"That's what I'm here for." Topaz's eyes twinkled. "Okay. I'll see to
the little one and then I'm going to go downstairs and run over some
song lyrics in case we're in studio early tomorrow. If you wanna come
and give me an accompaniment when you're done, I'd appreciate it. I'm a
little rough in places and it helps to have live backing."
"So, what do you think?"
Sylvina Martescu held the dress up against herself, casting a glance at
her companion as she did so. "Is it me? Or did I just waste seventy
five bucks? It was rocking in the shop, but...I don't know."
"But then again it is a gorgeous colour. And I have been looking for
something just like this for a while."
She bit her lip, squinting down at herself and then back at her friend.
"Is it me, or do I need to take it back?"
"Do you need me to take part in this conversation, or are you gonna
argue it out with yourself?" The blond girl spoke with amusement,
settling herself more comfortably on the end of Sylva's bed and taking
a firm hold of the exploring infant that played beside her, pulling her
onto her lap. "No, Hollie. You're not going to be the first toddler to
discover Syl's pillows!"
"I need your opinion." Sylva pouted, dropping the dress down onto a
chair. "That's why I dragged you in here, Topaz. Shall I just ask Hol's
thoughts and be done with it?"
"I'm sorry." Aurora "Topaz" Stapleton adopted a contrite expression,
hugging her daughter to her as she considered the question. "You were
just babbling away, and I'm always distracted when I have to give an
eye to Trouble here. I think the dress looks fine. It's a bit different
from the usual style you wear - but change can be good. And it's
definitely your colour. I don't know what you're fussed about - but if
you don't like it, I'm sure they'll return it and refund you the money.
You buy there so often, they wouldn't dare refuse you."
"Yeah. Nancy says I singlehandedly pay the staff's salaries." Despite
herself, a rueful smile touched Sylva's lips. "So you really think it's
"Yes, I do." Topaz nodded her head. "Why all the panic, anyhow? It's
not like you to have second thoughts on an outfit."
"I know." Sylva sighed, sitting down on the bed and absently reaching
over to ruffle Hollie's tousled red-gold hair, causing the infant to
giggle. "I just have a date with Logan Tuesday night...and it's been a
while since we hung out."
"Are you guys fighting?" Topaz looked concerned. "You've only been
together a while - I didn't realise."
"No, we're not fighting." Sylva shook her head. "But his Dad wasn't
well a few weeks back - he got smashed up in some accident - so he had
to hare out there. His Dad is fine now, of course, but then with
everything happening over Cynthia..."
She pursed her lips.
"I feel I've neglected him." She concluded, spreading her hands. "I
like him a lot, Topaz, but this is the first proper "relationship" I've
had." She exaggerated the quote marks with her fingers. "I don't want
to screw it up by being either clingy or inattentive."
"I see." Topaz looked thoughtful. "I'm not the best person to ask for
advice on relationships, but I'd say Logan was a pretty solid kinda
guy. Not the sort to jump to conclusions if he didn't see his
girlfriend for a few days. Just tell him Cynthia hasn't been well and
you've been helping me with Hollie, if he asks. I'll back you up."
"It's not entirely true." Sylva looked troubled. "I don't like the idea
of lying to him."
"Well you can't tell him Cyn's secret, or explain why you've been so
busy recently." Topaz said sensibly. "We've learnt in the last month
exactly how far it can go if other people know about Synergy. I know
Logan is a trustworthy person," As Sylva began to protest. "But the
more people who know, the more risk there is that people will find out
she's still around. And he might freak out. You don't know. It's a
pretty big secret to have hidden in your basement."
"I know." Sylva stretched out on the duvet, resting her chin in her
hands. "He hasn't been funny with me on the phone, so it's probably my
paranoia. I just don't want to mess up."
"You won't tell the others about this chat, will you?" She asked. "It's
kinda...well...embarassing, admitting I don't know what to do where a
"We're best friends." Topaz crossed her chest solemnly with her free
hand. "Nothing will ever leave my lips, as you well know."
"I know." Sylva dimpled. "It's just, I've had such crazy luck with
"You have, but Logan's nice. And cute." Topaz winked. "And he's into
you. That's pretty obvious. If you ask me, he was into you at Copper's
"He told me in New York that he considered asking me out properly
then." Sylva agreed. "But then we got to be such good buddies and,
well, he didn't want to wreck that. It was only when we were there..."
She pinkened, shaking her head. "Well, things kinda changed there." She
Topaz raised an eyebrow.
"It's not important."
"This is a story I haven't heard." Topaz reached across for her baby's
doll, giving it into tiny pink hands as she fixed her friend with a
curious look. "What did happen in New York to make you suddenly all
excited about making a relationship work with him?"
Sylva reddened, and Topaz's eyes opened wide.
"Oh! I see." She said, amusement twitching at the corner of her mouth.
"It wasn't exactly planned." Sylva got to grips with her composure.
"But...you know, it did make us sit down and face things head on. So
I'm quite glad it did happen that way. Just, it's not the coolest way
to begin a relationship. So I'd rather you kept that one quiet as well."
"Of course." Topaz nodded. "I'm certainly not one to preach about doing
things the wrong way around."
She glanced down at Hollie, tickling the small girl.
"And this one is the proof."
"So you really think the dress is okay?"
"I think it's great." Topaz nodded. "And Logan isn't taking you out
because he wants to spend the evening with your dress. He wants to
spend it with you."
"Obviously, from what you just told me, he likes what's inside the
dress a lot more - so I wouldn't stress about it any further. It'll be
"If Hollie wasn't here, I'd get you for that!" Sylva looked indignant,
and Topaz laughed.
"That's why I brought her." She said playfully. "But I think it's about
time she had something to eat and then a nap, so I'll leave you to work
out your best look for your date. And don't fret about it. You love
this guy and he loves you. Don't let what happened with Jack distract
you from that. Logan is great and you know it...so enjoy it. All right?"
"All right." Sylva dimpled. "Thanks, Topaz. I guess you're right."