Chapter Twelve: One Night In New York
It was past two in the morning when Justin awoke. Frowning, he sat
wiping the sleep from his eyes. What was wrong? The flat was quiet,
the dying rumbles of the storm which still raged outside, but somehow
knew something wasn't right.
Stifling a yawn he grabbed his torch, slipping out of bed and padding down the corridor to discover what could be going on. At first, nothing seemed amiss, but as he reached the door of the spare room he heard a muttered voice. Gently he pushed the door open fully, shining the torch into the room.
Jetta was asleep, but she was not sleeping peacefully. On closer inspection it appeared that she was having a nightmare, and as he neared the bed he could make out a couple of muttered protestations.
Frowning, he reached down to shake her awake. In a flash Jetta's eyes flew open, bewildered and confused as she registered where she was and who had woken her. Despite himself Justin's heart skipped a beat. There was something wild and frightened in her eyes which made him want to reach out to her, but he stopped himself. Jetta was beautiful, but she was also snappish and defensive, and he didn't want to push her.
"Justin?" She murmured now, struggling to focus in the darkness. "What are you doin'?"
"You were having a bad dream." Justin murmured. Jetta sighed.
"A dream?" She repeated. "Thank God."
She paused, then,
"What are you doin' in'ere? Did I wake you or somethin?"
"I don't know what woke me." Justin admitted, sitting down on the bed. "You wanna talk about the dream?"
"Why would I wanna do that?" Jetta was alert now, and on the defensive. Justin shrugged.
"Because you seem upset by it and I don't like it." he replied simply. "I..." he paused, as the curtain billowed into his face from the window, and Jetta laughed, the tension in the room gone.
"Gotcha." She remarked, amused. "Listen, Justin, you ain't gotta play the samaritan. I'm fine...I'm a big girl, an' dreams ain't real. I can 'andle me nightmares an...Justin, what in 'ell do you think you're doin'!?"
She grabbed for his hand, pulling it off the open window he had been about to close. "Noone told you to shut that! Leave it, will ya?"
"I'm sorry." Justin acquiesced. "I just thought maybe the weather was disturbing your sleep, and it's kinda nippy in here."
"Well, it ain't." Jetta said coldly. "I told you, I'm a big girl an' I ain't scared of the dark or storms or anything dumb like that!" She pushed back the covers. "I'm goin' to get a drink of water from the bathroom tap an' then I'm goin' back to bed...and to sleep! I damn well 'ope you won't be 'ere when I get back!"
And with that she stalked out of the room and into the bathroom, slamming the door with a bang and locking it firmly. She sighed, grabbing her toothmug and filling it from the cold tap. She felt both unsure and relieved by Justin's interference, for, despite her bravado, the dream had shaken her.
In the bedroom, Justin hesitated, frowning. He glanced at the open window with some confusion, for rain was spraying in onto the sill and a chill wind whipped around him.
"Odd girl." He mused, getting to his feet and heading back towards his own room. "Maybe she's trying to recreate London weather or something, I dunno."
From her retreat, Jetta heard the sound of footsteps and knew he had done as she'd wanted. She sighed with relief, taking a sip of the cool water. Coming to the bathroom had been an excuse, a reason to get away from him and his gentle concern and reassemble her defenses into their normal state. It nagged at her more and more, how even a little thing could become so hugely blown out of proportion in her mind. She had half wondered at his presence in the bedroom when she had opened her eyes, and her first impression had been that he was going to kiss her.
That thought should have angered her, but when his true motive had become clear she had felt let down.
"Stupid storm, stupid dream, stupid New York an' stupid Laura!" she muttered, setting down the mug beside the sink. "Puttin' ideas in me 'ead! Stupid romantic nonsense is what all that's about!" She grimaced. "Silly bird got married an' sees love everywhere, that's all! She's barkin' up the wrong tree with me...I know me own mind!"
She emptied the remaining contents of the mug, reaching for the lock and flipping it back. She turned the handle, pushing on the door, but, much to her dismay, nothing happened.
She frowned, trying again.
The door was stuck. She was stuck.
Panic began to well up inside of her and she wrestled with the handle more desperately, willing the door to open. In the dim light of the power cut, the atmosphere in the little room was even more opressive, and despite herself she could not control her rising fear. The air seemed thick and unbreathable as snippets of her dream returned to her, and she grabbed for the window catch, trying to let in some air.
But the windows were locked. Belatedly Jetta remembered something Justin had said about the weakness of the hinge. She cursed, banging her hand down on the windowsill. Now what could she do?
The door again, her panicked impulses instructed her and, her breathing quickened and her terror complete she fumbled once more for the door handle.
It remained stuck.
Now too frightened to care about Justin's interference, she banged on the door, trying to call his name, but little more than a hoarse, gasped whisper came out. She banged again, more urgently this time as she began to feel giddy and lightheaded. Around her, the lights suddenly illuminated as the power was restored and in her hazy, frightened state this only served to add to Jetta's confusion and panic. Stubbornly she kept a hold of her consciousness. She wouldn't faint...she wasn't a wimp!
Luckily for her Justin heard her pounding this time and came to investigate once again. Stronger and more used to the obstinate door than his companion, he quickly realised what had happened and firmly he wrenched the door open.
Jetta tumbled out into his arms, breathless, dizzy and unable to speak for a moment or two. Justin stared at her, not comprehending to begin with her strange behaviour. For a moment she seemed to cling to him, as though frightened to be left alone, but gradually she got her breath back, raising her gaze to his.
And as soon as Justin saw her expression, he understood.
Gently he led her back to the bedroom, flipping the light switch on and ushering her down onto the bed. Jetta sat, taking a deep, unsteady breath of air. Her eyes were wet with unshed tears and he knew she was too strong to let them fall in front of him, but it left him in no doubt as to the situation.
"You should have told me you were claustrophobic." he murmured.
"I'm not anything 'phobic'." Jetta snapped back, feeling more like herself now she had been released from her prison. "I'm fine, I jus' got stuck and disorientated an' couldn't get the door open. That's all."
"That's why you wanted me to leave the window, too." Justin ignored her indignant denials. "Are you all right? Do you want me to get you anything?"
"I want you to get lost an' leave me alone." Jetta retorted. "I'm fine, an' you don't 'ave a clue."
"Oh, I see." Justin hesitated, then, "Perhaps if you'd explain, I'd understand better."
"Why should I tell you anything? You're Roxy's brother!"
"That automatically means I'm out to get you?" Justin asked playfully.
"Probably." Jetta agreed darkly. "You're a Pelligrini. You're all the damn same, you are."
"Really?" Justin raised an eyebrow. "Does that make you Burns' all the same, too?"
"How dare you!" Still emotionally charged from her fright, Jetta acted impulsively, bringing her hand hard across his cheek and making him flinch involuntarily. "I'm not in bleedin' prison, am I? I'm a..." She faltered, realising what she'd said.
"I'm a star." She finished softly.
"Who's in prison? Your brother?" Justin was too quick to pass this tidbit of information by. Jetta scowled.
"What's it to you? Far as I'm concerned, I'm dead to the lot of 'em! They ain't no family of mine!"
"Family's important." Justin chided. Jetta snorted.
"Bah. Not if you 'ave my parents."
"Well, to me it is. And Jetta, you don't have to be so prickly about it. If you're brother is in jail, well, that's his crime, it's not yours. I'm not a snob and I never judge anyone I meet by their relations or their status." He shrugged. "In any case, my father served almost twenty five years in prison for voluntary manslaughter...I hardly think I'm in a position to criticise."
"Did 'e do it?" Jetta looked startled. Justin shook his head.
"Doubtful." He replied. "He did the time, but I don't think he's guilty."
"Well, then you're okay, ain't ya? Your old man 'as been screwed by the system, 'e's a victim, not a crook. Jeremy..." Her voice shook and she stopped, getting a grip on herself. "He's different. 'E's guilty as they blinkin' well come."
"So?" Justin demanded. "Why should that change my - or anyone's - opinion of you?"
"Oh, drop it." Jetta groaned. "I'm tired, I wanna sleep."
"I'm not going to go anywhere until you admit to me that you were afraid, locked in the bathroom like that." Justin shook his head.
"Why the 'ell should I?"
"Because it's true." Justin replied. "And because it's part of the real Jetta Burns that I'm trying to work out."
Jetta stared at him, then she sighed, shrugging.
"Anything to make you leave me alone." She muttered. "I didn't like it. Okay?"
"Have you always been claustrophobic?"
"Jetta!" Justin raised an eyebrow.
"All right, all right!" Jetta held up her hands. "Yes, okay? I've always 'ated bein' shut in. There!"
"I had no idea...with all the flying you do..."
"I ain't got a problem with planes. You can get up an' walk around." Jetta shrugged. "Trains too, generally. Cars, well, they suck, but you can open a window. No 'assle. So long as I ain't penned in with no air, well, I'm fine. It don't bother me. I 'aven't 'ad any kinda...well...panic fit for what, six years now? I can 'andle stuff...so it's no big deal."
"Then why did you panic in the bathroom?"
"It was that damned dream." Jetta frowned. "Justin, if you dare tell Roxy this - or anyone else for that matter - an' I'll..."
"Don't worry. Everything you say stays in this room. I won't betray your confidences to anyone." Justin promised. "What about the dream, though? You do know that if you talk a bad dream through then it's meant to help get rid of it."
"I ain't 'ad it in years." She owned. "Five years at least. Bloody typical I 'ave it 'ere in your damn flat, ain't it? Why in 'ell I've no idea!"
"Tell me?" Justin asked gently.
Jetta grimaced, but something about the softness of his tone induced her to open up, and she shrugged.
"It's always the same way." She replied quietly. "I'm in a room...it's a little room, with bars at the window. Outside there are cops all over, shoutin' at me through the bars, tellin' me I'm guilty, but I ain't done nothin' wrong, see? Then...then I'm on trial an' the court is full of people I 'ate, jeerin' and laughin' at me. A witness takes the stand against me...it's me best mate, Laura. Then the judge stands to give sentence, only 'e ain't a judge any more, 'e's me damn brother. He's laughin' at me, Justin! Laughin' at me as 'e sends me down for life for 'is crime." She trailed off, composing herself. "Then I'm back in that damn cell, an' they've locked the door...the walls are closin; in on me, there's less an' less air an' I'm fightin' to breathe. But jus' before the walls touch me, I wake up." She sighed wearily, leaning back against him. "That's it."
"Well, I can see why the bathroom lock freaked you." Justin murmured. "I'm not claustrophobic and that dream would have me running screaming round the flat opening all the windows. How you were so calm when you woke up I don't know."
"I'm tougher than you." Jetta told him, a tiny smile touched her lips. "In any case, it can't match up to the real thing, you know? What caused it..." She frowned. "I can't believe I'm gonna tell you this."
"You don't have to."
"I know, but I think I'm goin' to anyway. Seein' as I've begun, like." Jetta sighed. "See, when I was nineteen, me brother did try an' get me put away as an accomplice in a robbery 'e did. Wanted to plea bargain, and didn't much mind that it weren't the truth 'e were tellin'. End result was that I spent a night in a prison cell. If it weren't for the fact Laura could give me an alibi, an' came down to rescue me the next mornin', I probably woulda gone down for it, an' all." She shivered. "That was when I got worse 'bout bein' trapped. I don't ever wanna be locked up again!"
"Your brother is a real creep." Justin' remarked. "No wonder you hate him so badly."
"Yeah, well, it's all part of growin' up in the illustrious Burns family." Jetta said bitterly. "Look, Justin, you may 'ave the dirt on me now, but I'm a bleedin' good liar an' I can deny everythin', you know that? So don't think..." She fell silent, as Justin put his finger to her lips.
"I told you. I won't say a word." He murmured. "You're safe with me, Jetta, I told you. You have to trust me."
"Don't 'ave to do no such bleedin' thing." Jetta pushed his hand away. "Men 'are trouble, an' I ain't bitin'. You 'ear me? You're only good for one thing, anyway. Look, you'd better get lost, okay? Before..." She bit her lip. Before what? Before something happened? Was that what she had been thinking?
Justin eyed her keenly, but made no comment. Instead he shrugged.
"If that's what you want." He murmured, standing. Again Jetta felt oddly deflated inside. "You do know, though, I hope, that tonight's little venture has proven that you're not always in control of things, and, well, I'm kinda relieved to see it, to be honest. I knew you had to be somewhere behind that shell, and now I think I've found you."
"Shut up." Jetta snapped, feeling inexplicably vulnerable. She drew the duvet tightly around her. "You make me sound like a control freak psycho! Jus' because I ain't got time for your stupid emotional claptrap!"
"So what would you do, then, if I kissed you?" Justin's question came out of the blue and despite herself Jetta flushed a deep scarlet.
"Like I'd ever let you!" She exclaimed. "In your dreams! I'm way out of your league, Justin, so don't even go there!"
"Maybe." Justin winked at her. "But you'll never know unless you try."
Jetta's eyes narrowed.
"All right, Mr hotshot, prove it." She said finally. "Kiss me. Then we'll see who's in who's league!"
As soon as she'd said it, she regretted her impulsiveness, but she was not one to back down.
"Well?" As Justin hesitated. "I thought you wanted to prove yourself to me?"
"You've had a bad night and I don't want to take advantage of you." Justin told her quietly. "We both know that if you'd not had your scare you wouldn't have told me any of that stuff, and you wouldn't be challenging me now. I'm not the kind of man who kisses a woman who's upset...if you still want me to prove myself to you in the morning, well, then sure. I'm game for it. But tonight you're wound up, and I was teasing you."
"You're chicken." Jetta retorted. "Listen, Justin, I'm fine. I ain't upset. Sure, I got freaked a little, but I'm okay now. An' I don't ever let no guy take advantage of me, you got that? You want to kiss me, well, you got your chance. Now either do it or get out."
"Well, okay. If you say so." He said. He sat back down on the bed, cupping her chin in his hands. Then, before she could change her mind, he kissed her.
For an instant Jetta's emotions went into an indignant overdrive over the fact that he had dared to meet her challenge, but before the feeling of anger could settle she found it replaced by a new one, one she had never felt before. Without realising what she was doing she found herself responding to, even enjoying the kiss. Alarm bells in her head were quickly replaced by her racing heart and as the two separated words failed her. What had that been about? Hell, what had she begun now?
"Have I made my point?" Justin eyed her expression with interest, gently brushing her dark hair out of her face. "You know, Jetta, right now you look more beautiful than I've seen you before...prettier than even your most expensive Misfit glossies. You're making it pretty hard for me to just walk out that door."
"I don't want you to." Jetta whispered, then blushed once more as she realised she'd spoken aloud. "I mean..."
"You don't want me to?" He teased her gently. "What do you expect me to do, set up a campbed? Sleeping bag on the floor?"
"Shut up." Jetta struggled to reassert herself. "I didn't mean that, I meant..." Hell, what had she meant?
"You approved, then?"
"Noone ever kissed me like that before." Jetta admitted.
"Glad to oblige." Justin murmured. He eyed her thoughtfully. "I thought you were tired?"
"I...don't feel tired now." Jetta sounded confused.
"Perhaps I should let you sleep?" Justin suggested. Jetta shook her head.
"No...you can't jus' kiss me like that an' walk out, it's bloody bad manners!" She exclaimed. "At least come an' prove to me it weren't a fluke, huh?"
"What?" Justin stared at her. "You want me to kiss you again?"
"You deaf?" Jetta's impatience masked her embarassment, and Justin was quick to note it. He shrugged.
"All right, if that's what you want." He agreed. "A kiss goodnight, huh? Well, let's see what I can do..."
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
are copyrighted to Hasbro Inc. Justin and all characters who do not
in Jem episodes are my own creation. This story is copyrighted to E.A