England's Rose

Chapter Fifteen: Sabotage!

"Things get more and more crazy round here, don't they?"
Thus Pizzazz as she and the other Misfits relaxed in the lounge area of their hotel suite, eating fruit and biscuits and generally unwinding from the day's work. The interview had not been easy for any of them, though they knew enough about professionalism and image to make sure it went without a hitch, but they had all been glad to return to the safety of the hotel room.
"Crazy? You're tellin' me." Jetta reached for a ginger biscuit, dipping it idly into her hot chocolate and eating it. "The price of fame jus' went up a few notches today."
"You seriously think someone tried to kill you?" Roxy demanded, her expression sceptical. "I mean, c'mon, Jetta...it was an accident. It could have been any of us."
"More I think about it, the more I think it was deliberate." Jetta ignored Roxy's scepticism, a frown on her face. "There's somethin' else, you see...somethin' you and Stormer don't know about."
"What?" Stormer's eyes became big with curiosity.
"Last night in that club, some guy jumped me." Jetta responded slowly. "I mean, we got rid of 'im, an' I thought 'e was just lookin' to make a quick couple of quid outta me, but...what if it was more than a simple attempted muggin'? What if 'e meant somethin' else when he said we 'ad business?"
"Coincidence. Has to be coincidence." Pizzazz dismissed it with a wave of her hand. "Listen up, all of you. None of this goes past us four, okay? Not even to Eric. If Jetta's wrong, we don't want a scandal, if she's right we don't want bad publicity and a fuss. If you ask me it's designed to get us to call off Saturday's concert....and we ain't biting."
"To right we ain't!" Roxy exclaimed. "We came all the way from Cali for this, we ain't backing off now!"
"Jetta?" Stormer shot the dark girl a glance. "What do you reckon?"
"I reckon the same as them. Wembley goes ahead and the Misfits will go on. No matter what." Jetta replied grimly. "I also think Pizzazz is right about not tellin' anyone. The last thing we need is publicity for this." She stood. "If you guys don't mind, I'm goin' to bed. I'm beat."
"Whatever." Pizzazz shrugged. "Tomorrow we ain't got plans, and then Saturday we set up for the concert. Till Saturday night is over we say nothing to anyone about this, all right? Not anyone."
"Agreed." Roxy nodded. "So what are we gonna do tomorrow, then? Just hang out here?"
"Sure. Run through the song, chill out, that kind of thing." Pizzazz nodded, but she still appeared strangely preoccupied.
"I'm gonna give Laura a call in the mornin', see if I can convince 'er to bunk off work." Jetta responded. "I need to get away from the showbusiness and get me 'ead straight if all's gonna work out Saturday." She paused, glancing at Pizzazz. "That okay?"
"Why not?" Pizzazz shrugged again. "Jus' be back by evening so we can run through stuff, all right? This is a real big deal...Saturday night we capture this country once and for all."
"Don't worry, I'll be there. I'm a professional." Jetta responded quietly.
There was a knock at the door at that point and Stormer got to her feet, crossing the room to open it. A strange man stood there, dressed in the hotel's uniform, and he smiled at her, indicating his bag.
"Come to do the bins, love, if I may." he said with a wink. Stormer returned the smile, pushing open the door fully to admit him.
"Of course." She agreed. "You're just in time, we were beginning to go off to bed."
"I'll be as quick as I can, don't mind me." The man told her. "I'll see meself out when I'm done, I don't want to disturb you ladies more than I must."
"Okay." Stormer nodded. "I'll leave you to it, then."
"Who the heck was that at this time?" Roxy demanded as Stormer returned to the sofa.
"Someone come to take out the trash" The synth player responded. "If you guys don't mind, I think I'll turn in too. I know it's kinda early but it's been a long and crazy day."
"It sure has." Roxy stretched out in her seat, yawning.
"Pizzazz, do we 'ave a car on hand that I can use tomorrow to drive over to Laura's?" Jetta paused in the doorway of her room.
"Yeah, but don't you want a driver?" Pizzazz looked taken aback. Jetta shook her head.
"No. I know this country an' I know this area...I want to get back to me roots a bit and take meself around for once. I seriously need a time out, get me 'ead round what 'appened today and all that. Get some perspective."
"Well, suit yourself." Pizzazz shrugged. "I'll have Eric make sure you got a car out front tomorrow, okay?"
"Ta." Jetta smiled slightly. "Night, girls. Don't go mad without me, okay?"
"Don't flatter yourself, Jetta." Roxy snorted. "We don't need you."
Jetta pulled a face at her foe, then disappeared into her room, shutting the door behind her with a click. Unseen, the man with the sack let himself out of the hotel suite, a smile on his face.
"Tomorrow, then." he murmured. "Tomorrow will do just fine."

"I shouldn't be doing this." Laura glanced guiltily around the hotel lobby, reaching up to adjust her ponytail. "I'm an assistant manager, Sheila, I can't just take days off here and there."
"You can play 'ooky for once, can't you?" Jetta demanded, handing her key in at the front desk. "We're only in England for a short time, you know, and we're so busy...I've missed you and this is the only chance we're gonna get to properly 'ang out, no Misfits or anything else interfering."
"I know. That's why my boss believes I've contracted summer flu." Laura responded dryly. "You always talked me into skipping school...guess I should know better than to think you'd changed any."
"Me? I never grow up." Jetta grinned. "I needed a time out, though. Break from the madness. Bein' a star is hectic, you know."
"I'd gathered." Laura agreed. "I'm relieved though that it hasn't changed you too much. If anything it's made you more relaxed." She eyed her friend thoughtfully. "Though not this morning. Something up?"
"Not allowed to talk about it. Pizzazz's instructions." Jetta shrugged. "It's Misfit business, that's all."
"Okay. I won't pester you. I don't fancy messing with Pizzazz." Laura laughed. Jetta snorted.
"She's not so scary." she responded with a shrug, pushing the door of the hotel open and leading the way over to the car, putting the key into the lock. "Really, she ain't."
"Well, you live with 'er." Laura grinned, slipping into the passenger seat. "So, where are we going? Nowhere near my job, I hope!"
"Nope. More down memory lane." Jetta winked.
"You want to go back there? What, see your folks an' all?" Laura looked startled.
"No...not me Ma and Pa. They're not worth the time or effort. But sure, I'd like to go back 'ome, as it were."
"Okay, Sheila, spit it out. What's wrong?" Laura's brow furrowed. "You told me when you left that you wanted to leave it all behind you, and move on. You weren't even so keen on keeping your name...now you want to go back to your roots? Voluntarily? Something's up."
"You know me too well. To be honest, I want to do a bit of investigatin', actually." Jetta admitted. "I can't tell you anythin', because Pizzazz would 'ave me for it, but I'm sure whatever it is, the answer to it is back there."
"You lost me, but okay. Playin' detective might be fun, if you give me a clue or two." Laura agreed. "Let's go, huh?"
"Okay, okay, I'm getting there." Jetta retorted, shutting the door and turning the key in the ignition. "We got all day!"
From a secluded spot in the shadow of the big hotel kitchen, someone watched unnoticed as the car pulled out of the parking lot, a look of satisfaction on his face.
"Well, that should take care of it." he mused. "Hard to perform a concert from a hospital bed, Miss Burns..."

"So, what are we going to do today?"  Stormer pushed open her bedroom door, tying her dressing gown around her waist as she did so, and stifling a sleepy yawn. "We've no plans, Eric hasn't been...are we going shopping? We don't have Jetta, so we can't practice."
"Beats me." Roxy glanced up from her bowl of cereal with a careless shrug. "I'm all for just hanging out here, going down to the pool and doing nothing all day. We need a holiday...don't you think? All we've done is work since we got here!"
"We went shopping the day before yesterday." Stormer reminded her, dropping down onto the sofa. "But we have been busy. Is Pizzazz up yet?"
"No, but Jetta's gone. She left real early, that Laura girl came up to the hotel, I saw her." Roxy responded. "Good riddance, if you ask me. That girl's nowt but trouble."
"You think someone really is after her blood?" Stormer wondered. Roxy shrugged.
"Dunno." she replied. "Don't care much, either. It won't come to anything. Probably just publicity or something, some scam or another. She's just being wimpy."
"Maybe. I know I'd have been freaked out though, if that thing had come down next to me." Stormer shivered. "And I saw her leg last night when she was putting cream on the scratches - she was more hurt than she let on. Her leg was covered with red scrapes from the glass."
"Well, she was wearing pants when she left this morning. Guess that was why." Roxy looked amused. "Look, phone the jerks downstairs, get 'em to bring you up some breakfast and quit worrying about Jetta. She can handle herself and in the meantime we can have some fun here. Right?"
"Okay." Stormer sighed, reaching for the phone to call down for room service. "I suppose you're right. Jetta can take care of herself and she knows this area...she'll be fine."

"Sheila, slow down!"
Laura glanced out of the car window, an anxious look on her face. "You just went through another 30mph sign, cool it!"
"I can't." Jetta pushed down on the brake pedal, a helpless look on her face. "We can't stop!"
"What?" Laura's eyes opened wide with fear. "What do you mean we can't stop?"
"What I say!" Jetta snapped back. "The brake's out!"
"What're we gonna do?"
"Well, calm down, for a start." Jetta said grimly. "And review the facts 'ere. We've 'alf a tank of petrol and we ain't got a hope of usin' it all up drivin' round these backstreets all day."
"So what are we gonna do?"
"'Ang on. I'm gonna try something." Jetta responded, glancing down at the dials, then out at the scenery, and making up her mind in a split-second. "It might be a bit bumpy, but with any luck it'll stop us all right. Otherwise we ain't got an 'ope. In a built up area like this with no brakes, we're done for."
"Now where are we going?" Laura peered out of the window, as Jetta swung the vehicle to the right, turning onto an old piece of wasteland with a screech of tires. "Sheila, what are you doin'?"
"Shut up an' let me concentrate!" Jetta exclaimed. Heart in her throat, for she knew she was taking a gamble, she pulled the car round so that it faced into the expansive dustland, and then, biting her lip she turned the key in the ignition to 'off', hoping against hope that such a stunt would not rebound against them, and that the sudden loss of power would not cause the car to jolt so much it would turn over.
She was in luck. Though the vehicle juddered and bumped a bit, it shuddered to a halt mere inches from the wire railing that seperated the wasteland from a ten storey block of flats that stood mere inches from the boundary. Jetta let out her breath in a rush.
"Too close." she murmured.
"Did...did we make it?" Sounding dazed, Laura cautiously undid her door. Jetta nodded.
"We did. Just." she agreed. Laura shivered, stepping out of the car.
"We could've been killed." she whispered.
"I know. Don't rub it in." Jetta snapped. "Where are we?"
"Not far from my house. I reckon we lock the car up, go have a drink and call the police." Laura was fast regaining her senses. Jetta frowned.
"No. No police. We 'andle this ourselves. Pizzazz said so."
"Hang on a minute...you knew this was going to happen?" Laura looked stunned.
"No, I didn't. But..." Jetta sighed. "I guess now you're involved I can tell you what's been goin' on. Someone's playin' dangerous games with me, Laura, with all of us, actually, but this proves in my mind that it's me they're after, an' that it's deliberate." Slowly she outlined the events of the previous couple of days. Laura listened, a growing look of concern on her face.
"But this is crazy! Someone's out to get you? But why? What on earth could they want to do that for? What have you done to upset them?"
"Enough with the questions, already!" Jetta held up her hands, slowly getting out of the car herself, and shutting the door, locking the vehicle and pocketing the keys. "Listen. We're going to go back to your place, an' I'm gonna call the 'otel an' clue the others in to this, tell them what 'appened and warn 'em to check over any cars they're plannin' on usin'. But that's it, it goes no further, not yet. Someone doesn't want the Misfits to perform tomorrow night, that's all...and if we get the police involved then they might want to cancel our concert, call it a safety risk. We've worked too 'ard for that to 'appen."
"Maybe it is a safety risk!"
"Nah. These are scare tactics." Jetta shook her head, her voice far more composed and sure than she felt. "Reckless ones, true, but scare tactics all the same." Not for worlds would she admit how afraid she had been when she had first realised that the car was out of her control, and how close she had come to panicking.
"Who do you reckon is behind all of this?" Laura wondered. "Who wouldn't want the Misfits to perform Wembley tonight...you guys have taken England by storm, everyone loves you! Who'd be desperate enough to get a cancellation that they'd risk killing one of the band members to ensure it?"
"Laura, shut up!" Jetta exclaimed. "Stop harpin' on about it, I'm tryin' to think!"
Laura shot her friend a glance, then bit her lip.
"I'm sorry." she said quietly, coming to put her arm around her friend's shoulder. "You must be feelin' shook up."
"I've felt better." Jetta agreed grimly. "As for who did it, Laura...I gave it some thought last night, an' this 'as more or less made up me mind as to who 'as to be behind it."
"Use your brain. Who do you know who hates me?"
"Allie Blackwell?" Laura suggested. Jetta shook her head.
"Nah. She's a wimp and Pizzazz put the fear of God into 'er at the studio the other day...she wouldn't dare tangle with the Misfits again. This is out of 'er league. No, I was thinkin' more of someone with a different axe to grind."
Laura's hand flew to her mouth, her eyes filling with horror as she realised who her friend meant.
"Jeremy?" She demanded. Jetta nodded.
"Exactly." She agreed.
"But 'e's still in prison, ain't 'e?"
"Doesn't mean that all of his associates are."
"No, true." Laura paused, considering. "You really think 'e 'ates you that much?"
"Laura, me an' the girls were responsible for gettin' 'im back into prison when 'e made 'is escape to America. I'd say it was almost a certainty. Besides, he'd probably see it as a matter of unfinished business." Absently Jetta touched her throat. "If Roxy 'adn't clocked 'im one with a length of metal pipe 'e'd 'ave wrung me neck for sure."
"He always was a creep." Laura grimaced. Jetta nodded.
"I'd all but forgotten me damn family this trip." She agreed, rubbing her temples. "'E's ruinin' me party."
"Well, don't let him." Laura instructed her as they reached her house. "You're the star, Sheila, and you gotta call the shots now. Don't let 'im rule you...he's done that too much in the past."
"Well, I 'ope I can keep 'im at bay." Jetta shrugged. "I know it's a cliche, but this country seriously ain't big enough for two Burns kids, even if one of 'em is in prison. With the Misfits doin' good 'ere we're bound to come back...I 'ope this ain't goin' to 'appen every time we pay a visit."
"I hope not too." Laura agreed. "You 'ave to promise me you'll take care, else I'll worry about you." She unlocked the front door of the house, ushering her companion inside. "Here we are. Ain't quite your mansion that you're used to, but it's a home, anyway. Phone's through in the lounge, be me guest. I'll go put the kettle on."
"Ta, Laura." Jetta responded. "Milk, no sugar."
"When did you stop takin' sugar in your tea?" Laura stared at her. Jetta grinned.
"When I discovered that my look was important to me career." she replied with a wink. "See you in a minute or two."
She entered the lounge, picking up the phone and dialing the hotel, asking to be put through to the band's suite. Within a moment or two she had Stormer on the phone.
"You were lucky you caught me. Pizzazz and Roxy are at the pool, and I just came up to change." The synth player said. "There was some trouble, tables in the water and all that, I got drenched so I decided I'd come up, take a shower and maybe go down and read in the salon or something."
"You're one weird Misfit, stayin' out of trouble more than gettin' into it these days." Jetta observed lightly, but Stormer soon picked up in the gravity in her bandmate's tone.
"Jetta, what's up? What's happened?"
"Our mystery attacker's struck again." Jetta said grimly. There was a gasp on the other end of the line, then.
"Are you all right?"
"Yes, fortunately, and Laura too. I'm at 'er place now." Quickly Jetta outlined events. "If you're goin' drivin', get Roxy to look at the brakes, okay? We don't want any little accidents."
"Got it." Stormer responded. "Look, how are you going to get back here?"
"Dunno. Bus or taxi or somethin'. I'll work it out." Jetta dismissed it. "Tell Pizzazz what's 'appened, okay, and tell 'er that I've made Laura agree to keep it quiet for now. But this guy is persistant and 'e ain't gonna give up...expect trouble tomorrow night."
"You sound like you know who's behind it." Stormer sounded surprised.
"Maybe I do." Jetta sighed. "I know it's paranoid, Stormer, but I can't 'elp thinkin' Jeremy's tied up in this somewhere."
"Your brother?"
"Yes. Damn him." Jetta agreed. "Only thing is, I can't prove it. 'E has an iron cast alibi 'imself, locked up in 'is little cell, and 'e 'as hundreds of dodgy associates who could 'ave done it for 'im. Best thing we can do is keep our heads down an' our eyes open."
"Okay." Stormer paused then, "Jetta? Take care, huh? We want you back here in one piece."
"Don't worry, I intend to." Jetta agreed quietly. "Bye, Stormer. Talk soon."
Stormer frowned as she replaced the phone receiver. Grabbing her dressing gown from the back of her chair, she hurried down the stairs to the pool, where the scene of chaos that she had left behind her had somewhat abated and several less drenched hotel employees were making some order of the poolside tables once more. Pizzazz glanced at her as she entered, a look of decided confusion on her face.
"I thought you'd wimped out." she observed.
"I had a call from Jetta." Stormer ignored the disinterested tone in her bandmate's voice. "Pizzazz, I really think something serious is going on here, and so does she. Someone cut the brake cables on her car...she and Laura were lucky not to have been killed."
"What?" Rage filled Pizzazz's green eyes and she was on her feet in an instant. "So this jerk still hasn't dropped his dumb game? Right, we're getting to the bottom of this. Roxy! Quit messing about with that loser, we got business to attend to."
Roxy, who had been arguing with a lifeguard cast Pizzazz a glare, but shoved the man aside, stalking after her bandmates back to the hotel suite with very bad grace.
"Well?" she demanded. "This had better be good. I was havin' a good time down there!"
"Jetta was right." Pizzazz said with a frown. "Someone is trying to get her...and someone seriously wants us to cancel tomorrow night."
"So do we?" Stormer asked.
"Cancel? Us? No way." Pizzazz shook her head. "We're not wimps, Stormer. We don't chicken out because of a few lousy scare games."
"Jetta thinks that whoever it is will try again tomorrow, before the concert." Stormer remembered. "She also said she thought...she thought Jeremy was involved."
"Jeremy? That creepy brother of hers? The nerve of the guy!" Pizzazz was clearly raging.
"So? Let's go over there and waste the loser, teach him once and for all we're not to be messed with!" Roxy exclaimed.
"He's in jail, Roxy. Remember? We helped put him back there." Stormer sank down onto the sofa.
"So how can he be doin' this stuff?" Roxy demanded.
"Jetta thinks he's got an old friend on the outside doing his dirty work for him." Stormer replied. "But she doesn't know who." She sighed. "It's hopeless. How can we put a stop to it if we don't even know who's doing these things? We don't know any of Jeremy's friends, and even if we did, we don't know this country well enough to go round interrogating them. Jetta's the only one who might know who and where to start looking with, but even she probably doesn't know everyone that Jeremy knows. What can we do?"
"We can go out tomorrow night and perform the best concert we ever did." Pizzazz said darkly. "That'll show 'em they can't scare us off so easy. And we can make sure we keep together as a unit till we go on stage. One guy ain't got a chance against the four of us."
"Should we tell Eric now?" Roxy asked.
"Don't see why we should. The guy's a coward, he'd just freak." Pizzazz shook her head. "No, it's just us, all right? After tomorrow night we're getting the lawyers in on the whole thing, but till the concert is over, not a word. You hear? Not a word to anyone!"
"Okay, okay, we got it." Roxy rolled her eyes. "No need to be all sinister and meaningful. We get the picture. Now chill out, will you? Nothing's gonna happen. We're the Misfits...we rock!"

Chapter One: Life in London
Chapter Two: The Saxophone
Chapter Three: A Friend In Need
Chapter Four: Never Again...

Chapter Five: Sheila's Decision
Chapter Six: A Band In Crisis
Chapter Seven: First Night
Chapter Eight: Making It Happen

Chapter Nine: The Misfits In London
Chapter Ten: On Every Screen...
Chapter Eleven: A Musical Reunion
Chapter Twelve: Jealousy
Chapter Thirteen: An Old Acquaintance
Chapter Fourteen: Doing London
Chapter Fifteen: Sabotage!
Chapter Sixteen: The Final Straw
Chapter Seventeen: Opening Night
Chapter Eighteen: Jetta

(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)