Disclaimer For Story: I don't own any of the characters. All I own is my little brain, which likes to characterize these wonderful characters and set them looks to do what Jonathan Larson intended for them to do, based on his vision, and not on my own personal whims.
A/N: Firstly and foremostly, I want to thank all that reviewed A Think Like Life. Your reviews encouraged me to write! I just want to encourage more constructive reviews. Tell me one thing you think I could do better. Even point out typos, no matter how small. I will be forever grateful if you point out a typo.
Secondly, I want to tell you to read my fic A Think Like Life if you have not already. It's just seven chapters long, each chapter no longer than 2000 words. Really short by many standards. At first I thought this wouldn't depend so much on ATLL, but it ended up doing so. They're just completely different plots, so I can't put them together. ATLL was about Mark learning to live his own life again and face his fears. And WIMLG is more about figuring out how he's gonna go about doing that. Cause it's not as easy suddenly deciding to live life as Mark hoped it would be.
Part I of Mark's Life series, 'A Thing Like Life', a must-read to understand this fic, is found at http/ story has been rated PG-13 for language and mild violence.I will update the first chapter whenever I add something new I think is controversial.
This chapter rated PG-13 for language.
Where Is My Life Going? – Chapter One
January 19th, 10 AM, Eastern Standard Time. Roger told me last night he need to borrow some money for something, and when I asked him what for, he said it was for 'jewelry'. I also saw him looking in the phone book as he called up fancy restaurants to see who had the cheapest menus. Mimi still brings in money to put on the table for me and Roger, but she says she might be quitting soon to get a better job somewhere else. Joanne is planning a surprise birthday party for Maureen for right after her brand new protest next weekend and she wants me to buy the candles. (I might have enough for trick candles; that would be entertaining.) Collins might even be able to take a break from trying to infiltrate the virtual reality equipment at NYU to come down for the party. Hell, Benny might even come, but he'll probably just end up pestering us for the rent. Everybody is going on with their own wonderful lives.
And me? Me? Not sure where my life is going yet. But it's gonna be exciting.
"MARK, GET OFF YOUR LAZY ASS AND COME ON!"
I continue to glare at the ceiling, having been doing so very intently for the past few minutes since my roommate had come into my room and rudely awoken me. You know, maybe I shouldn't get up, just to annoy him...
"Mark, please! You know Joanne will be mad at us if we're late!"
A long, defeated sigh escapes through my lips. Despite my utter hatred of Roger for waking me at the moment, I'm not going to mess up Joanne's big plans because of it. I roll over in my bed, grabbing my glasses off of the table (which now has a slightly wobbly leg since I had tipped it over a week or so ago) and shoving them onto my face. "I'm coming, OK?" I almost fall out of bed in my angry rage. Anybody that knows me well enough knows that however 'mild-mannered' I am most of the time, I'm 'a smart old bitch' when I'm woken up, as Roger so delicately calls me.
My bedroom door is thrown open, and a disgruntled Roger grabs a shirt off of the floor of my room and throws it at me. "Didn't have time to go to the laundromat last night," he mutters slightly, as if I actually expected him to do something so difficult as to walk a block with a few shirts and get some clean clothes for the two of us. I roll my eyes as I pull the shirt over my head, still in quite a sour mood at Roger. He is probably used to it by now.
Just as he is about to walk out of the door of my bedroom, I grab him by the shirt and pull him back into my room. He staggers slightly, confused. I lean next to him, whispering softly in his ear, "Tonight?"
He gives me a stern look, and shakes his head. I sigh, saying a little louder than before, but still not loud enough for Mimi to hear us in the living room, "You've gotta do it eventually. I'm not letting you waste the money you spent on that 'jewelry' to just put it off." He just gives me yet another stern look, and I give up, going back into my room to grab a comb and furiously comb my hair.
About a minute later, after I have grabbed my scarf and gathered up my equipment (for once, neither Roger nor Mimi complain that I'm bringing my camera with me, since they know I will need it tonight), the three of us are walking down the fire escape out into the foggy January morning as Mimi indignantly states that we had promised Joanne we would be there at 9 and we probably wouldn't be there until 9:10 because of me.
Until recently, I have never really walked down the streets of New York and taken it in. That is, not unless I was watching it from behind my camera. But actually looking at it with my own eyes, not shunning it away like before...There's always something moving, alive and living. Sure, I saw the images on my film, watched the polluted clouds soar overhead...but I haven't experienced it like this for a while. It's a nice feeling, just walking down and looking at the world around me, feeling like I'm a part of this living, breathing city, instead of a lonely bystander, watching it fly past me.
"Hello? Earth to Mark?" I'm jerked out of my contemplation, as Roger looks at me with a smirk. "What planet were you on? I asked if you think vanilla or chocolate is better."
My eyebrows rise up in disbelief. "The party's tonight, and you haven't gotten the cake."
"Hey, you're one to talk!" (I love how he rushes to his own defense so quickly; it's one of the things about Roger that makes me laugh out loud sometimes.) "Who had to suddenly rush out last night because he had bought the wrong kind of candles?"
Mimi looks over Roger's shoulder, her head cocked to the side. "The wrong kind of candles? Mark, how could you have gotten the wrong kind of candles? There's such a thing as the 'wrong kind of candles'?"
Roger rolls his eyes, turning to Mimi to talk, but obviously intending for me to listen in. (I work very hard to suppress the laughs that are begging to spring forth; I haven't told anybody else my plan for the candles.) "Mark got blue ones instead of pink ones, you know. Has to make sure the candles match the decorations..."
"Ha, ha. Very funny," I say with an extra ounce of sarcasm. (I'm still trying to mask the fact that I want to break down into a fit of laughter. Thankfully, I've always been good at that kind of stuff. My mom always said I should have been an actor.)
"What's the joke? If it's about Mark, lemme in on it!"
I turn around to see Collins walking up behind us, jogging to keep up. I see him holding a bag of decorations, including streamers and party hats, all blue. Roger obviously sees the decorations as well. "Oh, guess you'll have to get NEW candles, Mark! The decorations ARE blue!"
I shove Roger lightly before going up to Collins and giving him a quick hug. "Hello to you, too, Collins."
Collins laughs, pulling away, holding up the decorations. "You don't think Maureen will mind that they have 'NYU' all over them, will you? I was able to get them cheap from the bookstore: the student who volunteers there is helping me with my project."
"You're getting the students in on this too, Collins?" Mimi makes her voice sound annoyed, but I see her smiling. "Trying to make it a full on rebellion this time, hmm?"
Collins shrugs. "Figured that the problem at MIT was that it was a one-man team. And most of the students volunteered of their own accord."
"Most being the keyword there," Roger says as he hugs Collins as well. "Good to see you, man."
"Good to see you too," Collins says with a laugh. "You act as if I'm some diabolical scientist planning to take over the world. These students are really enthusiastic, though. I've recruited a few computer majors, and this time it'll be much bigger than MIT."
"Such as...?" I let the comment hang, knowing he probably would tell us what his plans were without us encouraging him.
I am exactly right, of course, since Collins can not seem to suppress the sly smirk that curls his lips. "We're talking the entire computer network. Complete shut down, as all the computers go into permanent sleep mode with the slogan blinking in bright red letters on the screens. That includes the digital sign at the entrance with the announcements."
"Impressive. I'm sure your mother would be proud, Collins." Roger smirks with equal cunning and deviousness. At times like these, it didn't surprise me that many times I link Roger and Collins so often in my mind.
"We're here!" Mimi bounds up the steps of the apartment building, me, Roger, and Collins following behind her. We walk all the way up to the top floor, Mimi still leading the way. ("How the hell does she have so much energy," Roger pants out as we jog up the staircase. "She's my girlfriend, and I don't even know.") When we reach the door of the correct apartment, Mimi knocks about five times very quickly. After a short pause, a flustered Joanne appears, opening the door and letting us in.
"OK, we get about two hours to decorate in here, and then Maureen wants us to go down to the lot to help get the stage ready." Joanne is running all around the small apartment, and I can see she is probably overstressing over the party she is planning.
We set to work immediately, Collins setting the bag of decorations on the couch and pulling out streamers. Roger and Mimi set to work hanging up plastic letters that read 'Happy Birthday' up on the wall, as Collins begins blowing up balloons. I help Joanne clean the dishes (there is a teetering pile in the sink) in silence for a few minutes, both of us content with listening to the others and their hectic action. ("Roger, it's crooked." "No it's not." "Yes it is. Move your end up a little bit." "Mimi, it's not crooked." "Collins, tell him it's crooked." Silence. Sudden heavy breathing. "DAMN, I can't BREATH...")
Joanne finally breaks the silence. "I suppose you could guess that..."
"Maureen wants me to help with the sound check. I guessed as much."
"You know how bad I am with the sound," she says with a light smirk. "I can handle the lights, but my technical knowledge stops there."
I shrug. "Always happy to be of service." I begin to scrub very hard at a piece of food that is stuck to the plate. "More soap, please." Joanne obliges, giving my plate a little squirt of soap as I scrub the grime off. Collins has abandoned the balloons and moved on to decorating the seven chairs cramped around the dining table with streamers. Roger has taken up the task of blowing up the balloons ("Mimi, you get the fucking thing straight."), with a little more success than Collins.
Suddenly, the phone rings. Joanne drops her plate in the sink (I catch it before it shatters), rushing to the phone, stumbling all over the floor littered with punctured balloons and plastic wrappers in her rush. The answering machine takes over after just one ring. "Hello, you've reached Maureen and Joanne! Leave your message at the beep! Oh, and be sure to catch my newest performance, Fire in the Hole, tonight at the lot at eleven! We were going to have a party at Life, but they banned us –"
"Hello?...Hey, Maureen...yeah, just sitting around...BE QUIET!" She put her hand over the receiver as Mimi swore softly, having pricked herself with the pin used to secure the letters. "Yeah, I'm still here...Umm, dunno, must've been on your end...Yes, I know, Maureen...Eleven, I know. We'll all be there. Do you want me to tell them their assignments before hand?...Mmm-hmm...yeah...OK...yeah, he's coming...yes, Maureen...OK! We'll all be there...Yes, I'll bring it...Yes...Maureen, I'm sure you have plenty of work to do for tonight, so I'll let you get to work. Bye...yes, I'll bring it...Of course...Goodbye, Maureen." She hangs up the phone, exhaling deeply. She looks up at me, and I give her a wink, unnoticed by Mimi (who is sucking her finger, which is probably bleeding), Roger (who is helping Mimi), or Collins (who is preoccupied with decorating the chairs). She looks exhausted just from the conversation. God knows I had felt like that so many times before after just talking to Maureen.
"OK," she says, with her usual authority that came with the package of being a lawyer as everybody else looks up at her. "So, here are the assignments. Roger, you're going to be cleaning up the place."
"Why me?" Roger grumbles under his breath, receiving an elbow in the ribs from Mimi.
"Mimi, you get to help her with her costume."
"She has a costume?" Mimi was obviously not expecting that. I wonder how over the top Maureen's 'performance' will be this time.
"Collins, you're working on the decorations."
"Can't I get these figured out first?" Collins was having a hard time with the streamers now; they were getting tangled up and he was ripping them as he tried to untangle them. (I almost laugh at the realization that Joanne was completely ignoring everybody's side comments.)
"I'll be working on getting the lighting up, and, of course, Mark will be working with Maureen and the sound check."
Roger sneers in my direction, as if to say, 'Of course Mark gets to do the sound check.' I ignore him, going over to the balloons and trying my hand at blowing up a few. Collins finally was getting the hand of the streamers, and Roger and Mimi were now both working on the sign. I don't have problems blowing up the balloons. My problem comes when I try to do the knots to close them. I keep swearing in Hebrew under my breath (It will probably always be my little secret that I can swear in Hebrew) as the plastic keeps slipping between my sweaty fingers.
After getting about five balloons finally done, the sound of shattering china comes from the direction of the small half kitchen. All eyes turn to see a suddenly completely stressed out Joanne. "Shit! It's already 10:50!"
All activity immediately halts as we leap up, the balloon I have been working on tying slipping out of my fingers and whizzing across the room with a crude sound that causes a quick giggle from Mimi. We all go as a group, making our way for the lot as fast as our feet could take us through the living streets of New York.
And all the time, throughout the entire morning, the same thought kept going through my mind: I'm living my life...one minute at a time...
A/N: I know right now it sounds a little silly and airy, but there is a real plot developing. Trust me. Oh, and let me know what you think of the title. It'll probably be more fitting later in the fic, but right now it's just cool. Lot better than the last title I thought up. 'Ms. Jefferson', a fic about Joanne. Wow.
P.S. You loved that line, didn't you, KitKat? 'GET OFF YOUR LAZY ASS AND COME ON!' XXDD You probably liked the line where I dropped an 'f' bomb, too. You were probably all, 'OMG! KIWI CUSSED!' XXDD I didn't cuss, though. Roger cussed. And Roger cusses all the time in my fics. XXDD He likes that word a lot in my mind, for some reason. Even though he never really says it in the musical, I imagine him being a big potty mouth. XXXXDDDD I feel like such a little kid, saying 'potty mouth'.