Um, well...inspiration always seems to strike after death, so this is what came into my head. Reviews are welcome.

Chapter 1: Of Goodbyes and Hellos

"¡Si usted ahora se va, usted nunca será agradable aquí otra vez!" Her father's voice rang through her ears.

"Fine," she yelled in English, knowing that her parents wouldn't be able to understand her. "¡Muy bien!"

His shouts continued, soon accompanied by the shouts of her mother. But as Mimi Marquez walked away from her safe life she couldn't help but thinking that at fifteen, her whole life was beginning.

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Mimi walked quickly back to her New York City apartment. It was strange in a way, that she was hurrying back to Ricky. Sometimes she wondered why the hell she put up with him, his need to be in control, his verbal abuse, his feelings that he should be entitled to sex with her and whoever else crossed his path whenever, wherever. And other times, she was too high to wonder anything.

When she wasn't high, Mimi hated herself for leaving with him. She hated to be the clichéd good girl gone bad, but the description fit her life pretty accurately. It wasn't that long ago when she'd been the model student, the daughter of two immigrants who was trying to make a life for herself in America. She was a straight A student in school, though what Mimi remembers most is all the teachers who told her with a desperate look in her eyes to not screw up. And though Mimi hates to admit it, working a dead end job, caring for a good for nothing boyfriend and having an insatiable drug habit did count as screwing things up.

"Ricky, I'm back," Mimi said, feeling like one of the people on the I Love Lucy episodes she used to watch when she was younger. Of course, now the roles were reversed, Ricky was the one with his ass glued to the couch while Mimi worked 2 jobs to keep them in their apartment and still have money for drugs.

No sound came from the couch Mimi knew Ricky's ass was indenting.

"I'm home," she repeated, giving the chair a little kick. Still no answer. Letting out a sigh, Mimi pulled the little bag of drugs from her purse. "Oh yeah, you won't talk to me now, but look what I've got," she waved the bag in front of Ricky.

Ricky grabbed the heroin; his eyes losing their glazed look for a moment. "This is it?" He turned the bag upside down, watching the powder fall. "How much is this?"

"More than you can afford," Mimi grumbled. It was clear he was already a little high off of something.

Ricky pulled apart the zipper seal and dumped the bag's contents to the floor. It was lucky she'd already taken a hit before she'd gotten home. "That was smart," she rolled her eyes. But what did she care really? She wasn't the one who, an hour later would be crawling hands and knees to try to collect enough powder to last a day.

"You know what, you Mexican bitch?" Ricky said in his most threatening voice. "I'm sick and tired of your complaining and disrespect!"

"You know what Ricky?" Mimi retorted, choosing to ignore the fact that he'd called her Mexican, despite the fact he knew she was Puerto Rican. "When you start paying these bills," she shoved one into his face. "And bringing home your own damn pay check, I'll start treating you with respect!"

"You know what, you're much prettier with your mouth closed!" He shouted at her, getting up from the couch at last. "You know, you're not that bad in the bedroom either. Maybe if you put those talents to work we wouldn't be living in this shit apartment in the first place!"

Mimi backed away from her boyfriend as if someone had just slapped her. She'd taken a lot of shit from Ricky, but she was through. "You know what Ricky? The rent is paid till the end of the week. Figure out what to do from there."

And for the second time in her life, Mimi found herself running away.

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New York City was even scarier after dark. Mimi pulled her coat tighter around herself as she walked briefly through Alphabet City, hoping that she wouldn't get mugged or end up sleeping in a park. In the distance, she heard the sound of something beating on something else. It was beautifully rhythmic and it made Mimi feel as if she didn't have to worry. Curious to what was making the sound, she followed it.

A young guy, maybe two years older than Mimi was sitting on an overturned trashcan and beating a plastic tub. He was so into the music he was making, he didn't even notice when Mimi came to stand next to him.

"You play beautifully," she murmured at last.

He was startled, but only for a moment. His sparkling brown eyes reminded Mimi so much of her mother's it was scary. "Thanks," he said, flashing a row of perfect white teeth as he spoke. Finally turning his full attention to her, he narrowed his eyes. "Are your parents around honey? You look a little lost."

Mimi gave a snort. "No, they aren't. Just how old do you think I am?"

He shrugged. "I don't know. Fourteen or fifteen at the oldest."

Another snort escaped her. "I'm seventeen," she informed him matter of factly. "But sometimes I feel older," she confessed. "Much older."

Once again he stared Mimi down intently. "I don't doubt that. I'm Angel," he stuck out a blue hand.

"Mimi," she replied.

"Mimi," Angel repeated. "I like it. Well, I'd love to get to know you, but it's late and unlike some people, I have terrible fear of being mugged."

"Of course," Mimi managed to get out. Why did she want to cry? Oh yeah, because she was about to be left alone in the middle of New York.

"Are you coming?" He asked her.

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Angel didn't live too far from where he had been drumming and within a matter of minutes, the two were in his apartment.

Though not much bigger than the one she'd shared with Ricky, Angel's apartment was like heaven to Mimi. It had a kitchen and a bedroom. Despite it's innate severity, Angel had managed to make the apartment into a home.

"Not that I'm complaining," Mimi said in awe as she looked around. "But do you often invite strangers to your apartment? I could've been a Unabomber or something."

"It's a bad habit of mine, actually," he admitted. "And I've never seen a Unabomber with such great hair." Angel strolled into the kitchenette. "I'd offer you booze, but I don't have any. I'm only nineteen and am often mistaken for sixteen. How's apple juice?"

Mimi accepted the glass Angel handed her but didn't drink it. "Just so you know…I'm not sure what you were expecting, but I'm not the type to-" In all honesty, Mimi was the type. But if there was one thing she hated, it was men's reasoning that just because she liked sex she should like having it with whatever came her way. Despite her less than reputable past, Mimi wasn't a whore or a slut and she wasn't about to compromise that for a baby face with doe eyes.

"Oh gosh honey, no!" Angel's quick denial put Mimi at complete ease. She'd doubted Angel would have tried to take advantage of her, but it was nice to be sure. "I'm just…not like that."

"Well…thank you," Mimi said rather awkwardly. It had been awhile since she'd had to be thankful to anyone.

"It's nothing," Angel assured her.

Though Angel had already said that he didn't expect anything from her, knowing that made Mimi want him. She stood on her tiptoes and kissed him very softly on the lips. Angel had no facial hair and his lips were so soft that it was almost like kissing a girl…not in an unpleasant way, just different.

"Hon," Angel pulled away first. "You don't want this."

Mimi said nothing to contradict or agree with this statement.

"You don't," he told her firmly. "And besides, I'm gay."

Feeling incredibly stupid, Mimi gave a sheepish smile. "Why didn't you just tell me that?"

"Not being able to sleep with me is much different than not wanting to sleep with me," Angel said cryptically. "I am a hot tamale, but you're vulnerable and incapable of being in a relationship with anyone. Especially not a gay drag queen."

"Okay, so I really shouldn't be having sex with you," Mimi admitted.

"So Mimi, if you don't mind me asking why were you roaming Alphabet City at 10 o'clock? Do you have a death wish?"

"I just left my boyfriend."

Angel wrinkled his nose and gave a sound of sympathy.

"No, he really doesn't deserve that. He's an ass," she admitted.

"Then why did you date him?"

"Because I thought…" Mimi didn't want to let too much slip. Angel made her want to spill her guts, but there were some things that she just didn't feel ready to share yet and the heroin was one of them. "I thought I loved him," she decided that this answer was somewhat true. In the beginning, a lot of Ricky's allure was that he could take her away from her parents and the appreciation she felt towards him because of that could've been mistaken for love. "And I thought he'd be the only guy to ever love me," Mimi said, not knowing that the words were true until she let them out.

"Oh chica. I'm going to tell you something very important: there will always be more men. The world will never stop making them. And a looker like you, you have plenty of men ahead of you. You're young."

Mimi had to keep reminding herself that she was only two years younger than Angel.

"Now, did that ass of a boyfriend leave you a place to stay or are you crashing here for the night?" Angel asked.

"If it's not too much trouble," Mimi asked humbly.

"Of course not," he assured.

For the first time in a while, Mimi felt safe and warm and loved. She glanced up into Angel's sparkling eyes and though she knew he was gay, she had that overwhelming urge to kiss him again. She was close enough to smell his shampoo when she remembered something he'd told her.

"You're a drag queen?"

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This chapter is dedicated to Steven Breen, a dedicated teacher who will be very missed. Rest in Peace.