…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.
‘Just be confident Landon. You can do this. You have to do this.’ I walked right up to her table without a care in the world. ‘That’s it. Just stay cool.’
“And that would ruin your reputation how?” ‘Okay…you’re not gonna make any points by pulling the immature ass routine so lets just try being yourself.’ “What’s that?” She turned her book towards me enabling me to read the title, but her eyes never left the pages. ‘Come on Jamie. Look at me. Talk to me.’
“I’m reading all the books on Mr. Rothman’s list of contemporary American authors.”
‘Good…you’ve got her talking. Just keep working this book angle.’ “And how many books are there?”
“A hundred, but then there’s his British list and his European list.”
“So is this all on your list? To read all these books?” ‘You’re doing good Landon; you’ve just got to keep her talking. Okay…slurping her drink is NOT talking. Now what? Tell her the truth Landon. Quit screwing around and just tell her.’
“Jamie…I’m trying here okay. Maybe I miss spending time with you. Maybe you inspire me.” ‘There ya go. You did it.’
“Sounds like bull!”
‘BULL????’ “Which part??”
“All of it.”
“Well it’s not!”
I couldn’t believe my luck. I finally get up enough courage to tell her how I feel and she throws it back in my face. ‘NO! You cannot let her leave like this! DAMMIT JAMIE!!!!’ “Jamie!! Jamie!!” I ran after her. I had, had enough. I was tired of us tiptoeing around one another, tired of pretending that I didn’t have feelings for her.
“You don’t know the first thing about being someone’s friend!” She yelled back at me while she was racing to her car.
“I don’t wanna just be your friend.”
“You don’t know what you want.”
“Neither do you. Maybe you’re just too scared that somone’ll wanna be with you?”
“And why would that scare me?” She stopped and faced me.
“Because then you wouldn’t be able to hide behind your books or…uh…uh…uh your frickin’ telescope or your faith.” ‘Where the hell do you think you’re going? You’re not going anywhere.’ I reached out my hand and stopped her from leaving. That’s when it dawned on me. “No. No. You know the real reason why you’re scared? Because you wanna be with me too.” ‘That’s it isn’t it Jamie? I’m not alone here. You want this just as badly as I do, don’t you?’
She stared at me as though I had just hit a nerve then walked off to her car. ‘Go after her Landon. No. No. She needs some time.’ As I watched her pull her car away from the curb I could feel my heart aching. ‘Landon…what has this girl done to you?’
I paced around my house for a while, trying to get my mind off of this afternoon, but I couldn’t. Jamie was always on my mind, no matter where I went or what I did. She was always there. I threw on my long sleeve shirt and vest and headed out to my car. ‘Might as well do something productive Landon. That thing can’t stay messed up forever.’ I had been working on it for a few minutes when I heard Eric’s car pull up.
“Hey man. What the hell are you doing here??”
“I had to get out of the house. My old lady was on a rampage. ‘Eric clean your room, Eric, take out the trash, walk the dog.’ Man…what the hell? Is it a requirement for mothers to nag?”
I laughed and suddenly felt grateful for Eric’s company. He was just what I needed to keep her off of my mind.
“So you’re finally fixing your car huh?”
“Yep,” I turned back to it and began working on it again.
“ ‘bout damn time. I was getting tired seeing your mom’s. No offense Landon, but wood panels? Damn…your mom’s cool and all, but we have got to work on her taste in vehicles.”
‘Yup,’ I laughed, ‘Eric’s exactly what I needed today.’
“So…you got something to drink?” He asked.
“Yeah…in the fridge there should be something. Go ahead and grab what you want.”
“You need anything?”
“Nah I’m good man.” ‘I’m great. This is perfect. Just me and Eric doing the male bonding thing over my car. Perfect. Just perfect. Absolutely…Jamie, what the hell did I do today? I should’ve gone after you. I should’ve chased you and made you understand how I feel. I know you feel it too. How can you not? I know I’m not in this all by myself. I can’t be. There’s just no way that I could be wrong here. You want to be with me too. I can feel it. The moment you looked at me today, I could feel it. I could see it on your fac…’
“Aww yeah. We gonna get this party up here jumpin’ real right. Come on.”
‘When did you get back? Can you shut off the music? I’m trying to think right now.’ “Can we turn down Soul Train just a bit there? Some people are actually trying to work.” ‘Yeah…that’s what you’re doing Landon. Working.’
“You really know how to bust a robot’s groove up in here man, but it’s all good, cuz you know what…We’re gonna get club Landon – club Eric really jumpin’ up in here. What we got here?”
He had chosen the cd that Jamie loaned to me weeks ago. ‘I had forgotten I still had that.’
“Oh…Oh…oh whoa. Okay. Okay, you’re not feeling my hip hop, but…umm…what the hell is this man?”
“Jamie lent it to me.”
“Mmmm. Now she’s got you listening to her people’s music.”
“Okay…Her People??” ‘What the hell is that supposed to mean?’
“Uh huh. Bible hugging, crucifix wearing, honk if you love Jesus people.”
I knew he was trying to be funny, but this was Jamie he was joking about and I kinda felt…protective of her. “She’s not like that.” I just wished he would give her a chance.
“Well….uh…you know you got uh…Belinda thinking that, that little lip action between you and Jamie was kinda real?”
He was fishing for information. I knew it, yet…I couldn’t deny it. It was real. So damn real.
“What’s with you man? It’s like you don’t even have time for your real friends anymore?”
‘Just tell him Landon.’ “I don’t know buddy. I’m just over it. Sick and tired of doing the same old shit all the time.”
“This girl’s changed you and you don’t even know it.”
“Let me guess…Belinda say that too?” ‘She’s always got something positive to say doesn’t she?’
I just looked at him like I was dumbfounded. Was I really that transparent? Everyone seemed to see right through me lately. Miss Garber, Belinda, Megan… 'Geez Landon. Don’t ever take up poker.’ “Look man, I haven’t changed…well, maybe I have, but Eric…we can’t keep doing the same shit our whole lives. At some point we have to grow up you know.”
“Yeah I know, it’s just that…”
“I guess I...” He looked at me and smiled saying, “Damn…You’re Landon Carter! You’re never supposed to grow up. What the hell happened??”
We laughed a little, just trying to break the tension, but both of us knew that things would never be the same again.
“Landon? Could you do me a favor?”
“Sure mom.” I was just sitting on the couch reading. ‘This Mr. Rothman picked out some pretty good books. To Kill a Mockingbird was actually pretty entertaining.’
“Oh…well, if you’re doing homework that’s okay.”
“No. This isn’t homework. It’s just…” I started to trail off.
“You mean you’re reading just because?”
I grinned at her and said, “Yeah.”
“Well,” she put her hand on my forehead, “you don’t feel like you’ve got a fever.”
We both just laughed a bit. I guess it was kinda odd, me sitting on the couch reading. In the past my idea of a good time included beer, loud music, fast cars and every now and then a fast girl too. I guess times have changed. I guess I’ve changed. “So what did you need, mama?”
“I was just wondering if you would pick up my dry cleaning for me? I meant to stop by on the way home, but I just forgot.”
“Sure. No problem.”
“Thanks sweetheart. I’ll finish up dinner while you’re gone.”
I stood staring at the window of the clothing store with my mom’s dry cleaning hanging off of my finger. It was just staring at me, like I was supposed to buy it. ‘Don’t do it man. You have no clue how she’ll react to this. She may just tell you to shove it.’ I started to chuckle at the thought of Jamie using those words. ‘Okay…so she won’t tell you to shove it, but she could tell you to keep it. Yeah…or she could just say thank you in that really sweet way.’
Walking to my car the inner debate continued. Do I buy it or don’t I and if I did buy it would I have enough guts to give it to her. ‘Forget it Landon. Just forget it. You’d have to get to the bank before they close in,’ I looked at my watch and freaked out. “SHIT. They close in ten minutes!” I threw my mom’s clothes in the back of the car and hauled ass to the bank making it there with about nine minutes to spare.
‘Okay…so you’ve got the money. You’re in the store. The sweater is in your hand. So go and buy it. I am…I will…I think…maybe…’
“Uh,” I jumped at the sound of the attendants voice and shoved the sweater in her hand. “Yes. I want to buy this.”
I looked at the bag sitting on my dresser and wondered what the hell I was gonna do with it. Would I really have enough guts to give it to her? ‘I should’ve gotten it gift-wrapped. You don’t give a girl a present in a sack. Just go and give it to her. What if she turns me away again? She didn’t today at school. She smiled at you and waved at you too. Yeah…I suppose she did, but I was the one that said hi first.’ I looked down at the path I was wearing into the floor of my bedroom and grabbed the bag before I could change my mind. ‘Go for it Landon.’
I parked my car and got out, my stomach was so jittery I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to keep my composure. I was nervous…petrified and then I saw her. She was just sitting there reading and all my fears were gone. They just melted away. Suddenly I wasn’t afraid anymore. I knew deep within my heart that we would get through this, we would work past this and we would be together. My friends, their attitudes, her friends…none of it mattered to me. The only thing that mattered was Jamie.
I held out the bag towards her but she just looked at it funny and said, “What is it?”
“I got you something.” Holding the bag out in front of me again, I waited patiently until she finally grabbed a hold of it.
There it was. That sweet voice, that innocent smile…Jamie. ‘I’ve missed you.’ “Well…I’ll see ya at school.” ‘Things are better now, right Jamie?’
My heart jumped within my chest, it didn’t even faze me when her father came out and said, “Mr. Carter.” In the past this would’ve startled the living hell out of me, but tonight…well…
“Later reverend.” I practically skipped down those stairs, glancing back over my shoulder to see her face between the bushes, to see her smile. She liked it. ‘You did good Landon. It’s about time.’