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From the Boy Who Almost Got Away

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[8.32 AM]

From: John Ambrose McClaren

Hey Lara Jean, how did Prom go last night? Had fun? I am sure no one measures up to my moves 🤣

 

After that terrible night when Peter had broken up with her, Lara Jean woke up to this text from John Ambrose. After what happened a few months ago between them at Belleview, the two of them had decided they still wanted to be in each other’s lives and remained friends. They did not get a chance to see each other, but they kept in touch through text messages. She had told him that about their Prom night. His was the week before, and he had gone with his best friend from high school, as we he was “hopelessly single.” His words, not hers. The question was innocent, but it brought Lara Jean back to last night, when Peter broke up with her, when she almost offered her virginity to a guy who would give up on her at the first hurdle. True life had not even begun, and yet, he was proving to be not as reliable as she wished he would be. Yet, she is still in love with Peter Kavinsky. He is her first love, and first loves are forever, right?

 

She didn’t know what to answer to John Ambrose’s friendly innocent text, though. Should she tell him? She did not want to have him to interpret this as an opening. Last time this had happened, she told him Peter and she were broken up, he had kissed her. That was not unpleasant, far from it, but she was in love with Peter. She still is. But, John Ambrose and she were friends, and as such, there was nothing wrong in updating a friend on her current love life, or lack thereof.

 

[8.38 AM]

To: John Ambrose McClaren

Well, the dance was nice. It’s what happened afterwards that wasn’t. Peter broke up with me.

 

As she wrote the line, the reality dawned on her. Peter had broken up with her. Because she chose to go to NYU, because she was making a choice for her future that he did not perceive as convenient enough, because he wanted her to choose between him and New York – and chose him, preferably. As her thoughts were swimming in her head, anger mixed with sadness, longing and a myriad of other emotions collided inside of her. Then, the ping of her phone brought her back to reality.

 

[8.41 AM]

From: John Ambrose McClaren

I’m so sorry LJ… I am here, if you wanna talk about it. Have a boy’s perspective, maybe?

 

A boy’s perspective, that surely was a good idea. But that was just how John Ambrose was, incredibly smart and caring. She took her phone and dialed his number. He answered after the second ring. His voice was still slightly raspy, she could sense that he was still in bed, in the process of properly waking up. For a second, she imagined him in bed. That made her blush. But she was in love with Peter, she needed to remember that. She told him everything, from the Stanford debacle to their trip to New York, the way she fell for the City, and then what Peter had told her, that he was not going to wait for this to end, that she hadn’t chosen him. Telling the story alone was sufficient to bring tears to her eyes. She loved him, enough to remain committed to him, regardless of distance, of practicalities. Why couldn’t he love her as much as she did? Maybe because this is not some romance novel she would read and get lost into, but real life. And real life was ugly.

 

“Lara Jean, of course you should go to New York. I have never heard you be as enthusiastic about anything, and God only knows how much you loved Harry Potter,” John Ambrose had said in a slight chuckle. The sound of it alone soothed Lara Jean. It was nice to have a friend’s support – especially that early in the morning. “More seriously, please promise me you won’t give up on New York or NYU for Kavinsky, or for anyone for that matter.” She readily answered. “I promise.” She could hear him smile on the other end of the line. She could have Facetimed him, but there was something about imagining his reactions as opposed to seeing them. If she was being honest, John Ambrose’s smile had always been a force of nature. That smile.

 

“Good. Lara Jean, listen, I swear I am not saying this out of bias, and I won’t say anything more about your relationship with Peter, but love is about choosing the other person every time, repeatedly, in particular when times get rough. Love is about everything but holding someone back. He should not put you in this position.” I would never have. He hadn’t dared to add this sentence, but Lara Jean could swear she had heard it. “Thank you, John Ambrose. It means a lot. I mean, I love Peter, so much. At the same time, I don’t want to give up on New York. I can’t explain but I feel that there is something there for me, you know? That I could really be fulfilled, happy and grow as a person, a student, a writer.”

 

The rest of the exchange had been casual, he told her about his plans to go to Cambridge, in England, to pursue a degree in Literature. They had in common. She had almost forgotten. They talked about finals, upcoming graduation and plans to see each other. Then John Ambrose asked her. “By the way, how is your father’s wedding coming together?” She told him about the preparations, the dresses, the fact that Kitty was going to wear a suit. She would never tell her sister, but she thought it was a fantastic move. Then, she realized she would be going alone to the wedding, that not having a boyfriend meant she wouldn’t have a date. Not that it mattered. She would always have fun with her sisters, her father, Trina, and all their guests. Yet, something pushed her to ask the next question. “Would you…”

 

“Yes.” He cut her before she had the time to finish her sentence, and that brought her to when they were in sixth grade together. They would speak to each other and consistently finish each other’s sentence, or say the same words at the exact same time in a sort of secret symphony only they knew. “Yes, I would love to come to the wedding with you. As friends, of course. I promise, this time, I won’t come with my Dad’s tux.” She laughed at the memory of the dance at Belleview, and how insanely cute he looked in that oversized white tuxedo. Although, she had to acknowledge that it matched his complexion, and his bright white smile. Plus, white tuxedo was a bold move. “Too bad, I actually liked that tuxedo, but I’m sure you’ll clean up just fine. Thank you so much for accompanying me.”

 

“Pleasure is all mine Lara Jean. Send me the details by text? I’ll let you be and, remember, your breakup seems now intolerable, you feel like you cannot cope and you’ll never be able to recover. But you will. Trust me, you will.” He seemed so convinced, so sure of himself and of her strength – while she doubted it fully – that she had to ask: “how can you be so sure?” He answered, in a whisper: “let’s just say that I’ve been there. I’ll tell you about it another time though, I must run. Goodbye LJ, and see you at the wedding!”

 

She had said it before, but this conversation just confirmed it. It was so easy with John Ambrose McClaren. Sure, they were not dating, which took off a big chunk of potential complications but it was more than that. The way they spoke, the way they got each other without any sort of effort, the way he always said the right things at the right time. It was overwhelming, in a way. By contrast, with Peter, part of her always felt like she had to make sure to make the right moves, say the right things, be the right girlfriend. With John Ambrose, there was just an unknown force that made her be Lara Jean, and she felt it was enough.

 

That did not mean that she was faking being with Peter. No. It was more that she loved him so much, that she would sometimes adjust a bit too much to be what he expected her to be, or expected from a girl to be – instead of being her. It was not his fault, at least not entirely, she was also to blame. She had not put any sorts of limits or boundaries to the phenomenon, and that led him to think it was okay to resent her for her choice of college, for the choice that would determine her future. As her thoughts wandered to small moments in her relationships with Peter, her phone vibrated under her pillow.

 

[9.17 AM]

From: Peter Kavinsky

Hey. Do you still want me to come to the wedding?

 

At least, he was considerate enough to remember they technically still had a date. That was true until ten minutes ago, though. She pondered on whether to tell him she had another date, that the other date was John Ambrose. Then, she realized she did not owe him anything. They were broken up, on his initiative, all because he had an ego fit about her choosing the right college for her future and her plans. She would remain cordial, but not divulge too much. Plus, she needed not to bring additional drama to the whole mess. In a few weeks, they would all be off to college. Him to Stanford, her to New York most likely with Gen, and John Ambrose in Cambridge, on the other side of the ocean.

 

[9.19 AM]

To: Peter Kavinsky

That won’t be necessary Peter, we’re broken up.

 

After she hit the “Send” button, she felt like she had been a little harsh with him. At the same time, he had been equally harsh with her last night when he decided to shatter her heart in pieces, and make her endorse the entire responsibility of their breakup while all she did, was do right herself and her future. Margot had been right all along, she needed to choose for her and to keep her options open. If anything, this whole story showed that maybe, just maybe, Peter Kavinsky was not the right man. The man of her dreams would support her, always, not matter what instead of trying to tie her down to him.

 

Then breakfast came and she had to break it to the family. They would know sooner or later anyway. She decided to casually drop the little bomb. “Dad, can you please change a name in the guest list for the wedding?” Trina and her father looked at her questioningly, while Kitty was slightly confused. She knew Peter and Lara Jean had broken up, she understood when she walked in her sister’s room earlier and found her distraught, her hair in a messy bun and utterly broken. What was confusing though was that she used the word “change” and not “strike out.”

 

“Well, Peter is not coming anymore. We broke up last night. Instead, a friend of mine would be coming with me. John Ambrose McClaren.” She could see her father’s mind trying to remember the familiar name while Kitty was smiling sadly. She liked Peter, she had gotten attached to him. She really thought that he and Lara Jean were it, the sort of endgame you see in teenage romantic comedies. Maybe she could try to patch them up? Kitty did not know John Ambrose well enough, she didn’t have anything against the guy. She just wanted Peter and Lara Jean to work out because she got invested in their relationship.

 

She followed her sister to her room, cleared her throat and said: “I didn’t forget to tell you about NYU, Lara Jean. I just decided not tell you.” Lara Jean looked at her sister with wide eyes. “Why?” she asked. “I didn’t want you to go. Not that far. I am going to miss you a twelve, Lara Jean.” She then fell in her big sister’s embrace. She could understand, she would of course miss Kitty. She wondered if that is what Peter had felt as well, that he would miss her so much that he preferred not to take the risk to miss her and instead. Even if it were, it would still be cowardly, to renounce on a beautiful sincere love story just to preserve oneself from the possibility of missing the other person, longing for them. Or maybe it was that he didn’t love her as much as she thought he did, as much as he said.

 

“Peter thought the same thing, that he did not want me to go that far. That’s why he broke up with me, because I chose New York. I am still choosing New York. It’ll be hard for me too, Kitty, but I feel like I’d be really happy there, and that it is the right pick for my future.” Kitty tightened her grip on her sister. “Of course you should go Lara Jean, it’s not even up to debate. Everytime you speak about New York and NYU, I can see the sparkle in your eyes. I was stupid, and scared. But if Peter isn’t going to understand that, then maybe he is not the right one.” Kitty had said that, but secretly hoped he was and he would come back to his senses, because there was no way the Peter she knew would not realize his mistakes.

 

The two weeks after that eventful night rolled by fast. Lara Jean and John Ambrose kept exchanging friendly texts, at a higher frequency though. She could feel Peter’s look linger on her at times in high school, and in particular when she was on her phone. It was not easy, seeing him every day at school. She tried to avoid him as much as she could, but that was not enough. They had friends in common, classes in common. She had confided in Lucas who wholeheartedly extended his support. Even Gen did. She had come to her the other idea and had told her: “I heard about you and Peter. I am sorry Lara Jean. But you’re right, you should be able to go wherever you want to for college. If that’s NYU, so be it. I hope to see you there.”

 

One day, it was the Friday before the wedding, she realized she had developed a coping mechanism. Each time she had to interact with Peter Kavinsky, she would immediately text John Ambrose. It was not conscious. It just so happened that her heart ached a little, and John Ambrose had these soothing abilities about him. She felt ashamed, though. She felt like she was using John Ambrose, all over again, just like she had used him to feel better about herself, during their time at Belleview. It would often be meaningless texts, on the weather or on the last Netflix show she saw, but it would always make her feel better to see the name “John Ambrose McClaren” appear on her phone screen. She hadn’t told anyone.

 

The day of the wedding came by, and she was giddy. Margot would be coming back from Ireland, and they had so much to catch up on. Skype just was not the same. John Ambrose would be here, too. She was excited at the idea of seeing him again. It’s been so long. It would be nice to reconnect with a friend. The house was literally under siege. The final adjustments for the party were underway and the excitement was mixed up with a bit of nerves in the air. The only one who remained calm, for some reason, was Trina. Weird, for a woman who was about to commit to a man for the rest of her life. I never was that calm around Peter, thought Lara Jean.

 

As guests began to pile in the Covey’s garden, there was one guest in particular that Lara Jean was waiting for expectedly. She was speaking with one of the servers when a voice behind her, said, in a warm tone: “Hi, Lara Jean.” It’s him. She turned so quickly that the energy of her twirl almost made the server fall. “John Ambrose, you made it! Thanks so much for coming. How are you?” She hugged him and he encircled her waist with his arms as her head came to rest in the crook of his neck. The embrace was so natural, as if their bodies belonged in that very position. His throat was dry, as he said the next words: “Lara Jean, you look spectacular. I never thought you could look more breathtaking than during that night at Belleview, but I stand corrected.”

 

She smiled shyly and thanked him in a barely audible whisper. They sat next to each other as the ceremony was about to start. Her father and Trina’s happiness was communicative. They were exactly where they wanted to be. She then remembered all those plans she had for her and Peter, the fantasies about them getting married and running down the aisle once they had committed to each other for eternity – or at least, until death did them part. She needed to keep her emotions at bay. She bored into John Ambrose’s eyes and just like that, he gently took her hand and squeezed it in such a tender way. Her heart could’ve melted right there. Soothing. He did it once again. Just understood her by an eye exchange and did the right thing, at the right time, to make her feel better.

 

The night had been lovely. Sure, she still missed Peter, but John Ambrose had been the perfect gentleman. Considerate enough to bring her a drink each time her glass was empty, empathic enough to hold her and joke around each time she was on the verge of thinking about Peter too much. She didn’t expect anything less from him, he always had been the ultimate gentleman. She saw him on the other end of the backyard, as he was shuffling around his coat to send a text and put back his phone in it. Something caught her eye as it fell from his pocket. He hadn’t realized. A letter. It had her name on it. Her heart was throbbing in her chest, she was sure it would come out of her mouth in a second. The letter was 500 meters away, maximum, but fending off the crowd and getting to it had felt like the biggest effort in her life.

 

When she got a hold of it, she tightened her grip around it and ran back inside the house to read it without the fury of the wedding party unfolding. Someone had finally written a letter to her – not just small notes scribbled on small pieces of paper. An actual letter.

 

Dear Lara Jean,

 

When you will read this letter, I will be gone from your Dad’s wedding after a night, that I hope, you will find memorable. There is no doubt it will be for me. Everything I do with you, everything about you is memorable. Your eyes, your smile, your taste for literature, the way we non-verbally communicate with so much ease, your enthusiasm about things and people you love, your determination. The list could go on and on. Probably forever.

 

You are memorable and as a result, I cannot forget you. You know when I jokingly tell you I am “hopelessly single,” what I did not tell you until now, at least, is that I am hopelessly single for you. I suspect you do not like me this way, as I remember your reaction to our kiss last winter. But I just can’t get over it, or over you for that matter. There is no getting over you, Lara Jean.

In my previous letter, I had told you that I was amazed at how complex and deep you were able to dive into your feelings, at such an early age. It took me a while to get there. But a few years later, it is my turn to expose these to you. I feel like I owe you at least that much.

 

Where to start? Lara Jean, at 11, when we were reading Harry Potter together, I would’ve told you: “you look pretty, I love reading with you.” But now, the 17-year-old John Ambrose can tell you the following. You don’t just look pretty, you’re beautiful. In every single way. Not only do you look beautiful, but you glow beautiful, you breathe beautiful, you speak beautiful. Beautiful outside and inside. I like reading with you, obviously but I also like discussing our readings. Remember last month when you advised I read Utopia for Realists and then we had an entire two-hour conversation about it over the phone? I look forward to these discussions over and over again, about a multitude of books and essays.

 

You and I, it’s more than that, though. It’s hard to put into words, and you know that as eloquent as they are, words have their own limits. So, please excuse my inability to fully express what I intend to. You get me. It’s hard to say in any other way, but you get me like nobody else does. Not even my family. And I think I get you. For instance, I know that tonight, you will have a bit of hard time when your father and his fiancée are going to say “yes” to each other because you had pictured a similar moment with Peter. When that happens, I will be there to hold your hand. I will always be there to hold your hand, if you let me. In whatever capacity you want me. In particular, I will hold it when you’re in New York, and you feel homesick – I’ll hold it virtually from England, regardless of time difference or any other practical detail and you and I are so much better than practical details.

 

Last time, I let you go because I could see you were genuinely happy with Peter. As much as it hurt me, I let you go because your happiness was all that mattered to me. It still is. However, when you called me that morning and told me what unfolded between you two, I couldn’t help but think that maybe it was the time for us. Finally. The reality is that even when I let you go at Belleview, there was a small voice within me that kept telling me that eventually, we would be brought to each other, that we were meant to be. I still think we are. I think that’s why I am hopelessly single. Until you tell me there is no hope for us, part of me will always belong to you.

 

I know I promised I would not speak about your relationship with Peter. Please accept my apologies as I am about to break this promise for a paragraph. Just one, though. That is a promise. I was so relieved when you told me that you’d be going to New York, no matter what. Needless to say, I wholeheartedly support your decision. I think Peter made the biggest mistake of his life, and quite frankly if he cannot support a choice that so obviously makes you excited and happy, then he does not deserve you.

 

You deserve to be fought for, Lara Jean. To be chosen. Every single step of the way. That is what I want to do. Today, tomorrow, and for the rest of our days. Now, I know you just broke up with Peter and there still are lingering feelings between you. I know you are hurting. I know you are vulnerable and by no means, do I want to enjoy the situation. I would never, I hope you know that.

 

I wanted to give you this letter in person and wanted to express my feelings for you. I love you, Lara Jean. There is no other way to say it. I am as hopelessly single as I am hopelessly in love with you. When you are ready, I am happy to talk about it. No pressure though. And regardless of your feelings towards me, be reassured that you will never lose me. I will always be your friend because I can’t stand the idea of not having you in my life.

 

As I said in the introduction of this letter, I could go on and on. But here are my last few words. All this time, ever since I first laid eyes on you in fifth grade when you were sharing an ice-cream sandwich with Lucas James in the cafeteria and you glanced at me for the first time, I have been saving my love, all of it for you.

 

Saving all my love for you, that could be our song, really. A beautiful ballade to dance the night away to. What do you think?

 

Deepest Love,
John Ambrose

 

Lara Jean was in shock. She remembered very vividly the first time she had seen John Ambrose. Her heart skipped a beat and Lucas had to bring her back to earth. She didn’t know hearts could react that violently to a face. She had seen lots of faces before. But she remembered now. Her heart was jumping all over her body, threatening to fail her from the over activity. John Ambrose McClaren loved her. It was as simple as that. He had written to her a letter in which he laid it out all to her. He loved her. She then mentally travelled back to the time when she had written her own love letters, and there was no doubt back then – nor now for that matter – that the most intense letter had been addressed to John Ambrose. She also was struggling to find the adequate words, but it is as if there was a tether between them that always kept them together especially when they didn’t know. And they met years afterwards at Belleview. That couldn’t be coincidence. It was destiny, fate.

 

She hadn’t realized that her brain and her heart, both working independently from her will had taken her back to the backyard where she joined John Ambrose. “LJ! I was looking for you. Will you do me the honor of a dance? We sway so well together.” He smiled at her with that smile that made her knees weak. It always had. Only this time around, she had no qualms in acknowledging it. Embracing it, even. “I read your letter.” His smile turned into a worried look. “How? Lara Jean, you were supposed to read it after I was gone. I never intended to disturb the party or make this awkward.”

 

She smiled at him. Always considerate, always putting her feelings before his. Suddenly, it came crashing down within her. He had always put her first, pushed his feelings away when she asked him to, been there for her when she requested him to, while all this time he must’ve been hurting from being “second best.” She knew all too well that feeling. So, really, how could she do anything else but loop her arms behind his neck and press her soft lips against his plump very kissable lips. And there it was. Fireworks. Butterflies. Sparks. All at once, coursing in her body. She had never felt that. Not with Peter, not the first time she had kissed him. Never.

 

He then interrupted the kiss. “I am so sorry Lara Jean, I never meant…” She shook her head slowly, smiling softly at him. “You have nothing to be sorry for, John Ambrose. I loved your letter, every single word of it. And I am the one who kissed you. Not you. Your letter slipped from your coat’s pocket and I saw it on the floor. I got curious. I feel like I should be the one apologizing to you. I had no idea you harbored such intense feelings for me, and all I ever did was talk to you and keep you around to make me feel better about myself. I have been selfish, and for that I am incredibly sorry.”

 

“LJ, please, you don’t have anything to be sorry about. Please. I stuck around because I wanted to, because I needed to. You don’t owe me anything. I guess I just needed you to know. I know the timing is off, with you still nursing a heartbreak and us going off to college, but I just had to,” he said, holding her body close next to hers, swaying softly at the music.

 

“I do have to be sorry. I led you on. I didn’t know I was, but I was. But I am also sorry it took me this long to realize that it is you, it’s always been you John Ambrose.” She hadn’t planned on saying this. Not that early. But it is just how she felt and she wouldn’t deny it. Josh had told her that she needed to tell people how she felt, when she felt it. He was right. He looked at her with bulging eyes. She can’t be saying what I think she is. “I love you, John Ambrose McClaren. I always have. I simply needed help to realize it. You’re right. We get each other so well, so easily. I love you, and I will not deny it anymore.” She kissed him once again, conveying all her love, and all the regrets she had for the time they had lost mostly because of her.

 

When they both ended the kiss to breathe for a while, he took her hand and told her: “I know what’s going in that big mind of yours. And let me tell you something, I know it’s not going to be easy with us on two different continents. I know it will be challenging and there will be times when we will feel like we can’t take it anymore. But when that happens, I’ll always remember to choose you, and to choose you even more strongly when times get rough. The reality is Lara Jean, that I would rather do hard with you that easy with anybody else.”

 

She was overwhelmed and did not know what to answer. She just leaned into his embrace when the music changed. She recognized the song, immediately. He did too. He smiled at her, widely. That smile, again. What were the odds that the DJ would put I Am Saving All My Love for You just a few minutes after Lara Jean had read his letter and he had suggested it should be their song. “Our song,” she just murmured as she danced, comfortable in his embrace.

 

The night had finished with John Ambrose saying his goodbyes and the two agreeing to going on a date the following day. Kitty had seen the entire scene between them, the kissing, the dancing, she felt the chemistry right away. All the audience did as it was palpable. She felt guilty as she arranged for helping Peter in his grand gesture to try and win Lara Jean back. As she was texting him to cancel it all, Lara Jean was headed to the backyard as she had forgotten her purse. That is when she was it. Her high school yearbook, with the little pink “LJ & PK” as a sign for the page for her to read.

 

And read she did. She read Peter’s words, one by one. Smiling at times, frowning at others, hurting when he recollected that he had bailed on her when she made a choice that was hard on her too, albeit a choice she wanted. His words made her realize that she would always have tenderness in her heart for Peter, but that she did not love him. Too little, too late, she thought. He had given up on her in the worst possible time and know he had to live with the consequences. Crucially, this letter did little to her insides, nothing really compared to the heart and soul John Ambrose had poured in his. It was sweet innocent young love that Peter and she had, but it was not true love, epic love. That was with John Ambrose.

 

“Hi, Lara Jean,” Peter’s voice came from behind her. For this first time in weeks, she laid eyes on him and did not feel anything too powerful. Affection, that was it. “How do you like our new contract?” There it goes. John Ambrose wouldn’t be the only one to break a promise tonight. She had promised not to break his heart. But she was about to. “It is sweet Peter, but I cannot accept. I will always have tenderness for you in my heart…”

 

“Covey, please, no. Fight for us, don’t give up on us,” he begged her. She smiled sadly. “You did, Peter. That night, when you broke up with me over choosing NYU, you gave up on me. Your instinct told you that you wouldn’t be able to fight for me over those four years and you bolted out of that room while I pleaded with you not too. I am sorry Peter, but I cannot have another contract with you. I am in love. With someone else.”

 

Peter was at loss of words. Lara Jean had moved on already. He had been an idiot the way he reacted during Prom night. It is true that he had given up on her, because he was afraid and now, it was too late. It’s only been two weeks, but she had replaced him. Probably with someone who was going to New York, or who was willing to do distance on such short notice. Out of sadness, jealousy, anger, he wasn’t sure what feeling prevailed. “Who?”, he asked her green with jealousy. It was jealousy that took over, after all. “John Ambrose,” she told him, with a fond smile on her face – the smile that was exclusively reserved to him not too long ago.

 

“This Luther King wannabe? How could you do this to me Lara Jean?” he yelled, as she recoiled physically, slightly distraught by his reaction. “I think you should leave Peter, it’s been a long night. I am tired.” He passed his hand through his hand, conscious that aggressiveness wouldn’t take him very far. “Can we please talk about this? I love you.”

 

“She told you to leave, Peter.” Kitty’s determined voice came from behind. He immediately recognized it. He had thought that Kitty was on his side, she had helped him plan this whole surprise, after all. “Kitty…” She interrupted him with a hand in the air. “Peter, Lara Jean asked you to leave. I think you should comply.” Her voice was stern, left no room for debate, so Peter just left, his head hanging down.

 

“I am sorry Lara Jean, I helped Peter set this up. I wanted to call it off after I saw you with John Ambrose, the chemistry is so obvious, the passion.” Lara Jean didn’t say anything, she just hugged her little sister as tight as she could. She understood that she and Peter were sort of a fantasy to Kitty. She couldn’t be mad at her. Her heart was in the right place. Margot’s words from last year came back to her.

 

A few months later, after an eventful summer made of dates and love with John Ambrose, there she was in her dorm at NYU. John Ambrose was still in his plane to London, he would then need to hop in a train to Cambridge. A long journey that embodied the long distance between them. She sighed. Little did she know that on the west coast, Peter Kavinsky was also moving from Oregon to Stanford with a blue box in his truck. Memories of her. That’s all left he’s got. He messed up, he knew that Lara Jean would always be the one that got away. And he was the only one to blame. He did not fight hard enough for her when it mattered the most and he would forever keep that scar in his heart.

 

Back in New York, Lara Jean was unpacking when she noticed a sheet of paper in her laptop case, that wasn’t there before. Kitty, she thought. Her sister had barely spoken to her the day before she departed for New York. She had come with her at the airport. Unlike Margot, Lara Jean did turn around. Kitty maybe left her a note.

 

Dear Lara Jean,

 

This is not Kitty. She may have physically slipped this letter in your laptop case, but this is the result of our conspiracy.

 

When you read these lines, I will most likely still be in the air on my way to rainy England. Please be ensured that I’ll be thinking of you all along. The summer we spent together was the best. Because it was just you and me, at last. And this was even better that anything I had pictured or imagined.

 

Just so you know, this is the first of a long series of letters I am going to be sending to you over our college years, because, well distance is so suited for letters. That does not mean we won’t be skyping, facetiming and all. But there is just something so romantic, so disarming in sitting down and writing to you, Lara Jean. After all, it is a letter that led us back to each other.

 

I can’t help being a little sad at the thought that I won’t hold you in my arms as I have done for the past two months. But I am so extraordinarily ecstatic – maybe the figure of speech is too much – for you, because you are in New York, where you are supposed to be, where you belong. Us, we’ll always belong together, too. Please enjoy the experience and don’t think too much about the distance between us. There is no distance that the closeness of souls cannot overcome, and our souls are as close as close can be.

 

Hopelessly In Love, Hopelessly Devoted to You
 Forever and Always

  John Ambrose

 

P.S.: I think there still is a letter destined to my 11-year-old self that I haven’t gotten back. I won’t give up until I get it back.