A Christmas Story

Chapter Three: Like Old Times

 "Where exactly are we going?"
Mary Martescu, once Stormer of the Misfits and one of the most successful songwriters the state of California had ever produced cast a glance out of the passenger window of her car, a frown crossing her face. "Roxy, I thought you were spending the day at the beach with Justin - where are we off to all of a sudden?"
"Out." Roxy shrugged. "Justin got a call from some stiff in a suit who needed him at short notice, so he had to bail. I figured I'd come back and we'd go grab lunch at the Red Rock. We ain't eaten there in ages. You got any problems with that?"
"Nope, not at all, so long as you're paying." An amused look touched Mary's lips. "Christmas is never dull with you around, you know that? How did Jetta take your impromptu visit this morning?"
"How she usually takes them." Roxy shrugged her shoulders, putting the small red car into a higher gear and screaming it past an elderly man in an oldsmobile. "She stared at me, then told me not to eat everything in the fridge and that Justin was upstairs. With a few choice expletives, of course." She chuckled. "I do like harassing her. I never thought having Jetta as a sister in law could have any perks, but turning up at the shortest possible notice and knowing she can't kick me out because I'm "family"...that's just priceless."
"I did wonder if you'd come this year." Mary wound down the window, allowing the wind to rifle through her soft curly hair. "You were on a boat someplace in the atlantic last year, and you seem to be trying to visit every single place on the globe before you burn out. What gives? You've become the ultimate globetrotter. I would have thought that, after all the mad touring we did with the Misfits, you'd be glad for a break."
"Yeah, well, sitting still never did suit me that good." Roxy shrugged, knocking the indicator on and swerving neatly into the parking lot of the Red Rock Restaurant, forcing a young couple to move hurriedly out of the way. "I always wanted to see stuff, try new things, you know the deal. I just never had the moolah to do it before the Misfits happened." She shrugged, pushing open the door and stepping out, casually checking her reflection in the wing mirror. "And now, thanks to Pizzazz's constant Misfit greatest hits hype, and the royalties from my solo records, I'm set for life. I can do whatever the hell I want." She grinned. "Bungee jump off Sydney Harbour Bridge...sky dive into the Grand Canyon or parachute into the desert. Spend a night in the jungle, or simply hang out at the best food bars in the world. Who wouldn't want that? I love it."
"I suppose I shouldn't be that surprised." Mary acknowledged, climbing more sedately out of her side of the vehicle, and shutting the door behind her. "You always did want bigger things from life."
"Too right." Roxy agreed. "By the way, your car ain't bad." She tossed the keys across the roof to her friend. "Here. You can drive back. I just wanted to see if I can still take Californian roads."
"Well, you can, and there are still no fatalities." Mary teased, locking the car and following her companion into the restaurant. "I swear LA misses you, Roxy. I feel a lot more like doing crazy things when you're in town."
"That's how it should be." Roxy shrugged. "We're Misfits. We do crazy stuff. Born a Misfit, forever a Misfit, remember? You ain't tied down by those wedding shackles to that loser in DC anymore. You and me, we're loose cannons. We can do what we like. Your brats are full grown and can take care of themselves...they're not gonna get in the way. We can just cruise the town - like old times. Don't you think?"
"What do you have in mind?" Mary cast the older girl a suspicious look.
"Plan? Me?" Roxy snorted. "If you plan it, Stormer, where's the fun! I vote we do lunch, then we hit the road. Drive out of town...find someplace to hang out. Live some old times. We used to rule this city, once upon a time. Don't you miss all of that?"
"Yes, sometimes." Stormer admitted, as they sat down at a window table. "Particularly since Elliot and I divorced, and I moved back to California. I'm glad to be home, and I'm proud of anything of Sylvie - watching her develop and blossom in the music industry is more than I could have hoped for, expecially since I know that Anna will soon be doing the same. But you're right in one way. The girls are grown up now. They don't need their mother at their heels all the time, like they used to do. Anna is all the way in Washington, and she's already discussed with me that she's interested in staying on the East Coast when she's graduated. There's a music company in New York, who write tunes and melodies for television programmes and the like...she's very interested in getting a job with them, and she had two months internship with them last summer. They apparently liked her too, and have asked her to look them up when she graduates. A part of me hoped that she'd come here to California, but then I realised California has never been home to Anna. She's an East Coast kid and she has to do what makes her happy. Besides, she's close to Elliot too...I don't want her to feel she's being made to choose between her parents. If she wants the job in New York, she'll get my full support."
"Anna will get the damn job, Stormer. The girl's a walking music box." Roxy rolled her eyes. "Sylva's always been far more the sparky one of the two - the one with the Misfit vibe. I like how the kid's turning out, if you want my opinion. She doesn't strike me as the kind of girl who'd take crap from anyone, and I'm glad. That's how I taught her, after all."
"Oh, so you raised my daughter now?" Mary grinned, picking up the menu and glancing over it. Roxy shrugged.
"No, I didn't raise her, but I taught her a few important survival tips." She said unconcernedly. "And I was right, wasn't I? Sending her to LA was the right thing to do, and I knew it."
"Yes, you did, and yes, it was." Mary conceded. "You know that you did play a big part in the kids' upbringing, too. Whatever you think or say about it, Roxy...you were a real aunt to them. Sylvie especially. I doubt either one of them would've grown up so well if you hadn't done your part and helped me through the harder times."
"Oh, shut up. I want to eat, not vomit." Roxy grimaced. "You were behaving wetter than Niagara Falls. What the hell was I supposed to do? Let you drip your way though life? No thank you! We're Misfits, dammit!"
"Yes, I know." Mary pursed her lips. "But I never was quite like the rest of you. You never had kids, Roxy, so you don't understand what I went through when I lost Joseph. You did more for me then than you know."
"I didn't do anything, except make you wake up and smell the reality coffee." Roxy shook her head, discomfitted. "Besides, I found myself playing babysitter to a pair of inquisitive, smelly brats. What the hell else was I going to do!"
"If you say so." Mary smiled. "I remember it a little differently..."

"You know, sitting up here ain't gonna bring the kid back."
The tall, frail woman at the window turned, casting her companion a ghost of a smile. Her blue eyes were sad, however, and Roxy grimaced, moving swiftly to the other girl's side and grabbing her by the arm.

"Listen to me, damn you...snap out of it! I don't know what that jerk Elliot's done to you, but this ain't the Stormer I remember! Get a grip, woman!"
"Get a grip?" The words were spoken softly, and tears touched the pale blue eyes. "Roxy, no amount of fake smiles or anger can bring my son back. He's gone...gone forever. He never even got a chance...and it's my fault."
"Yeah? How's that?" Roxy snorted. "Get real. He died because he was messed up inside. The doctors all said so. How's that your fault? He never would've survived, anyway. I don't see what the big deal is. He would have died, whatever. Don't you understand that?"

"Roxy, I was his mother." Stormer bit her lip. "A mother is supposed to guard...to protect. He was my responsibility. I...I allowed myself to be careless, I should have taken better care of myself. If I had never gotten sick, he...he might have stood a chance."
"Oh, for heaven's sake." Roxy groaned. "Right. That's it. You're going to listen to me."
"There's nothing you can say to change what's happened." Stormer shrugged, turning back to the window. "He shouldn't have died...they should have tried harder to save him, instead of worrying about saving me. Don't you see? It's my fault. I took his life...and he hadn't even the chance to begin it. I'd had a chance. He didn't."

"Joseph was dead before they even got him out, Stormer." Roxy swung her friend around, gripping her hard by the shoulders and meeting the sorrowful blue eyes with determined brown ones. Frustration bubbled through the older girl's tone, but Stormer was aware of a fleck of sympathy deep in those coffee coloured eyes, and despite herself, she found herself listening. "Letting you die would have done no good. Don't you understand, you moron? Joseph was never going to live...but who in hell else is there to raise those two noisy brats downstairs, huh? Who was going to tell Sylvina and Anna that Mommy was never gonna come home? Who was going to teach them to be damn fine little Misfits? Elliot? Gimme a break. The guy's useless! He'd bring them up to be executive clones! They deserve better than that, don't they?"
"Roxy, try to understand..."
"No, Stormer. You understand." The grip on her shoulders tightened.

"Look at it from their point of view. I won't say it again. I grew up on the flipside of that coin. I lost my mother. Dammit, I know what that can do to a kid. God only knows what would be in store for those girls if the doctors had wasted their energy saving a kid that couldn't be saved, instead of saving you, who could! Yeah, you lost a baby, and yeah, I'm sorry. I don't want to understand what that was like for you...there's a good reason I don't want kids, and all this emotional stress is it. But dammit, Stormer, you have two kids who are alive and who need you! Who do you think they ask for all the time? What am I supposed to tell them, when they ask me where Mommy's gone, or why she won't talk to them? Who's gonna tell them that no, it's not their fault their brother died, and no, Mommy doesn't hate them? Elliot spends all day in the office...and you spend all your time up here. You're turning your back on your surviving kids, and for what? A baby who was too gone to save?"
"I loved him...and wanted him so much."
Now Stormer's tears came and awkwardly, Roxy hugged her, glad that noone was there to see.

"Well, sure you did. You've always been soft that way." She agreed, though her tone belied the dismissiveness of her words. "But listen. I've seen it from the other side, and those girls need their Mom." She paused, eying her friend thoughtfully. "Dammit, I think you need them, too. You've spent too much time with ghosts...it's time you came downstairs and talked to your twins, put things right."
She rolled her eyes. "Besides, I'm done reading Dr Seuss and teaching them the best way to fingerpaint. Kids are not my thing, and I refuse to play Nanny any more! That wasn't why I came to DC, and you know it!"
Stormer raised her head, lifting a pale finger to wipe away her tears. "No, you didn't. You came to be a supportive friend...like you've always been. You're right, Roxy. Losing Joseph hurts...worse than I can ever put into words. But I can't let it stop me from keeping my real responsibilities. From raising my daughters. Joseph isn't here...but they are, and I've been neglecting them."
She moved to the bed, grabbing her dressing gown and slipping it over her shoulders, tying it at the waist. She cast her companion a wan smile.

"I'm going to go clean up, and then get dressed." she said softly. "Do me a favour, huh?"
"Favour?" Roxy raised an eyebrow. "Depends on what it is."
"I want you to go downstairs and talk to my children." Stormer gripped Roxy tightly by the hand. "Tell them...tell them that Mommy's coming to play."

"Bah, you have an awful memory. It was never like that!" Roxy protested, an uncomfortable blush touching her cheeks. "I would never say anything that messed up, and you know it!"
Mary laughed.
"Well, however it was, it meant a lot to me." She responded. "I've never forgotten Joseph, but I did my best by my girls, and that's the truth. Whatever else happened." She looked wistful. "I wish you'd move back to LA, actually. You always get me motivated better than anyone else I know."
"Well, what do you expect?" Roxy demanded. "I...hey! Someone's messing your car!"
"What?" Mary turned, glancing out of the window towards where a young boy was fiddling with the car handles. "Oh, damn kids, what now? Roxy..."
She turned back, but her companion was already gone. Frowning, Mary moved to the doorway, just in time to see a platinum whirlwind descend upon the unfortunate vandal.
"What in hell do you think you're doing?"
"Shift it, lady. You don't wanna mess with us."
A second and third youth came out of the shadows of the carpark at this, each of them clutching baseball bats. None of the trio were more than eighteen, and Roxy seemed to find this show of strength funny.
"I think you misheard me." She said sweetly, grabbing the nearest youth by the collar and pushing him back against his friends, sending all three tumbling to the ground. "I said, what do you think you're doing?"
"Getting out of here!" The youngest of the trio yelped, scrambling to his feet and fleeing down the nearest alleyway. The bigger thugs hesitated, eying Roxy warily. The former Misfit folded her arms, raising an eyebrow.
"Well, kids? What about you? Think you can take an older woman?" She demanded.
"We're armed. We could hurt you." The taller of the men seemed to find his courage.
"Big wow. I'm not armed, and I could probably hurt you more." Roxy narrowed her eyes. "You picked on the wrong car this time! Now beat it, else you'll be sucking soup through a straw."
"Who are you, anyway?" One of the youths demanded.
"Sheesh, who educates the kids today?" Roxy rolled her eyes. "Name's Roxy, wimp. Roxy Pelligrini. Never heard of the Misfits, kid?"
She clenched her fists, her brown eyes narrowing as she focused thoughtfully on her prey. It had been some time since she'd last unsheathed her streetfighting claws, but there was nothing she liked more than a good clash of fists.
"Where I grew up, you didn't live till your age if you didn't know how to fight your own corner." She smiled. "Well? Still want to play?"
With one accord, the youths lost the last of their courage, dropping their bats and fleeing. Roxy turned back towards the restaurant, registering as she did so that a small crowd had gathered and were applauding her effort. She laughed.
"Well, Roxy Pelligrini is back in town, and she's still got the moves!" She exclaimed. "But right now, I'm starving. Time to eat!"

Chapter One: Back In Los Angeles
Chapter Two: Christmas Plans
Chapter Three: Like Old Times
Chapter Four:  The Truth About Anna
Chapter Five: The Video Shoot
Chapter Six: Topaz's Sensation
Chapter Seven: Sadie's Tattoo
Chapter Eight: An Unlikely Team
Chapter Nine: Misfit vs Devil
Chapter Ten: An Old Flame
Chapter Eleven: Topaz Again

Chapter Twelve: A Christmas Present

Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, Sirena, Topaz, Aaron, Sophie, Justin, Elliot, Rosita, Luis and any other characters in this fiction which do not appear in the animated Jem series are copyrighted to me (E.A Woolley) as of January 2002 <unless otherwise specified> and are not to be reproduced without permission ANYWHERE. Jetta, Pizzazz, Stormer, Roxy, Raya and all other original Jem characters are the copyright of Hasbro Inc, Sunbow, Christy Marx and the other writers of the Jem series. The future world of Pizzazz, Raya, Jetta, Roxy, Stormer, Clash, Synergy, the fate of Jem and her memorial are all copyrighted to me. The future world of Kimber and Shana is copyrighted jointly to myself and Gemma Dawn.
The concept of 'Jewel' is entirely my own, and any apparent link with any fictional or actual person or persons of this name is entirely coincidental. Equally the characters in this fiction are not based on any real life individual.
The concept behind the future world of Danse, Aja and Craig, the idea behind Jerrica's futureworld and the split of the Holograms is copyrighted to Gemma Dawn, whose Teenangel Outsiders fiction is directly twinned with Just a Dream. The character Sammi and any of the other Teenangel Outsider characters mentioned in this fiction are entirely copyright to Gemma Dawn and appear here only with her permission.
Pay her page a visit!