Chapter Eight: Misfit Reborn

"Wow. California."
Gaynor Fitzpatrick gazed around LAX airport, an awed grin on her face. "Home of the stars."
"Well, home of Mom and Sylvie, right now." Anna Martescu, Sylvina's twin sister put in with a smile. "That's more important to me. That and getting off that silly plane. I hate those things!"
"I know, but I'm here to hold your hand." Gaynor giggled. Best friends since their freshman year of college, it had seemed only natural for Gaynor to accompany Anna to Los Angeles when the younger twin headed across country to spend the summer break with her mother and sister.
"I'm looking forward to seeing this big concert." Anna said now. "And of course seeing Sylvie and Mom will make it worth the trauma of flying. You've not met my sister yet, after all."
"No, but I've heard so much about her I might as well have." Gaynor said drolly. "From you and from the world's press...she really is a big star now, isn't she? Don't you ever wish that it was you out there?"
"Not one bit." Anna shook her head, as she collected her case, carefully checking the tags. "I'm happy to write music, Gaynor, but I'm not a born stage performer like Sylvie is. I did it once...that was once too many and I wouldn't have done it if Sylvie wasn't hurt. But I don't intend to do it again."
"Okay." Gaynor shrugged good-naturedly. "You know, I did hear a rumour once that I had family in California."
"Family?" Anna looked startled. Gaynor nodded.
"Real family or adoptive family?" Anna wondered.
"Real." Gaynor replied. Adopted at a young age, and devoted to her new family, Gaynor still had a strong desire to discover as much as she could about the blood heritage which had given her her distinctly oriental prettiness and dark brown eyes. "But I don't know if it's true or not. Just something I heard."
"Well, LA is a big place, and Cali's even bigger." Anna pointed out. "So unless you're embarking on a wild hunt, I don't think you're gonna find them this trip."
"No, I know." Gaynor shrugged. "It's just interesting to me, that's all." She grinned. "Hey, I think I see our ride...that's your sister, huh?"
"Sylvie?" Anna glanced in the direction her friend was indicating, and a smile crossed her face. "Oh yes, that's her. However did you guess?"
"Gee, dunno. Must be intuition." Gaynor giggled, as they made their way across the airport to join the impatiently waiting Jewel.
"You were late." Was Sylva's indignant greeting. "I've been here ages. You do know I have practice today?"
"We didn't fly the plane, Sylvie." Anna chided her with a smile. "By the way, this is friend from College. Gaynor...Sylvie, my twin sister and the young star."
"Pleased to meet you." Gaynor dimpled. Sylva grinned.
"Likewise." She said. "Hey, got your stuff? Then I'll give you a ride to Mom and aunt Roxy's apartment...I don't know if they're in, mind you, because the Misfits have been working like devils to get their set right for the show. They've not given us a hint of what they're planning, though of course they're talking of performing Dean's show when we do."
"Dean?" Anna looked blank.
"Nancy's boyfriend, he hosts a TV show in Cali." Sylva responded. "And boy is he hot...too good for Nancy, if you ask me."
"You never change." Anna told her sister affectionately. "I'm glad to see it, actually. I was worried about you in DC."
"I'm getting used to things." Sylva's pretty face became grave. "The concert is helping that. I'm not ready to go back to DC and speak to Dad yet...but that's okay. I will...when I feel more settled. Then things will be all right again, just different."
"Right." Anna nodded. "He sends his love, by the way."
"Wow, cool car." Gaynor observed as she got into the back of Sylva's red convertible. "I s'pose being a star helps on the cash front, huh?"
"Yep." Sylva's eyes twinkled. "The royalties from our debut album helped buy this beauty...which was a good thing, incidentally, since the other car I had met with a small accident."
"Am I safe to be in this thing?" Anna demanded, laughing. Sylva grinned.
"Yeah. It wasn't me driving when it met it's accident." She assured her friend. "It was just outside on the curb when I went to visit Zoe and some jerk rammed it."
"Phew. We're gonna live." Gaynor dimpled.
"I'm a good driver!" Sylva protested. "Most of the time, anyway." She amended.
At that moment they pulled onto the front forecourt of the luxurious apartment building which Mary had begun to make her home, and Sylva hopped out the front, pausing while her sister and friend got out, then locking her vehicle.
"Grab your cases." She instructed. "Mom wanted me to give you the key, Anna..." She handed a key to her sister, "In case she wasn't in. I'll take you up, show you which it is and stuff, but then I have to dash. Phyllis got heavy with us on being on time for rehearsals after Copper skipped one, so I daren't be too late."
"That's okay. It's not your fault the plane was late." Anna assured her. "So, where do we go?"
"Follow me." Sylva grinned. "This way."
"This place is neat." Gaynor decided. "I like the decor...when I make my millions as a fashion designer I want an apartment in a classy joint like this one."
"You're into fashion, huh?" Sylva sounded interested. Gaynor nodded.
"That's what Im studying." She agreed. "I like textiles. And one day I want to be like Shana Julian and Regine Cesare and be a big name in the business." She looked sheepish. "I got a long way to go yet, though. Right now I'm a poor student living on their funding and sharing a house with four others eating junk."
"Count me in there, too." Anna said ruefully. "But one day it'll all be worth it. Least, I hope so."
"You could be a writer without college." Sylva pointed out. "You're good enough and Mom could help you."
"I know, but I like college." Anna smiled. "I'm not like you there, Sylvie, wanting to take gambles. College is safe...I like safe."
"Well, this is Mom's place." Sylva indicated the door. "You have the key, so..."
"Okay, I'll unlock." Carefully Anna unfastened the lock, pushing open the door. "Wow, it is nice, actually. I couldn't picture Mom living anywhere away from DC, but this is a nice place. Home from home, I s'pose. Sylvie, do you know where we're sleeping?"
"I think in there." Sylva indicated. "You gotta share, I'm afraid, but then you did that in dorms, right? So it's no biggie."
"We can handle it." Gaynor nodded. "I s'pose then we oughta sit down and unpack."
"And I gotta run. I really hate to, but I do." Sylva glanced at her watch. "Annie, call me tonight, huh? Tomorrow morning I have an early tv appearance on Dean Stacey's show...and we're chaotic tomorrow, but we need to hang out sometime this week, all right?"
"Promise." Anna nodded. "Bye, Sylvie. Have a good practice."
"Here's hoping. We need one." Sylva rolled her eyes. "Okay, I'm outta here. Talk soon!"
With that, she was gone, leaving the two visitors to exchange looks.
"Is she always like that?" Gaynor asked. Anna laughed.
"Yeah, she always has been." She admitted. "I said we were different, Gaynor - I really meant it."
"Well, I wont be getting you two muddled." Gaynor decided. "Are you gonna call your Mom?"
"Yes, as soon as I unpack my phone." Anna nodded. "Then I vote we go find somewhere local for lunch and explore a little. After all, if this is gonna be my second home I want to get used to it."

At Misfit Music, Jewel were assembling for their session as Sylva arrived, breathless through the door, dropping down onto a stool and eying the clock with a grin.
"There, see? On time." She said proudly. "Even though Annie's plane was late and I had to take a short cut back here."
"Well, we're gonna need all the time we can get." Nancy said decidedly, opening her folder and pulling out the sheets of manuscript. "Here...Topaz, this is yours, Copper, for you, and Syl, yours. We have to get this perfect - and I do mean perfect - for tomorrow morning's session on Dean's show. I spoke to Mom just now, and the Misfits are saving their actual performance for the concert, so we're gonna be playing, they're just interviewing. Pressure is on us to make people interested. Tickets are selling well...we need to make them sell better."
"Who's taking vocal?" Copper asked, skimming down her copy of the melody and working over the drum rhythm in her head. "It's a Misfit song, so it should probably be Nancy or Syl." Topaz said.
"Syl, you take it." Nancy suggested. "You sing more 'in your face' than I do, anyhow...and this song's gotta have that attitude."
"Sure, I'll sing. I don't mind." Sylva nodded her head. "Just give me a while to master the keys first, okay?"
"Sure." Topaz nodded. "Wow, big bass line. Nance, did you have a brain spurt or something? I can't play that well!"
"I didn't touch the bassline, that's all Misfit." Nancy responded. "Aunt Roxy was a damn fine bassist. Probably still is."
"Well, I'm not one." Topaz said ruefully. "I'm not gonna have that down by tomorrow."
"You won't if you take that attitude." Sylva scolded. "We're doing this for the Misfits, for my folks, for Copper's dad and for the Foundation, remember? We gotta get it right!"
"And to show those evil Stingers how to play music." Nancy said quietly. Copper nodded.
"I spoke to Mama." She said. "We talked and stuff and she forgave me...I feel better now. Like I got something big out of my system, you know? But I'm not too fond of Stingers either right at the moment."
"Does Rapture even know you've come back to your senses?" Sylva demanded. Copper shrugged.
"She'll find out the night of the show." She said simply. "I'm gonna play the best I ever played...and I'm gonna do it for Papa." She grinned ruefully. "I figured that was a better way to make him proud than crying and acting like a baby."
"We're glad to have you back." Topaz told her with a smile. "The real you, I mean. We missed you."
"I missed me." Copper admitted. "I'm still kinda upset inside, Topaz, but I am feeling better. And I'm feeling ready to rock, so are we gonna give this tune a go?"
"Ready when you are." Nancy nodded. "Count us in."
"Okay." Copper agreed. Lifting her drumstick like a baton, she counted the song in.
After two gruelling hours of playing and replaying passages, Nancy slipped her guitar off her shoulder.
"Well, it sounds...better." She said, her voice doubtful.
"We've been at it two hours, shouldn't we take a break?" Sylva's tone was almost plaintive. "My fingers are hurting and my wrist is aching - it's not used to all this work so soon after my accident!"
"We haven't got time to take too many breaks." Nancy sighed. "Tomorrow morning, Syl!"
"Just because it's your boyfriend's show doesn't mean I have to bust my wrist again for it." Sylva snapped. "Chill, Nance. It'll'll be fine."
"We haven't even put vocal to it yet." Nancy objected. "Syl, do you have to be a flake every time we get down to real work? Topaz and Copper aren't complaining."
"Keep me out of this." Topaz ordered, laughing.
"For my part, I need the distraction." Copper put in. "I'm not quite burnt out yet, though. If you can do it, Syl, I can give it another go through, just to tidy it up. I think I got the rhythm worked out."
"What you girls squabbling about now?" Phyllis entered the studio at that moment, pausing to eye them thoughtfully. "At least you're here practicing, though...that's something."
"We've been here two hours, Phyllis." Sylva protested. "We've been working on Takin' It All...its not as easy as we thought trying to play someone else's music our way without losing the plot of the song."
"Well, it's a new challenge for ya." Phyllis told her with a grin. " far you got, huh? Can you play it through yet?"
"Pretty much." Topaz nodded. "But not with vocal yet. Syl's gonna sing for us, we think...but we've been working on the instrumental."
"Okay." Phyllis looked thoughtful. Then she strode across the studio, grabbing the microphone from it's stand.
"Right." She said, eying the confused musicians with a lofty smile. "Play. I'll show you how it's done."
Exchanging looks with Copper, Nancy slipped her instrument's strap back onto her shoulder. Sylva sighed, but she knew better than to argue with Phyllis Gabor, and she switched her synth back on, waiting for Copper's signal. It came, and the song began.
Though all of them had heard the Misfits perform on television or on radio or CD, none of them had ever heard Phyllis sing live, not even Nancy, so when it came it was a shock to them all. Calmly they had assumed that much of the Misfit's bite and power had been studio enhanced, but very soon into the song they realised that it was all Phyllis herself.
"Now I understand why Mom says Aunt Phyl was the Misfits." Nancy mused. "She's the spirit of them, even if Stormer is the musician behind the scenes. I understand why they banded together so much when she was pregnant...without Aunt Phyl there wouldn't be any Misfits."
When the song was done, Phyllis tossed the microphone onto the unit carelessly, leaning up against the wall and folding her arms.
"Well? Got it?" She demanded.
"Wow." Topaz was the first to recover herself. "That was incredible, Phyllis."
"Guess I see now why the Misfits were as popular as they were." Nancy mused. "Aunt Phyl, I knew you could sing, but I didn't know you could perform like that. Even just in a studio in front of us...twenty years out of practice...that was a amazing, Topaz is right."
"Well, what do you expect? It's my song." Phyllis was flippant. "It was written for me to sing, after all, by the best songwriter the music industry of the eighties had to offer."
"Mom." Sylva smiled. "If you ask me, she's still the best there is."
"I'm not disputing it." Nancy said quietly. "There's no songwriter I look up to more than your mother."
"Can the mushy stuff." Phyllis ordered. "Now I showed you what to do, do it right, okay? Tomorrow's show is a big deal, and if you're gonna do a Misfit song, you're gonna have to be good. I have paperwork...I'll see you later."
With that she was gone, leaving Jewel to gather themselves.
"She is good." Copper acknowledged. "I didn't realise she sang like that...I thought that the studio edited it up a bit to give it that 'I'm coming to get you' kinda note to it. But she really sings that way. Strong, powerful and not scared of anything."
"It was awesome." Sylva said with a grin. "I'm totally inspired now. I want to sing!"
"Well, then we'd better tackle it from the top." Topaz suggested. "Ready when you are, Copper."
"Right." Copper nodded. "Then let's go!"

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