And I Do Not Take No
A/N: I got this idea from listening to the soundtrack and hearing the song "You Okay Honey" and Angel's part, "And I do not take no." I do not own Rent.
She had a problem with the word "no." She had always wanted her way, she was headstrong, tough, and a firecracker to boot. That was one of the reasons he loved her. Collins could remember the first time she had ever gotten upset over "no."
He had been beaten up – again – and she had come to his rescue, His Angel. She had said that it was Christmas Eve, and that of course she would help him. She took him, bandaged him up, and insisted on getting him some food. He objected, saying that he was fine. Angel ignored him, helping him up, and down the street.
"I do not take no," Angel had said.
The second time was when she insisted that Collins walk to the park with her after the snow had freshly fallen. He didn't want to, but went anyway. Besides, he even if he was freezing, he would be spending time with his Angel. It would be worth a chill or two.
She stopped when they reached the hill just a bit away from the jungle gym.
"Make a snow angel with me," Angel said.
"What?" Collins laughed, "I-I haven't done that since I was a kid…"
Again with the hands on the hips, "Honey, are you saying no?"
Collins sighed, defeated, and made snow angels with his Angel for the next half hour. She had him wrapped around that little blue-self-manicured finger. Not that he minded at all. He would anything for his Angel.
The third time was a few months later. The leaves had grown back from the bare branches, full and vibrant, turning brilliant oranges and yellows, and were finally falling again. Seasons come and go, just like life. Collins was sitting in Angel's hospital bed, rubbing a damp wash cloth across her head.
"Don't," Angel moved his hand away, "You don't have to be here, honey. I know it is hard for you to see me like this, and it is hard for me to see you like this. Please, no."
"Just go, honey. I will manage here."
"I am not leaving you. I would die before I left you, my Angel."
Angel laid her head against his chest, "I just don't want to make this harder for you."
"What happened to you not taking no?"
Angel attempted a smile, "I just…if you don't want to be here, I would understand. I wouldn't be upset."
"Angel," Collins said sternly, "I wouldn't ever leave you. I would die before I left you. I would lose all that I am, all that I have, before I left you."
Angel's eyes welled with tears, "God must've been crazy for thinkin' I deserve someone like you."
"He knows you by your heart," Collins kissed her forehead, "And your heart deserves far more than what I can give."
Angel snuggled into him, shaking. Collins thought for a moment it was from the crying, but he realized quickly that these shakes were growing violent and began to grow desperate.
"C-C-Collins…it's my time…you got to let…let go."
"I…I love you…so much…"
"Angel…don't leave me….I love you…I would give my all for you…don't…go…"
"I…do…not…take…no," Angel smiled, a weak, broken smile.
"I…I don't want to let go."
Tears streamed down his face as Angel's eyes shut, lashes falling gently upon her hallow cheeks. Collins held her body in his hands – the shell of her, a soul remembered – and rocked her.
He didn't leave until the doctor finally came in and told him that the hospital was closing and he needed to get home.
As he opened the door of their apartment, he put his coat on the rack – she always hated it when he tossed it on the floor – and walked over to the couch. He didn't know what to do with himself without Angel there with him. He walked around the apartment in a daze. When he entered their bedroom, he saw Angel's dresser. She had never let him look inside it before.
He strolled over towards it and opened one of the drawers. It was full of her makeup – mascara, foundation, nail polish, eyeliner, lip gloss, lip stick. Collins shut the drawer and opened another one. Inside, there were underwear and t-shirts. The next drawer contained something Collins had never seen before – a small, folded piece of stationary. He unfolded it and began to read:
Collins, if you are reading this right now, it means one of two things 1.) I have died. 2.) You are snooping through my drawers without my permission trying to find where I put that sexy little thong you always love to see me in. If that is the case, get out! If it's number one though, wow. We are all dying, every second we live, every minute that passes, brings us closer to our deaths. I hope you are alright, honey. I know that this is hard for you. I have loved you so much. Remember, when we said that you can't own love but you can rent it? That's a lie. Love is yours, forever. Love can never die. I am dead now, but I can assure you, that I still love you and I know, that you will love me forever too.
Love is something that cannot be rented and returned. It stays with us, on our hearts forever. Our love was something great, and it still is, despite death it shall live on. I do hope you are okay, my dear. I do not want to see you so upset. That is why I always tried to pretend that I was fine and I was tough and strong and could handle it all. I didn't want you to be worn down or see me as a liability or a burden. I hate being a burden to people.
Collins, remember that I am always going to be with you. You had to let go of me when I died, but I will always be in your heart. You can't get rid of me that easily, babe.
And we will see each other soon, don't worry about that. Life is short, the time will go by quickly, trust me. And we will be together again. I know you don't believe in a God, but I have always liked the idea. If it is true, and I hope it is, then I hope he loves me and sees me for what my heart is, not what my sins are. I know I am not perfect, far from it. I do not deserve the love that you have given to me. But I do hope someday we will see each other in heaven.
I wonder if there's hot pink lip gloss in heaven? I can't meet God without my hot pink lip gloss! I don't want to look bad for the Big Guy. I wonder if there's strawberry ice cream in heaven too. And drums. And zebra print. And nail polish and…and now I am rambling.
I guess I just don't really like the idea of having to write this. I do not want to think about how sad your face must be or how much your heart is breaking. Now, I am not trying to sound conceited, I know you love me, Thomas Collins. I do not deserve that love, but despite all that, there it is. Written on your face, flooding your eyes. Beautiful eyes…
Collins, just remember one thing – my love will always be with you. Do not doubt that for a second. Promise me? Do you promise? Remember, I don't take no.
Now, since I am gone, I guess I can't keep you from snooping through my drawers – just don't do it with Mark and Roger over. The last thing I need is Mark picking up that hot pink, zebra thong and saying, "What's this." Poor Mark.
Tell him I know he will find someone that doesn't know how to tango. And Roger, tell him to never give up on that song. He will find his glory. Mimi, darling, beautiful Mimi, tell her that I love her and not to doubt life. Live it for what it is, short, fleeting, escaping. And Maureen and Joanne, tell them to just hold out. In the long run, despite the heartache, it will be worth it.
I guess that's about it. I love you, Thomas Collins. Remember that, write it on your heart, in your head, and never forget it. Never forget me.