This is my first RENT fic so be as nice as possible. I do not own RENT, Panic! At the Disco, or anything you recognize. Enjoy!
Surviving Seventh Grade
Chapter 1-Intro to Maureen, Mark and Roger
Maureen was sitting on her bed, listening to her new Panic! At the Disco CD, and flipping through the latest issue of Girl's Life magazine. Her music was blaring at the loudest volume it could go, and her window was open for air. It was absolutely disgusting outside, a peak temperature of 97 degrees. What a day for the air conditioner to be broken, thought Maureen.
"MAUREEN!" Her mother came into the room, furious.
"What?" Maureen asked, wondering what she could have possibly done now.
"Your music is entirely too loud! Turn it down!" She cried.
"Sure, sure, whatever," Maureen answered. Her mother left the room and closed the door behind her. Maureen didn't even bother to lower her music. Anything that ticked off her mother was a one-way ticket to entertainment for her. She loved seeing her mother mad, even if it got her into trouble. She made Maureen mad sometimes, but it was still entertaining. Just as the song came into the chorus for a second time, Mrs. Johnson came back into Maureen's room, walked over to her radio, unplugged it, and carried it out of the room without so much as a single glance.
"Bitch," Maureen muttered under her breath.
"I will have none of that language in my house young lady!" Maureen's mother called to her from the hall.
Whatever, Maureen thought. She got up to get her old, decrepit, unused walkman from her desk drawer. She hoped it still worked. It didn't make sense to her. Her older brother Brian could blast his music 24/7 and her mother would never say anything to him. Her other brother, Chris, could stay out until 6:00 in the morning with his friends, but when Maureen asked to be picked up from her friend's house at 8:00, all she got was a cool stare and a promise to be picked up at 5:00. She never bothered to talk to her mother about the way she was treated because her mother would deny it and tell Maureen it was all in her head. But she knew it wasn't. It was common knowledge throughout her whole family that Maureen's birth was totally unplanned. Her parents had planned to have two children, two years apart. And they got that. But three years later, a few bottles of wine and an eventful night later, Maureen's mother found herself pregnant with a third child. Maureen always knew she was treated differently because she wasn't planned. It depressed her sometimes, but it usually didn't matter to her, because she decided at eighteen she was moving to New York City to become an actress on Broadway and she would never have to associate with her family again.
Her mother came back into the room with a letter for her. The return address said "Ben Franklin Middle School." Maureen decided she'd open it later.
As she put her CD into the walkman, she couldn't help feeling a little sad. Not because of her family, but because the CD she'd been listening to had reminded her of her best friend whenever she listened to it. Right before Nicole had moved to Colorado the previous month, she decided to give Maureen something to hold on to and to remember her by. It was the Panic! At the Disco CD, Nicole's favorite. "No more of this show tunes junk. Listen to some real music," she'd said. Maureen was amused at that statement because Nicole was the one who turned her onto show tunes in the first place. Maureen really missed her. They hadn't been apart for more than two weeks since they first met in third grade. Now they'd been apart a month and it felt like forever to Maureen.
Sure, Maureen had other friends. But she wasn't as close with them as she was to Nicole. She didn't share that special bond with them like she did with Nicole. They were almost like sisters. It was Nicole who had first introduced her to performing when she forced Maureen to come along to her audition to the school play. It was Nicole who had showed her how to do a cartwheel so she wouldn't be embarrassed in front of everyone in gym class. And it was Nicole who had first introduced her to her crush. The boy she'd met through Nicole and hadn't stopped crushing on since third grade. His name was Roger Davis.
Roger had beautiful blonde hair that he spiked up like a rock star. His eyes were green and Maureen could get lost in them. Roger played guitar really well. She'd seen him play at the talent show in fifth grade and fell even more in love with him than she ever thought possible. His voice was smooth and lovely to listen to. He made her melt when he sang.
Roger's best friend was this boy who usually sat off to the side in class, listening intently and taking notes, while Roger was fooling around. He wore glasses, and dressed impeccably, the complete opposite of Roger, who wore jeans and band t-shirts and other things the "rocker type" would wear. He was kind of a dweeb. It seemed weird to Maureen that Roger's best friend was the complete opposite of him, but her and Nicole weren't really the same either. What was that kid's name? John? Marco? Lloyd?
"MARK! COME ON! WE'RE GOING!" Mark Cohen's mother was calling him from the car. He was inside, trying to find his other shoe, and looking threw the mail pile at the same time. He noticed a letter for him from his new middle school.
"I'M COMING MOM!" he called to his mother.
"NO! WE'RE GOING NOW! GET OUT HERE!" Mark grabbed what looked like his other shoe and ran out the door. They were going to the mall, where Mark, his mother, and his sister did their annual back-to-school clothes shopping. He hated every second of it. Every year, the same mall, she same stores, the same time of the summer: exactly one week before the first day of school. By this time all of the good clothes were gone, and only the dweeby ones were left. Roger, his best friend, offered to bring Mark along when they went shopping, but Mrs. Cohen wouldn't hear it. So he was stuck wandering through the girly stores with his older sister, and shopping for himself at JC Penny's and other loser stores that no one shopped at anymore. He longed to shop at a store with trendy clothes like Abercrombie & Fitch or something. But his mother wouldn't hear of that either.
When they got out of the car, Mark's older sister Cindy, who was going into ninth grade, looked down and Mark's shoes and cracked up.
"What?" Mark asked angrily.
"Your…Your…shoes…" she said between laughter. Mark looked down and noticed that he was wearing two different sneakers. One was pure white and the other was jet black. "Oh gosh…" Mark mumbled. Mark's mom came out of the car at this point. "What is so funny?" she asked. Cindy, still breathless and laughing, pointed at Mark's shoes.
"Mark, my goodness! You're wearing two different shoes!" Mrs. Cohen said.
"Yeah I know, Mom. Cindy already informed me of that," Mark said angrily.
"Don't worry honey. You need new shoes anyway. After we leave the store you can put them on."
"Whatever," Mark answered.
They went into the mall and went to JC Penny first. Mark groaned and turned down everything his mother picked out for him. "Mom! Why can't you just let me shop for my own clothes?" he asked after his mother showed him a multi-colored striped sweater. He could just imagine what Roger would say if he showed up at school wearing that. Mark pulled a pair of casual jeans off of the rack. "How about these?" he suggested to his mother.
"Oh my goodness! You can't wear jeans to school Mark!" his mother exclaimed, looking appalled.
"Why not? Everyone else does!" Mark said.
"You need to look nice for school," Mrs. Cohen said. "When I was a little girl we had to wear skirts and stockings to school everyday."
Mark sighed. He gave up. His mother was just going to have to pick out what she wanted him to wear, since she apparently knew best. "Fine. Whatever. Pick out what I'm 'supposed to wear' then," Mark said and walked away from his mother.
After they left JC Penny, they passed by a show store with music videos playing on little televisions and trendy shoes on display. "Mom, can we go in here?" he asked, pointed towards the store.
"No, dear. You need dress shoes to go with these outfits, not rock star shoes," she answered.
"What? Rock star shoes? Converse is cool!" Mark said defensively.
"No. And that is final."
"Can I at least get work boots instead?"
Mrs. Cohen gave in. "Oh, fine."
Roger Davis was in his living room, trying to find an outlet to plug his speakers into. "MOM!" he yelled.
"What?" she asked him from nearby.
"Don't we have any free outlets anywhere in this house? I need to plug in my speakers!" he said angrily.
"I have no idea. Ask your father when he gets home. Now get out from behind the television."
Roger emerged from behind the TV and straightened up. "What are you watching?" he asked as he caught a glimpse of the TV.
"A fashion show. They're showing clothes that are hot for the new school year," his mother answered.
Roger chuckled at the screen. A male model was walking down the runway in a multi-colored striped sweater. "That's something Mark would wear," he said. Then he left the room out of sheer boredom and went into his own room. He picked up his guitar and plucked a few strings, thinking. He'd been wanting to write a new song for weeks now, but he couldn't think of a subject. He had already considered love, but he never had a crush on anyone, so that didn't work. He thought about writing about Mark, his best friend, but that was corny. Roger sat and thought for a long, long time. He sat there and thought until he heard his mother calling him for dinner.
When he got into the kitchen, his father was sitting at the table, reading the mail. That was the weird thing about his father. He always had to read the mail right before dinner, and his wife wasn't even allowed to touch it until then. "Mail for you, Roger," he said as Roger sat down. Who could be writing to me? He wondered. He took the envelope from his father and looked at the return address. "Ben Franklin Middle School," it said. Oh great, he thought. School stuff. He opened up the envelope and found his school schedule. "Gross! I have to take cooking!" he announced to the whole table after studying it for a few minutes.
"Cooking is important," his mother said.
"Can't I take woodshop instead?" Roger asked.
"Cooking is a required course, Roger. You'll have to take it, and so does everyone else." Roger imagined Mark trying to crack an egg and getting it all over his hands. That cheered him up a bit. He devoured his dinner in a matter of minutes and got up to call Mark and find out if they had any classes together.
"Hello?" Mark answered after the second ring.
"Hey. It's me. You get your schedule?" Roger asked him.
"Yeah. What room is your homeroom?"
"Sweet!" Roger exclaimed.
"How about Math?"
"Period 5, room D-6,"
"Me too!" Mark said.
"This is taking too long. Just rattle off your schedule and I'll tell you if we have anything in common," Roger said. He had a short attention span.
"Okay. Period one, Social Studies, room D215, then Gym, in the gym." Roger chuckled at that. "Duh, Mark!" Mark sighed on the other line. "Sorry. Go ahead," Roger prompted him. He knew that Mark hated to be interrupted. "Thank you. Next is Cooking, in A-15, then Science, in D2-5. Then Math, then two periods of English in room D2-1, lunch, Study hall in A-5, then music in A-11," Mark finished.
"Dude! We have practically she same schedule! Except I have Gym last instead of Music. What kind of music are you taking?"
"I think I have chorus," Mark answered. Roger laughed again. Singing was not something Mark did well. "Me too, I can give you pointers on how to sing on-key."
"Shut up!" Mark said. "Oh, I think Collins is on my other line. Gotta go." Collins was one of their good friends. His name was Tom Collins, but he went by Collins.
"All right man. Tell him to call me when you guys are through. Bye," Roger said and hung up. With Mark in most of his classes, middle school didn't seem like it would be too bad.
Please Review! Constuctive Critisicm ( i know i spelled that wrong) is welcome!