Chapter Two: Roxy's Ambition
"Well, that was worth it, I don't think." Jetta lounged in the
of the big Gabor Estate that had been the Misfits' home for some time,
idly pouring herself a second cup of tea and reaching for the milk and
sugar. Of British birth, Jetta had soon made sure that the facilities
provide herself with the drink she had grown up on were readily
in her chosen country of residence, and 'English Tea' was now a
which was often in demand. Today, however, it was only Stormer and
in the kitchen, Pizzazz having stomped upstairs to 'get her lie in',
Roxy having disappeared out to the pool to practice her diving.
"Well, it's done, and let's hope that's the last of it." Stormer sighed. "I have to admit even I'm sick of the song, and I wrote it!"
"If I ever hear it again it'll be too soon." Jetta groaned. "And Roxy and her blessed bass...what in 'eck was she doing, playing all flat?"
"I think it was a carefully orchestrated protest against early morning work." Stormer said, amusement in her tone.
"You mean she was sulking." Jetta rolled her eyes, taking a sip of tea. "Just what we didn't need."
"I don't think it was sulking, exactly." Stormer looked thoughtful. "None of us wanted to do this morning's session, anyway."
"Too right." Jetta nodded. "Thank God it's done with, that's what I reckon. Now I'm goin' out to the pool to sunbathe and enjoy what's left of me Sunday. No doubt you're gonna hole yourself up in your room an' write?"
"I was planning it." Stormer admitted. Jetta snorted.
"Workaholic, you are."
"Someone has to." Stormer retorted.
"Well, why not at least bring it out to the pool." Jetta suggested.
"Because one of you will splash it and the ink will run."
"Then get a pen that don't run! C'mon, Stormer, don't be a drag!"
"All right." Stormer sighed. "Let me get my manuscript, I'll meet you out there."
By the time the two girls reached the poolside, Roxy had given up the diving board for a sunlounger and, sunglasses on her nose was stretched out, flicking through one of Pizzazz's fashion magazines. Although she couldn't read, the colours and concepts of the outfits appealed to her, and it wasn't uncommon for her to sneak a purchase or two onto the singer's bottomless credit card bill without being caught. To Roxy, whose conscience had always operated on it's own unique level, it was hardly stealing, since Pizzazz never noticed any discrepancy and probably wouldn't care if she had. It wasn't that Pizzazz was overly generous, merely that she cared very little for the value of money. It was there and she spent it, and that was that. Being the daughter of a billionaire, she had grown up in the secure knowledge that the money never would run out.
"You're not working on a Sunday?" Roxy cast Stormer an incredulous glance. "Come on, Stormer, it's a day off! What do you want to be writing manuscript for in this beautiful weather?"
"If I don't it won't get done." Stormer said simply, settling herself on the empty lounger next to where the blond guitarist was situated. "Don't hassle me, Roxy. I really want to get this song done today. It's not coming together right, anyway."
"Let me see that." Before Stormer could stop her, Roxy had pulled the book from her companion's grasp, turning the pages.
"Hey, I wanna see what you're gonna stick me with playin'." Roxy interrupted the younger girl's protests. "This the one?"
"Yeah." Stormer gave up. It was rare for Roxy to care much about the songs under composition, but it wasn't worth arguing the point once the blond had an idea fixed firmly in her head.
Jetta dived into the pool, swimming across to the side to see what was going on.
"I didn't think we were desperate enough for music that you 'ad to get Roxy to write it." She remarked offhandedly.
"Oh, you're so funny." Roxy snapped at her foe. "I was just looking at it. And at least I did write a song, Jetta! What have you ever written?"
"I could if I wanted." Jetta retorted, riled. "Only with Stormer such a natural, why should I bother?"
"Please, I need to concentrate!" Stormer retrieved her book, a pained expression on her face. "Otherwise neither of you will have any music, and Pizzazz will be mad."
"She's always mad about somethin'." Roxy shrugged. "Chill, Stormer. It's Sunday. Day of rest, remember?"
"Whole bloomin' week is rest to you." She obswrved, kicking out lazily across the water on her back. Roxy scowled, getting to her feet and diving cleanly in off the side. As Jetta paused in the middle to get her second wind, the blond, easily the best swimmer among the Misfits dipped beneath the surface, grabbing the British girl's feet and pulling her under, taking her completely off guard. She came up again, spluttering and lacking all of her usual composure.
"Roxanne Pelligrini, I'm gonna kill you!" She exclaimed, launching herself in the direction Roxy had speedily swum off in. Roxy paused at the side, grinning.
"You can't catch me that easy. You're too unfit." She observed, pulling herself out of the pool and onto the tiling. "I'm a way better swimmer than you'll ever be!"
"At least I can spell swim!" Jetta retorted, her pride still bruised and her long black hair limp and messy over her shoulders from the unexpected dunking. Roxy shrugged.
"Whatever." She said carelessly, though the comment got to her more than she let on. "Hey, Stormer, does Pizzazz have a paddle pool? Jetta needs to practice her strokes!"
"Watch your face, you dumb yank." Jetta bristled, lifting herself out of the water and grabbing her now empty teacup, filling it from the pool and drenching Roxy further with it's contents in one fluid movement.
Stormer set down her manuscript, watching in amusement. Neither Roxy nor Jetta were shy of behaving like children at any given time, despite the fact that Jetta was twenty five and Roxy not far off, and the result was often most entertaining.
"What's all the noise out here?" At that moment Pizzazz emerged, dressed in her swimwear, with her long wavy hair pulled back from her face in a loose band. "Roxy, Jetta, quit killing each other, will ya? Some of us want to swim!"
Pizzazz was the undisputed leader in all the Misfits did, so reluctantly the two sparring partners gave up their spat, Jetta returning to the water and Roxy rejoining Stormer at the poolside.
"I got her good that time." She observed. Stormer grinned.
"It's a pity we didn't have a camera rolling." She responded. "That would've gone great in our next music video."
"Did you see her face?" Roxy laughed. "Dumb Brit. I got her good and proper!" She glanced at the manuscript book. "You done writing?"
"I'm not having much luck out here." Stormer owned. "I was about to go inside, grab my synth and try a couple of things. Out here's too noisy for me to focus."
There was a pause, then,
"Can I help?"
The request was so hesitantly put and so out of character that Stormer stared at her friend, waiting for the punchline, but none came. Roxy's expression was entirely serious.
"Sure." Stormer said at length. "If you want to."
"I'm bored with out here. Jetta's a drag." Roxy shrugged. "Lemme get changed and have a shower, okay? I'll meet you in the salon." She winked. "Maybe I'll put some life into your boring song."
With that she got to her feet, lazily sauntering inside. Barely able to believe her friend's words, Stormer headed slowly inside herself, plugging in her synthesiser in the main salon and playing through the sequences again. She half expected Roxy to change her mind, but the blond appeared in due course, her bass guitar under her arm and a towel wrapped around her dripping hair.
"So?" She said, sitting down on the sofa. "What's the problem?"
"You really wanna help?" Stormer eyed her friend doubtfully.
"Yeah. Why shouldn't I?" Roxy demanded. "I'm a Misfit too! Or don't you think I can, huh?"
"Roxy, I'd love you to help." Stormer said hurriedly. "It was just a little unexpected, that's all. You don't usually like to work on a weekend."
"Well, I'm up and about. May as well." Roxy replied abruptly. "Are we doin' this or not?"
"Okay." Stormer grinned. "Well, this is what I got." She played the main melody through again. "That's the lead line...this is the vocal line." She played another sequence. "And that's where I'm stuck. I've got no counter for Jetta's sax, though I could probably cut her into the melody and harmonise that way. And I've no bassline whatsoever."
Roxy was silent for a moment, and with a jolt Stormer realised that her friend was seriously considering the problem.
"Play again." She said finally.
"The melody. Play it again."
With a shrug, Stormer did as she was bidden. Roxy lifted her bass onto her lap, fingering idle chords. She was a natural with the guitar, despite her rough and ready tuition from a street musician when she had been living rough in Philadelphia. Her lack of literate ability had held her back in terms of creativity, for she lacked the confidence to strike out for herself musically. Despite the one song she had taunted Jetta with, she had not yet crossed over the line properly from musician to composer. In truth she was dying to do more writing of her own, the idea of recording a solo album appealing more and more to her imagination and her pride, but she knew that to do it she needed Stormer's help and as yet was shy of revealing her intentions, not wanting to be laughed at.
"Still, Stormer's done it. Why shouldn't I?" She'd asked herself time and time again. "And it would show Jetta, too. I'm not dumb and I'm gonna prove it!"
Her decision had been inspired, at least to a point by the recent truce that had been called between the Misfits and their longtime bitter rivals, Jem and the Holograms. Though it was not true to say that the two bands were best of friends, for both Pizzazz and Jem had their reservations about the arrangement, Roxy had dabbled a little with the other group's lead guitarist musically, and it had filled her with new ideas.
The only problem was how to get those ideas down on paper.
Roxy had a lot of respect and affection for Stormer, and, though wild horses would not drag it from her, she trusted the other girl's judgement. More intelligent than many gave her credit for, Roxy had immediately seen the advantages in being privy to the composition of band songs. It would be an added bonus if she could get her name on the credit list for it too. She had never thought in this way before and not being able to read had meant that she'd paid little attention to what was printed on the inside of their album covers, but somehow now there was inside of her an inexplicable desire to have the words 'Music by M.Phillips/R.Pelligrini' printed in italics beneath the name of the track. Roxy had no family to show off too, but in any case this was for her own pride more than anything. She wanted to prove to everyone, herself included that she was worth something within her band, and not just being carried along for the ride. Besides, she knew that Jetta's name had been credited on the first album she had been a part of, for her sax line in 'I Like Your Style'. This had grated some at the time - it was time to even the score.
She instructed Stormer to play for a third time, this time allowing her own imagination to take hold of the tune. Bit by bit she began to play, just halting sections here and there, but as Stormer began the melody again her ideas began to flow more cohesively and in an instant she knew she had it. She played the simple ostinato through twice on her own, embellishing it each time.
"There, what did I tell ya?" she said proudly. "Nothin' to this composing thing."
"Roxy, you're a genius, thank you." Stormer grinned. "Guess all it needed was a fresh opinion on the subject." She scrawled down the notes. "You know, this is the first time we've worked together on a song? Ever?"
"I guess it is." Roxy shrugged. "No biggie, though."
"Maybe not, but it's been fun all the same." Stormer replied. "Writing music can be kinda lonely sometimes...it's been neat to have your input."
Roxy paused, then,
"Stormer, I wanna ask you something." She said awkwardly.
"Sure, what's up?" Stormer looked at her friend expectantly.
"Do you think...and tell me honest, else I'll be mad...do you think I could ever make a solo record?"
"Oh!" Stormer looked startled. Then, "I don't see why not, but Roxy, you aren't gonna leave the Misfits, are you?"
"No fear." Roxy laughed. "I know where life's good, Stormer. I'd just like to have somethin' that's mine, you know? Something I did. When we were in Philly that time and I played my song...it felt good. I kinda wanna do more. Playin' about with Aja and the other holograms made me think more and more about it."
Stormer was silent for a moment. Then,
"I think," She said slowly, "That you have every bit as good a chance of getting a hit record as Kimber and I had when we launched Back 2 Back. Only..."
"Only what?" Roxy demanded sharply.
"Only you'd have to clear it by Pizzazz. She controls your contract...you'd have to record through Misfit Music and you'd have to have her agreement." Stormer frowned. "That part might get tricky."
"I can handle her." Roxy waved away the issue dismissively. "I ain't written stuff yet or nothin'...I wanted your opinion first. It won't be for a while, but if I do it..." She faltered slightly, then, "Will you help me? You know I can't write stuff down like you can."
"You know I will. You don't even have to ask." Stormer assured her.
"Rad." She observed. "Cos I mean to do it, Stormer. Bein' a hit with the Misfits is one thing, but one of these days I'm gonna make sure everyone out there knows Roxy Pelligrini as a star in her own right!"
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)