Whose Club Is It, Anyway, Part 2

(No teaser – scenes from Part 1 instead)

(Commercial break)

"Guys, you remember Derek, right?" Michelle asked her Aunt Becky and Joey, as fellow second grader Derek Boyd and his parents came up to them on opening night.

"We sure do," Becky said merrily.

Derek looked around anxiously. "Will all these seats have people?"

"I sure hope so," Becky said, a little tentative.

"Hey, that's part of the fun of it," Joey said. "There's no business like show business."

Joey had just spoken it, but Derek began singing the same line, following it with 'Like no business I know!"

"That's good, Derek," Kelli said enthusiastically.

"Thank you. I have it memorized," Derek said.

Becky asked lowly "Does he really have it all memorized?"

His mother was thankful for the hushed tone. "Yes. Michelle probably told you his vocabulary is unusual for his age. He was glad your late husband and Joey picked a harder song like 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' instead of the original 'Yankee Doodle' for the play; he picks those up fast. And yet, I know he told them he blends in with his surroundings so much in public."

Becky said Jesse had mentioned that. "Could he sing that instead?" His mom thought so. More normally, Becky said, "We'll lead off with that song and then have Joey's comedy."

"That'll be great. Thanks for letting our son perform," Mr. Boyd said.

Danny stood backstage with Stephanie, D.J., Kimmy, and Steve. "Okay, Steph, are you sure you can handle some of the extra serving if the others are occupied?" She nodded. "Good. We might use you, but hopefully Kimmy, D.J., and Steve will be all the extra help we need. Steve, if Gia comes and tries to cause trouble we can always use you as a bouncer."

"What about me? If you need performers I can lip synch anything," Kimmy boasted.

"Figures; you're homework synching your way through school," Danny teased.

D.J. thought of something. "What if Nicky and Alex perform like at the twins' festival?"

"Okay. Irene's with them but Becky planned to let them stay for a short time. That'll be good; get them ready when I signal you," Danny instructed. He told Kimmy, "We'll only have you lip synch if we need. And if we do, tell people you are. I don't want anyone saying we're just playing the radio."

"But, where's the fun in that?' Kimmy asked.

D.J. had a suggestion. "Maybe if you do a voice that sounds totally unlike you," she offered. She knew Danny didn't want her to lip synch and figured this would stop her from even trying.

She was right. Kimmy said, "No way; if I lip synch I want people to think it's me."

Becky strutted to the mike. "Hello, ladies and gentlemen," Becky said proudly "Welcome to the New Smash Club. My late husband, Jesse Katsopolis, loved playing here. This was part of his dream - to entertain people. He died before he knew he'd inherited… well, you read about that in the paper, I'm sure," she said, not wanting to get too choked up. "We're going to honor him tonight. With what he would have wanted; a great collage of entertainment, starting with a symbol. A symbol of our new beginning, and of the good, young performers we hope to showcase. Please give a hand for Derek Boyd."

Derek approached the microphone nervously. He kept looking at Michelle, who was sitting with his parents and Kelli. All gave him the thumbs up sign. He bumped into the microphone, but finally looked out at the hushed audience and began singing "There's No Business Like Show Business." The reviewer smiled, quite impressed, his head slowly moving with the music.

"The audience loves him, Becky," Danny said as she walked over to him.

"Good, we're off on the right foot." She looked at her watch and said, "Now, our other acts … wait, the first should already be here."

Steve walked up to them and said, "Bad news, guys."

"Oh, no, what is it?" Danny asked. The crowd applauded as Derek's number concluded.

"We got a call from the act we had after Joey; someone sliced their tires. They can't make it."

Danny sighed. "Thanks, Steve. Becky, get where Joey can see you from the stage and signal him to stretch it out." She nodded

Joey was on stage. "The owner hung on so long, rumor had it the club got its name because the first act he booked was people smashing rocks together." He saw Becky slowly stretching her arms out wide, telling him to stretch out his routine, as he spoke his next sentence. "You know, the owner saw Jesse as the son he never had. When Jesse first snuck in here and saw Elvis, it was so different from seeing him on a black and white TV. How many remember those? I watched the Red Wings all the time on one in Detroit when I was little. I finally went to a game and saw their jerseys and I told my dad, 'So that's why they're called the Red Wings.' All this time I'd only seen them on TV and thought they should be the Gray Wings…."

Backstage, Stephanie asked, "Where's our next performers, Dad?"

"They had their tires slashed. You haven't seen Gia?"

"No; do you think she did it?" Stephanie inquired.

Danny nodded slowly. "Maybe. Well, if so she didn't sneak in. We'll give Joey a little break and have Nicky and Alex come out while I explain things to him, and then he can go back for some more. By then we'll know if the other act is going to show."

"Yeah. I'm sorry we couldn't stop her before," Stephanie said mournfully. It was so hard for her to fathom someone acting like that; she'd felt badly about just the report card thing after a while.

"Don't blame yourself, Steph; she needs a lot more help than we could give her if she slashed those tires." He turned to D.J. "It reminds me of that time Kimmy met those girls who wanted to trash our house. It's a good thing she got away from them." D.J. nodded. "Go get Nicky and Alex ready."

Later, Joey was backstage talking to Danny and Becky. "So, the one had their tires slashed and the other got in a traffic accident?" he asked, somewhat astonished.

"Now, Danny, I'm sure Gia couldn't have caused that one, too," Becky said.

"I hope not. Just get out there and do some more comedy after Nicky and Alex," Danny told him.

"Sure thing, Danny; I just need some time to get my puppets ready," Joey said. "And, check the sound, too, something weird happened to it for a second out there, but it's okay now."

Joey walked back into the storage room to retrieve his puppets. However, as he was doing so, he saw Gia sneak out and lock and jam the door behind him. "Hey," he shouted. He began pounding on the door, but nobody could hear him.

The audience was cheering as Nicky and Alex finished performing as young Elvis impersonators. Becky walked up beside D.J. on stage and said, "Those are my boys. Always entertaining. Come here, boys." They ran over and hugged her.

"Aren't they cute?" D.J. asked into the microphone. "Unfortunately, we've had some accidents, but not to worry. We're ready for anything," D.J. said with confidence. "We hope you enjoyed Joey Gladstone's comedy. Because you're in for some more treats." She noticed Becky shaking her head. "What?" she whispered. Once Becky mouthed the words, "He's not here," D.J. realized she had to think fast. She recalled everyone in her family talking about the danger of dead air. Abruptly, she looked at the table where Michelle and Kelli sat. "Michelle, bring your friend Derek up so he can perform for us again."

"Go on, Derek" Kelli urged as a few people at other tables clapped. They'd enjoyed his first number. "I never got to hear you sing 'Yankee Doodle Dandy,'" Kelli told him.

"But, I don't have my costume from that," Derek said nasally.

"I'll go up, too; you'll have a Yankee Doodle sweetheart at least," Michelle said. She took his hand. "I know you've got butterflies in your stomach, but they'll go away."

"Butterflies? More like 747 jets," Derek hedged.

Becky met D.J. backstage. "Okay, good thinking. That'll buy us a little time."

"Where did Joey go?" D.J. asked.

"He went to get his puppets. I hope he didn't leave them at home," Danny said.

Stephanie piped up, "I saw him put them in the car."

"I'll check there; Danny, check the storeroom," Becky instructed.

"Oh, boy, this is getting crazy." D.J. heard Danny call out "it won't open." She rolled her eyes. "And it keeps getting worse. Aunt Becky was missing her key a minute ago."

"Who has the extra one?" Stephanie asked.

"Joey; which won't help if he's inside the storeroom. It's like the opposite of being locked out of your car," D.J. fretted.

Steve walked up to them. "Deej, great news!"

"You found a key to the storage room?" D.J. asked hopefully.

"No, but I just got off the phone with the police. They caught the people who slashed those tires; I asked and they had no connection to Gia," Steve finished as Danny walked up to him. "Neither was the accident involving the others; they hit a rough patch and ran into a telephone pole."

"Oh boy, now what?" Danny thought for a second.

Stephanie held up a finger as Becky returned. "Wait. If Gia had nothing to do with either of those, and she still plans to mess things up, could she be in this building?"

"You're right; we need to find her fast!" Danny said.

"First, don't we need to get Joey out of the storage room?" Steve asked.

"You're right; first thing Monday we'll get a locksmith who can install one that can unlock from both ways; unless the door's just jammed, in which case we can fix…"

"Danny, wait! We need to worry about what's on stage first," Becky insisted.

"What is on stage?" D.J. asked. She and Stephanie rushed to the door where they could both see the performer, but the audience couldn't see them, and opened it. "Oh, no."

"I don't know why D.J. said to tell you I'm lip synching," Kimmy was saying. "I want you to think it's my normal voice. That's the whole idea. Hit it, maestro." The audience began to laugh as Kimmy's lips moved and George Burns' voice blared out of the speakers. Someone had switched her tape with that of George Burns singing "I Wish I Was Eighteen Again." Kimmy was stunned for a second, but quickly played along.

"I'm glad the audience is getting laughs," Stephanie said woefully, "because our opening night is a nightmare."

(Commercial break)

Becky joined D.J. and Stephanie, with Danny and Steve right behind. "Well, the audience is laughing," she remarked as D.J. closed the door. "But, I have to get someone else out there."

"Look, Becky, leave it to me, I'll handle this," Danny announced.

"Danny, this is our big opening night, I want to put on quality entertainment, not rely on accidents," Becky declared. "And I know it was an accident because Kimmy Gibbler would not have put George Burns into that tape player."

D.J. disliked it when she had to be the mature one; in a way, that's why she'd rebelled against it somewhat when normally she'd have taken on more roles like many older siblings did after the death of a mother; after all, she'd started out doing so watching Michelle when the others had the chicken pox. She wished she'd been more proactive with her sisters and others, but was glad she'd at least started to be that way with Jesse gone.

Now, she had no choice with Danny and Becky bickering behind her. She put a hand on Steve's shoulder. "Steve, when Kimmy's done, announce a five-minute intermission." He said "okay" as she turned back to Danny and Becky. They ceased arguing and looked at her. "Look, first, Dad, this isn't your club, and it isn't even Aunt Becky's. It's Nicky and Alex's."

"True," Becky said pensively, "but I doubt the audience wants to hear Sesame Street songs."

"Me, neither, but for us to have a club they can run one day, we need to teach them how by being on the same page," D.J. proclaimed.

Stephanie suggested that, "Joey can always be a tiebreaker."

"Right, but he's stuck in a storeroom, and… I thought it was best if I took charge," Danny said. He breathed deeply. "I guess I got carried away after a while with this, huh? I'm sorry, Becky."

"I'm sorry, too, Danny. I just want this to be so perfect so we can honor Jesse," Becky said.

"I'm sure if we all pitch in, we'll get lots of people coming. The Rippers can since they got a new lead; they were busy but we have them coming soon. Maybe even the Beach Boys, they heard about Jesse and promised to help the family," D.J. reminded them.

Danny grinned. "You're right, Deej. This has to be a team effort. We worked together to hire someone to run the day-to-day operations so we didn't get too busy with this and our other jobs, I'm sure we can work together in other areas, too."

Kimmy opened the door to the backstage area as Steve walked out. Applause and laughter were heard before the door closed. "Deej, you were a genius!" she proclaimed excitedly. "I was all wrong. I thought I had to lip synch to someone like me, but funny was better. Especially George Burns; who would think a good looking teenage girl would sing like an old man?"

"I wish I could take credit for it," D.J. said humbly.

"Who replaced the tape, then?" Stephanie asked nobody in particular.

"Here's who," Joey said. He marched Gia up to them. "One of the janitors got me out right about the time one of the cooks found her trying to mess with stuff in the kitchen. Apparently she was the one fiddling with the sound, too, but got out of the booth before anyone caught her."

Kimmy was oblivious to what this meant, and added to Gia's frustration as she merrily clapped Gia on the shoulder. "That was the funniest song you could have picked. The title was funny enough; I haven't even been eighteen once. And the fact I sang like an old guy was great. That was some of the loudest laughter of the night. You've really got an ear for comedy."

"I know, I wanted to ruin things, and I can't even do that right!" Gia shouted.

"I'll admit his music's slower than what a lot of our customers would want," Joey said, "but Kimmy has a point. A few acts have cancelled, but we've pulled together and things have worked out well."

"That's just it! They worked out even though your performers didn't show, so I couldn't do anything to mess them up, they worked out even though you had to keep making up acts. Everything works for you!" Gia shouted.

"We're sorry you're upset," Steve said. "You're on in a couple minutes," he whispered to Joey, who nodded and left. "But, things haven't been perfect for them, Gia."

"Of course not. I can't imagine anything worse than when our mom died," Stephanie said soothingly.

"Our Uncle Jesse died six years later. Dad's been depressed and hid it by cleaning," D.J. added. "I wasn't proactive like I should have been. But, even reacting, I've picked up slack more these six and a half years than most people realize."

"Deej is right," Kimmy said. "She's vented to me about that a few times."

"It's not about what happens. It's about how you get through it. And, we're there for each other, with unconditional love," Becky advised.

Gia looked ready to cry. "And, what do you think it's like not having that? You all have each other; I've had nobody. Every day when I came home from school before the divorce, all I heard would be bitterness! After a while, it seemed like there was no point in trying to be there."

"I'm sure it's been rough," Stephanie said, trying to calm her down as Joey walked by with some puppets. "But, just because you haven't had anyone so far in your life doesn't mean we can't help. But, we need to work together; you need to be willing to let us."

"Why should I?" Gia demanded to know.

Kimmy shrugged. "Why not?" she asked. "Sure, I have fun roller blading in my living room or hanging out with my dad at the dump shooting rats, but it's a lot more fun with D.J. in a nicer place. I mean more fun hanging out with her; she's never shot a rat." Gia looked oddly at Kimmy as she finished; Kimmy's family seemed weird to her already.

"I'm glad you feel like opening up to us. I'm sure you've had some painful times. But, you can have some great times, too. Part of that's going to be your attitude toward things, though. Sure, life isn't all self-esteem, we have to put others first, but that's just what we're doing by offering to help. And, it's really a joy to put others first," Becky said.

"When Jesse – Pam's brother - moved in to help after she died, he was a swinging rock and roller who didn't think he needed to think about others. And yet, once he did, he found real happiness. Sure, he struggled, but everyone does a little. But, it opened parts of his heart he didn't know were there. He built a great life for himself. He never lived to see Opening Night. But, I'm sure he's up there realizing that giving of himself is where he earned his reward. And he's watching us with Pam, enjoying the fruits of that reward," Danny finished, a little wistful.

"I've never heard anything like that," Gia confessed. She seemed unsure of what to do.

Becky put an arm around her. "I think first, you need people to show how to do it by caring for you. And, we're here for you," Becky promised. Gia managed to choke out a "thanks."

"What a night," Danny said at the end of the evening. Michelle and Kelli were half asleep at a table as the club was ready to close.

"It was unique,' the reviewer said as he snuck up behind them.

"Oh, hi," Becky said anxiously. "Listen, I know tonight was, well…" She wasn't sure how to explain all the confusion and problems.

He ignored her apologetic tone and spoke thoughtfully. "A night of symbolism. That boy, Derek, represented young talent and a new beginning – I'd hoped for much more music, but at his age I understand not overexposing him. Your boys symbolized many impersonators who came through these doors. And, all acts embodied a family friendly atmosphere and the way everyone came together after the owner's passing." He turned to Danny. "And, after your wife's. Your daughter, Michelle, told me; I'll be sure to mention Pam, too, in my review. Heavy on symbolism, perhaps, but the food was good and people were sufficiently entertained that I believe a positive review is warranted." He left as Becky said "thanks."

"Let's get these sleepyheads home while they can still move to the car," Joey said of Michelle and Kelli as Danny hugged them and said "good night."

"Grandpa's here for them, since Grandma's back there with Nicky and Alex," D.J. said. She promised, "I'll get them to bed. I can finish a bedtime story early for once." As she walked with the sleepy girls she added, "Probably halfway through 'Once upon a time.'"

"Thanks, Deej," Danny said with a smile as they left. Stephanie came with Gia and her mom, Claire; Gia and Claire glared daggers at each other. "Hi, I'm Danny Tanner."

"Claire Mahan." They shook hands and Claire turned to Gia and said frostily, "I heard Gia had come here once I got home from work; she wants to apologize."

"No, I don't!" Gia groused as Claire and Danny shook hands.

"You better; you have been going down a very dangerous path, young lady," Claire scolded.

"Well, if you and Dad can mess up your lives and everyone else's, I can, too," Gia declared.

"We managed to put on a good show. It's a shame you couldn't come," Joey said.

Becky spoke, trying to calm things down and get them to be civil. "Gia said there's been a lot of fighting in your house. Even before the divorce."

Stephanie placed a hand on Gia's shoulder. "We all want to help you. I know you feel lousy with all the stuff that's been going on; I'm sure your mom does, too."

"Gia says Stephanie's tried to reach out. I'm glad," she told Danny. "I'd like to do things with Gia like enjoying things like tonight, but I have to work so much because of that no-good deadbeat…" She sighed. "I'm sorry, it's only been final a few months; that stuff comes out sometimes," she told the Tanners.

"It might help if you told Gia you were sorry," Joey suggested. "My mom and I didn't talk to my dad for twenty years, but he was still part of me. So, if she ever let anything negative slip, she apologized to me; and she almost never did," he concluded.

"If I apologize, will you do it, Gia?" Claire asked.

"Take it; it sounds like a victory," Stephanie advised.

"You know better about everything, don't you, Tanner," Gia scoffed.

"No, I'm not perfect. I have times when I don't think of others, but thankfully I'm forgiven for when I mess up…" Stephanie paused. She considered what she'd learned about unconditional love and forgiveness when she wrecked Joey's car. She'd received God's free and full forgiveness just by faith in His dying for her sins and rising from the dead and calling on Him to save her. But, while she'd prayed for Mr. Bear's safe return and knew a relationship with God would help Gia, Stephanie herself wasn't utilizing that. If she had, she wouldn't have pulled the report card stunt. Even if she hadn't though, she knew it'd take a while for Gia to be ready to listen about that. So, she skipped that and said, "I know you'll feel better when you think of others. Helping someone makes me feel good. And, it makes you feel good to have someone thinking of you, like I want to help you now, right?"

Gia shrugged. "Okay, for you, Tanner, I will. I'm sorry I planned to mess everything up."

"And, I'm sorry things haven't been more pleasant and that I still badmouth your dad. I guess all the fighting got to me, too," Claire said.

"All right, can we go now?" Gia walked out in a huff. Claire sighed and followed.

Danny breathed deeply once they were gone. "It was a start."

"Still think you're up to helping her?" Becky inquired.

Stephanie closed her eyes and thought for a second. "I guess so. Although, I wish it wasn't so late; I think it'd help to hear Michelle calling me a genius."

"She'll still be that confident in you tomorrow," Joey said with certainty, making her smile.

"And, we'll be there to help you," Becky pledged. "She needs to believe her life is worth not messing up. That might take time," Becky pointed out.

"It makes you wonder where to start, huh?" Danny asked. Stephanie nodded. "I think the best place is by setting boundaries – you won't hang out with her if she's doing this, this, or this."

"Dad, don't you think you're planning too much again?" Stephanie asked.

"Like with the club? Maybe. I guess those boundaries need to be internal more than external. You did it when you chose not to smoke. And, then with how you helped Mickey to quit," he said as he lovingly squeezed her. "You've done a great job there. Next, look at your weaknesses and see where you need to be on guard, so Gia doesn't influence you."

"I don't think her problems are weaknesses for me right now," Stephanie said. "I'll never smoke or drink or anything; a drunk driver killed Mom, after all. When she badmouths her mom we can all share memories of Mom, why it's important to treasure people. With her grades, I get so mad at myself if I do badly, like that spelling bee. I've gotten better at that, so I don't get down on myself if I'm not first. But, Gia needs to be more determined to succeed."

"That's true, but I mean later. You haven't had the chance to be invited to parties, and you need to make sure there are adults there. You haven't had her trying to set you up with dates…"

"Danny, relax, or you'll have her going to the prom next week," Joey chided him.

"Well, I'm not quite ready for that, Dad, but I am in Middle School. I feel like I should be able to do this myself," Stephanie admitted.

"I know. Just remember, I couldn't handle losing your mom by myself," Danny mentioned. "I needed everyone's help."

"And, I couldn't have gotten the New Smash Club up and running without all of your help," Becky said. "What we need is communication; like Danny and I should have done, instead of how you were afraid of his reaction to you helping Mickey."

"I guess you're right; it'll be tricky," Stephanie admitted. "I'll come to one of you plenty, I promise."

"And, I promise not to overreact and learn details isntead," Danny admitted.

Joey agreed. "Sure; the key isn't to know everything so you never need help. The key is to know what you can handle and what questions to ask when it comes to helping someone like Gia. And, who to go to for that help. Because, everyone needs help sometimes."

"Thanks. I'm sure glad I have you guys for when I have trouble," Stephanie said.

"Me, too," Danny added as they all hugged.

A/N: As noted, Steph helping Gia would be key to keeping fans. After the Rhino episode would be 3 providing good Steph/Gia drama for November sweeps. "The Prying Game," with Steve & D.J. closer, has him telling of his cousins' wedding & Steph and Kimmy spying on Gia to see if she's smoking again. (She wouldn't.) The next would focus on Michelle/Kelli with a different plot, not the bicycle one of OTL, and with Steph and Gia as well. Nearest Thanksgiving would be one replacing the one where D.J. got what the Chronology calls a speeding ticket. (Since the other wouldn't be her fault but Kimmy's; think of it as your TV pen pal telling a joke as the Chronology says to make the realistic part funnier. Everything would be the same otherwise. But, she wouldn't get a ticket here. D.J. doesn't get a ticket in the Book Universe, either; that's very easy to change, just have her making a different choice or even different time leaving.) I don't have time to write of those but if I did it'd likely be the third.

However, I kind of had the part with Papouli already in "The Last Dance" - he comes early int he Book Universe and gets a pacemaker put in. Even Nick having his heart attack even earlier would be similar, because stress around Jesse's death could advance it a couple months. (Remember, he's absent from "The Last Dance" so he likely was due for one in January or so which keeps him from helping when Papouli died.)

Of course, that's Book Universe & so has Sam while this would be an altered TV Universe & have Gia, so maybe it being similar enough will spur me to write it without needed a lot of new stuff, I don't know. It's more likely I'll just mention such thigns in passing in later ones in this universe if I have time. For now, I've got one other almost done and then I'm going to be quite busy a while again.