Chapter Six: At The Concert
Her captor glanced up from where he’d been idly sitting and flicking through a pile of documents, casting her an irritated look. It was too dark for Dierdra to see his face clearly, and in any case he wore a mask – neither of which comforted her much. She was thoroughly terrified and had been ever since she had been snatched from the front lawn of the Starlight Mansion, borne up in strong arms before she knew what was happening to her.
“Shut up.” He ordered now. “It’s your own fault you’re here, don’t make things any worse for yourself. You should learn not to poke your nose in where it don’t belong.”
His accent was strangely familiar, and with a jolt Dierdra realised where she had heard it before.
“Who are you?” she demanded, curiosity momentarily replacing fear. “Are you that guy who’s been on the news? And…and what are you going to do with me?”
“Who I am is none of your business.” Jeremy (who indeed it had to be) responded curtly. “As for what is going to ‘appen to you…well, my love, you’re stayin’ put for a few days. Just long enough to give your darlin’ Jerrica Benton time to raise a nice juicy ransom to get me out of the country. There’s a boat leaving on the sixteenth for South America and I intend to be on it. So long as you do as I tell you, nothing bad will ‘appen to you. You understand me?”
Dierdra opened her mouth to speak again, but thought better of it. Instead she set her mouth in a sulky frown, her eyes darting around the room for a clue to where she was, but it was all unfamiliar. She had been firmly tied up to a chair in the centre of the room, and though she was not gagged or blindfolded it didn’t seem to matter much. She could tell from the noises that they were somewhere big on manufacturing, and the noise was such that noone would hear a girl scream for help.
“I bet it is him, though.” She thought to herself. “I was right after all – Ashley and Laura and Krissie should have listened to me! We might be picking up that reward now – instead though I’m stuck here in nowheresville with a madman.” She sighed. “At least he said he won’t hurt me…so long as I keep to what he tells me. Guess I’ve no choice.” She shivered. “Hurry up and find me, Jerrica!”
Back at the Starlight Mansion, Jerrica, the Holograms in tow had settled in the lounge, pouring over maps for any clue as to where their missing waif could be.
“It’s hopeless.” Shana frowned, flopping back on the couch. “She could be anywhere! Assuming she’s still in the city.”
“And no doubt she’s miles from where the guy wants his ransom delivered.” Aja grimaced. “I hate to admit it but Shana’s right. There isn’t anything we can do, but hope that the Police hunts find her.”
“I know.” Jerrica sighed. “I hate feeling so helpless. Mom and Dad left the Starlight girls to our care…I feel like I’ve let them down.”
“It isn’t your fault, sis.” Kimber hugged her sister reassuringly. “It’s none of our faults…not even Dierdra’s. And anyway, we have to find her, that’s more important now. We can’t just give up!”
“Well, what can we do, then?” Raya turned her gaze on the keyboardist. Kimber paused, then groaned.
“I don’t know.” She admitted. “I wish I did. Stormer seemed pretty sure that Jetta isn’t involved but I dunno. I never liked that girl – three Misfits was bad enough.”
“I tend to agree.” Aja nodded her head. “Jetta is trouble and has been from the start.”
“I also.” Raya agreed. “I have not forgotten how it was she arranged for Papa’s greenhouse to be wrecked so I would feel I had to come to Eric Raymond for money and betray your secret, Jerrica. I would not trust her word.”
“Well, whether Jetta is involved or not, there’s not a lot we can do without any proof.” Jerrica sighed again. “And I do believe Stormer when she says it’s not a Misfit ploy.”
“Stormer’s batting for the wrong team.” Kimber observed. “Why she wants to be a Misfit I’ll never know.”
“Me either.” Shana agreed. “But she does…maybe she likes a challenge.”
“We’re getting off the point!” Jerrica got to her feet. “Maybe…maybe we should leave it for tonight. We have a concert to do, anyway, and the kids at Haven House will be counting on us to raise them some good funds. Apparently the venue is sold out – we can’t let them down.”
“Okay, I suppose you’re right.” Kimber sighed. “I hardly feel like it, though.”
“I know what you mean.” Raya nodded. “Poor Dierdra! I hope she is okay.”
“Thank goodness that’s over.” Pizzazz tossed her instrument across the dressing room reserved for the four Misfits, a look of displeasure on her face. The concert had gone fairly well, but the events of the last few days still weighed on her mind and she was, if she was honest, still fairly frustrated with Jetta. The girl had never been so difficult to get to grips with before, but though she had played every passage without fault and harmonised every backing lyric without fail, there had been something lacking in her performance tonight. Pizzazz could be forgiven for thinking her band-mate had acted that way deliberately to spite her, but in truth such an idea had never occurred to the sax player.
In fact, little had occurred to her at all once she had seen him in the audience.
The end of the concert had taken forever to come once she knew her brother was listening, but she had done her best to stay cool. She wasn’t going to let him ruffle her again. Absently she wondered if Jeremy really had taken Dierdra hostage, and if so, where he was keeping her. Then she gave herself a mental shake. What did it matter to her what he did? Jem and her brats were none of her concern, and she wanted nothing to do with Jeremy himself.
She pushed her saxophone roughly into its case, flipping the lid shut.
“You think you’re glad?” she demanded. “I thought it were never going to end.”
Stormer looked troubled, but said nothing. The last thing she wanted was another blow up between the two musicians, but it seemed that things had settled down some, at least for now.
She glanced at Roxy, who was busy examining her make-up in the mirror.
“Is Riot coming to see us tonight?” the guitarist asked now, a touch of sarcasm in her voice.
“He’s performing.” Pizzazz’ voice warned her against making any further venture into that topic. She stretched. “It’s stuffy in here. I’m going for a walk.”
“Going to watch Riot strut, she means.” Roxy murmured to Stormer, who hid a wry smile, and nodded. Pizzazz sent them both a scowl, but decided that responding was below her, and instead she just stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her.
“What an ‘appy group we all are tonight.” Jetta observed lazily. “It’s such a joy to be a Misfit on nights like tonight.”
“You can easily not be a Misfit, Jetta, if you keep it up.” Roxy snapped. Jetta offered Roxy a benign grin.
“What about that contract, Roxy?” she asked, in a tone that Stormer quickly recognised as her ‘winding Roxy up’ voice. “Oh, I’m sorry, love. I forgot you couldn’t read it…”
Roxy growled, lunging at the other girl and almost knocking her guitar flying in the process. Jetta ducked neatly out of the way, sitting down in an empty seat with a smirk.
“You’re so gullible, Roxy.” She said airily. “You rise every time.”
“Watch it, or I’ll hit you so hard you’ll wake up in Africa.” Roxy warned.
Before Jetta could respond there was a knock at the door. The girls exchanged looks.
“Well, it ain’t Pizzazz.” Jetta observed. “I can’t see ‘er knockin’ on the door of ‘er own dressin’ room, can you?”
“Who is it?” Stormer got up to open the door, seeing that neither of her companions seemed to be that way inclined themselves. She swung it open, frowning at the unfamiliar features.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
“I was looking for Jetta.” The man’s voice was
tinged with a cockney accent and at the sound of it Jetta froze, her
gaze going to
the door. There was an indescribable look on her face, and, looking at
Roxy felt a sense of pleasure. Not so smart now, huh?
“I told you to leave me alone.” Jetta seemed to reawaken herself to what was going on, moving to the door of the dressing room and shooting her brother a scowl. “Go on, clear off.”
“I only wanted to congratulate you on your performance tonight.” Jeremy told her smoothly. Jetta looked taken aback.
“You still play the sax as well as ever.”
“Well…” Jetta paused, confused. His attitude had disarmed her, she had prepared to fight him off, but here he was being all charm and good manners. She swallowed hard. She had to get rid of him before someone realised who he was.
But Jeremy had no intention of leaving, not immediately. He wandered into the dressing room, casting the other girls a smile.
“Well, well. I suppose you must be Jetta’s band-mates.” He observed. Roxy and Stormer exchanged looks.
“What’s it to you?” Roxy demanded.
“You have a lot of talent, I’m impressed.” Jeremy offered Roxy a winning smile, and despite herself the girl was captivated by it. “No wonder Jetta wanted to come to America, I see why this band is on so many people’s lips.”
He spoke the word ‘Jetta’ with an edge and Jetta herself sent him a dark scowl, still afraid he might reveal their relationship at any point.
“Well, I suppose I must be leaving, you must all be very busy.” Jeremy seemed to be more ready to take the hint this time. He winked at Roxy. “I hope we meet again, though. Soon.” And then he was gone.
“Who was he?” Stormer was the first to break the silence.
“Whoever he was, he’s hot.” Roxy observed.
Jetta pulled a face.
“Oh, brilliant, Roxy. Fall in love with him, why don’t you.” She said scornfully.
“Who said anything about love, Jetta?” Roxy retorted. “I don’t do the L word. He has taste, that’s all.” She smirked. “What’s wrong? Jealous that your friend was giving me the attention?”
“Believe me, Roxy, I couldn’t care less who he gives ‘is attention to.” Jetta responded. “Far as I’m concerned ‘e can walk off the edge of the world tomorrow and I wouldn’t care a jot.”
“Who is he, though?” Stormer repeated. “You know him, Jetta? How?”
“You could say we grew up together.” Jetta curled her lip in distaste. “But ‘e ain’t someone I want to associate with now, so let it go, you got it?” She got to her feet. “I’ll see you girls later, there’s somethin’ I need to do.” And with that, she was gone.
Stormer and Roxy exchanged looks once more, and Stormer shrugged. Life with the Misfits very rarely made much sense.
Jetta, meanwhile, had headed into the crowd to find her brother. Surrounded by fans to begin with, she blew them off with excuses and the occasional threat until she spotted him, and stalked up to him, grabbing him roughly by the arm and pulling him outside.
“What the hell do you think you’re playin’ at?” She demanded. Jeremy looked surprised.
“I don’t know what you mean.” He said, adopting a puzzled tone.
“Sure you don’t.” Jetta’s eyes narrowed. “Checkin’ up on me, are you? Because I’ll tell you now that I’m a big girl, Jeremy. I can look after meself.”
“I hope you can.” A slow smile crossed Jeremy’s features. “Because I haven’t ‘ad my fun with you yet, Sheila.”
“Jetta.” Jetta responded darkly. “You don’t know ‘ow much trouble you’ve gotten me into now, Jeremy. Why couldn’t you just do your time like a good boy, eh?”
“You caused the trouble yourself.” Jeremy retorted. “If you ‘adn’t’ve made such a scene then I wouldn’t ‘ave needed to get that girl involved…”
“Girl?” Jetta’s eyes widened. “Oh no…Jeremy, you have got that Starlight brat? Don’t you care a jot for your sister’s reputation?”
“Not really.” Jeremy replied casually. “And anyway, the girl is quite safe with me. I’ll return her once that Benton woman pays the ransom, then I’ll be out of the country and safe in South America where the cops can’t get me. What do you care if I have her or not?”
“I care that the world’s press might come and knock me door down, that’s what I care about.” Jetta snapped. “I care that maybe thanks to you I won’t be a Misfit any more, and will ‘ave to go back to that dump in London waiting tables, busking and getting peanuts for it an’ all. That’s what I care about. You mess this up for me, Jeremy, and I’ll make your life not worth living, I swear to you.”
“We’ll see about that.” Jeremy smiled his disarming smile again. “Say, sister dear, what does that friend of yours go by?”
“Friend?” Jetta looked startled once more, hating how easily he threw her off guard.
“Yeah. That bass guitarist your band has. What’s her name?”
“Roxy, you mean? She ain’t a friend of mine.” Jetta responded. Then her eyes widened. “And she ain’t to be a friend of yours, either, you hear me? I won’t have you messing this up for me!”
“Relax, Sheila.” Jeremy dismissed her concern with a wave of his hand. “I was just interested, that’s all.” He winked at her. “Keep up the good work. I’ll be seeing you.” And he disappeared into the crowd.
Jetta watched him go, a numb feeling settling on her heart. She hadn’t felt like this for some time, not since the humiliating trip back home where the painful truth had all come out about her heritage.
“But then, Jeremy’s part of back home.” She muttered. “Oh, I ‘ate him, I really do. How dare he come and stalk me like this! I’ll show him…”
“Talking to yourself, Jetta?” Jetta started, swinging round and meeting the amused gaze of the Misfit’s lead singer. She scowled.
“Leave me alone, Pizzazz.” She snapped, shoving her companion aside and storming out of the building into the cool night air. Pizzazz’ eyes narrowed, but she bit back her cry of rage, realising that from the stage Riot could probably see everything. She didn’t want to displease him again.
“I’ll deal with her later.” She muttered to herself. “Stupid British idiot. Why we ever had to have four Misfits I don’t know.” Conveniently forgetting the fact that Jetta had been her own choice, she placed the blame firmly on the shoulders of the absent Eric Raymond. “We were fine just the three of us. At least Roxy and Stormer never tried to take over. The cheek of the girl!”
She turned her gaze on Riot, pushing Jetta out of her mind for the moment. He looked his usual, magnificent self and despite herself she uttered a sigh. Why was it the guys she wanted always wanted someone else?
“I want him and I’m going to get him.” She muttered. “So watch out, Jem.”
As she watched him, he winked at her and despite herself she felt her heart flutter. Maybe…
No, she wouldn’t think that way. She’d been used down that route before, and humiliated, too. She was going to play it cool this time…if Riot wanted her, he knew where he could find her. She wasn’t going to look idiotic in front of Jem any more.
At that moment the Stingers wound up their tune, and a loud cheer came from the excited crowd. Pizzazz turned away with some effort. How humiliating. The Misfits, once topping charts here there and everywhere were reduced to being a warm-up act for Riot and his group – a group who had crawled out of Europe only a bare few months back and pretended to their throne. Involuntarily she clenched her fists. It made her so angry! It had been bad enough competing with that Jem, but at least where the Holograms were concerned the Misfits had a clear advantage, since Jem and her wimpy friends always played fair.
Not so the Stingers. They were capable of as much deceit and cheating as the Misfits, and Riot was forever playing his trump card against them – his irresistibility.
“It’s not fair.” She muttered to herself, stalking back down the corridor which once would have been swarming with Misfit fans to the dressing room. “The Misfits are the best – I’m the best! Why can’t we be on top for a change?”
She paused outside the door, a scowl touching her face. Well, first she was going to get Jetta back under thumb and make sure that the sax player knew who was boss. Then she would worry about the chart battle. The Misfits hadn’t recorded a new single in a while – their last, Lovesick, had lacked the usual Misfit mischief and had not done so well as it’s predecessors. Too much mush, as Roxy had scornfully informed Stormer.
“Maybe Stormer really has gone soft on us this time.” Pizzazz mused with a frown, idly kicking her foot up against the wall as she considered. “Coming out with songs about love and…and feelings! And now she’s playing messenger for those Holograms, too…what’s wrong with everybody?”
Though Pizzazz was not ready to realise and to admit it, the main root of the problem lay with her. Riot had taken her totally by surprise, and she had made herself weak, not only in front of him but in front of her band-mates. They knew now that she had a vulnerable side, and as a result she had no longer the same respect as leader of the group. Sure, she still sang the songs…but something had changed.
Sometimes she wondered exactly what had been said when the other Misfits had settled down for a ‘little chat’, and had given her the ultimatum, Riot or the band.
She had chosen Riot then, but Riot had instructed her to go back and make peace with her band-mates…their reaction had shocked her. Not the usual, could-care-less Misfit shrug of the shoulders, or snide words from Jetta’s way, but a delighted cry and a hug.
It had thrown her off balance. In her whole life she had never been good at handling real emotions – from an early age she had learnt to measure things in material objects, and to her any show of that kind of emotion was a show of weakness.
But…on the other hand, she had never realised how much they thought of her, or how much they needed her, for friendship was something they all had publically scorned. In some tiny way it had begun to repair the damage that years of neglect and spoiling by her father had achieved, but it was still too confused and mangled in her brain to make much sense to her. For once she hadn’t had to bully them into submission, and she wasn’t sure quite how to take it.
Of course, there had been no Misfit displays of affection or emotion since. In many ways she was glad of it – hugging wasn’t something that came naturally to her, and she had been half afraid of what she’d pulled herself back into. But something had definitely changed in the band. Stormer, once very much in the background seemed to be holding more sway with both Roxy and Jetta, though Pizzazz had no idea how she was doing it, even talking the band into a truce with the Holograms which had lasted all of two days. And to think that Stormer had upped and left the practice session the previous day of her own accord, with no fear of retribution! It wasn’t normal!
“I call the shots.” She muttered, her green eyes narrowing angrily. “I say when, I say where…and I say what the Misfits do next. Not Stormer. So she writes a few songs, big deal. If she was better at it we’d be pushing the wimpo-grams off the top of the charts every week.”
“You can come in, you know.” Roxy poked her head around the door. “Or don’t you want to be seen with us, Pizzazz? Feeling shamed to be a Misfit?”
“You shut your face.” Pizzazz retorted sharply, shoving past her band-mate into the dressing room.
Stormer glanced up from where she had been carefully putting away her instrument, eying the exchange without reaction. Pizzazz and Roxy had this kind of relationship on a regular basis, after all. It was very rare for a day to pass without one of them threatening to ‘fix’ the other, and she had spent enough time with them both now to know that it wouldn’t lead anywhere.
“Where’s Jetta?” was all she said. “Eric said he’d send a car for us at eleven, and it’s almost that now.”
“Who cares about Eric?” Pizzazz demanded. “And who cares about Jetta?”
Stormer gauged her companion’s temper, and wisely fell silent. No doubt Jetta had done something more to irk Pizzazz that night, it wouldn’t do for her to provoke things further.
Roxy stretched out in her chair, yawning.
“This is boring.” She announced, to noone in particular. “Why are we stuck in this hole of a room anyway? Why aren’t we out there with the fans?”
“Because, Roxy, love, the fans are there to see Riot and ‘is dollybirds.” Jetta lounged in the doorway. “The car’s ‘ere, girls…can we go or are you wanting to spend the night in ‘ere?”
“Watch it, Jetta.” Pizzazz glowered at her.
“We’re coming, Jetta.” Stormer said hurriedly, shutting the case of her synthesiser with a snap.
“So how’s your friend, Jetta?” Roxy asked snidely. “Still not interested? I told you the guy had taste…you’re wasting your time.”
“Shut it, Roxy.” Jetta scowled. “You don’t know what you’re messing with.” She picked up her saxophone case. “Either come or don’t, but whichever you choose, shut up.”
“Who made you boss all of a sudden?” Pizzazz demanded.
“I’m sorry, Pizzazz.” A ghost of a smile touched Jetta’s face. “I thought maybe you wanted to stay an’ watch Riot’s act.”
Pizzazz let out a shriek of rage and it was only thanks to Roxy pushing through with her guitar case that the sax player didn’t meet the wrong end of the singer’s fist.
“What a night.” Stormer murmured to herself as she
after the other three Misfits and out to the car. “There’s no way the
is gonna make it if they keep squabbling like that. This isn’t normal
behaviour – it’s war!”
Chapter One: The Fight
Chapter Two: Starlight Mansiom
Chapter Three: Jeremy
Chapter Four: The Reward
Chapter Five: Where Is Dierdra?
Chapter Seven: Stormer...and Jetta
Chapter Eight: Kimber's Plan
Chapter Nine: Jetta Of The Misfits
Chapter Ten: Conclusion
(The Misfits and Holograms and other animated Jem characters are copyrighted to Hasbro Inc. All characters who do not appear in Jem episodes are my own creation. This story is copyrighted to E.A Woolley (2001)