Pairing: Mark/Maureen, mention of Maureen/Joanne.
Summary: The first time Maureen cheated on Mark was on a Sunday night. PreRent.
Warnings: Couple of bad words, but that's it.
Disclaimer: Not mine, I am just humbly borrowing.

A/N: Written for speedrent on LJ. Didn't win, but I sure had fun writing it :).


The first time Maureen cheated on Mark was on a Sunday night. Roger was off with April, getting high if Maureen wanted to bet money on it. In fact, Roger was the very reason she found herself in the bar where she picked up her first random guy that night. She and Mark had had a fight over Roger. She didn't like him, though the drugs had nothing to do with why. Roger was Mark's best friend and Roger was the one person that ranked higher than she did in Mark's life.

No one should rank higher than her in Mark's life.

The guy she picked up was a child really – an eighteen-year-old college kid that used his very first fake ID and was proud of it. He had a certain innocence to him that drew her in.

It wasn't until they fucked in his dorm room that she realized he reminded her of Mark.

--

The first time she deliberately lied about cheating was on Tuesday. It was the first time she felt a pang of guilt hit her so deep she actually considered what she was doing and why she was doing it.

It was Mark's fault, really. She came home smelling of another man and what did he do? Heled her to the roof where he'd laid out a blanket, lit two candles, and a bottle of champagne with two plastic cups.

Apparently it was an anniversary, she soon realized, and she felt like crap. So she stared up at the stars, downed as much champagne as she could, and had sex with Mark.

In the morning she found Mark's side of the bed empty and Mark out on the fire escape. That, in itself, wasn't unusual. Mark often filmed from the fire escape. But Mark's camera was on the coffee table and Mark was staring out into space.

She stepped out, the fire escape rattling as her feet hit the metal. She joined Mark, leaning over the railing and viewing the activity below.

It was Mark that broke the silence.

"Where were you last night?"

The question surprised her. "I was with you, Marky. Duh."

He turned to face her and she watched him take a breath. "No, Maureen. I mean before we..."

"Before?" she repeated.

"Before."

"I was in mid-town, pookie. Met Melanie for drinks after her shift and lost track of time." The lie came out so easily that she was powerless to stop it. She gave him a smile, hoping he wouldn't see right through her.

He blinked and studied her face a moment before turning back to the street below. "Yeah," he said softly. "I don't know what I was thinking…"

She knew exactly what he was thinking. And she felt dirty.

--

The first time she realized Mark wasn't the one was on a Thursday. April was dead, Collins was at MIT, and Mark was trapped in the loft, dealing with a new diagnosed Roger in withdrawal.

She was everywhere but there. Bad energy lingered in the loft and covered it in guilt, blame, and pain. Roger's eyes were crazed and it hadn't taken much to drive her out whenever she did come home. Mark had taken to wearing long sleeves despite fact that it was July and they hadn't had sex in almost a month. She wasn't sure what happened there most days and, honestly,she didn't like thinking about it.

All she knew was Roger was first, again. A drug-seeking and violent Roger that was no doubt leaving dents on more then the loft walls.

Mark made no more accusations, but she knew he was more than aware of her infidelity. But Roger's mood swings left no room for contemplation and no room to try and fix the crack that had formed in their relationship.

Mark loved her – she felt in her bones. And she loved him, but it wasn't the same. It wasn't passionate and encompassing. It wasn't magical. It was safe. Comfortable like an old sweater.

She wanted more. Much, much more.

--

The first time she felt a spark in over six months was on Saturday. It was a long line of firsts for her.

And it all started with her new lover's name: Joanne.