Disclaimer: (for the entire story) I do not own RENT or anything else you might recognize.
A/N: Please review and let me know if there is anyone who wants to keep reading. If there is, I will continue writing. I promise, there will be canon couples! Cross my heart and all that...
Thanks very much to DivaActress for being an awesome beta reader!
Something to leave behind
On a very fine morning in early spring of 1991, all of New York City seemed to stop for a moment to take in a deep breath, the air being unusually fresh and sweet.
The magic moment passed soon enough, but it had brought smiles on many faces.
Mimi Marquez had linked arms with her boyfriend Roger Davis as they strolled down a street of Alphabet City, passing beggars, street musicians and slimy street vendors. Despite that, they were both in very good spirits. Mimi was skipping along, Roger was humming a melody he had thought up and in his pocket were three rustling twenty-dollar bills waiting to be spent on groceries.
They reached the store and entered, Roger politely holding the door, first for Mimi, then for two elderly ladies who smiled at him bashfully. Mimi, meanwhile, had grabbed a cart and added canned soup and a couple of bananas to it. Roger joined her and together they made their way though the store, picking up items they needed. Shortly before reaching the cash register, Roger surveyed the contents of the cart. He picked up the bananas and stared at them, frowning.
"We forgot something, didn't we? Mark asked for some kind of fruit..."
"I thought Collins was home," Mimi teased and received a playful prod in the side. "You're right," she went on, "I forgot the strawberries."
"I'll get them", Roger told her, turned around and crashed right into the woman passing behind him, knocking a number of things right out of her hands.
She stumbled and managed not to fall. Roger went down on his knees, saying "Sorry, ma'am" and began scooping up her purchases. Straightening up, he made a move to hand them back to her but froze halfway. The woman gaped at him as well.
She had brown
eyes, dirty blond hair and faint worry lines on her forehead.
She was too skinny to be pretty, a look accentuated by the baggy jeans and the black polo shirt.
She could have been anything between twenty and thirty, but Roger knew that she was twenty-seven and that her birthday was December 16th, that her favorite color was green, her favorite flowers were forget-me-nots and that she loved kiwis and David Bowie.
"Roger..." she said, her contralto voice still containing the faintest hint of a British accent, "... it's been a long time."
"Yeah," Roger replied, still utterly dumbstruck. It took Mimi poking him in the ribs for him to remember his manners. "Uh, Mimi...," he introduced, "that's Emma... Lynley. Emma, Mimi Marquez, my girlfriend."
Mimi's chocolate eyes darted back and forth between Roger and Emma. She sensed a history there, but chose to save her questions for later. For the moment, she contended herself with smiling pleasantly and gripping Roger's arm just a little tighter.
Emma was looking at Roger as if she had just woken up from a long sleep. Her eyes lingered on his shaggy brown hair, which had been short and bleached blond last time she had seen him, on his impossibly green eyes with the thick fringe of black lashes, almost too pretty for a guy, his thin frame in the jeans and the blue shirt. And his voice... God, his voice...
"How have you been?"
It took a moment for Emma to actually understand what he had said, since she had been so deep in thought. "I'm fine. Great, actually," she replied, pasting a smile onto her lips. It looked strained, as if she had forgotten how to smile. Mimi watched her and suspected that there was a story much deeper than the casual small talk the two engaged in let on. Emma looked as if she hadn't had a decent night's sleep in the past couple of years. She started fiddling with her car keys while she spoke.
"I took over my aunt's shop. Remember Aunt Linda? Anyway, she's back in London and left me the store. I'm doing fine. How about you?"
"Oh, uh..." Roger frowned a little. How should he explain to his ex-girlfriend from high school he had dumped the night before prom because she hadn't been supportive enough of his rock star dreams that he was dirt broke, a recovered junkie and HIV positive? Not at all, probably. "I'm doing fine. Yeah..."
Mimi was starting to feel uncomfortable. Sensing plenty of unresolved issues between the two of them, she asked pleasantly, "Maybe we could all get together some time? I'm sure the two of you have lots of catching up to do?"
If looks could kill, Mimi would have dropped dead the minute Roger turned his gaze on her. He was hurriedly thinking of a way to get out of the trap dear sweet Mimi had just set him, but was spared the trouble by Emma, who looked less than thrilled herself.
"Actually, I'm always quite busy. There's the store, the flat, and, uh, I have..."
A boy came barreling towards them and skidded to a halt just a fraction of a second before crashing right into Roger's side. He was about ten years old, had Emma's hair and an easy smile. With a triumphant gesture he announced, "I found them," and thrust a packet of marshmallows into Emma's hands.
Roger's jaw dropped yet again. "You have a kid?"
Emma squirmed as if she had been put in scalding oil. "Yes. This is Andrew, my son. Andy, say hello to Roger and Mimi."
The little one stuck out his hand politely and grinned at them. Roger and Mimi shook hands with the miniature of what would one day surely turn out to be a heartthrob. Especially his eyes were breathtaking: impossibly green with a thick fringe of black lashes, almost too pretty for a boy.
Roger couldn't help himself; he asked, "How old are you, Andrew?"
And as soon as the boy had answered "Ten," his mother had grabbed his hand, murmured an apology and all but ran out the store, forgetting about the pack of marshmallows she had not yet paid. Thankfully, the store's employees didn't notice anything.
Mimi was fed up with the secrecy, crossed her arms in front of her chest and asked firmly, "Who was that, baby?"
"That," answered her boyfriend flatly, "was my high school girlfriend Emma. And I think that was my son!"