Here comes the final curtain. It was fun while it lasted, but everything ends.
She held it in until she saw Maria laughing and smiling at some bad joke that Will had told. When they greeted her, she burst into tears. With salt water streaming down her face, she blurted out what was causing her distress.
“You’re leaving!” Will yelled. “What? When? Why didn’t you tell us?”
“I didn’t know,” she replied, roughly brushing away her tears. “I swear Will, I would have told you.”
Maria hugged Anna tightly. “When’re you leaving?” she asked.
Anna bit her lip. “Tomorrow. Early morning.”
Maria and Will were shocked into silence.
We were leaving. We were going back to England. Permanently. Turns out Dad had lost all custody of me, and Mom said she hated it here. I think she was just doing it to be spiteful. She didn’t hate it here. She quite liked it. But she couldn’t stand the fact that I was happy.
As it was the last day, we had no lessons. We sat and talked, discussing plans so that I could stay here. In the U.S.A. Where I belonged.
“Stay with me,” Maria suggested. “It’ll be like a permanent sleepover.”
Anna smiled sadly. “You know that would never work.”
“Why not? As long as your Mom agreed…Oh, yeah.” Maria had just answered her own question.
“Run away,” Will suggested.
“In Belleville?” Joanna asked. “As long as I don’t get mugged, raped or killed, yeah, that’d work.”
“How about…” Maria fell silent. “I can’t think of anything else,” she murmured. “But I don’t want you to leave! And I’d got such good news.”
Will lifted his head out of hands. “What good news?”
Maria shook her head.
“Go on,” Anna prompted. “Otherwise we’ll forget and then I’ll go back to England,” she paused, and took a deep breath. “And then I’ll never know.”
“Fine then,” Maria said, almost huffily. “New boyfriend.”
“Who?” Will asked, sounding very smug. Maria blushed, and mumbled a name. “Sorry, what was that?” Will queried.
“Tristran,” Maria replied, louder. “Happy?”
“Now that you owe me ten bucks, yeah,” Will grinned.
Anna stiffened. “Where’s Mikey?”
Maria shrugged. “Bunked off I guess.”
And today was my last day to tell him. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. I’d go back to England, find some other guy, eventually settle down and turn out like my Mom. But Mikey? He was going to be special. He had to be. If he wasn’t, then New Jersey would kill him.
He has to get out. One day he’d better be happy. One day.
“Jo! I heard it was your last day!” It was Mia, gushing about how much she’d miss Anna. A lot of people came and said bye, and hugged her. The entire cheerleading squad, a lot of the school athletes, people from her classes, even Benji.
At the end of the day, Rick and Scarlet said bye. Rick hung back for a few minutes.
“Anna,” he began. “I’m really going to miss you.”
She shrugged, tears threatening once more. “Yeah,” she whispered. “You too.”
He hugged her fiercely, and lifted her feet right of the ground, Her tears spilled over, and when he released her she pushed them away, and smiled shakily.
“Don’t go changing your friends now,” she murmured.
He shook his head. “Little drops of rain whisper of the pain,” he murmured.
“Tears of loves lost in the days gone by,” she replied. “It was our song Rick,” Anna told him calmly.
He nodded slowly. “Me and Scarlet don’t have one yet,” he said solemnly.
She looked at him closely. “Have that one,” she said. “It’s a good song.”
He hugged her one last time. “Bye Anna.”
He turned to go but looked back and called, “And do yourself a favour. Tell him how you feel!”
I’d miss Rick. I would. He was one of my best friends. Will and Maria promised to come to the airport tomorrow. But I still hadn’t seen Mikey. And I wasn’t likely to. I had no way of getting to his house, and Mom wanted me to help pack. All night.
It was four o clock in the morning as she stared out of the car window at the bleak scenery as the sun began to rise. They were headed for the airport. Her mom turned around in the front seat to speak to her daughter. “Isn’t this exciting sweetheart?”
“No Ma, it’s not,” Joanna snapped. “You’re sending us back to England. I belong here. With my friends.”
Mrs Wilkinson tutted. “I seem to remember these arguments from when we came to America.”
”Well there as true now as they were then,” Joanna muttered sullenly.
“For God’s sake Joanna!” her mother yelled. “What do you want me to do? Leave you with your father? Not going to happen, darling. No wonder that boyfriend of yours decided to make you an ex.”
Joanna froze, as they pulled into the car park. “What did you say?” she asked, her voice low and full of anger.
Her mother glanced over her shoulder. “You heard me,” she replied, her voice full of poison. “And you may not like the fact that we’re going back to England, but that is where we belong, Joanna. Whether you like it or not.”
I threw open the door of the car and jumped out. Mom wasn’t driving that fast, but then I began to run. Run back the way we came. I ran straight into someone who’d just got out of another car.
She looked up woozily from the floor. “Mikey?” She scrambled to her feet, and wrapped her arms around him. “I thought I’d never see you again.”
He buried his face in her hair. “I know,” he whispered. “So did I.”
“Mikes,” she began, taking a deep breath. “I’ve gotta tell you something. And if I don’t tell you now then I never will.”
“Joanna!” It was her mother, striding towards them. “Get back here!”
“I like you.” Her blue eyes looked straight into his hazel eyes. “I have done for a long time. And I can’t lie any more. It hurt when you were with Chrissy. I want to be your girl. If you don’t like me then that’s cool ‘cause I’m going back to England now any way, but-“
Mikey found the most effective way to cease her babbling was to bring his lips down to hers. And there they were. Locked in that Hollywood kiss, where you know that the hero and heroine will live happily ever after, and that the credits are about to roll.
But life’s not like that.
“Michael Way!” Mrs Wilkinson shrieked. “Take your hands off my daughter.”
He pulled away from the kiss, and from Joanna, stepping back. “I’m sorry Mrs Wilkinson. I just wanted to say good-bye.”
“How dare you,” she began.
“Mrs Wilkinson!” Will shouted, cutting across her. “How good to see you. I just wanted to say goodbye. I’ll miss you, you know.” And with his good looks and charming words he distracted Joanna’s Mom. But not for long.
“Well Will, that’s nice to know, but we really must go now. Come on Joanna.”
I was going to leave. I was actually going to leave, now that I’d told Mikey that I liked him. I was leaving him. I was leaving all of them. Maria was there too.
The four of us stood, hugging, talking, making promises.
And then I had to leave.
“Joanna! Make your last goodbyes.” Mrs Wilkinson snapped.
Joanna turned to Maria, and hugged her tight. “You’re my best friend. Stay in touch.”
Maria nodded, tears beginning to fall. “I will. I swear. Take care in England. It’s not like America. You won’t have me to watch your back.”
Joanna brushed away her friend’s tears. “Don’t,” she said, smiling shakily. “’Cause if you do then I will, and it’s not a good look.”
Maria laughed, but then the tears fell even harder. They hugged once more.
“Hey, my turn,” Will said. “Basically, don’t die, write, phone and don’t find the English equivalent of Benji.”
Joann smiled through her tears and hugged him. He gently held her. “Oh Anna,” he whispered. “What are we going to do without you?”
And then it was Mikey’s turn. He thrust a note into her hand. “Don’t read it,” he cautioned. “Not till the plane’s left the ground.”
“Ok,” she agreed, her bottom lip quivering.
He wrapped her in his arms, and she cried into him. When her sobs had subsided, he gently cupped her chin and kissed her gently, like she was made of glass and he was afraid she’d break. “Go home and live Anna. Life’s too short not to.”
She nodded, her face crumpled and tear stained.
I hugged them one last time and then I left. I walked through the doors crying, and boarded the plane. That’s where I am now. It’s where I’ve been the whole time that I’ve been writing this. I said I was bored. I was lying. My heart’s breaking. That’s why I’ve written this out. So that you know. Leaving friends will always hurt, but best friends break your heart.
I haven’t opened the note yet. I don’t know if I can. Every time I think I’ve cried myself out, I start all over again.
I love him. I actually do love Mikey. I’m in love with Michael James Way. And if this note says that he hates me, or something like that…I don’t know what I’d do.
But I will open it. If not for me, for you. Whoever you are.
Oh my God. He’s written, ‘I love you. Always have done always will. Simply and honestly. Forever and ever. Mikey.
He loves me.
He actually loves me.
I never told him. But he must have known.
He must have…
An: And this is where we say goodbye. Parting is such sweet sorrow. Yes, this story is finished. I hope you all enjoyed it.
And the final Team Tallies are:
TEAM MIKEY: madzMCRMY, clutsy_93, Alyss, Waygasm, Tragicwithacapital T, cherrybomb, linerlover, GhostOfYouMW, Kindersex owns, missyblaqkblush, Dondon
TEAM WILL: Silvana, sayDIE
TEAM RICK: of which the president and current sole member is pyrotechnicist
TEAM ANTI SCARLET: pyrotechnicist, linerlover, x Charlie x.
TEAM TRISTRAN: pyrotechnicist, Alyss, Linerlover, My-Toro-ROmance
Thanks for all the reviews and ratings. As bands like to say at gigs, 'You've been awesome.'