Chapter 8

Mark slid the loft's door open and was met with the sight of the girl that he liked with her head in his best friend's lap. Roger was even stroking her hair. He shut the door behind him hard.

"What's up Mark?" Roger asked.

"Can I speak to you for a minute?"

"Sure go ahead." Roger said a little confused.

"In private." Mark said back. He was very upset. Roger shrugged and eased Reggie up from his lap. Then it hit him how that must have looked to Mark. They went into Roger's bedroom.

"Mark I know how that looked, but you've got to listen to me." Roger began.

"How could you Roger? You know how much I like Reggie. Do you always have to get the girl?" Mark rebutted.

"What do you mean by that?" Roger wanted to know.

"You know perfectly well what I mean. All through high school every girl I was even remotely interested in came to you."

"It's not my fault that you couldn't get a girlfriend. Maybe if you had pulled your face away from that camera you might have met someone." Roger retorted.

"We've already sung that song Roger." Mark spat. "Yeah, I love my camera. But that doesn't give you permission to go off and take the only girl I've liked since Maureen."

"Mark I-"

"And didn't you say that you were going to be single for a while in respect of Mimi? This doesn't look like you're respecting her to me." he continued.

"Mark would you just-" Roger tried again.

"No, I've always been there for you Roger. When April died, when Mimi died. I was there. And this is how you fucking repay me? For all those times I got up in the middle of the night to make sure you were okay? For all the bruises and shit I took when you were going through withdrawal? That's really nice Roger. Real fucking nice" Mark's usually pale skin was red now as he yelled at his friend.

Roger opened his mouth to say something, but Mark cut him off again. "Maybe there's a reason all your girlfriends die on you." he said under his breath.

That was the last straw for Roger. He strode forward and closed the distance between him and Mark and then slammed his friend into the bedroom wall. "Don't." he said, his voice deadly quiet. "Don't you ever say that." Mark stopped talking and looked Roger in the eye. Roger stared right back. "I get enough guilt from myself about that, and I don't need it from you. Especially since you don't know how it feels to lose someone that close to you. But you know what? Reggie knows, she's had loss like mine. So she and I were talking, just talking about our losses and comforting each other. That's it. So maybe you should watch what you say when you come barreling in here, thinking you know everything."

Mark was silent, so Roger continued. "I would never disrespect Mimi like that. Especially not on her birthday, or on any other day for that matter. And I would never do that to you either. Because I do appreciate all you've done for me Mark. I appreciate every blow, both physical and emotional, that you took for me and from me. I am thankful every day that you are here. Because if you weren't I would probably be six-feet under by now. And I take a lot of crap from you Mark. It's only when you start acting like this that I get upset."

He unpinned Mark from the wall and moved back. Mark just stared at him. Then he sighed. "I'm sorry." he said, barely above a whisper. "I know you would never do that. I guess I'm just-" he stopped.

Roger looked at him. "You're just what?" he smiled a bit. "Just a scrawny little guy who needs some help romantically?"

Mark lowered his eyes. "I've always been jealous of you, you know. Ever since we were younger, and I guess I still am. I was just insecure." he said

"Why in the world would you be jealous of me?" Roger wanted to know. "It's really not that great being Roger Davis; you of all people should know that."

Then Mark smiled a little too. "Yeah but it always seemed like even when you were at your worst, the ladies still loved you." he said. "I could never get anyone to really like me. Except for Maureen, and I'm not sure how much that counts since she's pretty much insane."

"But Reggie likes you. She's just a friend to me. A friend who happens to share the same losses I do. Mark, she wants you. Now go, take some of that energy you were just using to tell me off, and get your girl." Roger said.

"But you-" Mark spluttered. "Are we-"

"We're fine Mark." Roger said with a smile. "Like I said, I'll take a lot of crap from you because you're my closest friend. Just don't ever try that again." he stopped and blushed. "Oh, and I'm sorry I slammed you into the wall. You know I have anger issues."

Mark outright grinned now. "You mean like the time you practically tossed Mimi out of the loft when she wanted you to go out with her?" he asked with mock innocence.

Roger rolled his eyes. "If you don't get out there and tell Reggie you like her and take her out, I'm going to make you." he said.

"Alright I'm going." Mark said. "Don't get violent." He stood up and walked toward the door. "Hey Roger?"

"Yes Mark."

"I love you. You know that right?"

Roger grinned back. "So you're going to ask a girl out, but you really have a thing for guys." he teased.

"I'm serious." Mark said smiling.

"I know." Roger replied going to give him a hug. "I love you too man. Even if you are a scrawny, romantically challenged, camera obsessed, little Jewish boy." Then he opened the door and pushed Mark out. "Now go!" he said.

Mark stumbled out of the room when Roger pushed him and found the living room was empty. Reggie had decided that it was better for her to leave than be the cause of Mark and Roger's fight. He walked out the door and across the hall to Reg's apartment. She opened the door after he knocked.

"Hey Reg, I think we need to talk." he said.

"Look Mark I don't want to be the cause of you and Roger's fighting. Your friendship is too important for that." she said back.

Mark shook his head. "Roger and I are fine. There were just things that we needed to say to each other and now that we have, we're going to be fine."

"Oh, well I'm sorry that you thought Roger and I were- you know. Because I would never. I mean Roger is attractive in that obvious sort of way, but you, you have that softer charm that I like. Plus we have so much in common it only makes sense that I would like you and I know I'm new here and much younger than you but I -"

Mark cut off her rambling by leaning forward and kissing her on the mouth. Reg's eyes widened for a minute and then she kissed him back. When they came up for air Mark said. "I'm sorry I jumped to conclusions about you and Roger. I just have some insecurity issues that come form living with the Tragic Sex God for all these years."

Reggie raised an eyebrow. "You guys call Roger the Tragic Sex God?" she asked skeptically.

"Not me. It's Maureen and all of Roger's groupies who call him that. I call him the Lazy Lump Who Can't Even Wash Dishes Correctly. But I also call him my best friend." Mark replied.

Reg smiled. "Well it's good that he has you Mark Cohen. I'm sure glad you're here."

"I'm glad you're here too, Regina Parker. I have a feeling that Bohemia will never be same for me or Roger." Mark said with a smile. Then he kissed her again.