Roger sat on the fire escape, trying to figure out how to make all of the right moves on this neighbor of his, Mikayla. He bit his lip and played out every scenario he could imagine. She would confess her love to him and sleep with him? No, that would require her to have seen him more than twice. She'd let him sing her one of his songs and then sleep with her? She didn't understand English, nor did anyone in all of New York say, "Aren't you Roger Davis from the Well-Hungarians?" She would come upstairs and jump him and sleep with him? He shook his head; he needed to pull it out of the gutter.
He went inside and was about to open the refrigerator before remembering that the power was out. Bingo! He knew how to make her talk to him. He grabbed a nearby candlestick and nearly tripped as he ran down the stairs. Without any power in the building, she would surely become sympathetic and let him inside, warm him up under the covers...
He knocked on the door.
"¿Qué has olvidado?" a familiar voice asked from the opposite side. (What'd you forget?)
Moments later, it opened to reveal Mikayla, whose hair was half tied back in a sloppy bun. She had her face covered in makeup. She was wearing a robe, but from what wasn't covered, Roger could see that she was wearing nothing but underwear underneath of the robe. He smiled at the thought.
"Got a light?" he asked.
"Yo te conozco," Mikayla replied. "¿Usted vive aquí?" (I know you. You live here?)
Roger pretended to understand what she had said. "They turned off the electricity, and I'm tripping over my own feet. Would you light my candle?" He held it out in front of her, but her eyes were transfixed on Roger, who was wearing an open button-down shirt. "What are you staring at?" he asked.
Mikayla blinked. "Nada. Tu piel bajo el sol. Me resulta familiar..." She craned her neck to look past the guitarist. "¿Lo hace?" (Nothing. Your skin in the sunlight. You look familiar... Will he make it?)
"I haven't been around here before," Roger continued. "I'm new to the city life anyway." He heard Mikayla mumble to herself. "What?"
She shook her head. "Me recuerdas a..." (You remind me of...)
"I always remind people of someone kind of... famous." Roger ran his fingers through his cropped bleached hair. "Do you know?"
"Tengo que estar listo," Mikayla groaned. (I have to get ready.) She marched back inside. Roger ran ahead of her and held out his hands and the candle.
"Would you light my candle?" he asked again.
"... Candle?" Mikayla repeated.
"Yes!" Roger made the motion of lighting a match. Mikayla nodded and realized what he meant. She ran to the kitchen and returned with a book of matches. She light the candle in Roger's hand and looked up into his eyes. They were both in stunned silence as they took in the sight of each other.
"Tengo que estar listo," Mikayla said again.
She started scurrying around her apartment. Roger followed her and used the candle to help her see things in dark areas. She smiled when he did and bit her lip. She wished that she would know what to say to him, but no matter what came out of her mouth, he wouldn't be able to respond. She then noticed that when she reached for something in the sink cabinet that he was staring at her ass.
"Dicen que tengo el mejor culo por debajo de la calle Catorce," she said with a slight seductive tone. "¿Es cierto?" (They say I have the best ass below Fourteenth Street. Is it true?)
"What?" Roger asked. Mikayla stood upright again and smirked.
"Estás mirando," she accused. (You're staring.) She winked and Roger blushed.
"Oh, no," he said, shaking his head. "Well, if it helps, I think you have a, uh... No, stop it Roger!" he scolded himself.
Mikayla's ears pricked up at that. "Me resulta familiar." (You look familiar.)
"You don't remember me from the bar?" he asked, pretending to be hurt. Mikayla frowned. Roger made a motion to make it look like he was making a drink. The Latina gasped as she remembered.
"¡Sí!" she cried. "¡Usted era un barman!" (Yes! You were a bartender!)
Roger understood enough to know what she had said. "It's a living."
"No te había reconocido a la luz normal," Mikayla said. (I didn't recognize you in normal light.)
"I guess I am just a normal guy," Roger said. Mikayla stepped closer, with impure intentions flowing through her mind. They halted when her eyes noticed the wall clock. It was just after five.
"¡Maldita sea!" (Damn it!) She started running around in circles, grabbing random items that made no sense.
"Is everything alright?" Roger asked. Instead of getting an answer, he was shoved out the door. It was slammed in his face, and as it did, it caused the candle in his hand to go out.
Joanne parked in front of a random bar. After the hell she'd been going through on her latest case, she was considering changing her name and moving to Canada. She wasn't a person who always had strong biased opinions on certain subjects (especially after dealing with the unwed mothers from Harlem). However, she wasn't too supportive of gay marriage. If they were together, it's okay. But if it's that troublesome and dangerous to be with the same-sex, why bother? The way she saw it, it was almost a waste of time. However, it was her job to support her clients, and there hasn't been a case that she hasn't won yet, therefore, she was obligated to. She shook her head as she went inside of the bar. She then realized the importance this particular bar; it was where she had first met Tom Collins. She plopped down at the counter and put her head down on it.
"You look like you could use a strong one," said a voice. Joanne picked up her head to look into a pair of emerald eyes. Messy blonde hair and a slightly darker goatee accompanied it. Joanne picked up her head and smiled weakly.
"That's a huge understatement," she said. "What's something you can make off of the top of your head?"
"Well, I don't think using my head will work, but maybe my hands can do a better job," the bartender teased. Joanne struggled not to snort as she giggled at the joke. She grinned and stared at the man (whose name tag read, "ROGER") and he stared back, only looking away to make sure he didn't spill any alcohol on the table.
"It's not going to make me have a hangover in the morning, right?" she asked, half-serious. "I have a huge case to settle."
"A lawyer, huh?" Roger asked. He handed over the drink. Joanne's smile was wiped off of her face when she saw it.
"A Tom Collins," she said monotonously.
"What's wrong with that?" Roger looked confused. "I figured that a woman like you wouldn't mind a Tom Collins."
"No, I actually like the drink," Joanne explained. "It's just... a few nights ago, I was charmed by a glorious man who happened to share the same name as this drink. In fact, he used this to introduce himself to me after one of his students tried to have sex with him. Ironically, I was the person who ended up sleeping with him that night." She smacked her forehead with the palm of her hand. "I don't know how I missed the signs..."
"Signs?" Roger asked.
"He's gay," Joanne said. She took three large gulps of her drink- she needed it in her system if she was going to finish telling her tale- before continuing, "I guess he just wasn't totally sure of himself, or drunk, or I don't know what. But he said he was going to call me and never did. He said that he got jumped. Next thing I know, he has these crazy crackpot theories about some sort of alternate universe where he's gay and I'm a lesbian!"
"Really?" Roger leaned forward. He seemed very interested in the situation.
"Even worse, he said that the person he is in love with is his student," she babbled. "He said that here, he's Angelo, but in this 'alternate universe'-" she added air quotes for effect- "his name is Angel. And that I'm supposed to be with some- and I quote- 'eccentric, loud-mouthed, insane girl' whose name is Maureen."
"Maureen, huh?" Roger pulled out two shot glasses and filled them with an amber-colored liquor. "I live with a Maureen," he said.
"Oh, gosh, I-I didn't know," Joanne said. Her speech had began to slur slightly as she became more intoxicated. "I'm sorry if I offended you."
"Don't worry, I'm not." Roger flashed another smile and held out a glass to Joanne. He clinked them together and said, "To fucked up lives."
Joanne downed the shot. She really liked this Roger guy. She knew what happened last time, but this time, something was different. He was completely interested in her fucked up life, as he had toasted to. He wasn't bad-looking at all.
"You know what?" she asked randomly. "You look like you should be some pretty boy frontman or something."
"That's a funny story," Roger laughed, "because I was a pretty boy frontman or something. They kicked me out and I moved here. We were the Well-Hungarians." A devious grin formed on his face. "Maybe you should come to my place tomorrow and I can play you some of the songs."
Joanne tried to contain her excitement. "Really?"
"Sure." He pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket and wrote down his address. "Just come by at seven tomorrow. I'm off work and my roommates will be gone. And don't worry about the tab; it's on me." He winked and moved down the bar.
Joanne held the paper in her hands and smiled. Eleventh Street and Avenue B. The address was now burned into her memory. She would definitely remember this forever.
Mark was in complete shock. Here he was, standing in front of a priest in a church (his mother was going to have a cow when- no, if she discovered this!). In front of his was Maureen, biting her dark red lips and staring at her shoes. She looked absolutely stunning, wearing a simple white dress that showed only some cleavage- much less than the bride wanted, but enough that she was satisfied in the end- and ended right above her knees. Mark wore a rented tuxedo, only because Maureen wouldn't see it any other way. Behind him stood Angelo, clutching onto the ring he had bought for Maureen. Behind Maureen was Mikayla, who was holding on to two bouquets of carnations and Mark's ring. Of course, Mark hadn't been paying attention to much of what he was supposed to. The priest just read from his little Bible. The four of them were almost asleep standing up.
"Now, the bride and groom have prepared their own vows," the priest said. He turned to Maureen. She smiled and took out a piece of paper from between her breasts. Angelo snorted. Mark just smiled modestly as Maureen unfolded it and cleared her throat dramatically.
"Marky, we've known each other for as long as I can remember," she read. "When we met, I remember because it was the first day of kindergarten. I ended up pushing you down the big slide, and when I reached the bottom, it just so happened that you cushioned my landing."
Angelo tried not to laugh at this. Mikayla, who didn't understand most of the words being used, just smiled.
"When we were in junior high, you invited me to your Bar Mitzvah, where you were officially a man in your religion. I mean, you didn't hit puberty until junior year! Anyway, it was one of the most magical moments in my life, watching this event take place that I would never be able to do..." Maureen cried not to cry at this point. Now she wasn't being histrionic; she was being emotional and serious. "And then you told me that you were HIV positive, and all I could think was about how I wouldn't be able to live my life without you. And now that we know how much time you have left, I'm glad that you chose me out of all of the girls in the world to live the rest of your life with. You could honestly have anyone. I feel like I don't deserve you sometimes because of how amazing you are. You... you complete me." She turned and grabbed the ring from Mikayla. She slid it onto Mark's left ring finger. "Now for the next two years, I'm going to show you off to everyone, Pookie."
Maureen carefully wiped away tears without smudging any of her makeup. Mark reached for his inside jacket pocket for his vows... which wasn't there. He checked every other pocket and realized that he left his vows at home. Maureen looked worried.
"Mark?" the priest asked.
So he decided to improvise them as honestly as he could.
"I forgot my vows," he admitted. "However, I don't need a piece of paper, because all I need is my heart to say anything about you. The fact that I'm in my twenties right now, standing here with you, at our own wedding, is magical. I used to think that you were with me out of pity. You know, since I'm the poor little Jewish boy from Scarsdale that's dying. But then I see that look in your eyes when we're alone, and I know that you really do care about me. You say that you don't deserve me, but I feel like I don't deserve you at all. You go through hell to make sure that AZT. I mean, you're the one who spent years cussing out these two whenever it went off during the middle of the night."
Mark took the ring from Angelo, who he could tell was becoming weepy from their speeches. He slid the ring on Maureen's finger and held her hand in his.
"I used to sit in my room and think to myself, 'Will I lose my dignity? Will someone care? Will I wake tomorrow from this nightmare?' But now, I don't, because I have someone who cares about me, who gives me the dignity I need, and who reminds me that life isn't entirely a nightmare. And that someone it you."
"I now pronounce you husband and wife..."
The priest didn't finish speaking when he noticed that Maureen had jumped into Mark's arms and began kissing him hungrily. Her arms and legs wrapped around his body and Angelo and Mikayla had to help the newlyweds from falling over. The two just shrugged at the priest; they couldn't stop them from making out either.
Now they were Mark and Maureen Cohen.