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.
It was well into the morning when I got home. My mom was already up, and I figured she’d be chiding me about getting to church pretty soon if I actually went to bed. As I got out of my car, though, I saw that she was sitting at a table we had in the yard. It didn’t surprise me too much – my mom always loved being outside when the weather was nice. I guess she’s just an outgoing type of person.
I walked across our front porch toward the table my mom was sitting at. She was reading something so she didn’t notice me coming.
“HEY!” I said to her as I grabbed her by the shoulders.
She apparently didn’t have any clue that I was approaching, because she jumped like she had just been snapped out of a different world. I kissed her on the cheek as I went to sit down at the table.
“Did you just get in?” she asked, as I pulled out my chair.
“Yeah.” I didn’t think she’d mind. My mom was usually cool about letting me come and go as I pleased.
“Well thank Heavens I didn’t know, I would’ve been panicked.”
Maybe being out all night could be a little worrisome… I had never actually been out until morning before. But hey, I came back all right.
She fidgeted with her glasses for a little bit, and then she looked at me really seriously.
“Landon, were you with Jamie?”
I didn’t really know how to explain, so I just looked at her with this look that said, ‘Yes.’
“Landon, be careful – she’s the reverend’s daughter!”
Yeah, I knew that. But I knew that my mom was just worried because she too had heard about how I broke up with Belinda.
“Please…” we said at the same time.
I shook my head really quickly. “It’s different with her, okay?”
“Different with her…” she repeated to me. She looked like she didn’t believe me. ‘Come on mom, it’s me. Landon. Am I really that hard to trust?’ I knew the answer though, so I didn’t bother asking.
“Yes.” I was dead serious when I said it. Things were different with Jamie. Why? Because I loved her.
“It’d better be different with her,” my mom said to me. She said it with a smile though, so I think she finally understood how I felt.
Then she changed the subject. My mom was good at just jumping from one thing to the next. I hoped it wasn’t about my father…
“I was doing laundry the other day,” she said as she reached to open her folder that was on the table. “And I found this.”
She pulled out a folded-up piece of paper. I knew what it was almost immediately. I lowered my head, sort of cradling it with one hand. I must’ve left it by the machines on Friday night when I did my laundry…
“Examine a moon rock… go to college… get into medical school,” she read from the paper. It was my to-do list that I had made. “Honey, these are really beautiful ambitions. They’re… but you’re going to have to work really hard…”
She didn’t think I could do it. My own mother… I was disappointed, but I couldn’t blame her. I hadn’t exactly kept my record clean for the first eighteen years of my life.
“I can do that.” I tried to put my whole heart into those four words, because I really wanted them to be true.
“Yeah, you can.” My mom seemed a little shocked that I was so driven.
“Momma… Jamie has… faith in me.” I remembered the night of our first date, while we were dancing.
“Number one on my list is getting out of Beaufort.”
“I don’t think it’s getting out is gonna be your problem. It’s more like figuring out what you’re gonna do when you get somewhere,” she had said to me.
“What do you mean?” I was pretty confused.
“I mean you can do anything.”
That’s when I realized that Jamie Sullivan had faith in me, Landon Carter, to do anything. Of all the people in the world, she was one of the few who had ever told me I could be something more than just another high-school dropout working in a fast food joint. It really made me re-think my life.
“You know? She makes me want to be different… better.”
My mom didn’t say anything for a while. She smiled though, and for a minute she seemed to have some sort of idea brewing. Then she glanced at the time.
“Landon, we should get ready for church. We wouldn’t want to be late.”
“Good morning Mrs. Otis. How are you?” My father and I began shaking hands with the parishioners as they made their way out of the church like we did every Sunday. “Hello Mr. And Mrs. Dentch…Mrs. Clayton, nice to see you…Good morning Mr. Wallace…It’s nice to see you Principal Kelly,” I continued doing this along side my father until the last of the church members made their way to us. “Good Morning Mrs. Carter,” I shook her hand, “It’s nice to see you. Good morning Landon.” He put his hand in mine like he was going to shake it and brought it up to his lips to place a kiss on my knuckles.
“Good morning Miss. Sullivan. You’re looking lovely today…for a girl that didn’t get too much sleep,” he teased under his breath.
The church was empty with the exception of the four of us. Rays of sunshine were being filtered through the stained glass windows causing rainbows to form on the walls and floor. The wooden pews gleamed as though they were just polished and the soft breeze filled the air with the scent of spring blossoms.
“I love the church this time of,” I said wistfully. “It’s so beautiful.” I had a thought. I wasn’t sure if Landon would go for it, but I figured, ‘why not.’ “Landon? Would you like to take a tour of the church with me? I have to put my choir robe away and there’s so much more of it that you’ve never seen.”
He just looked at me and smiled. “I’d love to.”
As I took his hand in mine my father said, “Jamie. We really shouldn’t keep these folks. I’m sure they have plenty to do today and I do have to get to the hospital to visit with some of our less fortunate church members.” He looked at Landon’s mom and said, “I’m sure you understand.”
“Oh, certainly.” She turned to Landon and myself and said, “So don’t take too long you two--your father’s got somewhere to be, Jamie.” She winked at me and said, “As a matter of fact, why don’t you spend the afternoon with us? With your father having to go to the hospital it would be a shame for you to spend such a beautiful day all by yourself.” She turned towards my father and said, “Don’t you think that’s a good idea? We could have a nice little picnic out by the water and…”
“Well, we wouldn’t want to cause any trouble Mrs. Carter.” My father interrupted.
“Oh, it’s no trouble at all.” She said with the wave of her hand, “We’d be happy to have her over.”
My father didn’t really know what to say. He just kept opening and closing his mouth like he was a fish or something.
“Great!” she said. “Then it’s settled. Landon you and Jamie go put her robe away while the reverend and I chat, then we’ll get out of his hair.” She turned once again to my father and began...‘chatting.’ “It’s lovely weather we’ve been having lately isn’t it, Reverend?”
“Yes it is Mrs. Carter.”
“It’s almost unseasonably warm out late…”
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Not only did Landon’s mom get my father to agree to letting me spend the day with them, she also kept him occupied while we went to the back of the church together.
“Landon?” I whispered. “Your mother is wonderful.”
I was completely and utterly in shock as Jamie led me to the back of the church. My mom was earning some serious “cool points” today. After all, she had just gotten me another whole day to spend with Jamie. Let me tell ya, it wasn’t easy. If I had been the one asking, I would’ve just given up. Heck, Reverend Sullivan was doing everything short of saying “I don’t want Jamie hanging around Landon” to change my mother’s mind. She stuck with it though, but I should’ve known my mom was a tough one to beat. She even got the Reverend talking so I could look around the rest of the church with Jamie. “Cool points” indeed. I think about a million should do.
“Landon?” Jamie whispered to me as we got into the back room where they kept all the church’s supplies. “Your mother is wonderful.”
“She’s a great one for sure. She’ll stick it out through anything.” ‘Including my dad leaving us,’ I thought to myself. But I didn’t say that out loud.
“Just give me a minute here to put my robe away, and I’ll show you everything that’s back here.”
The sun was shining through a window into the storage room, and it hit right in front of the closet where they kept the choir robes. As Jamie walked over to the closet, the sun played off the white fabric and made it seem like she was sparkling, shining. Just like an angel. All I did was stare as she took off the robe and put it away, and she must’ve caught the look on my face when she turned around.
“Is everything alright Landon?” she asked.
“Yeah… it’s just that… you’re beautiful.”
“Missing our days of play rehearsal, are we?”
“No, no… I mean it. You amaze me, Jamie.”
We heard my mom and her dad laugh, and then Jamie surprised me… she just walked right over to me, put one hand on the back of my neck, pulled me in, and kissed me. It was less intense than the ones we had shared in the cemetery or in my car, but it was more than just a little peck.
“Thanks for the compliment,” she said when we pulled apart. “Come on. Let me show you around.”
She took me by the hand and led me through one of the side doors into a slightly darkened hallway. She pointed to the first door we came to.
“Those are the offices… my dad has one, and the other one is for the choir’s things.”
We kept walking, and she stopped me again. She pointed through an open door to a room with lots of windows and plenty of furniture.
“This,” she said, “was an empty room when the building first became a church. Over the years it’s kind of become a tradition to be used in weddings by the groom and groomsmen to get ready.”
“What about the bride?” I asked, noticing that the door didn’t have a match on the other side of the hallway or anything.
“There’s actually a whole separate bridal room outside, toward the back of the lot the church is on.”
“That’s very cool! I’m glad you showed me.”
“I thought you’d want to know what is back here. I mean… so many amazing things go on back here that no one ever sees out in the church.”
I realized she was talking about the prep room again, and about all the preparations that people go through for a wedding. I think that’s when I realized I wanted to make her number one come true. The idea had definitely crossed my mind several times the night before in the cemetery, but when I listened to her talk with such wonder and awe about weddings and getting married… I knew it for sure. I was going to marry Jamie Sullivan someday.
Landon’s home was exquisite. It was spacious and beautiful and homey and simply breathtaking. I couldn’t believe he actually lived in a home like this. When we first pulled up I thought it looked so luxurious. As you walked up the front porch there were stairs that led down the side onto a wooden deck that had a matching wooden table and chairs on it. On the right hand side of his house he had a beautiful garden with every type of flower you could think of in full bloom. To the left of his house was the harbor. You could here the dinging of the buoys in the distance. And surrounding his house was a beautiful wooded area; everywhere you looked there was another form of Mother Nature’s mystical power showing. Even the shrubbery was perfectly tended.
“You have a beautiful home Landon.”
“Thank you, but you haven’t even seen it yet. We’re only halfway up the walk.”
“Well, from what I see, it’s lovely.”
“Well wait until you get inside. You might think differently.”
On the contrary the inside of his house was even more charming than the outside. It was spacious and roomy. There was a mixture of contemporary and classic furniture scattered throughout their home giving it a comfortable atmosphere. I had never known anyone that lived in such plush surroundings.
“Landon. Why don’t you take Jamie outside and show her around while I make lunch.”
“ ‘kay mom.”
He held onto my hand and led me out the front door onto their porch. “So what’d ya wanna see? The garden? Or the harbor?”
I looked between both places and decided on the garden first and the harbor last. We walked through the garden on the narrow stone path and inhaled the mixture of wonderful aromas: Jasmine, lilies, Tulips, Daffodils, tea roses, buttercups, blue bells… the list of flowers went on and on. Landon reached down and absently picked a daisy and handed it to me.
“Thank you.” I lifted it up to my nose to breathe in its soft scent when he placed his hand on my shoulder.
“Jamie?” I stopped walking. I knew he was right behind me—I could feel him. I turned around to look at him—his eyes so full of emotion.
“Yes?” I could feel my heart’s pace gradually increasing, my breath quickening as he turned me into his arms.
“I just wanted to say…” He looked down at his feet, like he was nervous about something. “I wanted to tell you that…”
“What is it Landon?”
He lifted his eyes to mine and said, “Thank you. For everything. For believing in me. For having faith in me when no one else did. For loving me and not being afraid to say it…to show it.” He paused and held onto both of my hands saying in a hushed tone, “I love you.”
“I love you too.” Oh, how I loved him. I could honestly say that there was nothing and no one in this universe that I loved more and I knew right at that very moment that even if I had lived to be one hundred years old, I would always feel that very same way. “I love you so much, Landon.”
We leaned in for a soft kiss just as his mother called us for lunch. When we pulled apart he said, “My mom…she got a great disposition and lousy timing.”
As we walked back around the corner of his house we noticed his mother carrying a tray laden with lunchmeats, cheeses, fruits, a pitcher of lemonade and two glasses.
“I thought since it was such a beautiful day, you’d like to eat outside.”
I noticed there were only two place settings on the table and asked, “Aren’t you joining us for lunch?”
“Actually…I have a ton of work I have to do, so I’m going to have to pass, but I’m sure my son will be more than happy to keep you company.” She winked at him and turned to go back into the house. “Oh…I also put a blanket in the shade over there,” she gestured to the large tree that sat a few feet away from the water. “Just in case you wanted to relax after lunch.” She waved her fingers over her turned shoulder and said, “Have fun you two.”
As I turned to look at Landon he said, “You were right about my mom. She is definitely wonderful.”
Having Jamie visit for lunch was great. I spent a lot of time at her house, but this was the first time in our eighteen years of knowing each other that she had actually come by my house. Before we even made it to the front door, I could tell she was amazed. She kept turning her head every which way, looking all around. Now I’ll admit that my mother and I lived in a slightly better neighborhood than most. My father was pretty wealthy, and we as a result we ended up with a nice place to live. I never thought much of it though, I mean it was a house… everyone else in Beaufort had one too. I never looked at the houses in the other neighborhoods and marveled at how much better mine was, I just… well, I lived there and really that was it. But Jamie kept telling me how I lived in such a wonderful house, even after she saw the inside (maybe my room might have changed her mind…). It all just reminded me of what a sweet, innocent person Jamie was. I couldn’t help but smile the whole afternoon.
My mom apparently hadn’t planned to join us for lunch after all, and she went in to get some work done soon after bringing us a tray of food and a pitcher of lemonade to enjoy in the yard. ‘I seriously owe my mom for this,’ I thought as I pulled out Jamie’s chair and then took my place across from her at the table. We talked some during lunch, about everything really. We talked about school, church, music, our night in the cemetery, the stars… just everything we could think of.
After lunch we went down by the water to the tree where my mom had laid out a blanket for us.
“Just one blanket here, babe,” I joked. “Should I get another one?”
“No Landon, don’t trouble yourself,” she said, giggling. “I trust you.”
There was a brief silence as I took those words in. ‘She trusts me…. She believes in me and she trusts me too,’ I thought to myself. ‘Thank you God, for this wonderful woman.’
We sat down next to each other on the blanket and looked out on the water.
“It must be so wonderful living here, to be surrounded by all this,” Jamie said, gesturing at the open water and the trees all around.
“Yeah, it sure is somethin’. I come out here a lot when I just need time alone. Sometimes the boats coming in make a lot of noise though.”
“Still… I think it’s wonderful.”
I lied back on the blanket, letting the sun warm me up. Jamie followed quickly, resting her head on my shoulder.
“I love you.”
“I love you too, Jamie.” I kept thinking about her number one. ‘I’m going to make it come true for you Jamie,’ I said to her in my mind. ‘Just wait and see.’
When I looked down again, she had closed her eyes and was sleeping peacefully with her head still rested against me. I kissed her hair gently, taking in the smell of flowers. I closed my eyes too, and fell asleep next to Jamie as visions of her floated across my mind’s eye.
Lunch was wonderful and afterwards we walked down by the water to the tree where Landon’s mother had laid a blanket for us. I was having a hard time getting over how beautiful my surroundings were for the afternoon, and to think Landon lived here. So many years I’ve known him, ‘Ah, but Jamie,’ I reminded myself, ‘you never really knew him at all.’
Landon laid back on the blanket and I curled up into his arms, just relishing the warmth of the sun and of his body. I could hear his heart beating beneath my ear; feel his breath in my hair.
I laid my hand over his heart and lifted my eyes towards his house to see his mother clearing away our lunch dishes. We just looked at each other and spoke in that secret language that only women seem to know, with no words, just simple looks and gestures.
‘I love him Mrs. Carter,’ I smiled.
‘I know you do,’ she smiled back and went into the house carrying the tray of dirty dishes.
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
I closed my eyes and fell asleep to the steady rhythm of his breathing and the thrumming of his heart.
I opened my eyes what seemed like an instant later, to find that three hours had passed. I was no longer lying in the crook of his arm but on my side with Landon spooned behind me. His arms were wrapped around me and his head was tucked in the crook of my neck. I could feel his breathing gradually changing and knew he was coming out of his deep sleep.
“This has been a perfect weekend.”
“Yeah, it has been.”
“I should probably go home and do some homework though. My father wouldn’t be too happy to know that I put it off until the last minute.”
“What do you have left to do?”
“Just a few things for History and English Literature.”
“So do it here. I’ve got the same books and I do have paper and pens you know.”
“Oh, Landon I should really get going…”
“Jamie,” he pulled me closer to him and kissed the back of my hair. “I don’t want you to leave yet. Please don’t go.”
I left a few hours later when my father called to see if ‘everything was all right.’
“Guess that’s a sign that it’s time to call it a day, huh?” Landon asked.
“I guess so.”
He walked me to his car and stopped me before I got in and said, “I think I should probably get this out of the way now, so I won’t be tempted when I walk you to your door.” He tilted his head down and kissed me gently on the lips and said, “Goodnight Jamie. I had a great time.”
“So did I.” He opened the car door for me then drove me home. Tonight when he walked me to my door he didn’t kiss me, but he did squeeze my hand and said that he loved me.
I watched him walk back to his car and waved at him as he drove off. At that moment I knew that our carefree days were quickly coming to an end.