Chapter Ten: Laura's Wedding

"Home sweet 'ome."
Jetta stepped through the doors of the 'Arrivals' lounge, glancing around Heathrow Airport for a familiar face. All around her people were hurrying in all directions, greeting friends and lovers and somehow it made her feel all the more alone in what had once been her city. Then, through the milling bodies she spotted Laura waving at her and a grin touched her face. Pushing her self-pitying aside for the time being, she hurried to join her friend.
"Sheila!" Laura hugged her eagerly, a hug which Jetta returned, safe in the knowledge that the other Misfits would never know of it.
"S'pose I should say congrats." She said ironically. "But I only feel sorry for ya, tying yourself down to some geezer for all time."
Laura laughed.
"You never change, Sheila." She observed affectionately. "I'm glad you came, though. I know 'ow you feel about all this romance business, but Keith's a good bloke an' it is a simple kinda weddin', no church trimmings."
"Thank God." Jetta grinned. "Me an' churches 'ave never really been compatible."
"Good flight?"
"Good as they ever get."
"So how's everythin' in America, then?" Laura asked, as she led the way out to the car. Jetta frowned.
"To be honest, I'm glad to be leavin' them all behind for a while." She admitted.
"Oh?" Laura looked surprised, slipping into the driver's side and leaning across to release the other door for her friend. "'Ow come? 'As it got somethin' to do with whatever it was you wanted to talk to me about?"
"Kinda." Jetta admitted. "I don't even know why I wanted to bring it up though, Laura. It's nothing."
"Tell me." Laura ordered. "I know that tone...something's buggin' you."
"It's jus' the chaos in LA at the moment." Jetta sighed. "Things are 'aywire. Stormer's fussin', Roxy's mad as 'ell an' Pizzazz keeps buttin' 'er nose into everythin' to get the latest gossip. I needed out for a while."
"What's the why of that?" Laura frowned. "I mean, ain't that pretty normal for the Misfits?"
"Yeah, I guess so." Jetta acknowledged. "But at the moment it's worse. Roxy 'as an 'alf brother, Justin...they never met before recently, but she seems to 'ave adopted 'im as 'er property. Any road, it got kinda messed up when Justin decided 'e 'ad a crush on me." She frowned, glancing at her hands. "Guess I didn't 'elp things, I wanted to 'ave a bit of fun, you know? Play with 'im a little. I flirted with 'im an' stuff to get Roxy mad, and, well, it worked. The end result was 'e and Roxy 'ad a huge row an' 'e went off in an ;uff back to New York."
"Oh, I see." Laura's green eyes were bright with interest as shr turned onto the main road out of the airport. "So Roxy's in a temper with ya for drivin' 'er brother away, right?"
"Pretty much." Jetta agreed. "Not that Roxy's peace of mind bothers me most days, Laura, but things 'ave gotten real intense back in Cali since 'e left an' it ain't fun any more."
Laura looked thoughtful for a moment, then,
"Tell me honest, Sheila, what are your feelings for this Justin guy?" She asked. Jetta looked uncomfortable.
"'E's a git." She said finally. Laura's eyes filled with surprise.
"You like 'im!" she exclaimed. "Flippin' eck, Sheila, whatever 'appened to not gettin' emotionally involved with men? I thought I was the one who always ended up with the box of kleenex an' you were the one who shrugged 'em off with a laugh?"
"I didn't say I liked him!"
"You do though, don't you?" Laura was not so easily dissuaded. "I know you pretty damn well, Sheila Burns, I can see it in your face."
"I...don't know." Jetta sighed. "Look, before you get any daft ideas, I ain't in love. I think I'm pretty damn immune to that, to tell you the truth. But I do kinda miss 'is attention since 'e went back to NYC."
"Did 'e speak to you before 'e left?"
"Nope. He jus' went." Jetta replied slowly. "I only know 'e 'ad left because Roxy spat it out at me across the breakfast table the next mornin'."
"Were you mad 'e didn't say goodbye?"
"Why in hell should he have?" Jetta demanded. "Quit tryin' to trick me into sayin' somethin' dumb, okay? I'm not in love with the guy, so give it up!"
"You were." Laura deduced, flicking the right indicator on and taking the turning.
"Oh, stop it!"
"Well, at least tell me what he's like." Laura begged. "I'm curious! It seems so long since we last saw each other an' I'm so outta touch with your life now."
"'E's a yank." Jetta said simply. "Male, stubborn an' down right impossible. 'E's a git an' always tries to get one over on me when we're talkin'." She sighed. "And..."
"And I guess I miss him." Jetta frowned. "It's totally dumb, 'e drives me mental, like an annoyin' big brother or somethin' when 'e's about. An' all me flirtin' and stuff 'as jus' been me playin' 'im to bug Roxy. But.."
"You like him." Laura finished. Jetta nodded slowly.
"I suppose I do." She acknowledged. "'E ain't like the other men I've duped over, somehow. 'E doesn't talk to me like I'm cheap trash an' I've 'eard 'im defendin' me to Roxy." She frowned. "What I don't understand mind you is why he left California. I mean, Roxy told him to leave me alone and for both our goods 'e shoulda done as she told 'im. I'm no good for 'im, and I don't want a guy 'anging around me gettin' in my way. I don't understand why 'e took off like 'e did."
"Perhaps his feelings for you are stronger than you realised." Laura suggested, pulling into the drive of her house.
"I 'ope not." Jetta grimaced. "I told you, I don't need it. In any case, it'd be too damn temptin' to use an' abuse 'im."
"You're terrible." Laura laughed. "Come on, I'll put the kettle on."

Across the Atlantic, back in New York, Justin too was thinking of events in California. Partly he regretted the impulsiveness of his decision to leave, but in truth his stubborn streak prevented him from going back on what he had said to his sister. In the meantime he busied himself with his work, trying to take his mind off Roxy and her bitter foe. He had explained little to his mother regarding his return to the east coast, and Gianina had known better than to push him. If he wanted to talk he would do so in his own time, and there was nothing to be gained by forcing the issue.
Mindful of his promise to Roxy to help her find out information about her long dead mother, he headed to Pennsylvania in order to meet up with his father, hoping against hope that William might know something more since last they'd met.
William greeted him warmly on the front steps of his split-level home, inviting his son in for coffee, which Justin gratefully accepted.
"So, what news?" William asked, once they were both seated in the front lounge. Justin frowned.
"Well, I've found Roxanne." he said slowly. Hope sparked into William's eyes.
"Really?" he asked eagerly. " she all right? She's safe...and doing okay?"
"She's a fighter, Dad - she's fine." Justin nodded. "She's out in California - she's a musician."
"A musician, eh?" William looked interested. "Well, she takes after her mother there. Sarah had a beautiful singing voice and she was a damn fine pianist too, before she left home."
"Roxy plays guitar." Justin replied. "She's part of a band - have you heard of the Misfits?"
"I'm afraid a lot has passed me by." William shook his head. "Are they good?"
"Yes. Very. Successful, too." Justin agreed. "You can take it as read that Roxy's doing all right for herself on the west coast."
"How did you find her? I've tried for so long..."
"I met a friend in the same business who gave me the tip off." Justin replied. "And she's the right girl all right, Dad. Your name is on her birth certificate...and more. She has photos of you and her and you and me. She...has the dyslexia gene, too."
William closed his eyes briefly.
"My Roxanne." he murmured. "So she knows about me then? Does...does she believe I...?"
"Roxy doesn't believe you killed her mother any more than I do." Justin hastened to reassure him. "I believe she has her own ideas on that score, though she hasn't trusted me with them. She's a little bitter though, Dad. I gotta be honest. She...kinda feels you abandoned her and didn't fight for her enough when you were arrested."
"There was nothing I could do." William's expression became haunted. "They had her...he told me he'd kill her if I dared appeal. I would have served any sentence, Justin, rather than knowingly let one of you two be hurt."
"They? Whos they?" Justin asked. "Her aunt and uncle?"
"Is that what they told her they were?" William raised an eyebrow. "They weren't blood relatives. Sarah owed them money, that's all, and they weren't very understanding people. She'd left home real young and had relied on their goodwill before we met...after I proposed to her they became nasty. Nastier still after she discovered she was pregnant. They wanted me out of her life and made it clear they felt she belonged to them. I wanted to run away with her and damn the court martial but she refused. She said she was too scared to try and make it alone again. Hell, she was only twenty, if that. Then Roxanne was born and not long after Sarah and I rowed. I went away on some military business and when I returned home I discovered her in her room, crying and bruised and clutching Roxanne as if she was afraid to lose her. She told me they'd made her send me away and that she was I convinced her then that we had to run away, for Roxanne's sake. But...but she never got to run away. They found out our plan and there was a scene." He paused, gathering his memories in painful silence. "In the chaos Sarah fell. She hit her head and died at once. The rest, well, it's a blur to me, Justin. They took my baby and used her as a safeguard against me ever telling the truth about how they treated her and how she died. It was them, though, it wasn't me. I did the time for Roxanne's sake."
Justin listened in silence, his anger growing moment by moment.
"That's evil!" He managed finally. "Putting an innocent man in jail and hurting a helpless baby to protect their own skins?"
"Sarah's death was an accident." William sighed sadly. "It was never murder, Justin. But I knew he'd beaten Sarah...I was afraid that they would hurt my daughter too. I believed them more than capable, and didn't want to call their bluff. She meant too much."
"But they did hurt her." Justin said softly. "Dad, Roxy ran away from home as a teenager because her guardians abused her. She's tough and independant and damn brave, but the scars are still with her."
"I was afraid for her." William admitted.
"Why not appeal against it now, though? Get the real villains behind bars! Or...or tell me their names, I'll do it!"
"What's the point? The names don't matter." William replied. "I've done my sentence, and it won't bring Sarah back to me. Roxanne is an adult and in the world on her own. What could be gained from it? They'll get their judgement when God calls them in."
"Hrm, maybe." Justin frowned. "It just seems so unfair."
"It is, my boy, but that's the way of it." William responded. "Well, I may never get to meet the young lady that my tiny babe grew up into, but at least I know she's safe."
"Oh! I brought some photos." Justin rummaged in his bag, pulling our a handful of polaroids. "Here."
William took the photos, letting out an exclamation of surprise.
"Oh God...Sarah!" he murmured.
"No, that's Roxy." Justin corrected him. "With Stormer, one of her bandmates."
"Great heaven above." William seemed shaken. "Yes, I see now...but for a moment, oh she could be her mother over again, Justin. The hair, the expression, it's all Sarah's. Oh thank God...her mother isn't lost after all!"
"We thought she must look like Sarah." Justin agreed, touched by the emotion in his father's voice. "Since she didn't look like you or I, apart from the eye colour."
"Yes, she has Pelligrini eyes all right. Sarah's eyes were blue." William remembered absently, still gripping the photograph. "But...oh, it was like seeing a ghost! My Roxanne...oh God." He fumbled with his wallet, pulling out a faded old snapshot. "Here. That's Sarah."
Justin took it, and, even though it was in black and white, he too could see the resemblance. He smiled.
"Roxy was curious to know what her Mom looked like." He admitted.
"Then take it. Show her." William responded. "I have others, I can spare it for Roxanne." He paused. "You don't bear me any grudge then, for the failure of my marriage to your mother?"
"No. They happen and Mom's never said bad things about you to me." Justin replied. "I'm only sorry we didnt get in touch earlier. I'd have liked to have known both you and Roxy for longer."
"Don't lose touch with her, Justin." William urged him. "Too much has already been lost in this family. Don't let your generation split it further apart, okay?"
"I'll do my best." Justin promised, a little uneasy as he remembered his last conversation with his sister. "And I'll make sure she gets the photo, too. It's been nice to see you again, Dad."
"You too. You've brought me something more precious than I could ever have imagined." Gently William set the pictures of Roxy down on the mantlepiece. "I...can I keep them?"
"With pleasure." Justin nodded. "That's why I brought them."
He smiled.
"See you soon then, Dad...and I hope, with more news!"

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"Well, 'ow do I look?"
Laura adjusted her dress one last time, turning to face her friend. "Tell me honest, Sheila, do I look all right?"
"You look fine an' you'll knock 'em dead." Jetta laughed. "Come on. You're already runnin' late!"
"Yeah, I know. Quit fussin, it ain't like you!" Laura bantered playfully.
Jetta snorted.
"Yeah, but someone 'as to make sure you're organised." She retorted. "An' the car's been soundin' it's 'orn for the last twenty minutes. Get a move on, else Keith'll think you've 'ad second thoughts."
Laura pulled a face.
"More likely 'e'll know I'm sittin' in front of the mirror frettin about me makeup." She said dryly. "Okay, I'm ready. Let's go!"
"Finally!" With an exclamation of exasperation Jetta propelled her friend out of the door and dow the stairs to the waiting white limousine that had been specially hired for the purpose. Jetta had promised to ride to the registry office with the bride because Laura had begged her to, but she wasn't entirely comfortable with it. More and more she had pushed her thoughts into the organisation of her friend's wedding, avoiding the issues behind it. Laura was in love...and strangely it made Jetta feel empty inside. She had not let her thoughts flit to Justin at all since her arrival, and Laura had been too busy to push her, but she was unable to control her dreams in the same way as she rigidly controlled the rest of her life and she was becoming more and more afraid of closing her eyes to sleep, uncertain as to what messages the night would taunt her with. Laura's wedding, at first seeming opportune had become more and more an obstacle to get through. Jetta had never been comfortable with any public show of affection, having never been shown any as a child by her parents, and in some ways she felt she was losing a part of her friend that way. All of a sudden Laura had seemed very grown up, and Jetta was afraid of it. Difficult, deceitful and manipulative, Jetta had only ever placed her full trust in Laura, and the redhead alone knew how loyal and sensitive she could be to those who were loyal in return, despite her snappy front. Laura had never let Jetta down, and had been rewarded by that girl's steadfast friendship come what may. They were very different people, it was true, but it was the only truly genuine friendship Jetta believed she had, and she disliked Keith's interference.
Not that she'd let Laura know it. A mistress of convincing lies, she had no idea of upsetting her friend's happiness. Selfish as she could be, Jetta cared too much about her friend's well being to put herself first in this instance.
She slid into the back of the car, her expression thoughtful.
"What you thinking?" Laura asked her.
"Only 'ow old you'll sound bein' Mrs Milligan." Jetta replied.
Laura giggled.
"Oh, I know. I can't get me 'ead round it." she admitted. "But it'll be fun to get used to, I think. You're gonna 'ave to stop writin' letters to Laura Cunningham now!"
"Like you've stopped callin' me Sheila?" Jetta pointed out archly.
"Yeah, but that's different. Jetta's your career name." Laura replied. "I knew you as Sheila growin' up and sometimes it's a bit scary, you bein' such an 'uge celebrity an' all that. So if I call you Sheila, it's like you're still me mate Sheila from back when. An' to be honest, I'd rather 'ave Sheila than Jetta. Jetta ain't real."
Jetta looked startled as she considered this.
"I 'ate Sheila." She said at length. "Sheila is everythin' I used to be an' none of them memories are worth anythin' to me, except you and me bein' mates, of course. Jetta is somethin' else. She's a star an' people look up to her. I mean somethin' when I'm Jetta."
"You ain't lonely?"
"Why would I be lonely?" Jetta looked flustered at the question.
"I dunno." Laura shrugged. "You tell me. You were the one who said you liked the attention that guy give you."
"Oh, not Justin." Jetta sighed. "Don't bring 'im up! Besides, when 'ave you ever known me not to enjoy attention, eh?"
"True. You're like a cat, you lap it up." Laura laughed. "But seriously, Sheila, I know we aint talked about 'm much and that you fly back to America tomorrow, so we probably won't get a chance to, but I get the distinct impression that you're fonder of 'im than you're lettin' on. Today is meant to be the 'appiest day of my life an' I'm excited as can be...I just want you to be 'appy too, that's all."
"I am happy!"
"Well, take me advice, girl, an' don't let your pride get in your way." Laura told her astutely. "You're a decent girl an' you got plenty goin' for you. You got a lot of nice traits you squash under your tough girl image an' you're gonna wind up gettin' your 'eart broke if you ain't careful - you ain't as tough as you seem, an' you gotta face it. Think it over, an' if you find you like 'im, well, don't 'old back. Your 'appiness might depend on it."
At that moment they pulled onto the forecourt of the registry office, and Jetta had no chance to respond, but Laura's words had both unsettled and bewildered her. There was noone whose judgement she respected more than the redhead's, and noone who knew her better.
"But does she know me better than I know meself?" She wondered, getting slowly out of the car and following her friend inside. "Is she right? Am I really attracted to Roxy's brother?"

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)