Roxy burst into her bedroom, shutting the door hard behind her and
turning the key in the lock with a shaking hand. Then she dropped down
onto her bed,
breathing hard as she tried to calm her panicked heartbeat.
After all these years he had found her. He had borne a grudge that long, and had come out now to capitalise on her success.
"The creep!" She exclaimed. "The total and utter creep! I hate him! I hate him..." She trailed off, stretched out on her bed and hugging the pillow tightly to her chest for comfort as she thought over what he had said.
She didn't see any way out. She didn't have that kind of money, and she didn't want the alternative. Not being literate meant that she placed little importance in the reports of magazines or newspapers, but she was more worried about what he might do to her directly, and also what Jetta might do if armed with the kind of information he had spat out at her that morning.
She frowned, considering.
She had never known what had happened to her real parents, only that she had been abandoned at a few days old and that her aunt and uncle had somehow taken over her guardianship. She had often wondered why they had bothered themselves with a child they so obviously loathed...and it escaped her even more now. If what her uncle had said was true...
"Did my father really kill my mother?" she wondered aloud. Then she caught herself. "Like it matters anyway. They're nothing to me and never have been. What matters now is how to get out of this mess."
There was a tentative knock on the dividing door and Roxy jumped, startled by the sudden noise.
"What?" she demanded.
"It's Stormer. I just...I just wanted to know if you wanted any breakfast? I'm calling down for room service and I've got the menu here."
"I..." Roxy paused, then sighed. No matter what the situation, it took a lot to cool her appetite, and she was feeling decidedly peckish.
"Come in." she said finally. "But be quick about it, huh? I'm busy!"
Ignoring the ungrateful and unwelcoming tone of her companion's voice, Stormer slipped into the bedroom, carefully closing the door behind her and coming to sit with the bass player on the bed. As she did so she eyed the other girl's expression with some surprise.
"You look worried...are you okay?"
"I'm fine. Don't bother me." Roxy snapped. "You gonna tell me what's on offer or do I gotta try and decipher it myself, huh?"
"Oh, of course." Knowing that the other girl was in no mood to be talkative, Stormer did as she was bidden. However, she was burning with curiosity. Who had Roxy's visitor been? And had it been this intruder who had sparked such consternation in her companion's features?
The girls had just finished eating when the door of Stormer's room opened and Pizzazz, never one to knock, with Jetta in tow pushed the dividing door open, placing her hands on her hips.
"Are you guys coming out today or you gonna sit here like idiots the whole time?" She demanded. "We got a photo shoot lined up in the main centre in less than one hour...Eric arranged it and he's called a car for us - he's already down in the lobby. Come on, will ya?"
"Quit nagging. We were eating." Roxy snapped back. Pizzazz rolled her eyes.
"You are always eating." she retorted. "And what the heck happened to your hair?"
"Jetta happened to it." Roxy glared at the sax player, who shrugged.
"Ain't my fault if you can't brush it properly." she replied carelessly. "I wouldn't worry yourself, love. Can't work miracles, anyway...you ain't gonna look any more attractive unless you put a bag over your 'ead!"
"Why you..." Anger sparked into Roxy's eyes and she lunged at Jetta, who dodged out of her way. Stormer grabbed Roxy by the arm.
"Roxy! Stop it!" she begged. "We gotta do this shoot in one piece! Pizzazz is right, we oughta get going!"
"Finally, someone's talking sense." Pizzazz remarked. "What's eatin' you anyway, Roxy? Not enough beauty sleep for ya?"
"Someone tipped a mug of water over me this morning and Jetta's ugly mug ain't the best thing to wake up to." Roxy seethed, though deep down she knew she was taking her anxiety over her uncle's threats out on her foe. "Let me go, Stormer...I'm gonna teach her not to mess with me once and for all!"
"Bring 'er back to 'er home neighbourhood and it all comes floodin' back." Jetta observed, rather cattily, evidently enjoying Roxy's loss of temper. "Back to street-fightin' - that'll make for good publicity shots."
"Hang the publicity shots...let me at her!" Roxy struggled against Stormer's grip but by now the synth player knew how to prevent her companion from a full-scale fight and she was exerting all the pressure she could on keeping the blond girl away from Jetta. She knew, as well as did the Brit herself, that if a fight was to take place, there would only ever be one winner. While Jetta always triumphed with words, noone spoke clearer than Roxy when it came to fists.
Now Pizzazz took a hand, grabbing hold of Roxy firmly around the wrist and pulling her towards the door of the bedroom.
"We're going." she said in a tone that was not to be argued with. "Stormer, Jetta, get a move on, huh? We don't have all day!"
Stormer relinquished her grip on the bass player with some relief, hoping against hope that once she was in front of the cameras, Roxy's temper would fade.
"It's not like her to be this grouchy, not even considering what Jetta did to her." she mused. "Something's up and has been up since we arrived here...she seemed fine when talking to that Link guy yesterday, but now she's gonna all strange and confrontational again. I wish I could figure her out - sometimes she's so frustrating!"
Once in the car, Roxy's rage faded into a sullen frown and she sat hunched up in a corner of the back seat, her arms folded and her expression discouraging anyone from making any advances, even the peacable Stormer. Eric took one look at her face and his eyebrow went up, but he made no comment. In his years working with the Misfits he was used to sulks from various or all of them at any one time, and he knew when best not to ask questions. Instead he turned his attention to making sure the driver knew exactly where they were going.
"This whole shoot is kinda sudden, isn't it?" Unable to bear the silence any more, Stormer spoke up. Pizzazz shrugged.
"Well, the opportunity came up." she said. "Seemed like too good an option to miss out on. We play tonight, what better way to publicise it?"
"You've gone all music-executive-like again." Jetta frowned. "I thought we were gonna 'ave some fun while we were 'ere, but so far it's all been work an' playin' errand girl for Medusa 'ere."
Roxy glowered at her foe from the other side of the car, but made no comment.
"Well, we'll have some fun tonight, after we do our set, all right?" Pizzazz retorted. "I heard there was this joint not far from where we're doing our gig that might be just our speed - so quit moaning. We'll get our fun."
"No law suits." Eric turned at that moment to add his bit. "Really, Pizzazz, I mean it. If you want Misfit Music's accounts straight..."
"If you stopped borrowing from the accounts then they would be straight." Pizzazz snapped. "I'll do what I want, Eric. I'm the boss, remember? Daddy bought this company for me!"
"How could I forget." Eric rolled his eyes. "Okay, girls, here we are. Don't attack any camera-men, remember to smile if someone's got a flashlight ready and for heaven's sake be nice! This is publicity, remember?"
"Yeah, yeah, we have done this before, Eric." Pizzazz rolled her eyes. "Come on, let's get this over with. Roxy, quit scowling, huh? You look like you wanna kill someone."
"I do. Her." Roxy jerked her head in Jetta's direction, and the dark girl tossed her head. Pizzazz groaned.
"Grow up the pair of you!" she exclaimed. "We got work to do!"
The photo shoot was more than half over by the time Roxy became aware that someone in the crowd gathering in the square was watching her with more than a passing interest. Swallowing hard, she recognised his features right away, and his expression meant business.
"What is he doing here?" She muttered to herself. "Spyin' on me? Checkin' up on me to make sure I don't high tail it outta here? Like I'd have the chance! With Eric and Pizzazz both in business mode I ain't got a hope!"
"Roxy, smile, will ya?" Pizzazz snapped at that moment, and Roxy forced her attention away from her stalker. However, she knew that the problem wasn't just going to go away. Somehow she had to deal with her uncle and his threats...and she didn't know how.
"Somehow I gotta get the money." she decided with a sigh. "And...and I don't know how. Pizzazz has money but I could never ask her this, she'd want to know why and I don't want her buttin' into my business. I gotta handle this my way."
Slowly she turned over the options in her mind.
"Maybe...if I talk to Link he can help me out?" she decided finally. "For old time's sake. I ain't gonna get this money by fair means...I'm gonna have to go through the old channels, and Link'd know if things had changed. Later on tonight, when we've done the gig, I'll slip out and go find him and the others. I'm sure they wouldn't let me down...not after all we went through together. In any case, Link knows my uncle's a jerk. I'm sure he'll help me."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"You want me to what?"
Link gazed at his friend in surprise. "Rox, I don't get it. Why the sudden urge to go back in time, huh? You're doin' good how you are, we all are. Why you want to go rippin' people off now? You got a career, don't you?"
"It's kinda hard to explain it, Link and...well, I don't really wanna." Roxy paused, biting her lip. "You gonna let an old friend down, huh? We've been through a lot - you gonna turn your back on that now?"
"Roxy, you know that I'll look out for you no matter what, but this is crazy." Link shook his head. "Listen up, kid. That was then, when things were rough. Now, well, I got me a house and a job and things is lookin' better. And you...you're a celebrity. Why you wanna blow it all of a sudden, huh? What's got into you?"
"Link, stop it! You know I don't like questions!" Roxy snapped. "You gonna help me or what?"
"I think you gotta stop the crazy talk and get real, girl." Link rested his hand on her shoulder, but she shook it off.
"I never thought you'd let me down." she muttered.
"It ain't like that and you know it." Link frowned. "I don't want you in trouble, and I can't lose this gig, Rox. It's all I got right now to support me." He paused, and, as he looked at her, for the first time in his life a flash of perception hit him.
"Hey, this wouldn't be about that jerk uncle of yours, would it?"
"What if it is?" Roxy was immediately on the defensive. "What's it to you? If you ain't gonna help me it's none of your business!"
"It is him, isn't it?" Link spoke softly. Roxy folded her arms, turning away.
"C'mon, Rox. Tell me. If you want me to waste the creep for ya I'll do that."
"It...it is." she admitted. "When I left home...you remember I had some cash lyin' about? I took it from them...and now he wants paying back. Only...he wants interest."
"So what? What's he got over you, huh?"
"He...said stuff." she said vaguely. "I don't wanna talk about it, all right? But I need the money and I need it before we leave Philly."
"Don't you got money? Rox, you're a star!" Link was taken aback.
"Not a big enough one to turn over fifty thousand just like that." Roxy was bitter.
Link let out a low whistle.
"Fifty thousand bucks? Woo, man. That's a lot of dough."
"I know, I know!" Roxy snapped.
"Hey, isn't that Pizzazz chick rollin' in it? Can't she help?"
"Like I'm gonna ask her." Roxy shook her head. "This ain;t her business, Link, or her problem. I only came here cos I thought you could help me out...even you don't wanna help me out these days."
"Hey, Rox, you know that ain't the deal!" Link protested. "But things are different now! Readin' made a real difference to me, it turned everythin' around! I just don't want to lose it, that's all."
"Reading. Yeah, brilliant." Roxy snorted. "You know what, Link? You're not who I thought you were any more. Reading has changed you...Jem changed you. You're not one of us any more...you...you're one of them!"
"Roxy?" Link's eyes opened wide. "You mean...you mean you can't read yet? But I thought..."
"Well don't. You never used to think, you used to do stuff." Roxy snapped. "No I can't read. Big deal. I don't need you makin' me feel dumb on top of everything else. I got enough to deal with without that!"
"Hey, I know you ain't dumb!" Link exclaimed. "But you gotta give it a try, Rox...you don't know..."
"No, you're the one who doesn't know, Link." Roxy interrupted. "And if you ain't gonna help me, I'll go do it myself, alone. Thanks for nothing."
"Roxy, wait!" Link called out in vain, but she was already gone. He sighed, sinking down into a chair.
"I hope she knows what she's doin'." he murmured to himself.
(The Misfits and Holograms and other animated Jem characters are copyrighted to Hasbro Inc. All characters who do not appear in Jem episodes are my own creation. This story is copyrighted to E.A Woolley (2001). Background image was drawn and edited by me and therefore is copyrighted to me (E.A Woolley). Roxy is copyright of Hasbro Inc.