A/N: Eep sorry for the delay, we've been having a LOOOOT of power fluctuations where I live so couldn't manage to sit and write the damn thing lol. This was also why I couldn't look into the details with as much precision as I like to so please just overlook them this time, oop. Also, um I promise this is the last of the slow bits. Next chapter onwards, it'll move at a relatively better pace ESPECIALLY because now on, there's going to be quite a lot of "unseen" stuff.
6. A Reasonable Proposal
"Um… Someone from camp and someone I went to Model UN with in fifth grade," she finishes. Then she grabs her bag.
"So, are we good here?" she asks impatiently.
"Um... Yeah," he says, as she starts to leave. "No, yeah, we're good."
"Okay, great," she says, clearly relieved as she starts to leave.
He's debating whether or not to offer her a ride, but he isn't sure how she'd come here in the first place. But he had only seen one truck and...
"Wait, wait, wait," he says quickly. "It's just… That sparkly bike out front… Is that your ride?"
"Yeah," she says unabashedly, looking at him like she's waiting for him to make a point.
He doesn't. He can't help himself from raising his eyebrows in amusement as he turns the corners of his lips down in what he's sure is his "playful teasing" look, because honestly, it was very cute that she still rode on bikes.
"What?" she asks, frowning.
"Nothing," he says, holding both his hands up.
"Okay," she says.
"Okay," he repeats.
She makes a weird little face at him, half-suspicious, before she starts to leave and then turns on her heels sheepishly, her lips puckered in embarrassments.
"Um, I'm just gonna… finish that... " she points at her unfinished coke*, sliding one foot back towards the stool and then the other before sitting back down.
"Uh, yeah, me too," he says. "Finish mine, I mean… Not…" he trails.
As she leans forward to sip her coke, she looks at him, nose scrunched and eyes filled with amusement.
"Right," he mutters and shuts up.
They sip on their drinks silently, and Peter shoots a sideway glance at but she's already lost in thought. She's supporting her cheek against the knuckles of her closed fist, sipping slowly, her fingers drumming against the countertop.
After a couple of seconds, her eyes flicker towards him and he looks away.
"So…." he starts, because it was getting increasingly uncomfortable for him just sitting in silence next to someone he knew, just one stool away.
She looks at him, the straw never leaving her mouth. Biting on it, she asks, "What now?"
"Golden specks, huh?" he says, smirking as he sips his shake.
He isn't sure why he says it. He suspects it's because he couldn't find them that morning and well, yeah he was fishing. Big deal.
She groans and takes a long sip of her coke. "Keep in mind that it was written by an infatuated thirteen-year-old?" she says.
"A thirteen-year-old who thought I had unfairly long eyelashes," he drawls as he leans his side into the countertop, half turned towards her.
She rolls her eyes at him. "You are never to speak of that letter to me again. Ever. "
He shrugs non-commitally, going in for another really long sip as she glares at him.
" Kavinsky, say it ," she says threateningly.
He has to laugh because he can't help it when he says again, "I thought you weren't going to call me that..."
"Okay," she says, snorting. "Okay, I want my letter back."
"Nah, I'm keeping it," he says, because he most definitely was.
No one's written something like that to him, and irrespective of when it was written and under what circumstances, the events that had followed were something that he was sure he would remember. It would be a funny, amusing memory.
She glares at him indignantly, muttering, "Fine, whatever," and turns away to finish the last of her coke. She leans over the counter, looking for someone and seemingly not finding them, she reaches into her bag, pulls out her wallet - a powder blue purse that size of her palm with a silver zip - for some change.
Peter watches her leave said change somewhere under the countertop on the other side. "Greg!" she calls, looking in the direction he had seemed to disappear in. "I've left the change in the usual spot!" she says, before hopping off her stool. She takes her bag, slinging it over one shoulder before turning to Peter.
"See you around," she says, before adding, "Thanks for not making a big deal out of the… thing."
"Hey, I told you, I was-"
"-Flattered? Yeah , yeah, clearly ," she says, smiling a little.
He smirks too, making her shake her head as she starts to leave.
"Oh, hey," he says quickly. "You need a ride?"
She frowns. "I-I have my bike."
"Lara Jean," he says seriously. "It's a bike . My car could fit in the both of you."
"But I don't need…." she starts and seems to think the better of it. "Okay, fine. Thanks," she agrees.
"Give me one second," he says, starting to stand up as he takes one long sip of his milkshake and finishes it. Placing the glass on the countertop, he fishes his wallet out for the money, looking around for someone to pay when Lara Jean extends her hand. He places the money in her palm and she leans over the countertop. It amuses him that she's so short that her feet are off the floor as she does so.
"The chocolate milkshake's money is here too!" she calls, and someone, presumably Greg, yells back, "Sure thing, LJ!"
Lara Jean turns to Peter and he says, "You come here often?"
"Outside of my house? This is where I live," she says shrugging. "My mom and I-" she stops, before clearing her throat, her face softens a little at the mention of her mother. "All of us, come here to celebrate everything."
He doesn't know what to say because he still doesn't know her, not really, and considers throwing in that his father had left, but decides against it. Her mother had left in a way she couldn't come back, and bringing up his father would seem like a complete jerk move. So he gives her what he hopes is a comforting smile, accompanied by a nod, before she herself says, "Ready to leave?"
He's thankful and he nods. The two of them head towards the door and it's a little awkward when they reach the door at the same time and there's a little bit of push-or-pull confusion. It ends with him holding the door open for her as she mumbles a "Thank you."
~ LJ&PK ~
They drive in silence for a couple of minutes; she's clearly restless, tapping her foot against the floor of the car as she stares out of the car with a small frown. He notices that she has a scraped knee and just to make conversation, he asks, "So what happened to your knee?"
"Uh what?" she asks looking at him, brows raised before her flicker over to her knees. "Oh, that. I was trying to leave my house through my bedroom window," she explains.
" Why? "
She sighs exasperatedly. "Why do you ask so many questions?"
He shrugs and moments later, they're pulling up in front of her house.
"Thanks for driving me," she says.
"Yeah, sure," he says.
A second later, she says, "Sorry for the whole jumping you thing."
He wants to tease her some more but he knows she won't take it lightly this time. So instead, he just says, "Coulda been worse, right?"
Could it, though?
As she starts to leave, he asks, "So, what are you gonna say to Sanderson?"
"I guess the truth," she says thoughtfully, and somewhat defeatedly.
"Yeah, but, you know…" he starts. "What is the truth? Do you like him, do you not like him?"
He really needs to know because… he's curious. She never really made that bit clear. She looks at him in surprise, clearly not expecting that. Then she gives him a small smile; so small tht he wonders if he's imagining it.
"It's not your problem, Peter," she says, as she hops out of the car now.
As she goes to retrieve her cycle from the trunk, he thinks that she's not wrong. It's really not his problem. He watches her walk up the drive way, cycle next to her and thinks about how since he's gotten the letter, Gen hasn't really been on his mind; it's a good feeling.
A second later, he's leaping out of his car, running after Lara Jean with a bizarre idea in his head that if he didn't immediately say out loud, he might just change his mind.
"Hey, hold on," he says, grabbing the back of her cycle as she turns around to look at him questioningly. "What if you didn't tell him?"
"What?" she says, tilting her head to one side, small frown knitting her brows. She frowns a lot , he notes.
"What if we let people think we were actually together?" he says in a rush, and he hears how absurd that sounds but was it actually such a bad idea after all? So he persistently continues despite the incredulous disbelief on her face. "Just for a little while. And not just Sanderson. I mean everybody."
"Why would you want that?" she asks suspiciously, starting to look a little judgemental.
Uhhhh… Because it felt good not to think about Gen in a while. It also felt good to hear that she'd gotten worked up over me.
"For starters," he says, "When Gen heard you kissed me, she went nuts, and if she thinks you and I are a thing, she'll want to get back together."
There. That's it. That sounds reasonable…. It's exactly what he wants.
"Oh, so you wanna use me as your pawn?" she asks, the judgement somewhat clearer on her face now.
"Ah, well, see... Technically, you used me as your pawn first when you jumped me," he says smugly, feeling like he has just scored a huge point, almost as if there was no denying is offer now.
But she still looks skeptical as she sits on her bike and starts to cycle away. It's quite amusing watching her cycle for just couple of meters before hopping off of it.
"You don't have to give me an answer now," he says quickly. "Just think about it, okay?"
"Yep," she says, "Don't hold your breath."
Oh, well. How did you think that was gonna go?
He smiles to himself anyway. It's not like his plan worked, but it was worth a shot that he took. That's why he's grinning so hard as he walks back to his car. As he reaches his car, he sees Sanderson standing by the trash cans, staring after him, looking a little lost.
"Yo, Sanderson, yeah?" he calls, though he really has no business doing so.
"Taking Lara Jean home?"
"Looks like it," he says.
"Hey, how long you two been hanging out?"
"Uh… Not long," he admits as he gets into the car.
He has a lot to think about on his drive home. Not really, to be honest, but he does anyway.
A/N: * this line was Lara Jean's reaction from the book, so I thought it'd be "nice" to just include that Peter was thinking the same thing.
** this is a fact. I watched the scene so many times now that literally, you can see that he gets over the show and he is starting to hold her when she backs away. I giggled so hard at this discovery.
And I'm really sorry I know there's not a lot of ADDITIONAL content in this, but it was getting too lengthy. I already am working on the next chapter though.
Also, I'm trying to play with the conflict of Peter sort of liking Lara Jean already. Even if it was just a teensy little bit. That's not canon you say? Well, Kitty Covey disagrees ;) ;)
Anyways, I love you guys :) You're all wonderfully supportive and I hope you stay this way !