Chapter One: Just One Wish
"Oh, where is it! Dumb guitar pick, why does it always have to go
just when I got a stupid recording session to go to!"
Roxanne Pelligrini, bass guitarist for rock group The Misfits sat down on her bed with an irritated sigh, tossing her spare guitar strings aside in her annoyance and flopping back on the pillows. "This is a dumb time to have a practice anyway. Whoever heard of a Misfit session on a sunday morning? Sunday morning is for sleepin' in, not dragging down to stupid music companies because some idiot left the tape near a speaker and it got erased! Not our fault they got no brains!"
"What are you bleatin' about now?" Sheila Burns, or Jetta, the group's saxophonist poked her head around the door of the room, an equally unamused expression on her face. "It's bad enough we gotta get up and re-record this blinkin' track without you gripin' as well!"
"Well, seeing your ugly mug has really cheered me up." Roxy snapped back. "I'm looking for my pick, if you must know."
"Yeah, it really looks like you are." Jetta's tone was scathing. "You blind as well as dumb, Roxy? It's on the shelf behind your clock!"
"It is?" Roxy looked startled, getting to her feet and peering behind the clock. Sure enough, there was the missing pick, resting against an old faded envelope. She scowled. She hated being made to look stupid.
"Don't think you're being clever, you probably hid it there." She retorted. "Get out of my room, will ya? I gotta fix a new string on my bass before we can go, and you're holding me up!"
"Heaven forbid." Jetta rolled her eyes heavenwards, but obediently left the room. She and the bass player had never seen eye to eye on anything, and spats between the two were not infrequent. Roxy pulled a face after the retreating figure of her foe, pushing the door shut with a very pointed bang behind her. Then she scooped up the pick, sliding it into her jacket pocket and knocking down the envelope as she did so. Cursing, she bent to pick it up, going to toss it back down on the shelf with all her usual could-care-less attitude, but something about it made her pause.
It was faded and old, brown in colour and nothing special to look at, but somehow she knew that it was. For many years she had kept it safely, through her time living rough in Philadelphia she had always kept it close at hand and now she was doing good for herself it had still been carefully protected, a lovingly guarded memento in what was generally a sea of chaos.
She had only dared to delve into the envelope once or twice, but she knew what it contained by heart. There was her birth certificate, first and foremost, with the names of the parents she had never met. Then there was a small white envelope, taped up fast which she had not explored, though from the feel she suspected it contained some kind of card, perhaps even photographs. Then there was a sheet of letter paper, written in in an unfamiliar hand. She did not know who had written the letter, or what its purpose was. But somehow inside her she felt it was important, and that she should keep it close.
In short, it was who she was.
Roxy's ignorance about her past stemmed largely from her lack of literate ability. She had always struggled to learn to read, letters switched themselves around till she was more confused than ever and, frustrated with her own inability to succeed she had done something which for her was decidedly uncharacteristic...she had given up.
Reading was something other people did, and most of the time that was fine. These days her bonds with the group's synth player and songwriter, Mary Phillips, or Stormer as she was known had alleviated much of her difficulty, for unsentimental as Roxy liked to paint herself, she knew deep in her heart that the girls were friends. Sometimes their relationship bordered on sisterhood, and bit by bit Roxy had learnt to trust in Stormer more than she had ever trusted in another human being. It had been to Stormer, several months earlier that she had confided the truth about her turbulent and abusive childhood, about the cruel aunt and uncle who had raised her, and her uncertainty concerning her parents. She had never put any faith in family, but sometimes she envied Stormer her close bond with her brother Craig, and wondered about the kind of family she might have had, had things gone differently.
But at heart, Roxy was a realist, and she knew only too well things had gone how they'd gone and that was that. No good crying over spilt milk, or in this case, a lost childhood. Better to concentrate on now, on going places, on being a star.
Despite all this, however, Roxy could not let go of the envelope. Though the letter was indecipherable to her she held a faint hope that one day she would have the skill to read it, to understand it and everything that it said. As yet only one or two words were clear - her own name being one of them. Her pride was such that she would not allow Stormer to read it to her, for she did not know what it contained, and did not want to spill any family secrets that were best kept quiet.
The recording session forgotten, at least for the time being, she sat back down on the bed, carefully opening the envelope and removing its contents once more. The white envelope she set aside, not sure she was ready to find out what it contained. Gingerly she spread out the document she knew to be her birth certificate, taking in the names of the two people who were recorded as being her parents. It had taken her all her determination to work out what the confusing, swirling words said, but finally she had succeeded. Roxanne Elizabeth Pelligrini, born to Sarah Annabel Marten and William Pelligrini on April 28th, 1964. The rush of pride that had welled up inside her when she had finally managed to piece this together had been overwhelming, but it had soon been replaced by the dull realisation that, whatever their names, they were still strangers to her. She had learnt that her mother had died in unclear circumstances not long after she was born, and her father had been incarcerated for an apparent involvement in her death. Her instinct had long since told her that her father had been a victim himself, and not a perpetrator in any way, but he was still no more than a name and even if he was still alive, she had no way of knowing where he was.
"Like I even care." She muttered, folding the birth certificate back up and sliding it into the envelope once more. "I'm not a kid now. I'm twenty five soon...that's plenty old enough not to need stupid family, anyway."
She cast the letter a glance, then returned that also to it's brown paper home.
"I just wish I knew what that said." She admitted out loud. "Must be somethin' pretty important, for them to write it like that."
"Roxy? Are you coming?"
A fresh voice from the doorway startled her and she glanced up, meeting Stormer's gaze.
"Yeah, hold your horses, I'm coming." She returned, pushing the envelope under her pillow and reaching for her spare strings. Scooping up her guitar case, she got to her feet.
"I'll change the string there. Couldn't find the dumb pick and then Jetta held me up." She replied. She had not really told Stormer much about the envelope and it's contents, and it was something she didn't much want to talk about at that particular moment.
"Well, Pizzazz is getting steamed." Stormer explained. "Sent me up to find you. She reckoned you hadn't even gotten out of bed yet."
"She's got a nerve. She sleeps through her alarm as often as I do." Roxy grumbled. "I'm coming, all right? Quit nagging me!"
Stormer shot her companion an amused look. Roxy was brusque, short tempered and often unfriendly, but she was fond of her bandmate. More, she understood her these days. Though perhaps she could be prickly, Stormer could now comprehend fully why that was the case. An abused and unloved child, Roxy had grown into a defensive and independant adult, shy of any kind of affection and always expecting an ulterior motive. In Stormer she had found none, and to begin with it had taken her by surprise, but nowadays she had placed her trust entirely with the younger girl.
When the two Misfits reached the waiting black limousine they found Jetta and Pizzazz already waiting for them, Pizzazz looking decidedly displeased. In the back of the car was the Misfits' long-suffering manager, Eric Raymond, and it was clear to both Stormer and Roxy at a glance that he had borne most of Pizzazz's grumblings over both the early morning and the inconvenience of the session.
The two girls exchanged looks, and by mutual consent decided to make no remark. Pizzazz looked grim enough to kill anyone who dared venture a smart alec comment, and it would not make the recording session any sweeter if she was in a blacker mood yet.
They drove the short journey to Misfit Music in grim silence, and it wasn't till the car had screeched to a halt outside the big black and glass building that Pizzazz spoke. She shoved the door back, getting out of the vehicle in very bad grace, glancing up at the gleaming red sign which read 'Misfit Music'. Then she sighed.
"All right." She said finally. "Let's get it over with."
Chapter One: Just One Wish
Chapter Two: Roxy's Ambition
Chapter Three: New York
Chapter Four: An Unexpected Meeting
Chapter Five: Roxy's Treasure
Chapter Six: The Answer
Chapter Seven: Justin
Chapter Eight: Jetta's Game
Chapter Nine: The Ultimatum
Chapter Ten: Laura's Wedding
Chapter Eleven: Professor Milton
Chapter Twelve: One Night In New York
Chapter Thirteen: Conflict!
Chapter Fourteen: Heartbreak
Chapter Fifteen: A Reunion
Chapter Sixteen: A Fragile Peace
(The Misfits and Holograms and other animated Jem characters are copyrighted to Hasbro Inc. Justin and all characters who do not appear in Jem episodes are my own creation. This story is copyrighted to E.A Woolley (2001)