Part Five: 'Cause I need a friend now
It was two in the morning, and the four of them were standing, talking, under a street light in the parking lot at the airport. Autumn couldn't be more wired if she'd just downed straight coffee grounds. Rachel was staying awake because she had to. Micky was staying awake because he wanted to. Peter wasn't staying awake.
"Peter," Autumn said, shaking him awake, "wake up."
"Yes, again, it's only two A. M. Do I need to take you home?"
"No," Peter murmured, drifting back to sleep.
Autumn rolled her eyes. "When does your flight get here?" she asked Rachel.
"Tell you what—I'll take him home, and you guys go on inside. I'll try and be back in time to see you off, Rachel. But if I'm not," Autumn continued, "Be good, Rachel." Autumn gave Rachel a hug.
"I will," said Rachel.
Autumn let her go and held her at arms' distance. "Don't forget us."
"I won't." Autumn released her.
Peter shook Rachel's hand. "Come back and see us sometime, okay?"
"See you later," said Autumn. Somehow, she seemed to know that she didn't mean later tonight. Her tone foreshadowed the fact that this would be the last time Autumn and Peter would see Rachel for a while. Autumn and Peter turned and walked away, hand in hand.
"So," said Micky.
"Yeah, so. I had a great time tonight."
"I never knew about that place. I'm glad you can pick locks."
"Yeah, a lot of those basic training skills come in handy." They were both silent for a minute or two. Rachel started walking. "I've got to start working on getting through customs in a few minutes."
Micky followed her. "Rachel, can I tell you something?"
"Of course." Micky stopped her. Rachel looked at him expectantly. "Well?"
This is harder than it looks! "I. . . ." Micky sighed and closed his eyes, trying to gather his thoughts.
"It's not bad news, is it?"
"No, no, no! I hope it's not." Micky took a deep breath as he decided to just spit it out. "Rachel, I. . . ." Come on! "I love you," he finally managed.
At first, Rachel was simply shocked. But a smile quickly spread across her face. "Really, truly?" she asked eagerly.
"Really, truly," Micky said.
"Oh, Micky!" she exclaimed in delight. She gave him a lingering kiss. After she pulled away, Micky noticed that Rachel was crying.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"Micky, I love you, too, but I'm leaving. Why couldn't you tell me before?"
"What good would it have done?"
"Well, if you'd told me last week, I may have been able to put in for an assignment that could keep me here for another year. Oh well, it's too late now."
"Yeah. We'd better go get you through customs."
The tedious work of passing through customs took over half an hour. By the time Rachel could sit down, her flight arrived.
"So," said Rachel. "I guess this is . . . see you later?"
"Rachel," Micky said, thinking quickly. He got down on one knee and took both her hands in his. "Will you marry me?"
"Micky, I can't. I'm leaving."
"Of course you can't," Micky said, nodding. He stood up. "See you later." He kissed Rachel.
"I love you, Micky."
"I love you, too, Rachel."
"I'll be back. I promise."
"Okay," Micky whispered. "I'll be here."
"Don't cry, love."
"I won't," said Micky. "As long as you come back."
"Final boarding call for flight number 743 to Mexico City and Belize."
"Good bye," Rachel said.
"Bye," said Micky. He gave her a short, tender kiss good bye. "Come back to me."
"I promise I will." Rachel slowly backed away. Before Micky even realized it, she was gone. And now, he could cry in peace.
Gonna Buy Me a Dog Part Six
back to Gonna Buy Me a Dog Part Four