Justin stifled a yawn, stretching as he brought himself into a sitting position. Weak November sunlight streamed through the hotel window onto the bedcovers and he smiled.
"Well, we made it this far." He murmured, turning to glance at his companion. Jetta was oblivious to his attention, her long hair scattered across the pillow and for a moment he just watched her sleep. Then, very gently, he ran his finger down her cheek.
"Jetta?" He murmured. "It's almost half nine...shall I call down for room service or do you want to grab breakfast on the town today?"
"Hrm?" Jetta's lashes fluttered open, revealing confused grey eyes. "Justin?"
Justin smiled affectionately at her.
"I just wondered how you felt about breakfast." He said simply. "We're late for the restaurant, but I figure we can order it up. Are you in any hurry to get up and see the city, or do you want to stop here and eat first?"
"What time did you say it was?" Jetta struggled to sit up, drawing
bedcovers around her as she glanced at the clock. "Nine thirty...? Is
"Far as I know."
"Too bloody early." Jetta flopped back on her pillows. "Okay. Call down. I ain't gettin' up till I'm fed an' showered, an' neither of those things are 'appenin' before ten o'clock!"
"I thought that's what you'd say." Justin kissed her gently on the forehead. "All right. Got any preferences? Bread twists? Cereal? Coffee?"
"Coffee, definitely." Jetta grimaced. "Otherwise? Whatever's goin'."
She reached across the bed for her dressing gown, pushing back the covers and slipping it over her shoulders. "It's cold."
"Do you want me to close the window?" Justin looked surprised. "I thought..."
"That I preferred it open?" Jetta stared at him for a moment, then she grinned.
"I can't believe you remembered that." She said at length. "No, leave it. I'm fine. Really. It's just a touch nippy."
She tied her gown around her waist, moving to the window to gaze
at the streets below.
"We're really in Vegas. It seems surreal...do you feel that?"
"Not really." Justin admitted. "But I am glad we're here. The hotel is nice, the food last night was fabulous and my friend was right about the position - tonight we need to hit the city with a vengeance. There's a lot going on, and we'd be fools to ignore it."
"Yeah, agreed." Jetta nodded her head. "I almost wish we'd gone last night, only..."
She paused, sending him a mischievous smile. "Bed seemed a lot more
"That's because we don't have a chaperone in Vegas." He teased. Jetta nodded.
"And we're not in your crappy apartment." She added, padding across the floor to the mini bar and pulling open the fridge. "This place is class. Thirsty?"
"Alcohol? At this time?" Justin looked startled. Jetta snorted.
"No." She said dryly. "I was lookin' for the orange juice."
"Oh." Justin said sheepishly. "It's at the back. You know, Jetta, I never really pictured you as an OJ drinker."
"Fruit juice isn't very Misfittish." Jetta agreed, locating the carton and pouring herself a glass. "But there's only so much American milk I can take, especially first thing in the morning. It ain't so bad in coffee - you don't notice it then. But on it's own? No ta. At least this stuff is drinkable."
"An' just because I'm a Misfit doesn't mean I can't watch what I eat an' my diet an' all." She added. "My career requires me to look good an' I'm not the 'uman waste disposal unit your sister is."
She sat down on the bed, taking a sip of her drink and setting it down on the cabinet. "Well? Are you callin' down?"
"Yeah, in a second." Justin nodded. "I was just realising how...well, how much of a novelty this is for us. Both of us. I mean you've stopped over at mine before, and when Pizzazz dragged me along on that East Coast Misfit tour we spent some time in a hotel room in New York...I even got you to eat at my mother's house. But this is different. It's almost like...well..."
"Living together?" Jetta raised an eyebrow. "Fat chance, buster."
"But it is odd." Justin spread his hands. "Don't you think? That we've been together as long as we have, and we've never done this before?"
"We're busy people." Jetta acknowledged. "But I think you're readin' too much into it, Justin. It's no different from me stoppin' at your place overnight...except that we're here for a week. If you're gonna get freaked out jus' because you see me drinkin' OJ, you need help."
"I'm not freaked out." Justin grinned. "I just never saw you do it before."
He leant over to pick up the telephone, dialling down to the reception. After placing their order for room service, he dropped the receiver back into the cradle, casting her a quizzical look. "Well? We've got our night sorted out...what about our day? We could walk around the place...explore. Or there's stuff going on in the hotel...we could hit the pool or something?"
"I'd like to visit the pool." Jetta owned. "We were going to last night, but we got side-tracked."
She grinned. "So we could do that this mornin', if you like. I've yet to see what kind of a swimmer you are. Do you sink?"
"No...I'm not bad." Justin laughed. "Roxy has me whipped, but otherwise..."
"Roxy has everyone whipped." Jetta said ruefully. "And she knows it."
"You swim, then?"
"Yes." Jetta agreed. "Well enough to get by."
"Then we'll go swim." Justin decided. "The pool this place has got is meant to be one of the biggest in the state, so I think we should at least check it out."
"Did you bring your camera with you?" Jetta eyed him suspiciously. Justin looked sheepish.
"Guilty." He admitted. "When don't I travel with a camera? I want to get some snaps of our vacation. What's wrong with that?"
"Well, I guess that's all right." Jetta said slowly. "But if you start takin' that wretched thing to bed with you too, Justin, you're findin' somewhere else to sleep!"
"I'm not that much of a workaholic." He promised. "Taking photos has always been a hobby as well as a career choice. And this is a big deal trip...you and me, taking our first vacation together, in a mad city like Las Vegas. How could I not bring the camera?"
"At least, I suppose, any snaps you do take are unlikely to be of your thumb." Jetta relented. "All right. I'd jus' like to have a reprieve from the lens for a few days, that's all. I spend most of my life bein' photographed by you an' other nobs. It's nice not to 'ave to be prepared for a flash everywhere I go, that's all. Just to kick back...relax. Not worry about messy hair or the wrong colour socks."
"I promise, I won't take any photos of you without you knowing I'm gonna." Justin assured her. "I guess that makes sense. You do spend your life in the public eye...I didn't think of this time away in that light."
"Why do you think I came?" Jetta demanded playfully, but before Justin could answer there was a knock on the door. He got to his feet, moving to allow the hotel employee to deliver their breakfast, and Jetta finished her orange juice, sitting back against the wall. Once they were alone again, she spoke.
"We need to check out the bar here as well, some time." She
"It sounds like it's got a pretty good thing going, from the brochure."
"You read the brochure? When?"
"Last night. When you fell asleep." Jetta's tone was teasing, and Justin pulled a face at her. "But it does. Maybe this evenin', you can buy me a drink before we 'it the city?"
"I like that. I buy you a drink?" Justin raised an eyebrow. "Weren't
women emancipated...what's to stop you buying me a drink?"
"The fact you're a gentleman an' I'm no lady." Jetta laughed. Justin reached for the pillow, tossing it at his girlfriend, who caught it deftly, hurling it back.
"Gotta be quicker than that to catch me out." She said playfully.
grinned, climbing back onto the bed. Jetta let out a shriek, shuffling
back against the headboard as he grabbed her by the shoulders, kissing
"Got you." He teased. "What's my prize?"
"You're a git." Jetta told him, but her grey eyes sparkled with
"And an animal. For that, you deserve to shell out for drinks this
"We could just cut the bar and go right on into the city." Justin suggested, settling himself beside her and slipping an arm around her shoulders. "My friend did warn me that it tends to get smoky in there at night - and I'm not a big fan of the cigarette. Besides, I wouldn't have thought it'd do you any good, either, considering your choice of career. Blowing down that sax takes air."
"It does." Jetta agreed. "But a little smoke doesn't bother me. Grew up round it, so..." She shrugged. "I'm not so fussy. Part of the atmosphere, almost...a little smoke, some music..."
She grinned at his expression.
"You don't think so?"
"No, I don't think so." Justin shook his head. "It's a horrible smell, and it gets into your clothes and hair and...everywhere."
"Never really thought about it." Jetta said flippantly. "Some of the venues we play are a touch smoky sometimes, but it just adds to the atmosphere. Besides, we use stage smoke a lot anyway. It'd be wrong to thin the crowd based on that."
"Well, you were the one talking about being healthy." Justin told her firmly. "It can't be very healthy, breathing in smoke all the time."
"No, that's why I quit." Jetta agreed absently, slipping off the bed and heading over to the breakfast tray. Scooping up a croissant, she tore a piece off it, putting it in her mouth. "Mm. These are still warm."
She turned, stopping as she registered the look on her companion's face.
"Justin? Are you okay?"
"You smoked?" Justin got to grips with himself. "Since when?"
"Oh." Jetta laughed, sinking down on the end of the duvet. "Don't look so bleedin' 'orrified. It was a natural progression. Most all my friends did it. My parents an' Jeremy too."
"How did I never know this?"
"It didn't seem important. I quit a long time ago." Jetta told him simply. "When I decided to get back into sax playin' and all that, I gave it up. Grandpa said you couldn't play proper, like, if you 'ad smoker's lungs. I don't know if 'e were right or not...but I did notice a difference. I can 'old notes longer now, an' I 'ave more energy for the stage. So I don't regret it. It was the right thing to do for my career at the time."
"I can't visualise it." Justin admitted. "I never pictured you as
type to smoke. You seem, well, too smart to take the gamble."
"Well, I guess there are things that 'ave more to do with social pressure than intelligence." Jetta mused. "Either way, like I said, it ain't an issue. I stopped when I was nineteen or thereabouts, an' I ain't wanted to start up again since. So you needn't freak out over it. It's past."
"Like my days workin' as a waitress in London. Over."
She curled up on the covers. "All right. So now you know one of my
me one of yours. If you're shocked that I used to smoke, tell me
that'll shock me. Make it even."
"Shock you?" Justin rubbed his chin. "I don't know. I'm not as crazy as you, Jetta. I don't have that many skeletons."
"If you were that dull an' borin', I wouldn't be sleepin' with you." Jetta told him. "So come on. Spill. Tell me somethin' that I don't know...somethin' past."
"Well...I dropped out of High School first time around." Justin
at length. Jetta raised an eyebrow.
"I thought you went to college." She objected. Justin nodded.
"I did." He agreed. "I had a 4.0 in my last two years, too. But no, I had trouble in school the whole time, really. I didn't read till I was eight, and I always struggled to keep up. You've seen my writing - its not all that pretty, even now. By the time I got to sixteen or seventeen, I was disillusioned by it all. I decided to quit. Mom flipped out, but I didn't see the point in failing."
"You couldn't read either?" Jetta looked thoughtful. "Like Roxy?"
"Yes." Justin agreed. "Dyslexia is in our family. She has it much worse than I do...but I have it too."
"I didn't know that." Jetta finished her croissant, rolling onto her front and resting her chin in her hands. "Okay, so what 'appened? You suddenly 'ad divine intervention...or...?"
"No." Justin grinned. "No. I got a job doing menial work at a research institute in NYC and met Professor Milton. He sussed me out pretty quickly. For the first time I had some explanation and support for why I was struggling. He inspired me to go back and finish school. The rest is kinda history."
"They wanted me to go to college." Jetta looked pensive. "I didn't see the point. Then. I mean, Grandpa would've sent me to music college, but that wasn't possible after 'e died. I coulda got a grant for university, but noone else I knew was goin'. I just didn't figure I needed to either. You don't need a degree for a job...at least, not the kind of job people from my part of London tend to get. And I didn't 'ave any aspirations for anythin' else when I finished school. In hindsight, I probably should've gone. It woulda got me away from my folks, an' I got a clean sweep of As across the board, even though I didn't do much studyin'. Who knows? Maybe I could've done music. But it didn't really occur to me."
"A lot of things are easier with hindsight." Justin agreed. He got to his feet, pouring himself a mug of coffee and helping himself to a bread twist. "Coffee?"
"Sure." Jetta nodded her head. "Then I'll hit the shower."
She yawned, stretching. "And then we'll go swim or somethin'." She
"Limber up for a wild night on the town!"