By: kf6tac (Brian) and Jamie Sommers
Synopsis: This story is about Landon and Jamie’s budding relationship. They’ve had their first date; Landon has told her he loves her, now they have to face their friends, their family and their own fears. Written from both Landon (written in bold print by kf6tac/Brian) and Jamie’s (written in italic print by Jamie Sommers) POV.
Jamie and I both knew the moment we heard that door open who was there on the porch. We immediately broke off the kiss, but I just stood there looking at her face. I wasn’t sure what to say or do. I had gotten her there by ten o’clock as asked, but… well I had just gotten caught kissing her by her dad. I knew I should do something other than stare at her, but to be honest I was too scared to look toward her father.
“Jamie, say good night to Mr. Carter,” I heard Reverend Sullivan say from the porch.
He walked right over next to us and stared at me as he said, “Landon, go home. The night’s over.” I could tell he was angry.
I turned to Jamie, hoping she wouldn’t see the embarrassment that was on my face and said, “Good night.” Looking briefly at Reverend Sullivan, I let out a quick “Good night, sir,” as I walked away.
I was more upset with myself than anything as I walked away and got back into my car. ‘Why, Landon? Why did you have to pick that moment to kiss her? Now her father thinks you’re just some punk kid off the streets and you’ll probably never get to see her again.’ I started the car and drove off. I kept my fingers crossed that Reverend Sullivan would go easy on Jamie. I didn’t want to be the cause of trouble in her family.
It was a perfect night. After I sang Landon sacrificed his pride by asking me to dance and I sacrificed my feet by saying ‘yes.’ I didn’t mind it when he stepped on my toes because he held me so tight…well…like I said it was a perfect night until…
Landon was walking me to my door and it just seemed so natural to lean in and kiss him goodnight, but we should’ve known better. Before the brief kiss ended my father was on his way down the stairs telling Landon to leave.
“Landon, go home. The night’s over.”
I was so embarrassed. We weren’t doing anything wrong all we did was kiss goodnight, but my father told me my behavior was “sinful,” and that I was acting “childish.”
“You’re acting like…”
“Like I’m in love?” I interrupted. I needed him to know that this wasn’t just some schoolgirl crush. This was the real thing. “I love him.” It was the first time I said it out loud and it felt so good, so right.
At that moment I was so incredibly happy, so in love that I was sure nothing could bring me down. I was wrong. “Then be fair to him Jamie.”
I went straight to my room when I got in my house and started hanging up all the clothes I had shoved in my drawers earlier. I thought about calling him to apologize for my father’s behavior, but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t talk to him. I was so ashamed of myself, my behavior. I kept asking myself, ‘why didn’t you just tell him?’ There were so many opportunities, so many chances, but instead I just pushed my illness to the back of my mind. I was being selfish. All I wanted was to have a normal, healthy relationship with Landon, but that wasn’t possible. ‘He’ll find out eventually, Jamie. You can’t hide this forever.’ I put my hand in my pocket and found the tiny stuffed bear he had won for me earlier in the night and I sat on the edge of my bed and cried myself to sleep all the while knowing that the end was coming. I just didn’t know which “end” scared me more--the end of my life or the end of my relationship with Landon.
When I got home, my mom was up at the kitchen table working out some bills. She looked up when she heard me walk in the door.
“Hi Landon, how was the carnival?” My mom was usually pretty easy-going – she reminded me of a teenager sometimes.
I tried to hide my disappointment as I told her, “It was pretty fun.”
As I walked toward my room, she called for me again. “Oh, Landon, this came for you today!”
She handed me a big envelope, and in the upper left corner the words “International Star Registry” were printed in bold type.
Once I got up to my room, I opened the envelope carefully and took a look at what was inside. All the documents and charts were there, so I put everything back in the envelope and put it in a safe place in my desk drawer. I made a note to figure out some way to get together with Jamie and her telescope, but at the time I really needed to do laundry. I lucked out when I found the jeans and shirt I wore to the carnival, but I would definitely have no clothes once those went into the hamper. As I carried my clothes down the stairs and loaded them into the machine, I kicked myself over and over for giving Jamie that kiss. I didn’t really understand why her father had been so angry with me… I mean it had to be the kiss right? I can’t think of anything else I did wrong, she was home on time and everything. And it was just a simple kiss too! I started to get angry, partially with myself for letting us get caught and partially with Jamie’s father for being so darn strict. I mean, couldn’t he even forgive something as simple as a kiss? It was like I just wasn’t good enough no matter how hard I tried.
‘Calm down, Carter. No one said this was going to be easy, remember?’ I reminded myself.
No one said it would be easy… but I don’t think I expected people to throw this many blocks in our way either.
After a night of troubled sleep and troubled thoughts, something finally started going my way. Jamie called me late in the morning while her father was at the church.
“Hi Landon, it’s Jamie.” She sounded kind of nervous, but who could blame her? Her father would probably throw a fit if he knew she was calling me after last night.
“Hey, look, I’m sorry about last night…”
“It’s alright Landon, my dad is just… a little overprotective.” She didn’t sound so sure when she said it, but I took her word for it.
“Anyways Landon,” Jamie continued, “I was wondering if you’d like to meet me in the cemetery later tonight.”
“Well Jamie, what about your father?”
“Don’t worry about him Landon, I just need to see you.” The uncertainty in her voice was starting to worry me, but I just told myself it was to be expected. After all, here was Jamie Sullivan planning to meet with her boyfriend… the same boyfriend at whom her father was probably pretty angry. It was probably the first time she was going behind her father’s back on anything.
“Yeah, that sounds great! Can we do some star-gazing too while we’re there?” This was perfect timing for me; Jamie was setting up an opportunity for me to show her what the Star Registry had mailed to me just the day before.
I thought I could feel her becoming more at ease on her end of the line when she said, “Yeah Landon, we can.”
“Alright, I’ll be there then. About 9PM good for you?”
“That would be excellent. I should get going now though, my father will probably be coming home soon.”
“Okay. And hey, Jamie…”
“I love you.”
There was silence for a while on her end, and after a little bit of shuffling I heard her say, “I’ll see you tonight.”
I sighed while hanging up the phone, and suddenly a plan started to form. As quickly as I could, I started going through all the encyclopedias, old astronomy books, anything I could find in the house… Yes, this still had the potential to be a great evening.
I woke up sometime around 4:00 in the morning wearing the same clothes I wore to the carnival the night before—my stuffed bear still clutched in my hand. I placed it in the corner of my bed and walked down the stairs. Then I wrote a note for my dad and left it on the kitchen table.
Getting into my car, I had no idea where I was going, I just knew I needed to get away and think. I wound up at the spot where Landon first kissed me, the spot where he first admitted his love to me. I leaned over the wooden railing and inhaled deeply, taking in the scent of the salt water, letting it bring me back in time.
“I might kiss you.”
“I might be bad at it.”
“That’s not possible.”
To a moment of pure happiness, a moment of innocence. When insecurities and uncertainty added up to sheer joy. There was nothing in the world like the feeling of falling in love, and watching that love blossom into something more. As I looked at the rising sun, I knew what I had to do and I wondered...had it only been a week since that first kiss? One week of holding hands, sneaking kisses, late night phone calls and bubbling laughter. I hated the thought of our perfect little world coming to an end, but it would and in the process I knew I was going to lose the best thing that ever happened to me.
“Why did you show me how wonderful life could be just to take it away?” It was the first time in my life that I had questioned God’s plan.
“Jamie? Is that you?”
“I was starting to get worried. It’s mid-morning.”
“I left you a note on the table. Didn’t you see it?”
“I wasn’t with Landon daddy.” I knew I was being curt, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself.
“I didn’t say you were.”
“Then why are you questioning me? You never have before.” When I first built my telescope my father would take me to the cemetery at night to look at the stars, but as I got older, I went on my own and he never questioned why I would come home after the sun would rise.
“Well, you’ve never been out until,” he looked at his watch, “9:30 in the morning before, so I got a little worried.”
‘Jamie,’ I told myself, ‘now you’re acting childish.’ “I’m sorry daddy. I didn’t mean…” I walked into his arms and cried for what seemed like the hundredth time in the past twelve hours.
“Jamie…” He didn’t know what to say. My father, the man that counseled couples in trouble, helped people through their times of suffering, had no words to offer me.
“It’s okay daddy. I’ll be okay. I’ve just got a lot on my mind.” I wiped my tears off on my sleeve and asked him with a forced smile, “Where are you off to?”
“Well I’m on my way to the church for a few hours then I need to go visit Mrs. Collingsworth—seems she’s in the hospital again. What’re your plans for the day?”
“I’ve got some chores I need to get done, then I thought I would go to the cemetery tonight. I thought it would help to clear my mind.” I started talking about little things, like laundry and breakfast and I even asked him to put my telescope in my car before he left, just to keep him from asking me the question I knew was on his mind. ‘Will Landon be there?’
The moment he left I picked up the phone and called Landon to ask him to meet me.
“Alright, I’ll be there then. About 9PM good for you?” he asked.
“That would be excellent. I should get going now though, my father will probably be coming home soon.” I knew it was a lie, but I just couldn’t talk to him without feelings of guilt consuming me.
“Okay. And hey, Jamie…”
“I love you.”
I didn’t know what to say. I looked down at my feet and toed at a dust bunny that had formed around the leg of the table and said, “I’ll see you tonight.”
I spent the rest of the day flipping through reference books around the house, trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do at the cemetery. Jamie said we could do some stargazing, soooooo… after a lot of reading and digging, I found what I was looking for: Pluto. Now that I had my plan pretty much built up, I just needed to make sure I had everything. My laundry was already running, so clothes would be no problem. Blankets? We had plenty – I could just pull some extras out of the closet at the end of the hall. Hmmm… what else? Ah, we needed coffee. At least I would need it. I didn’t know if Jamie drank coffee or not, but knowing me I’d probably fall asleep.
After dinner, I went into the kitchen and brewed up a lot of coffee. Enough to fill a big thermos. I packed everything into a cloth bag, and put it in the back of my car. After folding up all my laundry, I picked out what I would be wearing for the night. I eventually decided on a blue collared shirt and a pair of khakis. Had to make up for the weird brown T-shirt I wore the night before, after all. I took the papers from the Star Registry and put them into my shirt pocket. A little before nine, I let my mom know I was on my way out. I drove out to the cemetery, and I saw Jamie’s car in the parking lot. Instead of parking next to her car, I pulled my car onto the road leading into the cemetery. I figured that my red Camaro was a little bit too conspicuous, and I wouldn’t want someone calling the cops ‘cause they thought Landon Carter was there knocking over headstones or something. I also didn’t want Reverend Sullivan driving by and seeing both of our cars parked right next to each other. I knew Jamie had said she would take care of the father problem but… well, doesn’t hurt to be safe right?
I pulled my car up to the spot where I was supposed to meet Jamie. She was already there, unloading her telescope. The car headlights lit her up, and she looked angelic. She still had that glow about her, and no matter how many times I had seen her in the past week it always amazed me. I got out of the car and walked towards her.
“Hey,” I said to her as I kissed her quickly on the lips.
“Hey,” she said back to me. “Will you help me?” she asked, gesturing toward the disassembled telescope on the ground.
I picked up a few pieces, and we walked over to where Jamie had planned on putting the whole thing together. I also grabbed the bag of stuff I had loaded into my car.
“So, uh, what did you tell your father?” I asked her. I couldn’t help it, I was curious to know exactly how she had gotten her father to agree to this.
I was pleasantly surprised. I had expected the Reverend to be hating my guts.
“… I just left you out of it.” Well, that explained it. I smiled though, marveling at Jamie’s way of telling the truth without getting to the touchy parts of it.
As the day progressed so did my enthusiasm. I kept telling myself that this wasn’t going to be one of those fun filled evening with Landon. That I needed to tell him the truth about my leukemia tonight. ‘If the opportunity presents itself, you WILL tell him tonight.’
I could feel the excitement building up inside me at the anticipation of seeing Landon again. I strode back and forth from my car to the spot where I usually set up my telescope and kept reminding myself that even though I was setting it up, I wasn’t there to “stargaze” the night away. I was there to tell Landon the truth. I should be feeling nothing but dread at the thought of telling him. ‘So why is my pulse racing, my palms sweating and my heart smiling?’ Simple…I was going to see Landon. ‘No, Jamie. You have to tell him.’ But as he got out of his car and kissed me hello, I thought, ‘tell him what?’
After she had set up the telescope, Jamie turned to me.
“So what do you want to see?”
She looked at me kind of funny when I said it, and replied, “Umm, Pluto only rises a few minutes before the sun.”
“Right,” I said, standing up. “And I have brought us a thermos… of hot coffee…” I pulled the thermos out of the bag, “and, a blanket.” I spread the blanket out on the ground and sat down, looking back up at Jamie.
“You planned this.” More of a statement than a question really.
“Oh, I’d hoped for it.”
She smiled as she stood by her telescope. “Are you trying to seduce me?” she asked.
“Why… are you seducible?”
She shook her head no. “That’s what I thought,” I responded. “Ergo, a second blanket: one for me, and one for you.”
She smiled again at my pre-fabricated plan. “Thank you.”
I got back up off the blanket and walked over to Jamie. I came up to her from behind, kissing her neck and putting my arms around her waist. She giggled her response, and I stood back from her as I pulled a star chart out of my pocket.
“Can you find this star, right here?” I asked her, pointing to a star on the paper.
She searched the sky for a while, and then looked into the telescope. As she was looking through the eyepiece of her telescope, she asked me, “So… why am I looking for this star?”
“Because I had it named for you.”
She looked up at me, not quite sure I was talking about. I waved the other piece of paper I had received in my hand.
“See, it’s official. It’s from the International Star Registry.”
Jamie walked quickly over to take a look – it almost seemed like she glided over, she did it so gracefully. She had a huge smile on her face all the while.
“This is wonderful,” she said, looking over the certificate from the International Star Registry.
She looked up at me again, and I’ll never forget the words that she said next.
“I love you.”
“So what do you want to see?” I asked.
“Umm, Pluto only rises a few minutes before the sun.” I guess I just assumed he knew that, but maybe he didn’t.
“Right and I have brought us a thermos… of hot coffee and a blanket.” I watched as he pulled everything out of his bag and sat contentedly on the blanket he had laid out.
“You planned this.” Funny, considering I was the one that asked him to meet me here tonight.
“Oh, I’d hoped for it.”
Something dawned on me then, “Are you trying to seduce me?” Could Daddy have been right about him all along?
“Why… are you seducible?”
From the flirtatious tone in his voice and that playful gleam in his eyes, I knew my worries were for nothing. So I shook my head ‘no’ and smiled at him. Then he did the sweetest thing.
“That’s what I thought. Ergo, a second blanket: one for me, and one for you.”
He got up and walked towards me, kissing me on the back of my shoulder and I thought, ‘Thank goodness he brought that second blanket.’
I thought it a bit odd when he asked me to find a particular star so I asked him, “So… why am I looking for this star?”
“Because I had it named for you.” I couldn’t believe it.
“See, it’s official. It’s from the International Star Registry.” I went over to him to look at the piece of paper he had in his hand.
“This is wonderful,” It couldn’t be. It just couldn’t! Without even knowing it, Landon Carter had just crossed off another thing on my life’s “To Do” list.
The feelings that were going through me at that moment couldn’t be explained. There was so much going through my head, so much he still didn’t know and at that very moment I knew I had to tell him.
“I love you.”
There was a magnetic force that just seemed to pull us together and when we kissed… His lips were so soft…moist. I could feel his hands, first one then the other cradling my face and holding me close. We kissed like we had that morning he pulled over the car, but this time I had to end it. There were just too many temptations for me. Tonight was going to be the ultimate test of my beliefs, of my faith.
We sat down together on the blanket with me between his legs, my back pressed up against his chest and he asked me again, “So…what’s your number one.”
This time I knew I could trust him with my answer. “To marry in the church where my mother grew up. Where my parents got married.” I felt him kiss me on the cheek as I snuggled closer to him and in my heart I prayed that he could make that one come true too. We spent the next couple of hours talking about the moment that we realized we loved each other. We wished on a shooting star. We reminisced about our childhood and we kissed again. This time I didn’t stop it, he did. We looked at my star and eventually I fell asleep in his arms.
I felt a flutter across my cheek, my forehead, my eyes, my nose, my mouth… “Landon.” I whispered as he kissed me softly, waking me from my dreamless sleep. We were lying on our sides, facing each other. His fingers were running slowly up and down my arm. His lips were a breath apart from mine. I lifted my hand to his face and began tracing the outline of his eyebrows, his jaw. I threaded my fingers through his hair as I brushed my lips against his. He didn’t move, it was like he was giving me liberty to do whatever I wanted, at whatever pace I wanted and I thought, ‘Thank you. Thank you for being patient with me, for loving me.’ I closed my lips against his, felt his hands creep up my spine holding me in place. I kissed him again and could feel his fingers digging into my back. ‘Jamie’ I said to myself, ‘why are you doing this to him? This is wrong. You’re being sinful.’
“Jamie?” his voice was gravelly.
“Hmmmm?” I whispered against his lips.
“Please baby,” he began to beg me, “please…”
I kissed his jaw. ‘Jamie,’ I scolded myself, as I gently kissed the tip of his earlobe, ‘what are you doing???’
“Please…” he inhaled deeply releasing his steamy breath into my hair. “Please stop. I can’t take much more of this.” He pulled back to look into my eyes and said, “You may not be seducible, but I am.”
That night in the cemetery was one of the best nights of my life. I’ll never forget the moment Jamie told me she loved me – it seemed like the second I heard those words from her, my world was right. She loved me back, and that was everything in the world I needed to survive. I couldn’t help but kiss her deeply, to let her know that I still loved her too. The kiss got a little out of control, but Jamie stopped us before we did anything we would regret.
“Okay, okay, I’m stopping now,” I had said when she began to murmur her protest.
We both sat down on the blankets I had spread out, my arms wrapped around her and with her body nestled comfortably against my legs.
“So… what’s your number one?” I asked her. It was the third time, and this time we both knew we loved each other.
She thought about it for a moment, and then she told me, “To marry in the church where my mother grew up. Where my parents got married.”
I pondered that one for a while. It made sense to me, now that I knew Jamie for who she was, that to be married would be her biggest “to-do” item. She was such a loving person, it would seem almost wrong for her to not want to get married and share that love with someone else. Deep down inside, I hoped that lucky person would be me.
We spent the rest of the night on the blankets, waiting for Pluto to come up. We talked about the past, about when we were kids. It was kind of like that phone conversation we had, only this time it was in person. We talked about love and when we knew this was love. We even kissed again – but I knew I couldn’t take it any farther than just kissing. I loved her too much.
As the sunrise drew nearer, I noticed that Jamie had fallen asleep on my shoulder again. I kissed her forehead and lightly shook her until she woke up.
“Hey baby. I didn’t want you to miss out on Pluto.”
We both got back on our feet and headed over to her telescope. She knew exactly where to look. We both got a chance to have a glance at Pluto rising before the sunrise out-shined the planet. Jamie took a few steps toward the horizon as the sun began to come up, lighting the sky up in shades of pink and red.
“Oh Landon,” she said, turning back toward me. “It’s so beautiful…”
“Yes it is, Jamie,” I replied, staring straight ahead to where she and the rising sun were. “Yes, it’s beautiful.” Although my eyes were fixed in front of me, I didn’t know if I was talking about the sunrise as much as I was about Jamie.
I asked Jamie if she was going to disassemble the telescope, but she said that it was usually all right with the groundskeepers if she left it there during the day. We packed up the blankets and the thermos, and we made some plans for the rest of the day.
“So uh, I’m guessing you’ll still be at church today?” I asked her. I already knew the answer though. She was always there, singing in the choir.
“Mmmmm hmm. You’ll be there too right Landon?” She looked at me, and when she looked at me that way I knew I couldn’t say no.
“You bet. We’d better get home. I know I’ll need some rest if I’m going to be awake.”
I kissed her again, just a light brush of our lips before she walked back to her car in the front lot. I pulled my car out and waved to her as we passed in the parking lot. ‘Church…’ I thought to myself. ‘Landon, you’re going to need a lot of sleep before Monday.’
If you’d like to read more about Jamie and Landon’s date in the cemetery check out Jamie Sommers’ fanfic, “Starry, Starry Night.”