Chapter Four: An Unexpected Meeting
"So, what is this all in aid of?"
Jetta tied her dressing gown cord around her waist, stifling a yawn. "What exactly are we doin' today that needs us to be up at 'alf nine in the flippin' morning, Pizzazz?"
"Eric called about half an hour ago. Woke me up, the creep." Pizzazz pulled a face. "He's arranged some kind of photoshoot this morning at Misfit Music...we gotta be up and ready there by half ten."
"What? Is he mad? Doesn't he know we were out till late last night?"
"No, he's cheap." Pizzazz rolled her eyes. "Apparently this photographer guy jus' flew in from NYC and is keen to work with us - so keen he offered his services for free, as some kind of trial or something. Eric lapped it up. Knows nothing about the guy, but then you know Eric."
"Git." Jetta scowled. "Stormer an' Roxy up yet?"
"Stormer is. Roxy's in the shower, in as sweet a mood as you or I about it." Pizzazz replied. "Look, just get up, will ya? Believe me, Eric's gonna hear all about this when we've done."
"What I want to know is why this New York bloke is offerin' 'is photography for free." Jetta looked suspicious. "What's in it for 'im?"
"Resume hit, probably." Pizzazz shrugged. "Can you believe that Eric didn't even get his full name? I swear that guy gets more and more of a liability the further we go on!"
"Maybe 'e's gettin' senile." Jetta smirked. "'Ow old is 'e, anyway?"
"Eric? Who cares?" Pizzazz shrugged. "Thirty-nine, forty, something like that I think."
"Well, 'e 'as the middle-aged spread already." Jetta observed dryly. "All right, I'll go kick Roxy out of the bathroom an' get dressed...I 'ope you do sort Eric out good an' proper after this, though. One more early mornin' and I think I'll be ready to kill someone! Eleven o' clock is early enough for me on a normal day at the studio! I like to enjoy my nights out without worryin' about gettin' up early the next mornin'."
"Yeah, well, goes for me too." Pizzazz rolled her eyes. "I'll sort him. Don't worry."
By the time the Misfits arrived at the music company it was ten twenty-seven, and Eric met them on the doorstep. Reading Pizzazz's dark expression, he swallowed hard, composing himself as he went to greet them.
"Eric, what's the big idea?" Pizzazz got out of the driver's side, slamming the door so hard that the whole van rocked. "You woke me up! This had better be worth it!"
"My dear, this is called economising and thinking ahead. Your company can only benefit by it." Eric told her smoothly. "When you come to release your next album, we'll have a bevy of photos to choose from, now won't we? And this guy has a good resume on him. Only last week he was taking pictures of your new best friends."
"What do you mean?" Pizzazz demanded.
"Jem and the Holograms, of course."
"Oh he was, was he?" Pizzazz seemed to be thinking this over. "Well, if he's good enough for miss pink hair, then he's good enough for me. C'mon girls, lets see what all the fuss is about."
Justin was inside, setting up his equipment when the band entered, and he turned, greeting them with a smile.
"Hi there, ladies, I'm Justin." He said warmly. "I suppose you're the Misfits, huh?"
"Well, ain't you the clever one." Jetta smirked. Pizzazz laughed.
"Justin, allow me to introduce Pizzazz, Roxy, Jetta and Stormer, America's hottest rock sensation." Eric was all charm and business, though he sent the sharp-tongued Briton a dark look.
"You better be good." Pizzazz observed off-handedly. "We only use the best."
"You're in safe hands with me." Justin grinned.
"How come you're doing this gig for free?" Roxy demanded. "What's the catch?"
"No catch." Justin paused, eying the guitarist thoughtfully. Could she be? Dared he ask her? "I wanted...um, a reason to come out and do some pictures in California, and follow up a few personal leads in the meantime, that's all. My company would only sanction my coming if I had something to show at the end of it, and I can always use good hits on my resume. It's all above board and arranged with Mr Raymond here."
"Nothin' Eric ever does is above board." Jetta murmured in Stormer's ear. The synth player grinned.
"He seems nice, though." she observed.
"Sure, if nice is your thing." Jetta shrugged.
"He ain't bad looking." Pizzazz put in her bit, eying the photographer critically. "Smiles too damn much, though, if you ask me. Bet he's as much of a wimp as Eric...there won't be any fun to be had with this one." She shrugged. "Pity."
"You have your mind on one thing and one thing only where men are concerned." Jetta shot her a wry smile.
"Well, what else are they there for?" Pizzazz demanded. "Hey, he's looking at Roxy an awful lot."
"Well, he 'as no taste, then." Jetta raised an amused eyebrow. "Maybe 'e'll get a fist in 'is face over it by the time the mornin's through."
Justin soon realised that working with the independant minded Misfits was something quite different from the cooperative Holograms. Impatient and pernickety about the perfection of the shots, they demanded a break for lunch bare moments before he had been ready to throw in the towel himself.
"And I'm doing this for free." He mused. "I must be mad."
"'Ere, space cadet, you on the same planet as the rest of us?"
Startled by the unusual clipped tones of the group's saxophonist, he turned to face his addresser with some surprise.
"You're excused." Jetta looked amused. "When you're done daydreamin', what time do you want us back 'ere? We don't want this to take all day." She examined her black-painted nails idly for chips. "Dammit, stupid cheap varnish."
She glared at him.
"Oh! Sorry." Justin, distracted for a moment from coherent thought offered her a smile. "Half one would be great. It's about half twelve now. I think another hour of shots after lunch will do the tricks."
"Great." Jetta rolled her eyes. "Guess we'll see you then, then. Damn Eric. Pizzazz!"
And with that she was off across the studio towards where the singer was examining her makeup in her compact mirror, waiting impatiently for her bandmate to join her. These days, Pizzazz and Jetta were definite partners in crime.
Justin eyed her keenly. So, that was Jetta, the British Misfit. Idly he wondered why she had settled on a career path so far from home. He had never been to England, though he had travelled all over the North American continent and he almost envied her her fortune in crossing the Atlantic.
"Best of both worlds." He mused. "Lucky girl."
His gaze shifted across the room to where Stormer and Roxy were deep in conversation about something, oblivious to the attention thrown their way. Roxy was lounging idly against the doorframe. Her expression was both confrontational and unwelcoming, but despite it all there was a pretty air about her.
"She doesn't look much like a Pelligrini." He mused. "Aja did say that she didn't look like me, except the eyes. How can I get close enough to see for myself? Aja wasn't kidding when she said the girl was tough! But I'm not going to give up. I'm gonna find out once and for all whether she's my sister or not. If so, well, I'm sure I'll find a way to reach out to her somehow, and if not...if not I'll keep looking, I guess."
"That photographer guy is staring at you again." Across the studio, Stormer gave her companion a nudge. Roxy frowned.
"Justin. He's been staring at you on and off since we got here. Hadn't you noticed?"
"No, I hadn't." Roxy's frown deepened. "What does he want, you think?"
"Maybe he likes you."
"I'll rearrange his face for him if he dare try it." Roxy scowled, clenching her fists. Stormer laughed.
"Well, if he's bothering you, go ask him what the deal is." She suggested. Roxy nodded.
"I intend to." She responded. "Stay here, huh? This could be messy."
Stormer settled herself more comfortably against the doorpost to watch the encounter. Though her conscience was active on a far more frequent basis than those of her bandmates, there was a certain streak of impishness inside of her to which the mischief of being a Misfit appealed. This was one of those times, for, if the truth were to be told she was as bored as anyone with the session. At one stage she had believed the gulf between she and the other Misfits was insurmountable, but these days they had more and more common ground with each other, and Stormer felt a bona fide part of that team. Secretly she liked playing the rebel, and envied her companions some of their wilder whims.
"Hey, photographer guy! Justin, or whatever your name is!" Roxy was nothing if not direct. "What's your deal? Why you staring at me, huh? Ain't you never worked with celebrities before?"
Justin looked sheepish.
"I'm sorry." He said contritely. "I didn't realise I was staring. I was just wondering if you might be Roxanne Pelligrini."
"Well, duh." Roxy's tone was scathing. "Any idiot knows that if they pay attention to the showbiz press. And I don't have time for groupies!"
"No, you don't understand." Justin shook his head. "You...you're the reason I came to California. I wanted to talk to you...and not because you're a Misfit, either. Really, Roxy, just hear me out."
"You came lookin' for me?" Roxy looked startled. "Jus' me? Why in hell?" Her brown eyes narrowed suspiciously. "You sure this ain't some press deal?"
"I promise." Justin responded. "Look, you come from Philadelphia, don't you? Well, silly question, I can tell by your accent that you do."
"Yeah, so?" Now Roxy was totally on her guard, her mind flitting back to her many indiscretions while living rough in her home city. She took a step back. "I don't live there no more, so what's it to you?"
"How old are you?"
"Why do you want to know?"
"Twenty four. Twenty five in April." Roxy said shortly. "Now you better have a good reason for playing Mr inquisitive!"
"I do, I promise I do." Justin held up his hands. "I just have one more little question...if you don't mind."
"I do mind!" Roxy reacted to this. "What are you trying to pull, creep?"
"Nothing." Justin protested. "Listen, I came to Los Angeles looking for someone, and I'm wondering if you might be her."
"Why?" Roxy demanded. "Spill. I ain't sayin' nothin' to you till you tell me what you want with me...for all I know you could be...well, press or FBI or God knows what else."
"Sorry to disappoint. I'm only what I say I am...a humble photographer from New York City." He said amiably. "I came west in the hope I'd find a relative of mine who I've never met. Her name is Roxanne, like you...and my name is Pelligrini. So I wondered..."
"I ain't got any family." Roxy said shortly. "So you've screwed up someplace."
"Did your mother tell you that?"
"My Mother's dead."
"Your father, then?"
"Oh, get out of my face!" Roxy was fast losing patience with the photographer, shoving him aside. "I don't have time for this!"
"Your father's called William, isn't he?" Justin called after her. Roxy stopped dead, turning on her heel.
"William Pelligrini. And your mother was Sara Marten."
"Who told you that?" Now Roxy was unnerved, grabbing him by the arm. "Who? I never told anyone that!"
"My father told me." Justin said softly, his heart leaping with hope. "William Pelligrini is my father too...you are my sister!"
"I'm noone's sister!" Roxy exclaimed. "Noone's, you hear me? I don't have a family and that's how I want it! My Dad was never around...he's nothing to me! In any case, I don't believe you. You're lying!"
"I can show you my birth certificate, if you doubt me." Justin offered. "I only met Dad a few months ago, and he told me about you - I didn't know I had a sister till then. I've spent the last few months looking for her...for you. He didn't know if you were even still alive."
"I survived - I'm tough." Roxy's words were numb and she seemed to be speaking without conscious thought. "And I don't need anyone! I ain't noone's sister, you hear me? Leave me alone!"
With that she fled the studio, the door banging behind her.
From across the room, a frown crossed Stormer's face. She had not been close enough to hear any of the exchange of words, but whatever Justin had said had clearly unsettled her friend.
She glanced around her, but Jetta and Pizzazz were nowhere to be seen, and Eric was busy with paperwork in the far corner, seemingly oblivious. In fact, Stormer mused, he probably was, since he'd worked with the group long enough to be able to shut out their squalls.
Now Stormer had a dilemma. Should she go after Roxy, or should she confront Justin?
But in the end the decision was made for her, for with a jolt of consternation she realised the photographer was headed her way.
"It's Stormer, right?" He asked. Stormer nodded slowly.
"What did you say to Roxy?" She asked quietly. Justin looked troubled.
"I...I lost my head a little." He admitted, slightly uncomfortably. "I only told her the truth, but...I suppose I could have tackled it better. I think I gave the poor girl a shock."
"You think so?" Stormer raised an eyebrow. She wasn't confrontational by nature, but where Roxy was concerned she often felt fiercely protective, something of which Roxy was not often appreciative. "What do you mean, you told her the truth? What truth?"
Justin fumbled for his driver's license, handing it to the Misfit.
"I'm her half-brother." he said quietly. "I came all the way from New York City just to find her. I only discovered I had a sister a while ago, when I met my father...then I met the Holograms, and Aja put me on the right track."
"Justin...Pelligrini?" Stormer frowned, handing it back. "Are you sure? Roxy doesn't have any family, well, not immediate family. Her mother's dead and her Dad..."
"Just got out of prison." Justin finished slowly. "His name is William, or Billy. He asked me if I knew where Roxy was, that was the first I ever heard that name. He gave me a few things for her, if I found her, and they're all out in my car, but I'm not gonna press those on her right now, she's pretty shell-shocked. I wanted to be sure who she was first, as well...and I am now. She is my sister, no doubts."
"But..." Stormer looked confused. "How can you be so sure? I didn't think Roxy knew what her parents were called...does she?"
"She does." Justin nodded. "When I mentioned their names she went ashen and demanded to know how I knew. Her age is right too - Dad said my sister was born in April '64, and Aja said Roxy's birthday is April. More, Roxy told me her age herself. I'm in no doubt. She is my half-sister."
"Oh God..." Stormer trailed off. Then, "Justin, you gotta understand that Roxy's not like other girls in a lot of ways. She grew up tough and, well, I suppose she brought herself up more than anything. She spent eight years fending for herself living rough in Philadelphia...she left home at fourteen and has been looking out for herself ever since. To her family's kinda a bad thing, because her only experiences of a real family setup are negative. I guess you could say that the Misfits are the closest thing to a family she has these days. I can't promise she'll accept you...no matter how much you wanna build a relationship with her."
"I'm patient." Justin said with a smile. "Aja told me that Roxy was unpredictable and that she might not take it so well. I'm game to wait some and see if I can improve things."
"I wouldn't hold your breath." Stormer looked troubled. "Roxy's tough as they come, Justin. It took me forever to get her to trust me and admit that we're friends. This is a whole other situation." She slid down off the stage. "Look, I'm gonna go find her. I'm sorry, Justin, I don't see what else I can say."
"It's okay, I understand." Justin replied. "I...hope I didn't upset her too badly."
"Me too." Stormer murmured under her breath as she headed out of the big studio, hesitating for a moment as she considered where Roxy might have gone.
"Somewhere secluded." she decided eventually, hurrying up the main staircase to the top floor but one, where the main practice studios were situated. "Roxy? Are you up here?"
There was no reply, and Stormer frowned, making her way slowly down the corridor and peeking into each room as she did so.
"What are you doing, following me?"
A familiar voice came from behind her, and Stormer turned to see the missing bass player in the doorway to a studio she had already vetted as empty, her arms folded in a defensive posture.
"I wanted to be sure you were all right." She said levelly. "Justin told me the situation."
"Oh, he did, did he?" A strange look entered Roxy's brown eyes. "Well I can handle it, and I'm fine, so you can leave me alone now."
"You know full well that I'm not going anywhere." Stormer folded her arms. "Do you believe him?"
"No!" Roxy shook her head, but there was a note of doubt in her tone. "I don't have a brother, and I told him so!"
"What if he's right, though?" Stormer's tones were gentle and she came to join her friend. "What if your Dad really did have another child before you? There's no reason why he couldn't have, and every reason that you wouldn't know about it. You don't know your parents...I wasn't even aware you knew their names."
"I...have my birth certificate." Roxy admitted slowly. "Took me a while but I figured what it said." She frowned. "But I don't want a brother, Stormer! I don't want any family! Why can't he just go back to New York and leave me alone!"
"Because he desperately wants to make things work with you, would be my guess." Stormer told her softly. "Noone travels all the way across America and does a photoshoot for free like this without some motive and that motive is clearly you, Roxy. He cares...he wants to know his sister!"
"Pah." Roxy snorted, folding her arms. "I don't need him. And why are you so keen on him, anyway? You two gettin' married or something?"
"Oh, grow up." Stormer sounded impatient, and spoke in a tone that once she would have been too intimidated to use to Roxy's face. "Look, Roxy, we both know what a bad time you had in the past, but Justin wasn't a part of that past. I know sometimes you're kinda jealous that I have Craig to look out for me, well, maybe this is your chance to build that kind of rapport."
"You and Craig grew up together." Roxy replied sullenly. "And you're soft! I don't need anyone lookin' out for me!"
"True, but wouldn't it be nice sometimes to know that there was someone there? That you weren't alone in the world?" Stormer pressed. Roxy frowned.
"Just talk to him. Find out what he knows. He said he spoke to your Dad, well, maybe he can tell you something."
"I...dunno." Roxy looked doubtful. Though wild horses would not have dragged it from her, Stormer's judgement had a big influence on the guitarist these days, and was a large part of the unlikely friendship the two girls had slowly built up between them. Despite their different characters and backgrounds, these days Roxy and Stormer were fairly inseparable, and Stormer was the only person that Roxy had let see inside her hard shell.
"Tough people don't run away from silly situations like this." Stormer reminded her. Roxy scowled.
"I'm not soft in the head and I'm not running away from anything!" she exclaimed.
"So talk to him!" Stormer urged. "If it doesn't work out, well, then it doesn't, but you should at least try."
"Maybe." Roxy conceded finally. "I dunno though, Stormer. It was...kinda a shock, when he blurted it out like that."
"I know." Stormer nodded. "But think...in the long run, isn't it worth a try, at the very least?"
Before Roxy could find her reply in the swirling confusion of thoughts invading her mind, the two girls were interrupted by an irate looking Pizzazz.
"What are you guys doing skulking up here?" She demanded. "We got work to do, come on!"
Exchanging looks, the two other Misfits did as they were bidden, Roxy rolling her eyes skywards and Stormer stifling a smile.
Downstairs in the studio, Jetta had settled herself down on the edge of the dais, idly waiting for her bandmates to join her as she checked over her makeup and hair in her compact mirror. Satisfied that both were fine, she snapped the compact shut, her grey eyes adopting a look of confusion as she registered Justin's company at her left hand.
"You think they're coming?" He asked her amiably. Jetta shrugged.
"Pizzazz will get 'em down." She said carelessly. "Roxy's such a baby, she's got no concentration span."
"I was meaning to ask you, actually, what's a Briton doing so far from home? You can't get much further away from England than Los Angeles, surely?"
"I'm makin' money." Jetta replied dryly. "What else?"
"It just seems a long way to come."
"Well, it ain't really your business, is it?" Jetta countered. "I wanted a new challenge an' I was bored of London...so I came. Okay?" She shrugged. "A true pro can play anywhere."
"You play sax, right?"
"Clever boy. Done your 'omework." Jetta's tones were edged with amused sarcasm.
"Just struck me as an unusual rock instrument."
"Well, shows 'ow much you know, doesn't it?" Jetta bristled slightly.
"I didn't mean any offence!" Justin said hurriedly.
"Don't suck up. It don't suit you an' you're not doin' this gig for a flat fee, so there ain't anythin' to lose by it." Jetta told him matter of factly.
Justin pursed his lips, then,
"Are you always this confrontational with guys who wanna make chit chat?"
"Only the ones who ain't worth my time." Jetta told him neatly.
"Oh, I see." A slight smile touched Justin's expression at this. He eyed her thoughtfully. There was something about this sparky Briton that intrigued him. Perhaps it was the fact that she stood out from the others, with her accent and her unusual choice of instrument, and her nonchalant air of defiance...of independance. Whatever it was, Justin knew it interested him, and probably more than she would approve of. She had fight, a flash of rebellion inside of her which he just could not resist playing with.
"What you starin' at?" She demanded now. "Quit gawkin' at me, will ya? So I play saxophone! So what? Big bloomin' deal!"
"Hey, that's cool. I was just curious." Justin assured her.
"Curiosity killed the cat." Jetta quipped. "It ain't polite to ask so many questions of someone you 'ardly know."
"But then how would you ever get to know them better?" Justin asked reasonably.
Jetta had no chance to retort to this, however, because at that moment Pizzazz and the other Misfits made their re-entry. Roxy did not meet Justin's gaze throughout the entire remainder of the photoshoot, and as soon as he said he was done, she scooped up her belongings, heading straight out to where the car was waiting without a backwards glance. Stormer shot Justin a troubled look, then followed on after her friend. Much as she wanted a happy ending, she knew from experience that Roxy could not be made to do anything she didn't want to do.
Justin sat down on the stage. So, where did he go from here?
"I can't make her want to be my sister." He admitted with a frown. "But I'll be damned if I'm gonna give up on her that easily. She's had a shock today, and I'm best leaving her for now. Hopefully when she's had some time to think about it, she'll come round to the idea more."
His gaze fell on Jetta as the British girl paused to adjust her knee high black boots. She was something else which interested him enough to keep him in California a while. It had been the first time he'd worked with the Misfits and they had proven tiresome, impatient and confrontational...and yet here he was hoping to run into them again, and soon.
"What's up with me?" He asked himself, amused. "Sucker for punishment? Roxy is one thing, but what on earth is making me want to chase up Jetta? Prickly would be an understatement...Hell, maybe that's what I like about her. She's a challenge...nothing sweet and compliant about her. She's damn pretty too...Oh, get a grip, Justin! There must be something in this Californian water, I'm thinking adolescent!"
Jetta caught his gaze and nudged Pizzazz, murmuring something. Pizzazz smirked, making a remark of her own and laughing. Then both girls headed out to join Stormer and Roxy in the waiting limousine. Justin frowned. What was he involved in now?
"Why do I always wanna chase after the girl who'd sooner kill me with a glare than give me the time of day?" He muttered. "Brilliant, Justin...get a hold of yourself!"
"Well, that was a productive day." Eric approached Justin with a smile, shaking him by the hand. "I'll be sure to remember you in the future, Justin...are you in California often?"
"No, but I have family here, and it's an interesting place to visit, so I'm sure I'll be here again." Justin smiled. He had no faith in this sleazy executive, and wondered idly how his sister had got mixed up with him. "I have to admit I'm not very familiar with the West coast, but I'd like to change that."
"Well, here's my card. I hope we can do business again." Eric offered another falsely genial smile. Justin nodded, taking and pocketing the proffered card.
"Likewise." he agreed. "The Misfits are a unique bunch of girls to work with, I must say...Goodbye, Mr Raymond. Thankyou for accomodating me at such short notice."
"Always a pleasure." Eric replied smoothly. "I look forward to seeing the end results of today's endeavours."
Justin smiled wryly.
"You aren't the only one." He murmured. "I'd like to see them too."
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)