By: kf6tac (Brian) and Jamie Sommers
Synopsis: This story is about Landon and Jamie’s budding relationship. They’ve had their first date; Landon has told her he loves her, now they have to face their friends, their family and their own fears. Written from both Landon (written in bold print by kf6tac/Brian) and Jamie’s (written in italic print by Jamie Sommers) POV.
We had one last class together: English literature. We walked into class and found the chairs arranged in a circle, since we had taken our time getting there the only two chairs available were on opposite sides of the circle, so we couldn’t sit next to one another, but we were able to look at each other and looking at Landon was just as wonderful as sitting next to him.
The minute the bell rang; Mr. Warren immediately began his discussion about Shakespeare. All though his work was highly regarded, I must admit, I’ve never really been a big fan of his work. I respected it and could appreciate it, but I never really found romantic notions in tragedies like Romeo and Juliet. If they had just believed in one another, they would’ve never had to go through the pain that they did, but then again, I guess it wouldn’t be considered a tragedy, would it?
“ ‘As You Like It’ is one of my favorite pieces of literature from Shakespeare,” Mr. Warren began telling us the basic gist of a story about star-crossed lovers, as many of Shakespeare’s plays are. He began to call upon people to read certain passages from the play then we would discuss the meaning of it out loud.
I was somewhat relieved that he didn’t ask me to do a reading. ‘Five more minutes of class left,’ I thought. Then…
“Jamie? Would you begin reading Rosalind’s speech on page 126 please?”
‘Me?’ I thought, ‘I know I’m in the drama department, but Shakespeare was not my best work.’
“Sure.” I took a deep breath and glanced at Landon who was giving me this look like he was saying, ‘better you than me.’ With a sigh I started reading it, trying to understand Shakespeare’s vision along the way.
“O, I know where you are: nay, 'tis true: there was never any thing so sudden but the fight of two rams and Caesar's thrasonical brag of 'I came, saw, and overcame:'”
“Hold on a second Jamie. Do you know what she’s saying here?” He meant Rosalind, the character I was reading.
“Ummm…that…ummm…” I had no clue. I shook my head ‘no’ and looked down at the book trying my best to decipher Shakespeare’s code.
“Does anyone know what she’s saying in this passage? Anybody?” He looked around the circle and realized that no one got it. “This is where Rosalind is admitting that she did in fact have a plan to get Orlando’s brother and her sister together. Ahhhh, but something unexpected happened along the way… she fell in love. Why don’t you continue Jamie and listen to what she’s saying. Go ahead.”
I looked back at Landon for a moment, expecting to see that familiar lopsided grin, but found it replaced with an encouraging smile. I began, “…for your brother and my sister no sooner met but they looked, no sooner looked but they loved, no sooner loved but they sighed, no sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason, no sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy; and in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs to marriage which they will climb incontinent, or else be incontinent before marriage: they are in the very wrath of love and they will together; clubs cannot part them.”
“Thank you Jamie. Does anybody know what it is Shakespeare’s saying here…what, in fact, Rosalind is saying?”
Before Mr. Warren could explain it to us, Landon broke the silence.
“She’s saying that regardless of her ploy to bring them together, they still would’ve gotten together. They would’ve found each other in spite of her actions, not because of them. Ya see,” he looked at me with a gentle expression filling his eyes and huskiness to his voice that had me entranced, making me feel as though we were the only two people in the room. “Once they let their walls down they were able to see each other and all it took was for them to look…to really look at one another, to realize that there was something more between them…something special…beautiful. That they loved each other and the love they found is what’ll help them to overcome every obstacle they face in life.” His voice was so soft, breathy, “That they can make it through anything as long as they face it together. And that nothing will ever break them apart as long as they hold onto that love.”
“Very good Landon!!” Mr. Warren said. “That is one …”
My heart was beating so fast, I could feel it pulsing in my throat. My stomach was churning, my palms sweating. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. I knew he was talking about us, about what we had faced today with our friends, but he had no clue the obstacles that were in front of us. I was in love with him. So much in love with him, but was that love strong enough to overcome any obstacle? I knew the answer before I even asked myself the question. ‘Yes. Yes it was.’
The bell rang and we were off to face the remainder of the day on our own.
“So, I guess I’ll see ya after school.” I loved the way his lips moved when he said the word, ‘school.’
“I guess so,” I could barely speak, barely breath. “Have a good day.”
We weren’t moving. We just stood there in the hallway, staring at each other, holding hands. I couldn’t seem to let go of his hands…of him and for the first time since we began dating, I was the one to lean in for a kiss. It was just a brief touch of our lips, but I could feel it cause my heart to swell.
The clock was ticking and it was getting closer and closer to our next period. There was always the afternoon break, but we were going to be on opposite sides of the campus so by the time we met up, there would be hardly enough time to get to our last class. There was no conceivable way for us to see each other until the end of the school day--which neither one of us was too happy about--on the plus side, the remainder of the day passed by uneventfully, and very, VERY slowly.
I didn’t think I’d ever sit in a circle again after kindergarten ended. I mean – doesn’t everyone sit in rows facing the chalkboard? I guess I was wrong though, because a circle was exactly what I saw when Jamie and I walked into English lit. class. We got in just a little bit before the bell, so we didn’t exactly have much of a choice in sitting across from each other. It was good enough for me though, I couldn’t ask for a prettier face to sit across from than Jamie’s. I guess Mr. Warren planned to discuss Shakespeare that day; Warren was a total Shakespeare buff. I myself, was not a fan of Shakespeare’s. By the time senior year hit, Cliff’s Notes were already my best friends in English class.
We were talking about “As you Like It” today, and even though I thumbed through the Cliff’s Notes the night before I really didn’t feel like talking much. Shakespeare was tough for me to understand, and more likely than not my responses in class were met with silence. I just sat there grinning at Jamie – I figured other people could probably see me, but what the heck. I could grin if I wanted to. Mr. Warren called on Jamie to read the last section of our assignment for the day in the last couple of minutes in class. I thought to myself that Jamie would do great, the amazing actress she was and all. When Warren called on her though, I saw her facial expression change from anticipating the bell to one of… some sort of disappointment. I realized then that Jamie wasn’t a fan of Shakespeare either. I never would have guessed.
She got through the first chunk of lines all right though. Then Warren stopped her and asked her to explain the meaning of the passage. She seemed pretty lost when she finally shook her head ‘no.’ I looked around the room, and noticed that even Janet, one of our class’s biggest Shakespeare followers, looked pretty perplexed. I looked back at Jamie, hoping she would look up. I just wanted to mouth to her “It’s okay.” But she kept looking at her book, so I settled back and waited for Mr. Warren to just explain the darn thing so we could move on. He finally figured out that no one really knew what Shakespeare was talking about, so he explained to us that the passage was describing this girl Rosalind’s plan to hook her sister up with some guy named Orlando’s brother, only she somehow fell head over heels for the Orlando while she was trying.
Warren asked Jamie to finish up, and she looked up. I looked at her and smiled the friendliest and most loving smile I could conjure up. I wanted her to know that I thought she was great no matter what. She finished the section of the play, but this time I was listening intently to what she was reading. Elizabethan English was some pretty weird stuff, but I realized that behind all that fluff, Shakespeare was talking about the inevitability of love. How Rosalind’s sister and Orlando’s brother would have fallen in love even if Rosalind had just sat at home and done nothing. I thought about Jamie and her faith, how she never doubted anything that came her way. She always accepted it as part of God’s plan for her, and I guess for her some things were just inevitable. Like falling in love with me.
When Mr. Warren asked for a response this time, I knew exactly what I was going to say.
My heart was pounding as I spoke up. “She’s saying that regardless of her ploy to bring them together, they still would’ve gotten together. They would’ve found each other in spite of her actions, not because of them. Ya see,” I said, gazing at Jamie and admiring her for her faith and her certainty, “Once they let their walls down they were able to see each other and all it took was for them to look…to really look at one another, to realize that there was something more between them…something special…beautiful. That they loved each other and the love they found is what’ll help them to overcome every obstacle they face in life. That they can make it through anything as long as they face it together. And that nothing will ever break them apart as long as they hold onto that love.” And I knew it was all true. Not just for the play, but for Jamie and me as well. I never let her into my life before I got forced into the spring play, but once I did… I was forced to forget all my pre-conceived opinions of her. Between running lines with her, rehearsing with the class, and actually performing on stage, I realized that there was a whole lot more to Jamie Sullivan than I had ever known. And she helped me learn that there was a lot more to me, too.
Mr. Warren looked really surprised at my response, but before he could finish up his thoughts the bell rang. I picked up my stuff and watched as Jamie walked over to meet me. I was mesmerized by her, and I knew that no matter what, we would get through anything. I wasn’t going to let Dean and his crowd of followers stop us from being together. Her father, well I could change his mind too if I just worked hard enough at it. And once he was convinced, everything would be all right. I just knew it.
It took me awhile to realize that Jamie was already standing right in front of me. We walked into the hall, and we just stood there again. I was completely lost in her eyes, and from what I could tell she was lost in me too. I knew we had to get to our own classes though, but before I turned to leave she leaned in to kiss me. It was just a short kiss, but I still felt the sparks surging through my body from head to toe. I almost had to tear myself away from her to move on to psychology.
Trigonometry. I never realized how much I hated that class until the moment I had to walk away from Landon to go there. ‘This is ridiculous. I mean...it’s just a couple of hours, right? I’ll be fine. It’s not like I haven’t survived the past 18 years without him. I did just fine without Landon Carter before, so I’ll do just fine now.’ No matter how many times I told myself that it always ended with the same sentiment, ‘ Yeah…sure you will Jamie.’
I sighed as I walked towards my last class of the day—I still had drama, but that never really seemed like a class to me. As I walked into the room I noticed Eric sitting in the back, he lifted his head up to look at me and for a moment I thought he was going to say something, but he didn’t. He just turned around and started talking to the kid next to him. Sitting in my customary seat—front row, next to the window—I took out my book and got settled in for the longest 50 minutes of my life. For a girl that was grateful for every second God saw fit to give her, all I kept thinking was, ‘ will this class ever end?’
I spent the entire period doing something I would never think of doing before--I was doodling. I just picked up my pencil and started scribbling stupid things down on my paper like, Jamie and Landon forever and Landon loves Jamie. When the bell rang I looked down at my notebook and noticed that I had filled up not only the entire page with meaningless drawings of hearts and flowers and sentiments of love, but I had gotten some on the desk as well. This was not something I did. Doodling was something other girls did, not me. Definitely, not me! ‘Then why is your book covered with it?’ I thought.
I’m not actually all that sure what happened today in psychology. I know that there was something being said about some weird “Oedipus complex”, along with some other psychological things. I figured I’d just read the book later on and figure it all out. It’s not like there was any math involved. All I could do during class was think about Jamie. And since there was no one from Dean’s circle in that class, I could do a lot of thinking. I sat in the back, like usual, just day-dreaming the time away. Mr. Olsen… well he was lost somewhere in a textbook reading to us about different subconscious thoughts and all that type of stuff. When the bell rang for my ten-minute break, I walked quickly out to my locker. After what happened in the cafeteria at lunch, I had been planning to just empty it out. I didn’t want to have to deal with Dean every time I needed a book. I figured I could just share with Jamie or something until I could talk to Principal Kelly about getting a new one.
While I was busy removing all my books, I heard someone come up behind me.
“Hey man, what are you doin’?” I didn’t need to turn around to know that it was Eric.
“What’s it look like? I’m emptying my locker. Something tells me I’m not exactly welcome here anymore.” I just kept emptying my locker, not even bothering to turn my face.
“No man, that’s not what I meant. I want to know what you’re doing.”
I dropped my last book onto the pile on the floor and turned to face Eric. “I think I should be the one asking you that question. Where were you in that cafeteria huh? Look, I expected this kind of crap from everyone else but not from you. I thought you’d be cool with it.”
Eric was taken aback by my comment, apparently. He stumbled a bit getting his next words out. “Well… uh, man… I couldn’t just bail on Dean.”
“But you can bail on me, right? You couldn’t bail on Dean, who you’ve only known since we started high school… so instead you bailed on me, your friend since we were in kindergarten?”
More silence. They say silence is golden, but in a situation like this… it was just the opposite. I knew I was losing Eric, that every second no one said anything the gap between us was getting bigger and bigger. What could I do though? My thoughts raced at what seemed like an incredible speed. I tried to remember what changed me… what finally got me to open up. ‘The answer to that is obvious Carter--it was Jamie. But Eric doesn’t have Jamie.’ The reality of that was painful… the only reason I changed was because Jamie became a part of my life. And without someone like Jamie, it looked like Eric was just going to be another lost cause… unless…. Some sort of a plan slowly formed in my mind. It was a risky long shot, but…
I turned back and shut my locker. As I picked up my books to leave, I said to Eric, “Look Eric, I thought I saw something in you. Something good. But… I was very wrong.”
As I walked away, I hoped Jamie’s words could be the jump-start that Eric needed, just as they had been for me.
Since we had finished with the play, drama class was back to basics. Miss Garber spent a lot of time teaching us the fine art of Improvisations and mirroring techniques. We got to do skits and sometimes we would just sit around the piano and sing show tunes. Today we were doing relaxation exercises—lying down on the stage with our eyes closed, tensing up every muscle, starting at our toes, until gradually you were tensing up your entire body then relaxing it. I lied down on stage between Sally — who hadn’t said anything to me since lunch — and Eddie. I closed my eyes and the next thing I knew I was looking up at Landon. I had fallen asleep on stage and since Miss. Garber had a habit of ignoring the last bell of the day, he had come to drama to pick me up and take me home. Everyone was gone, with the exception of Miss. Garber and Eddie.
“Hey,” he said softly. He tilted his head to the side and pursed his lips, “was class really that boring?”
I began to sit up. “No,” but I got a twitch in my back, and winced in pain.
“Hey…take it easy. I can’t imagine this stage floor makes a very good mattress. Here,” he put his hand behind my back and gently guided me to my feet. “Let me give you a hand.”
I stood up and shook my head a little—trying to get my bearings about me—and asked, “Where is everybody?”
“Well…sleeping beauty finally woke up,” Eddie teased. “Have a nice nap?”
“Mmmmm,” I looked around and asked again, “Where did everyone go?”
“I imagine they went home,” said Miss. Garber. “School has been dismissed for almost twenty minutes now.”
“Twenty minutes?” I couldn’t believe it.
Apparently I had fallen asleep and Miss. Garber took that as a compliment to her relaxation exercises. She had informed the class to leave quietly, and Eddie volunteered to stick around and wait for me to wake, just in case I needed a ride home. He and Miss. Garber were still basking in the glow of the play’s success so they didn’t notice when Landon walked in and woke me, himself.
I was quiet on the way home, I didn’t really know what to say, plus I was still a little groggy. I knew Landon was going to ask me why I fell asleep, but I just didn’t know what I was going to tell him. ‘Don’t lie to him,’ I told myself. ‘Whatever you do, don’t lie to him. If he asks you, just tell the truth.’ Fortunately he didn’t ask. He just held onto my hand and drove, that’s when I noticed the pile of books in the backseat of his car.
“Boy, you must really have a lot of homework!”
Jamie didn’t show up at her locker after school, so I dumped my books in the backseat of my car and went looking for her. I figured that the last person who saw her would be Miss Garber, although the woman could be a little air-headed sometimes and might not have paid that close attention. When I got to the drama room though, I was treated with an interesting surprise – Jamie, asleep all by herself on the stage.
‘Well,’ I thought to myself. ‘Perhaps I should wake her with a kiss.’ I promptly snapped out of it though. I was no Prince Charming.
She woke up as I approached her though, so we didn’t have too much of a problem. Jamie seemed to have lost her sense of time during that little nap, and she wondered where everyone had disappeared off to before Miss Garber told her that school had been out for almost twenty minutes. After a little trouble getting up off the stage, Jamie and I were headed back home in my car. She was quiet most of the time, although she reacted with genuine surprise when she saw the stack of books on my backseat.
“Boy, you must really have a lot of homework!” she said to me.
I laughed, and then told her, “Naw, I just emptied out my locker since I didn’t want to be around Dean and his crowd anymore. Is it alright if I share yours until I talk to Kelly about getting another one?”
She thought about it for a little while, then replied, “Sure Landon. I know we’re technically not supposed to share lockers buuuuut… I don’t think you’ll steal my books or anything.” She smiled at me and nudged my elbow a bit when she said that. “You’ll just have to promise to remember which books are yours and which are mine, so we don’t cause any problems at the end of the year.”
As I turned the corner, my psych textbook flipped open and one of my worksheets fell to the floor of the car. “Oh yeah,” she added jokingly. “You also wouldn’t want to forget your homework because you took one of my books by accident.”
I pulled up to the sidewalk in front of her house. I didn’t want to leave her yet, so I asked if I could stay and do some homework with her.
“Landon, you know you’re not allowed in the house without my father here.”
I had almost forgotten that the Reverend was usually at the church in the afternoons. “Well… I can be a good boy and stay on the porch. I won’t cause any trouble, I promise.”
“Alright,” she said as we both got out of the car. “You can set your stuff down there by the swing and I’ll go inside to get us something to drink.”
I smiled as I watched Jamie walk into her house. Anyone passing by probably would have wondered why Landon Carter was standing on the local reverend’s porch beaming like an idiot, but I didn’t care. If they didn’t know by now that I was completely in love with the Reverend’s daughter, they’d find out soon anyways.
I went inside and made a pitcher of iced tea and put it on a tray with two glasses, then I found some cookies and put that on there as well. As I was walking back out to the porch I heard a voice, but I wasn’t really sure who it was. We weren’t expecting any company and my father wasn’t due to come home any time soon, so I was quite curious to see who it was that decided to pay us a visit. When I looked out the screen door I noticed Landon talking, the only thing was, no one else was out there.
“Who are you talking to?” I looked around the porch and set the tray down on the little table.
“Ummm…” he had this look on his face like he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. “That was quick. I thought you’d take longer.”
“It’s just iced tea and cookies,” I looked at him again and asked, “Landon? Who were you talking to?”
“Well…uh…nobody really…I was just sort of…ummm…” he lifted his eyes and looked right at me. “I was just having a conversation.”
“I saw that. With who?” The play was long over and as far as I knew he hadn’t taken on any other acting roles.
“Ummm…you. See, I wanted to ask you to go out with me on Friday night to the high school carnival, so I thought I should practice first.” He looked like he had the first time he asked me out, a little giddy but mostly shy.
“Oh. Good idea. So what did I say? Am I going?” I was trying not to giggle, but he was just so cute.
He rolled his eyes at me and grinned as he took a step towards me, “I don’t know. I hope so.”
“Well I guess there’s only one way for you to find out.” I took a step closer to him.
“I guess so.” He took another step towards me. When we were finally within reaching distance of each other, he put his hands on my upper arms and slowly ran them down to capture my fingers between his own. “Jamie, would you go out with me on Friday night to the carnival?”
“I’d love to.” Now all I had to do was ask my dad.