A seven year old girl was seen running as fast as her stumpy legs would take her straight into the arms of a young boy standing across the lawn. He had just stepped out of the car and was anxious to great his best friend. She quickly embraced him and he willingly wrapped his own arms around her.

"It's so good to see you, Jay-Jay! I haven't seen you in so long!" the young girl exclaimed. She held on tight for a few more seconds before releasing her grip on his neck. The young boy looked sheepishly back at her, but smiled nonetheless.

"I've missed you too, Mira…" he replied quietly. Mira grabbed his hands and whisked him away into her house, forgetting all about their parents. The two sets of adults smiled knowingly at each other and picked up the conversation where the children had left it.

"It's been far too long, James," Mirabelle's father Charlie, said as he embraced his best friend into a hug.

"It really has. You know, we really want to settle down and what not, but our jobs are just so conflicting that buying a house and staying in one place seems impossible," James explained. His wife Emily nodded sadly but said nothing more on the matter.

"Emily, why don't I show you what we've done with the place? It's really improved since the last time you've seen it," Lita, Charlie's wife, said abruptly. Emily smiled, grateful that the topic of conversation was dropped momentarily. James and Charlie followed their wives into the house and conversed as if no time was wasted.

"Happy birthday, Mira!" the young children yelled as they bounded up the steps to the porch. Mira happily greeted her friends and craned her neck to find that one particular friend that she was hoping would show. When she didn't see his familiar face, she put on a bright smile for her friends and led them into the living room. Mira's parents politely greeted the accompanying parents and chatted lightly while watching their children chirp and play freely.

"How old is Mira now?" one of the parents asked, "She sure is quite the petite little thing, isn't she?"

Lita chuckled before smiling in the direction of her only daughter. "She just turned ten today. It really is a miracle, I gave birth to her prematurely but she somehow managed to stay alive and grow up just as strong and healthy as everyone else. We truly are blessed to have such a little warrior in her."

The parents nodded in understanding and continued to chat in a light manner for the rest of the afternoon. When all the children had left with their parents, Mira bounded back into the living room and positioned herself in between her parents on the couch.

"Um, can I ask a question?" she asked timidly. Charlie smiled and nodded for her to continue.

"How come Jay-Jay didn't show up? He's always been here for my birthday. I know that they move around a lot but Uncle James and Aunt Emily have always come back for my birthday…" Mira said shyly. She bowed down her head and her hands were folded neatly on her lap.

"I really wish I could tell you baby, but not even we know why they didn't come today. But I'm sure that your Uncle and Auntie have a good reason why they couldn't make it. Maybe they'll stop by in a few days," Lita paused to raise Mira's chin up, "Keep your head up baby, I know Jay-Jay wouldn't want to miss your birthday for the world," she said sweetly. Mira looked up at her mother and smiled in return.

Of course they had a good reason. Mira knew that Uncle James and Aunt Emily were very busy and she knew that coming home was becoming more and more difficult. Even though seeing Jay-Jay became less frequent, the times that she did see him became cherished and kept safely in her memory.

A few days after her birthday, Mira received a package from Jay-Jay. She opened it hastily and was greeted with a card and a box full of bears from different parts of the country. She smiled happily at the bears and went to read the card.

Dear Mira,

I'm really sorry that I couldn't make it for your birthday; I hope you can forgive me. Hopefully I'll be able to see you in a couple weeks. Hope to see you soon! And I hope you have a great birthday. I'll be sure to send you more bears from all the places I visit!



Mira smiled excitedly before running to her room with the large box in her hands. All her other presents were discarded or set aside as she spent the next few days admiring the different bears Jay-Jay had sent her. Though happy for their daughter, Lita and Charlie worried that Mira would become too attached to the young boy and would inevitably become disappointed when he didn't come home anymore.

Mira smiled longingly at the boy sitting in front of her. He had been gone for nearly 4 months and she was beyond excited to be reunited with him. They were seated at a diner near her house and they sat silently while they were waiting for their food. The long absences had undoubtedly taken a toll on their friendship. Conversation no longer came easily and being in the presence of each other quickly became uncomfortable.

"So what've you been up to?" Mira asked unnervingly. She waited for him to look at her but he never did. His gaze remained resolutely on something behind her. She turned her head to search for what was stealing his attention and when she followed his gaze, her heart shattered to a million pieces. Mira twisted back in her chair to sit properly. She snapped her fingers in his face to get his attention and scowled at him when he finally paid her attention.

"Sorry what was that?" he asked nonchalantly. Mira frowned again and excused herself to the bathroom. She was certain he wouldn't notice if she changed her direction so she made her way over to the main entrance and glanced over her shoulder one more time before leaving the diner. She walked home deep in thought, disappointed in herself for believing that he would be in the slightest bit interested in her.

A stupid thought indeed.

She was sitting in her living room when Jay stormed into the house.

"Why would you do something so stupid, Mira!" he yelled.

She looked apathetically at him before replying, "I'm surprised you even noticed I had left."

"You made a complete fool of me, Mira! That girl walked by and laughed at me when she noticed I had been sitting by myself for an hour. You could have told me you were going to leave. I wouldn't have wasted any time sitting by myself. I could have totally got that girl's number!"

Mira looked disbelievingly at him. He was walking dangerously close to her and she knew his close proximity would fluster her thoughts. She knew words would fail her so she shook her head and headed toward her room.

"You're not even going to explain to me why you left without so much as a word? Mira that was completely stupid and not to mention rude!" he yelled to her back.

Mira whirled around startling him to a stop. "Rude? Tell me Jason, when was the last time you wrote me a letter; or even called me? You've been gone for a little less than four months but it's been six since I last heard from you. You made a promise to me that since your address would always be changing, you would be the one to call or send a letter. But I have not received anything from you in the past six months. I was sitting in the dark worrying over you. I had to ask my parents how you were doing, and when my parents told me you were back in town I was ecstatic. But today in the restaurant you acted like I didn't exist. So let's do each other a favor and keep it that way. You obviously don't have a hard time forgetting me so just put me out of my misery and leave for good. I'm tired of trying to maintain a friendship that ended before it could even get started." And with her last words she walked away.

Jason looked at her in shock and before he could fully register what she was saying she was already locked in her room. He wasn't sure what he should've done so he did the only thing he could think of. He left. He didn't understand at the time what she was trying to say but as the years passed by and his world began to shake, he finally realized what her friendship meant.

After that day, he never bothered to visit her. No letters were ever written. No phone calls were ever received. But one thing remained constant. And it is for that reason that Mira could never let go. She would always be reminded of him and as she went through adolescence on her own, she discovered a world that – though temporarily – would ease her pain of loneliness and longing. Senior year was just days away and she sat in her room sorting through the memories she fought hard to keep animate in her mind. She shook her head knowing that she was being silly. Though a small part of her would never let go of Jason, she knew he would never come back. She had seen him countless times, enough to know that he had moved on and forgotten her.

"Belle, baby? Are you in there?" her mother called.

"Yeah!" Mirabelle yelled back. Lita opened the door to her daughter's room and leaned against the door frame.

"You okay?"

"No. But I will be. Do you think you could help me?" Mira asked. Lita pushed herself off the frame and walked toward Mira. Before grabbing a box, she embraced her daughter and kissed her lightly on the forehead.

"I love you so much, you know that right?" Mira chuckled at her mother's remark and nodded. She lifted a box and handed it to her mom before taking one herself and walking out of the room. They placed the boxes one by one into the spare bedroom quietly until all 10 boxes were tucked neatly into the recesses of the room. Mira sighed before closing the door behind her and following her mother into the kitchen.

"Hungry?" Lita asked. Mira nodded enthusiastically and smiled. Lita laughed before calling out to her husband and grabbing a jacket. He emerged from his office clearly in a state of disarray. "Is something the matter?" Lita asked worriedly. He shook his head though still dazed at some information just relayed to him.

"Daddy, we're going out to eat. Do you want to come?" Mira finally asked. Charlie looked up at his daughter and smiled. There was no way that he could break the news to her without breaking her heart.

"Yeah, you guys head out to the car and I'll be with you in a minute," he said. Mira kissed him on the cheek before heading out to the garage.

Charlie sighed and covered his face with his hands. This was a delicate situation and he knew that it would take a lot of courage to tell his daughter something that would undoubtedly hurt her in the process. It was inescapable but Charlie wished there was a way to avoid any conflict. He grabbed his jacket, keys and wallet before walking out and driving to Chico's. The ride to the restaurant was silent as well as most of the meal. Charlie was struggling to find the right time to tell his daughter. He couldn't muster enough courage to say one single sentence that could ultimately shatter her world. He silently chewed, not knowing his daughter could sense his uneasiness.

"Daddy, whatever it is you need to say, you can say it. It can't be that bad. Whatever it is, we're here to support you," Mira said comfortingly.

Lita looked at her daughter and laughed. "Isn't that my job as the wife to comfort her husband?" Mira smiled and looked at her father encouraging him to reveal whatever it was he was hiding.

"Well the good news is, is that it has nothing to do with me and that I am perfectly healthy," he paused, bracing himself before he let the big bomb drop, "But earlier this evening I received a call from Uncle James. They're coming back to Verona. For good."

Mira dropped her fork before she could place it in her mouth. She looked up from her plate to her father who had just as much pain in his eyes as the pain evident in her own. In a matter of one sentence, her world crashed down around her. Her eyes began to automatically water and her mother soothingly rubbing her back was no help either. After realizing the dramatic reaction she made, she took in a deep breath and composed herself. There was no way that after so many years she would let him get to her. She was stronger than that. She built herself up for this very moment. The very moment that he could ever possibly ruin her life. To be honest, she had anticipated a visit. There was no way that Uncle James and Aunt Emily could go on without seeing their lifetime best friends. No chance in hell.

Mira finally smiled and looked at her father. "I'll be fine, dad. I know what you're thinking and yes I'm ok with it. Why shouldn't I be? I mean, it's been three years since I've seen him, right?" she said. Who was she kidding? She knew she was saying it more to reassure herself than as an explanation. Lita remained quiet, unsure of what to say at the moment. Charlie's news had come as a shock to her as well. As much as she was excited to see Emily, she knew Mira would be affected by it greatly. She only hoped that with the amount of time she had to heal, the reunion wouldn't be so bad.

They rode home in silence once again and went their separate ways once in the house. Mira went directly to her bedroom and sat up on her bed. What would this mean? Would she see him a lot now? What about Uncle James and Aunt Emily? Would they become a large part of her life now like they were before? Questions ran endlessly through her mind, disabling her from falling asleep, so she turned on her television. Unfortunately that decision deemed unwise. His face flashed on the screen almost immediately as reporter was enthusiastically recalling his parents' decision to move back. She switched off the TV and resorted to the radio.

'So Jason, I hear you're moving back to your hometown? You excited?'

'Actually Shaggy, I'm ecstatic to move back. I've had a lot of great memories there in Verona that-'

Mira quickly turned off the radio and sat at her desk. He just seems to be everywhere these days. She had only the weekend to prepare herself for her senior year and she was more then ready for the distraction.