Author's Note- This is a plot that may be very hard for some to read. There is rape involved, but nothing explicit is described. I understand that there will be some who are strongly opposed to this story because of how some of the characters act, but please no flames. It's Mark/Maureen now, but brief Roger/Maureen then.
Disclaimer- Jonathon Larson, thank you for RENT.
"I'm sure he'll love you," Mark said, though he was beginning to look doubtful.
"Who doesn't?" Maureen laughed, though her flippant answer reflected her true "Couldn't-care-less" feelings. Besides, she didn't really know what the big deal was- so what if Mark's roommate loved her-or hated her? She felt like she was being taken home to meet the parents and be judged and assessed.
But it seemed that dear little Marky really wanted the approval of his friend. Maureen glanced over at her boyfriend and smiled tenderly- the genuine smile was an unusual expression on her face.
It wasn't flirty or bitter or seductive- just a smile. A bit nervous, his head was bent slightly, his hand gripping hers as he led her upstairs to his loft. She looked around herself curiously, feeling the déjà vu that had been plaguing her since he led her into the building. She felt as if she'd been here before, but couldn't remember any of the details…
Mark's hand was beginning to get sweaty in hers. Ew. Enough of this silly handholding anyways- it was so grade school. Maureen pulled him toward her by his scarf and began kissing him passionately. He let her, and shyly responded to the contact. Maureen's boyfriends usually resisted when she took the lead, but Mark was sweet and submissive, allowing her to do as she pleased. It was a nice change.
Mark broke away at last, gasping. She tilted her head to one side, smiling openly at his pink cheeks, and still-dazed expression.
"Something wrong Pookie?"
He shook his head, and after a steadying breath, reminded," But Roger- you need to meet him, upstairs."
Maureen scowled as she followed him up the last few steps.
Who was this Roger and how could he possibly have enough power over her boyfriend to distract him from her?
Mark took her to the landing and opened the door. She glanced around the poorly furnished space, her gaze landing on a faded, wrinkled poster of a band, tacked to the wall. It looked uncomfortably familiar. She frowned suddenly, being nagged by a vague memory, but then her mind returned to Mark.
"It's not much-" he began apologetically, but Maureen wouldn't be deterred. She tried again and cut him off with another kiss, resolved to make him forget all else but her, wanting him to respond and need her and forget about his dumb friend because she was Maureen, she was his girlfriend and all that mattered-
"Mark, if you're going to be screwing around with your girlfriend, go to your room."
Maureen turned to look at him, her eyes narrow, then wide with recognition, and she stumbled slightly, but quickly caught herself on Marks arm. She stared at the man's face as Mark glared at him.
Gray green eyes, ringed with smudged eyeliner, already hazy with alcohol and probably some other drugs, were staring back into hers. She was new to New York City back then, seventeen and a runaway. Maureen and her best friend had planned to escape their boring lives and confining town together, but she was the only one who followed through. She was wild and free spirit, who had been trapped with old morals and classic rules for far too long. Excited and thrilled by the freedom of New York City, Maureen wandered into a near bar and found a band playing. She automatically smiled at some guy she briefly made eye contact with (a mechanical act of courtesy drilled into her by her mother). Her kindness was rewarded with an open backstage door, and now she was talking to him- the singer and guitarist of the band.
Sweet, he called her. Intense, and pretty.
A drink or two (or three?) later, (And after a smoke of something strange and choking but in a soothing way that helped put her more at ease) he asked her.
Come back to my place?
Sure she would- why not? She's free now, a city girl in the making.
Maureen wasn't naïve- she knew how the evening would go, but she somehow expected something… more.
Her face was blank as she clung to Mark's arm, still swaying.
"Is she drunk or something?"
"No." Mark looked at her uncertainly, but she was lost, staring dumbly at his roommate.
The stairs- vaguely familiar, like this loft's layout, and the poster of the band- his band- and the face- his face- Roger's face. It didn't click together- her own recollection of that night was a bit too hazy for the pieces to snap together so easily. But through the murkiness, things were making sense.
"Is she drunk?" Roger asked again.
"No, I'm Maureen," She snapped without thinking. She distractedly ran her fingers through her hair, and Mark laughed feebly at her bad joke.
"Maureen?" He asked, nervously smiling. She turned to him with wide eyes, then looked down and blinked,
"Sorry Pookie- don't you ever-?" She shook her head. "Whatever. My period's due tomorrow and dizziness is a PMS thing." She lied, knowing that he wouldn't press the issue. Maureen ignored Roger and smiled suddenly at Mark, leaning in.
"But where did we leave off?"
Mark blinked at her suddenly seductive tone. He stuttered, "Um, Rog- Roger, my roommate."
Fake smile firmly in place, she turned to Roger.
"Right! Oh, hey. Heard so much about you."
"Same," he offered, looking her over briefly before turning back to his guitar.
Maureen thrilled to the touch of his hands on her body, bold and unapologetic, unlike those silent shy boys her mother had insisted she date back home. She let him lead her up the stairs, though it took longer with them stopping halfway up each flight, kissing deeply.
It had been easy for her to give in to his insistent hands, and Maureen allowed herself to be pulled onto the bed. She tangled her fingers in his hair, and he was still kissing her, then his mouth was on her neck, and Maureen raised her arms and her shirt was on the floor, followed by her bra, and his fingers- rough calloused guitarist fingers- were scratching at her hips, undoing the button of her jeans.
She silently rejoiced in her new found sexual power. She was actually doing it- she was sleeping with a guy she just met, and he was hot and he wanted her, she was her own person and could do whatever she wanted with anyone she wanted, and what would her mother think, what would her father say- ha!
Maureen had a fleeting concern and wondered about protection, but then he was there, already pulling down her pants and now he was undressing but now she didn't really like these kisses, sloppy and wet and gross. He was moving so fast- he obviously knew what he was doing- and then there were those hands- those rough scratchy dirty hands- touching her, pulling her towards him.
"Wait," she said, but he paused to look at her with those eyes, those hazy green eyes that weren't even focused and weren't really seeing her.
Suddenly disenchanted, Maureen pulled away, but he moved with her, on top of her, disregarding her pushing hands.
"Wait- hang on a second- stop!"
It was like he didn't hear her, and her struggles were useless, and she was helpless, helpless hurting, being driven out of her mind by those damned green eyes that were blank and empty-
"Nice to meet you Roger," she said, suddenly desperate for him to look more closely at her. Maureen fixed her eyes on his face as he glanced up at her again, and she held his gaze.
"Yeah, you too," Roger said, looking back down at his guitar, sliding his fingers along the frets.
Maureen stepped forward, towards him on the couch, pulling her hand away from Mark's.
"So, uh, that's a cool guitar." She knew she sounded stupid, but she just had to get him to look at her to see if he'd recognize her.
He shot a glance towards Mark, as if asking him to make his girlfriend butt out (and Maureen could almost picture Mark's helpless shrug and wide eyes), but she was silently screaming for him to look directly at her, and place her face.
"Thanks," he said, starting to sound annoyed. "It's a-"
"A Fender, yeah." She snapped back, realizing that he wasn't going to identify her. He looked to her, startled by her tone. Roger suddenly frowned with his eyes on her face. He hesitated, and she knew what he was going to ask before he spoke.
"Have we met before?"
Maureen gaped at him, then recovered. Finally! It took him long enough.
"You mean, before now? Um," she pretended to think a moment, stung with anger that he could forget their encounter so easily, but at the same time, slightly surprised that he recognized her at all from his drugged memory.
"Aren't you in a band? I think I saw you once."
"Yeah, I was…I mean, I used to be…"
His face clouded over, and he was gone, too lost in his own memories to question her further.
Then there was the morning after.
Maureen awoke, disorientated, alone in a bed that wasn't hers, in a room she didn't recognize. She yawned, then- puzzled by an itch on her face- brought a hand up to feel the scratchy residue left from dried tear tracks. Still wondering about her surroundings, she sat up, then immediately cringed at the pain she felt in several sore places, namely between her legs. She glanced down.
"What the hell?"
Her arm instinctively moved to cover her exposed chest, and she blushed, startled by her own nudity. What happened last night? She remembered…she remembered being on the train alone, irritated with her friend who stayed behind, then switching to a bus, then arriving in New York…a bar, a band, then him, with his good looks and dimmed drugged eyes, and then, and then…
Her eyes widened.
"Oh my God."
Maureen got out of the bed, staring with slight disbelief at the rumpled bed sheets, and looked to her naked legs as if for answers. She found her jeans in a heap by the door, and the rest of her clothing strewn around the room. She dressed silently, alone in the chaotic bedroom.
Shocked and numb- raped, she'd been raped- she sat on the bed for a few minutes- just another stupid girl with idealistic hopes- blinking back bewildered tears- who wandered to New York City and got raped.
But, where was he?
The room was cluttered with clothing thrown about with some food wrappers, a few ashtrays laying around- one dumped over, leaving a gray spot on the floor. There were posters of bands, and some recorded tapes and- she stepped carefully over the syringe. She looked around for her shoes but wouldn't find them in the mess. Still in a stunned daze, she opened the door.
Maureen tiptoed, walking through the living space. Fearfully scanning the room for any sign of him, she stubbed her toe on a black guitar case. A whimper of pain instantly sprang from her lips, and she bent over, clutching her toe. She spun suddenly at the sound of movement behind her. There he was, on the couch, with a pillow over his face.
He let out a long sigh, his mouth stretching to where she could see it, though his eyes and most of his nose was obscured by the ratty cushion.
"Mark?" he groaned. "Would you get me my fucking coffee?"
Maureen let out a small startled cry at the sound of his voice, and he lifted the pillow off of his face, frowning with confusion. He blinked at her a moment, and Maureen instinctively took a step back, away from him.
"Oh." He frowned at her a moment. "Hey."
"Hey." She responded, her voice raspy from last night's tears and sobs that had torn their way out of her throat before she fell into an exhausted sleep. What the hell was she doing? Talking calmly to him, when he had touched her, hurt her.
"Uh…what're you still doing here?"
She stared at him, uncertain and strangely numb.
"It's just…I didn't expect you to hang around."
She took another step back as he sat up on the couch. She was still staring at him with a wide unflinching gaze.
"About last night…I don't know what your problem was. I mean, you didn't have to get like that."
Maureen felt as if he'd just slapped her. He looked at her, indifferent to the insane pain she was feeling.
She felt the beginnings of hysteria rise in her chest, and she suddenly she made a run for the door. She flung it open, rushing down the stairs, still barefoot, slipping and missing a step, but recovering and continuing to scamper down until she was outside of that damned building. She kept running, down the street, until she had put blocks of distance between herself and him and that blank unapologetic stare. She stumbled to a stop, ignoring the few curious looks that she attracted as she stopped on a bench. She curled her knees up to her chest and began crying. It started off as a sniffly whimper, then the tears fell in harsh shuddering sobs that tore from her chest and left her gasping and hiccupping. She rocked herself back and forth as it sank in.
"Maureen?" Mark was looked at her intently, still standing in the doorway, and she went to him. Roger sank down onto the couch, and Mark led her into another room- his bedroom- and they sat on the bed. Though her head was still spinning slightly from the shock of seeing Roger after all this time, she could tell that Mark was agitated.
"What is it?"
"Nothing, it's just…" Mark looked away, then back to her. He lowered his voice. "Roger doesn't like talking about his past. He's had it tough life these past few years, and, well…"
"Yeah?" She looked at him skeptically, knowing that what he said wouldn't make a difference to her. Roger's had it tough? Yeah right. Mark didn't know half of it.
"Maybe it would be best if you didn't bring up his band again. After his girlfriend…died, he lost his inspiration and his group broke up. He just recently took up his guitar again, and I don't want him to lose his motivation by thinking of depressing things that happened in the past."
His girlfriend's dead? That was unexpected, but Maureen wasn't giving in so easily.
"Oh. Too bad. What happened to the girlfriend?"
Mark appeared as if he didn't want to say too much, but whispered.
"She killed herself."
Maureen blinked, but was still unmoved. She felt slightly guilty, like she should feel bad, but her own anger was still seething under a thin veil of polite indifference. Mark cast a wary eyes to the closed door, then told her, still whispering, "She had AIDS. So does he."
Maureen suddenly had to get out of there. All this information about the man she fiercely hated was pressing in on her- but how could she hate someone who was so sick- though that didn't excuse him- but he was drunk anyways- and his girlfriend was dead- and he was hurting too now, so maybe she was finally even, but shouldn't she let go after all these months, but she couldn't because he had hurt her, and-
She stood up, leaving Mark on the edge of his bed. He looked up at her frantically, as if he had done something wrong.
"I have to go."
"I'm sorry, that was all really unnecessary for me too press on you- too much information, I just wanted you to know, but I hope you don't-"
She smiled fondly at his stammers but was firm in her choice.
"Pookie, it's not that, it's just, I forgot about something I already have an appointment for. I'll see you later."
She kissed him swiftly, then walked as quickly as she could out of there.
Finally, she sighed and wiped her eyes, feeling exhausted by all that had happened, and by the flood of tears that had rushed out and left her drained. Maureen stared vacantly ahead, then peered around her, taking in her surroundings. She was in New York. Then she looked down at her feet and nearly laughed out loud.
There were her toes, uncovered and wiggling back up at her. Maureen shook her head as she realized that she had left her shoes back at the apartment. She started to giggle. What would he do with her shoes? Wear them? No! And Mark- whoever he was- probably wouldn't fit them either, because Maureen had always had such small feet and those shoes were even a little tight on her but she wore them anyways because her mother had bought them for her on her last birthday, even though that was pathetic, because honestly, what kind of runaway brings impractical shoes on her adventures just for sentimental values, but what did that matter, because now those shoes were now left at the apartment- his apartment- her one night stand, attacker, rapist's apartment.
She buried her head. Maureen was shaken out of her building panic by that word- rapist. Maureen had never dreamed that that word would ever be connected to her in any way.
But she was raped, had been raped, hurt violated attacked.
Lured, she added in her head. Lured by a beautiful but wicked and cruel and pitiless and terrible boy. It was her own stupid fault. And then what did she do the morning after? Oh, just chatted with him.
Her rapist. Her rapist/attacker/violator-
She stopped herself and began sorting things out in her mind.
Whatever. It didn't matter. She'd get herself checked at a clinic- this was a big city, New York City, and she wasn't the first person to ever have been hurt this way- and after making sure that everything was fine, she'd get an apartment, get some food, find some shoes, find a job, start auditioning, have her breakthrough- she'd move on. It would be over with.
Besides, she had learned something. From now on, she would take anyone she wanted to her bed. She didn't care if she didn't know him or he seemed a jerk, or if he was older or younger or sleazy or gross- she would take them. She'd be aggressive and bitchy and flirt and tease and be unfaithful and make them want her so bad they'd go crazy. And once they loved her, she'd break all of their hearts. Because no matter what, Maureen would never let any man hurt her- like this or in any other way- again.
Author's note- About the timeline, and when this story happened-
During the flashback, Roger hasn't yet met April, but he and Mark are already living together. Roger is obviously already into drugs.
Nearly a year later, Maureen lets her current fling (Mark) drag her home and puts the pieces together. April has come and gone, and Roger is now recovering from withdrawal.
All of this takes place before the musical (Maureen doesn't know Joanne yet).
Another note- Also, I initially disliked Maureen. Though I admired her vibrant energy, I thought she was shallow and unfaithful and was not all that nice to Mark. She seemed to be somewhat bitchy and overly attention seeking. However, I started to think- what might have made her that way? Maybe there was a reason, maybe she wasn't always like that.
So, this story is edgy for me, and I'm not sure how it will be received. Reviews are MUCH appreciated.