This is in response to Challenge #25 at Challenge Central. Here was the requirement- Theme: Mark has a secret, a deep secret, a secret he would do anything to keep from Roger. So, here's mine.

"Mimi!" I grumbled, pounding on the door to her loft, "Mimi, open the door right now!"

She did so and I soon saw the dancer's face in her doorway. "What do you guys want? It's three in the morning!"

"We need to talk," Collins answered, "It's about Roger."

Mimi immediately perked up at the mention of Roger's name. "Come in, come in," she said, "I'll get you guys some coffee."

Collins yawned widely before turning to me and saying, "Did we really have to confront her about this at three in the morning Mark?"

I glared at him. "Yes, we did," I replied, "It's the only guarantee that Roger won't notice we're missing or overhear us."

"Now what do we need to talk about?" Mimi asked, placing three mugs of steaming, black coffee on the table.

"As I said before, Roger," I answered, "How many times did we have to tell you: wait! He just got released from the hospital a month or so ago."

"Yeah, but how long were you going to have me wait, Mark?" Mimi asked, "Sooner or later he would have exited that loft and fallen for some girl, which we all know would have been disastrous! Anyway, all I did was ask him to light my candle. Nothing big."

Collins and I gave her a weary look. "Mimi," Collins said, "He's scared. I know that's hard on you- Hell, it's hard on all of us- but we have to go slowly."

"If you go too slowly than you'll run out of time to tell him!" Mimi nearly shouted.

I cringed. "We…we're not going to tell him the truth."

"Why not?" Mimi asked, tears filling her eyes for a reason both Collins and I knew.

"We've wrapped him up in this lie. We made a bad choice by starting it, but now we have to finish it out." Collins replied

"But what about everything we all shared with him?" Mimi questioned, "Is that all gone?"

"To Roger it is," I answered, "But we'll have those memories forever. Anyway, it was my idea. MY idea. You know how hard that's going to be on me. Like you said, sooner or later he's going to go out and fall for other girls. And every time I see him like that a little part of me is going to die, but I'm going to have to live with that. You take him, Meems. At least then we'll know he's in good hands."

Mimi bit her lip and gave Mark a hug. "Mark, you selfless bastard. I hate you, yet I love you beyond words."

I smiled and returned the hug. "I know Mimi, I know."

"You lovesick bitches," Collins said finally, "Get a room! You're both cheating on the man you love most. Now I'm heading home cause it's almost four in the morning and I've got classes to teach."

"Yeah, I'd better be going too," I said.

Bidding Mimi goodbye Collins and I exited her loft and went her separate ways.

As I pulled the blankets over my head, my mind began to whirl with the events that had taken place over the past year. Well, past years, because this story went way back.

It had all started a little more than a year ago. It was around Halloween of 1988. We'd all gone to this crazy Halloween party and Roger was the entertainment. The night had been going great when one of the lights, having not been set up correctly, fell from the ceiling onto Roger's head.

Roger didn't wake up until the following Halloween. However, the good news of Roger's recovery was marred with the fact that Roger remembered almost nothing of his past life.

So we told him lies, not wanting to tell him the truth of the amnesia.

April never happened, we just took a picture of some random tourist on the street. And when Roger would question why he didn't remember her it was because he was always high. Oh, Roger also never took drugs. He got AIDS because Mimi accidentally touched one of his wounds with one of hers. It was simple enough, but we all knew it was killing her inside.

I never dated Maureen. She was ALWAYS with Joanne. But she spent a lot of time around the loft, so Collins and I figured we'd make up an excuse for it.

We'd known Mimi and Angel forever. Angel and Collins had, actually, met through Roger. And Mimi was Angel's stepsister. So that answered that.

We never had to worry about Roger's parents calling because they disowned him. And why? Well, it's because he ran off and eloped with me.

We couldn't tell Roger any of this; we just couldn't, so we lied. And now I'm going to have to live with seeing Roger run after girls and not me. I'm never going to be able to hold him the way I used to or use any of those pet names. I'm always going to have to pretend to somewhat still like Maureen. And Angel and Collins will have to remember that they met in an alley, not through Roger. And we're all going to have to discard the real past for the one we created.