…And Then…He Kissed Me
By: Jamie Sommers
Rated: PG 13 (for language)
Synopsis: Jamie Sullivan has been hurt in her efforts to help Landon with the school play and refuses to give him the time of day. Landon Carter has been doing everything in his power to change her mind. Will he?
Chapter 8: Love Is On The Way
“Landon! Hi.” A chill shot up my spine when I heard him call my name.
“Uh…hi,” he practically ran up to me in the hallway. “Where you off to?”
“Um…gym. What about you?”
“I’ve got study hall.” He stood there shuffling his feet back and forth until finally he asked, “Mind if I walk you to class?”
“Oh…sure.” ‘Landon Carter wants to walk me to class. Wow.’
We walked across the campus at a slow pace barely saying a word to each other. I started veering off towards the baseball diamond when he said, “Don’t you have to suit up?”
“Oh…no. I’m not participating today.” ‘What’re you going to say when he asks you why?’
“ ‘kay. Why not? Don’t you like playing ball?”
“Actually I really like baseball. Well…I think I like it…I’m not really sure if…” I trailed off as I felt the blush creeping up my cheeks.
“You can’t play baseball can you?”
“Nuh uh.” I shook my head.
“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…” I stopped short before telling him.
“Nothing. It’s nothing.”
“Hey,” he turned to me and put his hand on my arm. “You can tell me you know. But what??” He prodded.
“Well…number 34 on my list is to…uh…well…”
I took a deep breath and let him in on another one of my wishes. “I want to hit a home run.”
I watched as a smile lit up his face and his eyes got a twinkle. “Well…who wouldn’t want to hit a home run? I’ve always wanted to hit a grand slam myself.” We listened as the bell rang breaking the spell that had just begun. “Guess I better be going. See ya later?”
“Sure.” I practically floated onto the field and checked in with Miss. Fort.
“Good morning Miss. Fort.”
“Morning Jamie. Not participating today?”
I shook my head ‘no.’ I watched the rest of the class take their positions, including Belinda and Tracy, as I took a seat on one of the bleachers.
Opening up my book, I began to thumb through the pages of To Kill A Mockingbird.
“Because I could never ask you to mind me again. Scout, simply by the nature of the work, every lawyer gets at least one case in his lifetime that affects him personally. This one’s mine, I guess. You might hear some ugly talk about it at school, but do one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t let ‘em get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change…it’s a good one…”
That passage brought me back to thoughts of the past few days. ‘Landon, you fought for me. Why? Can we do this now? Can we hold our heads high as we walk trough the hallways of school? Can we ignore the rumors and the pranks? Will you stand by me Landon? Will you continue to be my friend even though it may cost you the people you’ve known your whole life?’
“HEAD’S UP SULLIVAN!!!”
I moved just in time to avoid the baseball that was coming towards my head and heard the absent, ‘sorry’ that came from Belinda.
‘Will I be able to keep my head?’ I laughed to myself and thought it a good sign that through all of this…I still had my sense of humor. ‘Humor…’
I suddenly heard my father’s voice as he lectured me about Landon yesterday, “Jamie, this isn’t funny. It’s not a game.”
“Yes daddy I know that.”
“Then get that smile off your face.”
“Don’t you see daddy? I can’t. I can’t,” I sighed. “Daddy…Landon makes me…happy.” It wasn’t very hard to admit it to him, but it was hard for him to hear it, to accept it. “Daddy,” I continued. “He’s my friend and it feels really good to have one of those for a change.”
“Jamie you have friends.”
“No daddy, I have acquaintances. There’s a big difference between friends and acquaintances.”
“Jamie…” he began to argue.
“Daddy? When was the last time I had someone over?”
We both looked at each other both of us knowing the answer. It was Landon during our play rehearsals.
“Do you even remember the last time I said I was going to someone’s house, or shopping with someone, or…or…well anything daddy? When was the last time I was invited to a party or to someone’s house? Don’t you see daddy?”
He hung his head lower and lower and I could feel him second-guessing himself and the way he raised me.
“Daddy, it’s not that I mind spending time alone. I really don’t, but…well…sometimes it’s nice to have someone to study with…to laugh with. Please try to understand. I’m not trying to disobey you, I’m just trying to live my life to the fullest.”
He looked at me with concern and said, “But Landon Carter?”
“Yes daddy. Landon Carter.” I put my hand on his and said, “We’re just friends dad and I really like having a friend.”
‘He’s my friend,’ I sighed. ‘But he wants more Jamie and so do you.’
I looked for him at lunchtime hoping that he would want to join me, but there was no sign of him. I sat down at my regular table and read some more of my book trying desperately to ignore the snide comments coming from Dean and his group of cohorts.
I lifted my head to see Eddie Zimmerhoff standing above me at the exact moment that Tracy walked by and called me the Virgin Mary.
“Just ignore them, Jamie. They’re idiots.”
“I know,” I smiled up at him and asked, “Did you need something Eddie?”
“No…I just…well I was wondering…how are you?”
“I’m fine.” I could tell he wasn’t buying it so I told him again. “Seriously. I’m fine Eddie. The janitorial staff cleaned up all the flyers so I wouldn’t…”
“Who told you the janitorial staff did it?”
“Well I just assumed. I mean, they do, do all the cleaning around here,” I chuckled.
“It was Landon.”
“Landon. He came to drama class yesterday and spoke with Miss. Garber and by the time he was done recruiting people…well…let’s just say it took us less than an hour to get this whole place cleaned up.”
I was dumbfounded. Shocked. ‘Landon, what did you do?’
“He’s really not that bad of a guy, you know?”
‘You cleaned the campus for me? Oh Landon…how will I ever thank you? Wait a minute. I know.’ I smiled as a thought entered my mind. ‘I know exactly how to thank you Landon and I’ll do everything in my power to make it happen.’
“Daddy??” I called out before the front door even closed behind me. “Daddy? Are you here?”
“I’m in the kitchen!”
“Hey,” I kissed his cheek hello. “How was your day?”
“Well,” he sighed. “I guess it was…”
Before I lost my nerve I just blurted out what had been on my mind ever since lunch. “Daddy, Landon asked me out to dinner on Saturday night and I’d like to say yes.”
He gulped and nodded his head in agreement before saying, “You need to be home by…”
I screamed and threw myself into his arms. “You mean it daddy?? You really mean it?? I can go??”
“Yes you can go.”
“Oh daddy, thank you. Thank you.” A thought suddenly hit me, ‘what if Landon already made plans for Saturday night?’ I quickly turned and ran for the phone.
My breath was coming in short little spurts. ‘Please answer. Please answer. Please answe…’
“Yes. How are you?”
“I’m fine…good…great actually. How about you?”
“I’m okay. Better than okay.”
“Really?” I could hear the smile in his voice as he asked, “and why is that?”
“Well…my father has given me permission to go to dinner with you tomorrow night…I mean if you still want to go.”
“Yes…yes. Of course I still want to take you. I’d love to take you.”
“Good. I’m glad.” The churning within my stomach was slowing down as we continued to arrange our plans for the following evening.
“So I’ll see you at six?”
“Okay,” he chuckled into the phone. “Gosh I’m nervous. I feel like it’s my first date.”
“Me too,” I giggled. “I’ll see you tomorrow Landon. Oh…and one more thing,” I had to get it out before I hung up the phone. “Thank you for clearing up the flyers Landon. See ya tomorrow.” Before he could deny organizing the operation I hung up the phone. ‘Thank you, Landon. Thank you for everything.’
‘What am I going to wear? I don’t know…oh gosh…I really don’t know.’ I pulled out dress after dress and realized that I truly had only two to choose from if I wanted to wear the sweater he gave me. ‘Yellow sundress or light blue dress? It’s not quite warm enough for a sundress so…blue it is.’ I ironed it with care and hung it up as I began preparing for my date with Landon. I pulled my hair back into a clip but left the back hanging down. I put on a little bit of make-up and then slipped my dress over my bare shoulders. I pulled the pink sweater he gave me over my arms and slid my feet into my shoes. My breath caught as I heard the chime of the doorbell followed by an impatient knock. ‘He’s here.’ I took one last look at my reflection in the mirror and wondered briefly if my mother were alive, would she be standing up here offering me bits of feminine advice, but it was Miss. Garber’s words that came back to me. ‘Enjoy each other.’ I was determined to do just that. I walked down the stairs and heard my father telling Landon my curfew and his, ‘yes sir’ in reply. Just a few more feet and he would be in my line of vision. Little did I know that with those few more steps, my life would never be the same again.