To Be

DISCLAIMER: I do not own RENT or anything affiliated with it.

A/n: Okay, okay, I give. Gosh you people are persuasive. Here's what you wanted, so you can all stop hovering around and move on with your lives. (I love doing this… I get to be really annoying, and no one can really call me on it!)

"Hi, you've reached us. We aren't here right now. Or maybe we just don't want to talk to you. Oh well, leave a message, and you'll find out which is true!" Mark laughed at Maureen's crazy answering machine message.

"Hey Mo, Jo. It's Mark. Just calling to tell you my flight's delayed. Again. It's fucking freezing out here… they're having to de-ice the plane, so it'll be another hour or so late," he said. Just as he was about to say goodbye, Maureen cut him off.

"Mark! How are you?" she asked. He sighed. For once, her bubbly-ness was annoying. Although the fact that he'd been stuck in the airport for twelve hours wasn't helping much.

"Pissed off mostly. Were you gone or screening?" he asked.

"We just walked in the door. Where are you?"

"Still in the same place I was when I talked to you twelve hours ago," he said.

"Sorry Pookie. But how's the trip been otherwise?" she asked him. He smiled.

"Can I tell you when I get home? At the Life, with everyone else," he said.

"Sounds great. We'll plan when you get here, okay? Oh, Pookie wants to talk to you," she said. Mark waited through what sounded like a small scuffle.

"Mark? You still there?"

"Yeah… Pookie," he said, smiling. He loved to torture her every once in a while.

"Call me that again and I'll kick your ass," Joanne replied. "Have you talked to Roger lately?"

"Not since I got here, why?" Mark asked.

"Benny's remodeling your building. Roger and Mimi moved back into her place, and Collins is using the empty apartment on the first floor while the loft is being worked on," she told him.

"Why's he remodeling? So he can charge more rent?" Mark asked. Joanne could hear the sarcasm in his voice.

"Hey, rent control. He can't do shit," Joanne told him. "He just wants to make the empty apartments more attractive to renters. They moved all your stuff in with Collins."

"Thanks for the heads up, Jo. I'd better go. The phone's telling me I'm out of money. Bye," he said. He hung up and walked back over to the row of hard plastic chairs, where he'd been waiting all day. He sighed and looked around, wishing he had his camera. But it was in his checked suitcase, where it would be safe.

Collins looked up at the sound of the door opening and smiled. "Hey Collins," Mark said, pulling his suitcase into the small apartment. It was only about half the size of the loft, but it would only be the two of them.

"Hey man. Have fun?" he asked.

"Yeah, it was great. Where's the bed around this place?" Mark asked.

"Through there. You tired?" Collins asked, pointing to a door.

"Wouldn't you be if you'd just spent 14 hours in an airport?"

"Touché." Collins went back to his book as Mark drug his suitcase across the room and into the bedroom. He crashed on the bed and closed his eyes.

By the time Mark woke up, the sun was already out. "You gonna get out of the bed today or not?" Collins asked, sticking his head in the door.

"Yeah, in a minute," Mark replied. He sat up and stretched. "Jetlag's a bitch."

"Benny called this morning. The apartment's going to be ready in a couple of days," Collins told him.

"Great. Back to climbing a million stairs to get home at night," Mark joked. He stood up and started looking around for some clothes. "Where's my shit?" Collins looked around, scratching his head.

"I dunno. It's around here somewhere," Collins said.

"I need my clothes," Mark pointed out.

"They might be in the closet," Collins suggested. "Or you could always take the clothes from your suitcase and wash them."

"That would take too long. We're all supposed to be meeting at the Life later on," Mark told him.

"Yeah, Maureen called this morning. Said to tell Roger and Meems," Collins said.

"I'll go when they wake up," Mark said.

"Too late. I told them when they came by a little while ago. They went to get some food," Collins replied. Mark looked confused. "It's like two in the afternoon, Mark. You've slept all fucking day."

"You've got to be kidding me," Mark said.

"Nope. You just slept for twelve hours straight," Collins told him.

"Yeah, well if it wasn't for the fact that I've got too much shit to do today, I could sleep for another 12 hours," Mark replied, pulling a shirt out of his suitcase. He sniffed at the armpits and looked it over before pulling off his tee shirt and throwing the new one on. Then he threw on his jeans from the day before. Then he threw the tee into the suitcase and zipped it back up. "I'll wash this junk tomorrow."