Roger pushed violently through the crowd of nurses. His blue eyes painfully scanned the room numbers until he found the digit that had a sort of heavenly glow on it, a beacon beckoning him forth.
"186…" he breathed, pushing it open.
But instead of meeting the sight of Mimi, Roger came face to face with a set of determined brown eyes that belonged to Benjamin Coffin the Third.
"Well well well," Benny hissed, fists clenched tightly. "If it's not the one-hit wonder himself. Come to pay your respects?" He crossed his arms. "Get the fuck out of here. You've done enough damage to her for one lifetime. A lifetime, which I may add, is running out quickl—"
Before Benny could finish, Roger's rage overtook him and he shoved Benny into a nearby chair. "Shut up, Benny!" he yelled. "I know I fucked up! I know I probably killed the closest thing to an angel that earth ever saw! You don't think I know that, though, do you? Just sit here and let me try to fix what I fucking ruined!"
Roger closed his eyes and savored the raspy voice. He turned slowly to see Mimi, the covers up to her eyes like a child, peering at him in disbelief. Roger felt his insides melt. Her bony fingers clutched the loosely woven white cotton blanket, and her dead eyes blinked nervously.
"Mimi…" he whispered, releasing Benny and approached her. "God…what did I do to you?" He reached out gently to touch her sunken cheek.
Mimi pulled her face away quickly. "What are you doing here?" she rasped, clapping her eyes onto the floor and trying to avoid the glance of a man who could melt her resolve with one look.
Roger retracted his rejected hand and sat beside the bed, his cobalt eyes never leaving Mimi once. He was soaking her in. She was scrawny, her face was pale, her hair was wiry and wild, and her joints looked like those of a skeleton. And her eyes. The eyes that Roger found such inspiration in were reduced to pools of mortality. The eyes of someone who knew their fate was to die and it was only a matter of time before they did it. But to Roger, she never looked more beautiful.
"I came to…tell you I…you…I…me…you…Mimi…I was a jerk!" he exclaimed, the tears overflowing. "You were the best thing to ever happen to me. Not some song, not some fame and fortune. Just you. God decided to take mercy on my worthless life and send me his best archangel. And me, the eternal ass, neglected her. And God sees that, and he wants to take her back because I was a careless moron." He put his hand over Mimi's and brought it to his lips, kissing it sweetly.
Mimi knew she should have pulled away. She knew she should have kicked him out of her room and died in peace. She wanted to do a lot of things. But she couldn't tear her hand away from Roger's soft kisses and warm lips. "Six months, Roger," she said icily, turning her face away to hide her tears.
"And I regret every day," he said, his voice cracking with emotion. "Just please, Mimi…forgive me…and please don't leave me here all by myself."
Mimi's eyes glazed. "You won't be alone," she said calmly. "You'll have your assistants…and your managers…and your legions of fans who think it's THEIR eyes you're singing about."
"I don't want them!" sobbed Roger, clinging to her hand tightly. "All I want is you, Mimi. Please forgive me, God, I can't even forgive myself…"
Mimi's heart burned to take Roger in her arms and tell him everything was going to be alright. But she turned once more. "I think you should go."
"No." Roger's weak voice took on an authoritative tone. "I will not leave this room until you tell me you don't love me anymore. Then I'll not only leave this room, I'll leave New York. But I can't start a new life. You ARE my life, Mimi."
Mimi choked back her tears as Roger lay his head in her lap. "No!" she screamed. "You don't know what you've been doing to me for the past half year! You never called, you never checked in. You abandoned me, Roger. You promised that you would love me forever and you just left me. Fame came and took Mimi's place in your heart. Mark, Collins, Maureen, and Joanne—replaced with lackeys and roadies who would just assume step on your face than look at you when your song isn't famous anymore. I was alone. I almost died. And you never so much as picked up the phone to call and ask me how I was—" Mimi's tirade was interrupted with a fit of coughing.
Roger, shattered by Mimi's speech, was slow to spring into action. He gently rubbed her back and handed her water as she spewed and sputtered out more Spanish obscenities.
Mimi finally stopped coughing and was silent for a moment. Her eyes traveled up to meet Roger's. "I can't tell you I don't love you. Because not only would I be lying to you, I'd be lying to myself. So go home for now. My release date is Monday. I'll come over to the loft and we can chat about this little dilemma."
Roger blinked a few times and stood up. "Okay," he answered, hurt evident in his voice. "Take care, Mimi." He turned slowly and started to walk to the door.
Mimi bit her lip and pulled her blankets around her. "Roger?" she called out softly as he neared the doorway.
"Yes?" he replied, turning quickly.
Inhaling sharply, Mimi closed her eyes. "Everyday I would lay in bed and Benny would take care of me. And the only thing I would ask for was a radio. Your song would come on all the time, and I would always listen and remember the night when you sang it to me the first time. And for two and a half minutes everyday…I was so proud of my Roger. Even though he deserted me, I was so proud of him." Her voice cracked on her last word and she began to sob.
Roger suddenly sprang forth and buried his face in Mimi's lap and in her cotton blanket. Mimi did nothing to protest, except lay her head on his and stroke his hair. They softly exchanged whispers and Roger held her tightly.
The radio in the corner was louder because of the silence of the room. The closing chords of "Your Eyes" rang out as the right man took Mimi in his arms and kissed her.