…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 1: That Night
‘Well, Jamie…at least your leukemia hasn’t gotten worse. You can thank the play for that. The play, Jamie? Well, what else could it be? Don’t you mean WHO? No. Not who. Definitely not who.’
I continued walking towards the cemetery. Normally I would drive there, but after my doctor’s appointment today I felt the need to do some thinking. If only I could stop thinking about Landon Carter.
‘He’s not right for you, Jamie. I know. I know. But he just seems so lost. Like he really needs a friend and I’m not talking about the group of kids he hangs out with now, I’m talking about a real friend. So is that what you want to be Jamie? His friend? Yes,’ I tried convincing myself. ‘Yes, that’s what I want to be. But is that ALL you want to be?’ As I walked into the gate of the cemetery I asked God to help guide me. I had never had these kinds of feelings before. I had been thinking about Landon for a while now—ever since that morning he showed up in church with the big white bandage on his head. He was sitting there, looking so angry at the world, and when I looked at him I wondered how someone that was always surrounded by hordes of people could appear to be so lonely.
‘God? Why am I feeling this way about him? What does it mean? Does he feel the same way about m…’
My heart jumped in my chest when I realized who it was…
‘Is this really Landon Carter talking to me? Spending the evening with me?’ I still couldn’t believe it. I was thoroughly surprised when I heard him call out to me tonight and even more surprised when he followed me into the cemetery. But as he pointed out to me, I guess I really didn’t know him all that well--I just thought I did--he had a lot of redeeming qualities about him, and a lot of not so redeeming qualities too.
“What is that?”
“That is my telescope. I built it when I was twelve. Take a look.”
“Saturn. Very Cool.”
“Yeah, I’m planning on building a larger one so I can see the comet Hiakutaki. It comes this spring, but nobody knows when it’s coming back.”
“Ahhhh. Nature’s miracles. I get it.” He was starting to fall back on those old qualities again.
“That you’re into all this stuff.” ‘Why do you do that Landon? Why do you have to belittle something just because you’re not into it.’
“This stuff. I have my beliefs. I have faith. But don’t you?”
“No. There’s too much bad shit in this world.”
“Without suffering there’d be no compassion.”
“Yeah, well tell that to those that suffer.”
‘You just did Landon…you just did.’
I wondered why he was still there with me. ‘Don’t you have somewhere else you should be Landon?’ It was all over school that afternoon that he and his friends were going to a striptease club located over the state line. ‘You know Carter…I really thought you were better than that.’
“So why don’t you try to convince me that I should believe in this shit?”
I looked at him wondering, ‘you mean you’d actually give up watching women take their clothes off to learn about the stars…with me? I’m game if you are…and relieved.’
I took out my book on constellations and decided to take a chance. We laughed for a while about different things--Landon has a great sense of humor--then he asked me to find the Milky Way.
“Can you find that?”
“Sure.” I looked through my telescope and began adjusting the eyepiece until I got it into focus.
“I’ve always wanted to see that.” He was looking up at the sky and I couldn’t help but smile at him.
“Landon? Why is it I have this funny feeling that you know more about the stars than you’re willing to admit?”
He just looked at me like I was crazy so I continued to make my point. “Like during my Stars and Planets meeting you knew what a star frame was.”
“Sixth grade science class. We had that really fat guy with the wiry red hair.”
“Yeah, Halloran. And he taught us how to make one and use it.”
“He was the reason I got into astronomy. He always made it seem so interesting, like there was something else out there, and I guess I just wanted to find out what it was.”
“Yeah. He made everything interesting. He was a really good teacher. I wonder what ever happened to him?”
“What’d you mean, ‘what happened to him’?”
“Well, like is he still teaching, dead…whatever?”
“Well I can pretty much guarantee that he’s not dead.”
“How do you know?”
“Because he goes to church with us every Sunday.”
“Oh. Uh…I never noticed.”
“You don’t notice a lot of things Landon.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I just think if you took a look around, you might actually see what’s standing right before your eyes.” ‘I cannot believe you just said that Jamie. Quick say something to make him think you weren’t talking about you.’ “I mean…there could be a lot of wonderful things in this world that you’re missing out on.” He just stood there looking at me…staring. I swallowed hard and asked him, “Do you still want to see the Milky Way?”
“Yeah…sure.” He looked at me a little weird then looked through the eyepiece. “Hey…that’s kinda cool.”
I watched him lean over and put his hand on the telescope to keep his balance. ‘He’s got beautiful hands. No Jamie. You cannot, I repeat cannot fall for this guy. Why not? WHY NOT??? Because your father would have a fit and…and…’
“Hey, thanks for finding that. It was pretty cool.”
“Sure. Anytime.” ‘Stop staring at his smile. Stop it.’ “You know I should probably be getting home. I normally don’t stay out this late on a school night and I don’t want my father to worry.”
“Oh,” ‘Is it just me or does he actually look disappointed?’ “Well…can I drive you home?”
‘Where did that come from? Landon Carter offering to take ME home? My father wouldn’t like that too much. Yes, but you’ve already discussed with him the importance of you living your life the way you want and he agreed to let you make your own choices. Yeah…as long as none of those choices include Landon Carter.’
“I don’t know Landon…my father…”
“I’ll drop you off down the block from your house. He’ll never even know that you were with me tonight.”
“Well…okay.” As soon as we got into his car I asked, “So is this your mom’s car?”
“Yeah…mine kind of got messed up with…”
“Oh, yeah…right.” ‘Clay Gephardt.’
The second he started up the ignition some loud music started blaring through the speakers. “Oh,” he pushed a button on the stereo and the music changed to the CD that I had loaned him, “sorry ‘bout that.”
“That’s okay. We don’t have to listen to this if you don’t want to, you know?”
“I don’t mind.”
“Yeah…but…I know you really don’t like this type of…”
“No. Actually…I kind of like it.”
“Yeah, but don’t go telling Jamie Sullivan about it or I’ll never hear the end of it,” he joked.
He stopped the car at the corner of my block--far enough away for my father not to see or hear his car, yet close enough for him to watch me walk home and he did. He watched me walk. I could feel his eyes on me as I made my way up the front stairs and turned when I got to the front door to look at him. I smiled a ‘thank you’ to him as I went in for the night.
“Jamie? I was just about to go get you. It’s a school night young lady and you know I don’t approve of you being out so late.”
“Yes daddy,” ‘Was I still smiling,’ I wondered. “I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.” I kissed him goodnight and went up to bed. ‘I can’t wait for school tomorrow and I really can’t wait for after school.’