Jetta set down her folders, glancing up from her desk as she registered
the fact she had company. It was a week on and, back in Los Angeles,
she had come to work early in the hope of avoiding a morning
confrontation with her impetuous employer. The building had been quiet,
except for one car and she smiled, indicating for Stormer to come on
into the office and sit down. Stormer did so, closing the door behind
her and perching on the edge of a vacant seat.
"I didn't know you were back." She said, by way of preamble. "You could
have given us some warning. Pizzazz has had me in here three days over
the last week, collating this or that and I thought that'd be my lot
again this morning. Honestly, I'm glad to see you here. I can get back
to my song now you are!"
"Thanks." Jetta eyed her friend ruefully. "An' we got back last
night...both of us were so knackered we jus' went to bed an' didn't
think about anythin' else. I woke early this mornin' so I figured I
might as well come see if things were still standin'. In honesty, it's
nice to get back to somethin' approachin' normal. It's been a hectic
an' eventful week."
"Did you have a good time in London?" Stormer looked curious. "I
thought you'd be sleeping off jetlag still, if you flew in last night."
"Justin is. I'm over it...I fly more miles than 'e does as a rule
anyway an' I'm used to the time zone difference more than 'im." Jetta
shrugged. "So 'ere I am."
She dropped the folder onto the desk. "I might've known Pizzazz'd dump
work off on the nearest person as soon as I was out of the vicinity."
"Well, she's been doing it since Elliot arrived in San Diego." Stormer
sighed, glancing at her nails. "It's a not so discreet attempt to keep
the two of us apart."
"She must think that things are pretty serious then, if she's goin' to
those lengths an' he jus' got here." Jetta's eyebrows shot up into her
fringe. "Or 'asn't she forgiven you yet for Christmas Day?"
"Does she ever forgive or forget?" Stormer shook her head. "No, she's
not amused. I'm starting to understand how you felt when you started
seeing Justin. Stifled. And it doesn't help that Roxy hates him, too.
Please tell me you're not going to join their little party, Jetta? I've
never had a guy like Elliot in my life before and it's exciting and fun
- when I'm not getting yelled at about it."
"Believe me, what or who you're doin' is your own business." Jetta held
up her hands. "I ain't in no position to criticise an' I probably saw
more of Elliot than most, when 'e was here before. He's too serious for
my tastes, but I reckon you could do worse."
"Well, I have done worse, in the past." Stormer looked rueful. "But
Elliot's a genuine guy, Jetta. He really is. And who comes all the way
to California just to ask if I want to see him? With flowers, no less?
I'm a romantic...I can't help it. I've never had a guy this interested
in spending time with me before. Usually being a Misfit is enough to
scare anyone away...but Elliot doesn't seem scared of Pizzazz. And I
like having him around. I've missed him...and I'm glad he's back in
"Pizzazz has issues. Don't let them drag you down." Jetta said simply.
"But if you don't mind, I don't want to 'ear 'ow romantic Elliot's
arrival was or nothin' like that. If you're seein' him, well, I can
deal with that. An' I don't mind discussin' it from time to time,
neither. But soppy sweet nothin's are not my style. If Justin 'ad tried
that flowers an' chocolates crap with me he'd 'ave got nowhere fast,
an' that's a fact."
"Well, you keep Justin and I'll take Elliot." She said playfully. "And
then we'll both be happy."
She pursed her lips.
"So what did you guys get up to in London?" She asked. "I mean, besides
"Besides the obvious?" Jetta raised an eyebrow.
"Yes. Did you go anywhere special? See anyone famous?"
"We did some sightseein' for Justin's sake, an' he took some reels of
film." Jetta looked thoughtful. "Went to the theatre one night. Good
damn seats, too. Saw Laura, which was cool."
"Sounds like a fun trip." Stormer looked wistful. "I could use a
vacation, but I guess I've precious little chance of it now."
"A vacation with lover boy or without?" Jetta demanded. "Because if
it's with you're thinkin', make sure you take care. Things can 'appen,
an' Pizzazz...well, let's just say she's 'ad her fill of that for the
"I'm not like that." She protested. "Elliot and I have only been seeing
one another a short time and it's too soon to even think about...well,
that kind of thing. Besides, I meant alone. Or rather, to see Craig.
Since I didn't see him at Christmas, I'd like to arrange something now.
But he's still in Europe - no more snow but plenty of work. And I can't
see her letting me take the time off."
"She might encourage it, if Elliot wasn't invited." Jetta pointed out.
"If she's tryin' to keep you apart."
"No, because she keeps moaning about the next album or the next single
and why haven't I written it yet." Stormer rolled her eyes. "The
holiday season is well and truly over, I'm telling you. And she's been
in one hell of a mood all week."
"Great." Jetta sighed, rubbing her temples. "That's not somethin'
I need to 'ear. I have to speak to 'er, an' I'd like to do it without
splittin' my eardrums."
"She was taking a shower when I left, so I guess she'll be here soon."
Stormer observed. "She did say something about a morning meeting, I
think...though I'm not sure on all the details. But she should be here
any minute now."
"She is here, Stormer, though she's wondering why you are."
A voice from the door made both girls jump, turning guiltily to see the
Misfits' lead singer in the doorway.
"Pizzazz!" Jetta was the first to recover her composure. "Don't sneak
up on us like that - did noone teach you to knock?"
"I don't have to knock. This entire building is my property." Pizzazz
came into the room proper, shutting the door behind her. She shot
Stormer a glance.
"You should be writing. Not gossiping about people's vacations." She
said sharply. "If I'm in any kind of a mood, it's because noone round
here is doing their job but me!"
Stormer could not go any redder, and she cast Jetta a rueful look.
"I'm sorry. I didn't know you heard that." She said contritely.
"Well, you should be more careful where you bitch." Pizzazz said
acidly. She turned her attention to Jetta, and the sax player met her
friend's irritated green eyes with enquiring grey ones.
"I didn't expect you back till tomorrow."
"I'm efficient." Jetta said flippantly. "Because I'm 'ere now."
"About time. There's enough for you to go through and I've had enough
trying to keep my end of work going." Pizzazz pursed her lips. "I trust
there are no more sneaky vacations slipped into the diary since you got
here this morning?"
"None planned." Jetta shook her head, resting her chin on her hands as
she offered her companion a smile. "What's been goin' on here in my
absence, then? Busy?"
"Very." Pizzazz nodded. "I've got several shows arranged and tour dates
across May and June - at least they're sketched in at the moment, but I
think we'll have them confirmed for the end of the week. I'm looking at
a massive trip across Europe - London, Paris, Madrid...and you know,
all the other big city places over that way. Just to make it clear once
and for all that the Misfits are on top."
She held out the loose-leaf file she had been carrying, and Jetta took
it, flicking it open and turning over the pages. At length she glanced
"You 'ave been busy." She said grudgingly. "You weren't kiddin' when
you said you wanted us all over the place. What about America while we
were away? Or do you 'ave a contingency plan for that, too? Someone's
got to run this joint while we're out of the country."
"Working on it." Pizzazz said simply. "You keep moaning about getting
an assistant anyway, so I thought you'd be pleased. And it'd be a
chance to do something we haven't been able to do much of since Eric
left the company. Tour. I'm dying to get some foreign nightlife and to
play some new places. There's a whole world out there and we need to
get to it."
"In theory, I agree with you." Jetta shut the folder with a snap,
raising her gaze to her colleague's. "In practice, I can see problems."
"Because neither one of us is here?" Pizzazz pursed her lips. "Well, if
worst comes to it, I'll talk to Daddy. But he did give me a tip last
Tuesday about a woman working for one of our competitors, as a PA.
Jemima, or something, her name is. Apparently she graduated first in
her class at Yale and she's supposed to be a real bright spark - only
she's stuck in a dead end office at the moment. He thinks we should
look her up and I agreed. Obviously if we meet her and she's no good,
we won't pursue it but...there are plenty of cards on the table in
terms of back up here. You don't worry about anything but arranging the
tour dates. I will see to cover here."
She eyed Jetta meaningfully.
"I'm not a complete fool, you know. I can do my share." She added
"Not my implication." She said at length. "Pizzazz, we need to talk.
Seriously. Before all of this goes any further than it already 'as. I
can't tour in May or June. I'm sorry, but that's jus' how it is."
"I thought you said that you didn't have any other sneak vacations
planned!" She exclaimed. "What do you mean, you can't tour then? This
isn't a suggestion, Jetta! It's a damn obligation!"
"I know, but I 'ave a prior one." Jetta said levelly. "An' I doubt any
doctor would sanction me travellin' abroad in those months. You're
goin' to have to reschedule, if you want me there. It just won't be
"Doctor?" Before Pizzazz could react, Stormer, who had observed the
heated debate in silence till then spoke up. "Jetta, are you sick?"
"I think someone needs to tell me what's going on." Pizzazz looked
confused. "Why should I care what any doctor thinks - and why should you? You don't like doctors. You
avoid them like the plague. What's so crucial now that you're going to
take their advice over my idea, huh? You love touring."
Jetta glanced at her hands for a moment, gathering together her
composure and her courage. Then she drew a deep breath into her lungs,
meeting her friend's gaze with an earnest one of her own.
"Because I'm almost three months pregnant." She said softly. "An'
Justin an' I...we've decided to see the thing through."
For a moment there was complete silence in the office, as both Stormer
and Pizzazz digested this information. Stormer was the first to regain
her senses, her eyes big with surprise and disbelief.
"A baby?" She whispered.
"Jetta, are you for real?"
"Yes." Jetta nodded her head. "I told you the trip to London was
eventful, Stormer. Now you know how eventful, don't you?"
She pursed her lips.
"An' why I was such an idiot in Michigan, too, most likely." She added
grimly. "So you see, tourin' then...it's a bad time. I ain't seen a
doctor in LA yet, but I'm pretty sure about dates an' when it 'appened.
That bein' so, I'm probably due around June or July. No later,
certainly. An' there's no way any doctor would let me fly out of the
country, given that."
Her gaze flitted to Pizzazz, whose face had gone very white at her
words. She narrowed her gaze, scrutinising the mixture of alarm and
anger that mingled in the depths of the other girl's green eyes.
After what seemed like an eternity, the singer spoke.
"Stormer, get out." The words were like lead weights, and, as Stormer
hesitated, a dark look entered her expression.
"I said go!" She exclaimed. "This is between Jetta and me. Go write
some music or something and leave us alone, will you?"
Stormer bit her lip, eying Jetta as she did so, but she did as she was
bidden, withdrawing from the office and closing the door with a click
behind her. Silence fell again, and despite herself Jetta almost felt
ready to scream.
"All right." She said at length. "Give it to me."
"Give what to you?" Pizzazz's tones were flat and cold.
"The lecture. The speech. The rant about how irresponsible I am an'
yada yada. Because I 'ave an 'eadache already an' I'd rather you kept
it short and to the point."
"Short and to the point?" Pizzazz echoed. Her lips thinned, displeasure
crossing her features.
"I thought of all people you had more sense." She admitted eventually.
"You're good at lying, Jetta, I'll give you that. Sometimes I fall for
it, sometimes I don't. But do you have even the slightest idea what
you're doing? After all the things you said when I...after I..."
She faltered, unable to voice the words aloud and Jetta frowned.
"When you were knocked up with Emily, I told you you should get rid of
her and you didn't listen to me." She said quietly. "I still think you
should 'ave done it, but I let you make your own decision in the end.
It ain't a decision that someone else can make for you, Pizzazz. I
don't care if you don't like it. This is how it's goin' to be. If you
kick me out of the company an' the band, well, you'll find yourself
with a lot more work to do at the end of it. I sure don't see myself
quittin' just because this has gotten in my way."
"How can you even sit there and say that it's your decision?" Pizzazz
flared up. "It's damn obvious that it isn't! You've changed, Jetta, you
know that? Since Justin came into your life you've been some other
woman, thinking you're so much better than the rest of us. You don't
believe in love, you tell us, then you go and marry the guy. You don't
like kids, you say, and now you're going to start a family? You never
used to be such a damn hypocrite and I'm not going to stand for it any
"Meaning I'm fed up." Pizzazz's voice shook. "You tried to make
decisions for me when I was in trouble, but you won't stop and hear
reason now that it's your turn. Listen to me, you stupid girl. You have
no idea what you've chosen to do. To put yourself and the rest of us
through. You have absolutely no damn idea what you're getting yourself
into and that's a fact!"
"And you, I suppose, could give me some tips?" Sarcasm edged Jetta's
every word. "Find me a nice cardboard box and tell me the best way to
dump my baby on some unsuspecting charity?"
Pizzazz visibly flinched at this, hurt plain in her expression, and
Jetta berated herself inwardly for her sharpness.
"Don't talk to me about Emily." The singer's tones were dangerously
low. "I made the decision I had to make and it was the best decision
for everyone. Especially me. I'm a singer. That's what I do. I own a
company. That's my project. I don't have time or space in my life for
screaming babies. I didn't think you did either. But I guess I
misjudged you. You're as soft a wimp as Stormer, deep down, aren't you?
Or is this her influence on you? Is that what's going on? Between
Justin and Stormer you've turned into a freak of nature?"
"This ain't anythin' to do with Justin or Stormer." Jetta held her
ground. "Besides, there's nothin' to discuss. My legal obligation is to
tell my employer I'm goin' to have a baby. I've done that. I know
enough about this game to know I'm entitled to maternity pay an' leave
when I need it, an' that sackin' me would be one 'ell of a legal suit
for you to deal with. I might not be a Gabor, but I've lived with one
long enough to know the weaknesses in that system, Pizzazz. An' I'll
talk to you about Emily so long as you presume to tell me what to do
about my baby. We gave you the choice to do as you saw fit with your
mistake. Let me handle mine my way, all right?"
"So you admit it's a mistake!"
"I don't know, yet." Jetta said slowly. "In truth, it's all still
somethin' of a blur."
"I went to the clinic, stood outside it...but I couldn't go in." She
added. "I thought about it good an' hard, Pizzazz, but I knew that I
weren't goin' to do it. If I 'ad been goin' to, I wouldn't have had to
stop an' think. Maybe it's hormones, I don't know. But I couldn't take
that step. An' you can get mad an' yell at me all you want, but I'll
bet you know damn well I'm tellin' you the truth. I bet you did the
exact same thing when Emily was on the way. You may not 'ave wanted
'er. It may 'ave been a nightmare from start to finish for all of us.
But you could 'ave gone abroad to get rid of it, pretended it was an
extended vacation, covered it up somehow. You didn't an' I bet I know
why now true enough. Even if you wanted to do it, you knew you
couldn't. No more than I can."
"That's garbage!" Pizzazz protested. "I would have done it in a
heartbeat...I didn't give a damn about that baby and I still don't!"
"Then why did you write a cheque for the Foundation this Christmas
time?" Jetta asked softly. "Why did you make me register her birth
through some discreet friend of a friend you knew? It doesn't pan out.
An' like you made those choices an' settled the kid's life for the
best, I'm goin' to do my damn 'ardest to do the same for mine. Justin
didn't make this decision. I made it. Me. An' if you don't like it,
it's your problem to deal with - not mine. Like I said, I'm not
quittin' the band or the company. I can take my leave an' then be back
to work...I'll figure that out because those things are important to
me. But you'll 'ave to move the tour, if you want me with you. I can't
travel in May and June. It just won't be possible."
Pizzazz was silent, digesting this. Then she sighed, sinking down into
Stormer's vacated seat. She muttered a string of curses under her
breath, running agitated fingers through her wavy hair.
"Just when everything was running so smoothly." She muttered. "You had
to drop this on me, didn't you!"
"I didn't exactly plan it this way!" Jetta retorted. "Believe me, I
didn't really enjoy findin' out!"
Pizzazz bit her lip.
"I'm not going to change your mind, am I?" She asked quietly, her tone
pained. Jetta shook her head.
"No. The decision is made."
"Not even if I told you what exactly is going to happen if you carry
on?" Pizzazz looked troubled. "Because you don't know the half of it.
Things I didn't tell you. Didn't tell anyone. It's not easy, Jetta. And
then what are you going to do with the brat? Do you think you're going
to be a good mother to it? A Misfit? Give me a break."
"Well, I'm goin' to be givin' it a try." Jetta responded evenly. "So
that's academic for the time being."
She shrugged her shoulders.
"As for what's goin' to happen, I'll take it as it comes." She added.
"I'm not alone in this, you know. Whether you like it or you don't,
Justin is there too an' I 'ave him to fall back on. You never 'ad that.
You only 'ad us an' a fat lot of good we were in many respects. That
makes it different."
"Maybe in your eyes." Pizzazz muttered. She sighed again, then gestured
to the folder of tour notes.
"Good thing that isn't concrete yet." She said softly. "You can see to
rearranging it all. I'm done with it. You ain't the only one with a
headache starting and I've a godforsaken meeting in a half hour's time.
I need my coffee...and I can't speak to you about this any more right
now. Just deal with that, all right? Do me a favour and don't argue
Jetta picked up the folder.
"I'll do that." She agreed solemnly. "It shouldn't be too hard."
"Well, let's hope not, for your sake." Pizzazz stood. "I'm done here.
Just...don't say I didn't warn you. And don't come running to me when
you find it's more than you can handle, all right? I've said my bit and
I won't say it again. Just damn well don't let me down. I've worked too
hard to keep this company going. Hell, we've worked too hard. I won't let
anything interfere with that."
"Me either." Jetta assured her.
"Just see that you're right." Pizzazz said darkly. Then, with a
backward glance, she was gone, leaving Jetta alone in the office.
Jetta let out her breath in a rush.
"That could have gone better." She mused. "But it could 'ave been worse
as well. Oh well. Just Roxy to tell now...I only 'ope Justin gets to
'er before Pizzazz or Stormer does or I'll be in for another jawin'!"