…And Then…I Kissed Her
By: Jamie Sommers
Rated: P/G 13 for language
Synopsis: Landon Carter needs help with his lines for the school play and Jamie Sullivan has agreed to give him a hand on one condition…he has to promise not to fall in love with her.
As I pulled my car up to the school's parking lot feelings of apprehension filled me. Do I forgive and forget? 'No. No way. These people don't deserve to be forgiven and God knows I'll never forget what they did to Jamie. So what do you do Landon?'
I found myself sitting in Principal Kelly's office for the second time that day, only this time I went there on my own. I looked around the room noticing things I hadn’t noticed earlier in the day. His calendar was set on the wrong date, pictures of his family, but I didn’t notice any pictures of a wife or kids.
“Landon.” From the look on his face I could tell he knew why I was here.
“Principal Kelly listen…” I looked him directly in the eyes and said, “I need your help.”
“Well hello Landon. What brings you here?”
“This,” I pulled out the picture and began making my plea. “Miss. Garber I was wondering since you really don’t have much you’re doing in class now that the play is over…well…” ‘This, Landon my man would be the perfect time for that puppy dog grin.’ I flashed her my crooked smile that worked so wonderfully on women and asked her, “I don’t suppose you’d consider spending class time on a little campus restoration project I was working on?”
I looked at the group of people that had gathered across the campus in their joint efforts to rid the school of the paraphernalia that my so-called friends had created, in complete awe. Not just the janitorial staff, but faculty and students as well. Teachers that were free this period and would normally work on grading papers or what not were working side by side picking up the trash that had littered the campus. The part time cafeteria workers whose day had ended over an hour ago were there to give a helping hand and then…then there were the students. None of them were forced into doing it. All of them volunteered and I realized that for someone that spent day after day alone at lunch table seven Jamie Sullivan had more friends, true friends, then anyone could ever hope for. ‘Jamie, do you realize how many lives you’ve touched?’
I began walking to the dumpster with the last of the trash bags when I heard her shrill of a voice pierce my ears. “You think this is gonna make up for all that you’ve done to her?”
Without turning to face her I said, “Hello Sally.”
“I knew you were a no good bum the minute I laid eyes on you. You just walked into play rehearsal like you were God’s gift or something and then you just preyed on the most vulnerable individual you could. That’s how you work isn’t it Landon? That’s how you get your kicks? Embarrassing and humiliating those less fortunate then you? You really are an asshole you know that?”
I held my head down and looked at my feet. ‘Can you argue with her Landon? Up until a few weeks ago that was you to a tee, but now…Jamie.’ “Jamie,” I sighed aloud as my eyes closed and my head fell backwards.
“Yes. Jamie. I hope you’re happy Landon. You’ve succeeded. You’ve pulled off the ultimate prank. I’m just sorry that Principal Kelly didn’t make you clean all of this by yourself and if it wasn’t for Jamie…well none of us would be helping you with your punishment.”
I was confused for a moment, ‘punishment? Typical. She thinks that I was the one the orchestrated this. Well, so did Eddie until you set him straight. I wonder how many of the rest of these people think I was the one that did this? Do you really care Landon? Do you really care what these people think? No. As long as Jamie knows the truth…’ I began to chuckle to myself and I could see the irritation in Sally’s face. I had an instant flashback to our bus trip.
“Don’t you care what people think of you?”
I remember thinking to myself at the time, ‘well what the hell is wrong with you?’ But I knew now that she wasn’t the one with the problem, all along it had been me. I was the one with the mixed up priorities. ‘Not anymore though Jamie. Not anymore.’ I looked at Sally and said as politely as I could, “Think what you want of me Sally...I don’t really care. Thanks for helping out today. I’m sure Jamie’ll appreciate it.”
“Uh…hi,” I said nervously. “Where you off to?”
“Um…gym. What about you?”
“I’ve got study hall.” I just stood there like an idiot looking down at my shuffling feet until I finally worked up enough nerve to ask her if I could walk her to class. Instead of heading towards the locker room she went straight for the bleachers that surrounded the baseball diamond.
“ …Don’t you like playing ball?”
“Actually I really like baseball. Well…I think I like it…I’m not really sure if…”
I knew before she even finished her thought…“You can’t play baseball can you?”
“It’s easy. All you have to do is hit the ball with a bat.”
“Well, I’ve never hit a ball with a bat before…in fact I’ve never even picked up a bat, but…”
“Nothing. It’s nothing.”
“Hey,” there was more going on here and I could sense it. “You can tell me you know. But what??”
“Well…number 34 on my list is to…uh…well…”
“Well??” ‘Come on Jamie. Tell me. Please…please trust me.’
“I want to hit a home run.”
‘She told you Landon.’ I smiled to myself and let her in on a little secret of my own. “Well…who wouldn’t want to hit a home run? I’ve always wanted to hit a grand slam myself.” I was instantly lost in her eyes, but then the bell rang and reality intruded once again. “Guess I better be going. See ya later?”
I sat at the table in the library thinking about her list of wishes and it hit me that right now I only had one wish and that was to make hers come true. ‘Well…that and to get the hell out of Beaufort. Landon, you heard her, she’s not allowed to date. So what are you gonna do about that?’ I looked up at the clock and realized that there was still twenty minutes of class left before lunch. ‘If I left now, I could make it back here in time for my next class.’ Picking up my backpack I checked to see where the substitute teacher we had for the day was, and when I noticed her dozing at her desk, I figured it was pretty safe to go. I snuck out of the library and headed towards the one thing that could help resolve this issue I had with Jamie: the church. ‘Landon my man, it’s time you faced the preacher.’
I heard his words echoing from outside of the building and knew that it was going to be another Sunday sermon dedicated to the wrongs that Landon Carter had committed this past week.
“Do not be deceived; God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. He who sows of the flesh will of the flesh reap…”
‘Say something Landon. Let him know you’re here. Too late.’ He noticed me as he picked up his glass of water.
“Can I help you?”
‘You can do this Landon. Remember…this is Jamie you’re fighting for.’ “Uh, yes sir. I’d… like to ask your daughter to dinner on Saturday night.”
“That’s not possible.”
I was disappointed but it was exactly what I was expecting. “Well… with all due respect, sir, I ask you to reconsider.”
“With all due respect, Mr. Carter, I’ve made my decision. You can, uh, exit the way you entered.”
‘Sorry Rev, but I’m not giving up this time.’ “Listen, I’m sorry I haven’t treated Jamie the way I should’ve. She deserves more than that.” It took me losing her friendship to realize this, but now that I had, there was nothing that was going to keep me from being with her. Not even her father. ‘Time to pull out the big guns Landon.’ “I’m just asking you for the same thing that you teach us every day in church…” ‘That got his attention.’ “… and that’s faith.”
I listened as he sighed and I could hear his mind working in overtime trying to come up with plausible excuses for why he should deny me this right, but he just looked at me and asked, “What are your plans for the night?”
‘He’s kidding right?’ I was shocked. ‘Was he actually going to agree this easily?’ “Well…uh…I thought I’d start off with a nice dinner, then…” this is where I got nervous. Would he think my idea was stupid? “See…”
“Spit it out Mr. Carter. If you’re intending on taking my daughter out, I want to know where.”
“Jamie told me about this list that she has and I was kind of thinking that I could help her make some of those things come true.” I saw his face go white and I realized that she might have some things on that list that I shouldn’t be doing with her so I immediately continued with, “like I know she wanted to hit a home run and I figured she can’t really do that unless she knew how to play ball…and…well…then there’s the two places at once…I haven’t really figured that one out yet, but…” I trailed off and ran my hand through my hair nervously. “Reverend, I promise you my intentions here are sincere.”
He stared me up and down for a few minutes then said to me, “Where are you taking her for dinner?”
I couldn’t believe it. He agreed. He agreed!! ‘Thank You God! Thank You!’
I felt my heart beating…thumping…POUNDING the closer I got to her house. I grabbed the bouquet of wild flowers I bought her and made my way up her walkway. With every step I took my pulse raced. I was certain that all of the moisture that should’ve been in my mouth was now occupying the palms of my hands. My mouth was so dry that my lips were beginning to stick together. A chill shot through me as I pressed the doorbell and out of sheer panic I started knocking on her door, ‘just in case they don’t hear the bell.’
Reverend Sullivan opened the door and began laying down some rules and regulations for the night and set a curfew of 11pm but all the while he spoke I could hear her gentle footsteps bringing her closer to me. The heady scent of jasmine filled my senses and I knew it wasn’t the wild flowers that I held in my hand--it was Jamie. I absently agreed to her father’s request for a curfew and I knew she was close. I could feel it. What I didn’t know was that she would change my life forever.