Chapter Seven: Eric

"I wonder why Eric wants to see us all."

Stormer stepped out of her car, shutting the driver's door and locking it as she cast a quizzical glance at her companions. "Roxy, what exactly did he say on the phone?"

"That he wanted us to get our butts in his office pronto." Roxy replied succinctly.

"I bet he didn't say that." Jetta grimaced. "Or if he did, 'e'll live to regret it. Something tells me 'e thinks 'e is actin' boss of this company while Pizzazz is indisposed."
"I suppose he probably is." Stormer pursed her lips. "Unless Pizzazz has said anything to the contrary."

"Strikes me that she ain't said much at all, and we've not been allowed to see her to ask her since they woke her up." Roxy folded her arms. "And no, he might not have said those words exactly, but it was the gist of it. He was ordering us around and I told him what I thought of it."

"It must be something to do with the accident. I wonder if he's been to the hospital himself." Stormer gazed up at the big black music company. She shrugged. "Oh well. Come on, girls. Sooner we go in, sooner we find out."

She pushed open the door, leading the way into the lobby. Soon they were inside the main office, finding that Eric was already waiting for them, relaxing in the chair behind the desk. His expression was far from relaxed, however, and he grimaced in Roxy's direction as she banged the door shut.

"You don't need to slam it." He said reproachfully. "Sit, all of you."

"We're not dogs, Eric." Jetta objected, nevertheless obeying the command. "And just because Pizzazz is not 'ere it don't mean you can tell us what to do. This ain't your company now."

"Pizzazz's accident is entirely the reason I wanted to see you." Eric ignored Jetta's complaining, resting his hands on the desktop. "I've not been to the hospital to find out the details - but I have spoken at length with the insurance company on the phone. Apparently the policy this company has invested in you girls does not cover reckless drink driving."

"Pizzazz wasn't drunk." Jetta retorted. "The doctors said she was within the legal limit. You tell that to the insurance company."

"I did. Apparently they've heard of her driving and are still wary on paying out." Eric frowned. "On which matter I can't exactly blame them. But it does create a small financial crisis for the company until I can iron it out. I've tried to get a hold of her father, but no luck."

"I expect he's been at the hospital with his daughter, Eric." Stormer put in.

"Probably, but it's all a damned nusiance." Eric's eyes glittered with frustration. "Not that I mind having her out of my hair for a while, but the whole company is tied up in her name and I can't do a damn thing with it without her say-so. Now she's in some kind of critical state, that leaves us all in a mess. I've been onto the lawyers and they're gonna take up the insurance claim, so I hope it will be settled in a day or two. It will mean late paycheques, but that's the deal."

"So why drag us in here, then?" Roxy demanded. "We'll be paid. This company is richer than you are, and we'll be all right. What has your lack of control here to do with us?"

"Bloody sensible of Pizzazz if you ask me." Jetta added.

"I want one of you to take this to the hospital." Eric pushed a document across the desk. "I had my attorney write it up this morning. It's fairly straight forward, nothing funny. It just grants me the right to keep the company going in her absence, that's all."

"She'd be mad to sign anything you gave her." Roxy scooped the sheet up, squinting at it. "Looks like a load of messy jargon to me."

"Noone asked your opinion on it." Eric snapped, as the guitarist handed the paper to Stormer to read over.

"Why can't you take it yourself?" Jetta wondered.

"Im not entitled to see her." Eric replied. "You girls, I'm told, already have. One of you must be able to give it to her."

"Stormer?" Jetta cast her bandmate a quizzical look. Stormer set the paper down.

"It looks logical enough." She acknowledged. "It says quite clearly that Eric would gain control of certain parts of the company for the duration of Pizzazz's incapacitation only, and that she would still be able to veto anything he did, if she wanted to. All it does is free up what we're all locked out of, to enable Misfit Music to continue doing business."

"You mean to say that Eric's actually had something legal drafted up?" Jetta peered over her companion's shoulder, then at Eric. "Did you know that or was it coincidence?"

"It's all perfectly legal." Eric said stiffly. "And since Stormer apparently is your new legal adviser, and has passed it, will one of you take it to the hospital for Pizzazz to read and sign? That is, if you want this company to go on running while she's sick?"

"I'll take it." Jetta sighed, taking the sheet and folding it, slipping it into her pocket. "I'm goin' this afternoon anyway."

She rolled her eyes. "That stupid doctor collared me to make sure that I came in to prove I ain't sufferin' any delayed reaction to the accident. I figured I'd see Pizzazz in the meantime, so long as I'm able." Her grey eyes took on a thoughtful look. "I'd like to discuss this with 'er before she signs it, anyway."

"Fine. Just so long as she does." Eric responded. "Now shoo, the lot of you. I have plenty to do and an insurance claim to chase up. Go on!"

"Do you really think it's up front and legit, Stormer?" Roxy asked, as the three girls left the office. Stormer shrugged.

"It looks that way." She agreed. "I mean, the document itself doesn't really attack Pizzazz's power over the music company or her control. It just allows Eric to keep it going in her absence. And as chief exec, that is what he should be doing. I admit he probably took the trouble of doing it to secure his own position while everything is uncertain, but it certainly looks all right. No hidden clauses about money or anything. I think it's on the level."

"Then I wonder what he's planning." Jetta frowned. "There must be somethin'."

She sighed. "Well, I'll go see Pizzazz an' talk it over with 'er, if I'm able." She said at length. "About time one of us saw what state she was in, after all. Sooner she's 'ome, the less time Eric will 'ave for 'is games, anyway. Just because she can't sing don't mean she won't be able to run 'er company!"


"You know, you're definitely making progress."

Alan looped his stethoscope around his neck, casting his patient a grin. "Though that's the third nurse you've had in tears can you cut it out? We only have so many nurses up here and I don't want all of them too terrified to bring you your medicine when it's time."

"I'm bored." Pizzazz glared at him, flexing her fingers idly to examine chipped nail polish. "You won't let me do any fun things. My nails are wrecked and you won't let me file them or paint them or anything. My hair is all over the place, and you won't let me brush it - some stupid nurse has to come do it if I want it brushed! You won't let me do anything!"

"I thought we'd come to an agreement about that." Alan said lightly. "Besides, it's doing you good, to get some rest. You showbiz types sleep altogether too little and party way too much. Think of this as your rest cure. It's not doing you any harm."

"Rest cure? Bah. Can you die of boredom?" Pizzazz managed to inject some cynicism into the hoarse whisper that passed for her voice at present, folding her arms gingerly across her chest. "Because if so I'm probably well on the way there."

Alan laughed.

"Nonsense. You should just talk less and sleep more." He told her matter-of-factly. "And if you don't behave, I'll sedate you and put you back on the ventilator."
He paused, then, "You know what that will mean."

"No way!" Pizzazz's eyes widened in alarm. "I can make my own trips to the bathroom, thank you very much! You keep your gadgets away from me!"

"Well, then you shut up and do as I tell you." Alan was immovable. "Besides, you have a visitor waiting outside. I'll only let her in if you promise not to put too much stress on that lung of yours. Talking is a complicated business and I want to make sure you heal."

"Fine." Pizzazz grimaced. "A visitor? What kind of a visitor?"

"The young lady who was in the car with you. Miss Burns?" Alan pursed his lips. "Dark hair. English accent."

"Okay. I guess she won't bore me to death." Pizzazz rolled her eyes. "Send her in, okay?"

"Yes, your ladyship." Alan's eyes twinkled with amusement, but he withdrew from the little room. A moment later, the door opened once more, this time to admit Jetta, her dark hair in a ponytail. She cast her bandmate a slight smile, dropping down into an empty chair.

"They put you together then." She observed flippantly.

"Yes, more or less." Pizzazz glowered. "The doctor is full of himself and keeps telling me what to do. I hate him, but Daddy won't let me change him. Apparently he's some kind of God in this field or something. I dunno. His attitude sucks."

She eyed Jetta in some confusion.

"Why are you here, anyhow? Playing visitor aint your style."

"Well, I wanted to be sure that they weren't feeding us lies." Jetta said matter of factly. "And that you were out of danger. Besides, Eric sent me on an errand, too." She pulled a graphic face, slipping her hand into her pocket and producing the document. "He wants you to sign this. Stormer says it's legit but if you want my advice I'd send a message back that you ain't up to holding a pen."

Pizzazz took it, green eyes wary. Slowly she unfolded it, skimming over the contents. She frowned.

"What in hell is it?" She demanded.

"Should you even be talking? You sound bloody awful." Jetta eyed her friend doubtfully, then, "It's apparently somethin' to give 'im the right to run the company in your absence. Stormer reckons it don't threaten your control over the company. Me, I think Eric's plannin' something."

"Right now I could care less about Eric or the company. I ain't in much position to do anything about either." Pizzazz coughed, pausing to steady her breathing, and putting a hand to her chest. Jetta bit her lip.

"You ain't as okay as you look, are you?" She asked quietly. "I mean, you're gonna be 'ere a while, right?"

"I don't know." Pizzazz spoke in a cautious whisper. "That Alan Garcia doctor of mine won't commit himself to an answer." She frowned, then, "Gimme a pen, huh? I might as well sign this damn thing and get him off my back. If Stormer says it's legit, well, it probably is."

She coughed again, taking the pen that Jetta reluctantly offered her and looping her signature across the sheet of paper, handing both back.

"I'll give it 'im later." she said. "And I'll be keepin' me eye on 'im too. Don't worry about that."

She hesitated, then, "What 'as Dr Garcia said, then?"

"Not much." Pizzazz shook her head. "I broke ribs and tore my l...lung. He says if I ever wanna sing again I gotta do as he says and be patient. It sucks. I'm so bored I could scream, only I can't because my breathing goes into spasm. I can't even yell at anyone or throw a fit! It's so goddamn awful!"

"If you ask me, I'd do as 'e says. The bloke bloody well saved your life." Jetta told her darkly. "I saw you after the accident an' it wasn't pretty. I thought you were gonna die there an' then and if it 'adn't been for a good samaritan you would probably 'ave, too. I don't know what they did in surgery but I know it was a big deal operation. Do as 'e says, huh? Just so long as it takes you to get fit enough to get outta 'ere. We don't want Eric runnin' the Misfits company an' we don't want the Misfits goin' under without you."

"Listen to me. I can't sing." Pizzazz snapped. "I can barely talk!"

"I know, but if listenin' to that doctor will get you better faster, I'd do it." Jetta shrugged. "It ain't just your job on the line, you know."

"Is that all you came by to see me for? To tell me to get a move on because you guys have jobs to worry about?" Pizzazz only just kept a grip on her temper. Jetta eyed her for a moment, then she shook her head.

"No. I came because you gave me a bloody fright the other night an' I wanted to reassure meself that you weren't at death's door." She said quietly. "You're one of us, an' it matters. That's why I came. But the other stuff is important too."

Pizzazz pursed her lips. She sighed.

"Ain't much I can do about it." She said flatly. "Except wait."

She ran an idle finger over the edge of her thumbnail, frowning.

"Scuffed and he won't let me do anything to fix them." She said sadly. "The man's a neanderthal."

"Men don't understand nails." Despite herself, Jetta was amused at her companion's vanity. "I wouldn't worry. Noone's gonna see you while you're in 'ere. An' I'd be far more concerned about the shade of that nightgown with your complexion, if I were you."

"I know." Pizzazz glowered. "I made a nurse cry about that this morning. I'm demanding black. She said I c...can't have black, only dead bodies have black. I told her that she'd be looking for another job if she didn't c...cooperate with, and...." She trailed of, taking a deep breath. Jetta eyed her anxiously, and at length the singer shook her head.

"Can't do this." She murmured. "Need to stop talking. It's hurting chest."

"Well, shut up then." Jetta said bluntly. She glanced at her watch, then stood.

"I gotta cut outta 'ere anyhow. Visitin' ends at eight an' it's five to now." She said. "I'll make sure Eric gets the bit of paper tomorrow mornin', but if you ask me I still think signin' it was a big mistake. You give that guy an inch an' 'e will take a mile."

"Not signing it might mean the company collapsing." Pizzazz spoke cautiously. She shook her head. "Eric will behave. Else he'll regr..regret it."

"I told you once, shut up." Jetta reproached. "I'll send Stormer to see you tomorrow. She'll bore you to tears with whichever song she's got her mind on at the moment and that'll teach you to test your stitches. Me, I'm outta 'ere. I'm glad to see you're gettin' better, but 'ospitals really ain't my style."

With that she was gone, and Pizzazz grimaced wryly, settling herself more comfortably on her pillows. However, Jetta's visit, and the opportunity to gripe had left her in better spirits, and she closed her eyes, slipping into a sleep so deep she did not even notice when Alan poked his head around the door to check on his wilful patient. Finding her lost to the world, he gave an approving smile, softly closing her curtains, and then leaving.

After all, he mused, sleep was the best healer for her now.

"Obviously having company wore her out." He mused. "Oh well. If it gets her to follow my orders, so much to the better. I like a patient with the strength to rebel, but not if that costs her her recovery!"


Part One: Summer, 1989
Chapter One: Alone
Chapter Two: A Night Out
Chapter Three: Tragedy
Chapter Four: Aftermath
Chapter Five:  Alan Garcia

Chapter Six: Fire vs Fire
Chapter Seven: Eric

Chapter Eight: Ambition
Chapter Nine: Eric's Offer
Chapter Ten: Misfits To Arms