Written 5/23/04. 701 words.
I know, my WIP titles are so creative. Someone was running a TV crossover challenge in summer '04 and I stupidly signed up to write 2 fics, but didn't finish either. This is the first; I haven't reread it since then other than skimming it to post, but I'm pretty sure I disagree with my own Seth characterization, at the very least. /o\
Summer’s never been on a plane before.
She stares out the window, watching the ground fall away. Involuntarily, she is gripping her armrest tightly, her fingers already turning white. She keeps reminding herself that she’s okay. If Anna can do it, why can’t she? But there’s something holding her back. Maybe it’s all of the plane crashes she’s heard about, or maybe it’s the fact that her dad couldn’t even take a few days off work to come look at Northeastern with her, but she can’t stop feeling terrified. If only Seth were here. He’d know exactly what to say, that asshole. She forces herself to think of him and not the plane exploding; anger is always better than fear. How dare he break up with her after his public declaration of love? And how dare he do it in a note?
That’s what really got to her, more than the reason he’d dumped her: the fact that he was too chicken to do it face-to-face. She knows she can be a bit intimidating sometimes, but that’s no excuse to break up with your girlfriend, the supposed love of your life, in a note. But then, she wasn’t really the love of his life, was she? The whole time he’d been thinking of someone else. She’s committed the note to memory. It said:
This is really hard for me to say. I have loved every minute I’ve spent with you and I want you to know that.
But I can’t keep doing this. I’m lying to you and I’m lying to myself. I can’t stay here in Newport, trapped in a routine I never wanted. If Ryan was here, things would be different. Actually, no, they wouldn’t. But at least I would have something to make me happy.
Not that you don’t make me happy. It’s just that – damn it, Summer! – Ryan’s different. He’s… special. And I can’t survive here without him.
I can’t do this. Not like this. So I’m just going to say it: I’m in love with him, Summer. I always have been. I was just so scared to admit it, even to myself. And now that he’s back in Chino, I just can’t see any reason to stick around this summer.
I never meant to hurt you, Summer. But I think I was always more in love with the idea of you than with you yourself. I know that will hurt you, a lot. I’m sorry, and if I could change it, I would.
But I have to be completely honest. There’s no more point in all of the lies. Not now.
I do love you, Summer. Just not like that. I hope that someday you’ll be able to forgive me and we’ll be able to start over as friends. But I’ll understand if that’s not possible.
Well, I guess I’ll see you next school year, and I’ll have to deal with the consequences of this letter then. I’m not looking forward to that. But I am glad that you finally know the truth.
Summer had stood there in his room, clutching the note. How dare he sign it “love”? How dare he lead her on all this time? How dare he drop a bomb like this on her in writing and then run away? Coward! One lone tear dropped onto the paper in her hand, and she quickly wiped it away.
Damn it, she doesn’t want to think about that either. Oh well, might as well try to sleep instead of making herself crazy for the next few hours. Why did her first plane trip have to be so fucking long, anyway?
Jen sighs as she closes her suitcase, looking around to make sure she hasn’t forgotten anything. She hates this time of year, hates herself for giving in and agreeing to go back to the waitressing job she’d rather forget about, in the town she wishes would forget about her. But at least she gets to spend the summer with Grams. And Jack. That’s something, anyway.
She grabs her suitcase and leaves the empty dorm. At least she doesn’t have to have a roommate next year. That’s something, too.