Chapter Three: Phyllis Steps In

"Well, it's finished."
Mary Martescu, formerly Stormer of the Misfits laid the sheaf of manuscript down on her former bandmate's desk, sitting down in an empty seat and eying her companion thoughtfully. "I hope it's what you were looking for...when you said you wanted a duet I sat down and looked at some old Misfit scores to get the right kind of you think it'll work?"
Phyllis Gabor, chief executive of Misfit Music scooped up the top sheet, scanning it over, then nodding.
"Sure. It'll do." She said with an approving smile. "Good. It's been a blast getting the Misfits back playing together this last couple of days, dontcha think? And now we've got this, I'll give Emily a call and we'll get together, see how it plays."
"Oh! So the duet is with Emily?" A look of comprehension flooded Mary's features. "I didn't know that."
"Yes." Phyllis nodded. She looked self-conscious. "Well, the girl asked, and..."
"And you didn't want to say no." Mary grinned. "You really are softening up, you know."
"Oh, shut it." Phyllis snapped. "I thought it'd be good publicity, that's all. And good for Emily's comeback, too. Can't be idle too long in this business, after all."
"Okay, I believe you." Mary looked amused. Once upon a time she had been intimidated by the petulant, unpredictable leader of the Misfits, but time had levelled things between them and she no longer had any fear of teasing the older woman. "Are we going to have a runthrough this afternoon, by the way? Because I have to see my solicitor at four-thirty."
"We should." Pizzazz replied. "But I got admin meetings from now till half four anyway, and Jetta's gonna be tied up with paperwork a while, it might not be till this evening. Reckon sevenish would work okay?"
"Suits me." Mary nodded. "I'll mention it to Roxy when I get back."
Phyllis eyed her keenly.
"You ain't so much of a dreary drip as you were when you came back to LA a few weeks back." She observed. "Maybe Roxy's right, maybe you never shoulda left. You're acting more like a Misfit, anyhow."
"I'm getting back into my music a little more." Mary admitted. "And I'm looking forward to doing the show."
"If there gets to be a show."
A third voice interrupted them from the doorway, and both women looked up to see Jetta leaning against the doorpost, a frown on her face.
"What do you mean, if there gets to be a show?" Phyllis demanded. "We've worked damn hard to arrange this, of course there will be a damn show!"
"Something is going down." Jetta responded, coming into the office and shutting the door. "Nancy came to see me the other evening...Rapture is up to her old tricks."
"How do you mean?" Phyllis' expression became suspicious. "Old tricks? What kinda old tricks? What's going on?"
"She's gotten her claws into Copper, if Nancy's right." Slowly Jetta explained. "And it gets worse. Copper didn't show up for practice earlier, and I jus' spoke to Topaz on the phone. There's been a fight...I think Copper's goin' to see Rapture tomorrow mornin'."
"Brilliant." Phyllis groaned, burying her head in her hands. "Damn kids! Why on earth do they have to cause so much trouble! What does Copper think she's playing at? So her Dad's dead...what can he do about her playing in a rock band, huh? She's earning her living and making a name for herself...Damn Rapture! Why can't she butt out and leave things alone!"
"Poor Copper." Mary's expression was troubled. "She must miss her father very badly, if she's willing to trust Rapture's word to try and contact him."
"Well, right now I ain't fussed about 'ow bad she misses 'er Pa." Jetta frowned. "Right now I'm concerned with the fact we've four girls on a contract 'ere who ain't clickin' right, because one of 'em decides to go gallivantin' off speakin' to ghosts with our deadliest rivals. That's what's botherin' me. If you ask me it's all a plan by Rapture to stop Jewel from playin' this show, and consequently, of course, stop the 'Olograms an' us from playin' our best."
"How could it affect us?" Phyllis demanded. "Sure, Raya will wimp out if her darling baby's upset and that'll screw the Holograms over, but what has it to do with the Misfits?"
"Jewel are signed to our company." Jetta said darkly. "If they fold, Pizzazz, imagine the administrative chaos. They're our biggest sellin' band at the moment. Sure, there's your Emily, but she ain't made 'er comeback yet an' she might yet flop. Rapture's clever, she's probably seen that by makin' a little bit of chaos she can cause a whole lot more of a mess for us. I knew gettin' the Stingers back involved was a bad idea. Rapture is dangerous!"
"I think Jetta's right." Mary agreed softly. "If Rapture messes with Jewel, then it is going to have ramifications for the rest of us. It couldn't help but have. I mean, if Jewel don't play this show, then Sylvie won't get to play either, and I know how much it means to her to do so. And I know I won't play so well if I'm worried about her...she's been very mixed up since Elliot and I started having problems. This show was meant to get her and me back into the world of music, where we both belong...I bet you anything you like Rapture knows that."
"She's not been in LA, how could she know?" Phyllis snapped.
"She hasn't, but the others have." Jetta said darkly. "An' you know as well as I do 'ow that witch Sophie's mind works. She ain't as damn innocent as she claims to be."
"Dammit!" Phyllis brought her hand down on the desktop hard, sending papers flying all over the place. "Right, that does it. I wanna see Jewel in my office, and I want to see them now. Someone go call the Starlight Mansion, huh? This is gonna be settled once and for all right here and right now!"

Gently Topaz shook her bandmate awake. "Copper, I'm sorry to disturb you, but Phyllis just called. She wants to see us at Misfit Music, have to get up."
"Phyllis?" Copper sat up, rubbing her eyes. "Oh, do I have to? Topaz, I feel like garbage...I just want to stop here and sleep."
"Look, I know you've had a rough day or two of it, but Copper, seriously, you need to come." Topaz said softly. "I think it's important - it might be about the show, so come on, huh?"
"Okay, I'm coming." Copper sighed, getting to her feet and reaching for her hairbrush, brushing her messy curls into a quick ponytail, and slipping on her boots. "I hope this isn't going to take forever, though. I'm really not in the mood for Jewel business today."
"Well, we'll soon find out." Topaz decided it was better not to get into the issues surrounding Copper's mixed up mental state at that moment. "Nancy's got the car ready outside and she and Syl are waiting, so we better get a move on."
"Nancy..." Copper's expression became troubled, as she followed her bandmate down the stairs and outside. Topaz eyed her keenly, but said nothing. The fight was none of her business, and she had no intention of interfering.
Nancy did not make any remark as the two elder Jewels got into the back of the vehicle, merely putting the car in gear and pulling out of the driveway of the Starlight Mansion. Sylva eyed her bandmate with a frown, then turned to speak to Topaz.
"Whaddya reckon she wants?" She wondered. Topaz shrugged.
"Beats me." She said. "I'm gonna guess it's about the concert, I can't think what else it could be."
"Perhaps it's a new rehearsal schedule." Nancy suggested quietly. "To accomodate people's extra-curricular activities."
Her tone was laced with sarcasm, and Copper flinched, tears touching her brown eyes, but she did not make a comment. Her earlier anger at her friend was gone, replaced by a hopeless, unhappy feeling and more than anything she wanted to seclude herself in her bedroom and cry.
"Time out, you guys." Sharp-eyed Topaz saw. "We don't want Phyllis thinking we act like heathens when we're off duty, okay?"
"I've no intention of acting any way." Nancy shrugged. "This is business." She pulled the car into the parking lot, turning off the engine and getting out of the car, heading into the building without waiting for her companions. Sylva and Topaz exchanged looks, and Sylva shrugged.
"Nothing to do with me." She murmured. "For once."
Copper hesitated, looking up at the big music company building with a hollow feeling in her heart. With a sigh she trailed after her companions inside, getting into the lift without a word to any of them. Her usual happy sparkle was gone from her eyes, and an uncomfortable silence settled over the group, which was only broken by Nancy's sharp knock on the door of Phyllis' office.
The executive called them in, and the guitarist swung open the door, leading the way inside.
Once all four girls were stood before the desk, Phyllis got to her feet, eying each of them in turn.
"Well, I want an explanation." She said finally, perching on the windowsill and folding her arms.
"For what?" Sylva looked startled. "What did we do?"
"This company holds you all under contract." Phyllis spoke quietly, but there was an unpleasant glint in her eyes which told the four girls that her temper was only just being kept under wraps. "And that contract details that you are to attend scheduled practices. Those are your priority...I want to know why Jewel did not keep their obligation this afternoon."
"We came." Nancy said quietly. "Most of us, anyway."
Copper swallowed hard, gazing at the floor.
"Copper?" Phyllis turned her attention to the drummer. "Did you forget what your contract means?"
"I...I..." Copper bit her lip, unable to meet the executive's stony gaze for fear of bursting into tears.
"Copper had some personal business to deal with." Topaz, ever the pacifist put in. "She never usually misses practice, Phyllis - it was a one off."
"I don't like one offs." Phyllis' tone became dangerously friendly. "One offs lead to more shirking. This is my company and I've worked damn hard to keep it going through everything. I'm not going to have any part of it messed about by a group of girls who can't be bothered to honour their contracts."
"But that's not fair! We were here!" Sylva protested. Phyllis eyed her with a steely glare.
"If you're not all here, then it hardly matters." She said cuttingly. "Jewel are a four-piece band...remember it. It's your responsibility...all of your responsibilities - to make sure you all turn up for practices. This concert is going ahead and you girls are going to play...and damn it, you're going to play well! You can't be a star and let personal matters get in your way! Make up your mind what you want, because Misfit Music isn't going to take any garbage from it's employees, do you understand me?"
This was too much for Copper, and with a choked sob she fled the office, leaving her three bandmates exchanging uncomfortable looks. Phyllis rolled her eyes.
"Deal with it." She told them quietly. "You're dismissed. Make sure you're here tomorrow morning though. This concert is important...don't blow it."
With that she indicated the door, and, relieved as much as anything, Jewel made their escape.
"I've never seen her like that before." Nancy shivered. "So cold and angry...I never knew she could be so damn professional and...and clinical!"
"Where do you suppose Copper went?" Sylva wondered. Topaz frowned.
"I don't know, but I think we should find her. Phyllis is right about one thing, and that's that Jewel are a fourpiece band." She replied. "We are responsible for each other, because otherwise we're not going to be any kind of a team, are we? Nancy, you need to make up this spat with Copper and we need to try and be there for her if she needs us."
"Hah." Nancy frowned. "I'm not speaking to her at the moment, Topaz. I'm too angry and too upset...I'd make it worse."
"Well, either way, we need to find her." Topaz sighed. "Unless, of course, we want her to run off to Rapture right now."
"Topaz is right." Sylva nodded. "Come on. She can't have gone far."
"Nancy?" Topaz raised an eyebrow. "Will you help?"
"I guess so." Nancy nodded, sighing. "Okay. I'm with you. She's probably gone out to the car, though."
"Well, I s'pose that's the first place we look." Sylva shrugged. "I hope you're right." Her pretty face became uncharacteristically solemn. "This concert means a lot to me too, guys. I want it to work as much as Phyllis does."
"We all want it to work." Topaz said quietly.
"I was right." Nancy put in, as they reached the front entrance of the company. "She is in the car...crying...again."
"She's upset, let it go." Topaz scolded, heading up to the vehicle and opening the door. "Copper? Are you okay?"
Copper raised tearful brown eyes to her bandmate and Topaz slipped into the back of the car, giving her friend a hug.
"Don't let Phyllis get to you, she just wanted to make sure we understood how important this concert is." She murmured. "None of us are gonna hold one no show against you...Tomorrow morning we'll meet for practice and it'll all be forgotten, okay?"
"Tomorrow morning." Copper murmured. "Ten thirty, right?"
"Yes." Topaz agreed. Copper nodded.
"I'll be there." She whispered. "Whatever happens...I'll be there."

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