Chapter Eight: Ambition

"So what's the deal? How is she? Is she in one piece?"

As Jetta let herself back into the Gabor Mansion, she found Stormer waiting for her, an anxious look on her clever face. "Is what the doctors told us true - that she's out of danger?"

"Well, probably." Jetta rolled her eyes. "She were bitchin' about the colour of her nightgown an' her chipped nails with me, so I'd say so. She ain't strong though, Stormer. She can barely talk, let alone screech. I guess she's gonna be in there a while - like we were afraid she would be."

"Did she sign Eric's piece of paper?"

"Yes." Jetta nodded. "I'm in two minds as to whether I should give it 'im, though. To be honest, even if it looks legit, I don't trust that guy."

"None of us do, but we haven't much choice." Stormer sighed, rubbing her temples. "When Pizzazz is here, she leaves most of the day to day running to Eric and he gets her clearance on important things but does most of the menial stuff. We all know that. If Pizzazz isn't there to sign the paperwork, things will grind to a halt. We already know Eric's having trouble with our insurance people. If he can't get at the company's assets then he can't keep it going. In our absence, the Stingers are probably it's biggest name act. If Eric can't promote them the company is in trouble and Riot will kick up a fuss. We have to go along with him. If she signed it, we shouldn't interfere."

"I don't understand why you think it's any safer if 'e 'as control, but all right." Jetta sighed, nodding her head. "I told 'er I'd give it 'im tomorrow an' I will. I suppose you 'ave a point about logistics. Pizzazz is so goddamn paranoid she won't let anyone else 'andle things like that on a normal basis anyway. If she 'ad some kind of safeguard then one of us would be able to trot in an' 'andle it all an' Eric wouldn't need to be given access to important things like money...which is what this will mean."

"Eric is chief exec. If she doesn't trust him, she shouldn't employ him." Stormer laid a gentle hand on Jetta's shoulder. "Perhaps we can give him the benefit of the doubt, anyhow. He's been caught and punished for that business once, when Pizzazz took back the company. I don't think he'd risk doing it again when he'd have to face the wrath of the Gabor clan if he was rumbled. Doing it when the company was half his was one thing...this is different."

"Yes, I suppose you're right." Jetta shrugged, tossing her jacket onto the newel post and pushing open the door to the lounge, leading the way inside. "Roxy home?"

"No, she went out about a half hour ago." Stormer shook her head. "She took her bike out to test it's new gearbox or...or something."

"If she ain't careful Pizzazz won't be the only Misfit in intensive care." Jetta said acidly. Stormer shook her head.

"Roxy knows what she's doing." She replied. "Besides...and this isn't meant as bitching, but it takes Pizzazz to get behind the wheel when she's had a couple of drinks, whether she's sober or not. Roxy's got more sense."

"Well, if she 'as, love, it's the only area she does 'ave it." Jetta grimaced. "I'll take your word for it."

She dropped down onto the sofa.

"I'm beat." She admitted. "It seems like a long day, even though I ain't done much really. Not compared to a normal workin' day."

"It's the uncertainty and worrying about Pizzazz." Stormer responded. "I feel it too." She stifled a yawn. "I've been up since four. I couldn't sleep."

"I told her you'd go see 'er tomorrow." Jetta cast her companion a wry smile. "Go bore 'er with your new composition an' don't let 'er do much talkin'. Her chest aint up to it."

"I'll try, but Jetta, getting Pizzazz not to talk is like trying to tell the rain not to fall." Stormer settled herself comfortably in the big corner armchair. "I would like to see her, though. Just to settle for myself how she is. I can't get the way that doctor described her injury out of my head."

Before Jetta could reply, there was a knock at the door, sharp and impatient, and the two girls exchanged looks of confusion.

"Roxy?" Jetta suggested. Stormer shook her head.

"Too early, and besides, she has a key." She replied. "Maybe it's press."

"If it is, I'll tell them where to go." Jetta grimaced, getting to her feet and stalking out into the hall, unlocking the door and pulling it open with very bad grace. Her expression darkened as she registered the identity of their visitor.

"Riot." She muttered. "What are you doin' 'ere? Come to gloat about the Misfits' misfortune, or are your group doin' so badly these days that you've taken up door to door beggin'?"

"Neither, actually." Riot pushed his way past her and into the house. "I wanted to speak to Harvey Gabor. Is he here?"

"'Is daughter is at the hospital. He's not been far away from it since the accident. He's gone between there an' 'is office an' skipped this place completely." Jetta said matter-of-factly. "So you'd better get lost, 'adn't you? It's just Stormer an' me 'ere now."

"Well, you'll have to do." Riot seemed in no mood to leave. "You have sway with Pizzazz, don't you?"

"Depends what you mean by sway. I talk to 'er, yes, and sometimes she listens." Jetta barred the entrance to the living room, folding her arms across her chest. "You ain't welcome 'ere, you should know that."

"Pizzazz isn't here to give those kinds of orders, and you and that mouse Stormer are just tenants." Riot told her coolly. "So don't try threatening me. It won't work."

"I 'eard that that mouse 'ad given you a whack in the gob once, for your lip." Jetta returned, eying him with an equally cold glare. "So Pizzazz 'as said."

Anger crossed Riot's face and he pushed her aside once more, opening the door to the living room and sauntering inside. Stormer let out a startled gasp as she registered the visitor, a frown touching her expression.

"What are you doing here?" She exclaimed.

"I came to talk to Harvey, but you girls will do." Riot took a seat, ignoring the venomous glower Jetta was sending him from the doorway for his unchivalrous behaviour. "Since Pizzazz is - as I understand it - at death's door, or at least incapacitated for the next few weeks, I need to know what's going on with the company. Most specifically, who has the reins. I know that Pizzazz keeps all of the money and whatever as her personal power-trip, but surely if she's laid up, someone has to keep this place running."

"I was under the impression that Eric was Pizzazz's choice of chief executive, Riot." Jetta said innocently. "Why would you suppose that the company would be in any bother?"

"Because Eric is a slimy conman who will ruin all of us before she steps out of the hospital, if we let him take control. I know from my own bitter experience running this place." Riot said darkly. "I want someone to talk to Pizzazz and convince her that it would be the best idea to let me have control of the company while she is unwell. I have experience - I took part in the running of the place back when I had shares in it, before the unfortunate business with Minx's paperwork, and I think you'll agree that I am less likely to sponge off the profits than Eric is. I hoped to put my case to Harvey, since he seems to be the one in overall control, but since you girls have been granted dispensation to visit her..."

"You thought that one of us would go and put your case to her?" Stormer stared at him. "Why should we? What have you ever done for the Misfits, except take the company away from us, humiliate us and hurt Pizzazz? Why should we support you?"

"Stormer's right." Jetta nodded. "You ain't done anything for us. Why should we flock to you as our temporary leader? Do you not think that we girls are capable of puttin' our 'eads together an' managin' this place ourselves if need be? Or do you think that it needs a man to be at the 'ead of affairs? Is that it?"

"Nothing of the sort. I merely wish to protect my interests - and subsequently those of the Misfits, too - from Eric's machinations." Riot said smoothly. "You know he's stolen from this company before. Do you want him in a position to do so again?"

"It isn't our choice to make. It's Pizzazz's." Stormer shook her head slowly. "She already granted Eric the rights you're looking for, Riot. And even if I did want to press your case with her - which I don't, because you quite honestly make me sick - I couldn't overturn what had already been signed. You're too late."

Riot's eyes narrowed.

"There hasn't been time." He said quietly. "I know Eric called you all into some confab this morning, but..."

"I took the paperwork to the 'ospital this afternoon." Jetta interrupted him. "Look, Riot, I agree with you about one thing. I think Eric is a liar, a cheat, a swindler an' a few other things besides. I wouldn't trust my company in 'is 'ands neither. But it ain't my company, it's Pizzazz's. An' she seems to think that 'e's tied up enough in this company now not to screw it over. She reckons 'e wouldn't dare tangle with the Gabor influence an' she might be right. It's an 'ell of a thing to come up against."
She frowned. "I don't know whether you'd be a better alternative, either. I think not. You've 'ad your way with this company before, an' we did no good out of it. This is a Misfit company...and Eric might be a loser but 'e makes a good lackey if you put the fear of God into 'im. He can be manipulated."

"Meaning I can't?" Riot raised an eyebrow. "Isn't that a good thing?"

"Not from where we stand." Jetta shook her head grimly. "I'm not 'appy with 'ow things are, Riot, but I'm not sufficiently unhappy to betray my conscience an' put your case."

"Besides, Pizzazz is hurt. She could have died." Stormer added. "And you and Eric only seem to care about fighting out who has control of her company while she's ill, like a pair of vultures. I think it's horrible."

"It's not horrible, Stormer, it's survival." Riot was impatient. "Though if she's already signed the place into ruin by giving Raymond control, I can see I'll have to practice damage limitation and see what I can do for my girls."

He got to his feet, moving towards the door, then he paused.

"You will regret this." He said softly. "I know you will."

"Was that a threat?" Jetta raised an eyebrow. Riot shook his head.

"No, it was a warning." He responded. "I don't know what it is, but Eric's up to something. You can just tell."

"We're watching him." Stormer replied. "And if you don't have any proof that he's causing trouble..."

"I don't need proof. I know Eric." Riot said darkly. "But fine. If that's how you want it, I see I wasted my time. I won't waste any more of it in this place."

With that he was gone, and shortly the girls heard the front door banging shut behind him. They exchanged grimaces.

"Caught between two evils." Jetta was the first to break the silence. "Riot or Eric. God. Could you imagine lettin' Riot 'ave 'is way?"

"I don't think Pizzazz has forgotten the way he treated her yet. His chances would not have been good even if we had been on his side." Stormer pursed her lips. "I won't mention this to her tomorrow, though. If she's as fragile as you say, I don't want to make her angry."

"No, don't. She's under orders of bein' kept quiet, otherwise 'er breathin' goes into spasm or something." Jetta remembered. "Better she don't know about Riot's visit till she's stronger. It don't matter, anyway. She's signed Eric's bit of paper, and to be honest, I don't think that 'avin' Riot would make life any better than 'avin' Eric."
"Me neither." Stormer looked pensive. "I don't think Riot would embezzle, but he would do plenty of other unpleasant things to block the Misfits out of things. We've been there before. Besides, if Roxy had been here, she'd have rearranged his jaw for him. She'd never have forgiven us if we'd agreed to back him without asking her. These kinds of things we have to do as a team."

"It's a shame she wasn't. 'E deserves a smack." Jetta pulled her thick hair back from her face, letting it fall back down over her shoulders. "What got to me was the idea that we needed either 'im or Eric to run this place. As if mere girls couldn't possibly take hold of a business."

"It's a shame in a way that we can't." Stormer murmured. "But we don't have the right training, the right skills...the right experience. You're right, though. It was chauvenistic and that's not an attractive characteristic."

"You were downright rude to him." Jetta looked amused. "I like it when you're rude. It;s unusual."

"Well, he doesn't deserve any better." Stormer looked obstinate. "Pizzazz is very sick, and all he cares about is himself and his job."

"We've been pretty fussed on the job front too." Jetta reminded her. Stormer nodded.

"Yes, but we do actually give a damn about Pizzazz as well." She pointed out.

"We wouldn't be much good as Misfits if we didn't." Jetta said flippantly. She glanced at her watch. "I'm gonna call Justin, see if 'e wants to catch a late movie or something." She decided. "I could use somethin' frivolous after the day I've 'ad. Don't wait up, huh? I might crash at 'is, all things bein' equal."

"All right, Jetta. Have fun, huh?" Stormer smiled. "I'm probably gonna head to bed soon anyhow. Read or something. Take advantage of some peace and quiet and see if I can't sleep."

"I'll see you, then." Jetta nodded. She rolled her eyes. "And let's 'ope tomorrow is less crazy, huh? I've 'ad about as much as I can take of blatant male ambition!"


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