Author's Note: Ya know, this is really my favorite part of doing this lol! Well, we've made it kiddies...this is the last chapter! I'm so glad that you all liked this story and that you stuck with it. If y'all want (and tell me) there might be a sequel. I left it so it's easy enough to pick up. Anywho...love you guys for sticking with this!
Disclaimer: Thank you Jonathan Larson!
Roger didn't really care that he was getting soaking wet. Or that Mark was only wearing underwear. All he knew was that his best friend, his brother, was in pain. And he would do anything in the world to take it away. Roger rubbed soothing circles on Mark's back as he cried. "Roger...Roger...why did this have to happen?" Mark sobbed.
"I don't know Mark. Maybe it happened so you could protect your sister. So that when she came running to you, you'd take her in, no questions asked." Roger told him.
"It hurts so much, Roger. I haven't thought about it...about him...in so long." Mark sobbed. "I thought if I put it out of my mind, it didn't really happen." His voice broke. "But it did happen. It happened and it hurts!" He cried. Roger just kept holding him. Slowly, he pulled Mark into his lap and rocked back and forth. Cindy left the kids with a nurse and came into the room. She was shocked to find the two boys in the bathroom.
"Oh Mark..." she said, joining them, ignoring the water on the floor. She turned off the water and sat down on the floor. She added her hand to his back and he picked up his face. He looked terrible, his eyes were red and watery.
"I'm sorry I couldn't protect you, Cindy." He said. She looked directly at him, moving forward so their foreheads were touching.
"I'm sorry that I couldn't protect you Mark." She told him. And for the first time since he was eight years old, he allowed his big sister to care for him. She pulled him out of Roger's lap and into her own. She held him while Roger tracked down a robe to wrap him in. She whispered in his ear, words of comfort and love. "Mark, I'm so sorry. I'm so, so sorry."
Mark was kept for the next day to run some more tests. The seizure, it was determined, was due to a panic attack. The doctor prescribed a medication to take daily and gave Roger one to give him if he ever had an attack again.
When he got back to the loft, he was surprised to find Cindy's bags packed. "Cindy, what's going on?" He asked.
She smiled serenely at him. "We're leaving Mark. For you to get better, you need to not have me around. I'm going to be a constant reminder of what happened to you. But I'll never forget how wonderful you were to me."
Mark nodded. He reached out and took Cheyenne from her, kissing the baby. Then he picked up Mason give him a big hug and kissing his tears away. Finally, he hugged his sister. "You're always welcome here, Cindy." He paused for a moment. "However, I'd be glad if you didn't pass the information on to Mom and Dad." She chuckled and nodded her agreement.
"There's a restraining order out on Josh. He can't be within 100 yards of either of us or else he'll go straight to jail." Cindy informed him. He nodded. Cindy hugged Mimi, Collins, and Roger and headed out the door.
Mark watched her go. When the door closed he moved out to the balcony and watched her get in to a cab. She waved and waved Cheyenne's arm. Mason waved, too. He watched the cab until it was out of sight. Then he took a deep breath and headed back into the loft. He needed to be the one that everyone counted on. He fussed over Mimi and told Roger to take his AZT.
Three months later, Mark received a phone call. "May I speak with a Mr. Mark Cohen?" An unfamiliar voice asked.
"This is Mark." He said, sitting down on the couch.
"Mr. Cohen, my name is Randy Harrison. I was your sister's attorney. I am so very sorry to inform you that she was in a car accident yesterday." Mark's heart stopped. He gripped the receiver tightly.
"Is...is she okay?" He asked.
"Your sister didn't make it. Neither did her son, Mason." Mark fought back tears.
"Cheyenne was fine. Actually, she's the reason that I'm calling. Cindy has listed you as the legal guardian to her children if anything were to happen to her."
"Do our parents know?" Mark asked. The lawyer assured him that they were the next phone call he was making.
"Your sister also left you a substantial amount of money, Mr. Cohen. There's also a letter here for you. I'll be flying out with Cheyenne tomorrow." Mark hung up the phone. He couldn't believe this. His sister and nephew were dead. He was now the legal guardian for Cheyenne. He noticed Roger and Mimi standing there and told them what had happened.
The next day, the lawyer, Mr. Harrison, showed up at their door with Cheyenne and a letter. Roger took the fussy baby while Mark took the letter.
My dear Mark,
If you are reading this, then I have passed and my craziness for planning ahead paid off. I know it's a lot to ask of you to take my children and raise them, but you are the only one I would want doing it. Clearly Josh can't raise them and I don't want our parents raising them either. I know you will be good to my kids and treat them as your own.
I am leaving you enough money to make sure you and the kids are well cared for. Make sure they remember me, but don't tell them about Josh. Don't let them know how terrible their father really is.
I love you, Mark. And I love my kids. I know that you'll be amazing.
Mark took Cheyenne into his arms. The little girl whimpered slightly and recognizing Mark, calmed immediately. "Hey there sweetheart. Don't worry, I'll take good care of you. I promise." He said, looking up at the sky. He wondered if Angel had taken Cindy and Mason under her wing. Mark thought so and that thought made him smile.