"You know, why is it a trip to the beach
with any Misfit always ends in someone being yelled at by a lifeguard?"
Stormer slid her key into the front door lock, turning to cast her
companion a quizzical look. "Is there never a day when we hang out
there that someone doesn't push someone else in the sea?"
"I still think that guy would 'ave fallen in without Roxy's 'elp."
Jetta said pensively, following her friend inside and dumping her
jacket onto the hook. "But it was fun, all the same. We ain't 'ad any
fun moments recently, 'ave you noticed that? Even 'anging out with Roxy
wasn't so bad for once. We badly needed a break from all of this chaos."
"We did." Stormer nodded. "Though where the Misfits go, so does more
She smiled, a mischievous look lighting up her pretty blue eyes.
"His face when he belly-flopped was amusing." She acknowledged.
"You're right. It has been a while since we've just caused trouble and
laughed at it rather than worrying about something or other."
"Do you suppose Pizzazz went back to the office or is she still in
town?" Jetta wondered. "I'm not sure I'm ready to face her 'issy fit
an' Roxy's already taken my usual alibi - which I bet she did on
purpose, by the way. Justin 'as too big a soft spot where she's
concerned an' says 'yes' to 'er whims far too often. I'm almost tempted
to go out for dinner or somethin', just to escape the lecture. You up
for goin' dutch someplace snazzy?"
"I don't think Pizzazz is in town." Stormer frowned, reaching up to
finger the cuff of the singer's jacket, tossed carelessly onto the coat
rack when the girl had arrived hours earlier. "I think she's come home.
She might even still be here...we shouldn't take off again without at
least asking if she wants to come."
"In the mood she was in earlier? Yes, we can." Jetta pursed her lips,
but Stormer shook her head.
"She wasn't well this morning." She reminded her friend. "Even if it
was just a brief moment of being overheated, she still passed out and I
still want to make sure she's all right. Humour me, huh? I'm going to
check if she's here and if she is, I'm going to ask her to come with
"Fine." Jetta sighed. "Tell her if she comes, she's paying the tab,
then. But I hope she's calmed down. Usually I like 'angin' with
Pizzazz, but of late she's been a total 'eadcase. I really don't know
what's gotten into her, an' that's the truth."
"Well, perhaps by now it's gotten out again." Stormer suggested. "I'll
run up and see if she's upstairs...I can't hear the television in the
lounge or anything."
"All right. I'll wait for you here." Jetta agreed, sinking down onto
the bottom step and examining her nails for chips as she did so. "But
don't take too long about it, huh? I'm startin' to get 'ungry after all
that beach excitement."
"I'll try not to be." Stormer promised.
She headed up the stairs, crossing the landing to the little group of
steps that led up to the singer's sleeping quarters. As daughter of the
house, Pizzazz's accomodation was always expansive, but she had set her
roots firmly down in Los Angeles and had long since made the big,
spacious room her home from home. As Stormer knocked gently on the
door, she mused wryly over the number of houseguests that had been
brought up here in the early hours of the morning.
"But not Eric, thank the lord." She murmured, knocking again. "Pizzazz?
Are you here? Jetta and I are going into town and we're going to go
dutch at some restaurant or other - do you want to come?"
There was no reply, and Stormer frowned, running her finger over the
door lock. It had been fastened, she could see that, but from the
inside, and she knocked again, more frantically this time.
"Pizzazz? Are you in there?"
Again, there was no response, and Stormer bit her lip, afraid her
friend had collapsed once more. She took a step back, eying the lock
and muttering a curse as she realised the bolt had also been drawn
"Even Roxy couldn't pick her way in." She muttered. "So how am I
supposed to get in there?"
She glanced up and down the hall at the surrounding doors, and her gaze
fell on one at the far end of the hallway. Chewing on her lip, she made
for it, turning the handle and letting herself in. It was an empty
bedroom, big, open and expansive just like all of the bedrooms the
mansion boasted, but this one was uninhabited by Pizzazz's precise
orders, because it opened out onto the same balcony as the singer's own
"Sharing isn't in Pizzazz's vocabulary, but it means I can get to the
french door and easily, too." Stormer spoke out loud, crossing the
floor and manipulating the lock open with little difficulty. She slid
the door back, stepping out onto the rear view balcony and then taking
the few paces across the slabs to the identical door that led into her
At a glance, she could see the singer, curled up on the bed with her
back to the door, and her frown deepened. She pulled at the french
door, but at first, nothing happened. Then, noticing one of the windows
to one side was slightly ajar, Stormer slid her little finger in
through the gap, loosening the catch and creating enough space to slide
her whole arm into the room. Reaching down, she groped for the key,
touching it with the tips of her index and middle fingers. Clumsily she
turned it in the lock, relief flooding her as she heard the familiar
click. The door slid back, and she stepped into the bedroom,
approaching the still figure on the bed with caution and apprehension.
"Pizzazz?" She murmured. "Are you all right?"
There was no reply, but, as she drew closer to her friend, she could
hear the sound of breathing and a second wave of relief washed over
her. She moved carefully around the bed, crouching down by her friend's
"Pizzazz?" She whispered. "Pizzazz, wake up!"
The singer did not stir, and as Stormer went to shake her awake, a
slight catch in the steady breathing made her pause. For the first
time, the synth player became aware of her friend's tearstained cheeks,
and she hesitated, biting her lip.
"Why were you crying?" She asked softly. "I wish I could wake you and
ask you but I know how you'd feel if I did. You always hate people
seeing you cry...is this why you took off and left us? You needed to be
alone? But why? Passing out is a bummer, but it's not the kind of thing
you'd get upset about."
She hesitated, then sighed.
"I'll let you sleep." She decided reluctantly. "Whatever it is, you'll
speak to us in your own time, if you want us to know. And you've been
through enough recently without me asking the twenty questions. Jetta
and I will be back later, okay? Roxy too, most like. I'll write you a
note, so you know where we are."
She laid a gentle hand on her friend's shoulder.
"I hope you feel better, when you wake." She murmured softly. Then she
stood, padding across the room to the main door and carefully
unfastening the lock and bolt. Pushing it open, she stepped out into
the corridor, pausing to send a fleeting glance back at her sleeping
friend. Then she shut the door behind her with a gentle click, making
her way slowly back down stairs.
"You took long enough." Jetta cast her a curious look. "Is she home? Is
"She's home, but she's sleeping. I didn't want to wake her." Stormer
said briefly. "I figure I'll go write her a note, so she knows that
we're out for dinner, and we'll speak to her later. Whatever got to her
earlier, she's obviously decided a nap is the best way to shake it, so
I didn't like to disturb her."
"Probably a good plan, if only it puts her in a better mood." Jetta
rolled her eyes. "All right. You write your note and then we'll go,
okay? I'll drive, and we'll split the cheque."
"Tomorrow we'll be back in studio." She added wisely. "So we might as
well enjoy ourselves while we're off the leash!"
* * * * *
"So what exactly can I do for you this
morning, Miss Gabor?"
Elliot sat back in his chair, eying his companion with a mixture of
surprise and confusion. "It's early - very early, actually. I didn't
think you kept office hours."
It was the next morning and, mindful of all the paperwork still left
undone, he had headed to the company first thing to tie up as many
loose ends as he could. It was now just past eight o'clock, and in the
middle of his file reviewing, the flighty, petulant owner of Misfits
Music had descended upon him, thick wavy hair pulled back into a casual
ponytail and a suspicious lack of exotic make-up touching her cheeks.
She looked, he mused, almost normal without it - and yet there was
still that predatorial glint in the green eyes that reminded him that
yes, she was indeed a Gabor.
"I have a lot of things to do today." Pizzazz snapped, dropping down
into the seat opposite. "And I'm not going to waste any time in doing
"That could apply to both of us." Elliot gestured to his in-tray.
"Seems like everyone in the building dropped me a memo yesterday. I'm
just trying to clear some of the backlog."
He eyed her keenly. "Yourself?"
"Why are you looking at me like that?" There was a wary, defensive note
in the singer's voice and Elliot frowned, shaking his head.
"Never mind." Pizzazz grabbed the top document out of his pile,
glancing it over and dropping it back down. "How much more of this junk
is there to be got through?"
"I've been here about an hour already - maybe another hour, or an hour
and a half's work." Elliot considered. "I'll have it done by the time
you girls are through in the studio, if you wanted me to coach Jetta
some more afterwards."
"Yes, you'd better see Jetta." Pizzazz's expression became thoughtful.
"After all, if she's going to get into her thick head what running this
place is all about, she's going to need as many pointers as you can
"She's not doing badly." Elliot owned. "You know I still have my
reservations about all of this, but considering everything, she's
picking up bits and pieces that will hold her in good stead. Who knows?
With a few more months of training..."
"There won't be any more training after this." Pizzazz cut across him,
shaking her head. "You've both had plenty enough time to hand over the
reins and I advise you to think about doing that this afternoon, when
you see her."
She reached a hand into her pocket, pulling out an envelope and pushing
it across the desk.
"You'll be leaving Los Angeles tomorrow morning. I've got you a seat on
the eleven am flight to DC."
"What?" Stunned, Elliot scooped up the envelope, opening it and tipping
out a single airline ticket. "But...Miss Gabor, I thought you realised
that this was a bigger job than just a quick fix! If you want Jetta
competent to run this company in any capacity, then she needs a whole
lot more training on the business basics! And with the place still in
some upheaval...are you sure this is what you want?"
"Don't pretend you like being here." She was every bit the spoiled brat
today, Elliot decided, as she folded her arms across her chest, fixing
him with another patent Gabor glare. "You hate Los Angeles, you hate us
and you hate this music company. You're here because Daddy sent you and
you've outlived your usefulness. If you've not had enough time with
Jetta, that's your problem. I've given you plenty of opportunities to
train her. And my patience with your company has about expired...so
make sure you gather your things and you catch that flight."
Elliot's brows knitted together in consternation.
"I just don't want this project of yours to fail." He said at length.
"And it seems awful soon to be..."
"Well, you're not the one who makes those decisions in the long run. I
am." Pizzazz's eyes flashed fire and she brought a hand down on the
desk hard, making him jump. "So how about a little less questioning and
a little more agreement, huh?"
"It's just short notice." Elliot set the ticket on one side. "Have you
spoken to your father about all of this?"
"Daddy doesn't make the decisions here. I do." Pizzazz's eyes glinted
at this, and Elliot instinctively knew he'd chosen the wrong tack. "But
just to set your stupid head straight, I made two decisions when I
fired Eric's sorry ass all the way to Canada. One - no more men would
tell me what to do with my company. And two, no outsider was going to
run it. You're a man and an outsider, and you've done your job.
Besides, do you think I haven't noticed how you fawn around Stormer
like some lost puppy? It's enough to make me vomit. She doesn't need
you or your kind of trouble messing up her head, and that's final. So
finish up, pack and get the hell out of my hair. Is that understood?"
"I don't fawn around anyone." Elliot objected hotly. "Mary and I..."
"Mary and I." Pizzazz mimicked. "Don't give me that. Men are only
looking for one thing and you are not going to mess up the Misfits by
thinking you can get it, do you understand? Romance and relationships
are not Misfit values and I won't have any of it. We're here to focus
on music and you're enough of a distraction as it is, turning up with
your bits of paper to be signed and finding excuses to drop into
practice sessions and ogle her under the pretence of needing my
authority. Well, if you needed my authority that badly, you're probably
not cut out to do this job long-term anyway."
Elliot stared at her, struck silent by this hot-tempered, embittered
speech. Then, at length, he got to grips with himself.
"If that's what you want." He said mildly. "Then I'll be sure to do as
you say. In truth, it would be nice to go home for Christmas, and see
something of my family over the holiday season. I won't pretend that
doesn't appeal. But when I do a job, I like to do it wholesale. You
kicking me out like this is going to leave a lot of things undone.
Smart as Jetta is, I'm not sure she's ready for such a huge
undertaking. I've already warned her that other members of staff -
departmental heads and the like - they might not take her seriously.
She's young, she's a rock musician by trade and she has no experience
in this business sphere. I'm worried that if you throw her in too soon,
this company won't survive."
"I'll take that risk." Pizzazz said coldly, her eyes like ice, and
"All right." He said resignedly. "Send Jetta to me when you're done
practicing and I'll get through as much stuff as I can this afternoon.
That's the best I can do...but you're the boss. If you're really
adamant, then I'll be on that flight tomorrow. You can explain to your
"Believe me, I'm perfectly capable of that." Pizzazz assured him.
"Good. Fine. Then that's all I wanted to say. And since you've so much
junk to sort out, I suggest you get to it, huh? Just because it's your
last day on the job, it doesn't mean that you can slack off."
With that she was gone and Elliot let his breath out in a rush,
glancing down at the remaining stack of papers. He frowned.
"I won't be sorry to leave." He admitted to himself aloud, pushing back
his chair and moving to the window. "The climate stinks, and Harvey's
daughter is impossible. No, that's an understatement. She's completely
delusional, and that's a fact. Working for her is taking every ounce of
my tact and my patience...the sooner I get home, the better."
He glanced down at the front forecourt, taking in the rest of the
Misfits as they made their arrival to the music company. His gaze fell
on Stormer and his frown deepened.
"Delusional, but sometimes far too damn perceptive." He acknowledged.
"I'll regret not getting a chance to get to know Mary better. We seem
to have chance encounters, and that's all - but maybe I can speak to
her before I go. It would be nice to stay in touch - write, maybe
phone. We seem to click and I like her company. She's the one person in
this madcap city that I actually have time for. Fake as people seem to
be in LA, she's not, and I like that."
He sighed, turning back to the desk and his pile of remaining work.
"I better get cracking." He realised. "If I'm going to teach Jetta
anything else to keep this wretched company afloat, I'll need as much
time as possible to do it!"
Pizzazz, for her part, had made her way slowly down the stairs to the
main studio, pushing open the door as she waited impatiently for her
colleagues to join her. She had not spoken to any of them the night
before, and had awoken early, the shock of her previous day's discovery
still fresh in her mind. In her panic, it had been easy to fix on
Elliot as a potential source of more trouble, and as she perched
herself on the unit, she grimaced.
"Good riddance." She muttered. "Men are garbage. All men. Except maybe
Daddy. Now I have to try and fit in a visit to some discreet clinic
inbetween practicing and whatever else and I just don't have time to do
everything! Plus, how much is it going to cost me to keep this thing
quiet? Can those people even be paid off? I dread to think. Dammit,
Eric, you'd better be damn glad you're not within firing range right
now. It's guys like you that make me wish murder was legalised in this
"You look troubled, my dear."
Her father's voice made her jump and she glanced up, shock flooding her
features at the sight of him. At her expression, he smiled, coming
across the room to greet her properly.
"Am I to understand my message didn't get to you?" He asked amiably. "I
sent word on ahead that I'd be spending a while in Los Angeles, but I
wasn't sure the girl took the note down properly when I phoned this
"I haven't checked my messages yet." Pizzazz admitted. "And no...Daddy,
honestly I'm surprised to see you. What brings you to LA now? Don't you
have some big business deal winding up in Maine or something? Isn't
that what your secretary told me the last time I called?"
"Your memory is good, but no, we came to terms over the phone last week
and the gentleman flew in to sign papers here." Harvey shook his head.
"No, I came to see how my daughter was coping with the rebuild of
His smile widened.
"Well, by the looks of it." He added. "I'm pleased. Pleased and proud
to see it, my girl."
Pizzazz looked taken aback.
"It ain't been so hard." she said, forcing more nonchalance into her
tone than she felt. "Things are slotting together fine now. Just fine.
So much so that I, er, I'm sending Elliot home. You know, with
Christmas and...and all..."
She trailed off, gauging her father's expression.
"I thought he'd rather be with his family." She added quietly.
Harvey reached out to take her hand.
"Well, we all should spend Christmas with family, huh?" He said
playfully. "But don't be afraid to call him back in the New Year, if
the need arises. Jetta, I'm told, is a smart young lady - but green. I
don't want you piling more work on yourself while she's getting to
grips with how things work."
"Believe me, I won't be." Pizzazz said with feeling. "And I don't
intend on bringing him back, Daddy. He's done all right, sure. He's
helped. But he's your man. He's not mine and I don't want him here. I
don't want any guy telling me what to do. Eric spent too long doing
that, and look how that ended up! I want someone who isn't going to rip
me off and I don't trust Elliot one bit. He's a jerk and he keeps
smarming up to other employees like he wants to do more than just talk
to them. So he's going home, and we'll manage. I'm not completely
incapable, you know...we'll cope."
"I have every confidence in you, my child." Harvey assured her. "I just
want you to know that the option is there."
"What did you mean, by the way, about spending Christmas with family?"
Pizzazz asked. Harvey beamed.
"Well, since I'm in town, I thought I might as well stay over the
holiday season." He admitted. "I will have one or two business affairs
to see to while I'm here, but we don't usually spend Christmas near one
another, Phyllie, and it's about time we did. Don't you think?"
"You haven't called me Phyllie since I was seven." Pizzazz bit her lip,
then, "So you're going to stop at home? I mean, won't we drive you
crazy with the noise?"
"Perhaps, but it's Christmas and I'll make an exception for you."
Harvey laughed. "Plus, your New Year's Eve parties are legendary, so
I'm told. It would be a shame to completely miss that."
"New Year's...?" Pizzazz looked blank, then a mixture of horror and
consternation flooded her features. "Oh dammit. I'd forgotten about
"Forgotten?" Harvey eyed her keenly. "My dear, I thought I was the
Gabor who spent more time working than playing...or am I wrong?"
"Everything's just been so manic." Pizzazz ran her fingers through her
hair, loosing the band and letting it fall unheeded to the floor.
"Invitations went out months ago. I guess I'd better talk to Matilda
tonight...oh, another thing to worry about!"
"I'll speak to her for you, if you like. I'm headed there now." Harvey
offered. "And I can hear voices, so no doubt you'll be getting down to
some music. I'll get out of your way."
"Yeah. Yes, we have a song we want to push out before Christmas."
Pizzazz agreed absently. "I guess I'll see you later, huh, Daddy?"
"Of course." Harvey nodded. "Maybe I can treat you and your girls to
dinner, to celebrate the rebirth of the music company. What do you
"I'll run it by them." Pizzazz managed a smile, inwardly wincing at her
father's innocent choice of words. "Thanks, Daddy."
"Nothing is too much for my girl." Harvey winked at her. "Especially
when I see her following more and more in her father's footsteps."
He kissed her on the cheek, and then retreated from the studio, closing
the door carefully behind him.
Pizzazz muttered a curse.
"Of all the Christmases to spend with me, he chooses this one." She
muttered. "I'm not following in your footsteps, Daddy! I'm not a damn
businesswoman! I make stupid decisions, I seduce worthless guys and now
I'm knocked up with no clue what to do about it or who I can trust! And
I'm not sending Elliot away because I care about his family or because
I think we can cope without him. I'm sending him away because he's a
man and because men hurt you! How the hell am I supposed to take care
of things now, with my father right on my doorstep all the time? He'll
sniff it out for sure, and then what will I do? I'm getting more and
more caged by the minute...what the hell am I supposed to do?"
"Sing, that's what you usually do."
Roxy pushed open the door of the studio at that moment, making her
bandmate visibly jump. "Hey, cool out, huh? I was just answerin' your
"Well, it was a private rant and it was a rhetorical question." Pizzazz
snapped, as Jetta and Stormer followed their platinum companion into
the studio. "How much were you eavesdropping on?"
"Nothin'. Just heard the last line." Roxy shrugged. "Why? Did I miss
something worth hearing?"
"No. Just...listen up." Pizzazz shook her head. "All of you. Daddy was
just here. He's stopping in LA over Christmas."
"He's spending a holiday with you?" Jetta raised an eyebrow. "Is he
dyin' or somethin'?"
"No, he just wants to spend some quality family time, I think." Pizzazz
rubbed her temples. "Just when I thought I had enough to do."
"So Papa's crashing the party? Big deal." Roxy shrugged. "He's never
bothered about us much before. I wouldn't sweat it."
"Roxy's right." Stormer agreed. "Plus, it might be nice for you to have
him this year. I mean, it has been a hell of a year all round."
Tell me about it." Pizzazz said darkly. "And we're wasting more time
gassing over it. Jetta, when we're done, you're to go see Elliot. He'll
be leaving in the morning, so you have today to cram and then that's
it. I'm bored with him. He's a jerk."
"You're sending him away?" Jetta's eyes almost dropped out of her head.
"Do you want to kill this bloody company? I'm not nearly ready to take
on the job, Pizzazz!"
"Then you better work hard this afternoon." Pizzazz was unmoved. "And
as for you," She turned her attention to Stormer, who had been eying
her with consternation. "Don't look at me like that. So I've sent your
new playmate away a little early...well, tough. Believe me, it's for
your own good as much as anything. Men are trouble."
"Does he know yet?" She asked. Pizzazz nodded.
"Yes. He knows." She agreed. "Now, that's enough on him for one
lifetime, I swear! Sooner it's back to being just us the better."
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.