Pairings: Mark/Maureen friendship, Maureen/Joanne

Author's Note: This is a little snippet I found on my USB drive. It was my attempt at a short Maureen character study and Maureen/Mark friendship (which I love writing about). Not happy with the title, but wanted to share to get my writing mojo going again.


It was no secret that Maureen loved window shopping. That she loved shopping in general, actually. But her wallet, more often than not, made purchasing an improbability. So if she were dating someone with a few extra dollars in their pocket she wasn't above coaxing them into spending it on her. After all money was for spending, wasn't it? And Maureen was damn good at spending money.

Mark had been different. Mark, despite his background (the same as hers, really, if she were being honest), had almost nothing to his name and had gotten her creative and simple gifts like flowers and carefully edited films. He wrapped presents in old newspapers and his eyes always worried that she'd hate whatever was inside. Mark was insecure.

It was a feeling that, despite appearances, she could relate to. Because deep down she knew she didn't have a damn clue who the hell she was.

Joanne had money. She wasn't a millionaire, but she was comfortable. She had a decent job with growth potential and an apartment with such luxuries as heat and hot water. But being financially stable didn't mean Joanne liked it when Maureen took the credit card down Fifth Avenue. No, Joanne was a practical spender. Joanne was sensible. But Joanne also liked restaurants with good wine lists and once splurged on a bottle Maureen could never had indulged in on her budget. Joanne had gotten pretty drunk that night and Maureen loved drunk Joanne.

In fact, Maureen just plain loved Joanne.

But despite that, Maureen found herself standing in the snow on Fifth Avenue staring at a half-decorated Christmas window display of brown slippers thinking about Mark.

Joanne's gifts were always neatly wrapped, with bows and ribbons. Maureen couldn't wrap a box if her life depended on it. Her gifts were thrown into eccentric gift bags, the loud colors and patterns conveying her personality without using any scissors or tape.

After all it was what was inside that counted, right?

Still, she remembered the crumbled newspapers on the floor of the loft Christmas morning more than she remembered the actual gifts Mark had ever given her. He always used the Sunday paper, the arts section.

He'd been as good to her as he knew now and it hadn't been enough for her.

She sighed, turning his gaze from the window and entering the store.

"All your socks have holes in the toes," she pointed out.

"And whose fault is that?" Mark countered. "You always wore my socks. I never understood why."

"They were warmer," Maureen tossed off. They were. They were white and thick and perfect for the freezing cold loft. Maureen would lounge in them for hours, wearing them out long before Mark would have with her longer toenails.

"Right," Mark said and lifted the gift up. "Thanks, Maureen. This is…" He pursed his lips and she knew he was searching for the right word. She'd caught him off-guard. She always caught him off-guard.

"Nice," he finished.

He gave her a smile and for a moment she wondered why she'd broken up with him.

"Happy Hanukah," she said back. She knew why. He wasn't right for her; she wasn't right for him. Not in that way. Perhaps why was simpler than she'd thought, but in the end, it let her know she'd chosen the right path.

Mark was the best friend she'd ever had. She wanted to make sure that never changed.

And friends deserved warm feet.