Chapter Three: I'm Okay
"I dunno about this, Sylvie."
Mary frowned, meeting her daughter's anxious gaze with a troubled one of her own. "I'm not sure I'm in any mood to do a show...and it's been so long since I last performed. I'm out of practice and probably past it."
"But Mom...it'd be so much fun!" Sylva begged. "Please, Mom, think about it. We both need something to get our spirits up...and this could be it! It wouldn't be the same without you - there are no Misfits without you!"
"I'm sorry, Sylvie, but I really don't think I'm up to it." Mary said finally. "I don't want to disappoint you, but..."
"Quit fussing, Stormer, it'd be a blast, like the kid said." Roxy put in her bit from the doorway at that moment. "The Misfits were the best sound of the eighties and it's been a long time since I last did a show, even as a solo artist. Dontcha think it'd rock to get back up on stage and have the fans chanting again? Don't you want that?"
"Roxy, that was twenty years or more ago. We're older now." Stormer replied. Roxy snorted.
"So we're past it?" She demanded. "I think not! C'mon, Stormer, this ain't like you! You're not old yet and if that's the attitude you're gonna take, they might as well nail you up in your box now! Live a little! Sylvie and her group need to see how it should be done!"
"You're my inspiration to be a star, Mom." Sylva added earnestly. "It'd be so much fun..."
"Look, Stormer, it ain't like any of us are hideous old hags." Roxy looked amused at the thought. "Pizzazz don't look a day over thirty an' she's the oldest of us all. You ain't old. I ain't old. Even Jetta, with her big nose ain't got a streak of grey in her hair yet. We're not has-beens! We're all fairly fit...we take care of ourselves an' we're well up to a big show."
"Pizzazz has enough money to make sure she doesn't look a day over thirty." Mary replied astutely. "And I know Jetta's dyed her hair a couple of times, cos she told me so."
"So?" Roxy shrugged. "Who cares how, Stormer? Truth is, we don't look twenty odd years older than when we split up. Well..." She paused, eying her friend's attire. "Okay, that outfit has to go, it makes you look middle aged. But seriously, Stormer...you don't look old. And none of us are old at heart...you gotta know that."
"You're still a child at heart." A faint smile touched Mary's lips. "And I appreciate what you're saying, Roxy...I just don't know if I'm up for this kind of thing, that's all. It's been so long."
"Nonsense." Roxy snorted.
"It's not nonsense! I've had a marriage, two pregnancies, a move and a divorce between then and now, not to mention losing my son at birth...I'm not sure I've got the Misfit spark still inside of me."
"Mom, Nancy wanted me to ask you for the Misfit scores, if you've got copies." Sylva decided to try a different tack, and leave her Aunt to tackle the other issue on her behalf. "She wants to rework a couple of them for us to perform, if you don't mind."
"Nope, I don't mind that." Mary smiled, getting to her feet, and crossing the room to a big box of unsorted folders, rifling through them. "Here...that's the most of them. Just look after them, I don't have duplicates."
"We'll treat them like gold dust." Sylva promised, clutching the precious folder to her chest. "And Mom...please think it over? It'd be so cool if you'd do it..."
With that, she took her leave, able to hear her Aunt nagging in the background. Despite herself, she smiled. Roxy was better than anyone at persuading her mother to do things...hope was not all gone.
"Well?" Topaz, who had been waiting outside with the car asked her eagerly.
"I got the folder of music." Sylva indicated. "But Mom's not all that keen. Still, Aunt Roxy's all for it, and she's working on Mom as we speak."
"Cool." Topaz dimpled. "Roxy's pretty determined, isnt she?"
"Yep." Sylva agreed. "So I'm hoping she'll be able to change Mom's mind. It isn't like her to be so down or so defeatist, anyway."
"It isn't like you, either." Topaz remarked. "Which is why I'm glad you've gotten into this concert idea."
"Yeah, I'm glad too. I've been feeling like a limp lizard for the last few days." Sylva giggled at her reference to one of her mother's other contemporary groups. "Since you left, my life's like..broken glass...."
"Don't!" Topaz exclaimed. "I hate that song!"
"Aw, it's kinda cute." Sylva chided her friend. "And they're dead nice people, apparently. They played backup on..." She paused in mid-sentence, and Topaz cast her a quick glance.
"I was just flipping through the folder, and I found the score for the song they played backup on." Sylva replied, her tone excited. "I remember Mom playing this to us when we were small...it's off the first album she did with Kimber of the Holograms, Back2Back. We used to love that record so much...Annie and I would sing to it in front of the mirror. If only..."
"If only what?"
"Well, if Annie was in L.A already, she and I could perform it for Mom again, remind her what it meant to her back then." Sylva looked wistful. "I used to sing Mom's part...I swear I still know it by heart, even now."
"What's the song called?"
"I'm Okay. It just seems appropriate, somehow." And Sylva proceeded to recite the lyrics.
"Sounds very appropriate to me." Topaz observed.
"Yes. Just a pity Annie isn't here."
"Well, why not try Sammi?" Topaz suggested. "She's on hand in L.A, and she can sing and play, we all know that. If you took your keys, and she her guitar..."
"The main tune was written for keys...Mom wrote it originally for the Misfits, but it got used for Back2Back instead." Sylva examined the manuscript. "I think I can play it okay, though the signiture is tricky. But yeah, Sammi's a great idea, Topaz! Mom and Aunt Aja are pretty close, and Sammi's the next best thing if I can't have Annie. I'll call her when we get home, see what she thinks. I'm sure that if we were to sing it for Mom, it'd get her fired up again. It's a fighting back song...and she needs to fight back."
"Go for it." Topaz grinned. "Hey, maybe you can even perform it at the concert!"
"I'm more hopeful that Mom and Kimber might perform it." Sylva winked. "But lets see if Sammi's up for it first."
"You and she are sure getting pally." Topaz remarked.
"Yeah, we are, aren't we?" Sylva looked surprised. "Weird, huh?"
"Kinda." Topaz grinned. "But you know me, I don't like fighting with anyone. And I think you work better as a team, anyway." She pulled onto the front forecourt of the Starlight Mansion. "Look, you go call Sammi up, I'll go make some coffee, okay? I think we need it!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"So, the kids are plannin' a reunion concert, huh?"
Jetta looked thoughtful, sipping her mug of tea and setting it down on her colleague's desk. "I should've known you can never resist a chance to show off."
"Oh, come on, what do you think I am, a silly teenager?" Phyllis was cutting. "We're simply gonna show them how it's done, that's all. Unless you're chicken."
"Nah, I'm game." Jetta grinned. "I've missed it meself, to be honest. Workin' 'ere is okay, but I'd rather be out playin' than filin' forms most days."
"Well, yeah. That's how I feel too." Phyllis agreed. She flipped open her compact mirror, eying her reflection thoughtfully. "What do you reckon, should we go with full Misfit makeup, do you think?"
"I think we should go the full way an' dress in our old Misfit costumes an' all." Jetta laughed. "That'd scare 'em! If we can still fit 'em, that is..."
"Well, I'm still a size six." Phyllis retorted, flipping the compact shut.
"Yes...I know." Jetta said dryly. Phyllis scowled at her.
"Don't look at me like that." She snapped. "It's true!"
"Yeah, yeah." Jetta held up her hands, her expression one of amusement, for she liked teasing her companion about her slimming methods. "So you should be fine...so long as noone looks at your wrinkles."
"I don't have wrinkles!" Phyllis exclaimed, enraged. Jetta laughed.
"Oh, cool out, I'm kiddin'." She replied. "You look fine an' you know it. Even since we stepped off stage back in the early nineties you've taken better care of your appearance, your figure an' your nails than you 'ave this place!"
"That's why I employ you." Phyllis replied neatly. "And you can talk...you fuss over your looks just as much as me! Who dyes grey streaks out? It ain't me!"
"Okay, touche." Jetta acknowledged. "But it were only once or twice. I guess I get a bit paranoid about 'em, cos they show so bad in dark 'air, an' Justin 'as a few 'ere an' there."
"All in all, though, we ain't aged that bad, have we?" Phyllis looked thoughtful. "Stormer's kinda tired lookin'...gotta snap her out of that. If y'ask me she looks older than any of us, an' she's the youngest of us all."
"She's run down." Jetta agreed. "Roxy said so, an' all. She needs to put the emotional crap aside for a while an' be a Misfit again."
"Think she'll do it?"
"Well, Roxy wasn't sure when she called me earlier." Phyllis admitted. "Though I don't see her giving up trying to persuade her."
"Roxy's as stubborn as they make 'em." Jetta nodded. "What do we do if Stormer don't come round?"
"No idea." Phyllis admitted. "Guess I'm working on the idea that she will."
"You don't like the idea of performin' without 'er either, huh?"
"Guess not." Phyllis acknowledged. "I mean, it's been so long...the Misfits need to be full strength!"
"We still have a big fanbase, though. That greatest 'its compilation thingy you released last March was a big success." Jetta reasoned. "If we can convince 'er to do it, then the show'll be massive."
"It'll be a buzz." Phyllis agreed. "What a coup! The Misfits back together an' hotter than ever!"
"Too true. Show the kids 'ow to play rock an' roll." Jetta laughed. "'Ere, you okay with the Holograms hornin' in on things too, then?"
"Kinda didn't have a choice." Phyllis replied offhandedly. "The deputation came to me in the form of Aja and Raya's brats. Couldn't really nix it."
"Aww, you've gone soft in your old age!" Jetta teased. Phyllis scowled.
"Quit callin' me old." she snapped. "And I've done no such thing! Just thinkin' of it from a business point of view..."
"Yeah, sure, and that's why you're willing to donate some of the funds to the Foundation, too."
"How'd you know that?"
"Nancy told me." Jetta grinned.
"Gah. Kids." Phyllis rolled her eyes. "Yeah, okay, I am. That brat of a daughter of Aja's begged me...said it was a surefire way of gettin' Kimber and Aja involved."
"And you were thinkin' of Emily too, weren't you?"
"Oh, for heaven's sake!" Phyllis exclaimed, frustrated. "Fine. All right. I was thinking of Emily too. Satisfied? When are you gonna let up with that? So I show a little concern for my daughter - first you bitch me out over it and then you wind me up! It ain't different from you lookin' out for Nancy."
"It's way different." Jetta objected. "I raised Nancy, and it were damn 'ard work, an' all!"
"So?" Phyllis folded her arms, a petulant look on her face. "So I did the smart thing and got Kimber to do the dirty work for my kid...what's the problem?"
"Nothin', I guess." Jetta frowned. "Jus' still seems kinda odd you carin' a jot what 'appens to 'er, that's all."
Phyllis hesitated a moment, then,
"I always cared." She replied quietly. "I dunno why, it's some weird mother thing. But I couldn't say anything, could I? You'd all think I'd gone soft."
"You did." Jetta returned, shrugging. "I saw you after Aja took Emily away, remember? Cryin' your eyes out!"
"It wasn't like that!" Phyllis defended herself. "I was tired and emotional, that's all. My hormones were all over!"
"Yeah." Jetta smirked. "Whatever you say, Pizzazz."
"Well, what about you and Aaron when he was first born?" Phyllis decided to turn the tables. "Cooing over him like crazy!"
"I did no such thing!" This riled her companion, and Phyllis shrugged.
"See? You can give it out but you can't take it." She replied with a grin.
"Okay, okay." Jetta conceded. "Let's jus' admit we 'ate all kids but ours an' be done with it, huh? We gotta plan this concert."
"All right, deal." Phyllis agreed. "I guess we oughta decide what songs, too..."
"Well, what 'ave we got?" Jetta moved over to the filing cabinet, pulling open the top drawer and choosing a folder from the section marked Misfits. Carefully she extracted copies of their album covers, spreading them out on the desk. "There you go, that's pretty much every song we ever did. What d'you reckon?"
"Lemme see." Phyllis picked one up, looking it over with more interest than she generally did any other document that passed through her hands on a normal business day. "I guess we can't decide for sure till we speak to the others, but I know which songs I wanna do."
"You're gonna be democratic about this, then?" Jetta asked. Phyllis nodded.
"Sure, why not?" She said airily. "It's a one off thing, anyway. Might as well."
"And you say you ain't gone soft." Jetta rolled her eyes.
"Who's gone soft?" A fresh voice came from the doorway, and the two executives turned to see Roxy watching them, idly leant up against the doorpost as if she had never left.
"Pizzazz." Jetta told her sister-in-law dryly. "She's all for lettin' us 'ave a say which songs we play."
"Put a sock in it, Jetta." Phyllis scowled at her friend. Though the years had brought them closer together, there was still room for sniping and bantering behind closed doors.
"Well, there won't be any songs to play, if we don't do somethin' to Stormer." Roxy groaned, dropping down into a chair. "I've given up. She's wetter than a monsoon at the moment."
"You gave up?" Phyllis exchanged worried looks with Jetta. "C'mon, Roxy...don't you want to do this show?"
"Sure I do. But Stormer doesn't." Roxy grimaced. "She 'doesn't feel up to it.'" She mimicked the synth player's voice.
"'As Sylva tried 'er?" Jetta demanded. Roxy nodded.
"Yeah, but no good. I don't see how we're ever going to convince her to come round."
"Brilliant." Phyllis groaned. "You're hopeless, Roxy. What are we gonna do without a synth player?"
"Beats me." Roxy shrugged. "You wouldn't know the girl, Pizzazz. She ain't Stormer of the Misfits right now, she's wet an' weedy Mary Martescu."
"Marriage is for suckers." Phyllis snorted.
"Ta, Pizzazz." Jetta did not seem a bit concerned by this remark, as probably she wasn't, since jibes about her long standing marriage to Roxy's brother Justin were not uncommon. Jetta was shrewd enough to know that a large part of Phyllis' scorn was jealousy, and she knew better than to rise.
"I guess we put the songs on ice, then?" Phyllis turned her attention back to the mess on her desk with a sigh that verged on wistful. "Till Stormer comes to her senses."
"If she does." Roxy grimaced. "It ain't looking likely at the moment, I'll tell ya." She glanced at Jetta. "Is Justin in town? I need a break."
"No, 'e's in Baltimore till Monday, takin' some nature pictures or other for some cruddy magazine." Jetta replied dryly. "Not my idea of fun, but there you go." She sighed. "Okay, guess I'm back to filin'. Lemme know if things change."
And with that, she was gone.
"You know, you two sound cool together."
Copper eyed the two girls critically. "You do look like family, too. I never saw the likeness before, but it is there. Do you reckon it'll be enough to get your mother interested in the show, Syl?"
"I hope so." Sylva adusted her synth strap. "I'm getting really into this idea now...it's the first thing I've really been enthusiastic about since we left Washington...or before, for that matter. I can't say to Mom, look, you're ruining it for me, cos she's so upset herself, but it's frustrating."
"Wow, Syl learnt tact." Nancy put in dryly from where she was carefully writing out copies of the Misfit manuscripts, making alterations here and there. "Wonders never cease."
"Hah." Sylva poked out her tongue. "Shut up, Nancy. We're busy."
"Shall we try it through again?" Sammi asked hesitantly. "I'm not sure of the chords yet...I think I messed a couple of phrases."
"You're too down on yourself, it sounded great." Copper assured her. Topaz nodded, reaching for her nailfile and beginning to file her nails.
"Maybe you should produce a record like Stormer and Kimber did Back2Back." She suggested.
"It's too difficult, with your schedule and ours, to do anything like that at the moment." Sammi frowned. "One day, perhaps."
"Might be cool." Sylva sounded less convinced. "If this truce lasts that long."
"It's already lasting." Copper pointed out. Sylva shrugged.
"Nothing lasts forever." She replied. "C'mon. One more time."
And before anyone could argue with her, she began playing the opening chords of the song once more. With a shrug, Sammi obediently began to sing Kimber's part, and, listening to her, the other Jewels could tell that the young Teenangel had a real musical gift.
Halfway through they faltered, as Sammi, less familiar with the song mis-placed her fingers on a chord, and with a sigh, Sylva instructed her to 'start over'. At that moment the doorbell rang, and Topaz rose to answer it, the opening strains of the song drifting through to the hallway as she unfastened the door, stopping dead when she saw who it was.
"Is Sylvie home?" Mary asked, her expression troubled. "I need to..." She trailed off, recognising the song and wordlessly Topaz let her into the house, shutting the door firmly and following the former Misfit along the corridor to the salon. Copper let out a little gasp as she registered the writer's presence, but neither Sylva or Sammi had noticed anything, and it was not till they heard applause at the end of the song that they knew they had an extra guest.
"Mom!" Sylva exclaimed, slipping her synth off her shoulder and staring at her mother in surprise. "But...what are you...we're not ready yet!"
"Not ready?" Mary looked confused.
"We were going to come and play it for you, when we'd got it right." Sammi explained. "Sylvie thought...well..."
"That it might change your mind about the show." Sylva finished.
"Oh, I see." Mary smiled. "Girls, it was beautiful...it took me back so many years to hear it."
"I think Syl sounds like you." Copper decided. "Mama had the record you made, since she and Kimber were such good friends...I really think Syl sounds like you."
"I think so too." Mary agreed. "It was the last thing I expected...Sylvie, does it really mean that much to you for me to do this show?"
"Yes." Sylva admitted. "I didn't want to force you, but Mom, it'd be such a blast. We might never get another chance to play the same gig...and I'd really like us to. Especially...well...at the moment."
"Oh, Sylvie." Mary came to hug her daughter. "I guess I need to listen to the song and have faith in myself, huh? I mean, if you girls have faith enough in me to go to all that trouble..."
"You mean you'll do it?" Sylva's blue eyes lit up with hope.
"How could I disappoint my little girl?" Mary asked gently. "Yes, I'll do it."
"Oh, brilliant!" Sylva flung her arms around her mother. "I know we're gonna be fab, Mom. You, me, Sammi...how can we fail?"
"Music's always been the thing that kept me going, through everything. Music, you and Anna." Mary replied. "Maybe it's time for this old Misfit to get rid of her cobwebs and start performing again. You think?"
"Definitely." Sylva grinned, her eyes wet with happy tears. "Thanks, Mom. It means a lot."
"So the Misfits are on for the show." Nancy observed with a grin. "Next target, the Holograms."
"I spoke to Mum this morning about it briefly, but I'll tackle her again tonight." Sammi promised. "The others wonder where I keep vanishing to, even though I ran the idea by them yesterday and they liked it. I'll tackle Kimber too, when I see her."
"If you don't mind, Sammi, I'd like to ask Kimber myself." Mary said quietly. "I've not seen or spoken to her in a long time, and we were always such good friends. It seems a good opportunity to renew the acquaintance."
"Okay." Sammi nodded her head. "Then I'll go speak to Mum about talking to Shana. I'm glad you changed your mind, Aunt Mary. It'll be so much fun to have you there!"
REUNITED: PART ONE
Chapter One: Copper's Idea
Chapter Two: Tackling Sylvina
Chapter Three: I'm Okay
Chapter Four: Preparations
Chapter Five: The Stingers
Chapter Six: Cynthia to the Rescue
Chapter Seven: The Holograms
Chapter Eight: Jack and Courtenay
Chapter Nine: Phoebe Asche
Chapter Ten: Copper
Chapter Eleven: Unrest
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