Nearest and dearest by planet p

Disclaimer I don't own 'the Pretender' or any of its characters. 'We Can Work It Out' (c) Northern Songs Ltd?

Author's Note A sequel to 'Pretty broken things'. Written... I don't know, but ages ago -- after 'Pretty broken things' -- I don't think there'll be more... don't think anyone is interested!


It was a Saturday night and the Dumpster Club was lacking that certain fever. Cathy Chairman, lead singer of the Dead Beats, was drunk on martini. Her backups, Nada and Aud, were seated beside her on stage, watching as she channel surfed through 71 channels of nothing by 'Barbarella' on loop, Nada occasionally turning to shoot the barman, Tom, a nasty little glare.

Over in the corner, Jake was reading a book his little brother, Cindy, had given him. Nada shook her head quietly to herself, convinced Tom had been blind drunk when he had accidentally overheard them talking on the telephone. Cindy was a girl's name, she was sure of it.

To her left, Aud, Audrey Hepburn look-alike and sequin queen extraordinaire, sighed, slipping off the stage and heading for the corner. She tossed her chin in the direction of the piano man, Angie, and his Hammond organ. "Piano man, it's Howling Hour. C'we possibly 'ave some music 'ere? Preferably before Yule Tide and the Easter Bunny get into a pub brawl over Mrs. Santa What's-'er-face?"

"Claus," Angie corrected. "Mrs. Santa Barbara Claus."

Aud narrowed her eyes suspiciously, the sound of popping gum reverberating around the smoky club. She nodded, unconvinced. "Barbara, 'ey?"

"That's right, ma'am. Barbara."

Aud snorted, leaning forward to smack the heel of her palm against his forehead. "I think you got blonde on the brain. A little less Jane and a little more Delilah, if you please!" she scowled, finishing with a cute little smile and a flick of the chin.

Angie rolled his eyes and turned back to his Hammond, mumbling idly to himself. "My, my, my."

Tapping the mike with her sequined fingernails, Aud cleared her throat. "Uh-hum. Well, g'd evenin' folks, I guess is we is all here to hear our lovely Legs sing us a number." Clearing her throat again, she popped her gum and turned to Nada, who was attempting to haul Cathy to her feet, and looked to be failing at any rate. Aud tissed to herself and looked away again. "As you can all see, we is just about set. So if you'll all just turn that telly down, we can get us started on some singin' an' dancin'."

Nada's blood-curdling scream echoed off the walls as she lost her grip on Cathy's hands and fell backwards with a loud thud.

Aud rolled her eyes at the complete incompetence of her band members. "And now, Delilah!"

Over in the corner, the piano man began playing Rock Around the Clock at exactly the same moment Nada and Cathy sprung to their feet and took their places on stage. Jake covered his ears and wondered what exactly he had done in his last life to deserve this sort of torture.

Aud growled and seized the mike from Cathy, her scream causing everyone, including the barman and excluding the piano man, to drop to the floor in horror. "Delilah, you imbecile!" Angie casually glanced up from his piano, wondering if someone had suddenly screamed bomb. Catching Aud's petrifying glare, he shrugged. "DELILAH!"

Angie frowned for a moment before nodding and began playing Delilah. Aud scowled and refrained from hurling the mike at Jake.

"Alright, everybody, from the top!" she instructed, clapping her hands in a manner which reminded Cathy very much of a dance instructor she had once known.

It was nearing on two-o-ten and 32 seconds through We Can Work It Out, when Nada's husband, Billy-Bob, decided to make a show. Nada scowled and replaced her mike on its stand, her dark eyes fixed on her husband.

"We can work it out together, we can work it out. Life is very short, ain't enough time, for fussing and fighting, my friend, oh no…"

"Honey, really, you've got to come home. Baby, I miss you. Honey, surely we can work something out?"

Cathy and Aud exchanged hopeful glances. "We can work it out together."

Nada growled and whipped out her nine mill and silencer from under her mini skirt.

Cathy's eyes grew wide. Aud winced, taking the gum from her mouth and sticking it to her mike stand. "We can work it out."

"Baby, please, I love you!"

Nada shoved the mike stand aside and strutted to the edge of the stage, meaningfully fixing the silencer onto the end of her gun. "Love you too, baby." A loud thud announced the extent of her love, and clichéd as it was, the band played on.

"Oh yeah."

Tom rolled his eyes to the ceiling. "Oh, come on, guys. I run a respectable business here. I'm just an honest folk tryna make a way for 'imself in this wo'ld." With a heavy sigh, he snapped his fingers, tossing his chin to the stiff obstructing the dance floor. "Be a darl and clean that up," he ordered. Fai huffed and took her feet off the bar, shooting Jake a wink out of the side of her eye.

"I'm on it, boss."

Nara dropped the glue stick on the bed beside her and smoothed her hand across the newspaper clipping, shutting the scrapbook in which she kept all of her mother's columns from the Blue Cove Bonanza with a sigh. She would have to write and see how things were going on the job scene. She remembered her mother had written something about going for an interview on Friday.