Chapter Thirteen: Conflict
Roxy started at the sound of her voice, glancing up from her seat and gazing around her for the speaker.
Ernest Milton, it turned out, was a man in his mid fifties, with greying hair and clever blue eyes hidden behind spectacles. He offered the nervy Misfit a reassuring smile, taking a seat opposite her. "I'm glad to see you. I've given this a lot of thought since we spoke on the phone."
"I ain't." Roxy admitted, absently tearing strips off a napkin as she spoke. "Look, Professor, I ain't real comfortable with this whole deal. I don't want people finding out."
"My dear, I am perfectly capable of discretion." The professor's eyes twinkled. "I understand the constraints you are under and I want to help, not hinder you."
"Well...I don't like admitting I need help." Roxy spoke awkwardly. "But nothing's worked. I've tried to read since I was five, like other kids. Now, I'm twenty five on April twenty eighth, and I still can't damn well do it!"
"Dyslexia - if that is what we're talking about - is frustrating." the professor agreed. "I don't want to jump to conclusions that it is what you have, but I think it's pretty likely. It's in your family, after all, and what your brother told me, coupled with your own testimony, well, it makes me think it's something along those lines." He eyed Roxy thoughtfully. "You're also a musician, and dyslexic people do tend to be extremely creative in that department." He observed.
"Yes, I play guitar." Roxy nodded.
"And very successfully too." The professor smiled. "My youngest daughter Alice is seventeen and she's a big Misfit fan - even downstairs in my study I can't help but hear her playing your cassettes at full volume. Considering how much you've been hampered, I have to say you must be a very determined young lady to have done as well as you have."
"Job." She said simply. "Your daughter has taste."
"I think she would have been shocked to discover who I was meeting with in Los Angeles." Professor Milton laughed. "But like I promised you, discretion all the way."
"So, can you help me read?"
"I can try." The professor nodded. "And of course the first step is to ascertain what exactly is impeding your progress. I mean, it's very likely dyslexia, but we can't rule out other possibilities. And you must remember that Dyslexia is a very foreign word outside the research institutes, so you need to trust me. It's not going to be an instant transformation, and you'll have to give me your total commitment. It's not easy, after all, teaching your brain to go against it's natural order."
Roxy frowned, then she shrugged.
"I guess." She said finally. "I wanna do this. I've had it with people calling me dumb when I ain't!"
"I'm sure." The professor nodded. "Well, then, I suggest we meet tomorrow, before I leave the city, and I'll test you, see if it is dyslexia we're dealing with. After that, well, we can see where things take us."
"A test?" Roxy looked apprehensive.
"Don't worry, my dear. It's designed to help you." The professor assured her. "I devised it myself, with a colleague of mine."
"Oh." Roxy paused, then, "Okay, I guess that's cool. Tomorrow? Sure. I'm free after four, we're in studio till then."
"Very well." The professor nodded. "Shall I meet you here, then, at about four thirty?"
"Fine." Roxy agreed, offering a tentative smile. "I'll be there."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Well, here we are." Justin got out of the taxi cab, holding the
for Jetta as she got slowly out. "The Gabor Estate. Home sweet home,
"Yeah." Jetta frowned, her expression troubled. "Guess so."
"Something eating you?"
The Misfit paused, looking at Justin long and hard. Then she sighed, shrugging.
"Back to normality." She murmured. Justin eyed her keenly, taking in more than just her rather guarded expression. There was
both confusion and uncertainty in the musician's soft grey eyes and somehow he knew that the time in New York had had a
deeper impact on his companion than she would ever admit out loud. Though he daren't voice it, he counted it silently as a
victory. Whether she knew it yet or not, Jetta was slowly falling in love with him.
"I guess I better go see if I can get a room." He said nonchalantly. "Hope the hotel ain't booked out. I gotta speak to my sister
in the morning, anyway...hopefully things can be settled. I like Cali and I don't want to fight with her."
"Then give up chasing me." Jetta said quietly, though her expression belied her words. "I...she's right, Justin, I won't make you
'appy. I can't! I'm a Misfit...I'll only turn you over an' break your 'eart."
"Do you believe that?" Justin asked her gently. Jetta nodded her head.
"I believe it." She said softly. "That's 'ow I work, Justin. I manipulate guys...use 'em for me own ends."
"So what happened in New York was you manipulating me?" Justin stepped closer to her, putting his hand on her shoulder.
"Don't even mention that again." She warned him. "I want to forget it ever 'appened...I need to forget it!"
"Why? Because you tainted yourself with Pelligrini blood?" Justin asked her playfully. Jetta shook her head, her expression
"No...I...I tainted you." She whispered. Then, before he could react, she was gone, into the house and shutting the door firmly
behind her as she gathered her wits. Being around Justin was both dangerous and crazy and she had no idea where things were
gonna lead her. She closed her eyes, leaning up against the door and letting her breath out in a rush. She was home...safe and
sound. The crazy, uncomprehensible whirl of feelings inside of her could calm down and be forgotten...the excitement of the
storm and it's aftermath pushed aside as a moment of insanity. She was back where she belonged.
Opening her eyes, she glanced around her, finding the house dark. Frowning, she squinted at the dial on her watch. Half eleven.
"They must be out causin' some trouble." She decided at length.
God. I need a moment or two to get me 'ead
straight...I don't 'ave a clue what got into me in New York but I got to get it out of me, an' fast! I don't need no bloke interferin'
in and controllin' me life...I do as I please and that's that! Justin's nothing!"
After repeating this a few times, she brought her dizzy heartrate under control, scooping her bag up and pushing open the door
of the main salon in search of a seat. In the doorway she stopped dead, realising that the house was not quite deserted after all.
In the dim light of a table lamp she could make out a figure by the far wall, a figure whose arms were folded across her chest in
a way that meant business, and, as she flipped on the main light, Jetta could see that her companion's expression was equally
unamused. Inwardly she muttered a curse. Roxy was not only home, but had most likely seen Justin drop her off.
And, though Jetta often made jokes about Roxy's intellect, she knew only too well that the guitarist was bright enough to work
out exactly what was going on.
"Which puts 'er one step ahead of me already." She murmured to herself as her foe began to approach.
"What do you think you're doing?" Roxy was angry...and angry in a way Jetta had never seen her before.
"Comin' 'ome, love. This is where I live, remember?" Despite her confusion, Jetta was able to muster a quick retort, which did
nothing to soothe Roxy's indignation. The bass player grabbed her rival by the shoulders, pushing her back against the wall.
"Don't mess with me." She warned, in a tone which advised Jetta that her safest option was to do as her bandmate instructed.
"I've been wanting to do this for a long time and there's noone here for you to cry help to. I want to know the truth right here
and now. What are you playing with with Justin?"
"'E's a big boy now, he doesn't need little sister playin' minder." Jetta spat back, pushing Roxy away from her. "'E's a free 'uman
bein' an' so am I...Or ain't America a free country no more? We can do what we like!"
"I'll give you free country!" Roxy seethed, lunging at her foe but Jetta anticipated her and slipped out of the way, taking refuge
behind the sofa. "You listen to me, Jetta Burns, and you listen good! Justin's my brother and he's too good for the likes of you!
You leave him alone, or else!"
"There is nothing between Justin and me!" Jetta exclaimed. "I got caught in New York and I stopped over at 'is flat because
there was no plane 'ome an' no 'otels. That's all!"
"You did what?" Somehow this protested denial added fuel to Roxy's anger. "You slept over at his apartment?"
"'E 'as a spare room." Jetta shot back. "An' why do you even care? Six months ago you didn't know you 'ad a brother, what
makes 'im your property all of a sudden?"
"Why you little..." Roxy reached for the nearest thing - a china coffee mug - hurling it in Jetta's direction. Jetta ducked just in
time, and it shattered inches from her against the hard plaster wall.
"What are you tryin' to do, kill me?" She exclaimed.
"I wouldn't waste my time." Roxy snarled. "You coward, hiding behind there! Call yourself a Misfit? Well, Misfits fight...come
on, show me what British trash is made of!"
"Don't you ever call me that again!" This hit a nerve and Jetta flew out from behind her refuge, grabbing Roxy by the collar and
shoving her down into the arm chair. "You 'ave some nerve, calling me trash!"
"Don't you touch me!" Roxy's brown eyes narrowed and she lunged for Jetta again, this time grabbing hold of her by the hair.
Jetta yelped as a tuft of sleek black hair came away in Roxy's determined grip, and Roxy smirked.
"Let's see how you look bald!" She exclaimed, grabbing at her foe's head again, but Jetta pulled away, almost tripping over the
coffee table in her haste to avoid losing more hair.
"Justin doesn't think I'm trash!" She exclaimed, more to taunt Roxy than anything else, but Roxy was wise to Jetta's bravado,
and she snorted.
"Justin don't know you like I do. I told him you were no good and I'll prove it, too." She retorted. "Running scared...come on,
Jetta, is that the best you can do?" She raised her fists. "Don't they teach you to fight at public school?"
"Don't you even go there." Jetta growled, grabbing the cushions from off the sofa and pelting her foe with them. "I can
fight...you just ain't worth my time."
"Yeah, right." Roxy caught the cushions deftly, sending them back at lightning speed. "Truth is, Jetta, you're all talk. You ain't
got a chance against me."
"Yeah." Roxy rolled up her sleeves. "An' I'm gonna prove it!"
Before Jetta knew what was happening, Roxy had grabbed her at the elbows, pinning her firmly against the wall. Though she
struggled valiently against the bass player's grip, Jetta was well and truly caught, and she sent Roxy the vilest glare she could
muster, knowing herself beaten and a little unnerved by the glint in the other girl's eye.
"Right, now that's over with." Roxy said quietly, a dangerous note to her voice. "You're gonna tell me exactly what you were
doing in New York with my brother!"
"Oh, use your imagination!" Jetta spat out. Roxy glowered, tightening her grip.
"I knew you were trash." She murmured, leaning closer to the other girl. "But I didn't realise you'd go so low as to seduce my
brother just to get at me. Well, guess you surprised even me, Jetta...God only knows what he sees in you."
"You don't understand a damn thing." Jetta retorted. "You're too dumb to see things properly! Anyway, he..." She faltered,
remembering the situation she was in, as a shred of self-preservation urged her not to antagonise the fiery Roxy any further.
"Go on." Roxy narrowed her eyes again. "He what?"
"He's in love with me." Jetta returned the glare with one of her own, as bravado won out over common sense. "So there! He
likes spending time with me an' I did 'im a favour in the city. There, now what do you 'ave to say? You can't tie 'im down, it's 'is
own choice! 'E likes me...and there ain't a damn thing you can do about it!"
"Wanna bet?" Roxy tightened her grip yet further, till Jetta wondered if the circulation to her hands was being cut off. This was a
new Roxy from the impulsive, haphazard, frustrated guitarist she had known since she'd joined the Misfits...this was
independant, could-care-less Roxy, Roxy from Philadelphia, the survivor who knew her own strength and how to use it to her
And despite herself, Jetta's courage began to waver inside. She knew Roxy was tough...she'd just never realised how tough.
"You're gonna stay away from him, you hear me?" Roxy hissed now. "Else it'll be bad for you...you've been warned. I'm not
having my family dragged through the mud by you!"
"You're just jealous that he spends time with me as well as you." Jetta managed. "You can't cope with the fact that he wants to
see more people than just you in Cali!"
A third voice from the doorway startled the pair, and Roxy relaxed her grip, shoving her foe back against the hard cold plaster
wall as she turned to face a shocked and horrified looking Stormer. The girl was in her dressing gown, a torch in her hand and
her curls in a ponytail, and Jetta surmised she had been in bed.
Inwardly she thanked her lucky stars for Stormer's intervention...things had been slipping fast out of her control.
"What on earth are you doing?" Stormer's attention was on Roxy, as she tried to work out the situation.
"Settling family business." Roxy muttered.
"Jetta, are you okay?"
"I'm fine." Though her body was aching and her head sore, Jetta spoke calmly and indifferently.
"You won't be when I'm done!" Roxy snapped.
"You're deranged, you are!"
"I'll give you deranged!"
"Roxy, no!" This time Stormer read Roxy's impulses before Roxy herself did, and grabbed out to stop her friend from inflicting
any more damage on the bruised saxophonist. "Whatever upset you, fighting is not the way to solve it!"
"Let me go, Stormer! I wanna settle her once and for all!" Roxy struggled, but Stormer was well practiced, and held firm.
"No way." She said firmly, one eye on Jetta. "Someone's gonna get hurt here!"
"Yeah, her, if you let me go finish what I started." Roxy snapped.
"What's gotten you so wound up?" Stormer demanded. "This isn't like you...either of you!"
"Ask her." Roxy spat out, jerking her head in Jetta's direction.
"Roxy can't cope with the fact that I spent the night at Justin's apartment, because the storm cancelled my flight 'ome an' there
were no 'otels with unbooked rooms in New York." Jetta said levelly. "Apparently this is a big deal."
"That's not all of it." Roxy growled. "Tell her what else you did!"
"Jetta?" Stormer's blue eyes turned to the other girl, who shrugged her shoulders flippantly.
"Okay, so it was a bit more than jus' me stoppin' over at 'is place." She admitted. "So? It's a free world, we're both adults. It
ain't 'er business!"
"Oh!" Stormer's expression became one of shock and comprehension. Then, "Listen, I don't think you should fight. If nothing
else Pizzazz won't love you for messing her salon. Perhaps if I do some cocoa we can sit down and..."
"I'm not staying here or anywhere with her." Roxy interrupted, wrenching herself free of Stormer's grip. "I'm going to bed."
And with that she stormed out of the room, banging the door behind her.
Stormer flinched, biting her lip. Then she met Jetta's gaze questioningly.
"Oh, don't look at me like that. She started it." Jetta was in no mood to play nice.
"Are you sure she didn't hurt you?"
"I'll live." Jetta rolled up her sleeves, examining the red marks on her arm which were fast turning purple. Stormer let out a
"Oh God, what did she do to you?"
"Flew at me." Jetta said with a shrug. "Don't fuss, Stormer, I'm fine, really I am. If she wants to be a child about this, then fine."
Stormer paused, then,
"How serious is it, Jetta?"
"What do you mean?" Jetta looked confused.
"Oh!" Jetta looked startled, then. "It ain't."
There was something in the girl's tone that belied her, and Stormer fixed her companion with a thoughtful look.
"Oh, I see." She said softly. "So you did it to spite Roxy?"
Jetta bit her lip, frowning.
"No." She admitted. "It kinda...just...'appened. I wasn't thinkin' of Roxy, Stormer, not even for one moment."
"Do you like him?"
"I...don't know." Jetta sighed. "Listen, Stormer, I ain't in no mood to talk stupid sissy emotions with you. I'm tired an' I'm sore
an' I want a shower and bed."
"Okay." Stormer knew when not to push her friend. "Jetta, you did...you know...take precautions?"
"'Ow old do you think I am, Stormer?" Jetta's tone was scathing. "Of course!"
"Okay." Stormer sighed, then, "I wish Pizzazz were home. She had a date tonight with someone or other, dunno who. I only
hope Roxy has gone to bed and isnt gonna make more fuss tonight...I dont think I dare go speak to her."
"Why not? You're on 'er side anyway." Jetta shrugged, picking up her bag. "Later, Stormer...I'm gone."
"Jetta, wait." Stormer called her back, then, "I don't take sides. Roxy means a lot to me, but you do too, and I don't condone
fighting...not among Misfits. We fight for the same team, or had you forgotten?"
"Like I said, she started it." Jetta shrugged, her air flippant. "Night, Stormer."
And with that, she was gone.
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