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…And Then…He Kissed Me

 

By: Jamie Sommers

 

Email: jamiesommers23@hotmail.com

 

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?

 

Dedication:  To all of you fans that wrote and pestered and hollered and cried and praised and laughed and moaned and sighed.  This is for you.  May you feel Jesus near everyday of the year.

 

Chapter 9:  At Last

 

 

 

“I still can’t believe you asked my father’s permission.”

 

“It’s no big deal, plus he was cool about it.”

 

‘Cool about it?  My father?  Sure Landon.’  I looked around at our plush surroundings and I wondered if he was taking me here to impress me.  It looked very costly and I just didn’t want him to go into debt simply to feed me a meal.

 

Upon sitting down we placed an order for beverages with our waiter.  “Sweet tea please?”

 

“Make that two.”

 

“This restaurant’s really nice, are you sure this is okay?” I asked.

 

“Don’t even worry about it, okay?”

 

“Okay.”

 

“Choose whatever you want.  So…what’ll it be?”

 

I know Landon said not to worry about dinner here, but…the more the waiter talked the more I wanted to leave. 

 

“…one pound fresh lobster for $27.95, two pound is $32.95…Frutte de Mare…”

 

‘STOP!!!!! No more.  No.  I can’t let Landon spend this kind of money on me.  I just can’t.’

 

I waited until our waiter was out of earshot and whispered over the table, “I would’ve been happy with burgers and fries at the diner downtown.”

 

His hand reached over the table and took mine.  The smile he gave me stopped my heart as he said, “I know that, but I wanted to take you here.”

 

“But Landon…” I began to protest.

 

“Jamie,” he interrupted.  “I wanted to do this for you.  Please…just…” He sighed and said, “Jamie, seriously…don’t worry about it.  It’s okay.  Let me do this for you okay?”

 

“Are you sure?”

 

“I’m positive.”  He brought my hand up to his lips and kissed my knuckles. 

 

The shock of electricity that went through me was so unexpected, so startling I shook my head in a lame attempt to clear it.   ‘Get a hold of yourself Jamie.’ 

 

“You okay?”

 

“Huh?”  I sat staring at him, uncertain of what to say or do. 

 

“I asked if you were okay.”

 

“Oh, um…” he placed my hand back down on the table and picked up his menu.  “Yeah.  I’m fine, just unsure of what to order.” We discussed what would be the best choice for me on the menu and then the waiter returned.

 

I half listened as he placed our orders with the waiter and watched as one of the other waiters walked by with a tray full of delicious looking desserts.  ‘Ooooh…is that chocolate cake?  Oh…pie.  I see pie and cheesecake.  What’s that thing in the glass?  Mmmm…it all looks so good.  So you’ll have some for dessert.  No.  I won’t take advantage of Landon’s generosity by ordering dessert.’  Just then the gentleman with the tray walked by our table and I could see what was in the glass.  It was some sort of custardy thing layered with, what I was guessing to be raspberry filling, since it was topped with an abundance of fresh raspberries and a dollop of whipped cream.  My mouth began to water as I looked at the scrumptious concoctions and thought, ‘maybe we could share something.  Then it wouldn’t be so expensive.’

 

“My favorite is the peanut butter pie.”

 

“Huh??”  I could hear him talking but he didn’t really get my full attention until the waiter with the tray of desserts left my view.

 

“I said my favorite is the peanut butter pie.”

 

“Oh.”  He had caught me ogling the after dinner delights and I began to blush.  “I’m sorry.  It’s just that…”

 

“Don’t be sorry.  I enjoyed watching you.”

 

“Watching me?”

 

“Your eyes lit up the minute he brought that tray into view.  It was…cute.”

 

“Cute?  My drooling over dessert was cute?”  I began to chuckle and said, “Well wait till you see me demolish one of those chocolate things.  You won’t think I’m so cute anymore.”

 

We both laughed and sat back enjoying our surroundings.  We began to speak about little insignificant things such as our favorite food, color, drink, movie.  He had never heard of my favorite movie.  An epic love story set in the middle of WWII starring Michael Douglas and Melanie Griffith called Shining Through.  There was a tiny bit of foul language as well as some mild violence, but amidst all of that was a touching love story.  “That these two people could find love and hold onto it through all of that chaos, not to mention the end when he saves her…drags her over the border and then he…”

 

“Wait!!  Don’t tell me!  I just may want to see it someday you know.”

 

“Oh.  Sorry.  I just get caught up in it sometimes.  I’ve seen it a hundred times at least.”

 

“Sounds like a good movie.”

 

“Oh it is!  It really is.  You’ll have to see it sometime. Maybe…” I couldn’t believe what I was about to do.  “Maybe you’d like to come over one night and watch it with me?”

 

“I’d love to…on one condition.”

 

“What’s that?”

 

“You have to come over to my place some night and watch my favorite movie.”

 

“Deal.  Uh…what is your favorite movie?”

 

“The Terminator.  Talk about a great flick.  There’s violence, blood, guts and…well…it’s a classic guy film.”

 

The way he described it…I couldn’t help but laugh at his animation.  “I wouldn’t expect anything less from you Landon.”

 

We continued to talk about movies for a short while, then the topic moved to music.

 

“So you actually liked that CD I loaned you?”

 

“Yeah.  It was cool.”

 

‘I love the way his mouth moves when he says cool.  Any “ool” noise really.  School, cool, pool…his lips seem to just pucker when he says it and it always comes out sounding “ewl” instead of “ool.”  Jamie, you’re crazy…insane really.  Yes, I’m beginning to believe that.’

 

“Now Eric on the other hand… well he started off with some…I don’t know.  I can’t even describe this music he was playing.  It was…well…”

 

Eric,” I said with a laugh.

 

“Exactly.  Thank you.” He used his fork to point at me before digging into his salad.

 

‘I could listen to you forever Landon.  You may not know it but you have such a love for life.  A passion for living that draws people to you.  You’re spirit is contagious Landon.’ 

 

“…you had to see the look on his face.  It was priceless.  Then he says, ‘you’re really messing with a robot’s groove.’  I wish you had seen him.  At the time I really didn’t laugh, but now that I think back on it…”

 

“I guess Eric and I don’t have the same taste in music.  Who would’ve guessed?”

 

“Yeah,” he laughed.  “Don’t like your salad dressing?”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Your salad?”

 

“Oh…no…it’s fine.  I was just listening to you.”

 

“Oh.  Well I wasn’t sure about the dressing.  I didn’t really know what you liked so I told him to put it on the side, but…guess they forgot.”

 

“It’s fine Landon.”  In order to make him feel better I put some on my fork and lifted it to my lips, “see.  Ooooh…” I put another forkful in my mouth, then another and another still.  “Mmmmm. Difs is gweat…mmmm…” I said with my mouth full.

 

“Guess you like it after all,” he chuckled and I realized I probably looked like I had never eaten in a restaurant before but I didn’t care.  This was the best salad I’ve ever eaten. 

 

Our plates were removed and dinner was served.  I sat there and stared at it.

 

“I’m sorry…I thought you said you wanted the chicken.”

 

“I did…I do.  It’s just that…it looks so…pretty.  I just hate to ruin it.”

 

“Well I’m sure the chef won’t mind.  Go ahead and try it.”

 

I looked down at the decorative plate and dipped my fork into the culinary work of art.  I hated ruining the presentation, but…well…within minutes I trashed it.  I had never tasted anything so wonderful.  The contradicting flavors…mmmmm.  “Definitely glad we went with the ugly food.”

 

His laughter caused a surge to rush through me like I’ve never felt before.  My mind was lost in his gaze, his smile, his voice.  ‘You’re in love with him Jamie.   No. I’m not.  I can’t be.’  I pushed the thought to the side of my mind and continued our conversation.

 

“So let me ask you.  If you knew then what you know now, and you had the choice, would you have chosen to do the spring play?”

 

“Nope.  There’s no way I would’ve done the spring play.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“I would’ve done the fall play my freshman year, and then the winter concert, then the spring play…then my sophomore year I would’ve…”

 

“Okay…okay…I get it,” I laughed. 

 

“Jamie,” he said softly as he took my hand.  “If I had known how incredible it would be to spend time with you…to get to know you…I would’ve done it years ago.  I’m talking…Kindergarten at least.  Possibly pre-school…”

 

“Landon…” I trailed off as the waiter came to bring us fresh beverages. 

 

With the spell broken he began joking about the play again.  “Now…I’m sure if it were left up to, lets say, someone like…oh…Eddie Zimmerhoff…”

 

“Oh.  No kidding.  Miss. Garber was so sure that you would be a perfect Tom Thorton, but Eddie…he tried so hard to convince her that you were the wrong choice.  ‘But Miss. Garber, even Landon says he’s naturally bad at it.’  Finally Sally says to him, ‘just give it up Eddie.  It’s a lost cause.’  I couldn’t help but laugh when she said that because not two hours earlier you were at my locker begging me to run lines with you.”

 

“I wasn’t begging you.” 

 

‘Yeah right Landon.’

 

“I wasn’t.”

 

“Mmmm hmmm.”  I did my best to impersonate him.  “Doesn’t Eddie Zimmerhoff deserve the best?”

 

“Okay…so I was begging you.  BUT!  It worked didn’t it?”

 

“Yeah,” I could feel the blush creeping up my cheeks.  “It worked.”

 

The waiter came to remove our plates and then…the moment I had been waiting for finally arrived…DESSERT!

 

“Can I interest either of you in something for dessert this evening?” He asked with a knowing grin.

 

Without a second thought I said, “Peanut butter pie please.”

 

I watched as Landon’s eyebrows shot up and looked at me with a questioning glance.  “Well in that case I guess I’ll try the…uh…what’s that chocolate thing?”  He pointed to the chocolate cake that I was so tempted to try.

 

“Ahhh, yes.  This is a moist chocolate layered cake filled with a combination of chocolate covered cherries, chocolate mouse and topped with a rich chocolate fudge cream and shaved chocolate.”

 

“Sounds very…chocolaty.  I’ll take it.”

 

I devoured my pie and seriously thought about asking Landon if he was going to finish his cake.  All the while I was scraping the remnants of my treat off of my plate I thought, ‘I can see why this is your favorite, Landon,’ but my lips were too busy to say anything.  I had to get one last bite, one last bit of chocolate.

 

“Is everything okay?”  The waiter was back to remove our remaining plates.

 

“Mmmmm.  Mmmmm hmmmm,” I said scraping my plate.  “Thank you very much.” 

 

The waiter then gestured towards Landon’s barely touched cake and Landon replied with a, “Yeah, go ahead.” 

 

‘So…what’s next?’ I wondered as I looked around the establishment.  We had been listening to the soft music all night and I wondered aloud, “Would you like to dance?”

 

“Uh…sorry.  I don’t dance.”

 

“Me neither, I mean… not usually in front of anybody.”  ‘Honestly…who does?’

 

“Well, no, I mean I… I don’t, at all, as… as in… I can’t.”

 

“Everybody can dance.  Come on, you can’t be that bad.” He just sat there looking at me with the most adorable look on his face.  “Please?”  I pleaded, “For me?”

 

His silent agreement was one I’ll never forget.  The way his face transformed from one emotion to another.  I knew that he truly did do this for me, that there was no other reason he was dancing, but for the simple fact that I asked it of him. 

 

“Oof!”  ‘He wasn’t kidding about being a bad dancer but still…’

 

“Sorry… told you I was bad at this.”

 

“But in all fairness you did warn me right?” ‘…it feels so good to be in your arms.’

 

“That’s right.”  I could feel the tension leaving his arms as he relaxed a bit.  “So… what’s number one on your list?”

 

‘Dare I tell him?’  There’s only one person that knows what that is and that was my father.  I wasn’t sure if I could share that with Landon yet so I shook my head ‘no.’

 

“Okay… uh… number one on my list is getting out of Beaufort.”

 

“Mmmm… I don’t think getting out is gonna be your problem.  It’s more like figuring out what you’re going to do when you get somewhere.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

‘He really doesn’t get it does he?’  “I mean you can do anything.”  ‘You’ve got your whole life ahead of you Landon and you…you’ll make it count.’  “Landon?  You okay?”

 

“Yeah.  I was just thinking…we’ve got a long night ahead of us and only a few hours to get it all in so…we should probably get going.”

 

“Oh.  You sure you’re not just trying to get out of dancing?”

 

“Nope.  Not at all.  It was my pleasure ruining your shoes this evening Miss. Sullivan.”

 

“Well, the shoes aren’t the problem.  It’s the toes that are irreplaceable.”

 

##

 

“Wow. I’m stuffed.”

 

“Yeah, me too.  It was good though.”

 

“Thank you for dinner Landon.  It was delicious.  I’ve never eaten in a place like that before.”

 

“No.  It was my pleasure.  I’m just glad you liked it.”

 

“I loved it.  Especially the pie,”

 

“Well next time I’ll just take you to Marie Callendar’s for dinner.”

 

“Marie who?”

 

“Marie Callendar.  It’s a restaurant that specializes in pies.  We’ll start off with her Peach Tarts as appetizers.  For dinner we can have the Dutch Apple Pie ala mode and for desert…”

 

“PEANUT BUTTER PIE???”

 

“Actually I was thinking we’d try the Heath Bar pie, but if you want to stick with peanut butter…”

 

“NO!  No.  Let’s try the heath…Landon?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Uh…why are we at the school?” ‘This is an odd place to take someone on a date.’

 

“Oh, well…you’ll see.” 

 

“Is there a baseball game tonight?”

 

“Nope.”

 

“Then why are the lights on?  And why are we here?”

 

“I told you…you’ll see.”    He was leading me towards the baseball field and I was getting very confused. 

 

When we were within viewing distance I noticed someone standing on the pitcher’s mound.  ‘That looks like Mr. Washington, but why would he be here?’

 

“Landon.  I wasn’t sure if you were still coming or not.” I watched as they shook hands with one another as if they were longtime friends.

 

“Hey Lou, I’d like you to meet Jamie.  Jamie this is…”

 

“Hello Mr. Washington.  How’s Mrs. Washington doing?”

 

“Oh she’s doing just fine Miss. Jamie.  And how’s your papa?”

 

“He’s fine sir.  Thank you for asking.”

 

“I take it you two know each other.” 

 

“Well yes.  Mrs. Washington used to baby-sit me when I was younger, but…how do you two know each other?”

 

“Oh…well…uh…”

 

“We worked together for a bit when Mr. Landon here got sentenced to janitor jail.”

 

“Oh.”  I tried not to giggle at Mr. Washington’s joke.  I could tell that Landon was slightly embarrassed about his time spent in ‘janitor jail.’

 

“Lou here showed me the ropes on the first day.  So Lou…do you have everything?”

 

“Yup.  Most certainly do.”

 

“Great.  Thanks Lou.”

 

“No problem.  Now I’m gonna make myself scarce while you two play a little ball.  If you’ll excuse me Miss. Jamie.  Landon.”

 

I bid him farewell then asked, “Do you always play baseball on your dates?”

 

“Only if the girl I’m dating has a dream of hitting a home run.”

 

“Oh Landon.” I couldn’t believe it.  This was probably the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me.  I could feel the tears beginning to well up in my eyes. 

 

“Now this is supposed to be fun so no getting all…girly on me okay?”

 

“Okay.”  Desperately fighting the urge to cry I grabbed the bat and said, “So what do I do?”

 

He taught me how to stand and how to grip the bat.  It felt very…heavy.  Heavier than I had expected so when he suggested that I take a few practice swings…well….“Oooof,” ‘ Oh Landon you’ve got your work cut out for you with me.’  “Whooops.  Guess that wasn’t supposed to happen huh?”

 

“No,” he retrieved the bat and came back to me taking up position directly behind me.  “Let me help you out with that.”   I could feel his body pressed up against mine, his arms wrapped around my own and his hands covered mine on the bat.  It reminded me of when I was a little girl and I would stand on my father’s feet when we danced.  “Okay…now…uh…now…just…ahem…swing.”  

 

I swung the bat with all my might and by doing so I knocked Landon to the ground.  “Oh Landon! I’m sorry!”

 

“No.  Don’t be,” he stood up and dusted his pants off.  “That was great.  Now do it again without me helping.”

 

“Okay.” At first I was sure I would be able to do this, but just in case I went through his instructions aloud.      “Arms up, elbows out, bat just above the shoulder, feet apart, and……… Ooooof!” The bat went flying out of my hands again.  ‘Now why on earth did you release that bat Jamie?  Because…’

 

 “If you can hit the ball as far as you can throw the bat…hoooey…Mark McGuire watch out,” he called out to me before taking up position behind me once again.

 

In the recesses of my mind I knew what I was doing was…well…not exactly wrong, but it wasn’t really right either.  There was no reason other than the blatantly obvious one as to why I was releasing that bat.  I didn’t want his arms to leave me so whenever he gave me an opportunity to swing the bat on my own, I’d throw it down the third base line just so I could feel him stand behind me once again in an attempt to teach me how to hold it. 

 

“You know what the problem is?”

 

I hoped he hadn’t figured out what I was up to so I played stupid.  “Well if I knew that Landon, I wouldn’t be throwing the bat now would I?”

 

“Yeah I guess.  You don’t have a shimmy.”

 

“A shimmy?”  ‘Okay…now I’m confused.’

 

“Yeah…you know.  A shimmy.  All the great ones do.  Here,” he took the bat from my hands and stood at home plate in a classic baseball pose.  “You go over there and I’ll show you.”  With his elbows pointing out, he began to grind his feet into the dirt and wiggle himself.  Twisting and turning until he pulled his arms back and released.  “A shiii…meeeee

 

“Mmmkay,” I watched him in awe.  Did he know how beautiful he was?  “I think I’ve got it now.” 

 

“So…you think you’re ready to swing at a few?”

 

“Yup.”  It was time to play ball.  “Let’s do this.”

 

“All right Jamie, you can do this,” I mumbled.    “Arms up, elbows out, head down, and…shimmy.”

 

“Okay.  Here we go.” 

 

I missed the first four but I hit the fifth and Landon said it was ‘good for a stand up double.’  I didn’t quite believe him, but it sounded good anyway.  We laughed a lot and every now and then I’d throw the bat down the third base line just to watch him strut over and pick it up. 

 

“You two almost finished up?”  Mr. Washington called out to us from the gate.

 

“Oh, sure Lou.  We’re done here.  Thanks…”

 

As he began walking back towards Mr. Washington something inside of me screamed out, “NO!  Not yet Landon.  Please?  Just one more?  Please?”

 

“Do you mind Lou?”

 

“Nah.  In fact…why don’t you take two Miss. Jamie?"

 

“Okay Jamie,” I began talking to myself again.  Telling myself that I could do this.  “This is your last chance.  Just concentrate.”  I took a deep breath and whispered to myself, “Arms out…elbows up…head down…shimmy and…” I nodded to Landon, telling him silently that I was ready for his pitch.  I saw the ball coming straight down the line, but at the last minute I closed my eyes and began to pray. ‘Please God.  Please.’  I could feel His power in my swing and knew the minute the ball connected with the bat that His spirit was with me.  My hands shook from the vibrations of the bat and I watched as the ball soared into the sky. 

 

I could hear a faint, “Go fair…go fair…go fair…” and then a louder “No!” when Landon believed my ball wouldn’t make it into fair territory.  

 

‘Have faith Landon.  Have faith.’  I closed my eyes as the final gust of wind blew and opened them slowly to see my ball being carried over the fence on the right side of the foul post.  “I did it.  I did it!  I DID IT!! I DID IT!!!

 

I could hear Mr. Washington’s cheers behind me and smiled brightly when Landon called out to me with pride, “Run your bases Jamie!  Run your bases.” 

 

I ran as fast as I could to first base and then lifted my face to the sky as I rounded it.  ‘Thank You Lord.  Thank You for giving me this gift.’  I could feel the tears flowing freely down my face as I thought of Landon.  ‘You’ll never know what it is you’ve done for me Landon but thank you.  Thank you.’  Home plate was just up ahead and when I arrived I stomped with both feet onto it screaming out to the night sky, “YES!! Number 34!!!!!” 

 

“You did it!” he was standing directly in front of me.

 

“I did it!”  I looked at him and saw pride and joy radiating from his eyes.  “I did it,” I whispered as I stepped closer to him and took his hand in my own.  “Thank you Landon.  Thank you.”  He stood staring at me, unblinking and lost in thought so I quickly turned and said, “Thank you so much for doing this Mr. Washington.  I don’t know how I’ll ever thank you…either one of you.  This was just about the greatest moment…” ‘No getting girly Jamie.  You promised.’  “Mr. Washington?  Would you mind if I used the restroom to get cleaned up?”

 

“Not at all.  Come with me Miss. Jamie. I’ll let you in.”

 

“I’ll meet you at the car okay?”

 

“Oh, uh sure.” Reaching his hand out towards Mr. Washington he said, “Thanks again Lou.  I really appreciate it.”

 

“No problem Landon.  Anytime.”

 

We walked towards the facilities in silence not saying a word to one another until we got back to the baseball diamond’s edge.  “Thanks again Mr. Washington.  I’m not sure how or why Landon got you to do this, but I really appreciate it.”

 

“Well, the ‘how’ is simple.  He asked.  Now the ‘why’…that’s another story.”

 

“Oh really?”

 

“That boy there is smitten with you Miss. Jamie.  When he asked me if I could help him out…well it was the look on his face that did it.  I remember when I met my Camille.  It was the church picnic to Dawson’s Creek where I first saw her.  She was standing at one of the picnic tables getting ready to take her mamma’s place turning the crank on the ice cream maker.  Peach I believe it was or maybe chocolate.  Any how, I saw her standing there looking as beautiful as a summer’s day and I fell head over heels in love.  My pappy told me that I had been staring at her like she was the angel of heaven sent to earth to save my soul.  Never really knew what he meant by that until I saw young Landon’s face when he asked me to get all this set up for you.”

 

I glanced over at Landon and then back at Mr. Washington as he continued.  “He’s a good boy Jamie.  He’s just a little confused.  He needs some guidance…direction, and I believe that he’s going in the right one by courting you.  That boy need’s an angel.  Yep…now that I think about it…it was peach ice cream…”

 

I smiled and kissed his cheek - saying farewell, “Tell Mrs. Washington I said hello.”

 

“I will.  I will.”

 

“Hey,” I walked to the car door where he was waiting.

 

“Hey.  You ready for the next part of our date?”

 

“You mean there’s more?”

 

“Of course there’s more.  You didn’t think this was it, did you?”

 

I actually did think that was it.  I mean how do you follow that up?  He made one of my dreams come true and to me there was nothing else in this world that could compare.

 

We got into his car and started on a drive…a long drive.  We chatted about my homerun along the way and I told him about Mr. And Mrs. Washington.  “After my mom died, my dad wasn’t able to care for me on his own, so he hired Mrs. Washington.  She practically raised me until I started going to school, then…it was pretty much just me and my dad.” I guess it was evident that discussing this was difficult for me because he immediately changed the topic to a more lighthearted one.

 

“Boy I couldn’t believe it when that ball flew over the fence.  I mean…wow.”

 

“Impressive aren’t I?”  I teased.  “Honestly I couldn’t believe it myself.  I never in a million years thought I was capable of anything like that.”

 

“Geez, I’m not capable of anything like that.  It was really impressive.”

 

“Well I had a good teacher.”

 

“So…can I ask you something?”

 

“Sure.”

 

“What’s your number one?”

 

‘Oh no.  Not that again.’ “You don’t give up very easily do you?”

 

“Nope.  If I had then I’d be making this drive on my own.”

 

‘Speaking of this drive…’  “Where are we going anyway?”

 

“What’s your number one?”

 

“Oooooh…that’s blackmail.”

 

“Nope, that’s bargaining.”

 

“Well I’m not gonna tell so you might as well just give in and let me know where we’re going?”

 

“Nope.”

 

“Come on.”

 

“So…how about those Yankees?”

 

“You’re incorrigible, you know that?”

 

“So I’ve been told.”

 

“Where are we going?”

 

“Just hold on… you’ll see.”  We continued to spar back and forth playfully until he pulled the car over to the shoulder of the road.  He got out and ran around to my side of the car saying, “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, let’s go.”  Grabbing my hand, he pulled me along.

 

“Where are we going?”

 

“Run!”  He stopped dead in his tracks and we stood in the middle of the deserted road. “Okay… uh, stand there.”

 

“All right.” ‘Seriously Landon…what did they put in your sweet tea?’

 

“Put one foot there,” he pointed down to the road, “and one foot there.”

 

“Okay. You’re acting like a crazy person, what’s going on?”

 

“Okay, right now, you’re straddling the state line.”

 

“Okay…?”  ‘Big deal.’

 

I watched as he pointed to the sign that said, Welcome to Virginia, and for a moment I thought, ‘You drove me to the middle of nowhere just to straddle the state line?’

 

Oh…but then he said, “You’re in two places at once.”

 

When I found out about my cancer I made up my list of things to do and when I put down ‘be in two places at once’ my father told me it was impossible.  “No one can be in two places at once Jamie.  That’s just not physically possible.”  In the back of my mind I knew he was right.  There was no way any human being could physically be in two places at once, but the laws of physics never saw Landon Carter coming.  The one thing that I believed would never happened, was delivered to me on this night made of wishes.  This night filled with dreams. 

 

I couldn’t help myself when I ran into his arms.  “Ahhhhhhh…” he spun me around in a circle and then put me down directly in front of him.  Our foreheads were pressed against one another’s as our fingers entwined. 

 

‘Landon.  Oh Landon.’  I needed to say his name.  I just needed to hear it.  “Landon,” I said hoarsely.  “I don’t know what to say…” I wanted to kiss him.  I really wanted him to kiss me but instead I hugged him and whispered against his ear, “Thank you Landon.  Tonight’s been the best date I’ve ever had.”

 

“Jamie,” he said softly. 

 

‘Please Landon, kiss me.’ 

 

“I…” he trailed off.

 

“You?”

 

“I…uh…” he took a deep breath and stepped back.  “We should be going.  There’s still so much to do.”

 

‘So much to do?’  “So…where to now?”

 

“Nuh uh.  Not telling.”

 

After we got into the car a thought occurred to me.  “Landon Rollins Carter!  You’re not gonna take me to a tattoo parlor are you?”  I began to laugh at the absurdity of the very thought.

 

“No.  Your father would kill me if I did that.” 

 

‘Yes, but a girl can dream can’t she?’

 

We sat quietly listening to music on the way back into Beaufort.  He picked a station that played music we could both enjoy and we did.  At one point we were both humming along with the song that was playing.  “You have a nice singing voice Landon.  You should join the church choir.”

 

“What?  Me?  No…no…I don’t sing.”

 

“Well you didn’t dance either, but you seemed to do that just fine.”

 

“Hah.  I stepped on your feet more times than I could count.”

 

“Six.”

 

“What?”

 

“Six.   You stepped on my feet six times while we were dancing.  Four times within the first ten seconds of the song.”

 

“Oh sheesh…and you want me to sing too?  No way.  Noooooo way.”

 

“Calm down Landon,” I laughed.  “If you did decide to join the church choir, we very rarely slow dance so I’m fairly sure my feet will be safe.”

 

“Funny,” he deadpanned.  “Very funny.”

 

“I thought so,” I giggled.  He held my hand for the rest of our trip and pulled into an empty parking lot by the water.  “Uh…Landon?  Why are we stopping?” I wondered.

 

“Well there’s one more thing I want to check off of your list for you before the night is through.”  He leaned over me and reached for something out of the glove compartment but I had no idea what it was.

 

“Now I know it’s not a tattoo parlor, cause like I said, your father would kill me, but…it’s pretty darn close.”  He held out the assortment of temporary tattoos in front of him and said, “Okay…butterfly, rosebud orrrrrr…star.”

 

They were all so pretty… “You choose.”

 

“Butterfly.” 

 

“Okay,” I was hoping he’d choose that one.

 

He put the others to the side and looked at me cautiously asking, “Soooo…where do you want it?”

 

‘Hmmm…where do I want it?  My shoulder…or no…my ankle, No…my shoulder.  Definitely my shoulder.’  “Here.”  I pulled my dress down and lifted my hair out of the way pointing to the spot on my shoulder blade that I wanted him to apply it to.

 

‘Ahhh, I can’t believe this is happening.  Why are you doing this for me Landon?  Do you feel it too?’  I felt the coolness of the water soaked napkin touch my skin as he began to apply it.  I looked into his smiling eyes and thought, ‘Do you know that I’m in love with you?’  He continued putting pressure on the tattoo with the moist napkin until finally he peeled it off of my skin.  I looked down at it, but I didn’t see a butterfly tattoo, I saw yet another dream coming true.  ‘Thank you,’ I smiled.  ‘Thank you for everything Landon.’  He leaned in and at first I was sure he was going to kiss my shoulder, but then I felt his breath as he blew against my skin.  Goosebumps formed on my arms and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.  ‘I love you Landon.  I know I shouldn’t, but I do.  I do.’   When he touched me…oh…his fingers ran so lightly across my shoulder, I wanted nothing more than for him to kiss me.  ‘Please Landon.  Please kiss me.  Just one kiss.  Please.’

 

“You wanna take a walk?” 

 

‘I’d rather not but…’ “Yes.”

 

We got out and walked hand in hand down the wooden boardwalk.  “When I was five or six my family used come here and we’d go fishing off the docks.  Sometimes we’d rent a boat and go out for the whole day…” He shared with me a story of his childhood.

 

“It’s beautiful.  Sometimes I wish I had opportunities to do things like that with my parents but…”

 

“Yeah.  I guess it’s hard for you huh? I mean with your mom being gone and all.”

 

“Sometimes, but then other times I think that this is the way God planned it so there must be a reason for it.”

 

“You really believe that don’t you?  That God lays out some sort of path or something?”

 

“Yes, I do.”  ‘I wish there were some way I could convince you that there is something bigger than both of us out there Landon.  Something more powerful and beautiful than anything on the face of the earth.’

 

“Hmmmm…”

 

“How can you see places like this, have moments like this… and not believe?”

 

“You’re lucky to be so sure.”

 

“It’s like the wind, I can’t see it… but I feel it.”

 

“What do you feel?”

 

“I feel wonder and beauty.  Joy.  Love.  I mean… It's the center of everything."

 

He stood staring at me and finally he said, “I might kiss you.”

 

“I might be bad at it.”

 

“That’s not possible.”

 

His breath felt warm against my lips. This was something new a different from the first kiss we shared the night of the play. I didn't expect that one, I had no clue, but this one...ahhh...this one was mutual...special. It was our first kiss. Thousands of things go through your mind at that moment, things you normally don't think about. Which way do I tilt my head? Where do I put my hands? Do I still taste like chocolate and peanut butter?  I didn’t know what to do when it was over.  I had to look away.  I just couldn’t bring myself to face him.  ‘Landon,’ I thought.  ‘We can’t do this.  You don’t know… You have no clue…’

 

"Jamie,” he spoke my name so softly I couldn’t help but turn towards him.  "I love you."

 

‘No!  You can’t!  You can’t love me!  Jamie what did you do?  How are you… What are you…’

 

“Now would be the time to say something.”

 

“I told you not to fall in love with me.”

 

‘Oh Landon, there’s so much you don’t know.  I’m so sorry for this.  I never meant for you to love me.  I wanted you to, but… Oh God forgive me please?’

 

He leaned in and kissed me again.  This one was so brief I barely felt it, then he kissed my forehead and I knew that I wasn’t going to put a stop to this.  It was wrong for me to lead him on this way and I knew it, but I couldn’t deny these feelings any more than he could.  ‘Oh Landon, will you be able to survive this journey I’m taking you on?  Will you leave me when you find out the truth?’  We leaned our foreheads against one another’s and held hands.  “Landon…I’m scared.”

 

“Of what?”

 

I tried not to cry but the tears just seemed to fall.  ‘Of hurting you.  Of letting you go and never feeling this way again.’

 

“Jamie, I promise I’ll never hurt you.  I’ll never leave you.  I love you.  I mean it. I…”

 

“Shhh…” I put my fingers against his lips in an attempt to hush him, but he kissed them and then took my hand in his.  We just looked into each other’s eyes and once again he kissed my head only this time he didn’t remove his lips.  He trailed them back and forth, brushed them across my skin from side to side, letting them linger.  His lips were soft and warm against my forehead and I wanted, no…needed, to feel them against my lips.  ‘Kiss me Landon.’  As if hearing my silent plea he pulled back and looked into my eyes before dipping his head down towards mine.  My heart began to race as he leaned in. I could feel his nose brush up against mine...'Landon.' I closed my eyes and opened my heart...and then...he kissed me.

 

 

 

The End (I hate those two words L )