19 You’re such a glorious death


I promised Mark I would drop him off at his photo shoot before picking up what we were going to wear at his premiere that night. I swear, Mark is the neediest, clingiest loser on the face of the Earth and I don't know why I agree to drive him around. It also irritates me that I'm doing him this favour and I have to be the one to make sure he wakes up on time.

I stood in front of his door and rang the bell. If he's awake, he'll holler something and I would be able to hear him no matter where he was inside. But no reply.

I banged on the door with my fist and shouted Mark's full name at the top of my lungs. After a minute or so, the door swung open and Mark stood in front of me with a toothbrush in his mouth. He cursed at me, which might have been "What the fuck, Jame?" except with a toothbrush in his mouth.

"You're gonna be late again," I said.

He mumbled something else and ran back into his house. I stood where I was, since it was pointless and will take too much time to follow him in, and checked my phone for notifications. My social media app was open to my chat history with Kate. This idiot.

As I exited the messages, a text came through.

Unknown number: Still not feeling me, huh? Call me, I got your jacket. Unless it's mine now?

This other idiot.

Mark bounded out of his front door like the giant puppy he was. "Let's gooo!"

He was so exuberant that he drew the attention of a couple of girls on the way to parking. They recognised him, of course they did. As they did a mini-freak out to each other, he smiled broadly at them. "Hi girls!"

I heard them happily greet him back as I walked on ahead with my head down. Mark quickly caught up to me, with his head bowed, and grinned sheepishly. "Sorry."

I snorted but with a half smile. I knew he wasn't really sorry; he liked that kind of thing, as long as it didn't draw hordes. And that was okay. I'd probably be okay with it too, but it was too much evidence that we lived there.

It put him in a good mood, or should I say, a better mood than he was in already. He was singing under his breath. When we were both belted up, I recognised what he was singing.

"Is that Can't Breathe?"

"I breathe you in, I take you iiiin..." he sang to me with full Steve-esque projection. "But I can't seem to breathe out again... Can I borrow your phone?"

"Why?" I snorted

"Scandal monitoring," he replied, and didn't miss the next line. "Filled with you, I'm holding my breath... Thank you!" And he deftly keyed in my passcode.

I started the car and joined him in the last line of the chorus, doing my harmony, "You're such a glorious death, don't you know, giiiirl..."

As our note faded out, I said, "There's a video of Kate singing that, by the way. It should still be online."

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"Kate?" Mark jumped. "Singing Can't Breathe? Where?"

"Just do a search on Goddess Athena singing Can't Breathe."

Mark shoved my phone in front of me. "How??!"

"What an asshole I must have been in a previous life to deserve you," I muttered. I pulled up at a traffic light, took the phone from him and opened the search field on the video streaming app. I shoved it back to his face and said, "You know how to type, right? They taught you that in school, right?"

He was quiet for a few minutes, and then found the video I was talking about. "Holy moses!" he yelled, excitedly. It was an outtake from their old reality show, where the girls are sitting in a van going somewhere and Tiffany demands for someone to play our new-at-the-time album. None of the girls had the new album yet (I bet Missy did, but I think she was being uncooperative during this era) so while they searched their phones for a livestream or something, Kate suddenly started singing the chorus of Can't Breathe. The other girls join in, even exaggeratedly copying Steve's ad libs and yelling the rap at each other. It ends with a shot of Missy looking annoyedly at Vivi, who was sitting beside her. It was a cute video.

"Were we together when this was happening?" Mark looked at me with his eyes as wide as saucers.

"Ehh, I don't remember," I said. "Were you guys together when we released Out of Sight?"

"Ehh, I don't think so, I think we broke up already," he said, grumpily. He replayed the video then suddenly smiled. "But she's singing this, so maybe she still cares?"

"Maybe she really likes the song," I shrugged. "It's a great song."

"It is," Mark nodded his head, a smile turning up his lips. He started to rap along with Goddess Athena, who were basically murdering Mark's famous rap. "Without you, I can't breathe!"

I joined in. "I'm feeling fatigued!"

"You're the oxygen I need! Whoa!" We yelled at each other and started laughing.

"Why are you suddenly singing Can't Breathe anyway?" I had to ask.

"I've been singing Can't Breathe since last night," he shrugged.

"We didn't sing Can't Breathe last night, and I was with you until 3 in the morning and you weren't singing Can't Breathe at all."

He looked at me like he had been caught lying, and said, "I started singing it since I got home." He looked back at my phone. "Why didn't I ever see this before?"

I ended up singing Can't Breathe in my head and under my breath for the rest of the day. It really is a great song.

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