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.
When I got home from Jamie’s house on Saturday evening, I almost ran into my mom as I headed up the stairs. She was on her way down with a basket full of laundry.
“Oh Landon, how did everything go with Jamie?” she asked excitedly. I guess she really picked up on how special Jamie was to me. Things weren’t like this with the girlfriends I had before.
“Everything was great, thanks again for the sparkling cider! It really helped.”
“How did Reverend Sullivan take this all?”
“Well… I guess he was pretty cool with it. He helped me set everything up on the balcony. Although I still get the feeling he doesn’t quite trust me. Can’t blame the guy though.”
“Just give him some time Landon,” she said. She immediately got that “I’m feeling guilty” look though, and I could tell we were both thinking the same thing: ‘How much time can I really give?’
“Why don’t we invite him and Jamie over sometime?” she offered after a few seconds of silence. “It can be a family meet family thing. I know we’ve been going to his church for years, but we’ve never actually sat down and had dinner with him or anything like that.”
“Do you think he’d go for it, mom?”
“He’s a nice man, Landon. I think he’ll agree to it.”
I considered calling right then to ask, but my mom brought me back to reality and pointed out that it was almost 11PM. And besides, he had said he was getting ready to turn in before I left. We agreed that we could meet up with him after church.
Things were bustling at church the next morning. It was like everyone in town who ever went to the church, even just once, had showed up. Of course Jamie was still quite the focus of attention, and everyone who hadn’t been in church for the announcement last week gathered around her before the service to talk to her. I saw Belinda’s parents there, but I noticed that Belinda herself hadn’t showed up. As a matter of fact, I hadn’t heard or seen much of her since last Sunday. I was thinking about that when Eric came up and clapped me on the shoulder.
“Hey Landon, how you doin’ bro?”
“I’m great man, how about you? And hey, how was Prom and that ‘hot date’ of yours?”
“It was great, I’ll have to tell you all about it. Did you and Jamie do anything?”
“Yeah, I uh… I sorta brought the prom to her.”
“Man, I always knew you were the ladies’ man Landon.” I chuckled at that one. Eric was always a funny guy.
“Thanks. So what brings you here to church? You never struck me as the serious church-going type.”
“It’s this whole thing with Jamie, ya know? It got me thinkin’… maybe I should start getting a little friendlier with ‘the big guy’.” He shifted his gaze upward, and I knew what he was talking about.
“Yeah, I know what you mean. Hey, I’ll have to catch you later – looks like the service is about to start.”
“Alright Landon, call me sometime dude!”
After the service, my mom and I hung back until the crowd had left and we could talk to Jamie and her dad. I offered the invitation to them to come over for dinner sometime during the week; Reverend Sullivan initially tried to turn it down.
“Landon, we really wouldn’t want to trouble your mother.”
I glanced over at Jamie, and she replied in kind, “We don’t want to put any extra burdens on her, Landon.” I knew Jamie was being honest about that, and it seemed like her father was too. He honestly didn’t seem to dislike me as much as before.
“Oh it’ll be no problem at all,” my mom chimed in. “I love cooking for guests. And besides, Landon can give me a hand. I’ve trained him well.” She said that last part with a grin.
Reverend Sullivan pondered it for a while, and then he agreed. “As long as it’s no trouble to you, we’d love to come.”
“That’s great!” my mom exclaimed, and I could tell she was genuinely excited about having guests over. It had been awhile since we had anyone over for dinner. “How does Friday evening sound? It’ll be at the end of the school week, so no one will have to hurry through dinner to do homework.”
And so the planners were marked, times were set aside, and everything was good to go. My mom and her ideas… she’s a genius, I tell you.
“Do you need us to bring anything, Mrs. Carter?” Jamie asked politely.
“Just yourselves, Jamie. We’ll take care of everything. Oh and don’t worry about dressing up, we’re pretty casual about our dinners.”
“We’d better get going, Jamie,” Reverend Sullivan said after looking at his watch. “It’s getting pretty far into the day. Thanks again for the invitation, Mrs. Carter.”
“You’re always welcome at our place, Reverend. Come along, Landon. We’ve got a dinner to plan.”
“Sure mom just give me a minute,” he turned towards my father and said, “Would you mind if I had a moment with Jamie sir?”
“Well…uh…of course. I’ll meet you at the car Jamie.”
“I guess I’ll meet you at the car too Landon.”
“ ‘kay mom.”
We just stood there holding hands and looking at one another until our parents were out of sight, then we stepped into each other’s embrace. He looked over in the direction that they had walked and kissed me when he saw that that no one was watching.
He buried his face in my hair and said, “I missed you.”
“I missed you too.”
“Are you doing anything special today?”
“No. Not really.”
“Would you like to? Maybe we could go see a matinee or something?”
“Landon…I’m kind of tired…” I felt bad having to turn him down, but I was really feeling the effects of last night’s “prom” and this morning’s church service.
“That’s okay…we don’t have to do anything at all. We could just sit on your porch for a while or…I just wanna spend some time with you.” He tucked his head down enabling him to be eye level with me and asked, “Do you think your dad would be cool with me stopping by later?”
“I don’t know about my dad, but I know I would really like it.”
He walked me to my car where my father was waiting and kissed my cheek. “See you later.”
We spent the afternoon together sitting on the porch swing. My father conveniently had some things to take care of in the yard, but we didn’t mind. We could just be together and not do anything at all and that would be enough for us.
Going back to school the next day was a little hard—I just wasn’t feeling…right. Tuesday I went back to the doctor and wound up getting my medications increased. They made me tired and a bit lethargic so I was pretty grateful Landon had four of my classes with me. At lunch we would sit outside under a tree and I would usually fall asleep while Landon would hold me. He was the best pillow a girl could ask for.
On Friday I woke up with a slight fever but I didn’t stay home from school. If I had then we wouldn’t be able to go to Landon’s for dinner and I really wanted to go.
“Hey? Are you okay?” Landon could tell something was wrong the minute he saw me that morning. “You look like you don’t feel well.”
“No. I’m fine. I just have a little temperature. It’ll go away.”
He gave me the same look that my father had mastered over the past two years. The one that says, ‘Jamie…don’t push yourself.’
“Seriously Landon. I’m fine.”
Monday at school was typical. Well… almost typical. I felt terrible because people kept looking at Jamie. Everywhere we went, people stared. And it wasn’t the same surprised look we got when we first walked on to campus holding hands. They all looked at her like she was some new student, someone they had never seen before.
‘Can’t you leave her alone?’ I wanted to scream. ‘Can’t you see that she’s the same person? It’s still Jamie Sullivan!’
I felt bad because I knew all Jamie had wanted was to live a normal life. I wondered to myself that if I had gone after her that Friday night, maybe she wouldn’t have had to tell everyone else. Now it just seemed like everywhere we went, people backed off as if they would break her if they stood too close. Whenever we went into a room, people stopped talking about their lives and quieted down, as if they didn’t want to hurt Jamie’s feelings by letting her hear about their “normal” lives.
Jamie tried to be strong, and she didn’t complain about anything. I knew it hurt her though. I could see it in her eyes and hear it in her voice. I could tell from they way she held my hand a little bit tighter, stayed just a little bit closer to me whenever we walked through the halls. We both did the best we could to deal with it. We went through our daily routines like nothing was new. We still met each other between classes, went to our shared locker together, and ate lunch outside beneath the trees. A few times Jamie would fall asleep there while we waited for class to start again, but I didn’t mind. I just kept her close to me.
After a long week of school, Friday night finally came. My mom made a pretty big meal, and while I was helping her out in the kitchen I wondered what we would do with all the leftovers. It was clearly too much for four people to handle.
‘I guess I know what I’ll be eating for dinner the next couple of days,’ I thought to myself as I prepared the salad.
As my mom was setting everything out on the dinner table, I heard a car door close. I looked out the front window and I saw Jamie and her father coming up toward the door. She was wearing the pink sweater I gave her. I knew she had woken up in the morning with a slight fever, so I hoped it was keeping her warm enough.
“Mom, they’re here!” I called as I walked over to the front door. I opened it as they got to the top of the steps, and I welcomed them both in.
“Come on in, dinner is just about ready. My mom is just finishing things up in the kitchen and then she’ll be right out. Here, let me get your coat Reverend.”
“Thank you, Landon,” he said as he handed me his jacket. I hung it up on our coat rack, and when I turned around my mom was already in the room greeting the two of them.
After a few minutes of conversation, we all sat down at the table. My mom had really gone all out for this dinner, and we even had a few appetizers before the main course. By the time we were done eating almost two hours had passed, and looking around the table I could tell everyone was quite full. There were plenty of leftovers, and I figured I was right about my dinners for the next few days. After dinner, my mom suggested that Jamie and I have a walk outside and watch the sunset. Her father gave me quick glance.
“Sure, we’ll be right outside if you guys need anything.” I said it partially to reassure Reverend Sullivan, partially to deliver the ‘face-value’ of the words.
Dinner that night was wonderful. Landon’s mom had made quite a spread and afterwards she suggested that Landon and I go outside and enjoy the sunset while she and my father had their coffee. Have I mentioned how much I love this woman? She was more than incredible...she was…amazing.
“It’s a little chilly out here. You wanna wear my jacket?”
“No. I’ll be fine.”
He led me to the bench that was attached to their side porch and we sat down in our customary position—with me in the crook of his arm.
“Thank you for inviting us over for dinner tonight. I think my father is actually enjoying himself.”
“Your welcome. What about you? Are you enjoying yourself?”
“Mmmmm. Always…whenever I’m with you I enjoy myself. It’s funny,” I turned to look at him. “We don’t even have to do anything…we can just sit here and not say anything and that’s enough.”
He kissed my forehead and said, “Just being with you is enough for me.” After a beat he said, “That Friday and Saturday were the worse days of my life.”
He didn’t have to tell me which ones he was speaking of—I knew. “Mine too. I hated having to tell you the truth,” I paused, “but more than that…I hated you not knowing the truth.”
“I hated not seeing you…not being able to talk to you… I never wanna go through anything like that again.” He kissed my head again and whispered against my skin, “I’m so sorry for how I handled that. I should’ve come after you. I just didn’t know what to do.”
“Don’t be sorry Landon,” I turned to look at him. “You handled it just fine. I was the one that handled it poorly. I should’ve trusted you. I should’ve told you sooner.” I began shaking my head back and forth trying to erase the uneasy feelings that those memories brought to mind.
“Hey,” he placed his hands on my face and held his forehead against mine. “We both made mistakes, I guess we’ll just have to learn from them.”
“I love you,” I leaned in and placed a soft kiss on his lips.
“I love you too.”
Settling back into the crook of his arm I said, “You know with everything that happened…I’m not sorry.” I knew I wasn’t explaining myself very well, but I tried, “What I mean is…I don’t regret what happened. If anything, it brought us closer.”
I could feel him smiling against my forehead. “Yeah…I guess it did.” After a minute he asked me, “So…do you have any regrets?”
“You mean about us?”
“Just one. It’s stupid, but…”
“I regret not taking the time to build my telescope.”
“Can’t you do it now? How much time do you have before the comet comes?”
“A few weeks…almost a month.”
“Well, that’s enough time, isn’t it?”
“Yes…I suppose, but…” I didn’t have to say it--he would understand. I’m just not capable of that anymore. I was getting too weak. “Do you have any regrets?” I asked him.
“Not getting to know you sooner.”
I lifted my lips up to meet his waiting ones, “I guess I was wrong. I have two regrets.” I smiled and laid my head against his shoulder. My fever was coming back…I could feel it. I closed my eyes and listened to the water lap behind us once again falling asleep to the steady beat of his heart.
Jamie and I watched the sunset over the water, and then we talked for a while. We talked about everything that had happened two weeks ago, and I realized that we both were scared to death that Friday and Saturday. It was good to know that even when we had problems like that, Jamie and I shared the same emotions. We talked about regrets, about how I wished I had gotten to know her sooner. She brought up her telescope that she had wanted to build, and I realized that even though there was a month or so left before the comet got here she probably wouldn’t be able to finish her telescope. I felt bad about that, she had seemed so excited about seeing the comet when I first ran into her in the cemetery that night… it seemed so long ago, but it was probably only a month or two.
Jamie fell asleep on my shoulder sitting there in front of the water. I pulled her sweater up over her right shoulder, to make sure she wouldn’t get a chill sitting out there. I looked up at the sky, and watched as the stars slowly came out. I heard her breathing softly as she slept, and I decided that she was going to see that comet when it came around. I had never built a telescope before, but I already had Jamie’s first telescope to use as a model. I wasn’t a math whiz or anything, but I did know a thing or two about proportions and how to expand the scale of something. I figured I could find out how big of a mirror this new telescope would need and then just change the size of the rest of the parts. I would have to get her telescope though…
“Landon!” It was my mom. “Reverend Sullivan has to get going soon.”
“We’ll be right there, mom!”
I didn’t want to wake Jamie, so I cradled her in my arms and lifted her up. She mumbled something of an objection, so I just said to her, “It’s alright, Jamie. I didn’t want you to wake up.” She smiled at me, and before closing her eyes again she wrapped one arm around my neck.
“Don’t worry, nothing’s wrong. She just fell asleep, that’s all,” I said as I approached the house. Reverend Sullivan was standing at the door and I didn’t want him to worry. I carried Jamie out to her father’s car, and I set her down in the passenger side.
“I’ll talk to you later, alright love?” I whispered to her.
“Mmmmm hmmmm. Good night Landon. I love you.”
“I love you too, Jamie.”
I shook her father’s hand, and before he left I asked him, “Reverend, is Jamie’s telescope at your place?”
“No,” he said after thinking for a while. “I believe she left it at the cemetery.”
I watched as they drove off, and then I went back into the house. I was pretty wiped out, but instead of going right to bed I sat down and started to do some calculations for Jamie’s new telescope.
My father helped me get ready for bed and tucked me in making me feel like a little girl again. “Daddy?” I asked as he pulled the comforter up to my chin.
“It was nice tonight, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, it was. Very nice.”
“Yeah,” I rolled over and touched my little stuffed bear that Landon had won for me a few weeks ago. “I’m glad you’re getting to know him. He’s really not as bad as you thought. He’s such a good person daddy and his mother…”
“She’s a good woman.”
“Mmmmm, yes she is,” I thought about the afternoon she had set up mine and Landon’s lunch then laid a blanket out by the tree for us. “She’ very supportive of Landon and me. I think she can see how much he loves me.” I was falling in and out of sleep and I wasn’t sure if I heard him right or if it was just my imagination.
“Yes…we all can. I’ll try Jamie. I can’t promise anything, but I’ll try.”