Chapter Six: New Year's Eve

Half past one.

Stormer glanced up at the clock over the mantle, shutting her folder with a sigh and setting it to one side. It was late, and yet somehow she didn't feel like sleeping. Elliot had left for Washington DC three days earlier, and after a hurried goodbye, the songwriter was acutely aware of how much she was going to miss her new acquaintance.

"It's not that I've fallen in love with him or anything." She said pensively, replacing her file with her other songwriting scribbles and moving to leave the little room in which she did much of her writing. "But I did like him, and it was nice to have a guy who I could just talk to without worrying about his ulterior motives. I don't have many friends who are guys. Actually, I don't think I have any, bar Craig, and he's my brother. Or Justin...I suppose he's become a friend since he started seeing Jetta and being involved in Roxy's life. But he's their guy. Not mine. Elliot seemed to understand me better, in some ways. I'm not in love with him, but I am going to miss him being around. Sometimes I wish Pizzazz wasn't so impulsive."

She padded down the stairs to the kitchen, pouring herself a glass of water from the tap and taking a sip. "Now I don't want to sleep, I don't want to write and I feel bummed out, right in the middle of the holiday season. It's wrong , but I just can't help it and...what was that?"

A noise from the salon made her start, and she set down her glass on the unit, taking cautious steps towards the kitchen door and peering out into the corridor. The salon door was ajar and the soft glow of the lamps alerted her to the fact one of her housemates was still up.

"I thought they went to bed." She mused. "Unless it's Jetta, back from Justin's. But she doesn't usually show up in the middle of the night. I hope they didn't have a fight or something."

She pushed the door open, stepping into the room and pausing as she surveyed the scene. Pizzazz sat in the big corner armchair, swathed in her dressing gown with a pile of books at her feet. In her lap was one of the expensive photo albums into which all of the Misfits' most glamorous photographs and press articles went, and at the sound of company the singer glanced up, offering Stormer a faint smile.

"I thought you were asleep." She said quietly. Stormer shook her head, softly closing the door behind her with a faint click.

"Likewise." She responded. "But I was upstairs, writing. What are you doing? I don't think I've ever seen you go through those old books."

"Never had the time to live in the past." Pizzazz pursed her lips, flicking over pages. "But I couldn't sleep, so I came down here. That's all. Wanted something to bore me to sleep. This seemed the logical thing."

"I didn't think anything the Misfits did was boring." Stormer came to join her, leaning up against the chair as she peered over her friend's shoulder. "Wow, that is an old one. Do you remember that shoot? It was scorching hot, and the director was a complete ass. You and Roxy wound up putting seaweed in his bag and a jellyfish in one of his shoes...I was so scared you'd get into trouble. It was back before Jetta was even one of us...doesn't it seem like it's been forever?"

"More than you know." Pizzazz said pensively. "Watching him hop up and down the beach was a blast. I can still picture him, sad little man."

She sighed, sitting back against the seat and closing the book.

"Things were so much simpler then." She remarked absently. "Before we had to do anything like run music companies or...or sue chief executives or worry about Daddy spending Christmas at the mansion."

"Guess nothing stays simple forever." Stormer looked surprised. "Is something wrong, Pizzazz? You're not usually nostalgic like this."

"" Pizzazz shook her head. "Just stress, that's all. Stupid company and all the work Eric's damn well left me to sort out. And now I have to worry about hiring a new cleaner, which is just another thing to bore me rigid."

"A new cleaner?" Stormer frowned. "What do you mean?"

"Well, one of them parted company with Misfits Music this afternoon." Pizzazz drew her lips into a thin line. "He was being an ass and I don't employ asses."

"What did he do?" Stormer's eyes became big at this.

"He was flirting with that girl on reception. A whole lot." Pizzazz grimaced. "She was getting all stupid and giggly and not answering her phone, and he was already behind schedule. I won't have it in my company, Stormer. Fraternising - isn't that what they call it? I won't have these jerkoff guys thinking they can follow their damn labido wherever it takes them. It's a business, not a dating hotline. I told him he'd be paid a month in lieu but if he dared come near Misfits Music - or Ellen when she's on duty - again, he'll find himself in deeper trouble."

She sighed.

"And now I need to find someone to fill his post." She added wearily. "Last thing that I need is more recruitment hassles."

"Maybe Elliot should have stayed." Stormer suggested lightly. Pizzazz shook her head.

"Not a chance." She said firmly. "The further apart you and he are, the better. Besides, he's a smug jerk."

"There was nothing between Elliot and I, Pizzazz. Only friendship."

"Well, now it will stay that way." Pizzazz pursed her lips. "I keep trying to think of a way to fix Jetta and Justin, but I can't fire his ass so easily, dammit. He's the best at what he does and he damn well knows it. It's such a pain."

"Not every relationship is bad, you know." Stormer put a gentle hand on her shoulder. "I mean, not all guys are in it to swipe a girl's money or just to get their way with her. Jetta and Justin are a cool couple. They have chemistry...I think they're happy. Leave them be, huh? They're not hurting anyone."

"You say that now." Pizzazz knitted her brows together. "But you just wait. You'll see I'm right. Look at tonight! Where is she? We could have been Misfits on the town tonight, but instead she's taken off with that jerk and left us all in the lurch. How often does that happen? All the friggin' time these days!"

"You really are wound up." Stormer observed, casting a keen glance at her companion. "It's not worth all this stress, you know. Let it go. Let it all go. You've got enough with the company without trying to police everyone's love life."

"I just want to keep the Misfits as they should be." Pizzazz spoke in obstinate tones, but perceptive Stormer picked up a hint of wistfulness behind the words. "We were a good band, weren't we? I mean, before all of this? Before my accident? Before...before Eric? We were kickass...right?"

"Of course." Stormer was surprised by the question. "And we still are, you know. We'll have that number one single, you just wait and see. I still believe we've more than got what it takes, and so should you."

"I know." Pizzazz sighed. "God, this ain't like me."

"No, it isn't." Stormer agreed. "Pizzazz, you look tired and you're white as a ghost. Go to bed, huh? Get some sleep. You look like you need it and everything else will still be there in the morning."

"Yes..." Pizzazz sighed, and for a moment she looked almost haunted. "Yes, I suppose it will. All of it."

She got to her feet, setting the book down on the pile with the others. "Maybe you're right. It just all seems like so much at the moment."

She frowned.

"And I hear myself whining to you and I can't stop doing it." She acknowledged. "It's driving me crazy!"

"Then you really do need to rest up." Despite herself, Stormer smiled. "It's almost Christmas. Your party isn't far after's not all about work."

"Damn party." Pizzazz furrowed her brow as she remembered. "Well, at least there's one thing. Daddy won't be there after all."

"He won't?" Stormer looked surprised. "I thought he would."

"He'll be in LA, but he has a pressing engagement somewhere across the city." Pizzazz shrugged her shoulders. "I guess we'll be without Papa chaperone."

"Well, maybe that's for the best. What he doesn't know won't hurt him." Stormer said wryly. A troubled look crossed Pizzazz's face at this, but it was gone in an instant and she managed a smile, nodding her head.

"Yeah." she agreed softly. "You don't know how damn true that really is."

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

"God, do I need a bloody night off."

Jetta glanced at her reflection in her compact mirror, eying her make-up with a sigh and then snapping it shut, slipping it back into her trouser pocket.It was New Year's Eve, and one of the big downstairs rooms in the Gabor Mansion had been decked out with garlands and tinsel, with an unmistakeably expensive touch. It was quarter to midnight, and the room was swarming with guests, some of whom Jetta recognised and others she knew were strangers. As music began to blare out of speakers set to one side, she bit her lip, glancing around at her surroundings.

 "I swear, I ain't had a moment to stop an' breathe lately. Not since Elliot scarpered back to Washington an' left me 'oldin' the baby, as it were. I'm not sure I'm cut out for big business, Justin. I'm a rock musician. I ain't a corporate whizz. All of this is beyond me an' slippin' out of my control."

She sighed again.

"And next week I have to meet with all the heads of department and tell them...something." She added. "What, I don't know. I ain't thought it up yet. I swear, I need tonight to just kick back an' have a good time. I'm startin' to forget what that's like!"

"I'm just amazed Pizzazz let my invitation stand." Justin said thoughtfully, wrapping his arms around her as he bent to give her a kiss. "She's been particularly hostile to me of late, you know."

"I don't think she expected you to be here." Jetta mused. "You were flyin' out to New York for Christmas...I guess she figured she could invite a guy who wasn't goin' to make it."

She smiled at him.

"I'm glad you came back for it, though." She owned. "I need some kind of outlet or I'm going to go mad. I'm dreamin; of paperwork, Justin. Dreamin' of facts an' figures an' bleedin' tax forms! That's not even remotely normal...I just wish things would get back to the way they should be."

"Well, it's almost a brand new year." Justin observed, glancing up at the clock as he did so. "Maybe 1990 will be a less frantic year for the Misfits - what do you think?"

"I think sadly not." Jetta looked rueful. "But I'll drink to it, nonetheless."

"Then let's get you another drink." Justin suggested, leading his girlfriend across the marble-polished floor to the bar that had been constructed for the occasion. "What'll it be?"

"Vodka and coke." Jetta told him. "Thanks."

"Well, you need to have something to drink in the new year, however much of a pessimist you are about it." Justin's eyes twinkled with amusement. "Any new year's resolutions, Jetta?"

"Yeah." Jetta groaned. "To relocate my life somewhere in all this corporate garbage."

Justin laughed.

"She put a lot of faith in you, giving you this job." He reminded her, as he ordered his own drink. "She must trust you."

"Or want to keep me away from you, which I'm startin' to think is her real motive." Jetta said darkly. "She's been fanatical about people goin' around in twos of late. More than usual, I mean."

"Well, she's always hated me, so I'm not going to worry about it." Justin said philosophically. "Can you see Roxy in this crowd?"

"Over there." Jetta pointed to where the platinum Misfit and her curly haired companion were lounging against the wall, deep in conversation. "With Stormer. Why?"

"If it's okay with you, I'd like to drink in the new year with my sister." Justin's eyes twinkled. "It'll be the first time I do, after all."

"Oh, whatever." Jetta shrugged. "Be my guest."

"Thank you." Justin grinned. "And you're coming too - I want to drink it in with both of you."

"Better hope Roxy ain't too drunk, then. There could be a brawl." Jetta observed laconically, but nonetheless she allowed herself to be led across to where the two other Misfits were.

"Almost time!" Stormer grinned at them as they approached. "We were just trying to find you and Pizzazz in the crowd, Jetta. Have you seen her? Misfits always drink the new year in together."

"Actually, I 'aven't seen 'er since we were gettin' ready." Jetta admitted, her expression creasing in a frown. "She was down 'ere when guests first began arrivin', then she...I don't know where she went."

"More than likely she found some guy and took him off to do some private New Year celebrating." Roxy grimaced. "Don't bother about her, okay? You know what she's like."

"I guess so." Stormer frowned. "But New Year, Roxy..."

"New Year's just another night. It's just one where you get to drink and shout a lot more than other nights." Roxy shrugged her shoulders. "Don't sweat it. Like I said, she'll be holed up somewhere."

Before anyone could respond, the big countdown clock that had been set up on the far wall began to announce the ten second countdown, and Justin shrugged his shoulders, raising his glass in a toast.

"Well, a Happy New Year to all who are here." He joked. "Let's hope 1990 is a little less mental!"

"Amen to that!" Jetta grinned, as the grandfather clock in the corner began to chime and as pockets of glittering confetti burst out from all over the hall. "Because God knows it can't be much worse!"

"Miss Burns?"

As the party flared up into full swing, Jetta was startled by a voice at her left hand. She frowned, turning.

"Matilda?" She asked. "What's up? What do you want?"

"I just wondered if you'd spoken to Miss Gabor." Matilda seemed concerned. "She's not been herself today, I've noticed that - usually she's so involved in getting ready for these things, but she's barely said a word about the arrangements and I haven't seen her anywhere since the party began. I have to take off home in a minute or two - I promised Mr Gabor I'd keep an eye on things here...but I haven't seen her to ask her anything all night."

"We think she took off." Jetta told her. "I don't know where...why? What's so urgent?"

"Nothing." Matilda shook her head. "It's just not like her to miss a party, that's all. Particularly not one that she's hosting. I just wondered if she was unwell again."

"Again?" Jetta's brows knitted. "How do you mean, again? Did she tell you about what happened at work?"

"Work? Matilda looked startled. "No, Miss. I just meant that she's not been feeling herself the last couple of mornings - I've heard her, when I've arrived, and she's been white as a sheet, moving around the place. I suppose I'm worried she's picked something up. She truly doesn't look herself at the moment - and I'm sure last night she was sick. I almost debated asking her if I should stay overnight, in case she needed me...but then, she's not a little girl any more."

Jetta pursed her lips, digesting this anxious tirade of words with some difficulty. Then she shrugged her shoulders.

"If you got to go, go." She said at length. "We'll sort 'er out, if she's around, so don't worry. She's pretty tough - even if she 'as developed some kind of bug of late, she'll be all right. Probably she 'ad too much to drink, or something. I know her father ordered in a crate of expensive booze for the Christmas celebrations."

"No, that's not it." Matilda shook her head. "They've not been touched since Mr Gabor was here on Christmas Day, and Miss Gabor hasn't drunk anything bar water this last week. I'm sure I'd have noticed, otherwise, and she hasn't touched her morning cups of coffee or anything. Maybe you think I'm a fussy fool, Miss Burns, but she was never really sick growing up...she doesn't generally contract these things."

"Well, don't sweat it." Jetta assured her. "I told you. We'll deal with her. But just because you ain't seen 'er drinkin', it don't mean she ain't taken a few nights out on the town. This is Pizzazz we're talkin' about...and if this was anythin' other than excess of alcohol, I'd be very surprised. But you go if you got to an' don't fluster. She won't like it if she knows an' it's probably nothin', in any case. All right?"

"All right." Matilda pursed her lips. "Then I'd better be away. Thank you, Miss Burns. I know I seem like a fussy idiot to you, but it puts my mind at rest to know that you'll keep an eye on her for me. Mr Gabor said he wouldn't be back till tomorrow at the earliest and well, even now she's grown up, he does like making sure she's all right."

"So what was that about?" As the housekeeper withdrew, Stormer put a hand on Jetta's arm. "What did Matilda want?"

"She thinks Pizzazz has come down with somethin' and wants me to play nursemaid." Jetta grimaced. "Said she's not 'erself, or somethin' - though at this time of year, she's probably jus' perpetually 'ungover. It wouldn't surprise me if she'd been down the clubs a few times when we've not been aware of it - you know the kind of girl she is."

Stormer looked troubled.

"What if she hasn't?" She hazarded. "Jetta, Matilda knows Pizzazz pretty well. What if she's right?"

"Why?" Jetta frowned. "I don't follow..."

"The other night she was up late, going through photo albums." Stormer said quietly. "She was white as a sheet and acting all strange then. She passed out in the studio. Maybe it was heat, maybe it wasn't...I'm starting to wonder. She hasn't eaten breakfast with us all this week, and she hasn't gone near the drink Harvey bought. Not even on Christmas Day when we all had a glass of something. She was drinking mineral water - or didn't you notice?"

"I got a bit merry." Jetta owned, then, "Mineral water? Seriously?"

"Yeah." Stormer nodded. "She said she had a headache and that she didn't like the vintage Harvey had chosen."

"Since when?" Jetta's brow furrowed, and Stormer spread her hands.


"So she was teetotal at Christmas?"


"And she's not anywhere to be seen tonight, either." Jetta sighed. "All right. God knows what I might walk in on, but I guess I'd better trot upstairs an' see if she's there. Though she's payin' the therapy bill if I walk in on 'er and some guy, I'm tellin' you. Some things are best left alone!"

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.