Always and Forever, Lara Jean (32 page)

“We should have let Kitty come,” I burst out suddenly.

“I know,” he says. “I feel bad too. Do you think she’s mad?”

“Sad, probably.”

But neither of us suggests turning the car around and going back to get her. We are silent, and then we are both laughing, sheepish and also relieved. Assuredly, Peter says, “We’ll bring her next time.”

“Next time,” I echo. I reach over and grab his hand, and lock my fingers around his, and he locks back, and I am comforted in knowing that tonight he feels the exact same way, and there is no distance between us.

We spread a blanket out and lie side by side. The moon looks like a glacier in the navy night. So far I don’t see anything out of the ordinary. It looks like the normal night sky to me.

“Maybe we should’ve gone to the mountains,” Peter says, turning his face to look at me.

“No, this is perfect,” I say. “Anyway, I read that stargazing is a waiting game no matter where you are.”

“We have all night,” he says, pulling me closer.

Sometimes I wish we’d met when we were twenty-seven. Twenty-seven sounds like a good age to meet the person you’re
going to spend the rest of your life with. At twenty-seven, you are still young, but hopefully you are well on your way to being the you you want to be.

But then I think, no, I wouldn’t give up twelve, thirteen, sixteen, seventeen with Peter for the world. My first kiss, my first fake boyfriend, my first real boyfriend. The first boy who ever bought me a piece of jewelry. Stormy would say that that is the most monumental moment of all. She told me that that’s how a boy lets you know that you’re his. I think for us it was the opposite. It’s how I knew he was mine.

I don’t want to forget any of this. The way he’s looking at me at this very moment. How, when he kisses me, I still get shivers down my back, every time. I want to hold on to everything so tight.

“The first sixth-grade assembly.”

I look up at him. “Huh?”

“That’s the first time I saw you. You were sitting in the row in the front of me. I thought you were cute.”

I laugh. “Nice try.” It’s so endearingly Peter to make up stuff to try and sound romantic.

He keeps going. “Your hair was really long and you had a headband with a bow. I always liked your hair, even back then.”

“Okay, Peter,” I say, reaching up and patting him on his cheek.

He ignores me. “Your backpack had your name written on it in glitter letters. I’d never heard of the name Lara Jean before.”

My mouth falls open. I hot-glued those glitter letters to my backpack myself! It took me forever trying to get them straight enough. I’d forgotten all about that backpack. It was my prized possession.

“The principal started picking random people to come on stage and play a game for prizes. Everybody was raising their hands, but your hair got caught in your chair and you were trying to untangle it, so you didn’t get picked. I remember thinking maybe I should help you, but then I thought that would be weird.”

“How do you remember all that?” I ask in amazement.

Smiling, he shrugs. “I don’t know. I just do.”

Kitty’s always saying how origin stories are important.

At college, when people ask us how we met, how will we answer them? The short story is, we grew up together. But that’s more Josh’s and my story. High school sweethearts? That’s Peter and Gen’s story. So what’s ours, then?

I suppose I’ll say it all started with a love letter.

“I’ve had a splendid time,” she concluded happily, “and I feel that it marks an epoch in my life. But the best of it all was the coming home.”

—L. M. M
ONTGOMERY,
Anne of Green Gables

Acknowledgments

I never thought I’d write another book about Lara Jean, so I feel lucky to have one last opportunity to thank everyone who’s helped me along the way. With all my heart, I would like to thank my agent, Emily van Beek, and the team at Folio; my editor Zareen Jaffery and my entire S&S family, but especially Justin Chanda, Anne Zafian, Chrissy Noh, Lucy Cummins, Mekisha Telfer, KeriLee Horan, Audrey Gibbons, Katy Hershberger, Candace Greene, Michelle Leo, and Dorothy Gribbin. Thank you also to my film agent, Michelle Weiner; my publicist, Brianne Halverson; and my assistant, Dan Johnson. I would also like to thank Jeannine Lalonde from
UVA
admissions and Vincent Briedis from
UVA
’s athletics department. Thank you to my friends and fellow writers for reading this manuscript and offering me amazing notes and cheering me on every step of the way—Siobhan Vivian, Adele Griffin, Jennifer E. Smith, Melissa Walker, and Anna Carey. I could not have done it without you.

And lastly, thank you to my readers. If not for you, I would not have written this book. Truly, this one is for you. My dearest wish is that you are happy and satisfied with the way Lara Jean’s story ends. This time, I mean it—it really is the end for me and Lara Jean. But she’ll live on in my heart, for there’s always the bend in the road.

Jenny

About the Author

© ADAM KRAUSE

Jenny Han
is the
New York Times
bestselling author of the Summer I Turned Pretty series;
Shug
; the Burn for Burn trilogy, cowritten with Siobhan Vivian; and
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
and
P.S. I Still Love You
. She is also the author of the chapter book
Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream
. A former children’s bookseller, she earned her
MFA
in creative writing at the New School. Visit her at
dearjennyhan.com
. Follow Jenny online on
Twitter
and
Instagram
at @JennyHan.

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This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real places are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and events are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Text copyright © 2017 by Jenny Han

Jacket photograph copyright © 2017 by Douglas Lyle Thompson

Jacket hand-lettering copyright © 2017 by Nancy Howell

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Book design by Lucy Ruth Cummins

CIP data for this book is available from the Library of Congress.

ISBN 978-1-4814-3048-7

ISBN 978-1-4814-3050-0 (eBook)

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