Obligatory: Characters and any songs in this story are not mine, I didn't create them, I'm just playing with them. Not making any money off this either. ;)
This is the sequel to "Last One Standing." It may help to read that first….
I'd thought about calling this "Jem: The Next Generation" but after thinking it over, I decided on this particular title.
Jem: Moving On
Chapter 1-Addition and Subtraction
"How is it Jem is six weeks pregnant when we haven't been married for that long?" Riot asked the obstetrician as he scratched his head.
"You're obviously new to this, Mr. Llewellyn," said Dr. Anita Burton. "We count from first day of the last period, which in your wife's case was April 9. It's very likely that your child was conceived on or around the twenty-third, a week after you were married. But we don't know the exact day, so that's why we count it the way we do. And that's how I came up with a due date of January 16, 1989."
"Exactly nine months after our wedding," Jem giggled.
"All right, then. I'll see you back here in two weeks, and every four weeks after that, until we get to thirty-two weeks. Then it'll be every two weeks."
The doctor left the room, and Riot helped Jem put her clothes back on. "I still can't believe this…we're going to have a baby," he said.
"I believe it…I'm the one feeling miserable," Jem remarked. She playfully tapped a finger on his chest. "You did this to me, Rory Llewellyn!"
"You asked for it, Jerrica Llewellyn," Riot teased back.
"I know your mother is happy," said Jem, "since she found out she has a grandchild on the way."
"You took that pregnancy test last week, how did you come up with a January due date?" Riot asked.
"I actually have read pregnancy books, Riot," Jem replied.
"I was never much interested in that kind of thing. Until now," he admitted as they went into the reception area to schedule Jem's eight-week appointment.
"Riot…do you want to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl before it's born?" Jem asked. "I can have the ultrasound done to find out. But it's too early right now."
"I-I don't know," said Riot. "I'd imagine it'd make it easier to determine how to decorate the nursery. And to come up with names."
Usually Riot wasn't at such a loss for words. Then again, it wasn't every day that he was about to become a father, and he was realizing that he had quite a lot to learn. He wasn't exactly sure how he felt. For one thing, he wasn't the one whose body was supporting a growing baby. He'd simply planted the seed-in a matter of speaking-and that was all he'd had to do.
"Okay, Mrs. Llewellyn, I have you down for Friday, June the third," the receptionist said.
"That's two days after your birthday, my love," Riot whispered in her ear.
Jem sighed as she went through the mail. Eric Raymond might be gone, but his flunkies were in jail awaiting trial, and Riot and Jem were going to have to testify, though that might not be for a while yet. Earlier that month two of his thugs had abducted Riot and Jem and had been planning to kill them and bury them out in the Mojave Desert on Eric Raymond's orders. Jem couldn't help but think that her growing baby would have died with them, a thought that made her shudder.
Eric and his flunky Tech-Rat had also been behind the plane crash that killed Jem's sister, the other Holograms, and the eight Starlight Girls that had still been residing in Starlight Mansion. Jem had since sold Starlight Music and Starlight Mansion, never wanting to be a singer again. At least, not full-time.
Starlight Music seemed to have been a curse on the family, a curse that should never affect them again. Her mother had launched the company in the mid-1970s. In 1978, Jacqui Benton died in a plane crash while on her way to a gig. Then in 1985 her widower, Emmet Benton, died of cancer. He'd tried to run Starlight Music but was overwhelmed, which had let him to hire Eric Raymond. Jem knew that had her father known what Eric Raymond was like, he would've fired him.
The property was sold and as far as Jem was concerned, good riddance. There had been a time where she had given her all to protect the company, but it seemed that there was a high price to pay. Way too high.
Nothing but the usual advertisements, circulars, and bills. Jem put the bills in a tray on the desk in the living room so they could take care of them. Then she relaxed in a recliner in the living room. Had it really been only five months since her friends had died? Jem still missed them. Kimber would have been thrilled to be an aunt. Her boyfriend Sean Harrison, who had died in the crash, probably would have proposed to her by now; he'd been wanting to wait until they were both sure.
Riot had been such a help to her during those first few hurting weeks. She'd stayed in his condo, in a different room, for a while, then she'd stayed with his bandmates Minx and Rapture until she and Riot were married. They'd helped pull her out of that pit known as self-pity. And now she and Riot had created a new life, a little life that was rapidly growing and developing within her womb.
Riot came downstairs wearing his swim trunks. There was a pool out back and he was likely going to go swimming, or lounge by the pool. Jem went upstairs and changed into her own swimsuit, then joined him on the patio.
"So we're going to have a baby," Riot drawled as he leaned back and put his sunglasses down over his eyes. "I'm willing to bet that with parents like us, it'll be a perfect child."
Jem had to grin at that. When they'd first met, he'd declared that he was the perfect man, she the perfect woman; ergo, they belonged together. His arrogance and narcissism had been off the charts a year ago, but he'd since toned it down. Truth be told she'd been attracted to him from the start. "If we have a son half as good-looking as you, he'll be a heartbreaker," she said.
"I'd say the same about a daughter," said Riot as he put his hands behind his head.
Jem gazed over at her husband. He was a little on the slim side, tanned, and muscular, definitely attractive. "Would you like me to make some lemonade?" she asked.
"If you please," Riot replied.
Jem didn't mind doing a little running and fetching. She was more or less a housewife now, quite a change from the hectic pace of being a rock musician. Riot worked hard all week, and she figured the least she could do was make him comfortable. She got up.
Suddenly, Riot sat up. "Are you sure you're okay with that?" he asked.
Jem had to grin. Here we go, she thought. "I'm fine."
"I forgot you weren't feeling all that great," he said, sounding apologetic.
"You just relax," Jem told him as she gently pushed him back onto the chaise lounge and kissed his lips. "I feel fine right now. Besides, I could certainly use some lemonade myself. It helps with morning sickness."
"What in the world was that!?"
The Misfits were working on a new song at Can't Dance Records' recording studio. Dave Danielson, their new promoter, was getting fed up. Ever since Harvey Gabor had turned around and sold Raymond Records and its subsidiaries at a loss, Dave had been stuck with the Misfits, and he was clearly ready to tear out his hair.
"That," said Pizzazz, "was me ad-libbing."
"Why don't you just play the blasted thing as written?" Dave snapped. "I sometimes wonder if Eric didn't drive himself off that cliff to get away from you crazy chicks!"
"He sure didn't do us any favors, leaving us with this hole in the wall!" Roxy snarled.
"I bought this 'hole in the wall' from Gabor," Dave reminded her. "And you-Jetta-you got a leaky key pad or what?"
"Shove a bloody sock in it, yank," was Jetta's surly reply. "This saxophone's top o' the line."
"I think it needs a major overhaul," Dave muttered. "As does your attitude."
"Look, we hired you as our promoter because Eric seemed to think highly of you," Pizzazz snarled. "You let us play our music, our way. Got that?"
Stormer was silent as she studied her keyboard. She didn't really like or trust Dave, since he'd tried to give her and Kimber the hose when they tried to cut an album together. She oftentimes wondered what she was doing with the Misfits to begin with. Her brother was promoting the Stingers and would have nothing to do with the Misfits. "I'd sign you on if you went solo," he'd told her, "but the rest of that bunch-forget it. You don't need them, Mary."
"Maybe if Stormer would write songs like she used to, not this trash," Roxy stated. "And Pizzazz is just miffed because she can't get Riot's attention."
"Yeah, well, keep your personal problems at home 'cause I ain't interested!" Dave snapped.
"I'm done rehearsing. There's a Fourth of July beach bash tonight and I want to be there," said Pizzazz. "Maybe I can get Riot's attention, since Jem is getting bigger."
Stormer had heard enough. "I'm done with the Misfits-period!" she cried. "You're never happy with what I write. You have major attitudes. All you ever think about is yourselves. Well-I quit!"
"You won't have Kimber to pal around with," Dave reminded her. "You're nothing on your own, and what's more, you're under contract."
Stormer folded her arms. "I'll stick it out until it's done," she said. "After that-I'm out of here."
Stormer was fuming when the recording session was over. She was still unappreciated and taken for granted. She'd like to see one of them write the songs!
She got into her convertible and headed over to Phillips Productions, which her brother ran. It was getting off the ground and things looked promising, especially since the Stingers were now under contract with the company.
Craig seemed to be doing fairly well, considering his girlfriend, Aja, had died in that plane crash a little over six months ago. In fact, he was now starting to date Video, a friend of the Holograms. Somehow, Stormer knew Aja would have approved.
Stormer sat down in the lobby. Her brother would be finished with work in a little while.
"Oh, hey, Stormer," said a familiar voice.
Stormer looked up, saw Jem and Riot coming out of the elevator, holding hands. "Hi, Jem. Hi, Riot," she said. "How's the baby doing?"
"I'm twelve weeks along and I'm starting to get a bit of a bump," Jem said with a smile as she sat down next to her late sister's friend. Riot sat down next to her. "So what's going on with you?"
"I'm tired of the Misfits," Stormer sighed. "I want out. It's amazing we get anything done. All the arguing and fighting…." She looked up at Jem. "I'm stuck with that stupid contract, and in the meantime it's open season on Stormer. Say what you will about Eric, but he managed to reign them in. Most of the time. And Pizzazz disgusts me…she thinks she has a shot at Riot, now that you're pregnant."
Riot laughed. "I don't know if I should take that as a compliment. I wouldn't go with her if she were the last woman on earth! I have my perfect woman right here."
"She plans on being at the beach party tonight," said Stormer. "You guys coming?"
"Of course, with the other Stingers," said Jem. "And I think Craig said he and Video would be there."
"I'm not sure if we should go to the beach party tonight," said Jem as she and Riot put some ice into a cooler full of cans of pop on Saturday afternoon.
"Why, because of Pizzazz?"
"You have nothing to worry about."
"I've heard that sometimes husbands lose interest in their wives when they're pregnant."
"Maybe that's true for a few men, but not for this one," said Riot as he lifted up on her pink hair and kissed her neck from behind. "I for one see your carrying our child as a symbol of us."
Jem smiled. Her husband was quite the romantic. "Maybe I'm just being paranoid."
"I think you are. You're the only woman for me, Jem."
They carried the cooler out to Jem's new minivan and put it into the rear. "I think that's everything," said Riot as he closed the liftgate. "Let's go get Minx and Rapture."
Jem got in behind the wheel and Riot got in the passenger side. "I think it's just hormones, Riot. They've been going a bit crazy. Don't mind my paranoia."
Riot merely chuckled. "I understand."
Riot and Jem found a decent spot at a local beach and set up a beach umbrella, a blanket, and two lounge chairs. Minx and Rapture set up their things several feet away, to give the couple a bit of privacy. Jem stretched out on one of the chairs and put on her sunglasses. "I'm going to rest for a bit before going swimming," she explained. "At least I'm not getting quite so tired quite so often."
Riot sat on the sand next to her chair and laid his hand over the bump their baby made. "I'm glad you're no longer getting that morning sickness…or should I call it all-day sickness?" he said. "Come sit down here and I'll put some lotion into your back."
Jem sat down in front of him and enjoyed the feel of his hands on her back. She leaned back against his bare chest as he put his arms around her, and at that moment a familiar voice called out: "Over here!"
The two looked up and saw Video, camera at the ready. "You guys, that's a really good pose!" she said.
"How about another one?" Riot asked. This time he gently tilted Jem's chin up and gave her a deep kiss.
"That's almost too hot for my magazine!" Video laughed as she snapped the picture.
Craig came up behind Video and playfully grabbed her around her waist as soon as she was done. "Craig, you nut!" Video laughed.
"You like nuts," he said. "Put your camera down, and I'll race you into the water!"
"I do like nuts with salt on them-okay, let's go!"
A little later, Riot lay on an inflatable raft, his sunglasses covering his dark-green eyes. Glancing over at the beach, he could see Jem lying on their blanket, her own sunglasses on, likely napping. He knew she'd be out here swimming later; she still wanted to keep fit, and swimming was great for pregnant women.
Tuning out the shouts and splashes of the people around, Riot closed his eyes. Life was good right now, despite everything that had happened the last six months or so. You took the good with the bad, and right now he was focused on the good.
Suddenly, his raft was tipped over. He automatically planted his feet on the bottom and came up spitting out saltwater and taking off his sunglasses. "What was that all about?" he spluttered, indignant that someone should pull such a stunt.
"Hi, Riot," Pizzazz said sweetly. "I thought you could use a cooling off."
"I think you had the opposite effect, Pizzazz," Riot growled. "What do you want?"
"What do you think I want?"
"A nice, padded cell. If you keep acting like this little men in white coats will take you away."
"As long as you're in it."
"Pizzazz…how can I get this through your head…I am not interested in you. Even if Jem didn't exist, you're not the woman I want."
"You just have to get to know me, that's all."
"You disgust me," Riot told her, trying to think of something nasty enough to say to discourage her.
That did it. "Really," she spat. "What disgusts me is that Jem fawning all over you. You are aware that she's really going to get huge, aren't you?"
"You know something? You're more effective than a cold shower!" With that, he took his raft and swam away. He couldn't help but grin a little bit when he heard her indignant shriek.
Jem was sitting with Minx, Rapture, and Stormer on her blanket. They were discussing Stormer's dilemma.
"Tell us, Stormer, what's your real hair color?" asked Rapture.
"Blond, like yours," Stormer replied.
Minx and Rapture exchanged interested glances. "Maybe you could join the Stingers," Minx suggested.
"You should talk that over with Riot," said Jem. "It's just been you three for the last several years."
"I'm open to the idea," said Rapture.
"I can play drums, not just keyboard. Craig and I used to practice together all the time," said Stormer.
"All the better," said Minx.
Riot came up and sat down with the women on the blanket. "I have to get away from Pizzazz. She's furious with me."
"What did you say to her?" asked Rapture.
"I told her she's more effective than a cold shower."
Howls of laughter greeted his statement. Jem found herself chuckling at this.
"So what are you all gossiping about?" Riot asked as he put his arm around Jem.
"We're talking about Stormer possibly joining the Stingers," Minx replied. "She's a drummer as well."
Riot stroked his chin thoughtfully.
"She's a natural blonde…she'd actually blend right in," said Rapture.
"Tell you what, Stormer. Come over to my house with Minx and Rapture on Monday and let's see what you can do," said Riot.
"I'm still under contract until we put out another album," said Stormer.
"Not that you couldn't practice with us," Minx pointed out. "I don't blame you for wanting to get away from those Misfits. Just hurry up and get the album done-then leave."
Jem closed her eyes briefly and willed the tears not to fall. This reminded her of the talent search contest the Holograms had held to find a drummer to replace Shana, who had decided to go into fashion design. That was when Raya joined the group. Shana had come back, but had decided to play guitar and just let Raya have the drums.
"You all right, my love?" Riot asked softly.
"I'm okay. I just started thinking about Raya…and Shana."
Riot kissed her cheek.
On Monday, which was the actual holiday, Jem was fixing lunch, making sure to have enough for their three guests. Riot was sitting in the living room, strumming on his guitar. "You think Stormer would be a good addition to the Stingers?" Jem asked.
"I think so. I haven't heard her play, but I do know that she has talent-more than the other Misfits."
"I know she has a good singing voice," said Jem.
Just then, the doorbell rang, and Riot put down his guitar and answered the door. Minx and Rapture were there with Stormer. "Come on in, girls," said Riot.
"Nice place you have here," said Stormer.
"Thanks," said Jem. "Here, let's all sit down to lunch first."
They all sat down at the dining room table and started talking business. "I don't want to let the others know what I'm up to," said Stormer. "I want to see how this goes first. If you guys accept me, I'll wait until I can walk, then get a makeover and everything."
"At least you know with your brother running the company, you'd actually get a fair deal," said Jem. "You know what I think of that Dave Danielson."
After lunch, Jem cleared the table and loaded up the dishwasher, and Stormer followed the Stingers into the rehearsal room. Jem came in a few minutes later and watched.
The Stingers ran through a few numbers and Stormer fit right in music-wise. "Yes…I like that," said Riot. "Looks like pretty soon the Stingers are going to have a new member."