FINALLY! NO MORE STAND BY ME WRITER'S BLOCK FOR ME! I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW LONG IT'S BEEN! I know this chapter is really short, but I just wanted to set the stage for all the events to come. Enjoy!

DISCLAIMER: If I owned this, Chris would be alive, and Teddy would have a decent ear, Gordie would have a nice family and Vern would go on Jenny Craig. Actually, forget about that Vern thing, we love him just the way he is. : )


On a warm June evening in 1964, I sat in my bedroom, preparing for an event that I never thought I would attend in my life: the senior freaking prom.

Let me just update you on the things that happened after that summer of Ray Brower: Chris finally gave in to Gordie and I nagging him and enrolled in the college courses with us. Sometimes it was hard for him, but he always had the two of us to fall back on.

Teddy and Vern had enrolled in the shop courses (as was predetermined that summer), and even though we hadn't seen them that much, the five of us still remained close friends.

Mickey was growing faster than I could even say his name. I mean, come on, one day he's a two year old painting pictures that were just blobs of paint, the next, he's seven years old! He was so excited about starting the second grade, and he was now working tirelessly on trying to join the Little League team in town.

Speaking of Mickey, just as I finished putting on some blush (the only makeup I would wear, seeing as I had to look SOMEWHAT more attractive), he appeared in the doorway, with his bright red hair growing into a Beatles cut. Not the best look for someone with curly hair. "Joey? Chris is here," he said.

I sank down and whispered, "Oh God, Oh God, Oh God. Okay, it's okay, just relax," to myself.

Mickey backed away from me slowly and said, "Okay?"

I turned to tease Mickey about his reaction, but when his mouth dropped open, I grew worried. "What is it, M and M? Did I put too much blush on? I probably put too much blush on."

"No, Joey, no! You look like… a princess," Mickey gasped.

I smiled. "Can you keep Chris detained for a little while, Mickey? I just want to put some finishing touches on this."

Mickey scrunched up his face. "What's 'detained'?"

I gave a synonym: "Stall him."

Mickey smiled and said, "Oh, I understand." He made a gesture and dashed back downstairs.

I sighed and looked at my reflection in the mirror. I had on a light purple strapless dress, that stopped just above my knees. My hair was done in its usual ponytail (hey, it was bad enough getting into a dress), but I finally managed to convince myself to put little purple flower buds in the "tail" part of it. My cheeks were a little pink from the blush, and I had no other makeup on. As I stood up to walk downstairs, my eyes fell on an old photo of me with Gordie and Chris from the summer of Ray Brower. I couldn't help but think that the old me would not really be too pleased with me and my little look, but, I mean, I guess I could make myself look feminine for Chris at least. I let out a breath and whispered, "Here goes nothing."

I stood at the top of the stairs and peered down. Chris was looking so handsome in his tuxedo, I thought I'd faint any second. "Relax," I ordered myself. "If you faint, I'm going to kill you." I quickly pulled myself together and walked down the stairs.

Okay, what you're probably thinking is that the whole scene played out like it was in the movies: I float down the stairs, gorgeous, like a star. Chris, ever suave and charming, pins the corsage effortlessly on my dress, and we fly away to the prom.

And you know what happened? Almost the same thing. Not quite; I was never made to float.

I just walked down the stairs as normally as I would if I were meeting Chris. In fact, the poor thing looked so worried about messing up (as if he could), he didn't even notice me sneaking up behind him. Finally, I put my head on his shoulder and said, "Don't worry so much, Chambers, I can hear you whimpering a little."

Chris whirled around and gave a, dare I say it, little squeak of surprise.

I shook my head and laughed. Chris Chambers was too cute for mere words.

Chris ran a hand through his hair and looked me up and down. "Wow, Joe… God, you look…"

"Exquisite?" I suggested, kidding. "A work of art? Ravishingly, jaw-droppingly beautiful?"

"What you said," Chris finally said.

Oh, my God, Chris was serious. He really thought I looked… like all the things I had listed. I looked down and shuffled my feet. "That works," I mumbled, embarrassed.

Chris laughed and walked over to me. He took my face in one hand and brought my face to his. "You do look beautiful, Joe," he whispered.

I sighed and wrapped my arms around his neck. "Did I ever tell you that I can just listen to you talk for hours on end and never get bored?" I asked. I paused. "Okay, that really didn't sound as strange in my head."

Chris shook his head. "It wasn't strange," he replied as he kissed my forehead. Little did that young man know when he kissed me, he sent 10,000 volts of electricity into my heart.

All of a sudden I heard the sound of someone clearing their throat. The two of us turned and saw my dad standing there with a camera. "Chambers," he barked gruffly, "save that for the prom."

Now, I could tell my dad was only joking, but, evidently, Chris couldn't because he leapt away from me like I had given him an electric shock or something. "I'm sorry, Mr. Randall," he mumbled.

"Chris," I said as I nudged him, "he's only joking."

Chris then laughed nervously. My dad turned to me and said, "Just wanted to take some pictures. After that, I'll be out of your hair."

I shrugged. "Alright then," I replied as I turned to Chris. And, about two minutes, 50 rolls of camera, and smiling so much I felt my face would freeze like that… we were done. I had said my goodbyes to Dad and Mickey, and Chris and I were out, walking to Gordie's house. We were all going to hop in Chris's car, Gordie would pick up his date, and then meet Teddy and Vern at prom.

I ran up to Gordie's deck and rang the doorbell while Chris waited in the distance. Gordie's dad still refused to accept Chris as a major force in his son's life, but he tolerated me. To a certain extent, at least.

The door finally opened, and Gordie's dad stood in the doorway. "Hello, Johanna," he said curtly. "What do you want?"

As I said before: tolerance to a certain extent. I replied, "Is Gordie home?"

"Why do you ask?"

Well, why the hell did he THINK I was asking? "It's prom tonight, Mr. LaChance. Gordie and I were going to go. But not as DATES, or anything like that," I filled him in.

Gordie's dad turned into the house and yelled, "GORDON! JOHANNA'S HERE!" He then turned back to me and said, "Wait here."

"Jesus," I whispered as he went back into the house. Some father; doesn't even ask when we'll be back, or who else is going, or anything. Finally, Gordie came out of the house… and I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. Poor Gordie had been forced to wear his dad's old tuxedo, and let me tell you, it did not compliment him at all. The pants were all the way up to his chest, and the jacket hung off of him like he was a little ragdoll. "Don't you dare laugh," he commanded through clenched teeth.

"Sorry," I squeaked out. "Come on, Chris is waiting." I led Gordie over to the car, and caught Chris's eye. His face was saying what I was thinking: Oh… My… God. "Nice little ensemble you've got there, Gordo," Chris squeaked out before finally losing it. I joined in and the two of us just fell down on the front lawn laughing hysterically.

Gordie glared at us. "I'm leaving," he said bitingly as he stormed off.

"HEY, WAIT UP," Chris and I shrieked. We eventually caught up to him, and plopped him in the car, driving off to his date's house. Things hadn't changed at all… really!