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Hello Sunshine

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So hard to say goodbye 
Meaning it today


Jeremy sat down cross-legged on the carpeted floor and picked absentmindedly at the rough material, trying to focus his mind on other things. His bedroom was completely bare save for a few cardboard boxes that would be gone in a matter of minutes, and the emptiness hurt him even more than he thought it would.

 

"It's for the best," his father had told him time after time. "I think... after this whole squip thing, we could use a fresh start."


As much as he wanted to forget everything that happened involving the antagonistic Tic-Tac, the very last thing Jeremy pined for was something entirely new. He was thoroughly enjoying his new life and, as cheesy as it sounded, the friends he had managed to make; for once, everything felt right in the world. He felt like the universe was finally on his side.

 

I've said goodbye before 
Leaving you alone 
By the sea 


Growing up in New Jersey had been Hell and he openly admitted to griping about being forced to live there since he was able to speak, but now that he was leaving... It seemed different. This had been his home for the entirety of his life... Could he bear to ditch it like it was nothing?

It would have been different if he was leaving for college; his life as a child would have officially been over and he could accept the fact that he wouldn't have lived in this place forever. However, since he was moving house while still under his father's care and in school and essentially still a kid, he was starting from scratch. He didn't know if he could handle losing everything he had worked so hard for and having to enter some alien town with no one by his side.

 

So hard to say goodbye


Jeremy was saying "goodbye" to his home. He was saying "goodbye" to everyone far before he was prepared to.

He wondered if any of the Squip Squad was thinking about him while they were at home doing their own thing. It was selfish, but there was almost a HOPE for their thoughts to be centered on him; he needed to know that he would be missed, no matter how much it would make everything all the more painful. Yet, no one had texted or called or even shown up to his house.

 

You need to stop. You're making things worse.

 

 

Hello sunshine 
Come into my life


"Jeremy?" his dad called from downstairs. "If you need to bring anything else down, I'd do it now. We're shipping off soon."

He took a shaky breath and prepared himself as he rose to his feet and feigned a more positive attitude. "One sec!"

 

Hello sunshine
Come into my life


There were only three boxes left and they were remotely small in both size and weight value, so Jeremy was fully capable of scooping them up in his arms and taking them down in one trip. There was part of him that wanted to waste time and transport them one by one, but that was just postponing the inevitable. He had to be strong. He had to man up.

 

In honesty it's been a while 
Since we had reason left to smile


Mr. Heere smiled a bit sadly when he saw Jeremy making his descent and briefly placed a tender hand on his son's shoulder as he passed by. He knew this was going to be a difficult transition for both of them, especially Jeremy, but it was the right thing to do; this house just held too many bad memories.

Jeremy hung his head as he walked through the foyer and out the already open door, down the concrete pathway and to the outside of the fence. He approached the back of the moving truck with a wary demeanor and held still for but a moment before forcing himself to load the final items, officially resigning to his future.

He turned to go back inside and report to his dad that everything was ready to go, but a vehicle came down the road with a familiar voice screaming desperately inside, the person it belonged to sticking his head out the window like a dog.

"TALL-ASS! YOU STAY RIGHT THERE!"

"Rich, for the love of God, sit down!"

 

Hello sunshine 
Come into my life


Rich, being Rich, didn't obey and instead hopped out of the car the very second it had begun coming to a halt. He sprinted down the lawn with reckless abandon and practically tackled Jeremy in an embrace, almost making him topple completely over. He was grateful he had already been rid of the containers.

"Jeremy!" Brooke called as the other six members of their friend group piled out behind the other boy. "I can't believe we almost missed you-"

"I TOLD you," Jenna interjected, "my mom needed the car!" Quickly, she plastered a smile on her face and turned her attention to Jeremy, waving and offering a slightly mournful "Hello."

Jeremy tried to suppress a grin as his eyes darted from person to person. "What're you guys doing here?" He glanced down at the small guy still clinging to him. "Rich, you can let go now-" He reluctantly obeyed.

"You didn't seriously think we'd let you go without goodbyes, did you?" Christine inquired.

 

I'm a minger 
You're a minger too


Jeremy shuddered a little anxiously, but it was a good kind of anxious. Almost excited. "I mean, no, but... God, it's just so good to see you guys."

"You too! I just..." Christine sighed, the positivity draining out of her. "I just wish it was under better circumstances."

"Yeah," Jake added, "it really... sucks." He shook his head and rubbed the back of his neck nervously. Jeremy had seen him play shy to get dates before, but this time, he seemed genuinely anxious. "Sorry, I'm not great with all this sentimental stuff."

"I get it. It's good."

Chloe was the next to step up, looking more frustratedly upset than sorrowful. "Yeah, why do you have to do us like this? It's not-" She stopped herself before uttering the word "fair". After all, she wasn't 5.

"Look, Heere," Rich started with a solemnity about him, "I know a lot of stuff's happened and we all kind of treated you like trash at one time or another, especially me, but you're a really cool dude. It's been sweet being part of your team, even if it hasn't been for super long, and I'm actually really glad you let me on it." He opened his mouth to say more, but he noticeably choked on his words as tears formed in the corners of his eyes. "Oh, man," he muttered. "I swore I wasn't gonna do this-" Jake went to touch his arm, but was shaken off. "No, no, I'm good." He clearly wasn't, but everyone fell silent for a long, awkward moment. All that could be heard were the sniffles of people who were now excused for crying.

 

So come on minger 
I want to ming with you


Jenna was the first to break the silence, wiping away tears with the palm of her hand. "I'm gonna miss this so much."

"The weird public crying?" Jake snickered, but there was sorrow in his eyes.

"No, just... Things aren't gonna be the same. I mean, a year ago, I didn't even know Jeremy existed and now here I am, trying not to lose my mind because he's leaving! He's the reason we're all here right now." Everyone exchanged glances, knowing she was correct. Jeremy had tipped the social scales, making it possible for them to collect here without any animosity.

 

In honesty it's been a while 
Since we had reason left to smile 
Hello sunshine 
Come into my life


"Jeremy?" Mr. Heere called from the doorway, watching the teenagers gathering in what used to be his yard. He didn't want to do this, but he knew they couldn't hold this off forever. "It's time to go."

Audible shudders spread throughout the group and anyone who was still trying to remain strong finally gave into their emotions, all except for one boy, who held back and leaned against the parked car. One by one, they all came over to give a personal departing message.

Jake shook his hand heartily, but eventually pulled him into a tight embrace that surprised even Jeremy. "Good luck, man."

Trying not to ugly sob, Rich held him again, this time in a way that felt like he was trying to keep him from going. "Thanks for everything, Jer."

"I hope you have fun in New York," Christine whispered in his ear after bringing him down to her level and wrapping her arms around his neck. "You're gonna be great."

Brooke pecked him on the cheek with a friendly tenderness. "I know we've had our problems, but you're a great guy, Jeremy."

To an outsider, Chloe's would have seemed insensitive, but anyone in her friend circle would know that there was most definitely sincerity present. "You're not the hottest guy, but you're pretty cute in your own way. You're gonna make your new friends really happy."

Jenna, being one of the last, held him close and only managed to cry while muttering "I'm sorry," over and over again.

 

You're not so innocent 
You're a disgrace to your country


"Um..." Christine began with hesitation. "Are you guys ready?" She looked back at Michael, who had remained dead silent.

He shook his head as he came forward and faced Jeremy with shaky resolve. "No."

For a moment, he stood there, just admiring his friend and trying to hold strong. He eventually began speaking, his voice wavering with emotion already. "This is gonna sound really cheesy and you can make fun of me all you want, but... You're my best friend and you mean a lot to me. You dunno how many times I wanted to lock you in my basement and keep you here, but I knew there was gonna be one day we lost each other and, as much as it sucks, that day's today. God, there's just... so much to say, so much monologuing I could do, but I've already wasted enough time. I don't wanna say 'Bye', so how about 'See you later'? God, that's such a line..." Michael's breath shook, as did his entire body, as he broke down in tears. "I'm gonna miss you so much-"

Jeremy pulled him down into a hug, finally letting loose, too. It had been forever since the two of them had cried into each other's shoulders, but the occasion warranted it.

 

If you fled a million miles 
I'd chase you for a day 
(If I could be bothered)


"You'd better stay in touch, or I'm gonna hunt you down," Michael whispered, trying to lighten the emotional load.

"Don't worry. There's no way I'm gonna forget to text or call or something."

 

Hello sunshine
Hello sunshine
Hello sunshine
Hello sunshine
Hello sunshine


"Jeremy!"

Michael and Jeremy pulled apart at Mr. Heere's call, the taller boy mumbling one last thing. "Just remember, even if you can't see your other player, it doesn't mean they've left the game. I'm always by your side. Figuratively."

"Shut up, you're gonna make me cry again."

"Well," Brooke began as she held Jenna's arm tight, "I guess this is really it."

Jeremy huffed and fiddled with his fingers as he took one last look at everyone. "I guess it is. Um... I should probably say something, huh?" he realized, speaking quickly so Mr. Heere wouldn't get on his case again. "Ever since the whole squip thing happened, my life's been so much better and it's because you guys finally accepted me. It felt good to have a lot of people by my side and, even if I'm forever away, I'll be damned if I'm gonna forget about any of you." He breathed deeply, having to steel himself. "I need to stop because I'm gonna wind up a mess-"

"You can stop there," Chloe reassured him in an almost begging tone. "It's enough."

"We, uh... We should get going," Jake admitted, hating to be the one to say it, but someone had to. "I think your dad wants us off his lawn." There were scattered snickers, but most of the audience was too lost in their own thoughts to really appreciate the humor. The ones who didn't laugh, which were most in number, nodded in reluctant agreement.

Jeremy dug his nails into his hands because he was so internally tense it was hardly the cause for comedy while his friends waved for final goodbyes. He wanted to return the gesture, but just couldn't bring himself to. He hoped they understood.

As the car drove down the road and no one looked back, Jeremy swallowed the remaining pain as he trekked back down the path up to the front of his now-old house; he couldn't let his dad see him cry. They were more emotionally open ever since everything happened, but he just couldn't handle the idea of him having to comfort him at one of his worst times.

"It's about time," Mr. Heere joked, but was quick to replace it with a sympathetic seriousness. "I know it hurts, Pal, but stuff like this just needs to happen sometimes, y'know? And, besides, we live in the golden era of communication! They're all just one call away."

"I know. I'll get over it."

"You okay? You need a minute?" Jeremy shook his head frantically; he would break down if he had to spend another moment in the barren land that was childhood home. "You okay to do this thing, then?"

A beat of silence passed. Jeremy glanced behind him for a split second and couldn't take it anymore.

"Yeah."

 

Come into my life