Chapter Twelve: Settling the Past
"The big night."
Mary pulled her hairtie into her thick curly hair, sitting down in front of the mirror to perfect her makeup. "It's busy out there...I've got butterflies."
"You ain't gonna freak on us and flake, are you?" Roxy demanded, perching on the windowsill as she brushed her hair. "This is such a buzz...the Misfits, back together. Who'd have thought? We look hot, we sound hot, and we're gonna rule this crowd."
"I'm not gonna flake. I promise." Mary smiled. "I'm as into it as you are. Whoever would have thought that the best form of depression counselling for a Misfit divorcee would be playing a set in front of a huge hysterical crowd of people?"
"You're just back where you belong, that's all." Roxy shrugged. "You should never have gone to DC with that loser Elliot in the first place...this is where you should be."
"Well, I got Sylvie and Annie out of my marriage, so it wasn't a total loss." Mary laughed. "Okay, I'm as ready as I'll ever be. Where are Jetta and Pizzazz? They're taking forever!"
"We're 'ere." A voice came from the doorway, and the duo turned to greet their missing bandmembers. "We were jus' checkin' up on Jewel an' makin' sure they 'ad their clothes sorted. Those damn Stingers tried their best to sabotage 'em, but luckily for us Sylva knew a good seamstress an' it seems they ain't any the worse for wear."
"Stupid Stingers." Roxy snorted. "I hope we're gonna teach them a lesson."
"We did have it in mind." Phyllis agreed. "Listen. The Stingers seem to have forgotten who rules this city now in terms of music. Rebel Records is a nothing company next to Misfit Music...it's time we showed them as much, too. Jetta says we ought to get our own back on them, Misfit style...and she's right. We should."
A slow smile spread across Roxy's face.
"Works for me." She said. "What've you got in mind?"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"What in hell are you doing here?"
Oblivious to the plotting that had begun along the corridor, Rory and his Stingers had made their entrance at the venue. As they had done so, however, Rory had stopped dead in amazement as he locked eyes with Rebel Records' former employee, for he had had no idea that Sirena was also playing the concert.
"I thought you'd settled down to play nurse to your stupid brat!"
"I'm here to sing." Sirena eyed him coldly. "I don't know if you understand that term, Rory, but it's what we musicians do."
"Don't come that with me." Rory's blue eyes sparked angrily. "You're nothing without Rebel Records' backing and PR and you'll never be a success now. You've gone soft, you've proved to the world what a fake and a pretender you really are. You should stick with that worthless baby of yours...it's all you're good for now."
"You can't tell me what to do. You're not my father and you're not my boss." Sirena snapped back.
"Thank God I'm not." Rory's tone was scathing. "I wouldn't have you on my books now if you paid me. You're just a shadow of your mother and she wasn't much good to begin with...at least she had the guts to follow her career and get rid of you. You don't even have it in you to commit to your music and dump that useless no good son of yours with people who actually know what to do with him! Some star you turned out to be!"
"You shut your face!" With one fluid movement Sirena brought her hand sharply across Riot's face, her eyes sparking with fury. "Noone talks about me like that, and nobody disses my son. You got that?"
"Why, you little..." Rory looked almost angry enough to grab her and shake her there and then, but Sophie had seen the danger and she grabbed his arm, restraining him.
"Let her go. There are other stars...she is not worth our time or our anger." She murmured. Sirena sent Sophie a dark look.
"You're neither of you worth anything to me either." She said quietly. "And for your information, my mother and her band were twice the musicians you losers ever were...as you'll see tonight!"
With that she turned on her heel, stalking away down the corridor.
"So that is Pizzazz's daughter." Phoebe observed once she was gone. "What a charming young lady."
"Forget about her." Rory muttered. "She's irrelevant. Tonight we're Stingers...we'll show that jumped up brat and her stupid whore of a mother who the real stars are round here!"
Sirena meanwhile, anger still burning in her heart had run almost headlong into Kimber, nearly knocking the Hologram flying as she did so.
"Woah, where's the fire?" Kimber steadied herself, sending the young singer a grin. Then, as she recognised the other girl, a look of surprise flashed into her eyes.
"Kimber." Sirena's anger became discomfort as she met her former guardian's gentle gaze.
"I didn't know you were singing tonight."
"I wanted to. It's my job after all." Sirena spoke flatly. Kimber sighed.
"Emily, I wanted to apologise to you for something." She said softly. Sirena looked startled.
"Apologise? I...don't understand."
"When you left, you said that I'd not tried hard enough to find out who you really were." Kimber said quietly. "And at the time, I was angry at you for saying it. But...well, perhaps I was wrong. When Stormer told me the truth about your mother it startled me...it had never occured to me, but it made me think and I suppose, had I thought it through, I could have told you more. I was wrong not to give you the lead about your father, too." A haunted look touched her eyes. "I wanted to protect you from being hurt."
Sirena bit her lip.
"I ain't angry any more." She said slowly. "I can't be. No energy to be angry over what's long past now. I have Michael...he needs me, and whatever else growin' up taught me it was that no matter who she is, a kid needs a mother."
A look of pain flashed across Kimber's face at these words.
"I couldn't be the mother you needed." She acknowledged. "Because I never raised a child of my own. But I tried, Emily...believe me I did."
Sirena paused for a moment. Then she smiled slightly.
"You were good to me." She admitted. "And I know I was a brat. But I couldn't be any other way, not knowing what I needed to know. And maybe it's genetic too. I dunno. But since I had Mike, I guess I appreciate how much work you guys do put in at the Foundation, and, well, maybe I do have more to be grateful for than I thought. At least...at least you thought I was worth something."
"Of course." Kimber nodded her head. "Every child is that."
"Rory doesn't think so. He badmouthed Mike and I got mad at him." Sirena said ruefully.
"Rory Llewelyn is a coldhearted man at the best of times. He wouldn't understand even if you paid him to." Kimber shrugged. "He messed my sister's heart about enough times when she was younger, and I know she'd not be so insecure over Rio now if it hadn't been for Riot's interfering charms. He's not the reason Jerrica and I don't speak, but he sure didn't help things...I have no love for him or his Stingers."
"Count me in." Sirena nodded. "When I go back to work, I'm glad it'll be with a proper music company."
"Misfits Music is a big deal outfit these days." Kimber agreed. "And I'm glad things worked out for you in the end...then I feel I didn't totally fail, you know?"
"Guess we're calling a truce then, huh?" Sirena looked self-conscious.
"Sure. Why not?" She asked. "Hey, where is Michael tonight, anyhow?"
"With my Grandfather." Sirena replied. "Heaven only knows what I'll do once I'm back at work full time. Arranging this was hard enough."
Kimber looked at the musician and in an instant her generous heart made up her mind for her.
"Well, if you ever need it, the Foundation will happily babysit one of it's grandchildren for a few hours here and there." She said gently. "You're young, Emily, you have dreams and you need to achieve them, for Mike's sake and for your own. If you don't...you'll never be happy. And if I can help...if I can make amends even a tiny bit for what I should have done all those years ago...then I will."
"He can really come to you?" Sirena was touched. Kimber nodded her head.
"Yes, if you'll trust me with him." she agreed. Sirena smiled.
"Okay, it's a deal." She said with a nod. "Thanks, Kimber. You...ain't so bad, after all."
"Neither are you. We were just at crossed purposes." Kimber responded dryly. "But we have more in common than you think - remember I was a very small child when I lost my mother too."
"Jacqui Benton." Sirena nodded. "I remember." She glanced at her watch. "Oh God, I'm running late already...I have to run. But...but thanks. Mike and I...we'll be in touch."
And before Kimber could respond, the singer was gone.
A thoughtful look touched the redhead's face. The encounter with Sirena had only strengthened her determination to seek out the girl's mother, and settle a few old ghosts. She knocked on the door of the Misfits' dressing room, hoping that Phyllis would be there before she lost her nerve.
"But since tonight we're re-united as musicians, tonight we need to settle the past." She murmured to herself, as Stormer opened the door, casting her a smile.
"Hey, Stormer. I'm kinda looking to speak to Pizzazz a minute, if she can spare it." The Hologram said. Stormer looked startled.
"Sure...Pizzazz? It's Kimber, for you."
"Kimber?" Phyllis came to the door, staring at the Hologram as if she had gone mad. "What do you want? We've a bare hour before the show begins!"
"I know, but I didn't think we'd get another opportunity to talk, and I've been wanting to talk to you for a while now." Kimber responded, leading the way out onto the corridor and indicating for Phyllis to follow her. "There's an empty dressing room at the end...I hoped we could settle a few things tonight."
"Settle a few things?" Phyllis raised an eyebrow, following the Hologram nevertheless into the disused room, and shutting the door. "Well, you better make it quick...we have things to do, you know, before the curtain goes up."
"I wanted to talk to you about Emily." Kimber said softly. Immediately Phyllis' expression became guarded.
"What about her?" She asked suspiciously.
"You told us she was abandoned at your place." Kimber spread her hands. "But she never was...she was yours all the time."
"So?" Phyllis folded her arms, clearly on the defensive. "That was a long time ago, Kimber. What has it to do with now?"
"More than you might think." Kimber looked troubled. "We were never friends, Pizzazz...not even indifferent acquaintances. I hated you and you loathed me...is that still true?"
"I don't care much either way. That's the past too." Phyllis snapped, perching on the arm of a chair. "Get to the point, will you?"
"A while ago I found something out, regarding a...member of my family." She said slowly. "And to be honest, Pizzazz, it left me in a horrible dilemma. You're the only person who might just understand the situation...I need to know what to do. It's in the past...but then again, it's now as well."
"You lost me. Speak English." Phyllis retorted. "And speak it faster, will you? I don't get you."
"Do you swear blind not to tell a living soul what I'm about to say?" Kimber asked softly. "Please, Pizzazz, will you swear? Someone could get hurt if you don't...someone could get upset and feel that...that something's been betrayed and I can't let that happen. Only I need advice so badly and I can't go to Jerrica."
Phyllis opened her mouth to make a smart retort, then thought better of it. She sighed.
"Okay, fine. Spill." She said resignedly. "I give."
"I promise! Just tell me."
Kimber bit her lip. Then, slowly she outlined her dilemma.
"And now I don't know what to do." She concluded. Phyllis eyed her thoughtfully for a moment.
"Well, I didn't see it coming." She admitted. "But...okay. You want my advice?"
"Yes." Kimber nodded.
"Well...you never know if you don't try." Phyllis shrugged. "Talk to her. See what she wants to do about it." She got to her feet. "And now, if you don't mind, I have to go plan a Stinger revenge."
"Can I play along?" Kimber asked.
"A Hologram wants to play Misfit?" Phyllis smirked.
"I think with all Rapture's put Raya through recently, I'd be glad to take them down a peg or two." Kimber nodded. "Let me get hold of the others...count us in!"
Chapter One: One Jewel Down
Chapter Two: Fireworks
Chapter Three: Phyllis Steps In
Chapter Four: Esteban Speaks
Chapter Five: Consulting the Teenangels
Chapter Six: Rose Helps
Chapter Seven: Mending Ties
Chapter Eight: Misfit Reborn
Chapter Nine: Dean's Show
Chapter Ten: Sylva and Jack
Chapter Eleven: Sabotaged!
Chapter Twelve: Settling the Past
Chapter Thirteen: Revenge
Chapter Fourteen: Show Must Go On