Chapter One: Back In The Spotlight
"Good evening Los Angeles!"

Phyllis Gabor stared out at the milling crowds of cheering fans, a glow in her heart as she registered their attention. "We're gonna rock you tonight! The press seem to think that I can't sing any more - well, I'm damn well here to prove them wrong! It takes more than a little car accident to wreck the Misfits - hit it, girls!"

From the wings, a man in a brown suit watched the performance, a thoughtful expression on his face. Phyllis, or Pizzazz, as she was known, had taken matters wholly into her own hands a week before, declaring herself fit and well and no longer in need of the medical fussing of one Alan Garcia, a specialist who had saved her life after the nasty accident she had sustained during the summer months. She had decided that the Misfits should put on a concert to prove that she was fully recovered and as dynamic as ever, and so, at the end of October here they were, playing to sell-out crowds in Los Angeles' biggest arena.

For Eric Raymond, things should have been rosy.

"Profits from this show will be huge." He murmured, moving further backstage and taking a seat, running things over in his mind. "With the Misfits performing like this and the Stingers starting to plan their tour of Australia, the company's never been doing so well. Dammit, if only her coming back to fitness didn't mean her resuming control of all that profit money! Two more weeks and I'd have secured everything...the company finances would have been within my grasp and I would've netted the deal of the century with those sponsors. Would've made me a rich man! But she had to take it upon herself to decide she's better and now I have to hand back full control of things to her."

He clenched his fists, then unclenched them, thinking over his dilemma.

"The stakes are too high for me to let go." He decided at length. "I'll just have to see if I can't keep control a while longer, persuade her everything is in hand and that she needn't worry about the business side of things. Math never has been her strong point. She needn't know that the deal I'm cutting is more beneficial to me than it is to the company...or that if I'm successful in transferring all the information I need, that I'm gonna be cutting a nice percentage out of the profit. Working with the Misfits - that's definitely enough to justify it!"

He peered back out at the stage, as the group launched into their third song. The public loved her, he knew that, but they also treated her with a fearful kind of respect.

"She's a performer, that's for sure." He mused. "But at what cost? Since Harvey bought back this company and gave control over to her, I've been little more than a puppet doing as she's instructed. She has no idea what she's doing and this place is doomed, anyhow. What's wrong with making sure I've a little pension fund of my own stashed away, in case of emergencies? There's only so much luck that woman can have before her inexperience and ineptitude sends this company bottom up. I need to secure my future now...however I have to do it."

He frowned.

"Just two more weeks. That's all I need. Keep her attention off the accounts and everything will be just fine. Come on, Eric. You've solved harder problems than that before. You have the keys to the place in your grasp. Just two weeks...surely you can manage that?"

"We were buzzing out there tonight."

Roxanne Pelligrini tossed her plectrum up in the air, catching it and slipping it into the pocket of her jacket with a triumphant grin. "That was one hell of a show - that's what we should be doing, I'm telling you! Did you see the crowd? We were awesome!"

"The Misfits are always awesome." Pizzazz shrugged her shoulders, tossing a stray lock of hair casually over her shoulder. "I told you I was up for tonight. I'm no wimp. I heal. My body heals. I'm raring to go and I'm sick of playing invalid. I'm fine and tonight has damn proved it."

She clenched her fists.

"And shown that stupid Alan Garcia what I think of his 'two more weeks of convalescence would be wise', too!" She added bitterly.
"I thought you and he had come to some kind of truce." Mary Phillips or "Stormer", the band's synth player cast the singer a frown. "Didn't you invite him to come see us play tonight?"

"I did, but only because I wanted to show him how wrong he was about my recovery." Pizzazz snapped. "He might be a doctor but he thinks he knows damn everything. I cooperated with him as long as I had to, that's all. Now I know I'm all right, I don't need him and I don't care if I never see him again. I'm back where I belong, in the limelight - he can keep his convalescence."

"Had nothin' to do with the fact 'e refused to come tonight because 'e 'ad plans with 'is wife, did it?" The final member of the quartette, Sheila "Jetta" Burns suggested quietly.

"His wife? What should that have to do with anything!" Pizzazz flared up at this, casting her companion an angry scowl. "If he'd rather play good little husband than come hear good music, then that's his business! I told you, I only invited him tonight so he could see for himself that I was better. If he didn't come, it just proves that he knows I was right and that's all there is to be said about it. Enough about him, anyway. Tonight's about me...and you girls know it!"

With that she stalked off in the direction of the dressing room, leaving her companions exchanging looks
"Ten bucks says she struck out." Roxy was the first to break the silence. Stormer shook her head.

"We're not taking bets on her, Roxy." She said slowly. "I mean, maybe she did like Dr Garcia, or maybe she didn't. But he's a married man and that's all there is to it. She's sensible enough not to go chasing after him and we have our singer back. That's what's more important, surely? The Misfits are back on form!"
"I'm with Roxy's ten bucks, though God only knows what she was expecting." Jetta grimaced. "Pizzazz seems to think she can 'ave any guy for the takin', and then there's Misfit Music. The car crash seems to 'ave warped 'er senses in that department. Do you realise that she's been out three nights out of four since she decided she was fit an' ready to perform?"

"That ain't unusual." Roxy pointed out. "Pizzazz is always out."

"Yeah. Socialisin'. But these ain't social calls." Jetta shook her head. "She 'ad one late night business meetin' that ran on till nine, which 'er father was also at, an' she went with 'im an' 'is corporate buddies for drinks after. That's somethin' she's never done before. Then last night she 'ad dinner with a short, fat, middle-aged, baldin' bore of a man from some company or other because she thinks 'e might invest in 'er business. That's also somethin' she ain't done before."

"Maybe the crash just shook her up enough to take an active interest in Misfit Music again. She has been out of the loop." Stormer suggested. "And it is her business." "She was probably putting on a show for Daddy." Roxy rolled her eyes. "Is it important?"

"Probably not." Jetta shrugged. "I also don't 'ave a clue where she was the third night. She came 'ome late, an' there was mud all over 'er boots. Her tights were wrecked because I found them in the bin the next mornin', and if you ask me she looked like she'd been on an 'ike. I tell you, I don't think she's quite 'erself at the moment."

"She was singing up a storm out there." Roxy gestured towards the stage. "You'd hardly know anything bust a hole in her lung. Besides, who cares where she goes at night? I go to bike rallies and whatever else and I damn well don't care what you think about it. Tisn't like she's causing the Misfits hassle, is it? We're back and as good as ever. That's what counts. Quit bein' a fuss-budget, Jetta. We've had enough of that to last us for the rest of our lives!"

"Roxy's right, Jetta. Pizzazz's life is her business." Stormer said quietly. "We have her back and it's no bad thing if she's getting back involved with the company. The alternative is Eric remaining in effective charge, and none of us want that."

"He's another thing that bothers me." Jetta admitted, leading the way down the corridor towards the dressing room. "I swear he' s up to somethin' but I can't prove it." "Eric is always up to something." Roxy said succinctly. "But he knows better than to screw us over these days. Come on. Forget it. We played a mean set and I wanna enjoy the adrenalin rush."

She pushed open the door of the dressing room, sinking into an empty chair and ferreting around for her hairbrush, idly swiping it through her thick platinum waves. Pizzazz was already there, her hair pulled back into a ponytail and her bag over her shoulder.

"You took your time." She observed. "Did you get lost on your way here?"

"We were talkin' about Eric an' what will 'appen at the company now you're back." Jetta said quietly, watching her friend's expression carefully. Pizzazz frowned.
"Eric knows his job." She said, confused. "It's in hand. I don't see why you're worrying about it. It's not like it's your problem."

"We were just talking idly." Stormer put in, before Jetta could respond. "You were great tonight, Pizzazz. It was a relief in a way. I mean we'd prepared for this concert and everything, but I didn't know until you got out there if you'd be up to it. I'm glad you were. They loved us."

"You should listen to me. I know my own body." Pizzazz told her curtly. "Well? Are you guys coming? The car's waiting out back."

"We're coming." Roxy nodded. "I'm starving and there's still time for munchies. Can we crash someplace on our way home and grab something to eat?"

"Sounds good to me." Pizzazz agreed. "Then it's settled, that's what we'll do. Come along, kiddies! We're gonna hit the town, Misfit style!" 

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

 It was late.

Pizzazz pushed open her bedroom window, staring out at the clear night sky. Wisps of cloud drifted across a full moon, and the noise of the midnight traffic seemed somehow far away. She sighed.

It had been good to be back on stage, back in front of the crowds, feeling their adoration. But when she had stepped out of the spotlight, something had changed. The buzz had remained, but somewhere in the back of her mind there had been something else - a strange, nagging sensation that she was alone.

She had searched the melee of people, her gaze resting on face after face, but he had not been there. And even though she knew that he wouldn't come, she had still been angry. After everything, he had let her down.

"Stupid doctors." She muttered, pulling herself up onto the windowsill and resting her head against the cool glass, allowing the gentle breeze to ripple through her hair. "What is it with him, anyway? So he saved my life, big deal. He was damn rude to me. And he was damn rude refusing my invitation tonight. Who does he think he is? I'm a Misfit. I'm Pizzazz. Nobody refuses me anything if they know what's good for them."

She bit her lip, frowning. He had not been unpleasant about it. He had told her, matter-of-factly, that his wife's family were staying and that they were going out for a meal that night. He had said that he knew she would put on a good show - that he had that much faith in his stitching abilities and that he was sure that she didn't need him there to prove to the world how much better she was. And despite the fact he had done so with a friendly grin and a playful wink, she was still angry at him.
It was a brave man who rejected Phyllis Gabor and survived.

Yet this was different somehow. Much as she hated his arrogance and his assumption that she was no better than any other patient, she had also grown to respect his ambition and his ability in his field, fixing what she knew had been a near-fatal injury, and restoring her to perfect health. He had also not been afraid of her, something which too had grudgingly brought out her respect. He had almost become a friend, and now she felt he had betrayed her.

"He never told me he was married." She muttered now, banging her fists on the glass. "Never! What is wrong with the man! Surely some boring evening with his in-laws can't compare to a Misfit concert? And besides, he has no idea what he is missing. I'm not called Pizzazz for just any old reason! Damn men! Why are they so hard to figure out!"

Reluctantly she admitted to herself that, somewhere inside her, she had found him attractive, and had raised herself to the challenge of bringing him down under her spell. She had failed, and yet it had troubled her all the more since she had realised he was married. Though ethics weren't usually her concern, she had always had a strict rule about married men. Mindful of the way her mother had left her father, she had sworn never to set her sights on someone who was already spoken for. Sharing was not her style.

She sighed again.

"At least the others don't know what I was after." She mused slowly. "Jetta might make silly comments but she doesn't know how close I came to making a fool of myself because of his stupidity in not telling me sooner. Still, I found out in time and he doesn't even know what I wanted from him. It was a wise idea to go checking out his place the other night, even if it did cost me a pair of good fishnets in the process. His wife might be an old hag but I'm well out of that messy situation, anyhow. He just thinks I wanted to prove a point - and so I did. So that's all right. He's a stupid arrogant man, like all the other men out there, and he can drop off the face of the earth for all I care. He's...he's like Riot...and Shawn, and every other guy who thinks he can push me around and treat me like garbage. So he saved my life - I'm grateful for that. But dammit, he's forgotten now. I don't need him, after all. I can have any man I want out there. Those fans tonight - God knows the guys at the show would give their life blood to even speak to me. I'm a star and I'll damn well prove it. Nobody rejects me. Nobody! I can have anyone and I damn well will!"

She slipped down off the sill, quietly closing the window and padding back to bed, sliding beneath the covers. Closing her eyes, she forced him from her thoughts. It was over now, her accident was behind her and she no longer needed his attention or care. She would move on, and he would be sorry he'd missed his chance. After repeating this to herself a few times, she fell into a deep, dreamless sleep, her confusion over Alan Garcia forgotten, at least for the time being.


Part Two: A Test Of Faith
Chapter One:  Back In The Spotlight
Chapter Two:  Eric's Deal
Chapter Three: Siren
Chapter Four: The Morning After
Chapter Five: Schemes

Chapter Six: Roxy Acts
Chapter Seven:  Cracks