Author's Note: This story has, in fact, been up before, but in going back and reading over a bunch of my old writing, I decided that I really didn't like it. I was stuck in a rut, and I had no idea how I was going to get to where I wanted to be. And so I decided that a complete revamp was necessary. I still wanted an OC fic up, but my original Nia and her many problems were giving me a lot of grief. I know this chapter's kind of short, but I promise that it will improve (and be far less melodramatic that the original). Please review, and you all know that RENT is the work of the late, great Jonathan Larson. Ooh, and anyone who finds the Fiddler on the Roof reference gets a cookie!
"We're here!" Maureen sing-songed, hugging and cheek-kissing each of her friends with appropriately dramatic flair before dropping heavily into a chair. "Where's Markie?"
"Filming." Roger arched his eyebrows, silently asking where, exactly, Maureen had been for the past year if she didn't expect this.
She pouted. "But we're celebrating! He needs to be here!"
Joanne exchanged amused glances with Mimi, who inquired, with genuine curiosity, "What are we celebrating?"
"Life," the diva intoned, "and he's missing it!" She stared intensely around the table until everyone had absorbed the absolute awfulness of the situation.
"Sweetie, Mark is always filming. It's nothing new," Angel reminded her.
"I know." She sighed loudly. "But he doesn't usually ditch us to—oh my God!"
Joanne looked half-concerned, fully aware that the last time Maureen had freaked out like this was because she had finished the Pepsi. "What happened?"
"We can find Markie a girlfriend!" She seemed legitimately pleased with herself for thinking of this. In fact, her face fell only slightly when Roger snorted loudly. "Shut up, Roger."
"Maybe Mark doesn't want a girlfriend," Joanne pointed out logically.
Waving her off, Maureen insisted, "I'm sure he does." At this, Collins and Angel exchanged a Significant Look, and Mimi muffled her giggles in her hand. After all, he did indeed…just not anyone new.
"Who, then?" Collins wanted to know.
"We'll find someone." She was extremely decisive. "Anybody got any ideas?"
A small light bulb had gone off above Mimi's head with Maureen's idea, and now she offered, "Maybe if I can get in touch with my friend Nia…"
"Really? Oh, my God, call her!" Maureen screeched, lighting up enthusiastically.
"I will. Tonight."
Measure in love
Juanita jumped as her phone rang only inches from her hand, drawing a jagged line across her sketch of her boyfriend and cursing in a strange hybrid of English and Spanish. Her brother, sitting nearby with a thick stack of comic books that he appeared dead set on reading his way through before the end of the night, looked up and laughed hysterically. Barely noticing this, she shot him a drop-dead glare and picked up the phone. "Hello?"
"Hola chica. ¿Qué tal?"
"Mimi!" she exclaimed, delighted. "Querida, I miss you like crazy! How is everything?" The two had been best friends until they had separated, and though New York and New Jersey were very close, neither had much time for a visit.
Her friend sighed dreamily into the phone. "Everything's amazing. But it would be even better if you could come for a visit."
"Oh, my God, I would love to!" Nia beamed. "I've been dying to meet everyone...especially Roger." She finished teasingly, getting to her feet and strolling from the room when it became aparent that Enrique was fake-reading whatever crap comic he was into at the moment in favor of eavesdropping on her conversation.
"Perfect! As soon as you can would be amazing. We need to catch up. And...oh."
"Where's the catch?" Nia demanded, sensing a but.
"There's no catch," Mimi exclaimed, feigning offense and blanching as an exhausted Mark trudged through the door. Knew I should've done this at my place. "Es solo un idea."
"Un de nuestros amigos es muy solitario y estamos un poco preocupados que es deprimido o algo."
"Have you tried talking to him?" she suggested, pointedly continuing her side of the conversation in English so that her parents couldn't understand her.
"Sí, para...no sé. Quizás tú puedes ayudarse..."
"Meems, I don't know how I'm supposed to help your friend if I don't even know him. And I'm not single, either...if that's what you're going for."
"No, no, para quizás cuando hablas con él, estará más feliz. Even if you don't want to," she added lowly, for he had begun to talk to Roger and could no longer overhear, "just come. I do miss you. And you don't have to do it...you don't even really have to do anything. We just figured that if he had someone new to talk to it would help." This was a lie, as Maureen had suggested finding Mark a girlfriend. Although it did make things awkward that Nia had a boyfriend, Mimi found herself suddenly yearning to see her friend, regardless of why. And if she had to tell a few white lies...Maureen would never know the difference. Right?
Of course right.
"I miss you too," Nia admitted with a loud, melodramatic sigh. "I'll come."
And that was how, roughly a week later, Juanita Estevez found herself standing uncertainly in front of a slightly run-down apartment building, in the wake of a very...exhaust-fume-y...taxi and surrounded by bags. She had called her cousin's home phone, but gotten her answering machine. As she hadn't told Mimi the exact date of her planned arrival, she supposed she deserved this. (Although in her defense, Mimi knew it would be soon...) An attempt at Mimi's cell yielded only a trip to voice mail. "Damn," she muttered, flipping her cell shut with a satisfying click. "Should've gotten someone else's number." She'd meant to do it, too, just so that something like this wouldn't happen, but she'd forgotten. Sighing, she dragged her bags closer to the complex and settled in for a nice, long wait.
Hola chica. ¿Qué tal? Hey girl. What's up?
Es solo un idea. It's only an idea.
Un de nuestros amigos es muy solitario y estamos un poco preocupados que es deprimido o algo. One of our friends is very lonely and we're a little worried that he's depressed or something.
Sí, para...no sé. Quizás tú puedes ayudarse. Yes, but...I don't know. Maybe you can help him.
No, no, para quizás cuando hablas con él, estará más feliz. No, no, but maybe when you talk to him, he'll be happier.