“Peter, please pick up. It wasn’t what it looked like. I promise.” Lara Jean pleads into her phone, hanging up after leaving a fifth voicemail for Peter in the last hour. Margot and Lara Jean had spent the last hour driving all over town trying to find him. His house, UVA campus, everywhere Lara Jean could think of.
But there was no sign of Peter anywhere.
“So, all this time you were fake dating?” Margot breaks the silence in the car after a minute.
Between phone calls. Lara Jean had told her older sister everything. The night in the bar, their fake dating plot, Peter’s confession to her last night and the Josh situation.
“To make his ex jealous and to get that creep away from you? But after the incident, it really became about his ex-girlfriend,” Margot frowns in confusion. “Honestly Lara Jean, I don’t understand why you carried on.”
“I just did,” Lara Jean sighs, struggling to find the words to explain her feelings. “He was Peter. He was there for me. He was my RA who only lived down the hall. I saw him everyday and spent hours with him. We ate meals together. He became a part of life,” A painful lump formed in her throat as she spoke. “I can’t imagine my life without Peter Kavinsky in it. I don’t want to.”
After everything that had happened, maybe she would have to.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were friends with Josh again?” Margot asks, turning to look at her sister as they stopped at a red light.
Lara Jean felt the guilt spread through her body, settling uncomfortably in the pit of her stomach. “I didn’t want to hurt you.”
Margot looks disappointed and Lara Jean knew she owed her older sister a proper explanation.
“I guess,” She continues. “When things started getting intense with Peter and I started to feel things, I panicked. Josh reappeared. I was drawn to him, I suppose. He reached out to me. I knew him. He was comforting and familiar. Peter is everything out of my comfort zone.”
“I don’t really care about Josh. He’s my past. You do know for the future you can tell me anything, right? You can be friends with whoever you like. You’d never truly hurt me, Lara Jean. We’re sisters. But more importantly, Peter,” Margot says softly, tilting her head towards her sister. “You love him.”
“Yeah,” Her eyes squeeze shut, finally admitting it to herself. “I really do.”
Lara Jean leans into the her chair, sighing softly and then turning to Margot with a raised eyebrow, suddenly remembering something.“What happened with you tonight? Why did you come home?”
Margot visibly tenses, her hands gripping the steering wheel slightly tighter. “Ravi and I had a fight.”
“Are you okay?” Lara Jean asks, concerned. It was unlike them to fight, they were pretty much the perfect couple. Well, maybe everything appears more intact from the outside. “About what?”
“He tried to propose to me.”
She gasps, “Margot!”
“I panicked and stopped him. We fought. He stormed out and I came here.”
Lara Jean gasps, her hand gripping the side of her seat so tightly her fingers were white.
“Do you,” Lara Jean thinks about her words carefully before speaking. “Do you want to marry him?”
Surprisingly, Margot is quick to reply. “Yes.”
Lara Jean gives her older sister a sympathetic smile, reaching over to squeeze her hand. “Love is terrifying. You just got scared. We all get scared. It’s going to be okay.”
“Wow,” Margot sighs, reflecting. “Us Song-Covey girls are truly talented at self-destructing our love lives.”
“Not Kitty,” Lara Jean says, shaking her head. “She’s invincible. She knows what she wants and she takes it.”
“She really does,” Margot replies, nodding in agreement. “She scares me sometimes.”
There’s a silence in the car as they circle around the block where Peter lives again, before Margot indicated and pulled in beside the curb. “Lara Jean, I think we should call it a night. He just needs time. Besides, you need to sleep and have a rested, clear mind for when you speak to him tomorrow.”
“I guess so,” Lara Jean agreed reluctantly, the lump in her dry throat hurting again. She was fighting back tears again, but she didn’t want to cry again. “New year, new opportunities. Right?”
Margot leans over to squeeze her hand. “You are going to get Peter back, okay? You’ll need a date for my wedding. If he still wants to marry me.”
“If?” Lara Jean squeezes her sister’s hand back, giving her a small smile. “That boy is so going to marry you.”
As Margot leaves Peter’s street and Lara Jean feels her heavy heart sink in her chest, the Song sisters don’t let go of each other’s hands.
As she climbs into bed, a buzz from her phone makes her jump straight up and leap to grab her phone.
Her wide eyes scan over her screen, a text popping up in a green bubble.
02:04 Peter Kavinsky: Stop.
After that, she couldn’t stop the tears if she tried.
Lara Jean spends New Year’s Day in bed. It’s the one day of the year when all the shops and restaurants are closed, so there’s not much to do.
The next few days are the same, she can’t be persuaded to leave the house. Not even a sale in their local thrift shop could nudge her out of her Peter Kavinsky depression.
In the afternoon, Lara Jean is lying on the couch with Kitty at her feet. They’re watching Pretty in Pink when they’re dad walks in, waving something in his hand.
“Lara Jean! You’ve got mail,” He says, dropping the letters on top of the cushion on her lap.
Her eyes glanced at the familiar red letter, flipping it over to read the address. It has a blue return to sender stamp stamped on the top right corner.
The name and address of the receipient is in her neat, curved writing.
The name Kenny sets off the alarm bells in her head.
Lara Jean lets out a high pitched scream, grabbing the letter off the counter and sprinting upstairs.
She trips over two piles of dirty clothes on her bedroom floor as she rushes into her closet, scanning the shelves for her letter box until she remembers that she left it in college.
The letters were out.
She had left it on the desk in her dorm. There was no hope of getting into her dorm building, campus and its accommodation didn’t reopen for another two weeks.
Someone must have sent them.
She lunges for her phone, quickly typing a text to her roommate. Zoey never answers calls, so Lara Jean types back a response to Zoey’s unanswered text from this morning.
“Hey! Did you see a teal letter box in our dorm? On my desk?”
Lara Jean stares intensely at her phone, waiting for the typing bubbles to appear. She lets out a few groans and screams, kicking her legs like a toddler.
She lets out a scream of relief when she sees Zoey typing.
“Oh yeah! Don’t worry, I mailed them all out for you. They’re Christmas cards, right? They looked quite fancy. You have to teach me how to write like that.”
Lara Jean’s stares at her screen in shock. Another buzz quickly follows, another text from Zoey. “Did I do something wrong?”
Lara Jean eventually musters the energy to reply, adding a few emojis to soften the text. She didn’t want to be mad at her roommate or for her roommate to think she mad. She was just trying to be nice.
“No, it’s fine. Thank you. I was worried about the….Christmas cards. I completely forgot. Thank you!”
Lara Jean lays on her bed for a long time, falling deeper and deeper into her spiral. She just screamed when Kitty and her father tried to talk to her, which she felt bad for and would apologize for later, but she was too busy trying to find a solution to her unfortunate existence.
All the letters were sent out. The love letters.
Including to Peter.
She had to talk to him. She had to explain. Things were already complicated, but throwing a love letter into the mix had made things tragic.
Especially because his letter was like no letter she has ever wrote before. A letter no one’s eyes should see but Lara Jeans.
Before she can convince herself to not do it, she quickly gets changed into a pinstriped dress and tights, pulls on a black bomber jacket and a bakerboy hat.
She’s running out the door, grabbing her keys and closing it behind her before Kitty could finish her sentence from the couch.
“Lara Jean! I need to talk to you,” Josh shouts from across the yard, standing up from his porch swing. He must have been waiting for her.
He’s swinging his love letter in the air.
Oh my god.
Not today, Satan.
Lara Jean keeps on running towards her car, turning to look back at Josh with a pleading look.
“I wrote that years ago, Josh. Years. I’m so sorry, I have to go! We can talk later!”
She could barely remember what she had written in it when she was fifteen. She had stopped herself from re-reading it over the years, it had hurt too much. It had meant something then.
Now it was just words.
Josh isn’t giving up, he sprints towards her and stands in front of her car. “You still wrote it!”
She sighs, coming to a halt. “A long time ago.”
“Love letters don’t have expiration dates.” Josh pleads, the letter still high in the air, taunting her.
The hurt look that flashes across his flashes across his face makes her regret what she says instantly.
“I’ll always love you, Josh,” She leans forward briefly to squeeze his wrist, before stepping back and pulling away. “But not in that way. I know that now,” Lara Jean gives the boy she once loved one final glance before stepping around him and unlocking her car. “I’m sorry, I really have to go.”
And there, on her front lawn, she drives way from Josh Sanderson. The boy she once loved.
The drive to Peter’s was a rocky one. Lara Jean wasn’t the most confident driver but the adrenalin from the thought of seeing Peter prevented her from crying every time someone beeped at her or she had to make a tricky right turn.
She barely puts the car in park when she arrives at Peter’s house, sprinting towards Peter’s front door. When she presses the doorbell, she suddenly gets the urge to vomit.
A boy around Kitty’s age opens the front door. She’s thankful it isn’t his mom. Lara Jean hadn’t met his mom yet. Under these circumstances, it wouldn’t be ideal.
It’s Peter’s brother. He doesn’t look surprised to see her, so Peter must have said something. That makes Lara Jean even more nervous.
“Hi,” Her voice cracks. “Is Peter here?”
His response is blunt. He doesn’t look impressed. “No.”
“You’re Lara Jean. If I tell you where he is, you’re not going to go and hurt him, are you?”
“No,” Her hands shake. Peter often talked about his brother, and how close they were. “I promise. I’m trying to do the opposite.”
“Cool,” From his expression, that’s good enough for him. “He’s at the park. Look for the lacrosse goals. It’s down the street on the right.”
She drives down to the park, nearly hitting a cone as she parks paralell in a parking space.
As she half-walks half-runs across the park, the frozen strands of grass crunch under her feet. She’s quite close to the goals when she sees him, her heart stops in her chest and she momentarily forgets how to breathe.
There he is.
The park is small enough, and it’s empty except for a couple and an old man walking his dog. It’s a big green field with lacrosse goals in the middle, the designated area slightly smaller than a lacrosse pitch but white lines mark the pitch out roughly.
He must have heard her footsteps because he turns around, his eyes widening as he realizes it’s her. He doesn’t look happy.
He can barely look at her, his eyes drifting down towards the ground or moving up to focus on her jacket or boots. He won’t meet her eyes.
Lara Jean opens her mouth to speak but nothing comes out. She tries to find the words to say, but her whole body feels frozen. It was freezing, but now that she was here and he was in front of her, she couldn’t decide on one out of the million things she wanted to say to him.
Peter Kavinsky seemed to always have that effect on her.
Peter is the first one to speak.
“My dad always used to take me here to practice when I was younger.” When he speaks, something warm in her stomach lights up and she feels how much she had missed his voice.
Had missed him.
Plus, he hadn’t told her to get lost or sworn, so this was already going way better than expected.
“Did you end up meeting up with him?” A pang of guilt struck her. The phone call with his father. He had planned to meet up with him to talk. She had ignored him when he had needed her.
She really didn’t deserve him. She was a terrible person.
Peter stiffens. “He cancelled. Something came up with one of his kids. Nothing new.”
Her breath catches in her throat. She wants to reach out and hold him, hug him. But she doesn’t know if she’s allowed to. “I’m so sorry, Peter.”
He had built up some hope about the prospects of meeting his father and it had been taken away from him. Again.
He shrugs his shoulders casually, as if it isn’t a big deal when she knows it is. “It’s not the worst betrayal I’ve experienced in the last few days.”
“That’s not fair. I came here to-“
“Get the letter back, right?”
She had completely forgotten about the letter.
“Actually no,” She pauses, her stomach flipping uncomrortably. “Have you read it?”
“It’s not mine to read, Covey. If you wanted me to read it, you woule have given it to me.” He answers her like she’s asked a stupid question. He pulls it out of his hoodie, extending it towards her.
“There. You can go,” He dismisses her, turning around to pick up his lacrosse stick, aggressively throwing the ball into the goal.
“I’ll read it then,” She raises her voice slightly, opening the envelope with shaking hands. She had spent extra time perfecting this letter, spilling her heart out in blank ink and perfect calligraphy. “Please, listen to me.”
She watches his back muscles tense up through his thin shirt, before he relaxes his shoulders and turns around, looking
I like you. That’s a lie. I more than like you. But at the same time, you infuriate and annoy me. You confuse me. You make me smile and laugh. Is that what love is? I didn’t know before.
Now I know. I think a part of me always knew how I felt, after a while. I know why you make me blush every time I think of you.. I know why my heart stops everytime you look at me or try to make me laugh. I wish you would stop looking at me. I understand why people do whatever for the people they love.
I know why I sit through those awful television shows you like so much, even the scary ones. I know why I paint your jersey number on my cheek.
But I can’t ever say this to you. That’s the first rule of fight club, right? You don’t talk about fight club.
I understand you heart isn’t mine.
Still, I will take whatever you give me. I could keep going like this if it meant we could still be us. Or maybe it would hurt too much. Even when we finish our arrangement, I will never forget what we had. You gave me my first love story, Peter Kavinsky.
I just wish it had been real.
Yours, Lara Jean
When she finishes it, she walks around him and into the middle of the goal. She picks up his ball, walking towards Peter and extending it towards him.
Then, she lifts the letter up and rips it in half.
“What the hell are you doing, Lara Jean?” Peter looks surprised and shocked, looking at her like she was crazy. He gave her that look a lot.
She really didn’t know what she was doing. She was sort of winging it, “I’m showing you I was wrong.”
“About certain things in that letter. I can tell you how I feel. I don’t care about anyone else. This is real. I just care about you. I know your heart is mine. If you’ll still let me have it,” Her voice softens slowly and she takes a step forward. “Because mine is completely yours.”
Peter doesn’t say anything for an extruianating second. She sees his eyes soften, the Peter she knows seeping through before they harden again. “What about Sanderson?”
She gulps. “When Josh kissed me-“
Peter flinches. “I don’t want to hear about that.”
“It’s important. Please,” She pleads, lifting her hand to touch his but pausing it in mid air. “When he kissed me, it wasn’t what I imagined it would be. I felt nothing. It didn’t feel like anything. Not like when I kiss you. All I could think about was you. You’re the only person I want to kiss, Peter Kavinsky.”
“Are you sure?” Peter’s eyes watch her, but he’s dropped his lacrosse stick and moves slightly closer to her, his eyebrows furrowed like they do when he’s serious and thinking about something.
“Ever since that night at the bar, I haven’t been able to get you out of my head,” Her words were lifting an invisible weight off her shoulders. They were feelings she’d harboured for months. “I am scared, but I’ve also never been so sure about anything in my life.”
She takes a brave step forward, standing right in front of Peter. She could see his breath in the cold air.
His face breaks into a huge smile, which he tries to hide by biting his bottom lip. When she starts to lean up on her tippy toes, he pauses.
“Just so you know, Gen and I are the exact same. It’s nothing, it hasn’t been anything for a long long time,” It wasn’t exactly what she was hoping to talk about just before they were about to have their kiss, that romantic moment in all the movies. But she appreciated him saying it. “No one compares to you, Covey.”
She nodded, giving him a soft smile. “I know.”
Peter moves down towards her, bending his neck as he playfully smirked at her. “Are you going to break my heart, Covey?”
Her arms wrap themselves around his neck softly, her fingertips touching and weaving themselves through his soft hair. “That’s the one thing I promise I’ll never do.”
“Good,” He leans down to pick her up, his hands under her thighs as he boosts her up to wrap her legs around his torso. She giggles loudly. “Actually, you can do whatever the hell you want with it. It’s yours, Covey. I’m too in love with you to care.”
She blinks at him, her body filling with warmth and excitement. “You are?”
He’s blushing, but he nods confidently.
“Well,” Her lips curve into a wide smile, her knees dipping slightly as she pushes up on her tippy toes to move closer to him. “That’s excellent timing.”
“How so?” He asks, licking his lips quickly. Their lips are a few inches apart, and she’s looking straight into his magical, beautiful hazel eyes. She doesn’t care how cheesy she’s being. This boy is hers and she is his.
This is it. This is what complete and utter blissful happiness feels like.
“Because I’m completely in love with you, Peter Kavinsky.”
She doesn’t get the chance to reply because the boy she loves kisses her, and they’re both smiling against each other’s lips and she giggles when he dips her with their lips still locked.
Out of all the boys she’s loved before, Lara Jean’s positive in that moment this is one she’ll love forever.