Chapter Four: Shock

Meanwhile, outside the music company, Pizzazz had sought refuge in the extensive grounds, pacing up and down across the concrete as she struggled to clear her fogged head. Try as she might, she could not remember clearly the events in the studio.

"One minute I was talking to Chimera, the next I was on the floor." She whispered. "Like coming out of a dream. God, what's wrong with me? I don't faint! It's like Jetta said, it's not something I do!"

Roxy's words that morning echoed once more in her head and she bit her lip, shaking her head.

"Can't be." She muttered. "Can't be! Hasn't been anyone. It's stress - that's all it is. Stress and...oh, dammit, I can't deal with this today. I'm going home, and I'm going to take a nap. Sleep whatever it is off. God knows I was woken up at dawn by Roxy's stupid music anyway. Like as not that's all it is."

To think was to act and she stalked out onto the main high street, hailing a taxi and ordering the driver to take her to the Gabor estate in her most imperious tones. Soon they were pulling onto the front forecourt, and as she paid the driver, Pizzazz cast a glance at her car, standing gleaming and bright beneath the shade of one of the big old trees. She bit her lip, remembering the last time she had driven it.

"Something happened. Something happened to me and I swerved across the road." She recalled aloud. "But I don't remember what...Jetta grabbed the wheel, did she cause that? Or was it me? Was it something else? Dammit, what's going on with me at the moment? You'd think with the court case over..."

She trailed off, whitening as she realised the implications of her own words.

"The court case." She murmured, fumbling in her pocket for her house key and hurrying up the front steps, letting herself into the property. "Eric. Oh shit. Of course. How could I be so stupid? There was Eric. There was goddamn Eric..."

"So we've decided to start trying officially."

The voice of one of the many estate housemaids broke through her musings, and she started, as if afraid someone else knew her line of thought. "It's all exciting, to be honest...we've both wanted it for a long time."

"Have you told Miss Gabor?" That was Matilda's voice, and Pizzazz crept up to the door of the front room to listen to the conversation. The housemaid - Pizzazz thought her name was Natasha - shook her head.

"Not yet, but I will, of course." She agreed. "Right now we're still in the early stages. I picked up a couple of tests from the drugstore on my way in this morning, though. Between you and me, I think it's a touch soon - but you never know."

Pizzazz pulled back from the door, drawing a deep breath of air into her lungs as a fresh wave of dizziness engulfed her. Backing away from the living room, she turned and fled down the corridor, heading through the halls of the house until she reached the little room which Harvey had given over as a rest and respite area for house staff during their tea break. Her hands shaking, Pizzazz fiddled with the lock, forcing the door open and stepping inside. It was empty, and she crossed the floor quickly, glancing all around her for the discarded bags of the staff who were at work today.

At length she found what she was looking for, and, her heart pounding in her chest, she slid her hand into the neat black bag, her fingers closing around a narrow white box. She pulled it out, glancing at it almost uncomprehendingly. Then she got a grip on herself, pushing the bag back where she had found it and letting herself out of the little room. Slipping the box under her sweater so as not to be seen, she hurried up the back stairs to her bedroom and pushing open the door. Feeling giddy, she dropped down onto her duvet, extracting the box with trembling fingers and dropping it down on the soft covers beside her.

For a moment, she did nothing but stare at it, as if afraid of what it might do to her. Then, very slowly, she reached across to pick it up, reading over the label several times without absorbing it's contents. Two words stuck out from the rest and at the sight of them, her heart skipped a beat.

Pregnancy test.

"I can't be." She whispered to herself, turning the box over and half-heartedly reading the instructions. "I can't be. This is stupid! It's completely stupid. These things, they just don't happen to me! I'm not some stupid idiot...I know what I'm doing! This is just to prove that, that's all. Just to prove it. Just make sure I'm right. But of course I'm right. I'm fine. I must be."

After repeating this to herself a few times, she got her heart rate under control, slipping her nail into the flap of the box and pulling it open, tipping the contents down onto the bed. Her vision swam and she buried her head in her pillow, willing the dizzy spell to pass. At length it did, and she steeled herself, grabbing up the test and making her way purposefully into the little en-suite bathroom, setting it down on the edge of the sink as she eyed her reflection in the mirror. A pale, shadowy face stared back, with tired green eyes and bags under her eyes. She grimaced, splashing water on the image.

"I'm fine." She repeated. "This is just a precaution. Just to be sure."

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *  

"I can't find her anywhere."

Roxy crossed the foyer, casting her bandmates a confused look. "She was here, and all the cars are here. But she's just not."

"I didn't have any luck either. Elliot hasn't seen her." Stormer bit her lip. "Jetta, what about you?"

"She's not harassing interns or touching up her make-up." Jetta shook her head. "Where do you suppose she's flounced off to now?"

"You don't think she's taken sick somewhere and collapsed?" Stormer looked anxious. "I mean, I know we thought it was just the heat, but she might be coming down with flu or something. It is the season, and come to think of it, if she's been hot and cold lately, she could be sickening for something."

"You said she didn't have a fever." Jetta shook her head. "And if you ask me, this is more of a temper related departure. I bet she's stormed off somewhere in a sulk."

"But the cars are all here." Roxy frowned. "I checked. Even the limousines."

"Well, she didn't drive here this morning. Stormer did." Jetta shrugged her shoulders. "And anyone can hail a cab from here, you know. I bet that's what she's done. She's probably bunking off to go shopping. In fact, if she hadn't gone so white, I'd wonder if it was all some kind of act to get out of doing any proper slogging today."

"She was very pale, though." Stormer sighed. "I can't help being worried about her, you guys."

"Well, if we can't find her, there's not much else to be done." Roxy shrugged her shoulders. "We can't practice a song without our lead singer, and in the mood she's in today, I'd rather not spend too much time in her company. Guess it's too early to cut out for lunch?"

"Probably. It's only about half past eleven."Stormer checked her watch.

"I vote we drive out to the beach. We've Stormer's car an' all." Jetta said contemplatively. "Take some time off from the office before Elliot jumps on me an' decides to give me another masterclass. God knows we deserve some free space without bein' screeched at."

"What if she comes back looking for us?" Stormer looked troubled. "Last time we took off on her she spent the night with Eric...remember?"

"Ew, gross. Do you have to?" Roxy wrinkled up her nose.

"Roxy's right." Jetta grimaced. "Besides, there is no Eric now, and if she's right, and Elliot is sweet on you, he won't be doing anything with Pizzazz in our absence."

"He's not sweet on me." Stormer coloured hotly. "But I guess you're right. I just don't know that we should leave, in case she comes looking for us."

"She took off first." Roxy pointed out. "Come on, Stormer. It won't hurt."

"All right." Stormer sighed, but nodded her head. "I'm coming. Even if it is a touch chilly to swim in the sea today, the coast is always beautiful."

"Then you're driving." Roxy cast her a grin. "Let's go!"

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   * 

Ten minutes.

Pizzazz glanced up at the en-suite clock for the hundredth time, watching the second hand tick round another circuit. She bit her lip, her gaze darting between the test and the clock, but still she didn't move. Another circuit wound round on the clock, and still she sat on the edge of the bath, unable to bring herself to look.

At length, she could bear it no longer. Getting slowly to her feet, she swallowed hard, quelling her apprehension as she approached the sink. She chewed on her lip, reaching out to pick it up and holding it behind her back as she gathered her composure.

"You're behaving like a wimp." She muttered. "Get a grip on yourself, girl! You're a Misfit, not a mouse!"

After repeating her pep-talk to herself three more times, she steeled herself, bringing the test into her line of vision.

A cry escaped her lips as she took in the sight before her, registering the deep blue line that had spread across the white stick. The test slipped from her grasp, falling to the floor as she sank back against the en-suite door. A wave of nausea flooded her senses and she closed her eyes, clenching her fists so hard that her nails dug into her hands. For a moment she let her panic rule her, and then, as shards of sense returned, she took a deep breath, steadying herself.

"I can't be."

She spoke the words aloud, as if trying to convince herself that they were true. With some hesitation, she reached across the tiles to retrieve the fallen stick, gazing at it with disbelief. "This isn't real. This's a dream. Or a nightmare. A damn nightmare!"

She got to her feet, pulling open the en-suite door and padding dazedly into the bedroom, retrieving the box and the inner packaging from her bed and idly pushing them together in her grip. Glancing down at her hands, she realised she was trembling, and she bit her lip, shaking her head slowly.

"I can't be." She echoed. "Can I? Dammit...can I?"

She cast a look at the test, knitting her brows.

"Either way, I have to get rid of this." She realised. "Before someone sees. Before Matilda sees...before one of the others gets home."

Pulling a carrier bag from her bin, she pushed the test inside, scrunching it up as small as she could. Dropping the parcel down onto the bed, she ran into the en-suite to wash her hands before scooping it up again, heading down the back stairs once more to where the household's big waste disposal unit stood. Flipping up the latch, she tossed the bag inside, pressing hard on the button and listening with little pleasure to the creaks of the wheels turning inside, mashing it into an unrecognisable mess.

She took a deep breath, composing herself.

"It's gone. It's done." She said quietly. "Calm down. It doesn't mean you are. They can be wrong - you know that. It could just be a fluke. A faulty test."

"Miss Gabor?"

Matilda's voice startled her and she swung around, staring blankly at her housekeeper. Matilda frowned.

"I didn't know you were home...are the others with you or are you alone?"

"I'm alone." Pizzazz gathered the shreds of her composure. "I came back to get something, that's all. Did you need me?"

"No, I was just surprised to see you." Matilda smiled at her, and for an instant Pizzazz was tempted to burst into tears and confess all to the woman who had been the closest thing to a mother she had had throughout her turbulent childhood. The thought was gone almost as soon as it had come, however, and she returned the smile with a guarded one of her own.

"Well, don't bother about it." She said, with considerably more flippance than she felt. "I'll be out of your hair soon enough, no doubt."

With that she was gone back up the stairs before her composure broke, leaning up against the wall for a moment to catch her breath, then fleeing the rest of the way upstairs. Retreating into her room once more, she locked and bolted the door, pushing her chair up against it as she sank down onto her bed, laying back on her pillows and closing her eyes. As she lay there, her initial daze and panic gave way to anger, and she muttered a string of unrepeatable words under her breath.

"Goddamn Eric." She muttered, clenching her fists and glaring up at the ceiling as she did so. "Damn him! He's had the last laugh after all! No wonder he's fled to Canada, the coward! I'd rip his head off! I'd castrate the bastard if I had him here! How dare he do this to me? How dare he!"

She chewed on her lip, trying to compose her thoughts.

"I have to get rid of it." She realised. "As soon as possible...sooner, even. If it's not a mistake...well, I can't take that chance. I mean, I can't do this. I need to think this this out how best to do this. And dammit, nobody must know. Nobody! Least of all...oh God, least of all Daddy. What would he do to me, if he knew? What would he say?"

She swallowed hard, pulling herself into a sitting position and casting a glance across the room to the waste paper bin. The calendar was long gone, however, and she sighed, leaning across to pull open the drawer of her cabinet and rooting around inside for the slim black date book she kept there. Flicking it open, she turned back the pages, to the day when Jetta had first broken to her the news of Eric's embezzlement. A chill touched her heart as she considered all that had happened in the weeks since.

"It wasn't food poisoning." She whispered. "It was this. I'm late on. I'm never this late on, but with everything going on I didn't think about it. I've been dizzy. I damn well passed out at work. I've not been sleeping right. Oh goddammit, there are too many coincidences. And there's only one guy who could've done it. There's only been Eric since my has to be him. Damn, how could I be so stupid! And careless...God, that's not like me. Not at all! I'm always careful. Always. But...obviously not careful enough. Not this time."

She ran fingers through her thick wavy hair, glancing through the diary as she did so.

"I lost my mind and did one stupid thing, and this is what happens!" She muttered, slamming the book shut and tossing it across the bedroom in a sudden fit of pique. "One lousy mistake! That's all! Does noone cut a girl any slack any more? That jackass gets to run off to his new life in Canada with a lot more money than is rightfully his and me? The one he screwed over? I get this! Dammit, who makes the rules up there, anyway! What goddamn chauvenist decided that would be a fair settlement?"

At this, the tears finally came and she flung herself down into her pillow, sobbing bitterly.

"I can't go through this." She whispered. "What do I do? Who do I tell? Do I tell anyone? Can I deal with this without anyone finding me out? Oh, but I just can't let them...what they'd say, how they'd look at me! I have to keep it a secret! I just have to!"

Part Four: Desperate Times
Chapter One: Recovery
Chapter Two:  Harvey
Chapter Three:  A Disturbing Realisation
Chapter Four: Shock
Chapter Five:  Complications

Chapter Six: New Year's Eve
Chapter Seven:  Bombshell

The Boring Disclaimer:
Pizzazz 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, Alan and any character not featured in the Jem cartoon are entirely my creation and are also not to be duplicated anywhere else.