Set during "The World Hunger Shindig".

Open Secret

Just because it was an open secret that two out of three Misfits shared a bed didn't mean they'd consent to share a bedroom, simply because there were five people in the guest house and only three bedrooms. For girls who prided themselves on having next to no principles, the Misfits certainly had a habit of acting on them.

Even Eric's relatively tractable little Stormer had failed him, although he could certainly understand why she refused to share with Roxy and Pizzazz.

Eric adjusted his pillow on the arm of the couch, cursing at the way the curve managed to press right into the sensitive spot at the nape of his neck. He'd had a special reason for wanting that bedroom, quite apart from the humiliation of being bested from his charges and the purgatorial qualities of the couch.

He'd never had the slightest desire to father daughters. That Fate had landed him with three obnoxious, disobedient but touchingly dependent rock stars was just the kind of little game she liked to play, like ensuring that Jerrica Benton was born before Kimber. If Emmett's daughters had come to the world in a different order, Kimber would be cutting vanity albums while Pizzazz was forced to deal with a manager who wasn't employed by her father… and she'd be sleeping on the couch right this moment.

Little daydreams like that were how Eric liked to lull himself to sleep. If Kimber had only, only, only been the one to inherit half of Starlight Music.

He rolled over, mouthing to himself happy things. "You're too talented to trouble your pretty head with this tedious trivia, Kimber darling. Work on your art and leave the nasty boring business side to me. It's what your dear father would want, I know. Oh, poor Jerrica just says that because she's jealous of your special gifts."

Eric resettled, and one foot fell off the couch, suspended in midair in just such a way that he could feel his blood draining into it. Maybe when one of the girls moved, he could take over her bedroom… No, they'd want to go back to their own room afterwards, just to spite him. Don't think of that. Don't think of the Misfits at all. Think of Kimber not wanting to bother with all that complicated financial stuff…

Yes, there it was. Pizzazz's door creaking open. Eric gritted his teeth and squeezed his eyes shut, determined not to notice anything that might cause bad PR. He just prayed Roxy and Pizzazz would be quiet.

As if Pizzazz was capable of being quiet about anything. Eric groaned silently. More silently than Pizzazz could manage, anyway.

To his somewhat unpleasant surprise, the footsteps padded over to his couch instead of towards Roxy's room. Maybe he'd judged this wrong, he thought, a gleam of hope awakening. Maybe Stormer had repented of her cruelty, and was offering to take up his exile on the couch and yield her nice soft bed to the manager who spent every waking moment slaving for her welfare. Or maybe Pizzazz was going to demand her spare sheets back to rip up for restraints or something.

Eric reluctantly opened his eyes. One look at the young woman before him, her diagonal brows lowering and her eyes narrowed suspiciously, and he shut them, again, despite the fleeting thought that he was one of the few men in the universe who wouldn't be delighted at the chance to see a beautiful rock star in a barely decent negligee. He recognised the look on her face, and it was never a good sign. Despite his best attempts to distract her with charity concerts and British teen idols, Pizzazz had been thinking again.

"ERRRRIIIIIC!"

He gave up. No one could pretend to sleep through that. Pizzazz ought to market her voice as a fire alarm.

"What is it, Pizzazz? Shouldn't you be getting your beauty sleep?" Roxy will get sick of waiting and go into sulks, and you know what she's like then, he wanted to add, but didn't dare.

"Eric, there's three bedrooms, right? And you wanted two of us girls to share, and the other to sleep alone, while you got the third room?"

Eric sighed. "We settled that, Pizzazz. See me on the couch? Now go back to your - to whichever room you choose."

Pizzazz, rather fortunately, ignored that. "I was wondering… Eric, where exactly did you plan on that creep Zipper sleeping?"

Eric put his pillow firmly over his head. He'd always envied ostriches.