Disclaimer: If I owned P.S. I Still Love You Lara Jean would have made very different choices.
I don't look back at Peter as I get into the car, but his necklace is still dangling from my fist. At the last second I turn around, but we're too far away; I can't see if Peter's still there or not. My heart is racing. What would I regret losing more? The reality of Peter or the dream of John? Who can't I live without?
I think back to John's hand on mine. Lying next to him in the snow. The way his eyes looked even bluer when he laughed. I don't want to give that up. I don't want to give up Peter, either. But somewhere, deep in the wisest part of myself, I know I have to.
I glance at John, who has his hand clenched around the steering wheel.
"Did I even have a shot?" he says, breaking the tense silence that had engulfed our drive.
I run my eyes over his face, memorising his profile. "I feel like Peter's made a home in my heart. He got there first, and he just won't leave..."
John inhales sharply, opening his mouth to speak.
"But the lease is up," I add, before he can say anything. "Peter and I... I'm not saying I don't still love him a little bit. It's going to take time."
John pulls over to the side of the road and turns to me. "I can wait, Lara Jean. Eighth grade may not have been meant for us, but now... I'm not going to let you go this time," he says, his blue blue eyes bluer and more earnest than I've ever seen them.
My heart swells. This moment, us right here, I imagine seeing it from another perspective: Lara Jean Song and John Ambrose McClaren; our paths twined so long ago, the missed formal, him moving away, years and years in between, the letter that never should have been sent, and now.
He reaches forward to tuck a stray strand of hair behind my ear. His fingertips brush against my cheek.
"It would be so easy to love you," I whisper.
He rests his forehead against mine, "So let's do this. You and me, Lara Jean."
After John drops me off, I realise I still have Peter's necklace. I don't want to face him, especially after what happened in the parking lot. Pushing my anxieties aside, I send a quick text and head to the treehouse. I sit there for what feels like hours, letting memories wash over me. Soon, the treehouse will just be another memory as well. The wood creaks and I look up to see Peter climbing in. He gingerly rubs the back of his neck, "so... I got your text."
My stomach twists, and the necklace suddenly feels a billion pounds heavier.
Peter eyes my throat, as if expecting to see something dangling from it. He looks taken aback when I open my palm to reveal what he was looking for.
"Oh," a pain flickers across his face.
"I'm so so sorry, Peter," I take his hand in mine and curl his fingers around the necklace, "but this doesn't belong to me."
The silence stretches between us, me holding my breath, and Peter staring at his closed fist.
"I know about Gen- her secret- I mean," I start tentatively, and his eyes dart up. "She needed you, and you were there for her," I pause, "That's just it. It's not fair for me to make you choose, and I won't."
Peter looks about ready to interrupt, but I plunge forward, "SHE needs you, and you'll always be there for her. Maybe that's how it's meant to be. Peter, you're amazing, and you've taught me so much. But what we had... I think we both always knew it had an expiration date."
His mouth twists. "This is about McClaren isn't it?" he accuses.
"No, this is about us. We're not right for each other, Peter," my voice goes up an octave, "you don't even listen to what I have to say!"
"I do listen! I'm here aren't I?" he retorts defensively.
"You only pay attention after everything's already built up. You weren't ever interested in what I did at the nursing home- you didn't even know who Stormy was. You knew I was hurt by Gen, and still chose to ignore it. But that's besides the point, we've been in a three way relationship, you, me, and everything looming in the space between. It's never just us- and I don't believe in polygamy. If we don't end things now, we'd be bound to break up later anyway. We're too different, and we want different things," I finish resolutely.
Peters face shutters, and his expression becomes impassive.
His voice is hard when he speaks, "That's not it. We could have made this work. You just don't want to try. I'm not going to sit here and beg, if that was what you were hoping for." He shakes his head once as if to clear it, "Goodbye, Lara Jean."
I watch him leave, and although I know something inside of me just broke, I can't help but feel a little bit freer.
AN: The first italicized passage was taken directly from the book.
Team John Ambrose McClaren forever 3