Author's Note: Well, this is it, the end! I knew I was going to end here, it was just the perfect spot to end. I want to thank all of you who have read and reviewed. I hope you've enjoyed it! Anyway, this chapter is in memory of Jonathan Larson, on his birthday! Thank you for creating amazing characters. And of course, he created the amazing world of RENT that I just use for fun. I hope you all enjoy this chapter!
Chapter 6 – Revealing Their Secrets
We were walking back when I motioned to Roger to drop back a bit to talk to me in private. Joanne and Collins were carrying on a conversation and Maureen was trying to act like she cared about what they were talking about. I placed my hand on the small of his back and leaned in to whisper to him, "Are you sure about this?"
His eyes glance over to meet mine and he quickly looks down at his feet. We continue our slower pace behind the rest of the group as he fumbles to grab my hand and gives it a squeeze. He then leans in to whisper, "Yeah, I figure why the hell not?"
"I mean, there's some things on there… I'm just saying, you don't have to do this," I inform him, keeping our converstion as hushed as possible.
"No, I want to do this," he says.
"Just making sure," I reply and we walk the rest of the way in silence. We occasionally exchange glances and Maureen starts blabbing to the two of us at one point, but we both just shake our heads and laugh at her. We arrive back at the loft and everyone makes themselves at home. Maureen and Joanne share a space on the couch, while Roger and Collins sit beside them. I walk over to the projector to set up the film.
"So, Roger, should we know anything before we watch your film?" Joanne asks of course, being the some what reasonable one of the group. I glance over at him and he starts laughing a little bit. I join him soon enough and we both get interesting looks from the rest of the crowd.
"What's so funny?" Collins asks, puzzled look across his face.
"Oh, well… it's just that half of the things on here I doubt you'll even be able to understand," Roger informs them. "I mean, just watch and see. But I make no guarantees."
"Alright, then let's do this!" Joanne cheers. I begin the film and walk over to sit beside Roger. I almost reach down to take his hand in mine, but I remember and retract.
The first clip that evokes some sort of reaction from the trio was the clips from when I accidentally killed the bird. I was waiting for some sort of reaction from Maureen about how I was evil against animals and whatever else she was going to rant about.
"You guys never told me about that," Collins said, as the clip ended.
"Uh yeah, I guess we forgot," I mumble.
"Mark, I can't believe you killed a bird! That's just wrong!" Maureen exclaims. I bury my head in my hands, then bringing it up to reply to her.
"Don't worry, I don't go around and kill birds for fun now."
Then, a crooked smile creeps on Collins face. "No, I get it now. That's how you finally got over hating Mark!" he says, facing Roger.
"I guess you could say that," Roger replies, his voice low and quiet. "Keep watching."
They all turned their attention temporarily back to the projector and film. I patiently waited for the clip of Roger and I shopping for April and Maureen to come across the screen, anticipating some sort of comment from my ex-girlfriend. The clip begins and I just start shaking my head and rolling my eyes. So maybe I shouldn't have let Roger show them this…
"Oh Mark, how cute, you were shopping for me for Christmas with Roger," she says and I notice how she fails to leave out the part about April.
"Yeah, it was loads of fun. You were always so hard to shop for," I snap back.
"That's not true! I loved all the presents you got me!" she says while shooting me one of her pouty glares.
"Nice bear, Roger," I hear Collins tell Roger and I pray that he doesn't say or do anything rash. It was his decision to show them the film, after all.
"Uh, yeah, thanks," he mumbles in response as the film moves onto the next clip.
We finally reach the end with the clip of Roger's birthday from last year. Considering it was the only clip where Joanne, Maureen, and Collins all made an appearance, I guess it's a good thing that it was the last clip. It'll be the last impression that they get of the film, so if they're on it, maybe they'll ignore some of the other things. The film finishes, so I stand to turn off the projector while Roger turns to face the rest of the crowd.
"Well?" he asks the collective group.
"You two sure do a lot of crazy stuff you never tell us about," Maureen replies. "I mean, what the hell was that Flag Day thing about?"
We both start laughing, exchanging a moment that no one else in the room could understand. I was right when I thought that no one besides us would be able to understand half of the film, even if they were the people that we considered our family. Some things between us have always been just that – kept between us. I suppose it's not a bad thing they know now, but it just doesn't make our relationship as special. What am I saying? Our relationship is damn special now!
I smile after considering all of that and Roger replies to her question. "Well… I guess that's what happens when it's damn hot in the loft and you get bored with sitting around all day in hellish weather."
"So you two do this every year now?" Collins asks in response.
We both shrug our shoulders and I answer his question this time. "Uh, I guess you could say that."
"I'm hurt that I was never invited! But now that I think about it… I remember once coming back one time to the loft in June and finding you two trashed beyond recognition. I didn't understand why and upon asking you two what was going on, you just started laughing at me. Now, I understand."
"And another thing," Maureen begins, "Roger, nice fort."
I expect to see a hint of anger flash across his face, but instead a small smile appears. A sigh of relief washes over me and I wait for his response.
"Yeah… I know, I'm so funny," he says, rolling his eyes at her.
"Well, all I have to say is that was really sweet, Mark," Joanne says to the group. My nerves relax a little, glancing over at Roger who honestly looks content with the whole situation.
"Yeah Mark, why didn't you ever give me a birthday present that nice?" Maureen adds in, pouting a little.
"Uh…" I stutter, knowing the real reason in my heart, but luckily Collins jumped in before I could say or do something stupid.
"You just said you loved all the presents he's ever gotten you!"
"Well… yeah. But this, this is so much more personal," she insists.
"Maybe if you hadn't dumped me for a woman I would have made you a film of your own, no offense Joanne," I snap back, sounding a little harsh.
"It's okay Mark," Joanne reassures me. Joanne and I have always had that special understanding – we've been through Maureen and back. My comment luckily shuts up Maureen temporarily.
"Well, we really should be getting home," Maureen says, pulling Joanne up with her. "Happy Birthday, Roger."
"Thanks Maureen, Joanne," he replies, leading them to the door as they exit. We're left with Collins, who thankfully understands us way better than the two girls could ever.
Roger comes and sits down in the seat vacated by Maureen and Joanne. Collins turns to face the two of us, a wide smile breaking across his face. "So, how long have you two been in love with each other?"
"Excuse me?" I squeak out, praying my ears are deceiving me in some way.
"You heard me, I don't think Maureen or Joanne could see it on the film, but I'm not blind. I know you two and that just confirmed it, so spill," he states, glancing at both of us.
I can feel my face getting warmer, all the blood rushing to my head and I'm probably blushing considerably by now. I glance down at my feet then over to Roger, who's ignoring the subject as well as I am.
"Collins, I don't know what the hell you're talking about," Roger snaps at him, although I don't think he'll be very convinced by his response.
"I get it, it just happened today, didn't it? After you watched the film?" Collins asks and I almost can't believe how smart he really is. Thank God Maureen and Joanne didn't get it as well as he did.
"Uh… well…" we both stutter at the same time and I move over to be beside Roger, clamping my hand in his. He looks back up at me, a bit shocked by my action, but then his smile returns.
"Yeah, you're right, actually, you're so right that it's frankly a bit scary," I tell him.
Collins starts laughing a little bit, glancing at each of us, pointing a bit, and then laughing some more. Roger glances at me and I shrug in response.
"What's so damn funny, Collins?" Roger asks him.
"It's just…" he says in between fits of laughter, "that means, everyone in our family basically is attracted to those of the same sex."
Roger looks a little stunned by his statement, as I am as well. I never considered myself gay, I just was in love with Roger. It was the person, not the label at all.
"The only guy I'd ever consider kissing is Mark," Roger says, defiantly. I nod in agreement.
"Oh, don't get your panties in a twist," Collins jokes back. "I know you two. Don't worry; your secret is safe with me."
Roger and I exchange glances and relax against the back of the couch. Collins stands up and walks over to the kitchen, where a brown bag he brought earlier remained. "How about a toast?" he says, pulling out a bottle of some foreign liquid and a couple of glasses. We both stand up, walking over to join him. He hands us glasses and we wait in response.
"I just want to propose a toast for Roger's birthday. Happy birthday, you lug. And to love. Especially those who finally found what it means to really find your other half," he states, then brings his glass up to the sky, and I know he's motioning to Angel. Roger and I mimic him and then I bring my glass to my lips, downing the strong drink.
"Alright you two, I should get going so you can enjoy the rest of the evening," Collins says seductively. I blush a little at his comment, while following him in his walk towards the door. As soon as he reaches the door, he turns around and tells us, "Stay out of trouble, you two."
"We'll do our best," Roger states as we wave him goodbye and he heads down the stairs. We close the loft door and both collapse on the couch.
"We survived," I state, a sigh of relief washing over me.
"Yes, yes we did," he replies, lying down with his head in my lap. I start stroking his hair.
"Happy Birthday, Roger," I tell him one more time.
"You know, this was probably the best birthday I've ever had. I got you," he tells me, as my heart leaps with joy. I lean down and bring him in for a gentle kiss. We pull away and I smile in response.
Although our relationship always has consisted of many secrets, I guess they've helped us out in the long run. They helped us find out why we kept so many secrets. I think it all has to do with the fact if we admitted them; we'd have to admit to ourselves how we felt about one another. I guess making the film, getting everything out in the open, was the best way for us to connect with one another. One thing is for sure, I'm going to remember this day for the rest of my life. It was the day that my life began.
Thank you again for reading this story! Reviews are always greatly appreciated:)