The sky was overcast by the time Jetta
and Justin arrived at Laura's estate, with spitting shards of rain
beginning to fall from the clouds. Justin cast a dark look upwards as
he stepped out of the taxi, pursing his lips.
"Do you think this is going to be a deluge later?" He asked, as his
wife paid the taxi driver, sending him on his way. "Because I was going
to suggest you went and spoke to Laura for a bit first and I came by
after exploring the area...give you some time to girl chat and all of
that. But if I'm going to get soaked..."
"Living in Los Angeles has turned you into a wuss." Jetta looked
amused. "No, Justin, I don't think it'll be a deluge. Besides, there's
a cafe on the corner an' across the other side of the street there's a
shoppin' mall. It's not like it's open scrubland - I think you'll be
"Well, if I wanted to get drenched, I'd go home to New York." Justin
grimaced at her. "But all right. I'm guessing from that that you'd like
some time with Laura first...so I guess my camera and I will venture
out into the unknown."
"I appreciate it." Jetta kissed him on the cheek, offering him a grin.
"An' I'll make sure she 'as a hot mug of tea waitin' for you when you
join us. Besides, you ain't 'ad much chance to use your snappy, not
with me passin' out all over the shop an' everything else. This ain't
exactly picturesque country...but it's about as close as I'm takin' you
to the area where I grew up. So..."
"So I'd quite like to explore, actually." Justin acknowledged. "I just
wish I'd brought a thicker coat, that's all."
"Laura's is number eighteen, am I right?"
"Yes. Right at the end of the street, with the big 'orse chestnut tree
in the back garden." Jetta nodded, gesturing towards the far end of the
street. "All right - I guess we'll see you in about an hour?"
"I'll be there, wet or otherwise." Justin assured her. "Just make sure
that tea is ready and waiting, all right?"
Jetta laughed, nodding her head.
"It's for sure. Laura's desperate to meet you an' examine you like some
kind of freak show experiment." She teased. "So she'll be only too glad
to feed you while she does it. You 'ave to realise that this is
somethin' of a shock for 'er - when we were in school I was pretty much
the one of our crowd least likely to ever settle down an' start a
"Will you tell her about...our little secret?"
"Yes. I want her advice, actually." Jetta nodded her head. "She's done
it - she 'as a small son - an' so if anyone knows what's what it's her."
"Makes sense." Justin nodded. He paused, eying her thoughtfully for a
"You look a lot better this morning." He added. "Completely different
from the limp being I rescued from Chad's Memorial last night.
Obviously our chat and everything helped settle you - you almost look
"I almost feel like myself." Jetta owned. "Maybe you're right."
She glanced at her watch, then nodded.
"It's almost ten. I better move." She added. "See you in about an hour,
Justin...don't be late!"
Once her husband had disappeared across the street and down a
neighbouring avenue, Jetta crossed over the road herself, making her
way towards the end property on the block. It was not a big house, nor
was it in any way fancy, but as she glanced at it, Jetta felt a warm
sense of home wash over her. Before she could dwell on it, however, the
door swung open and an exclamation drew her attention to the fact she
"Sheila! Are you actually on time?" Laura's tones were teasing and
Jetta turned, pulling a face at her friend as she came across the
pathway to join her.
"Very funny." She retorted. "I'll go away again, if you're goin' to be
"Oh, come in, you idiot." Laura laughed, pushing back the door to let
her friend inside. "Hey, you ain't goin' to tell me that this marriage
story of yours is a fib, are you? Where's the husband? Or did you ditch
"No, it's not a fib. The husband has been let off the lead for an hour
to explore an' take some photos." Jetta looked amused. "But it's for
real, Laura. Here. If you don't believe me...there's the evidence."
She slipped off her black glove, holding out her left hand and Laura
grabbed it up, running a finger over the sparkling gold band. At length
she looked up.
"Congratulations, Sheila." She said sincerely, all trace of joking gone
from her tone. "Seriously, I'm glad you finally realised you can't run
helter-skelter through this world on your own...I did worry about you
endin' up lonely."
"Believe me, I don't think I could be alone even if I wanted to be. Not
now." Jetta looked rueful, following her friend into the warmth of the
house and shedding her coat, second glove and boots. "And it's nice an'
cosy in here, Laura. I trust you've got the kettle on?"
"Yes, of course. What do you take me for?" Laura laughed. "Come on
through to the lounge an' sit down. Did I gather from what you said
that Justin will be joinin' us at some point this morning?"
"He'll be by at around eleven." Jetta nodded. "He told me to make sure
you have tea on - he's becoming an addict since we started seeing one
another, and I drink way too much coffee for his liking. He's looking
forward to a proper English cuppa."
"Well, I'll do my best to oblige." Laura laughed, pushing open the door
of the lounge and Jetta followed, stopping dead as she registered the
presence of the small infant in the playpen. The child paused in his
examination of his teddy bear, staring up at the stranger without
comprehension. Laura bit her lip.
"I'm sorry. I know I said I'd get a sitter." She said apologetically.
"But the girl bailed on me - sudden toothache this mornin' an' she
couldn't do it. So I'm afraid there's one extra guest at our reunion -
do you mind?"
"Guess not." Jetta pursed her lips, crossing the floor and taking a
seat on the other side of the wooden playpen. The small boy turned his
attention back to his bear, and Laura sat down opposite, reaching to
scoop him up into her lap.
"I am sorry. I know how you feel about kids." She continued. "But I
can't exactly ditch 'im somewhere an' Keith's at work. He's very quiet,
really - an' he's due to go down for a nap soon, anyway. He was up at
five this mornin', so I expect 'im to be tired soon enough."
"How old is he now? A year?"
"Ten months." Laura's brows knitted together. "He's one in March."
"Well, he 'as his father's appetite." Laura cuddled the infant gently.
"Sheila, why all the interest? Don't think you have to start being
polite with me - God knows I don't want our friendship to become one of
"Oh, believe me, I'm not being." Jetta sat back in her chair, a rueful
expression crossing her face. "No, there's another reason that Justin
ain't coming by here right away this mornin'. He knows I want to talk
to you, woman to woman an' girl to girl on something."
She bit her lip, then,
"Actually, mother to mother." She said awkwardly. Laura gaped, almost
dropping her son in her surprise as he reached across to pull her thick
auburn hair. Instinctively she clutched him more tightly, struck
speechless and despite herself, Jetta laughed.
"You look like a goldfish." She said frankly. "Shut your trap, Laura,
before a fly goes in."
"I'm not quite sure what to say." Eventually Laura found her voice.
"Sheila, are you tellin' me you're pregnant?"
"Fraid so. Surreal, ain't it?"
"Surreal ain't the word!" Laura exclaimed, and her son stared at her in
surprise at her tone of voice. "Who are you an' what did you do to my
Jetta shrugged her shoulders.
"If you can answer that question, let me know what you find out." She
said dryly. "But it's no joke really, Laura. It's 'appened an' it
wasn't exactly our plan...but well, we both realise that I can't get
rid of it. It's complicated, Laura - I don't want to try and explain
why because it's still too emotional inside of me an' I don't want to
spend this mornin' cryin' if I can 'elp it. But that's how things are.
An' if I could get a grip on these bleedin' hormones it'd at least be a
start. I was 'opin' you'd give me some tips...survival tips, whatever.
Right now I'll take anythin' you got."
Laura eyed her friend thoughtfully for a moment. Then she got to her
"I'm going to put Cameron down for his nap." She said at length. "Then
we can talk properly. But you've knocked me for six, Sheila, make no
mistake. You're the last person I imagined bringin' this news to my
"I'm the last person I imagined coming to share it, too." Jetta
admitted. "An' yet, here we are."
As her friend attended to her infant, Jetta sat back in her seat,
glancing around the brightly lit front room. Photos on the mantlepiece
caught her attention and she ran her gaze over them, trying her best to
name the people she saw there. Laura's mother, her grandparents, her
husband Keith, Cameron...and one old photograph from their youth, with
her own face grinning out from the frame. She pursed her lips,
remembering the bare mantle in their Los Angeles home.
"Earth to Sheila? Are you with me or receivin' messages from your home
planet?" Laura's voice jerked through her thoughts and she turned,
"Sorry." She replied, as Laura set down a tea tray on the table, with
two steaming mugs and a tray of biscuits. "Hey, you exchanged your baby
for tea? That's nifty."
"Oh, shut up." Laura grimaced at her. "Kitchen's on the way back from
the nursery an' believe me, I could use a drink after the news you jus'
shared with me."
She glanced at the mantlepiece.
"What are you starin' at, anyway? The wallpaper ain't that fascinatin',
surely? Between you an' me I'd like to replace it, but right now we
don't 'ave the cash so I just 'ave to put up with it."
"No, it was the photos." Jetta pinkened. "I was jus' wonderin' whether
I 'ad any pictures that I could put up at, well, home. I've never 'ad
my own property before an' I'm not sure what we do an' don't need. But
it's kinda nice, like that. Maybe I need to go through some boxes...an
I'm sure Justin 'as family photos where I don't. It was just a fleetin'
idea. Don't mind me."
"All right, that's it." Laura shook her head, coming to sit beside her
friend and grasping her by the hand. "Look at me. Look me in the eye,
and promise me you didn't get abducted by aliens since the last time I
saw you! Because you are not sounding even remotely like yourself right
now, and you're worrying me."
"Maybe I'm concussed." Jetta mused. "No, Laura, I'm fine. Really. Just
I told you...hormones all over the place. Everythin' seems a lot
more...powerful right now. Like things that I never even attached any
thought to suddenly seem to matter a whole lot. Like photographs. An'
comin' in here with your baby in 'is pen an' thinkin'...that's goin' to
be me in a year or so. That's a strange thought, to be honest. But I
grew up in an 'ouse without photos an' things like that. It just
occured to me that if I'm goin' to raise a kid, I want to raise it in a
house more like this one than the one I grew up in."
Laura chewed on her lip.
"You ain't kidding me, are you?" She said at length. "The hormones 'ave
got you bad. You sound positively soppy, Sheila - an' I'm not
"I'm sorry." Jetta laughed. "I don't mean to. I ain't gone soft, Laura,
honestly. I'm just tryin' to convince myself that this whole thing is a
good idea an' that I really want to go ahead with it. In honesty, it's
scarin' the crap out of me an' that's the full truth. But a lot of
things 'ave been doin' that to me lately. A lot of big choices...who
knows? Maybe I am losin' my marbles."
"Tell me about Justin." Laura reached for her cup of tea, taking a sip
and indicating for her friend to help herself to biscuits. "I know when
you came over for my wedding, you weren't sure what you felt about him.
Actually, I thought he was on the other side of the country. What
"Everythin', startin' with one night in New York on my way home from
your shindig." Jetta said ruefully, selecting a bourbon from the plate.
"He came back with me to Los Angeles the next day and it was, well,
undefined between us. Then it all kicked off in Las Vegas - he asked me
to marry him and I said yes."
"Trust you to do it that way." Laura sighed, though her eyes twinkled
with amusement. "So there are no regrets?"
"Some." Jetta acknowledged. "Lettin' go of my own life is probably the
biggest. I mean, I still 'ave my life an' all that. My work. My band.
Everythin'. But I can't take off at a minute's notice or make all the
decisions myself any more. I tried, you know, with the baby yesterday
mornin' when I found out. But in the end...it ain't just about me any
more. I think he's brainwashed me somehow, but I don't know how. An' to
be truthful, even if I did know, I don't think I'd try an' reverse it.
I've never been so freaked out as I 'ave been these last few
months...but Laura, I ain't never been so 'appy neither."
She pulled a face.
"Shit. You're right. I do sound bleedin' soppy."
"Yeah, you do, but in a good way." Laura chuckled, setting her tea down
on the table top. "Well, I'm glad someone's brave enough to ask you.
But then, he's Roxy's brother, isn't that right? I seem to remember she
was a tough nut to crack. I guess he's used to that."
"Yes." Jetta pulled a face. "A relation I could do without on the
family tree, but I guess every couple 'as it's problems. An' to be fair
to 'er, Roxy ain't been such a pain in the ass about us since we got
married. She doesn't honestly seem to care all that much, which suits
"And in the space of what, half a year you've got married an' you're
goin' to be a Mum." Laura shook her head slowly. "You don't do things
by 'alves, do you?"
"That's about the size of it. An' believe me, I'd like a quieter life."
"I don't know what kind of bleedin' parent I'm goin' to make. I think
the kid's goin' to need it's wits about it, considerin' the mess of
genes it's likely to be inheritin'." She said ruefully. "I don't know
the first thing about babies, an' like you said, I 'ate kids. So yeah,
it's potentially a recipe for disaster."
"I think you underestimate yourself." Laura looked thoughtful. "I think
you'll be fine. You've always got your teeth into things and hung on
like an alsatian...I think that you'll just adapt, realise what needs
to be done and do it. To be honest, I was scared as all get out when I
discovered I was goin' to have Cam - and I knew I wanted him from the
moment Keith an' I started talking about startin' a family. But it
brings so many changes an' complications an' it's true that your life
ain't the same afterwards. Your relationship neither. Keith an' I
weathered it fine, though. We're stronger now than we were before, I
"You wouldn't swap him? I mean, not ever? Not even if 'e pukes up on
you or you 'ave to change a nappy at two o' clock in the mornin'?"
Jetta looked doubtful. Laura laughed.
"I'm used to both." She said wryly. "No, honestly, I don't think I
would. He an' I, we do jus' fine. In fact, when he's a little older, I
wouldn't be surprised if Keith an' I start talkin' about a little
brother or sister for 'im. Growin' up as an only kid was lonely
sometimes, an' I don't want that for my boy."
"You always 'ad me." Jetta objected. "An' you think I'm mad. You want
to go through all of that again?"
"Sure." Laura agreed cheerfully. Jetta shook her head slowly.
"I can't imagine ever wantin' to go through any of this again." She
admitted. "I'm not in control of my emotions or my moods. My eyes start
leakin' at the most inopportune moment an' I can't friggin' stop them.
An' I can't go out an' enjoy myself with my 'usband on our 'oneymoon
because I'm nauseous or dizzy at a moment's notice. It's drivin' me
crazy, to be quite honest. I don't know 'ow anyone could choose to do
this...and for nine bleedin' months, too!"
Laura eyed her friend for a moment. Then she slipped an arm around her,
hugging her tightly.
"It ain't so bad as you think." She murmured. "I promise. It's jus' new
to you, that's all - but I know you an' I know you can 'andle it.
Really. You ain't on your own - you 'ave Justin to fall back on,
remember? Bein' a parent is a team game, not a solo sport. An' you're
twenty seven in March. That's a plenty old enough age to start a
family, in my view. The first few months are the worst - but the
sickness does go away, I swear it does. An' you'll be fine. Trust me."
"If worst comes to the worst, you can always call me." She added. "I'll
be around - since I quit my job, Cam and I spend most of the day in an'
around the 'ouse."
"I'm tryin' to figure all that out as well." Jetta lifted her mug of
tea, taking a sip. "Work an' the baby. I am adamant that I ain't
quittin' the Misfits an' I can't rightly pass the buck on the music
company, neither. Honestly, Laura, there are parts of that I'd drop in
an instant, but Pizzazz needs me there an' that's the damn truth. She's
got all the money but not much of her Dad's business sense. For some
reason she settled on me to do the dirty work...but I can 'andle it,
now. It just means I 'ave a very busy life. Addin' a husband to that
'as already been complicated. Addin' a baby as well..."
She shook her head.
"But then Justin is freelance an' that means 'is hours are more
flexible than mine are sometimes." She acknowledged. "So I guess we'll
work it out."
"Promise me that you'll send me pictures, when it's born." Laura said
firmly. "I want to see this Sheila spawn with my own two eyes and I'm
actually a little bit sad I won't be around for any of this. We've been
best mates since we were six years old an' it seems like these days all
the big events in our lives we don't get to share. This is the first
time you've met Cam, after all...an' I ain't seen you face to face
since I married Keith. It's a shame."
"Yeah, it is." Jetta pursed her lips. "But there ain't a way around it.
You know you're always welcome to come visit, but the 'ouse is still a
bit messy an' well, you got Cameron and all...so it's not so easy as
just takin' off when you please, I realise that. An' I don't come to
England more than I need to, because I've always got one thought on my
brother an' what he might have up his sleeve. We came here for the
honeymoon because Justin was desperate to see my home turf an' I wanted
to see you. But I admit I don't come 'ere as much as I could."
"No, you don't, but I do understand." Laura looked thoughtful. "You've
worked damn 'ard to kick all of that out of your life. No reason why
you should come back an' get smothered by it unless you need to."
"Exactly." Jetta nodded. "Present company excepted."
"I should blinkin' hope so too!" Laura laughed. "Since you're drinkin'
my tea an' all!"
"It's good tea." Jetta admitted, setting her cup aside. "You always did
'ave the knack for that kind of stuff. Much more so than me."
Before Laura could respond, the doorbell rang through the house and the
two women exchanged looks.
"I guess that's Justin." Jetta remarked. "Shall I go let him in?"
"I'll go pour him a cup." Laura nodded. "There should be plenty of
water in the kettle."
"Sure." Jetta got to her feet, heading out into the hall and carefully
unfastening the latch. As she'd surmised, her husband stood on the
step, his camera slung over his shoulder. He cast her a grin.
"Am I allowed in?" He teased. Jetta grinned, standing back to let him
"Laura's pourin' you a drink." She told him. "Come this way...through
here. This is the sittin' room. She'll be with us in a minute."
"Okay." Justin acquiesced, following his wife into the small but merry
front room. "Did you get a chance to talk to her about...everything?"
"Yes." Jetta nodded her head. "I'm gettin' my head round it, slowly."
"Well, so you're the brave soul who's married my best friend!" Laura
emerged from the kitchen at that moment, a fresh cup of tea in her
hand. She held it out to Justin, an amused grin on her face. "Here. You
probably need this."
"Thank you." Justin's eyes twinkled and he accepted the gift. "Is this
a traditional British greeting ritual?"
"Not exactly, but it is cold out." Laura laughed. "It's nice to meet
"Likewise." Justin assured her, sitting back in his seat. "Jetta talks
about you enough. All good, by the way and you know she doesn't give
He sent his wife a lopsided smile, and she returned it with a raised
"I have to admit I honestly feel surreal." Laura said pensively.
"Entertainin' Sheila an' husband is somethin' I never imagined in my
wildest dreams. An' yet, we're 'ere after all. It's still sinkin' in to
"For us too, I think." Justin took a long sip of tea. "Mm. That's good
stuff. It's all been a bit manic since we did the deed...but then, I
guess you've been filled in on that side of things."
"Yes." Laura nodded her head. She smiled. "I know you're American,
obviously, and I know you're a photographer. But it was a total
surprise to get Sheila's call the other day...that's the truth. The
last conversation we had about you...well, she was less definite about
"Laura, shut your trap!" Jetta exclaimed, her cheeks going pink. "Some
things are sacred between friends!"
"So you did know about me." Justin looked amused. "I wondered."
"I knew that you were around. You're Roxy's brother, aren't you?" Laura
nodded. Justin smiled.
"And you know my sister? I didn't realise you were so well submerged in
Misfit culture - though I should have guessed. It just seems
very...peaceful and sane here in comparison to the madcap music world I
spend most of my time around."
"I've had the pleasure of meeting the Misfits en masse on a couple of
occasions." Laura agreed. "But being so far away, I guess I am on the
edge of the world here. Though that suits me. Raising my son around
that madness would probably drive me over the edge."
"That's going to be our lot, in a few months time." Jetta stretched
idly, reaching out to take another biscuit. "I ain't even thought about
how to break the news to Pizzazz yet. That's goin' to be one fun
conversation. To say she'll 'it the roof is a bleedin' understatement.
She 'ates Justin an' she 'ates the idea of anythin' messin' up her
band. Plus, she 'ates kids. I'm three strikes out before I even begin."
"But you said she needs you at the music company, so she's not likely
to throw you out on your ear, surely?" Laura looked startled. Jetta
shook her head.
"No, she won't do that." She agreed. "But Pizzazz 'as many ways of
makin' you feel she's displeased."
She cast her husband a rueful smile.
"I'm already in the doghouse for marryin' him an' takin' this trip out
to England." She added. "God only knows what she'll say when she finds
I'm comin' back with another bombshell to drop."
"Maybe she should have a few kids of her own." Laura pursed her lips.
"Might mellow her."
"I would not wish that on any baby." He said, amused.
"Me either." Jetta grimaced. "I'm fond of the girl...most of the time,
anyway. But sometimes she can be the most unreasonable bitch on the
planet, an' that's the truth."
"Well, she'll just have to get used to the idea of your family
growing." Laura pointed out. "Which reminds me, I don't think I know
what your new last name is, Sheila. Unless you're not changin' it, of
"Keep with Burns? Never in a million years." Jetta shook her head.
"It's Pelligrini now. An' as you've probably noticed, Justin calls me
Jetta. Everyone in Los Angeles knows me as that now...it's more than
just a stage name. It's just...well, I guess it's who I am when I'm in
"You an' your stage name." Laura looked amused. "You'll be Sheila to me
till the day you die an' that's the truth."
"I don't mind it from you." Jetta shrugged. "I can remember when you
still 'ad pigtails an' a brace!"
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.