…And Then…I Kissed Her
By: Jamie Sommers
Rated: P/G13 for language
Synopsis: Landon Carter needs help with his lines and Jamie Sullivan has agreed to give him a hand on one condition…he has to promise not to fall in love with her.
I sat there with my headphones on not really listening to the music that I had playing in my CD player. I kept watching her, she was sitting with that girl she always sits with, ‘What’s her name? Janice? Jenny? Janet?’ I had no clue, all I knew is that it started with a “j” sound--at least I think it did. ‘God Landon. You’ve gone to school with most of these people your whole life and you can’t even remember their names?’ Ever since last night I started taking a really good hard look at myself, at my life and where I was going. ‘Right now I’m on a one way ticket to nowhere.’ I started thinking twice about the way I treated people, about the way I treated my friends, my family, myself. I wasn’t too happy with what I saw. The thing is, whenever I was with Jamie I liked who I was. I was a good person when I was around her--she just had that effect on me. ‘You need to talk to her Landon.’ I took a deep breath and walked to the front portion of the bus where she was sitting with Gina. ‘That’s it! Gina!’ And sat across the aisle from her.
“Jamie…listen. About yesterday. I should’ve been straight with my friends, but…you know how it is?”
She turned and looked at me like I was the lowest form of scum on the earth and said, “No. I don’t. Why don’t you tell me how it is?” She just stared at me with such contempt and said, “You know what Landon? I think you said it all yesterday and I know I have nothing to say to you.” She turned towards the window and ignored me.
I wanted to get up and go to the back of the bus, to sit by myself, but I kept hearing my mom’s words in my head. ‘Then you’re not trying hard enough…is she worth fighting for?’ “Jamie? Can’t we talk about this? Come on. Please.” I tried flashing her that puppy dog grin again, but it only works when the person is looking at you and right now, I didn’t exist to Jamie. I reached my hand out and laid it on her arm, “Jamie please?” She glared at it, then me. I took it off and rode the rest of the trip in silence.
“Hey Luis. What’s up?”
I don’t even know why I bothered coming back here every week. This kid I was tutoring could care less about triangles and whether or not they were similar or isosceles and come on…is this really something we’re gonna use in life? But I had a job to do and I was determined to do it even though I was bad at it. Besides, helping Luis was an important part of the reformation of Landon project I was currently working on. I figured if I could teach this kid geometry than I could do just about anything. The only problem was that this was my last week of tutoring, so today was my last shot.
I went through some problems with him, trying to help him figure it out, “You know the answer?” He just sat there with this look on his face, spinning his basketball around on the desktop. “I know you don’t.” I began looking around when it hit me…
“Okay it’s you…me…and the basket, we form the three corners of a triangle.” I waited until I thought he absorbed this information then said, “Now take a step towards the basket.” I stepped with him, “now I’m at the same angle to the basket as I was before?”
“So what did we just make?”
“Uh…A similar triangle?”
“YESSS! Yes.” I couldn’t believe it. He got it right. “Okay, make me an isosceles.” I watched him as he took a step out towards his side making the two sides of our triangle the same and basked in my glory! I had done it. I found a way to ‘back in.’
On the way home I considered asking Jamie to sit with me on the bus, but I knew better, so I just sat in the seat she normally sat in and hoped. She walked onto the bus with Gina and stopped when she got to the seat and looked at me.
“Why don’t we sit in the back Jamie?” Asked Gina.
“Actually,” I spoke up, “I was kinda hopin’ you’d sit with me Jamie.”
She took a few seconds to think about it--that look of hatred she had bestowed upon me earlier was gone and it was replaced with one of curiosity. Gina took a seat towards the back of the bus while Jamie stood there contemplating her decision.
“Please Jamie? Sit with me?”
She took a breath and said, “I don’t think that would be a very good idea.”
There was something different about her. I knew she was still hurt, hey who could blame her? But she didn’t seem to hate me anymore. It was more like a really strong dislike.
Church that Sunday was uneventful. Jamie was singing with the choir, but she didn’t have a solo and of course her father based his sermon on how evil Landon Carter was, and that I was Satan in disguise. Well, it wasn’t exactly that, but it was close. It was about lies and betrayal. He pretty much covered every sin I had committed in the past week and made a sermon out of it. Afterwards I tried to talk to Jamie, but she completely ignored me.
“Landon, why don’t you give her some time?” My mom asked.
“Yeah, I suppose.” We walked to our car and I looked back at Jamie standing outside of the church talking to the choir director. ‘Time.’ Funny thing that time--you spend eighteen years growing up in the same town as someone, eighteen years thinking you knew everything about that someone, then one day you realize you didn’t know that person at all. ‘Time…yeah…I’ll give her time.’ We’ve waited eighteen years so what’s a few more days? ‘Right now it feels like a lifetime, Landon. A lifetime.’
It was less than two weeks until the play so Miss. Garber scheduled a play rehearsal for that afternoon. We had one the day prior, but she said that we still needed help with our blocking and some of us--mainly me--still hadn’t mastered our lines. The truth was, with the exception of yesterday at play practice I hadn’t picked up my script since the incident with Jamie.
When I got to the auditorium Sally walked up to me and said, “I knew it was a mistake for her to help you. You know you didn’t have to be such an ass Landon.” I just stood there and started looking around the room. Everybody was glaring at me. Apparently everybody had heard what happened in the hallway on Friday. “I knew you were a jerk the minute I saw you.”
For the first time in my life I finally felt what it was like to walk in Jamie Sullivan’s shoes.
Jamie got there shortly after me and we just kind of glanced at each other. There was no way I was gonna try and talk to her here, not after what just happened with Sally. Miss. Garber told everyone to take their places and rehearsal began. I spent the majority of my day listening to people say that I was either going to ruin the play because I couldn’t learn my lines or what a complete jerk I was for what I did to Jamie.
When Miss. Garber began showing Sally some of her blocking for the scene in which she dumps me, the one where Jamie shows up, I really felt abused. Sally’s character Caroline had to push me and call me a big dope, but Sally was just enjoying it a little too much, and I think Miss. Garber might have enjoyed it a little too. By the time I got to the scene with just Jamie and me, I was beat…literally. I had been practically physically and verbally abused today by just about everyone and I just couldn’t take it anymore.
Then Miss. Garber tried to teach Jamie her blocking for that scene. Telling her she had to float across the stage, “Glide. You need to be very sultry here Jamie.”
“You need to exude your feminine appeal. Roll your shoulders back and look over your shoulder like you can see right through this man. His games don’t fool you…”
‘Was she talking about the play or about me?’ This was getting pretty frustrating.
She continued to show Jamie her steps for her song as I sat there watching. Look, I know I said she had a sexy little mole on her cheek, and it is, but not in a sultry way. More along the lines of an innocent…virginal kinda way. Miss. Garber was barking up the wrong tree here with Jamie. And I don’t care how good of an actress she was, ‘there was no way Jamie Sullivan was going to pull off being a sultry nightclub singer that exuded feminine appeal.’
We just went back to our normal lives when it came to school. We got together after school to rehearse--I didn’t really hang out with the gang too much anymore--not enough time. Well, that’s what I told them anyway. At night I would pace back and forth in my room making notes in the script, memorizing my lines and trying to keep Jamie out of my head. It usually worked, except for when I went to sleep. I began dreaming about her. Not really dreaming, more like re-living moments with her in my sleep and no matter what moment we re-lived it always ended with me saying, “in your dreams.” ‘Yeah…look at who’s dreaming about who now Carter.’
I would see her in history class everyday sitting up front with that damn Eddie Zimmerhoff and, ‘God! I really, really hated that guy! You’re jealous Landon. What??? Of Eddie Zimmerhoff??? Yeah right.’ But I was. I would’ve given anything to be where he was at that very moment. I had no idea what was going on with me. I knew I wanted Jamie to forgive me for what I had said, I even wanted to be her friend, but did I want something more? ‘Is it possible to even have something more than just friendship with her Landon? And do you think she would want that with you?’ There were a million questions racing through my mind as the object of my thoughts was walking right towards me.
The hallway was packed. Two months ago I would’ve never even noticed her walking in a crowd, now it’s like I can feel her presence. We barely looked at each other when we passed one another, but I had to turn back, just for a second to see if she was looking--she wasn’t. ‘Dammit Landon. Why did you ever have to ask her to help you with your lines? Why did you ever have to hurt her?’
The final chapter: Ch 8 - Opening Night