Chapter Nine:  Sadie's Voice

It felt just a touch surreal trotting through Los Angeles, looking for the address that Synergy had given us for the house that had once belonged to Syl's mother. We walked in silence for the most part, and I was, if I was honest, still berating myself inwardly for mentioning the possibility of her not existing. Well, I had thought she'd reasoned that out for herself, but I knew that it had upset her and I wasn't quite sure what I could say to make it better. Walking in silence with a friend who's clearly facing her own mortality is not a happy occasion, and just adds to the surreal nature of the whole mission.
I was not sure whether we could change time in the way Syl seemed to think we had done, but it was dawning on me how important the Misfits getting back together really was. And well, Syl had been right. Mary had been unhappy that morning.
"What number house did Synergy say again?" I asked at length, unwilling to maintain the silence any longer. Syl glanced up from the sheet of paper she had been absently folding and unfolding as we walked.
"Seventy three, fifth avenue." She replied. "I knew Mom lived in LA, but I didn't realise she had her own pad. I always figured she lived with the Misfits." She frowned, looking pensive. "I'm realising that I don't know a whole lot about my mother when she was younger, actually. It's dawned on me that I always kinda accepted as a kid that she was some big rock star diva in the eighties and that she was a heck of a cool Mom to have when I was growing up in the nineties and whatever. I didn't think about before that. Mom doesn't talk a whole lot about things like that."
"I wonder if this house still exists in our Los Angeles." I mused, glad to get off the morbid topic of existance. "I don't know this neighbourhood at all."
"It's nice." Sylva decided, glancing around her. "Synergy said that she lived here with her brother, so that must mean Uncle Craig. But I know he toured Europe a lot, so she must have had it to herself a fair bit. That's why he settled out there, partly. His work and Aunt Aja wanted to get away from the Hologram stress. England was like a second home to him - and still is in a way."
"Like Los Angeles is to me, now." I pointed out, then, "Hey! Look - that's seventy five! There, with the red roof!"
Sylva turned, and hope sparked in her blue eyes as she noticed a car already pulled into the driveway. It was shiny and new, and to my eye it did not look much driven, but it was an indication at least that someone was at home. At the far side of the driveway was another car - an old yellow vehicle which looked like it had seen better days, and I wondered at it.
"Maybe your uncle is home too." I suggested. "We've two cars at one house. Providing Synergy was right and didn't lead us on a wild goose chase."
"I don't think she did that." Sylva shook her head. "We know Synergy, Sadie. She's not like that."
"We know our Synergy." I corrected. "This was Synnie before all those things you told me about happened. She was much more...I can't explain it, but, more..methodical?"
"I know what you mean." Sylva nodded. "But she could have given us away and she didn't. I think she was on our side, Sadie." She shrugged. "Who knows, maybe Cynthia remembers the encounter and that's why she brought us back. Maybe she knew we'd come here all along...perhaps we're meant to be here to save the Misfits!"
"I would have thought if that was so Cyn would have told us." I reasoned. Syl shrugged.
"Well, why else dump us back in time?" She demanded. "Besides, we're wasting time."
She marched up the front drive and, hesitantly, I followed her as she rapped sharply on the door. At first there was no answer, but then there was the sound of a bolt sliding back and the door opened. At once I realised Synergy's information had been correct, and that we had found the youngest Misfit's residence.
She eyed us in wary confusion.
"Can I help you?" She asked softly.
"I hope so." Sylva said earnestly. "My name is Sylvina and...and this is Sadie. We hoped we might talk to you...just for a few minutes."
"Talk to me?" Stormer looked startled. "Are you fans? Because..."
"Yes, but not of the kind you think we are." Sylva said matter of factly. "In fact..."
"In fact, we came to talk about something completely different from autographs and that kind of stuff." I broke in, before Syl could tell the confused girl on the step that she was her daughter from the future. "We came about...about your rift with the Misfits, and..."
"Oh, I see." Stormer's pretty blue eyes hardened, and I saw in them something of the obstinate look Syl gets when something doesn't go her way. "I remember you now. You were with Pizzazz at the coffee shop...I should have known she'd send out people to do her dirty work for her. Is that what this is about? Has she sent you on an errand to spy on me?"
"No, not at all." Sylva shook her head. "I mean, you did see us there this morning, but...we were discussing something entirely seperate."
"A music contract." I added, sending my bandmate a sheepish grin. "She said she had contacts and that she might be able to help us. We...we're in a band, you see. Just like you."
"Oh." For a moment, Stormer eyed us in turn, as if trying to work out what was going on and if we were telling the truth. Finally she sighed.
"I suppose you had better come in." She said at length. "But you better not be here to cause trouble."
"We're not, I promise." I assured her, as we followed her into a spacious, pretty lounge, sitting down and watching her hesitantly do the same.
"So why are you here?" She asked. "If not on Pizzazz's instructions, why? What do the Misfits have to do with you?"
"Nothing." I admitted. "Except that you guys rock, and it'd be so sad to see the group break up."
"It's more than that." Sylva shook her head. "Much much more. The Misfits are important!"
"Important?" Sceptically, Stormer shook her head. "No, they don't seem to be all that important any more." She spread her hands. "Look at how things have become. Why should I want to go back to a group who bully and exploit me?"
"Because they need you." Sylva said softly. "Really, Mo...Stormer, they do."
"I don't think they do. They don't seem to think so."
"Well, then they're wrong." I said matter-of-factly. "You're one of the best songwriters in America, you know. Possibly in the world. One day you could be winning awards and acclaims and stuff for your work, but if you run away from the Misfits now, noone is going to take you seriously. They'll think that you're the kind of person who quits in a fit of pique and they won't want to know."
Stormer's cheeks flushed red with indignation at this.
"It wasn't just a fit of pique! You have no idea how they've been treating me!" She exclaimed. "Any sane person would get fed up with their short attention spans, their bitching, teasing, sniping and refusal to talk about anything at all! You know what it's like living with girls like that? They won't even admit when they need a band-aid, that's how bad it is! I've had enough of it! Kimber talks to me and I can talk to her...I don't want to spend my life surrounded by people so emotionally retarded that they never communicate anything to each other! Music does not thrive in that situation!"
"You miss them, don't you?" Sylva eyed her mother earnestly, and Stormer stared at her.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, in our band, I play keys, like you." Sylva explained slowly. "In fact...in fact, you...you were my inspiration. One of our band members - she and I don't always get along, and we fight a lot. She...is a bit like you say the Misfits are, in that she won't talk about things unless you really drag it out of her, and she can be the most frustrating person on the planet to live with. But...but I like her. It's strange, but all in all, I guess I do. We're friends. And...and the band would not be the same without her or without me. Just like the Misfits aren't the same without you. And I think you know that. You're just too proud to go back."
Stormer sighed, and I could see tears glittering in her eyes.
"I feel so let down." She admitted softly. "You're right...I do miss them. It's strange, huh? They're difficult people to live and work with, but...but I'm fond of them. I even thought at one stage that they...they appreciated what I did for the group. That I was really one of them, even though I've never been quite like them." She swallowed hard. "I always wanted to be, you know." She added. "But I've never been as tough as they'd like me to be."
"They do appreciate you." I said gently. "They'd be fools not to."
"I don't know any more." Stormer looked morose. "At one point I thought that Roxy and I had a connection, but even she turned on me this time. It's been since Jetta came, too. I don't know what it is, but things are unsettled. Roxy is always trying to best her and Pizzazz listens to her...and I don't know, I can't make them listen to me so much now. Not that they ever really did. I guess I just...snapped."
She sighed.
"But you're right - I'm too proud to go back." She admitted. "I won't break down and beg them to take me. I know something now that I didn't know before, and that's that I'm a good enough musician to have a hit without them. I'm not going to go back to being the band lackey now I know that. If they really need and want me back, they can come and find me and tell me so. And not with Pizzazz's endless credit cards."
She snorted bitterly. "Can you believe I almost fell for that?"
She jerked a finger towards the window.
"That red porsche is testament to the way the Misfits try to show their appreciation." She said sadly. "Things. Material items. Not friendship. I never had a friend like Kimber before, who I could talk to and share things with without having to put on an act or a front. It's...different."
"But would you be happy if you stayed with her? Joined the Holograms? Let the Misfits die?" Sylva pressed. "Because that is what will happen, you know."
"That isn't my problem. It's theirs." Stormer shook her head. "I told you. They treated me very badly. I can't go back...they'd take it as a victory and nothing would get better."
"I can see what you're saying." I pursed my lips. "But did it ever occur to you that they bought you the car because they don't know how to tell you in words that they need you? Maybe it's the only way they know to get their appreciation across."
"Probably, but it's not enough this time." Stormer replied. "You won't change my mind, you know."
A faint smile touched her lips. "My brother and I have that in common - we're both obstinate as hell when we've made up our minds. I'm sorry for the Misfits, but I can't back down. You must realise that. If...if I really am as good a songwriter as you say I am, I won't prosper in a group that only use me."
"But becoming a Hologram? Is that even true?" Sylva's eyes were big.
Stormer shrugged.
"It has not been discussed with me." She said evasively. "Right now I'm focused on Back2Back. Starlight Music have been very good to me and really, it's all about the music in the end."
"The Holograms don't need another keyboardist. They have Kimber." Sylva said firmly. Stormer smiled.
"You know, I think you're as obstinate as I am." She said softly. "But it's not going to work, you know. I've fought it out with myself every which way and I know what I must do."
Sylva stared at her mother and for a moment I thought she was actually going to cry. But she got her emotions under control, reaching out and taking Stormer's hand.
"I can't tell you how I know this." She whispered. "Because you would never believe me. But...but one day in the future you're gonna be such a huge name, you know? People will talk about you from miles away. Everyone will want you to work on their projects. Believe me! And why? Because you were a Misfit and your music made them one of the greatest rock and roll bands ever! Not because you were a hanger on Hologram that they didn't even need!"
"You don't know that stuff is true." Stormer got to her feet. "This discussion isn't getting us anywhere, so I'm going to have to ask you to leave. I have to get to Starlight Music anyhow - Jerrica called me just a short while before you knocked on my door and I told her I'd be there as soon as I could."
"Jerrica?" Sylva looked horrified, but I grabbed her by the arm, squeezing it tight to warn her to say no more. I cast Stormer a smile.
"Thank you for listening to us, at least, and letting us into your home." I said quietly. "I guess all we can do now is wish you good luck and hope that you make the choice that makes you happy - that's all."
"Oh, I hope I will do that." For a moment, a troubled look entered Stormer's expression, then she got it under control, returning my smile. "And I appreciate your visit. It means something to know that people care enough to do so - even those who might one day prove to be a rival."
"Well, maybe. Though I think our work has a while to go before it hits the big time." I said wryly. "Come on, Syl. Stormer has work to do and we have our friends to find. We can't hang around here all day."
Sylva's expression became resolutely sullen, but she said nothing, and more by force than anything else I managed to steer her out of the small house and onto the front pavement. Stormer followed us out, locking her house and heading to the yellow car, putting her key in the lock and clambering into the driver's seat.
"We have to stop her!" Sylva exclaimed. "She's going to go to Starlight Music and sign a contract and join the Holograms and Anna and I are never gonna be born!"
"Shh, shut up, else the world will think you're some kind of headcase." I said bluntly, more to bring her to her senses than anything. "Listen. We can't forcibly make her do anything. She listened and she told us her point of view, and I agree with her. If the Misfits did treat her that way, well, she's owed an apology if nothing else. This is out of our league - the least we can do is find the others and see whether they've discovered anything while wandering aimlessly around Los Angeles. When we explain everything to them, maybe Cynthia will have an idea. You never know."
"I suppose you're right." Sylva sighed. "Oh Sadie, I'm sorry. It's just...I know Mom can be stubborn. Dad always said I inherited it from her, and Uncle Craig has it too. It's a Phillips gene. But...but I never realised how frustrating it is!"
"No more so than when you and Nancy spat and won't see each other's point of view." I pointed out archly. Sylva snorted.
"That doesn't determine the fate of unborn twins." She said impatiently. I shrugged.
"It might." I returned. "Stormer doesn't know you're in her future. And you don't know what's in yours."
"Nothing, unless we get this band back playing together." Syl rubbed her temples. "I'm getting a headache. This is all so complicated - I wonder if I'm fading out already."
"More likely you're tired from all the traipsing around we've done." I said sensibly. "Now, we're heading back into Los Angeles to find the others, okay? If nothing else I want to borrow one of Cynthia's holograms and buy some cigarettes. It's all right for you."
"Great, just what my head needs." Sylva rolled her eyes.
"Well, you're not the only one stuck in an odd time, you know." I snapped at her. "I know this is your Mom and you're worried, but you don't know that things are going to go wrong if you don't fix them up. None of us know what we're messing with. We don't know if we're ever going to get back home. And, in case it had escaped you, I have a rather nice guy sitting back in L.A who I don't want to stand up because I've been gallivanting through time and missed my porthole."
Syl glanced at me, then grimaced.
"Okay, fine, we'll find Cynthia and get your cigarettes. I know the signs." She muttered. "Come on, before you rip me to shreds over nothing. I don't suppose it matters, anyhow. Mom's gone to Starlight Music...we've failed. And, as soon as midnight comes, there isn't gonna be any more Sylvina Martescu."

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen