"Oh my God..."
Phyllis Gabor stepped out of the taxi, absently paying the driver as she
gazed with some horror and dismay at the chaos that lay before her. It was
the same evening, and, though darkness had not yet fallen, it was late. The
crowds of people had long since dispersed, some home, some to hospital, and
there was an eerie silence to the building. Sharp-eyed, Phyllis quickly picked
up on the charring and smoke marks around various of the windows and muttered
an inward curse.
"I should have prevented this." She murmured, making her way slowly to
the main doors and hesitating, unsure as to whether she should go inside.
Large areas of the building were roped off, and she knew that the local police
department would be called in to investigate the fire's causes...she had
no mind to implicate herself in the drama that was to unfold. Misfit Music
was her lifeblood, and she hated to see it in such disarray.
As yet Phyllis was unaware of her friend's fate. Though Copper and Topaz
had both tried her phone it had been to no avail, for the reception during
her journey home had been poor, and she had ordered the driver to take her
straight to the company, so had not yet been home. For a moment she just
stood there, and as she did so a sense of pure rage took over.
"How dare they!" She exclaimed, clencing her fists in anger. "Oooh,
if I ever get my hands on the scrawny wretch who did this..."
A voice startled her and she swung round, meeting the grave violet gaze
of Cynthia Benton. With everything at Starlight Mansion in such chaos, and
with her friends so preoccupied with the situation, Cynthia had, once she
had understood the true horror of what had happened, elected to wait for
her employer at the building itself. Rightly assuming that Misfit Music would
be Phyllis' first port of call, the hologram had steeled herself to break
the news before the police and the press got involved.
"What in hell happened?" Phyllis demanded now. Cynthia frowned.
"Noone is quite sure as yet." She said quietly. "A fire seems to have
begun somewhere on a lower floor or in the elevator shaft, I do not know
where. Many are saying it was an electrical failing. The alarms did not
go off as they should and it meant it took longer for things to be gotten
Phyllis muttered a curse, then, "How bad is it in there?"
"I have not seen for myself. Today was my day off work." Cynthia admitted.
"I only know what the others have told me. Miss Gabor..." She hesitated,
then, "There is more than just material damage at stake here. People...were
hurt, too. Some...some badly so."
"People?" Phyllis looked confused. Then she blanched. "Jetta?"
Cynthia did not respond right away, and Phyllis knew she was right. She
grabbed the hologram firmly by the shoulders.
"Where is she?"
"They took her to the nearest hospital. According to my information, that's
Baptist Hospital, on third."
"And?" Phyllis was fast losing patience. "For heaven's sake, Cynthia,
tell me! Dammit, what's wrong with her?"
Cynthia took a moment to consider the best way to word her reply, then
"There is no good way to say it." She said, resignedly. "Miss Gabor, as
I understand it when she was pulled from the building her heart had stopped.
Ms Martescu got it to beat again, but she is in a very delicate condition
and nobody is quite sure of her prospects. I fear the prognosis is not a
positive one. It appears she has inhaled much smoke and it is unclear whether
or not she has suffered brain damage from the lack of oxygen."
Phyllis fell silent, digesting this. Her shock was clear from the look
in her sharp green eyes, but somehow she maintained her composure, turning
back to stare at the building. Her eyes narrowed.
"If she dies, someone will pay big time for it." She muttered, more to
herself than anything. Cynthia, understanding better than many the productive
partnership and friendship that Jetta and Phyllis had long ago forged, remained
silent. It was not for her to intrude.
For a moment or two, Phyllis was lost in her own thoughts, then she seemed
to rouse herself.
"Baptist?" She demanded. "That what you said?"
"Yes, I believe so." Cynthia agreed. "But it seems most likely to me that
only family will be permitted to see her."
"Hell, does Nancy know?"
"Nancy and Aaron were working when it broke out. Justin came as a result
of your call, at least that is what Copper told me." Cynthia responded. "Nancy
is at home, though. She is very upset, and in no state to go to the hospital."
"Family or not, I'm going to see what can be done about this." She decided.
"I know Jetta's insurance is up to date, but it might be that a little financial
pressure can help somehow...not much else I can damn well do. Dammit, why
did this have to happen now?"
"How is she?"
Sylva sent Copper an anxious look as the redhead left Nancy's bedroom,
her own expression grave. Sylva and Nancy were well known sparring partners,
but in a circumstance as serious as this, Sylva's sympathy and support were
entirely with the youngest Jewel.
Copper met Sylva's gaze with a troubled frown.
"Not so good. She's cried herself to sleep, poor kid." She said, muting
her tones so as not to disturb her friend. "I don't think it's any comfort
at all to her right now to know what a big thing your mother did, Syl...not
when everyone keeps saying that Jetta will probably die anyhow. Is Aaron
"No, he went to join Justin at the hospital." Sylva shook her head. "Since
we were looking after Nancy. This whole thing sucks, Copper. Who could hate
Misfit Music enough to set it on fire?"
"You think it was on purpose?" Copper looked startled.
"Yes." Sylva nodded. "Aaron thought so too - remember his remarks about
the other night's sabotage attempts? Seems more than likely now that the
things done to us were meant as a cover for the real plan, if only we'd seen
"Yeah, well, deliberate or accidental, the result is still the same."
Copper sighed. "I promised Nancy that if there was any news I'd tell her
right away, but I'm dreading it being the wrong kind of news. I know how
she's feeling, Syl. I've been there."
Sylva hugged her friend tightly.
"I know." She murmured. "It just totally sucks, like I said. Do you think
Nancy will be all right up here on her own?"
"Mm, well, I hope so." Copper looked slightly guilty, then, "Don't tell
anyone, Syl, but I slipped something into the drink I gave her, to make
her sleepy. It's not gonna do her any harm, just that herbal stuff Sadie
got from that place in town when she wasn't sleeping properly, and I figured
Nance needed something...she was getting herself in such a mess. I think
she'll sleep for a while now, and I've left my phone up there with her so
she can beep my pager when she wakes up - her own has a flat battery. I don't
want her on her own whilst she's awake, but I need a break and so does she."
"I won't tell." Sylva promised.
"Is Sadie still thinking this was her fault?"
"I don't know. I think Topaz has more or less talked sense into her, but
she's still kinda quiet." Sylva replied. "Hollie's down for the time being
and hopefully she'll sleep a while too - oh, and Cynthia went to Misfit Music
in the hope of catching Phyllis before the tabloids stick their claws in."
She let out a gusty sigh. "Everything's every which way right at the moment.
I don't like it. Hell, I like Jetta!"
"I think we all do." Copper agreed gravely, leading the way downstairs
and into the main lounge, where Topaz and Sadie were already seated. "And
even if we didn't, I don't think any of us would wish this to happen to her."
"Do you think she has a chance of making it?" Sadie asked at that moment.
Copper shrugged, sitting down.
"Couldn't say. I'm not a psychic, and Cynnie putting it all into cold
hard percentages didn't much help, considering that none of her statistics
came out in Jetta's favour."
"It doesn't look good." Topaz admitted. "Look, guys, I vote we don't sit
around and talk like this if we can help it. I know Nancy's not with us right
now, but it does her no good if we're pessimistic all the time. I say we
try and find any positives we can, no matter how tiny, and try and keep the
mood up. Jetta isn't dead yet, and she might yet scrape through. Where there's
life there's hope, right?"
"Topaz is right." Sylva nodded.
"But how many positives are there to find?" Sadie demanded.
"She could already be dead, but she isn't, thanks to Syl's Mom." Copper
pointed out. "And that's a big positive, Sadie. She has a chance, at least."
"True." Sadie sighed. "Well, ok. I guess we can try, huh? And if the worst
happens, we'll just have to be there for Nancy as best we can."
"This is the biggest test for Jewel yet." Copper said sadly. "And
I've a feeling it's only just beginning."