This is based on the Summer series by Jenny Han. It's my first story, so I hope you all like it!
Belly's Point of View
So, there it was. Jere and I had finally ended things, and Conrad was out of my life. For good. Maybe that was why I felt like curling up in a ball and crying my eyes out. This was supposed to be the happiest day of my life - the day I finally became Isabel Fisher. But maybe is still was the happiest day of my life. I could finally be with Conrad. We could make things work, we could have infinity. If only he hadn't left. Not like I gave him a choice. I should have told him, laid it all out on the line. Sure, I didn't want to hurt Jere, but that had already happened, hadn't it? If I really was honest with myself, I hurt Jere the moment I agreed to be his. And again when I said I'd marry him. Conrad always had my heart; he had it when I was just eight years old and even when he said he didn't want it. But now, he wasn't even here to give it to.
For now, though, I had a whole room of people to address. A room full of people who were here to see me marry Jere. It was time to tell them the news, there wouldn't be a wedding. My last name was staying Conklin, even if it hurt my heart more than anything right now, but not because Jere wasn't the giving me the last name Fisher; it was because I knew Conrad never would.
I took off my silky dress and slipped into my robe. There was no need to make this announcement in a dress I didn't even want to look at. I made my wa down the stairs and as I hit the bottom, all eyes focused on me.
Conrad's Point of View
I had finally done it. It had been two years, but I finally told Belly that I loved her. I fought for her. Yeah, she didn't love me back, but I know I tried. There would never be another girl like her, ever. I was made to love Isabel Conklin, but I knew it would never work out. I had to accept that and I could only hope that time would help.
I headed to the airport to make my flight but realized I had a few hours to spare. Instead, I turned and headed to the women's shellter. I think a talk with my mom was due.
I sat on the bench and stared at the flowers. It was like they were mocking me; they were all bright and reaching up to the sunshine. I was waiting for the rain to begin, but of course it never did. I thoughta about the men moving the tables inside for the wedding and how Belly would be upset it was a wasted effort.
"Mom, I really hope you're listening. I know it's Jere's big day, but I'm hurting here. I don't know what to do. I love her so much, but she chose him. I can't be in the way anymore, for both their sakes. He's my brother and she's the love of my life. But you knew that all along, huh? You knew everything. How to make everything better. So tell me. Tell me what to do. I'm so lost." Tears srpung to my eyes and I bowed my head as I began to cry. Just then, the sun stopped hiding behind the clouds. I knew it was her. I knew she was shining on me, willing me to believe that things would be better. But I also knew she was shining down on Jere, on his wedding day. That was enough to make me get in my car and head back toward the airport.
I made the announcemet short and sweet. Taylor was by my side the entire time and squeezed my hand when I almost began to cry. I ddn't, though. I held the tears in and told everyone they were welcome to stay for the 'reception' and enjoy the food. Something good had to come out of today. Jere didn't say a word to me as he left. About half the people stayed, most of them were people on my side - Taylor, her mom and aunt, Steven, my dad and mom, Anika and a few other relatives. I talked to my mom about everything and she had this look of worry, relief, sympathy and love. I was happy to finally confront my feelings about Conrad, though. I knew I would never truly be over him, it was in time's hands now.
I spent most of the summer working, hanging around the house and spending time with Taylor and Anika. About a week after the wedding debacle, I asked for my job back at Behrs and they gladly accepted me back. I lived with Anika sophomore year and Taylor all but moved in with us. I would see Jere around campus and we hung out in a group now and then. Things were going along pretty normally and I was able to mostly avoid the gaping hole in my heart.
The first letter I got was during my second week in Spain. I saw the return address and nearly tore it in half trying to get it out of the envelope.
I really hope you decide to read this letter and not tear it up. I cannot begin to describe the grief I feel for all the times I hurt you. Laure told me that you and Jere didn't get married and I am so sorry. But I'm also not, as terrible as that sounds. You're all I think about, Bellls. I miss you so much it hurts. I only hope you can forgve me one day.
All my love,
How could I not forgive him? He was a part of me, he had my heart. I didn't respond to any of his letters, but they came every two weeks. In each one, he apologized and told me he missed and loved me. He told me about his exams and his friends, his successes and failures. I reread each letter until I knew every word by heart. Reading them was like having him next to me, in the flesh. I loved that more than I let myself admit.
Laure called me about two weeks ago to tell me about Belly's graduation. Jere graduated last year, but she was on a trip with Anika and Taylor, so I didn't see her. Jere and I were in a good place now. I gave him the space he needed and he reached out to me. With mom gone and dad being dad, we were really all each other had. He had a new girlfriend and they seemed pretty happy together. On more than one occasion, he gave me the okay to be with Belly, but aside from my letters I couldn't bring myself to reach out to her. She never responded, but somehow I knew she was reading them.
I looked around the stadium for Jere or Laure or anyone I might know. My collar was itching my neck and my hands kept shaking. It took me five minutes to get my tie right this morning. I had a bouquet of flowers in my right hand and I staring at them as someone came up behind me.
"They're beautiful, Connie." Laure looked good, it seemed like she put on the weight she lost during the wedding fiasco.
"Laure," I exclaimed. "It's so good to see you. You look great!" I wrapped her in a bear hug as she laughed at my reaction. I didn't realize how much I had missed her. I called every so often, but I hadn't seen her since the almose wedding. "Where is everyone? I haven't talked to Steven in forever. Is Jere sitting with you guys?"
"Steven and I are sitting over there," She said, pointing off to the left. "Jere's around here somewhere, but I haven't seen him. Come on, let's go cheer on our girl."
When I walked across the stage and recieved my diploma, I was truly proud of myself. I had graduated college and I was ready for the real world. The first person that found me was Jeremiah. He gave me a big hug and congratulated me. Teresa, his girlfriend, also hugged me and gave me her congratulations. They had been dating for a little over a year and seemed really happy. She was a good girl, she wouldn't break his heart. I was happy for Jere, he deserved it.
I found Anika and Taylor and hugged then both. We made plans for all of us to go to dinner that night, so I would see them then. I started searching for my mom and Steven, but there were so many people. Just as I thought it was hopeless, I felt someone tap me on the shoulder. I turned to find my mom, teary eyed and a giant smile on her face. She hugged me and told me how proud she was of me. I hugged Steven and he told me congratulations. It wasn't until I disentangled myself from them that I noticed him. He was standing quietly aside, staring at me. I couldn't help but smile as he wrapped me in a tight hug.
"Congratulations, Belly," he whispered in my ear. "I've missed you so much. I smelled him in and allowed myself to feel as happy as I was that he was here.
"Thank you," I responded. "And thanks for the flowersm they're wonderful." He had a bundle of sunflowers and little white flowers in his hand. As he handed them to me, he said, "Well, I am the best florist around." We laughed at the memory and I took the flowers from him. He had the same laugh I remembered. He had the same everything, really; he was a little taller, but his hair was the same dity blonde, with the same cut, his teeth were still sparkly white and his arms were still solid and strong as he pulled me into another hug.
"Hey," my mom started, "we're going out to celebrate, it would be wonderful if you could join us, Connie."
"Yeah," I agreed. "It really would."
"Sounds perfect," he said with a smile.
We went to a little Italian restaurant for dinner, Belly, Laure, Steven, Anika, Taylor and me. It was very relaxing. We had wine with our pasta and I mostly listened to Belly, Taylor and Anika reminisce over the past few years. I sat by Belly and my body hummed every time our legs or arms brushed against each other. Every now and then she would look over at me and smile like I was the only one in the room.
After we finished dessert, Laure suggested that Belly and I stay a while longer and catch up. I could have hugged the life out of her, I was so grateful. I said I would take her home and she miraculously agreed.
We talked about everything: school, my job, her plans, my plans, summer, Susannah, if we had been seeing anyone (we both hadn't), Jere and his girlfriend. We talked about everything, everything except the one thing I was dying to talk about - us. About thirty minutes later, I decided to broach the topic, hoping it wouldnt't backfire. I just needed a way to make her see, to make her realize I loved her more than anyone - that I'd always loved her more than anyone. I was forming the words in my head when she suddenly stopped talking and looked at me.
"Conrad? Are you okay? What's wrong," she had a look of concern on her face when she addressed me.
"I love you, Belly. I always have and I always will. I need you to know that, I need you to trust that. You're the only girl I'll ever love. You have my heart and," I struggled to find the words I needed, but looking in her eyes gave them to me. "And I always want to be with you. Not just for six months, or two days at Cousins, or a summer there. I want you every day. Every single day of my life."
When Conrad and I dated, it had been the best and worst six months of my life. He made me feel alive and loved and wanted. But when he broke my heart, he really shattered it.
Around our three month anniversary, he surprised me on a Friday night at my house. He had a bouquet of little pink flowers in one hand and the key to the beach house in the other. We spent all weekend there. It was still too cold to get in the pool or in the ocean, but we made fires and watched movies and cuddled in the same bed. Sunday, the day we were set to leave, I could tell he was reluctant and so was I.
"This weekend has been perfect," I told him. "Thank you so much, Conrad." I couldn't believe how fast the past three days went by, but I had the most fun I could remember for a long time.
"You're perfect, Belly." He was staring at me in this intense way, and I thought, Maybe this is it. Maybe he'll tell me. But in true Conrad fashion, he cleared his throat and flicked through the channels to find one more movie to watch.
Staring at him now, he had that same intense expression on his face and I couldn't look away. He was finally telling me what I wanted to hear, after all this time. What did I say to him? Of course of I loved him, but I was scared. What if he hurt me again? He was promising me forever, infinity, but he could take it back at any moment.
"Belly?" He was staring at me and his face began to crease with wory. "Belly, are you listening?"
"I love you, too. I want to be with you, too. Forever." I said it without thinking, without a doubt.
The day Belly told me she loved me was at the top of my list. Our wedding day will replace it and then the day we have our first child replace that. I want a little girl, just like her, but she wants a little boy like me. I'd settle for both. Tonight is the night I'm going to ask her to marry me. I have her infinity diamond ring in my pocket as I drive us to Cousins. My hands won't stop shaking.
I said yes.