Mickey's car came to a halt in Gloria's driveway.
"The movie was great, thanks, Mick." Gloria said, pulling her purse up over her shoulder.
"Gloria," Mickey began, gripping the steering wheel. "I have a confession to make."
"A confession?" Gloria asked. "Mickey, you sound like a court show or something."
"My family is moving." He said, closing his eyes and bracing himself for the worst.
"Moving? Moving?" she asked. Mickey looked up, and her eyes searched his for the truth.
"Yeah, I'm moving."
"But if you move you'll have to…"
"Leave the band, I know." Mickey sighed and leaned his head against the seat's headrest.
"But you can't leave the band! You started the band! You and Danny and Chris and Jennifer!" Gloria protested, her eyes tearing up slightly. "You led us here."
"Gloria, there's nothing I can do about it." Mickey replied worriedly.
"When are you going?" Gloria asked, turning to face him.
"Next week. After the end of school, on the 6h of July." Mickey replied with a sigh.
"Have you told Renee or Kid or Stacy or even Riley yet?" Gloria asked, tracing her fingers over the window.
"No. You're the first. I'm going to break it to them tomorrow." Mickey replied.
Gloria let the conversation dangle. She opened her mouth once to protest, but closed it again when she realized she could do about as much as he could, maybe even less.
"Goodnight, Mickey." She finally said opening the door of the car and walking towards the house.
"I'm moving." Mickey said, looking on the shocked and hurt faces of his band members. "Next week." The words flowed off his lips in a hurt manner. One, as Gloria had noticed, that was quite different than the one he had spoken in last night.
"Moving? Moving? You can't move!" Kid exclaimed, flailing his hands dramatically.
"Mickey, we'll all miss you." Renee said
"Mick, I'm sorry." Riley said, patting him on the back.
"Mickey, please don't go!" Stacy begged, wrapping her arms around his waist.
"I wish I didn't have to, Stace." Mickey replied, returning her hug. Mickey unwrapped himself from Stacy's embrace. He walked towards Gloria, who was standing to the side of the room and put his hands on her shoulders.
"Ha - have you packed yet?" she asked, swallowing hard.
"Yeah, mostly. Everything except my room." He replied as she turned to face him.
"Hey, how about we come and help you pack?" Kid asked with a smile. Renee and Stacy nodded in agreement and looked to Mickey.
"Fine with me, I can certainly use all the help I can get." Mickey said with a grin.
"How about tomorrow?" Renee asked. "After school?"
"Sounds good, you guys." Mickey said. "I'll see you at lunch tomorrow, Gloria." She nodded and he walked towards the door. "And I'll see the rest of you at my house tomorrow. 3:30, sharp!"
"See you later, Mickey." Riley said wiping the towel over the counter, listening as Mickey started up his car and sped back towards his house. "I'll miss his take-charge attitude." Riley said with a smile.
"Hey, do you remember when Chris and Danny moved away?" Stacy asked.
"Yeah, and then Jennifer. So?" Renee asked.
"We threw them going away parties." Stacy said. "We should throw one for Mickey."
"You know, you're right!" Kid said.
"I could make some punch and maybe Mrs. Brown could make a cake." Riley said with a smile. "She's no Duncan-Heinz when it comes to baking but I think Renee and Stacy's mom could pull it off."
"Yeah, she could definitely do that." Renee said. "She baked Jennifer's."
"And we should give him a tribute concert the day after." Stacy said.
"This sounds great! Don't you think, Gloria?" Kid asked.
"Yeah. Maybe we could even sing that new Simple Minds number. Don't You Forget About Me." Gloria replied.
"And I could do Stir it Up." Kid said with a contented sigh. "If any song will, that song will make me a superstar."
"Then its set," Riley said, "we'll throw Mickey a party on the morning of July the 6th."
"Ew! This place is a mess!" Stacy exclaimed, kicking the dirty sock of her shoe.
"Mickey, to be so uptight, you really are disorganized." Renee said, picking a banana peel up from his desk.
"I kinda like it. He's got a tape deck and an Atari. I'm good." Kid said, plopping down on Mickey's bed.
"Hey, hey, Kid! You're here to help me pack, not lay on my bed all day." Mickey said, grabbing his tape deck from Kid and setting it on his shelf.
"Fine, let's get started." Kid said, jumping off the bed. "Hey, look what I found - already!"
"What?" Mickey asked, throwing his suitcase onto his bed and starting to empty his bottom drawers, chucking clothes he wouldn't need to finish school in style into the leather, bronze locked container.
"These," Kid said, putting on the hardhat and fake moustache on.
"Oh, come on…" Mickey said, bringing his hand to his face. Stacy walked over and took the moustache off Kid.
"Oh, look at me; I'm Mickey dressing up as a construction worker in an attempt to see Siedah Garrett!" Stacy mocked.
"Can I keep these, Mick?" Kid asked.
"Sure, why not." Mickey replied.
"Hey, look what I found!" Renee exclaimed, picking up the Singing Machine tape.
"Cool! What song is it?" Stacy asked, walking towards her sister.
"Hello Goodbye by The Beatles." Renee replied. Mickey turned and walked towards her.
"That I will keep." Mickey said, pocketing the tape.
"Hey, Mickey!" Stacy said, grabbing something from his shelf. ""Look, it's the bracelet I made you for your birthday…two years ago."
"Hey, great, Stace! I've been looking for that." Mickey said, grabbing the embroidery thread bracelet (black, yellow and red) and slipping it on.
"Wow, Mickey, this is great!" Gloria exclaimed, holding up a picture of the both of them from their performance of Freedom last year. "You never told me you had this! Who took it?"
"Riley did." Mickey replied, walking towards her and touching the framed picture gently.
"Can I have a copy? Who has the negatives?" Gloria replied, pulling it out from the frame and reading the ballpoint pen writing on the back; Mickey Smith and Gloria Rodriguez performing their cover of Wham!'s "Freedom" with Kids Inc. September, 1984.
"Sure. Mom has the negatives, she can have you one printed someday." Mickey replied, setting the picture on the top of his suitcase items.
Weeks had passed, with no particular day being special. It was Saturday, the day which had been set for throwing Mickey a going away party. The tables had been set in Navy, with plates, napkins and fake "plasticware".
The table in the middle of the P*lace had been set in a truly extravagant manner; the cake in the middle, surrounded by smaller cupcakes, amongst Caesar salad and potato chips and varying Cokes and Pepsis and even a bowl of punch Gloria's mom had made and that surrounded by pictures of Mickey and the band.
"Darn it!" Stacy said, the streamers once again falling from the other side of the room.
Riley laughed. "Need some help, Stace?"
"No, I'm fine, I'll get it."
Across the room, Gloria arranged and rearranged the cups and plates.
"Gloria, do you think this would be a good time to call Mickey?" Riley asked, walking towards her.
"Yeah, Riley, I think it would be fine." Gloria said, sighing.
"Everything alright?" Riley asked, sitting down beside her. "I may not be able to do anything about it, but I'll listen to your problems."
"Riley, it's just - Mickey's moving." Gloria choked out. "And I think - Riley, this sounds crazy but - ''
"You love him, don't you?" Riley said, already knowing the answer. As Gloria stared into Riley's seemingly all-knowing eyes, she sighed and blushed.
"I knew it. I always knew it." Riley said, snapping his fingers. "But listen, you don't have to be so sad. My mother always told me; if you love something, you have to let it free, if it's meant to be it'll always come back. Sometimes, it's not meant to be. But most of the time it is."
"Thanks, Riley, even though I do feel much better now, he's still leaving…" Gloria replied, looking towards the stage.
"Gloria, I promise you, it will all fan out in the end." Riley said, reaching out and wrapping his arm around her neck. "It always does."
"What do you mean by it always does?" Gloria asked, turning towards him.
"You think you're the first teenager I've given advice to? No. I was a school janitor, and all the kids would come to me and ask advice. And then when I became Louie's chauffer, he used to ask me for advice, though he never listened."
"I'm sure he didn't." Gloria said with a chuckle.
"But you listen - I promise, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, everything will be okay." Riley reassured.
"Thanks, Riles, you're the best." Gloria replied. "Anyways, you better go call Mickey."
About ten minutes after Riley's phone call, Mickey walked through the doors of the P*lace to a chorus of his fellow band members. "Surprise!" they said in unison.
"Come on, Mickey, come eat some cake." Stacy said, leading him towards the table. He sat down, still thoroughly speechless. Riley walked past the counter and to the table.
"I'm the only one of you that can carry this knife." Riley said, stroking the end of the dull, rusted knife in his hands.
"Oh, come on, Riley, get the real knife, I'm hungry!" Kid complained, rubbing his stomach.
"Fine, fine." Riley said, grabbing the real knife from the counter.
"So where exactly are you moving to?" Renee asked, setting her fork down on the plate.
"It's in Connecticut. A place called - '' Mickey began.
"Excuse me." Gloria said, running to the stage. Mickey ran after her, stepping to the stage. Gloria sat on the left stoop, gently touching Mickey's guitar.
"Gloria, I want you to hear something." Mickey said. He reached into his pocket and produced the Singing Machine tape. "Kid, would you put this in the Singing Machine?"
"Sure." Kid replied, taking the tape and putting it in. The music flowed through the speakers.
"You say goodbye, but I say hello, hello, hello, I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello…"
"Mickey, I want you to know I'll miss you." Gloria said, the tears streaming down her cheeks.
"I'll miss you, too. But listen, this isn't goodbye. This is see you later." Mickey said, pulling her head up to face his.
"Renee, Kid, Stacy I think you better go get some punch." Riley said, nudging the three. Kid and Stacy rushed to the punch bowl to escape.
"Why?" Renee questioned. "I'm not thirsty.
"Go get some punch, Renee!" Riley said between clenched teeth. Renee joined Kid and Stacy at the punch bowl.
"Mickey, I love you." Gloria whispered.
"I love you, too." Mickey agreed, leaning in. Gloria mimicked, and soon the magical moment happened - the see you later kiss. Mickey and Gloria pulled apart almost immediately. She smiled and he stood up and took her by the hand.
Even though her hand trembled beneath his with worry, she smiled. It is going to be okay.