oh, for sure." Topaz giggled. "I'm glad, too. It's not like you to be down in the dumps, Syl."
"I know...actually, I feel a lot better." Sylva admitted. "Mom agreeing to do this concert gave me a boost and I dunno, guess it's helped me find my belief in my music again. I think...well, I know that Dad was wrong not to take my or Mom's career choices seriously, but at the end of the day I think I can deal with his opinion. It's not like he can stop either of us being what we want to be."
"Well said." Topaz linked arms with her. "And now you've maxed out yet another credit card, where are we going now?"
Nancy checked her watch.
"It's half five...I'm meeting Dean at seven." She said. "So we gotta head back around six at the latest so I can get ready."
"Okay. Then how about we stop for a milkshake or something?" Topaz suggested. "Shopping is thirsty work!"
"Hey, why not." Sylva dimpled. "Nance?"
"Yeah, whatever." Nancy shrugged. "I'm coming."
"Man, I don't know what Dean sees in you sometimes. You can be a real drag." Sylva grimaced at her.
"Dean's not shallow, like certain other people I know." Nancy returned neatly. "He likes me just how I am, and that's fine with me."
"Gah." Sylva pulled another face. "Of all people I never imagined you'd be going steady."
"It's funny, but of the four of us, Nancy's had the most high profile encounters." Topaz said thoughtfully as they bought milkshakes, sitting down to drink them. "First Blade...up and coming r&b star, and the whole of that little affair kinda trickled out to the press some after his death. And now Dean, reputedly TV's sexiest presenter...All I can say is that whatever you're doing, Nancy, you must be doing it damn well!"
"Blade was a mistake. A big mistake." She said firmly. "Dean..." She paused, considering. "I dunno. I'm not sure quite how it happened. All I know is that we've gotten closer and closer and now...well, I trust him and I know I'm...well..."
"In love with him." Sylva supplied bluntly. Nancy went even redder.
"Well...yeah." She conceded. "I've never known that before, with any guy. Not even Blade...I mean, I wasn't sure at all what I felt about him. But Dean...is different. He's sweet to me."
"I think it's great." Topaz grinned. "I just wish I could see Cameron as often as you do Dean and Copper does Aaron. I miss him all the more with us being continents apart...I know we phone and email and voicechat and stuff, but it's not the same thing."
"Copper and Aaron have been together ages now." Sylva mused. "Next thing you know they'll be engaged...then married...then having kids..."
"Syl, stop it!" Nancy protested. "They're not even twenty one yet! In any case, Aaron's always said that he wants to do stuff before he thought about settling down with a wife...and Copper's not mentioned to me any idea of them getting married. You're living in a dream world, as usual."
"Well, it could happen." Sylva defended herself. "I should know well as anyone that marriage isn't something to rush into, look at my parents! But it would be so romantic if they did get married...and a wedding would totally rock."
"Ugh, big showy dos." Nancy grimaced. "No thank you."
"What if someone proposed to you, Nancy? Would you accept them?" Topaz looked curious.
"Now or in the future?" Nancy asked.
"I dunno. Maybe." Nancy shrugged. "If it felt ok. And...well, on the condition that we could elope."
"Nancy!" Sylva exclaimed.
"Well, Mom and Dad did it, kinda." Nancy shrugged. "They got married on a whim in Las Vegas...no fuss, no hassle. I'd like my wedding that way, if I ever got married at all."
"Jetta eloped?" Sylva gaped.
"Well, I think it was more like Dad said let's do it, Mom said okay, and they did it." Nancy shrugged. "I've seen their Vegas photos though...there's only one wedding snap, but they both looked happy."
"Your folks are a great couple." Topaz decided.
"Yeah." Nancy nodded. "They've always been so strong...Mom isn't a sentimental person, but I know she loves Dad a whole lot, and Dad adores her."
"Stop it." Sylva bit her lip. "You're making me think of my parents again."
"Aw, Syl, we're sorry." Topaz hugged her friend. "That was my bad, I brought it up."
"It's okay. Just change the subject." Sylva shrugged. She set her milkshake down, glancing around her. "It's busy here today...must be the hot weather or something."
"California is always hot." Topaz said dryly. "Even when it's wet."
"All the sun is tedious." Nancy rested her chin in her hands. "I...guess I've never felt like California or Los Angeles itself is really my home, somehow. Perhaps more now than I used to, now I've my career, and Jewel and Starlight Mansion and, well, you guys. But sometimes I get bored with it all. Restless, you know? I can't wait for us to go to Europe. Mom promised us it was in the pipeline...I love England."
"I guess when it's in your blood..." Topaz mused. "I have to admit Cali's sun is a bit much for me sometimes, too. Though it's been great for my tan."
"Yeah...I love Cali." Sylva replied. "And I like living in a place like Starlight Mansion, too. It's not a bit how I imagined my first home on my own was gonna be, but I love it. I just wish it wasn't so far from Anna."
"She's coming to the west coast, though, isn't she?"
"Yes." Sylva nodded. "I spoke to her this morning on the phone. She's bringing a friend with her from college...I forget the girl's name, but Annie' s terrified of flying and needs someone to hold her hand."
"Bless her." Topaz grinned. "You and your sister are so similar to look at but as soon as you open your mouth I'd know you apart. I can't believe how opposite you are in character."
"Me either, sometimes." Sylva dimpled. "But we've always had each other."
"Do you wish you had other brothers and sisters?"
"We...kinda did." She owned.
"What do you mean?" Nancy looked confused.
"Well, we had a brother." Sylva said slowly. "He would be...seventeen or eighteen now. But he was stillborn."
"Oh!" Topaz looked stunned, then, "Your poor mother...father too!"
"I was just a kid when Joseph was born." Sylva replied. "Not even three. But I remember...I remember Mom crying. She cried so much, it made an impression on me. No kid likes to see their Mama cry, after all. She's always said that Annie and I helped her come through it...but I don't think she's ever quite forgotten Joseph."
"That's horrible." Nancy spoke softly. "I had no idea your Mom had been through so much. I've seen Emily with Michael and I know how close their bond is, even if Em is learning to be a mother the hard way. Mary is such an obvious natural mother...I can't imagine what it must've been like for her to lose a baby."
"No...me either." Sylva said sombrely. "Mom never had it easy...she was sick when we were born, but she thought that was just because we were twins, and all. Then when Joseph came, it was even worse...I might never have had a mother."
Topaz hugged her friend again.
"That sucks." she murmured. "But you do have her, and she loves you...I don't think she or you should forget Joseph, either. He's still a part of your family, even if you never knew him. Like my father's a part of me, I guess."
"Yeah." A slight smile touched Sylva's face. "I don't know how I'd have liked living with a brother, anyway."
"It's not so bad. You get used to it." Nancy shrugged. She checked her watch again, getting to her feet. "Well, c'mon. We oughta head back."
"Okay, we're coming." Sylva stood. "Quit nagging. He's not gonna run away, you know."
"It's not polite to keep your date waiting." Nancy retorted. "Now move it!"
As they left the cafe, a small child ran straight into them, tumbling to the ground as she collided with Sylva's leg. Instinctively Sylva bent to see if the child was all right, for the little girl's face had crumpled into tears, and gently she helped her up.
"Are you all right?" She asked.
"Im lookin' for my daddy." The girl admitted tearfully.
"Your daddy?" Topaz looked concerned. "Are you lost?"
Sorrowfully the child nodded her head.
Sylva crouched down by the girl's side.
"What does he look like?" She asked. "Maybe we've seen him."
"He looks like my daddy." The girl said decidedly.
"Helpful." Nancy rolled her eyes. "What's your name, kid?"
"Courtenay." Deciding she was among friends, the girl seemed to think it was better to dry her tears. "Courtenay Miller."
"And how old are you?"
"Three, huh?" Topaz frowned. "You shouldn't be running around on your own like this!"
"I losted my daddy." Courtenay's bottom lip trembled again at this reminder of her predicament.
Her heart touched, Sylva scooped the child up into her arms.
"You're not the only one." She murmured sadly. "Come on, kid. We'll take you to information - they can put a call out for your Daddy there. What's his name?"
"Jack." Courtenay seemed a bit more hopeful. "What's your name?"
"I'm Sylvina." Sylva grinned.
"An' them?" Courtenay pointed at the girl's companions.
"That's Topaz and that's Nancy." Sylva replied. "They're...well, friends of mine."
"Courtenay!" At that moment a rather harried young man in his mid twenties hurried up to them. "Courtenay, there you are...what have I told you about wandering off?"
"Daddy!" Courtenay shrieked, almost deafening her rescuer in the process. Gently Sylva set her down and she ran into her father's relieved arms. "Daddy, I was scared!"
"Not half as scared as I was. Don't do that again!" The man chided. He smiled at the girls, hoisting the youngster up onto his shoulders.
"Thanks, I guess, for finding her."
"She found us." Sylva dimpled. "She fell over, but I don't think she's hurt."
"Court? Are you hurt?" The man sounded concerned. Courtenay shook her head.
"Well, I suppose no harm done." Sylva smiled. "We were going to take her to information."
"She's so adventurous." The stranger rolled his eyes. "I'm Jack, by the way."
"Sylvina, and these are Nancy and Topaz."
"Well, thanks again, Sylvina...all of you." Jack grinned. "Maybe we'll see you around. Come on, trouble...we're going home before you can wander off again!"
"Well, there's a happy ending." Nancy observed.
"Man, is he cute though." Sylva sighed. "Pity."
"Pity?" Topaz stared at her.
"Well, if he's got a kid of three then he's probably got a wife or girlfriend too." Sylva grimaced. "And right now I'm in no mood to be breaking up a happy family...she's a sweet kid. But ooh...did you see? That is one fit guy!"
"Sylva is definitely operating on normal levels." Nancy said dryly. "And Im gonna be late for my date. So quit dreaming, huh? We have a deadline!"
"You might...I can dream all I want." Sylva turned to look back over her shoulder, trying to catch a glimpse of the retreating pair. "You gotta admit it, Nancy, he's hot!"
"He was kinda good looking." Topaz admitted. "But like you said, Syl, he's probably spoken for."
"Ah well." Sylva shrugged philosophically. "At least we did a good deed today."
"You're a natural with kids, you know." Topaz remarked as they got into Nancy's car. "You knew exactly what to do."
"I like kids." Sylva looked self-conscious. "I do. I know, it's not very me." As Nancy raised an eyebrow. "But I used to babysit all the time back in DC, when I was in junior high. It was a blast...some of the kids were so much fun."
"Babysitting was never my thing." Nancy owned, putting the car in gear. "I don't hate kids but I don't love them either. I wouldn't have a clue where to begin with them."
"So no plans to have a family, Nance?" Topaz asked. Nancy shrugged.
"Maybe, one day." She said cautiously. "When I'm a lot older than I am now."
"I'd like kids." Topaz decided. "Oh, not now, but sometime. When I have a steady relationship, I guess."
"Cameron?" Sylva asked. Topaz shrugged.
"Maybe. I don't get to see him much, though." She replied. "I'd like to take things further with him, but long distance is hard on anyone's nerves...Im not sure to be honest if we're going out or not. We seem to be more penpals...and penpals isn't really what I'm after." She frowned. "It's a crying shame we live so far apart. I like Cameron a whole lot more than any other guy I ever met." She shrugged. "Oh well. We'll see. What about you, Syl? You want kids?"
Sylva grinned impishly.
"If they were that guy's...sure." She said, laughing. Nancy rolled her eyes.
"Oh brother." She said. "Syl, by tomorrow you'll have forgotten you even met him."
"No way!" Sylva protested. "I don't forget a gorgeous guy like that so easily! Jack...Jack Miller, I guess. I like it...Jack's a neat name."
"You are like a moth to a flame with cute guys." She teased. "Come on. I wonder if Copper and Cynthia are back yet...we can help glam Nancy up for her date."
"Oh-oh, not this time." Nancy pulled the car to a stop, holding up her hands in protest. "I'm doing my makeup this time."
"Oh, c'mon, it'll be fun." Sylva protested. "And you wanna look pretty, right?"
"Yes. That's why you're not doing anything with my makeup!" Nancy retorted. "Now come on...I haven't got all night!"
And with that, she was gone.
REUNITED: PART ONE
Chapter One: Copper's Idea
Chapter Two: Tackling Sylvina
Chapter Three: I'm Okay
Chapter Four: Preparations
Chapter Five: The Stingers
Chapter Six: Cynthia to the Rescue
Chapter Seven: The Holograms
Chapter Eight: Jack and Courtenay
Chapter Nine: Phoebe Asche
Chapter Ten: Copper
Chapter Eleven: Unrest
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