Jetta stared up at the family planning clinic, her heart in her throat
as she ran over everything in her head. Despite herself, she bit her
lip, struggling to hold back the flood of tears that wanted to fall.
The taxi had long since left, and she had been standing there for a
good ten minutes now, but despite herself, she could not go in.
"What if someone sees me and knows who I am?" She murmured, drumming
her fingers together in evident agitation. "And why the hell did I come
to this part of town, anyway? The one thing I said when we came here
was that I didn't want to go home. Well, now I am home. Smack bang in
the middle of the area I grew up in...an' scared as shit to go into
that place, just as I was when I was a teenager. But more rests on it
right now. One thing goin' in there an' asking to be put on the pill
when you're not yet sixteen. Another thing to be a travellin' rock
musician with one positive test already behind you! Oh shit, I know how
Pizzazz must've felt, now! Standin' in this situation, thinkin' over
all the options. But...but it's not the same thing. I don't look like a
Misfit an' there's no earthly reason for Jetta to be 'ere, in this part
of the city. Nobody would know, if I went inside an' spoke to them. I
could give them my real name - a lot of people still don't know that.
So why am I still standin' here? What the hell is wrong with me?"
She chewed absently on her thumbnail, pausing for a moment, then
turning on her heel, walking slowly down the road away from the big
nineteen thirties building. She felt jumpy and on edge, upset by the
argument with Justin but still angry when she thought back over the
things they had said.
"I need to calm down first." She decided out loud. "If I go in there
like this I'll probably look a complete basket case and they won't 'elp
me, they'll section me instead! But this is the last place he'll think
to come lookin' for me, if he even bothers to come. Right now I don't
care if he does or if 'e doesn't. I 'ave enough to think about without
'im fussin' an' naggin' at me, anyway! I told him I didn't want kids!
If he doesn't like what I've come 'ere to do, well, then he shouldn't
'ave married me in the first place!"
A hollow pang struck through her at this thought, and she frowned,
"I'm not going to let myself get emotional about this." She told
herself fiercely. "I'm not thinking about Justin. I'm thinking about
what I need to do. What I 'ave
to do. I just need to clear my head. Get a little perspective before I
do it. That's all. It's been a crazy day already, an' it's going to get
crazier. I need a time out...it won't hurt if I leave it for another
hour or so."
A rueful smile touched her lips as she realised the direction in which
she had walked. The local shopping centre loomed large in front of her,
and as she made her way towards the big double doors, she remembered
the number of times she and Laura had cut class to hang out here and
shop, often with other friends.
"Funny what you remember." She mused, walking slowly through the
brightly lit centre and glancing around her at the familiar shops to
the left and right. "But it ain't changed much. Nothin' does, I guess,
not in this part of the world. Landcape still looks the same.
Buildin's, too. They're all the same as they were, years back. I can't
believe I came here. After everythin' that I've done to get away from
it...why did I come home, anyway?"
A group of fourteen and fifteen year olds hared across in front of her,
shouting and yelling as they made a beeline for the exit. As Jetta
watched them, one of the taller members of the group hopped up onto the
surrounding walls, lighting up a cigarette and tossing the lighter to
their nearest associate. Snippets of their conversation drifted into
the centre as the doors opened and shut to admit new shoppers, and
despite herself, Jetta pursed her lips.
"Just like us." She muttered. "Thursday afternoon, cuttin' class to
hang at the mall with a fag an' some friends. Guess nothing does
change. Just the names of the people. That's all."
She glanced down at herself, feeling suddenly self-conscious in her
"Well, if anyone tries to rob me, they'll soon know they're dealin'
with a Misfit." She decided. "Though I stick out in 'ere like a sore
She drew a deep breath into her lungs, sinking down onto a seat beside
the aging, discoloured fountain that marked the mall's centrepiece.
Turning to examine the fountain more closely, she ran a finger against
one side, a slight smile touching her lips as she felt the indentation
of letters beneath her touch. Slowly she traced out her name in the
aqua marble, remembering with startling clarity the day she had first
carved it. It had been a dare, she recalled, and she had very nearly
been caught, all of them haring out of the centre at top speed with
security officials on their tail.
"Still here." She realised. "Everything is still here. Just not me."
She sighed, feeling suddenly tired.
"An' now I'm knocked up an' completely lost." She added, getting slowly
to her feet and turning her back on the fountain and it's memories.
"It's completely thrown me. I don't know what to do or 'ow to act or
what to say to people in that stupid clinic if I could get through the
door. I feel like I might scream or cry or make a complete fool of
myself, and dammit, I'm so sick of feelin' sick all the time!"
She clenched her fists, fighting back the rising wave of panic that
threatened to engulf her.
"I'm not going to be a wimp!" She told herself fiercely. "I'm not going
to cry or make people stare at me. I'm a Misfit. This isn't a hard
decision. It's already made - I already know what I 'ave to do. I
should just do it an' get it over with before Justin catches up to me
an' tries his best at sweet-talkin' me again. Because if he thinks I'm
goin' to do things his way just because it's how they are, he can
forget it! I'm through fallin' for lines and promises! I'm through with
it. I can't handle this an' I ain't going to, dammit! And then we'll
see how he likes it!"
She turned, marching resolutely back the way she had come, but as she
did so, a sense of melancholy washed over her and she faltered,
remembering Justin's face as she left. She cursed, trying to force it
from her mind, but it remained there, imprinted on her memories.
"Jerk." She hissed. "I'm not going to think about him. It isn't about
She stared across towards the door of the mall, making out the corners
of the clinic through the tinted glass. Reaching up to rub her temples,
she realised that suddenly it seemed so very far away.
As her thoughts began to jumble together in her head, confusing her,
she made a last brave attempt to reach a bench to sit down, but the
sensation overwhelmed her and, oblivious to the exclamations around
her, she felt her legs buckling under her, her vision swimming and
refusing to find a focus as she began to fall. A sudden sense of nausea
flooded through her, and then everything went black.
* * * * * *
"Can I help you, Mr Pelligrini?"
The lady on the front reception desk flashed Justin a smile, pausing in
the notes she had been making and eying him expectantly. "Were you
looking for someone, or...?"
"Yes. Well, no." Justin inwardly berated his flustered answer. He
pulled himself together, offering the confused lady a smile. "I'm
just...can I leave a message here? I'm going out for a...a walk with my
camera, to get some shots of the local area. I don't know what time
I'll be back - before dinner, I expect - and my wife has
gone...uh...shopping. Could you let her know where I am, and that I'll
see her at dinner? If she comes back before I do, that is. She may be
later than that."
He offered a sheepish smile, and the lady's brows knitted together in
bewilderment, but she nodded her head, grabbing a sheet of paper from
her notebook and scribbling it down. She folded it in half, sliding it
into the pigeonhole for the honeymoon suite.
"I'll be sure she gets it." She agreed, and Justin's heart sank into
his boots as he read the question behind her professional smile. Jetta
had been right, he mused darkly. People did assume you had marital
problems if you left the honeymoon suite alone.
"But as it happens, I do have marital problems right now." He told
himself, thanking the employee in as nonchalant a manner as possible,
and then withdrawing to collect his camera and bag of films. "In that I
don't know where my wife - hell, my pregnant and highly unpredictable
wife - is at the moment, let alone when she's coming back or if she
even is. There's even a slim chance she might have got that cab to the
airport and flown back to America - God only knows what's in her head
at the moment. I just hope she's calmed down, and seen some sense. And
that she hasn't done what I think she was going to do, when she left
here earlier on. Oh God, and this woman probably saw her storm out of
here as well - what the hell they must think of us now I don't know."
He swung his camera bag over his shoulder with a resigned shrug.
"Oh well. Noone can call us conventional." He said aloud. "And she'll
come back when she's ready. I know my wife. We've been through a lot.
Whatever happens...she'll come back. And I need to kill some of this
nervous energy before I pace a hole in the carpet. Let's hope
photography has a calming influence on me today. Heaven knows I need
* * * * *
"I think she's starting to come round."
As Jetta flickered open her eyes, the world around her seemed to be
coated in a strange, blurry fog. Blinking, she reached a hand up to rub
her eyes, struggling to bring herself into a sitting position, but
someone had a hand on her shoulder and they prevented her from rising.
She was aware of the floor moving beneath her, and a wave of nausea
rose up inside her. She closed her eyes, swallowing hard. Then she
wetted her dry lips, bringing her companion into clear focus.
"Who are you an' why are you touchin' me?" She demanded weakly. The man
grinned at her question, then turned to gesture a signal to someone
else. He moved his hand, helping her up into a sitting position and
settling himself beside her. He was wearing white and green, she
noticed absently, and there was a dull rattle in the background which
seemed to mirror the jolting movement she had noticed before. With a
flash of panic she realised that she was inside something - or
somewhere - and that whatever it was, it was taking her somewhere
against her will.
She struggled to get up, but the man shook his head, guiding her back
"No, you need to sit still, else we'll have you flat again." He warned
her. "Now, just take it easy, will you? You've had a bit of an episode,
and I need to ask you some questions. Hit your head or something,
love...that's what they were telling us and you were stone cold out
when we got to you. Just take a breath or two, all right? You're still
"You didn't answer my question." Jetta sank back against the seat,
wanting to rebel but finding that her legs would not support her as the
vehicle - yes, now she knew it was some kind of transport vehicle -
swung around a particularly sharp corner. "Who are you?"
"James Dolfas, love. Paramedic." James cast her a warm smile. "You're
quite safe, don't worry. You had a turn, like I said. We're just taking
you to the hospital, so they can check you out."
"Hospital?" Now Jetta's senses were fully restored to her and she
stared at him in shock. "I'm in a bleedin' ambulance!"
"You're really starting to come to yourself, now." James seemed
pleased. "Still damn pale, though. Your eyes are a little fuzzy still.
It'll be all right, I promise - just stay calm an' sit back. They'll
look you over an' make sure you didn't come out of this with a
concussion. Can you tell me your name?"
"Why?" Jetta was immediately on the defensive. "What are you goin' to
do with it?"
"I already know what your name is." He said playfully. "You have a
Californian driving licence in your handbag. I want to make sure you know it, that's all. Just to
gauge whether or not you're confused."
"Of course I'm bloody confused. Last thing I remember is walkin' in the
mall an' now I'm shacked up with you." Jetta muttered. "Stop grinnin'
at me like that, will you? You're turnin' my stomach."
"Do you feel sick?"
"Does it matter if I do? This crate ain't goin' to slow down, is it?"
"Probably not." James agreed cheerfully. "But the sooner we get to the
hospital, the sooner you can get out of it. Does that sound fair?"
"Not really, but I don't seem to 'ave a choice." Jetta sighed. There
was a pause, then, "Sheila Pelligrini. That's my name."
"Pelligrini, huh?" The paramedic sat back in his seat. "That's a new
one on me."
"My license says Burns." Jetta said wearily. "I've been married three
months, gimme a break. I can't do every bleedin' thing when the 'ouse
needs fixin' up an' I'm workin' as well!"
"Ahh, I see." The medic smiled. "So you're a newlywed. I'm guessing
from the license you're no longer a London local - though you sound
like one to me, make no mistake about it. Is your husband in England
with you? Any family...anyone we can get in touch with when we get to
the hospital, let them know where you are?"
Jetta bit her lip, remembering the conversation she had had with her
husband some hours earlier. Slowly she shook her head.
"I don't remember." She lied slowly, crossing her fingers absently
behind her back as she did so. "We're in a hotel, but I don't 'ave the
James eyed her keenly, but did not push the issue. Instead he reached
across to touch her brow, nodding his head.
"You felt a touch hot when I got to you, but you feel better now." He
commented. "I don't think you've a fever. You didn't have any medic
cards in your handbag - can you tell me if you have any long term
medical conditions? Diabetes, epilepsy? Anythin' like that?"
"Nope. Nothing." Jetta rubbed her temples. "Except I'm gettin' a
migraine listenin' to you. Do you talk to all your patients like this?
God, no wonder they're sick when they get to the bleedin' 'ospital!"
"On any medications? Anything else we should know?" James seemed
undeterred by her hostile attitude. "Any illicit drugs? Alcohol?
Anything like that?"
"What the hell are you tryin' to suggest?" Jetta's eyes widened in
anger. "No, I do not do drugs, an' no, I'm not a bleedin' alcoholic!"
"They're routine questions, that's all. We're here to help, not to
judge." James shrugged his shoulders. "The doctors will do bloodwork on
you if they think it's warranted, anyway. So, do you have a history of
fainting? Ever experienced anything like this before?"
Jetta chewed down on her lip, shaking her head.
"No." She admitted eventually. "I don't faint. Like, ever. But..."
She faltered, and James raised an eyebrow.
"But?" He pressed her gently. "Something you think I should know?"
"Earlier today..." Jetta began, then stopped. She glanced at her hands.
"I ain't felt so brilliant recently." She admitted. "This morning
I almost passed out visitin' the Tower with me 'usband."
"I see." James pursed his lips. "And do you know what might have caused
Jetta swallowed hard as the ambulance swung around another bend.
"Tell whoever's drivin' to stop it, else I'll puke all over your nice
clean beddin'." She warned. James shrugged his shoulders.
"I assure you, it's seen much worse, and I'm not particularly
squeamish." He said matter-of-factly. "Can't be, in this job. Anyway,
you were saying? You gave me the impression you know more about this
than you're letting on."
Jetta sighed, closing her eyes.
"I feel a bit shaky." She admitted. "Maybe you are right. Maybe I did
'it my head. I don't remember. I don't even remember passin' out."
"They said you fell pretty heavily. Like a dead weight." James told
her. "The people who stopped to help you. I wouldn't be surprised if
you did hit your head...you were out for quite a few minutes."
"Would figure, seeing how my luck's been this week." Jetta muttered.
She opened her eyes, examining her nail polish absently.
"I suppose I should tell you that this afternoon I took a pregnancy
test." She said at length. "And...well, in my eyes, I failed it."
"Ah." Comprehension flooded James' expression. "So you're an expectant
mother? That does put a new slant on things."
"Please don't use that word." Jetta groaned. "I ain't nobody's mother,
believe me. I was in town for one reason an' one reason only an' it
weren't to pick up bibs an' nappies. I was goin' to the clinic
to...well, see someone. Ask advice, I suppose. About...everythin'.
Options. Whatever. Only I ended up here instead. Trust me, this ain't
somethin' I'm pleased about, so you can save the 'congratulations'
speech for another time."
"I see." James looked thoughtful. "Well, you'll have to speak to the
doctor about that, when he or she sees you this evening. I'm sure that,
if it's simply a case of morning sickness and normal first trimestre
dizziness, he'll be eager to look you over and cut you loose as soon as
possible. But they'd be able to give you whatever information you
needed about what you can do, from hereon in."
He pursed his lips.
"And your husband? He knows about all of this?"
"What business is that of yours?"
"None at all." James admitted. "But the hospital will ask us for a next
of kin for you, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't know."
"So lie." Jetta said darkly. "He won't come, anyway. Trust me. After
the talk we had earlier on..."
She faltered, realising she was giving too much away, and she shook her
head, folding her arms across her chest.
"Stop asking me questions." She instructed. "I'll talk to the doctor
when I see him. I'm done talkin' to you."
James eyed her keenly, but obediently fell silent, reaching to take
Jetta's pulse and glancing at his watch.
"You're steadier than you were when we picked you up. That's good." He
remarked instead. "And judging by the fact we've slowed down, we've
probably about reached our destination."
"What's to stop me fleein' this thing the moment you open the doors?"
Jetta asked, wrenching her hand from his grip and glaring at him.
"Because I'm more than willing to do it, I assure you!"
"Nothing at all." James said calmly. "But if you're as dizzy as you
were earlier, you won't get too far. Besides, if you have got a
concussion and it clocks in later, you could quite easily go to sleep
and not wake up. You seem all right to me, but I've seen patients go
downhill at speed - patients who look in better shape than you when
I've picked them up. So really, it's up to you - but considering what
you told me, and the fact that - whatever the cause - you were out cold
when we arrived - I'd at least let someone look at you."
Jetta looked mutinous, folding her arms across her chest.
"I don't like doctors." She muttered. "They prod you an' poke you an'
you come away imaginin' you 'ave things wrong with you that you don't."
"I'm sorry to hear that." he said amiably. "But I assure you, our
doctors are very nice people."
"All right, already. I'm not six years old." Jetta sighed. "Fine. I'll
come with you an' I'll come quietly. But I ain't spendin' the night in
no 'ospital. I know 'ow the bloody NHS works - stick you in a cubbyhole
to rot for hours while you're waitin' to see someone. If I'm gonna be
'ere, I want to be seen an' seen smartish, you understand? I'm on my
bleedin' honeymoon, an' I'm not spendin' part of it shackled up inside
"Then you'd better tell the doctor how to get in touch with your
husband." James said practically, as the vehicle drew to a halt.
"You're presenting with dizziness and possible concussion and they
might want to keep you for observation - I certainly doubt they'd send
you out into the wilderness on your own, considering the high risk of a
He smiled at her, and Jetta grimaced back.
"Even if it is simply baby hormones, you might want to think about
that." He added. "And here we are...do you think you can walk, or do
you want a chair?"
"I can bloody walk." Jetta snapped. "And don't even think about
touchin' me! If I've got to do this, I'm doin' it my bleedin' way an'
noone else's, you got it?"
James' eyes twinkled with amusement and he nodded his head.
"In that case," he said levelly, "Follow me."
The Boring Disclaimer:
Jetta is not my character - she and the Misfits were created by Hasbro
and given life by Christy Marx and the writers of the Jem series.
However, the events, concepts and plotline contained in this story is
my own and may not be duplicated. Justin, Gianina and any character not
featured in the Jem cartoon are entirely my creation and are also not
to be duplicated anywhere else.