Disclaimer: None of the characters of the film belong to me.
Synopsis: Josie waits for her 'penguin' to kiss her at the State ball game, only to find that he doesn't turn up. Five years later she's invited to the prom reunion, will she meet him again? And if she does how will her heart react?
Josie stood on the pitchers mound shuffling her feet as she anticipated the arrival of her Sam but as the timer drew closer to its destination so her hope diminished, was he ever going to turn up? Had he even seen her article and if so had he actually read it?
She looked once more at the clock, its red numbers signifying that it was indeed the end of the 5 minute countdown as a hush descended over the entire crowd that had shown up to watch her and hope with her. Her forlorn eyes shone with unshed tears, her mouth twisted with the realisation that he simply wasn't coming. Unaware that she had dropped the microphone, only realising when the sound of it hitting the ground shook the speakers, she slowly shrugged her shoulders in resignation of the fact that she was once again on her own.
She looked around the crowd in search of her friends hoping that they were on their way to rescue her from the humiliation of being left there alone, she knew they would be. Grief overtook every other emotion she was feeling as she tried to keep a hold of herself and keep herself on her feet. She balled, letting the tears wash down her face not caring that she could no longer keep in her sobs, knowing that everyone there was seeing everything that this man had done to her. She sank to her knees unable to cope with the stresses leading up to that one moment any longer, bringing her hands over her wretched face to block anymore unwelcome observation from the audience and news cameras alike.
Her brother, Rob, was the first to reach her. His strong arms drawing around her shoulders encouraging her to stand and walk from the pitch, cooing at her in order to calm her down although he knew this was a battle he was never going to win. He felt her body shuddering with each miserable, distraught sob that she took hoping against hope that his words would eventually soothe her distraught nature away, but he knew it wasn't going to work. He had seen the all too evident transformation in his sister and the all too apparent love that she had emitted in the direction of her English teacher. If only he knew where Sam lived, he'd go over there right now and give him a piece of his mind.
Josie struggled with the walk that lay ahead of her knowing that even though tomorrow she would be yesterday's news, tonight the world would be watching her, probably now cajoling her for making such a horses arse of herself. She had put her heart on the line and it had been trampled on, she felt like a train wreck and an embarrassed one at that. All she wanted to do was go home and cry, hibernate for a while until this whole mess had blown over. She saw Aldys, Anita and Gus marching across the field toward her as her emotions took another turn. Haziness enveloped her as her body gave way, fainting, her jelly like figure becoming harder for Rob to handle on his own as he tried to carry her out of the stadium. Gus intervened, scooping her body up into his arms and carrying her down into the pit and toward the locker room never stopping until he had set her down on one of the benches.
Anita knelt down at her left side, Rob at her right; all eyes were on the one person they all loved in their own way. Rob reached out his hand stroking the now bedraggled bangs away from her face, all the time calling her name to try and evoke a response from her. Anita tried the same with her left hand, rubbing her own over it in order to try and get a feeling from her that she was coming out of her daze.
Josie felt the soft caresses as she began to come around, was this what it felt like to be in heaven? Or could she actually believe that Sam had come after all, that he had arrived late and had found her after she'd fainted? She wondered if he had picked her up and taken her home and was now eagerly waiting for her to wake up so that they could begin to spend the rest of their lives together.
Eventually her eyes flicked open trying to register just exactly where she was and with whom. She quickly ascertained she wasn't with Sam. She smiled weakly at her onlookers. Her brother helped her sit up and she began to cough, she had obviously sat up a little too quickly.
"Josie, are you alright?" Rob asked, steadying his sister with the bulk of his weight as he sat beside her. She nodded flatly.
"You gave us a fright there, Geller!" Gus remarked as he carefully watched his protégé.
"Where am I?" Josie said, choking out her words.
"You're in the locker room of the stadium," Aldys motioned, "You fainted, with the stress of it all I would guess." Josie nodded again, taking in her surroundings and the concerned faces looking on.
"He didn't come did he?" Josie sobbed, her heart shattering into millions of tiny pieces at the knowledge that Sam hadn't even turned up late.
Anita pulled Josie into her embrace leaning Josie's head on her shoulder and stroking her hair, "no, Josie, he didn't make it, I'm so sorry."
All eyes turned to the locker room door as it was flung open, Josie could only hope again that it was Sam, that he had eventually arrived but it wasn't to be. Rigfort strolled in, "where's my great reporter? How's she doing?"
"I'm fine, physically, Mr Rigfort," Josie managed, "it's just emotionally that'll take the time to heal." She watched him nod. "I think I'd like to go home now, Anita will you come with me?"
"Sure, no problem," Anita answered, throwing a look to Gus. He motioned for her to go before saying, "call me if you need anything." Anita nodded back.
Josie stood uneasily, grabbing Anita's arm for support, she still didn't feel quite strong enough to walk on her own. Anita lead her through the group and out into the night on the way to her car. Josie was nevermore thankful that the crowd's attention was firmly on the State championship game that was in hand now than on her own predicament.
Anita watched Josie, as she sat silently in the car watching the world go by out of the passenger window. Josie was wondering what it had been that had kept him away.
"I really did think he would come, Josie, you know?" Anita said, as if in answer to Josie's own thoughts.
Josie turned to her, "Yes, I thought he would too, but there could be a simple explanation for this."
"Josie, you rely too heavily on your heart and what it tells you. You need to realise that had you meant anything to Sam Coulson he would have moved mountains to be there tonight, even if he was slightly running behind schedule."
"I know, Anita, I obviously hurt him more than I thought I had. Why, oh why did I ever agree to do that stupid undercover story anyway? If I'd left well alone then I'd have never met him and this whole situation would never have presented itself."
"Honey, look at what you have achieved though. You look stunning and your confidence has soared, meeting that English teacher was not the only thing that happened over the past few months, you grew."
"But to what end, Anita, none of this is any good without the man that gave me most of it with his encouragement and thoughtfulness. No one else will ever be able to do that for me again."
"Josie, time is a great healer, and there are plenty …"
"Don't say it, plenty more fish in the sea," Josie's anger cut through Anita's statement, "the thing is, Anita, that man was my penguin, he was my soul mate and I stupidly believed that I could make everything alright. I made my choice; I helped out my friend, and in the process destroyed the one thing, the only thing that I have ever wanted, Sam Coulson's love and attraction. So please don't go on about there being someone else out there for me because as far as I'm concerned I would rather spend my life alone than settling to be with anybody other than him."
"You'd go through life never enjoying the physical feeling of love with another person because you missed your chance with Sam!"
"Yes! I've never felt it before, it's not like I'm going to miss it is it."
"Josie, you can't live your life with such a big part missing."
"Yes, I can! I have loved and lost the only man I have ever truly needed to be with, I'm just going to have to live my life as if we'd never met."
"That's a tough call; do you really think you can do it?"
"I've done it before, Anita, I can do it again!"
"But that was at high school!"
"So was this, I just need to build those walls up again and this time no-one will be able to pull them down."
Anita pulled up outside of Josie's apartment, watching Josie silently alight the vehicle she asked, "do you want me to come in with you?"
"I'll be fine, Anita. I just need some time and some space to get my head around things." And with that she was gone.
Anita stared after her friend's retreating dejected frame, thinking abut the events that had transpired over the course of that evening. Josie's great story had received rejection from the only person that had truly mattered and Anita was resolved with one problem, she knew exactly what she would say and do to Sam Coulson if she ever had the opportunity.
One thing was for sure though, she fully intended to make sure that the whole of Chicago felt Josie's pain and pulled them all in behind her friend. Not that she believed she would have much to do as she felt most of the county would stand behind Josie anyway, but she felt she must do something. She opened her cell phone and dialled the only number she had etched into her memory, "Hi, Gus, it's Anita, look where are you I need to talk to you … it's about Josie and what we can do to help her … great, I'm on my way then … see you soon." She hung up, selected drive and pulled the car away from the curb, knowing in a few minutes she would safely be ensconced within Gus's office at the Sun Times and hopefully working on something to ease Josie's suffering. She only hoped it wouldn't be a case of too little too late.