A/N Well I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. I've been out of the writing game for awhile now and I want to start back up some. Hopefully this will work out the way I want. I'm not completely sure where this is going to end up. I have a pretty good idea. And seeing as how I hate unfinished stories and leaving people hanging (hint, hint to all my favorites out there who have done that in the recent past!) I plan on finishing this. Currently I'm just not sure how. So we'll see how it goes. I've got a rough outline.
I've also got a number of other rough outlines for other works hopefully to be starting soon. I have no intentions of doing anything as massive as Another Second Chance ever again. Hopefully just a few good quality reasonable length pieces. So with no further ado, I present In the Blink of an Eye.
In the Blink of an Eye
Roger sat on the metal table picking at his guitar. He was too frustrated to really play it, so for the last hour he had been mainly sitting there just picking at it with occasional random tunes coming out.
He hated fighting with Mark. Worst still, he hated when there was a chance Mark could be right. And he was. Deep down Roger knew Mark was right. Mark was always right. Roger just didn't like to admit Mark was right.
So he was wasting his time with this band. Wasting his talent. So what? It's his time to waste. Why couldn't Mark just leave him alone about it. Why does he have to keep harping on him about it? He does it cause he cares about you dummy. Well why can't he care less sometimes?
Roger knew this band sucked. That he was better than them. That yeah, he could probably put together a better band. One that actually had talent. One that showed what he could do. One that might even be able to someday get somewhere.
But what if he couldn't? What if he wasn't as good as he thought. Or Mark thought? What if he couldn't put together a new band? Everything he had been writing lately was such crap. What if what little talent he had was gone? Used up?
God you are such a fuck up! No you're not, Mark would tell you. You've just had bad luck Mark would say. Mark and his damn optimism. Okay stop thinking about Mark. You're mad at Mark. God Mark isn't even here and he's screwing with your head.
Davis you could never put together a new, decent band. Not now. You can't even write anything decent anymore. Hell you couldn't even help your girlfriend stay clean.
Strike that Davis, he thought as he strummed his fingers against the guitar strings. Ex-girlfriend. Mimi is officially your ex-girlfriend. And that was her choice. You tried to help her. Tried to make it easier for her. But in the end you had to do it. You had to make her make a choice. Mark and everybody said you had to do it. And you really thought she'd choose you. That she loved you enough to choose you. That she wanted to quit enough to choose you. But in the end she didn't did she? When you made her choose between you and the smack, she chose the smack.
But you should be proud of yourself Mark keeps saying. You did so much to help her. You stood your ground he says. You didn't let Mimi suck you back into all that, no matter how hard she tried. Yeah right, proud of yourself. The fact that in the end you thought she was screwing her boss may have helped. That and Mark. You knew you couldn't do that to Mark again. Mark had been through too much with you. Mark was the one constant in your life. Mimi was certainly never a constant. Of course you loved her, but you always knew there was a chance she may not come home to you one day. That something better may come along. You knew that. You tried to pretend it didn't matter. Didn't really exist. But it did, and you knew it. So did Mark. But Mark never said anything about it. He just always stood by you. Damn you Mark, it's really hard to be mad at you when all this crap keeps slipping back into the conversations that go on in my head he thought.
That's it. You are mad at Mark. Focus on that. Today isn't about Mimi or anything else, it's about Mark. Mark and his damn need to try and fix your life. Why can't he just leave it alone for once? Why can't he just understand you're happy playing back up for the crappy band? Okay, maybe not happy, but content. Yeah, that's it. Mimi's gone. And you've finally, after four months come to complete and total terms with that. So why can't Mark just let the fact that it's a super crappy band, and that yeah, you're too good for it and you're wasting what little talent you have on it be. Damn you Mark!
Roger knew Mark was right. He also knew Mark only did all that because he really truly cared about him. No one had ever cared about what Roger did as much as Mark. Never in his life. Not his parents or his girlfriends or anybody. Just Mark.
So Mark was right. Mark was always right. And Roger was always wrong. But Mark was always right. This time too and Roger knew it. And that was what was pissing Roger off more than anything else was. That and the fact that if Mark was right, then he probably knew what the real reasons were too. He had too. Mark knew Roger too well. Better than he knew himself sometimes. Which meant Mark probably knew the truth. The truth that kept Roger with the crappy band as a back up guitar player. The truth that, at this point, Roger was scared. Scared to try yet again. Scared to fail. Again. God if you couldn't do it before, when you were clean, sober and actually thought you had a muse in Mimi, what the hell makes you think you can do it now Davis?
But Mark thinks you can do.
"Damn you Mark! You and your damn theories! Your damn arguments! You always end up making me think too much and I end up arguing with myself and getting a headache!" Roger said out loud to the silent and empty loft.
He was tired. That was part of the problem he realized as he let out a yawn. It was after two in the morning when he'd finally gotten home from last night's gig. Mark had been waiting for him. Roger knew it the minute he'd walked in the door. He could tell it by the look on Mark's face. Mark had stayed through the second set but left before the third began. That in itself wasn't unusual, but as soon as Roger walked in the door, he knew Mark was going to come after him about something. And considering it had been a topic of conversation the past few weeks, Roger had a pretty good idea what Mark was going to say. And last night he wasn't in the mood to hear it.
The band had played lousy. The crowd had been lousy. The pay had been lousy. And with all that, Roger had been lousy. And that wasn't Roger. He knew that. Roger didn't play lousy.
Even in his junkie days he didn't play lousy. If he could sit up enough and actually hold the guitar, he tried. Even messed up he put in the effort. When he realized he was too messed up on a daily basis to play, as in really play, he quite. Just stopped. And he didn't touch it again until he was clean. Granted he could barely concentrate on it in the beginning, but he still knew he could do it. And he kept trying. That was on of the things that got him through withdrawal. The fact that he knew the music was still somewhere inside him and all he had to do was find it again. So he kept trying till he did.
So Roger walked in after two in the morning and Mark started in on him. That argument went from bad to worse and lasted over and hour and a half. Finally, at close to four this morning it ended only when they each gave up and stormed off to their rooms.
When Roger woke up this morning Mark was already gone. More accurately, when he got up, Mark was already gone. He woke up after Mark slammed his bedroom door. And the bathroom door. Twice. And then finally the front door. Obviously Mark was still as annoyed at Roger as Roger was at him.
He yawned again as the phone started to ring. He knew it was probably Mark. And he knew Mark was right and that he should swallow his pride and apologize to him. Mark deserved that. But he wasn't ready. Not for all that. No matter how right Mark may possibly be. He wasn't ready to talk to him. Right now he wanted to stay mad at him. It just felt better. Or easier. Yeah, that was it. It was easier to be mad at Mark then think about the possibility that he may have one or two valid points and may possibly be right and know what he was talking about.
As the phone rang for the fourth time he just sat there. As the answering machine clicked on he told himself that no matter what Mark says, you are staying made at him. At least for a little while longer. No matter what. You don't want to talk to him right now.
"Speak." Their voices called out of the machine.
"Mark! Mark? It's Cindy!"
Ewww. If you don't want to talk to Mark, you definitely don't want to talk to his pain in the ass sister. Even Mark doesn't want to talk to his sister.
"Mark? Oh my God Mark!" She almost sobbed into the phone. "Are you there? Answer the damn phone! MARK! Damn it!"
Roger was a little surprised at Cindy. Something was definitely wrong. She basically never called here, but sounding like that? Half crying? Just as he was about to pick up the phone though, she hung up.
The sudden silence in the loft was somewhat unsettling. Roger just sat there for a second. What should he do? Call back? He didn't have the slightest idea what Cindy's phone number was. Find Mark? Mark could be anywhere in New York City at this point. Roger knew he was looking for inspiration for a new project. And with Mark, inspiration could be in any one of the five broughs.
Just then the phone rang again and Roger jumped to answer it. "Hello?"
"Mark? Oh thank God."
"Um, no Cindy, it's Roger. Ah, are you all right?"
"Oh God Roger." She started to sob into the phone. "Oh God…."
Mark realized he was tired as he climbed the steps to the loft. Tired of wandering around New York and not being able to find a thing to inspire him. Tired of not having any money. Tired of living in a dump. Tired of fighting Roger. Tired of being the only one of the two of them that seemed to care what Roger did with his life. Again. Still. Always.
Yeah at the moment that was the biggie. Roger. Roger was the always the biggie for him. Roger was the reason he stressed out over things. Roger was the reason he worried. Tried to help. He had so much damn potential and he was just wasting it away. Other people don't have friendships like this. This co-dependency thing they seem to have. Other people don't have these issues. Other people aren't driven half-mad worrying about their best friends.
Why can't that stubborn, pig headed pain in the ass see you are just trying to help him? Why does he have to be so damn difficult? And stubborn? And down right stupid sometimes? Better question, why do you care so damn much Mark? Other people would have given up on Roger years ago. But not you. Not Saint Mark. No you just have to keep fighting the good fight. The big battle. What is it about Roger that makes you keep doing that? What? You don't know do you? All you know is, for some reason, Roger's worth the fight.
The stairs creaked under his weight as he climbed them, shaking his head as he walked trying to clear it. He didn't want to fight anymore he thought. Arguing with Roger never goes well and last night went worse than Mark had hoped. But he's not going to fight anymore. If Roger wants to just give up, then fine, let him just give up. You can't run his life for him. No matter how much better of a job of it you'd do. So that's it. You aren't going to fight about this anymore. That's it, you're done he told himself. Officially done. For now he realized. He was officially done for now. Mark knew perfectly well he couldn't let this go forever. Eventually, he'd end up coming back to it. But for now he was done.
Slowly he turned the key in the lock and pushed the door open. He let out a big sigh as he stepped into the quite loft.
"Mark?" Roger called from his bedroom as he stepped out into the living room.
"Roger I'm tired. I want to go take a nap. We were up really late last night. Nothing really worked for me today. And I really don't want to argue with you about this anymore. You want to keep doing what you are doing, fine. Do it. I'm not going to try and stop you."
Mark stared at Roger. He couldn't read him. Mark could always read Roger. But not this time. All he could tell was that Roger had to tell him something. Something he didn't want to have to tell Mark. That's when he saw it. Roger's suitcase. It was sitting on the floor with his guitar, just off to the side of the door. Packed and ready to go. Suddenly Mark understood. "You bastard!" He yelled at Roger.
At that Roger was surprised. Surprised and confused. "Mark… I…"
"No!" Mark yelled at him. Fine! He wants to play with a crappy band, fine, but this was more than Mark was prepared for. Suddenly he was really, really pissed at Roger again. "No! I don't want to hear it! You're leaving! Running away! Again! You don't want to listen to me so you're just going to pack up and take off! You lousy chicken shit bastard! Damn you!" Years of Mark's frustrations over Roger poured out of him as he slammed down his keys and camera on the counter. "Were you planning on even telling me, or just taking off? Did I screw up your great escape plan by coming home early you rotten chicken shit bastard?"
Suddenly Roger understood. Understood and felt bad. Real bad. Because he knew Mark could have been right. Roger had a history of just taking off when things got bad. Running away. Dumping Mark. And then, later, come crawling back to Mark to for him to pick up the pieces. No, Roger wasn't running away this time. On one hand, he almost wished he were because then he wouldn't have to tell Mark what he was about to tell him. But then if he had actually been taking off on him, Roger realized the hurt and pain in his best friends eyes at that moment would have haunted him until he returned.
"No… no Mark." He said softly as he shook his head. "I'm, I'm not leaving. At least not leaving you."
"You're not?" Mark asked skeptically.
Roger stepped toward Mark in a very un-Roger way. As he did, Mark felt the bottom of his stomach drop out. Like the feeling you get on a roller coaster as you go over the big hill and you can't see what's at the bottom. He knew something bad was about to come.
"Listen Mark," Roger put a hand on his shoulder. "Listen Cindy called earlier. I talked to her. I, I didn't know where you were or how to find you."
"Come sit down." He pulled him towards the couch. "We need to talk."