Who Is She, Anyway?
Chapter Three: Kimber's Proposition
"So what are we going to do for the next three
Jetta stretched out on the sofa, reaching for the television handset and lazily flicking through the channels. It was common practice for the Misfits to stick together, whatever they did, so there was good grounding for Jetta's use of the word 'we'. Once she had not felt so entirely one with the group as she did now, though she had never felt an outsider, but these days she knew it was where she belonged.
"I dunno." Roxy shrugged. "Quit flickin' channels, Jetta. You're making my eyes go funny."
"Lin-Z's on, anyway." Pizzazz observed from her chair.
"Do we wanna watch Lin-Z?" Jetta raised an eyebrow.
"Well, it might be fun." Pizzazz grinned a knowing grin. "Gimme that, Jetta." She snatched the handset from the sax player, flipping the channel to the Lin-Z Pearce show. "She's doing an exclusive on the Stingers' tour, and..."
"And you wanna fawn over Riot." Roxy pulled a face. "Sick, Pizzazz! Can't you just snap out of it?"
"I do not want to fawn over anyone!" Her expression angry. "Pizzazz tossed the handset at her bandmate but Roxy had lived with Pizzazz and her tantrums long enough now to know when to duck out of the way.
"So, what's the plan, then?" Jetta rested her chin in her hands as she shot the singer an expectant look.
"How about we go to the east coast ourselves and make a little Misfit mischief for Eric and his precious Stingers?" Pizzazz suggested.
"You wanna sabotage Riot? You?" Roxy looked startled. "Girl, you feelin' alright?"
"I want to wipe that smug grin off that creep Eric's face." Pizzazz replied darkly. "We'll show him which band he should be taking care of."
"But it's our vacation!" Roxy protested.
"Wimpin' out, Roxy?" Jetta asked. Roxy's eyes narrowed.
"No way." she retorted. "If we're going then I'm in."
"What about Stormer?" Jetta asked lazily. "She gonna come along too?"
"Who cares?" Pizzazz rolled her eyes. "If she wants to be dull and stay home like a good girl to work then that's up to her." She grimaced. "Sometimes there's only so much I can take of li'l miss conscience anyway. She'd probably only put a damper on our fun."
"Stormer'd be game for mischief making too, Pizzazz." Roxy objected. Pizzazz snorted.
"Stormer? Mischief? Hardly." She glanced around her. "Hey, where is Stormer, anyway?"
"She went out. I think she needed manuscript." Roxy shrugged. "If you ask me she works too much."
"Yeah, but if she does the work we don't 'ave to." Jetta reminded her. "I'm in too, Pizzazz. A trip to the East Coast might make for an interestin' 'oliday."
"So long as someone doesn't get all doofy over Riot again." Roxy muttered. "Pizzazz scowled at her. Her feelings for Riot were something that she found it hard enough to comprehend herself and she hated being teased about it. Since the day they had net she had lost her heart to him, but having never been in love before she did not know how to handle these new emotions swirling inside of her and it had made her vulnerable and confused. She had almost cast the Misfits aside in her pursuit of him, but had turned back to her music in the end and the rest of the group had been more than willing to take back the girl Jetta had long since labelled their 'fearless leader'.
But deep down Pizzazz was as confused as ever, and so fiercely independant that confiding her doubts in anyone was not an option. She loathed Riot for humiliating and subjugating her, but she also loved him and when he was around she found it hard to maintain her composure. It had been this weakness which had disadvantaged the Misfits musically, and the rest of the band were well aware that things were not quite the same as they had been before. Though the balance of power had shifted and they were more of a team, they all knew that till Pizzazz got over Riot, the Misfits would stay in the wake of the Stingers' meteoric rise to fame.
The change in the singer had been particularly frustrating for Jetta. She and Pizzazz had been, in Misfit terms at least, fairly close from the moment they'd met, sharing the same manipulative desires for mischief and attention from the public eye. Now Pizzazz had let herself be weakened and in many ways it had made Jetta angry. Not so long ago, the two girls had rowed violently, for both possessed fiery and sarcastic tempers, and Jetta had almost left the band herself, but deep down the saxophonist was hoping for a return to form. She missed the old scheming, independant Pizzazz, though she would not perhaps have said so aloud, and the idea of sabotaging the Stingers appealed to her. So long, of course, as Roxy's prediction was wrong and that Pizzazz didn't let herself be humiliated once more. For someone who was used to always getting her own way, not being able to win Riot's affections away from her big rival Jem had made her more unpredictable than ever.
"Shut your face, Roxy, before I do it for you!" She warned now. "We're going to the East Coast...I just wanna know where they're starting off. Eric wouldn't tell me, the creep...but Lin-Z will."
"Makes sense." Jetta conceded. "Okay, so we'll watch Lin-Z. Then what? We take one of your Dad's jets out there?"
"That's the idea." Pizzazz agreed.
"Cool." Roxy decided. "I'd sure like to trash those Stingers, anyway. How dare they horn in on our music company? It's about time we got our own back!"
"For once, I 'ave to agree with Roxy." Jetta nodded. A smile crossed her face. "They won't know what 'it them!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Stormer glanced up from where she had been carefully selecting manuscript paper, casting her companion a surprised grin when she recognised who had called her name.
"Hi, Kimber. You on the same errand?" She asked.
"Yeah, you could say that." Kimber Benton, the Holograms' songwriter and one of Stormer's closest allies despite the fierce band rivalry dimpled. "I've been writing such a lot lately! I don't know when we're going to use it all, mind you. We've got so much outrageous material that we've not used, and we've not got an album due for a while yet."
"Same here." Stormer admitted. "I mean, I've almost all the material done for the new Misfit record, but I've a whole clutch of other stuff too. What I tend to call Non-Misfit stuff."
"Oh?" Kimber looked interested. Stormer pulled a face.
"What Pizzazz would call sappy." she replied dryly.
"Romantic songs?" Kimber was interested.
"Not so much." Stormer shook her head. "That's one topic I prefer to avoid if I can, it's such a screwed up one, especially with the whole Pizzazz and Riot trauma we have at the moment. But reflective stuff. I've written that way more and more since I came back to the band after our stint together. The other Misfits think I'm crazy, shutting myself away to write for hours, but I like it. It's a lot of fun."
"Stormer, anything is a lot of fun when compared to hanging out with the Misfits." Kimber grimaced. "Hey, you got plans now? How about we go hang out at Pete's and catch up on some news? It seems so long since we last spoke properly."
"Sure, why not?" Stormer nodded. "Let me just buy this. Then I can finish that song tonight."
"So you have a new Misfit record on the cards, then?" Kimber wondered. Stormer nodded.
"Yes. Well, kind of." She agreed as the two girls headed to the cash desk. "Eric's skipped across country to the East Coast with the Stingers and kind of left us hanging with nothing much to do. I'm kinda worried about what kind of stuff Pizzazz might have planned for us. She's even more unpredictable than usual at the moment."
"Well...I have an idea." Kimber said slowly. "It was what you said about the reflective stuff you've been writing...well, me too. And it occured to me, why don't we get together and see if we can do another record together? You could come back to Starlight Mansion with me now, we could talk it over...ooh, it'd be outrageous! Just like old times!"
"Gee, Kimber, I don't know." Stormer frowned.
"Look, you said you'd got surplus music, and you know I have too. We can pull something out of what we've got, I know we can!" Kimber grabbed Stormer by the hands. "C'mon, Stormer, you know you want to! We had so much fun last time, and Back2Back went platinum! People loved out sound!"
"Kimber, it takes more than three weeks to write, record, produce and promote an album." Stormer pointed out.
"So? We can make a start and who knows where it might lead? Aw, Stormer, please? Say yes? I've missed you since you went back to the Misfits, we hardly see each other!"
"You know I had to go back." Stormer responded quietly. Kimber shook her head.
"No, I don't. I still don't understand why you did." She replied. "You coulda been a Hologram, Stormer, why d'ya turn that down?"
"Because I'm not a Hologram." Stormer shrugged. "I loved working with you, Kimber, you know I did. And since she began dating my brother I guess I can say I'm getting closer to Aja. But I don't belong with your group. You grew up together, you have a special bond with each other...I'm not a part of that, and I never will be."
"Raya didn't grow up with us, and she fitted in just fine." Kimber pointed out.
"Raya isn't me." Stormer replied. "I just wouldn't fit in, Kimber. I had a lot of fun playing with you, but I'm a Misfit at heart. And..." she paused. "And I guess I feel I owe 'em something. I can't explain why I feel that way, but I do. I know it might sound crazed to you, but I like being a Misfit a lot of the time these days. It...well, it can be kinda fun."
"Well, each to their own." Kimber shrugged in her usual happy-go-lucky way. "Still doesn't settle whether you'll record another album with me."
"I know. I guess...maybe." Stormer looked thoughtful. "It might be kinda fun, now you bring it up. And I don't want to be wound up in whatever trouble Pizzazz is planning. I have a feeling she has something pretty big up her sleeve."
"Oh, outrageous!" Kimber exclaimed, flinging her arms around her friend. "Oh, we're gonna be so cool!"
"I didn't say yes, yet." Stormer reminded her with a laugh, disentangling herself from her friend's embrace. "I need to think it over. But... it would be kinda cool, wouldn't it?"
"You bet." Kimber agreed. "Please say yes, Stormer! I'll buy you ice cream if you do!"
"Bribing me now?" she teased. "Look, let me think it over, okay? I'll phone you later tonight and tell you my thoughts then."
"Okay." Kimber relented. "Guess that's good enough for now. Don't let Pizzazz bully you, okay?"
"I'll try." Stormer promised.
"Still up for ice cream? My treat."
"What do you think?" Stormer grinned. "Let's go!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Kimber asked you to do what?" Pizzazz put her hands on her
hips, her green eyes dark with anger.
"Record another album with her." Stormer repeated. "Since we...um...have nothing to do."
"The little witch! How dare she interfere with the Misfits like that?" Pizzazz exclaimed. "I hope you told her where to go!"
"Actually, I told her I'd think it through." Stormer owned.
"You'd rather spend time with that wimp than come to New York with us?" Roxy demanded. "You goin' soft, Stormer?"
"She's always been soft." Pizzazz glowered, her tone rich with contempt. "And now she's just proving it even more. What do you want to go work with the Holograms for, huh? You want to be one now?"
"Look, Stormer, if you're a Misfit then you'll come to New York and quit griping." Pizzazz interrupted. "You got that? I ain't messin' with you. You either come or you're out."
"You can't kick me out." Once upon a time Pizzazz's bullying tactics would have cowed her, but now Stormer stood her ground, her tone level despite her inner fear. "You don't have control of my contract now. Eric does. And there's nothing in my contract which says I can't record solo material so long as it doesn't interfere with the Misfit music we do. This isn't interfering."
Pizzazz let out a shriek of rage, grabbing Stormer by the shoulders.
"Listen to me, you little wimp, this is my band and I say what's what in it!" She snapped. "Now, you gonna stop all this Hologram nonsense and be a Misfit or what?"
"I am a Misfit, Pizzazz." Stormer met Pizzazz's gaze with an inward qualm. Her bandmate was furious. "I always have been. And...and if you kick me out then you'll have to write your own songs and music, because I'll take mine with me. Kimber's my friend and I enjoy working with her...it's not like we have a big Misfit tour planned anyway, and I'm not joining the Holograms! I don't want to be a Hologram and never have! It's just one record...that's all."
"Why you little..." Pizzazz's eyes narrowed with rage, but Jetta intervened at that moment, putting a hand on Pizzazz's shoulder.
"Pizzazz, leave it." She said quietly. "If Stormer wants to go off with Kimber, let 'er go. Don't get all bent outta shape over it, it ain't gonna get us anywhere. Besides, the kid's right. She 'as a contract and you can't change that."
As she spoke, she locked eyes with Stormer, and the younger girl understood all too clearly Jetta's message. Despite her distress over Pizzazz's reaction, she took some comfort in that look. It had meant 'don't leave', though Jetta would never break down her aloof facade to actually say the words, and it made Stormer feel better about her role as a Misfit. Jetta and Roxy wanted her, for Roxy had always been more or less on her side. She had never totally found common ground with Pizzazz, but with the other two rooting for her, she knew her position was safe.
After all, they were a team act these days, and on occasion the majority decision could sway even Pizzazz's most stubborn of tempers.
Jetta was the only one whom Pizzazz would permit to talk to her so frankly without snapping back a sharp retort, and so she let out a growl, sinking down into a chair.
"Oh, do what the hell you like." she muttered. "Like it matters. We're probably better off without you this time. The frame of mind you're in, you'd only screw up our fun anyway."
"So...you don't mind?"
"I said, do what you want. I don't care." Pizzazz snapped. Stormer bit her lip, glancing from Roxy to Jetta and then back to Pizzazz.
"Then I'll go call Kimber and tell her we're on." She said finally.
"Stormer, you ain't really gonna stay here?" Roxy looked startled. Stormer nodded her head slowly.
"Sure. Working with Kimber is fun and...well, I guess I could do with a break of my own." she admitted. "I'll see you guys later, huh?"
With that she was gone, the door swinging shut behind her. Roxy looked troubled for a moment, but said nothing, though inwardly she was wondering how she was going to manage three weeks alone with just Pizzazz and Jetta for company. Though she didn't dislike Pizzazz, she loathed Jetta, and the two of them together were a foreboding team.
"That girl has changed." Pizzazz was the first to break the silence. Jetta shrugged philosophically.
"If she wants it there ain't much we can do." she said. "In any case, the Misfits ain't much good without 'er, we all know that. You can't kick 'er out, Pizzazz."
"I know." Pizzazz muttered. "And I hate it. Simpering little creep...she calls herself a Misfit?"
"Well, she is one." Roxy put in. "And she ain't as wet as she was when we first met her, Pizzazz. You remember that first time we met you in Eric's office? She was so scared she could barely talk! And you shoulda seen some of the stuff she was wearin' before I fixed her wardrobe for her!"
"True." Pizzazz grimaced, and there was a sulky note in her voice. "I liked her better when she did as I told her. Still, who needs her anyway? We'll go to New York and have a great time and...and then she'll be sorry!"
(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)