Categories > Theatre > Rent > Good Intentions0 Reviews
Roger starts lying outright.
"Maureen? Get tested. Now. I've got AIDS. ... How do you think? ... Looks like it to me. ... Whatever. Bye."
Now he's trying not to panic, throttling down the fear just like he chokes down stage fright before every big show. Nothing has to show, he has to remain cool and calm.
"Mark? Mark, you little shit, pick up the phone!"
Roger watches out of the corner of his eye as Mark stares at the machine, obviously torn. He takes a few steps towards it, then stops as Maureen's voice rings out again.
"Listen, I just thought you should know, since you're obviously not going to talk to me, that I tested negative. So I don't know what the hell you've been doing, but nice try blaming me. Joanne's not fucking talking to me anymore, because I had to tell her, and so you've just wrecked my life for nothing. I hope you're happy. Do you even have AIDS, or is this just some plot to get me back? Fuck you very much, Mark."
Alarm and confusion flicker over Mark's face, and Roger's already halfway out of his chair, getting ready to go to him, when Mark dashes for the phone.
"Maureen? Maureen?" Roger can hear the dial tone from where he is. "Fuck." Finally, Mark looks up at him, his eyes troubled. "I don't understand. If she's negative..."
So this is it. This is where he has to say something, one way or another, truth or lie. No more just neglecting to tell him and telling himself it doesn't count...
"...I don't know." He could say the lost, confused look in Mark's eyes convinced him, but he knows he's not that selfless. "We've been living together for years, and you know how careful I am about not bleeding on anything when I cut myself, shit like that... but it could have been me. Some random bit of blood, getting hurt while we were drunk and just not noticing..." The words rush out of his mouth, and he doesn't have to fake the sadness in his voice, not when Mark's looking at him like that. "Fuck, could have been Collins, but if it was me..."
He turns away, grateful that his face settles into pretty much the same lack of expression no matter now upset he is. There's no use in Mark getting suspicious now, and if he just happens to assume that the blank face that's covering his nervousness is guilt, so much the better.
Please, God, let him believe it... And if the slow, hesitant steps he hears coming towards him are any indication, he does.
Mark puts a hand on his shoulder. "Roger... Whatever it was, it's not your fault."
"How do you know that?"
"I just do." Mark's holding him by both shoulders now, turning so that those shining blue eyes are looking straight into his. For a second he's afraid, because those fucking eyes feel like they're looking right into him, like they can see everything, every little thought, every secret. He looks away, biting his lip. "Damnit, Roger, don't start with the guilt! I need you right now, okay? Don't fall apart on me."
Mark needs him. Mark needs him. The worry disappears like it was never there, because Mark needs him and if he ever wanted confirmation of the rightness of everything he'd done, that was it.
His arms slip over Mark's shoulders, pulling him close. Mark smells like coffee and cheap store-brand shampoo and Ivory soap, and under that is a fresh, green smell like the grass after it rains, with a sharper note running through it that could only be fear.
Of course he's afraid, Roger realizes. Mark's always been isolated, but now he needs to reach out, to find some sort of anchor, and there's no one else to hold on to. And if anyone knows what that feels like...
He whispers, because he doesn't trust his own voice. "I'm sorry. I'm here for you, I just... I don't want to have hurt you."
"You didn't. You wouldn't." Mark's relaxing into the hug, arms wrapping tight around him, and he's soft and warm and feels so good that Roger has to restrain himself from leaning down and kissing him.
There's time, he reminds himself. It's just the two of them now. Now and forever.
And as Mark clings to him, Roger smiles.