Chapter Five: Roxy's Treasure
Upon the group's return to the Gabor Estate, Roxy headed upstairs to
the room which these days she considered hers, shutting the door firmly
and dropping down onto the bed, grabbing the worn envelope from her
and scattering it's contents all over her bedcover. Though she had said
nothing to Justin, there were many questions burning in her mind...none
bigger than whether the photographer could be telling the truth. She
in no frame of mind to make small talk with her bandmates, or even head
out to the pool to dive. For the first time in so many years, she
to know about her family.
She picked up the letter, squinting at it as she tried to decipher the handwritten scrawl, but as usual her eyes would not cooperate and, frustrated, she tossed it aside. Even if it did contain what she was looking for, it might as well have been written in Japanese. As she glanced at it, she felt tears come to her eyes, but she forced them back. Crying was something entirely foreign to someone as strong and defiant as Roxy, but Justin's words had shaken her, and she wanted some justification - some reassurance that he wasn't taking her for a ride. Stormer's words about Craig had made her wonder, if only fleetingly, what having a brother might be like...but she had no mind to be conned by an elaborate hoax.
"Roxy, are you okay up here?" Stormer swung open the bedroom door, making her housemate jump and hurriedly stuff the letter under her pillow.
"I'm fine." She said quickly. "Just sortin' junk, that's all. Don't you knock?"
"Stormer came to join her, ignoring the slightly unwelcoming tone in her friend's words. Her sharp eyes caught sight of the birth certificate, and she reached to pick it up, hesitating momentarily as she met her companion's gaze.
"Can I?" She asked.
"Whatever. Like it matters." Roxy shrugged, affecting a nonchalant expression. Stormer skimmed it's contents, then,
"You could've told me that you had this, you know." She said reproachfully. "I didn't think we had secrets from each other these days."
"I didn't think we had secrets from each other." Roxy mimicked her companion, her tone bitter. "Stop acting highschoolish, Stormer! This is the real world. Everyone has secrets, and I don't gotta tell you anything if I don't wanna!"
"I know." Stormer nodded. "But I thought you trusted me enough to talk to me these days."
Roxy stretched out on her bed, resting her chin in her hands.
"Don't push it." She warned. "I don't need you, Stormer. I can manage on my own - I always have done. But...well...I guess I kinda like your company, God knows why. That don't mean I want to sit and giggle and whisper to you in corners about everything. I have things which are my business, and that's that."
"Okay." Stormer considered, then, "Are you thinking about what Justin said?"
"What did I just say, Stormer?" Roxy flared up. "Quit bugging me!"
"Fine, I'll go." She said quietly. "I hope you figure things out."
She got up to leave, and Roxy bit her lip. Damn her conscience! Stormer had always been good to her, and somehow she couldn't let things lie like this. At the moment she felt she needed someone...even if she wasn't sure she could say so yet.
"Stormer, quit sulking." She instructed. "You're makin' me feel bad and I don't like it."
"I'm not sulking." Stormer paused. "I'm not, Roxy, really I'm not. If you need time to do whatever it is then I'll give you space."
"What's the use?" she demanded. "I can't read the damn thing!"
"What thing?" Stormer looked curious.
"Some letter or something. I found it in a box of junk back home and I took it when I left. It was addressed to me, I know that much."
"Do you want me to read it to you?"
"No. I want to read it. Noone else." Roxy shook her head. "It's my family."
"I guess that makes sense." Stormer nodded.
"Thing is I've tried, and I can't do it, Stormer." Roxy admitted. "God knows I've tried! I've tried till my eyes hurt and my head spins and I still can't make sense of it. What's wrong with me?"
"People can and can't do different things." Stormer said. She paused, then, "I know you won't like me saying this, Roxy, but maybe Justin can help you more than I can...he is your blood, after all."
"I don't want anything to do with Justin!" Roxy exclaimed. "I don't have time in my life to play up to family, if he's even for real!"
"Well, he is Justin Pelligrini. That much is true, because I saw his driver's licence." Stormer replied, sitting back down on the end of the bed.
"He knew Mom and Dad's names too." Roxy sighed. "Dammit, Stormer, I'm confused! I don't need this!"
"I think your best idea is to talk to him, find out what his deal is and then make up your mind what you wanna do about it." Stormer advised thoughtfully.
"I don't wanna."
"I know. But I don't see any other option, unless you want to stay confused. Aren't you even a little bit curious to know about him and your father?"
"Well, maybe a little." Roxy frowned. "Only cos I never knew anything about my folks. Not cos I want a family."
She reached for the white envelope, pausing, then opening it slowly.
"This was with my birth certificate." She said. "I dunno what it is, never opened it. I guess maybe it's time I found out."
"Looks like photos." Stormer observed, then, "Oh! Roxy, look!" She scooped one image up out of the pile. "Look! This...is you!"
"It's a baby. It could be any baby." Roxy shrugged, not looking at the picture as she pulled out the rest of the envelope's contents.
"No, Roxy, I'm serious, look!" Stormer was excited. "On the back it says your name and the name of the guy holding you...Oh Roxy, he's your father! Look!"
"Roxy looked startled, taking the picture from her friend's hand and examining the grainy black and white image. She bit her lip. She'd never allowed herself any kind of emotional attachment to the names she knew belonged to either of her parents, but the look of undeniable joy on the man's face penetrated even her tough, hard shell. Gingerly, almost reverently, she set the photo down, as the tears, foreign to her eyes as they were began to spill down her cheeks. Instinctively Stormer hugged her, and Roxy did not push her back.
"He...he loved me!" She murmured, her tones disbelieving. "Look at him...he actually l...loved me!"
"Of course he did." Stormer replied gently. "And if he told Justin about you, then he probably still does. I know you don't believe he had anything to do with your mother's death...it must've been terrible for him to be taken away from you like he was."
Roxy closed her eyes briefly, fighting for control of her emotions.
"They never told me." She whispered. "They tried to make me believe that he didn't care. Mom too. That they didn't want me and that I was just a nusiance kid. But...but it's not true!"
Stormer reached across to pick up the other three photographs.
"There's another one of you, and one of your dad." She reported, setting them down. "And this one...Oh my..."
"What is it?" Roxy demanded.
"This one proves that Justin is telling the truth." Stormer murmured. "It says on the back, 'Gianina, William and Justin, July 1962'.
"Lemme see that." Roxy snatched the picture up, gazing at the unfamiliar faces. "Justin? Really?"
"Yeah, I swear." Stormer nodded. "That's what it says. Guess he really is your brother, Roxy...and I'm sure he knows more that he can tell you."
"There's nothing here of Mom." Roxy observed. "Like she's been erased from history somehow."
"She's still here though." Stormer decided. "If that's your Dad, then you must look like your Mom an awful lot. He's pretty dark, and you're not. Justin looks far more like him. Only you both have the same dark eyes...Roxy, he's for real, I'd bet my life on it. You really do have a brother!"
Roxy was silent for a moment, then,
"I'm gonna talk to him. Make him tell me everything he knows." She decided finally. "It's time that the Pelligrini family quit being some deep dark secret! I wanna know once and for all who I am!"
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)