A/N: I am a little worried that this chapter might be just a tad too angsty, but I promise that won't be a CONSTANT thing. [ I have a whole other 100% angst fic planned, so ;) ;) ;) ]
I hope you guys like it, and stick around to see where this goes. I'm nervous about this fic because DrAmA DrAmA DrAmAaAAaA. But be assured, that the fake relationship thing is going to happen in here also. And so will the letters getting posted. The crux shall remain.
1. The Treehouse
When Sharpay Evans said, "It's summer, Ry. Everything changes," she was not wrong. It started out pleasant enough - lazy afternoons in the treehouse, bicycling around town, hanging out at the diner. It was going great.
But now, one week before junior year starts, Lara Jean-Song Covey is sitting across from her boyfriend of two years, who is telling her that he's moving away for junior year. He's leaving the next day, and he's sorry he didn't tell her sooner; he didn't know how to.
She nods almost robotically and she feels the tears building because she knows what's coming.
John Ambrose, being who he is, is quite gentle about it; long distance relationships can only work for so long, and as much as he hates having to do this, there isn't another option. Emphasis on hates. They're just starting out junior year, and he'll be in a whole new environment. He is sure that he won't visit more than once a year, and that would be to spend time with Stormy. He wishes there was another way, but there isn't.
He wishes they could still be friends. He gives her his address, just in case, she visited. Or if she wanted to write him any letters. He knows how much she likes writing letters. He still used to tease her about that letter she'd written him in eighth grade; if he hadn't borrowed her French notebook to study, he would never have found it.
Lara Jean is a hopeless romantic, and nurtures the hope that maybe, just maybe, they could try long distance relationship. Even if it's only for a couple of months. She tells him so. When John sighs in response and reaches across the table to take her hand in his, she already knows what he's going to say; she doesn't contest him too much because deep down, she knows he's not wrong.
He walks her home and when she tries to change the subject to put on a cheery front, he squeezes her hand. She stops mid-sentence and looks at him questioningly.
"You don't have to," is all he says with a sad smile.
She gives him a tight smile and when they reach her driveway, he pulls her into a hug. They stay that way for a couple of seconds, she breathes in the scent of him and sighs. When they draw apart, both of them are a little teary-eyed. He kisses her forehead, and gives her a watery smile.
"Goodbye, Lara Jean."
"Bye, Johnny," she says.
As she watches him disappear down the road, she thinks about the time he had asked her to the dance. The summer that had flown by so breezily; time was liquid. She thinks back to when she'd brought him home the first time, and his polite manners around her family.
"Kitty scares me," he had confessed as he left.
She had found it so cute, and she remembers thinking that he was The One. She's never told anyone this. Her feelings are all in a jumble and she feels like her head would explode.
She would write another letter before going to sleep that night.
Dinner is a quiet affair. Kitty is pecking at her food, thoroughly disgruntled. She couldn't believe that both her sisters broke up with their boyfriends on the same day.
"So stupid…" she keeps muttering every couple of minutes or so.
Lara Jean hasn't cried yet; she's surprised at herself. She thinks the tears will flow once she writes the letter. Margot on the other hand, composed, self-sufficient, Margot, is red faced and she sniffles occasionally.
~ LJ&PK ~
That night, just as Lara Jean finishes her letter and puts it in her teal box, Margot enters. "Your room is a mess," she declares, before letting herself collapse on Lara Jean's bed.
Lara Jean tucks the blue box away under all the mess and quietly lays down next to Margot. They're quiet for some time when Lara Jean asks, "Do you think you'll change your mind?"
"No," mutters Margot. "Never. It's for the best."
Lara Jean mhm's and she knows that she's right. Maybe it is for the best.
But at least Josh was willing to try. Josh Sanderson, her very first, real crush. The thought was a little amusing now, but not amusing enough to tell everyone. Especially not when Margot has dated him and definitely not now, when they're broken up.
She's sure that if John Ambrose hadn't asked her out, she would still be crushing on Josh, full time. As much as she disliked it, she thought she still felt a little flutter around Josh every once in a while. When Margot started dating Josh, Lara Jean made it a point to avoid him as much as possible. It didn't sit right with her and made her stomach turn at the aforementioned flutter; she had a boyfriend now, and she had to stomp out the remnants of her crush on Josh and the only way? Cut contact. And so she did. Their friendship fizzled out until eventually, he was only Margot's boyfriend. Now, ex.
She sighs and turns to Margot, but she's already fallen asleep. She worries her lower lip and goes back to staring at the ceiling, her hands clasped tightly over her stomach.
Suddenly, it felt like junior year was going to be a difficult year.
~ LJ&PK ~
The ride back home after dropping Margot at the airport is silent. The emptiness is very, very tangible and no one really wants to talk about it. Kitty is humming to herself, completely off tune. Their father is tapping the wheel of the steering wheel nervously and Lara Jean is just staring out of the window, thinking how this summer had changed everything.
When they pull through their driveway, she doesn't head back into the house. Instead, she goes straight to the treehouse, oblivious to the concerned look her sister and father exchange.
As she climbs up the ladder, she hopes there's still some orange juice left in the icebox from the last time she'd been up there. With John. Ugh.
When she pokes her head through the trapdoor of the treehouse and starts to prop herself upward and into it, she sees that there's already someone in there. Surprised, she squeaks and nearly lets go, but Peter's quicker and he's pulling her back in in seconds.
"Peter!" she gasps, as she sits down, still feeling her legs tingle from the sensation of almost having lost balance. "What're you doing here?"
"I thought this treehouse was public property, Covey," he chuckles. "And you're welcome," he says gesturing towards the trapdoor through which she almost fell a couple of seconds ago.
She smiles indignantly, and thanks him.
"So whatcha doin' here?"
"I needed some place… quiet…" says Peter.
"Message received," says Lara Jean. "That's your corner, and this…" she says crawling to the other corner, propping her elbow on the sill of the window. "...is mine. We both stay quiet."
"Deal," says Peter, the corner of his lips turning up just a little.
Lara Jean is gazing out of the window into the backyard, lost. John must have left by now, she muses. Of course fate had it out for her; Margot and John, leaving on the same day. But then again, maybe it was for the best. At least today, her choice to see Margot off stood without question.
She sighs to herself, and shakes her head just a little bit.
"What?" asks Peter.
"Hm?" she replies, without looking at him, still half lost.
"What's on your mind, Covey?"
She rests her chin on her palm, elbow propped up on the window sill. "I thought we were going to be quiet.
He only shrugs and leans back against the wall of his corner, legs spread straight in front of him. He waits for her to say something, and when she doesn't, he says, "Gen and I broke up."
"Come on, you and I both know you'll both get back together in a week. Two weeks, tops ," she says with a slight shake of her head and a slightly confused smile on her face.
He shakes his head. "No, not this time…"
"That's what you said the last time, Peter," she says in a matter-of-fact voice.
"This is not like the other times…" he mumbles, looking away. "There's another guy. A college guy."
When he looks up, Lara Jean is staring at him with wide-eyes, mouth half agape in shock. Her eyebrows are higher than he's ever seen and she has a look in her eyes, and he can't help the bitter laugh that escapes him.
"Don't look at me like that, Covey," he says, looking away before looking back at her.
"Like what?" she asks, eyebrows knitting in confusion.
"With pity," he mutters.
She bites her lower lip and shuffles across the floor to sit next to him, shoulder-to-shoulder. She bumps his shoulder with hers. "Hey, I'm sorry," she says sincerely.
He shakes his and looks at his hands, locked in his lap. "Nah, it's alright."
"She'll come around, Peter," she says. "You're a good guy, and she knows it," she continues, trying to catch his eye.
"Thanks, Lara Jean," he says with a small smile. "But I think we're over for good this time."
"You'll find someone else," she says warmly, because she knows he will. Peter Kavinsky is one of the good ones, and she's somewhat convinced that Gen and him wil be back together in no time.
"You didn't answer my question," says Peter suddenly, looking at Lara Jean.
"What question?" she asks, puzzled.
"What's on your mind?" he asks, turning to face her fully.
She blows a stray lock of hair out of her face before responding. "Margot left today," she says.
"Oh, right," says Peter as he remembers. And then, he also remembers something else. He looks at Lara Jean carefully, wondering if he should ask or not, but she beats him to it.
"And Johnny left today as well," she mutters.
Peter sighs. "I take it you didn't see him off?"
"No," she says, and starts reciting the speech she has had in mind this morning. In case anyone were to ask, but it doesn't quite work out that way. Instead she just ends up saying, "Margot… is well, Margot. I had to see her off, so… you know…" and she shrugs.
"Yeah, I know," is all he says.
Lara Jean doesn't say much else about John, but Peter has an idea of what could've happened. He watches her worry her lower lip again, a small frown on her face - her 'thinking tell' she called it - so he simply smiles at her, a half rueful, a half ironic smile. "Hey, Lara Jean?"
"You'll find someone else..."
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A/N: Sooooo? What'd you think? Is it too slow? Do let me know what you think in the reviews, pretty please?