Chapter Four: Preparations
"This is a drag. It's raining, I'm bored and my stupid email won't download."
Phyllis tossed the PC's mouse down onto the desk with a frown. "Jetta,
get in here, will you? Is that son of yours about today?"
"Aaron?" Jetta, who had been sorting documents in the sideroom next door poked her head around the door. "Dunno. Call 'im. I ain't 'is minder, you know. 'E's grown up. In a month or two 'e'll be twenty one!"
"Great." Phyllis reached for the phone, dialling the elder Pelligrini's mobile number. "Why is it there's never anyone about when you need them? And even better, his phone's engaged. Bet he's talking sickly love nothings to Copper, when he should be here helping me sort out my dumb mail!"
"What's up with it? Did you forget your password again?" Jetta perched on the desk, peering at the monitor.
"Nope, I got the password, see?" Phyllis waved her notebook. "It just won't take it."
"Lemme try." Jetta pulled the keyboard towards her, deftly typing in the eight digit password and hitting the enter key. Within a moment the email had begun downloading, and Phyllis let out a cry of frustration.
"Stupid machine! Why does it work for you and not for me, huh?"
"You an' technology ain't the best of pals, are you?" Jetta laughed. "Anytime."
"I have eighty six new messages." Phyllis pulled a face. "Brilliant, just what I feel like trawling through. I bet half of them are junk anyway. I've had three mails in the last week advertising cosmetic surgery - if I get any more I'm suing someone for libel!"
"They spew out those mails random, that's all. Probably got your email from the company's webpage." Jetta said sensibly. "And in any case, you can talk about cosmetic surgery. Your figure is not entirely as nature intended, is it?"
"It is so." Phyllis folded her arms sulkily.
"That was different! It was Emily's fault...and it wasn't anything major. Just...you know. A helping hand. The rest is my own hard work and good diet, so don't come to me about cosmetic surgery."
"Yeah, yeah." She replied with a grin. "I know. I wouldn't trust 'em that near me, meself. If I put on weight, well I do...rather that than 'ave someone messin' with me body."
"You can say that. You ain't ever had a problem with keeping your figure, even after two kids." Phyllis pouted. "God only knows how."
"One of nature's little miracles, I guess." Jetta shrugged. "Sorry, Pizzazz. That's life, I guess."
"Am I interrupting anything?" A tentative voice asked from the doorway, interrupting the conversation.
"Depends what you're here to say." Phyllis eyed her guest moodily. "You're a wimp, Stormer. A softhearted weedy little wimp."
"I don't need that kind of abuse right now, Pizzazz." Mary said quietly. "And in any case, it's not justified. I did come to tell you I'd do the show...but I'm not sure I want to now."
"What? You'll play?" Jetta demanded. "Ignore Pizzazz, Stormer, she's sulkin' about me figure or somethin', an' not bein' able to do 'er emails without a minder. You gotta play...we're gonna rock!"
"Why'd you change your mind?" Phyllis asked.
"Sylvina." Mary replied with a shrug. "She made me remember how important playing with you folk was to me. I've...become someone or something I don't like over the last few years...I've kept my writing, but I haven't done much else. I've few friends in DC even after living there so long, and I've missed being able to perform what I write...I send it all to you guys in the hope someone will use it, because there's no use me keeping it to use. I'm turning into a mouse and it's not me. I want to prove to myself, I guess, that I'm still a Misfit somewhere at heart."
"Does Roxy know yet?" Jetta asked. Mary nodded.
"I told her before I came here. So, I guess we're all up for the challenge." She agreed. "Do we have a date yet?"
"No. Waitin' to hear if the Holograms are game." Phyllis replied. She paused, then, "Okay, you ain't a wimp. Happy now?"
"Yes, thank you." Mary's blue eyes twinkled, and in an instant the tired look was gone from her face, making her look younger. "Its odd but now I've decided to do it, I'm kinda excited about it. I hope the Holograms consent...this could be so much fun!"
"Well, let's hope so." Phyllis nodded her head. She grinned. "All right! The Misfits are back in business!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"You're going to do what?"
Justin eyed his wife as if she'd gone mad. "Jetta, are you nuts? It's been years since you did any of that stuff!"
"So? You think I shouldn't?" Jetta put her hands on her hips. "Bein' a Misfit brought me to LA, you know...an' you'd never 'ave met me any other way, so you should be blinkin' grateful to 'em!"
"I'm not saying you shouldn't do it, silly." Justin grinned. "I'm just worried that you're out of practice to be prancing about on stage."
"You mean, I'm too old."
"Don't go there." Justin laughed. "I'm not falling into that trap. You know full well you're not old, Jetta, either in years or at heart. It just surprised me, that's all, that this even came up."
"Well, all right. You take me out for dinner and I'll forgive you." Jetta said finally. Justin grinned.
"Yes, ma'am." He teased. "Okay. Dinner out sounds good, anyway. I'm in no mood to cook tonight and I know better than to let you near the oven!"
"Cheeky." Jetta swiped him playfully. "Guess me sax is comin' out of the cupboard, eh? I ain't played it much since I taught Nancy to play an' that seems an age ago...guess I am rusty, aren't I?"
"You'll pick it back up." Justin assured her. "Like riding a bike. You were one hell of a sax player when I met you...I doubt that you're gonna lose ability through lack of practice. You'll be fine."
"I 'ope so. This is gonna be so big." Jetta replied. "I ain't looked forward to somethin' like this for ages, not since I began countin' the days till the kids moved out!"
"Stupid." Justin reproached her playfully. "You know you love those kids as much as I do. More, you've proven it enough times, so quit it with the disinterested mother routine, it ain't working."
"Whatever." She said dismissively. "I'm goin' to get changed for dinner, okay? Then later, I'll fish out me sax an' give it a go...see if I still got the technique."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"So, what's all this fuss about?"
Emily Gabor sent her visitor a confused look, carefully setting the drowsy baby down in his crib. "Come into the lounge, Nance, let him sleep. If he wakes up again I swear I'll go out of my mind!"
"Okay." Nancy obediently entered the main lounge of her recent ally's apartment, sitting down on the sofa. "Basically it's like this. Syl's Mom is down in the dumps and so's Syl...we wanted some way to perk up them and the whole music world. Copper had the idea of a get together concert with us, the Misfits, the Holograms, Sammi's Teenangels...and you, if you wanna do it."
"Do I ever." Sirena's green eyes lit up. "I need to get out of this apartment, Nance! You any idea how hard it is to get a babysitter? But the problem is, can I? I...can't leave Mikey on his own."
"Sure, I know that." Nancy agreed. "But surely you can get someone to sit for him for one night? It'd rock to have you there too...especially since Syl, Copper and I will be playing with our mothers."
"Mom was my idol growing up, even though I never knew what she was to me." Sirena looked thoughtful. "In truth it'd be the coolest thing in the world to play with the Misfits, even just one song. I wanna do it, Nance...I really do. I'll call Grandpa and see if he could play sitter - do we have a date for it yet?"
"Nothing fixed. Aunt Phyl and Mom are checking the schedule books for a suitable one, and we haven't got the Holograms confirmed yet." Nancy replied. "But the Misfits are a definite, and so are we. Also, Sammi reckons the Teenangels will do it, too...so we're partway there."
"Well, if I possibly can do it then count me as there." Sirena rolled her eyes. "I was born to be a rock singer, not a mother, Nancy. I swear this is the most impossible job on earth. If that guy hadn't killed Blade last fall, I'd do it myself now for getting me into this mess."
"You like Michael though, admit it." Nancy reproached her.
"It's crazy as hell, but I do." She replied. "I don't know who I am anymore, it's scary. I mean, take the other night. He choked on his milk...I swear it scared the life out of me, even though he was fine. I think I'm goin' soft."
"Nah, you ain't." Nancy grinned. "You're like Mom, I think. She never wanted or expected kids, but she proved to be a damn fine mother when she got 'em. Didn't affect her Misfit image, neither. Within six weeks of Aaron being born she was off on tour with the band again. In fact, if Aunt Phyl is to be believed, it was a bigger scandal when the press found out she'd married Dad. And I know she performed on stage till she was six months with him, too...and recorded in studio after that. All in all if she took two months off it was only just. It was like she took it all into her stride."
"Chance would be a fine thing." Sirena frowned. "Jetta could ditch Aaron on your Dad. Mike has no Dad."
"True, but I thought he had a fighter for a Mom." Nancy said acidly. Sirena frowned.
"Don't even go there." She said darkly. "You have no idea, Nancy. You're still a kid in this world...you ain't never had to fend for yourself like I have."
"Well, I wasn't dumb enough to sleep with Blade." Nancy shrugged. "Listen, Em, I'll talk to Aunt Phyl myself about a babysitter for Mike, if you can't get your grandfather to do it. Okay? I think you need to get back to music. Sitting at home playing Mom isn't you."
"I know it ain't." Sirena grimaced. "I wouldn't part with him, like...but sometimes I need my space and my life too. I used to do so much at night - go out and have a good time. I hate sitting in watching boring repeats on TV and waiting for him to squeal. It's so damn monotonous I can't describe...I'm beginning to understand why Mom ditched me on the Foundation. If I wasn't so attached to him already I'd be tempted to follow suit."
"The Foundation is for girls." Nancy reminded her, not a bit phased by her companion's words.
"I think I know that." Sirena pulled a face. "I grew up there, if you'd forgotten." She got to her feet, moving to the window. "But anyway, I'm in if I can be. I need it. I'm not old enough to play single Mom - I'm twenty two in July. That's hardly any age to be starting a family!"
"Do you regret having him?" Nancy asked softly.
"No-o-o." Sirena paused, then, "It's more he might regret having me." She sighed. "Anyway...maybe I'll drop into Misfit Music in the morning and see Mom, see what she has to say about it. Then I'll let you know. Okay?"
"Sure." Nancy nodded, getting to her feet. "I hope you can do it, though. It'd be neat for us to play our first show as, well, friends."
Sirena looked slightly self-conscious at this.
"It would." She acknowledged. "So much stuff has happened...it would be cool to get back and sing again."
"Well, keep us informed." She instructed. "I gotta go...I got music to edit!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
April Cavendish pushed open the door of her guardian's bedroom, where Kimber Harrison, formerly of the Holograms was sat reading over her emails. Kimber was no natural with technology, so her husband, Shawn generally printed them off for her, and then coped with writing her reply, unless in certain special and personal cases. "Kimber, there's someone downstairs to see you!"
There was an unmistakeable look of excitement in the girl's eyes and Kimber eyed her curiously.
"What's up, April? Who is it?" She asked, setting the paper aside. At almost nineteen, April was the house's oldest resident, but her loyalty to the Foundation was such that she had asked to stay on to help out, and Kimber was only too happy to have her company. April's mother Dierdra was a former Starlight girl herself, though circumstances had made it difficult for her to bring her daughter up, and in many ways Kimber was more a mother figure, though April and Dierdra shared a close bond. Kimber was fond of April, and appreciated her help, for she was responsible, dependable and a natural with the younger girls. As a result she was undertaking classes at a local college to get her childcare qualifications, with a view to becoming a full blown member of staff once her education was completed.
"You won't even begin to guess." April grinned. "Someone you knew a long time ago."
"A long time ago?" Kimber frowned. "I can't think, April...not Aja or Shana, surely? I know Aja's in LA, but she's here a lot, to discuss business and life and all sorts. It can't be her you mean."
"No, it's not Aja." April responded. "It's someone I never met before in my life."
"Then how do you know I know them?" Now Kimber was thoroughly confused. "April, talk sense!"
"Because I've seen pictures of you together, in the photo albums." April responded. "And you've told us about her, too. Shall I give you a clue? You worked with her."
"I worked with her?" Kimber's brow furrowed. Then a light dawned in her deep blue eyes. "Oh! Not...not Stormer!"
"Stormer it is." April laughed at her guardian's expression. "She's downstairs in the salon, she said she had something to discuss with you."
"Oh!" Kimber's eyes lit up with pleasure. "We haven't seen anything of each other in so long...I saw her at the Jem Memorial, but with everything that went on there we never even got to speak." She got to her feet, the emails forgotten. "I'm coming, April. Would you go and see if there's any coffee left in the pot?"
"Sure." April dimpled. "I'll go right now."
Kimber swung open the door of the salon, glancing around her and meeting the gaze of one who had once been so dear a friend. She smiled.
"Well, hey there." She said. "It's been a long time...what brings you to our humble home?"
"It's hardly humble, Kimber." Mary reproached her. "It's impressive...your mother would be proud."
"Do you think so? I've tried my best." Kimber looked self-conscious. "The Foundation is pretty much everything to me these days...and the girls, too."
"They're lucky to have you." A smile crossed Mary's tired face. "It really has been a long time, hasn't it? I never imagined we'd lose touch how we have."
"Tell me about it. Life happened." Kimber rolled her eyes.
"Are you and Jerrica really not speaking?"
"Nope. Not since we had one hell of a row over the funding for this place, and that wasn't far after the Jem Memorial went haywire." Kimber replied. "She's gone cold inside, Stormer. I don't know why, exactly, or what happened to drive her over the edge, but she's not the sister I grew up with any more. She's jealously possessive of Rio, vindictive over what remains of her company and scheming when it comes to anything she can get her claws into." She laughed, though her laugh lacked much humour. "I could be talking about Pizzazz, couldn't I?"
"I don't think so." Mary shook her head. "Time's mellowed her, you know. Time...and other things."
"You were always defending her and the others." Kimber grinned wryly. "Guess some things never change. Do you keep in touch with them all, then?"
"Roxy, always." Mary nodded. "And Misfit Music in a business sense - my writing, you know. But..." She faltered, then, "Even more so recently, since...since I've come back to live in LA."
"You have?" Delight filled Kimber's dark eyes. "Oh! That's so cool, I've hated you living so far away!"
"I've missed California a lot too." Mary admitted. "Only it's not all roses, Kimber. My husband and I...well, we've decided that our marriage hasn't much left to it, and we're cutting our losses. Roxy convinced me to come out here, and so far I think she's been right."
"Oh!" Kimber looked startled, then she reached for her friend's hand.
"I'm sorry." She murmured, for Kimber was one of the few people who really understood how sensitive Mary was. Mary sighed.
"Me too. I love him a lot still." She admitted. "But it was hurting me more than helping me, being there. I needed to come away...and it really is over, I know that now. More, maybe I'm starting to cope with the idea."
"That's good at least." Kimber replied gently. "And if you need a friend, well, L.A is full of them."
"I know that much." Mary smiled. "You wouldn't believe how much Roxy and the others have rallied round me since I came home. And Aja's always been the best sister-in-law you could hope for. Now I'm here to renew our friendship, if you'll have me. And to ask something else."
"I've missed you, of course I want us to be friends again!" Kimber exclaimed. "We made a good team and I bet we still do now! So don't be silly, you needn't even ask!" She sent April a smile, as the girl brought in two mugs of hot steaming coffee. "Thanks, April. Stormer, I think you met April at the door...she's Dierdra's daughter and the most brilliant assistant I could hope for in this madhouse."
"I thought you looked familiar." Mary smiled at April, who had blushed at her guardian's praise. "It's nice to meet you, April."
"You too." April dimpled. "Kimber told us a lot about you."
"So, what's this other thing you wanted to mention?" Kimber took a sip of coffee, turning questioning eyes on her companion. Carefully Mary outlined Copper and Sammi's plan.
"I think initially the idea was to bring both Sylvie and I back into the real world." She concluded. "But it's turning into something much bigger, and I'm really getting into the idea now. I...kinda wondered if you'd play, too."
"Me?" Kimber's eyes could not get any bigger. "Wow, for real? I'd love it! I've missed my music so much! But what about the other Holograms? Can't play without them."
"I think they're being tackled about it, too." Mary responded. "But even if they don't agree, Kimber, I'd like you to play anyway. We could play some of our songs together...if you wouldn't mind."
"It'd be outrageous." Kimber grinned. "I'd love to, Stormer. Really definitely."
"Pizzazz mentioned a contribution from the proceeds coming here to the Foundation, too." Stormer added. "I heard Jetta and her bantering about it. So perhaps you could bring the girls to see the show."
"Oh, they'd love it!" April exclaimed. "We all know Kimber was such a big star, back in the eighties...we'd all love the chance to see what she can do!"
"Well, I'm honoured." Kimber blushed. "And for sure the girls can come along, though not the littlest, p'raps. It'll be fun!" She sent Mary a curious look. "Why Pizzazz's sudden interest in us, though? I woulda thought she'd want the profits, if her company is backing proceedings."
"You don't know why?" Mary was taken aback. "You haven't read the papers?"
"I don't have time for reading papers, with this lot." Kimber admitted. "Go on, excite me."
"I would have thought you'd know this." Mary responded. "You remember Emily, don't you?"
"Sirena? Sure, I raised the kid, pretty much." Kimber rolled her eyes. "I couldn't forget her if you paid me. I know she has a kid...that's about the limit of it."
"Do you remember how she came to you?"
"Sure. She was abandoned at the Gabor estate."
"No...she never was." Mary hesitated, then, "I hated keeping the secret, Kimber, but I promised. The press have gotten to it now, though, so...I don't feel so bad talking to you about it. I'm really surprised you didn't know about it...but Emily is Pizzazz's daughter."
"What?" Kimber's expression underwent a transformation. "Pizzazz's? But...but she gave her to Aja, bold and defiant as...you're telling me that she gave up her own daughter, just like that, without ceremony or hesitation? She just...did it? Didn't she feel it?"
"I think she did. She and Emily have apparently bonded since Emily became pregnant." Mary replied. "But you know Pizzazz. She was afraid...of image, of her father's disapproval, and of the kid herself." She sighed wistfully. "It's a shame, in some ways. I liked Emily. She was a sweet baby."
"Wow." Kimber was silent for a moment, as if digesting this. "I didn't know, Stormer. I never suspected. Emily told me herself that Eric Raymond was her father...but I never thought they'd have any kind of relationship. I know we joked about it, but still...I never saw it happening."
"Well, it did." Mary shrugged. "I'm glad things are more settled now. She'd never talk to us about it, after Emily was born, and that was that...but I'm sure it bugged her. I couldn't imagine giving up Sylvie or Anna so easily."
"Sometimes mothers have a reason for giving up their kids." April said softly. "And it's nothing to do with love. I...I know Emily resented being abandoned, but I reckon Ms Gabor had her reasons...just like my mother did. She's just lucky, like me, that there are people like Kimber and Shawn who can give us a chance at family."
"Kimber, you all right?" Mary shot Kimber a surprised look, for the redhead's expression was troubled.
"Yes, I'm fine." she agreed, almost absently. "It just...I could never tell her who she really was, though I wanted to so much. I could never...If I'd only have thought it through, then maybe...maybe things would have been different for her. April's right...everyone needs someone to look up to."
"Yeah, for sure." April agreed. "I'm glad I know Mom, even though she couldn't raise me herself. Emily bore grudges, which I don't think I do, but I'm glad for her that she's found her identity and her family...especially now she's a mother herself."
"Yes, me too." Mary nodded. "I've not seen either Emily or the baby since I came back to Los Angeles, but I hope I will. I'd like to see how the babe I nursed as a tiny girl has grown up."
"She was never easy to raise." Kimber seemed to shake herself out of her pensive state. "She resented a lot of things and didn't make friends easily among the other girls here. But...I hope she really is happy now. Growing up she definitely wasn't."
"Things do work out for the best, sometimes." Mary agreed. "I'm beginning to see that, even in things as hopeless as my divorce. It's brought me home to the city I love best, to the people I know best and to the thing I love best - my music. Perhaps I'll get through this after all."
"I know you will." Kimber hugged her friend impulsively. "And you can definitely count me in at the concert! I wouldn't miss it for the world!"
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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