The next day, Joey didn't leave the house. She was too scared of running into Pacey and having to face what had happened. She didn't know which was scarier--finding out he regretted it and wanted to forget the whole thing, or finding out he didn't. So, she just avoided him.
It was hard to keep herself busy. She tried to read a book, but she kept hearing Pacey's voice in her head and her mind kept wandering back to last night. She couldn't watch a movie, either.
Finally, she resorted to drawing. And she drew the only image she could. Pacey. She experimented with it, turning his head different ways, viewing from different angles, smiling, not smiling, happy, upset. She got up to a knock at the door.
She instinctively ran to answer it, but then realized it could be Pacey. She darted into the bathroom to look herself over in the mirror. She ran her hands through her hair quickly then bolted back to the door.
Despite her quickness, she opened the door slowly as if she'd casually strolled there. Sure enough, Pacey stood at the door with a genteel smile and his hands behind his back.
"Pacey, hi." Joey spoke as if seeing him was a complete surprise and she hadn't even thought of him the whole day.
"Hi. Uh--you know, I had the weirdest dream last night. See, I kissed this girl, and the funny thing was, that girl was you. And we had a great time together and she was beautiful and fun. And this kiss was just fantastic. And if I wasn't mistaken, she really enjoyed kissing me back. And if that girl is here, I brought her these." He revealed a bouquet of roses he'd been holding behind his back.
Joey half-smiled, cynically. "Pacey, flowers don't work on me."
"No, really, I'm not you're typical teeny-bopper whose infatuation can be heightened by the bestowal of foliage."
"Slow down with the 2-dollar words. Don't deny that some little part of you cries when Bambi's mother dies and reads Anne of Green Gables and secretly likes flowers."
"Let me put these in some water."
"Ha! The truth comes out."
She took the flowers from him and he came inside. They sat on the couch for a while in silence.
"What do we do now?" she asked.
"Well, we could do this--" he moved in to kiss her.
"Um--" she said just as his lips were about to touch hers, "I don't think I'm quite ready for that. With the sun up and me thinking clearly, I don't think I can do that yet."
"Okay. So what do we do?"
She smiled her patented crooked smile.
"Let's just talk."
Pacey and Joey sat close to each other on the couch. It had been a week since their kiss. Since then, they'd gradually gotten a little more comfortable. Now, Joey let him hold her hand and put his arm around her, but only in private. They were both still wary about being seen together. Rumors would fly. People could get hurt.
Pacey rose. "Want anything to drink?"
"Sure. Diet Coke?"
"Comin' right up."
He made his way to the kitchen leaving Joey alone on the couch. The phone rang.
"Jo, could you grab that?"
She reached over to the phone and picked it up.
"Hello, Witter residence."
"Is Pacey there?"
Joey stiffened. It was Dawson.
"Um...yea, let me get him."
"Joey, is that you?"
She froze. Her heart started to race and guilt swept through her. She felt physically sick hearing him say her name. Pacey entered the room again and she thrust the phone at him, her eyes pleading.
He set down the drinks with a confused look on his face. Joey could hear Dawson's voice, faint and far away, still coming from the phone.
"Joey? Hello? Is anyone there?"
Finally, Pacey took the phone. Joey ran from the room. Pacey stared after her, still not knowing what was going on.
"Dawson." His stomach fell. "Hey, how ya doin'?" He tried to sound enthusiastic.
"That was really weird. Was that Joey that answered the phone?"
Pacey knew she was there as soon as he saw the open window. He'd gone to her house, but Bessie said she hadn't seen her anywhere. So he went the only other place he could think of.
He scaled the ladder and struggled to get through the window. Sure enough, she sat on his bed, on her side that she always occupied. When she looked up at him, her face was sad.
"How'd it go?"
"It was 45 minutes of assuring Dawson that he'd get you back. What'd you expect?"
"You didn't tell him?"
"Are you kidding? He's punched me once already. He punched Jack over you. I have a feeling if I told him, they'd be dragging the creek for my body."
Joey fell back on the bed.
"What're we gonna do?"
Pacey was silent. He didn't know how to answer her. He was just as confused as she was.
She laughed. "Y'know what's ironic? I wish he was here. Dawson was. I wish I could tell him everything and that he could tell me what to do. I can't believe I'm doing this to him."
"You think you've got problems? What about me? What about Andie?"
They hadn't dared to say her name out loud since their kiss. But her presence was still there, no matter how much they pushed it away.
"She's in Providence, with her dad, and the only reason she's going through this is me. I'm her motivation, I'm the most important person in her life right now. She loves me *so* much. And look what I'm doing to her."
Joey looked at him, her face filled with compassion. She hadn't thought of what he must be going through.
"Jo, you have no idea how much I struggled with this. I felt like I was betraying Andie's trust. And I hated myself for having feelings for you."
She stood up and faced him.
"It's okay, Pacey."
"What am I gonna do?" he pleaded with her.
He looked so lost, just like a little boy. Joey couldn't help but wrap her arms around him. They held each other in silence for what seemed like forever. Finally, he pulled away and looked her straight in the eye. His face was solemn.
"Jo, I'm willing to risk it. I'm willing to go through with this. Even though I'm going to hurt people. But I'm only going to do this if I know you're in this too. I have to know what I'm giving everything else up for is real and that it'll last. Are you in this? All the way?"
Joey thought for a second.
"Pacey, there's no way I can answer that question fairly right here and now. Let me think about it. Give me a little time. This is a life-altering decision and for me to be fair, I need to think."
He nodded his head in agreement.
"That's fine, but first, maybe you can take this into account--"
He kissed her on the lips, long and hot and smooth. She lost herself in it. His hands pressed gently on her cheek and moved to her neck. His fingers delicately touched her hair. his touch made her skin burn, chills went down her spine. When he pulled away, she grinned.
"I'll take that into consideration."
The next morning, Joey found a note on the kitchen table:
"Dad felt like having a spur of the moment fishing trip which equates to a week of me and the sheriff at each other's throats for 7 straight days. I wouldn't have gone, but I figured it gave us both an opportunity to think through everything. I'll be sure to call the minute I get back.
Joey sighed. A whole week? A day or two would be fine, but a week? It would be a long time to go without him. The past few weeks they'd spent every day together.
Bessie entered the kitchen toting Alexander.
"What's goin' on, Jo? You don't look happy."
"Bess, how do you know when you're in love?"
Bessie smiled questioningly. "That's not exactly an easy question. It feels different every time with different people."
"Because I know I was in love with Dawson. But what I'm feeling now isn't anything like that."
"What are you feeling?"
"I don't know, when I'm with him, I'm happy. When he's gone, I'm not. When he touches me my stomach turns over and when he kisses me I get this....thrilling feeling all over."
"Sounds like you're in love to me. Why are you doubting?"
"Well, with Dawson it was different. Things were so platonic. I mean, we definitely had the lust factor, but we also had this practically spiritual connection."
"Jo, Dawson was your best friend. You guys already had an incredible relationship that was very deep and personal. In a normal relationship, there's a long period where you get to know each other. It's so wonderful. You're always discovering new things about the other person that make you love them more. Then you move on to what you and Dawson had. You two just skipped a step. When love is new, it doesn't have to be overwhelming and psychologically captivating as long as you're happy."
"Well this is great. I figure out that I love him and I just get to sit on it for a week." Joey sighed and plopped down on the couch.
"What about Jen and Jack?"
"Jen's with her Grams in Cape Cod. And Jack's in Providence for a week."
"Looks like you're on your own."
"Hooray," she said unenthusiastically.
Excerpts from Joey's journal:
"A week. A whole week. I hate this. I also hate the fact that I'm miserable just because he's gone. I feel so dependent and feminine and weak. Bessie says that's just how it is to be in love. Maybe I just have to adjust to this love thing. Although it is kind of amazing to admit that I do have feelings for Pacey. Sometimes I just want to laugh because it seems so far from anything I'd ever conceived.
Anyways, to help pass the devastatingly long days, I'm going to accept that internship with Laura. That way I can nourish that part of me that longs to be independent and do everything by myself. I hope it goes alright."
"Well, the first few days of my internship have been long and brutal. I guess I should’ve figured it’d be hard work, but I guess I didn’t think anything could be as demanding as waitressing. Although working has taken my mind off Pacey to a degree, he’s still constantly in my thoughts. Luckily, there’s only a couple of days left."
"Pacey will be back tomorrow. And after considerable thought on the issue, I’ve decided just to give in and let myself enjoy it. I’m just going to be happy being with him and not care that he’s so important to me. I think that’s how things are meant to be. Bessie’s definitely important to me and she’s one of the people I’m most dependent on. So she’s convinced me to let Pacey become a part of me no matter how stubborn I am about being on my own. And I think I’ve actually warmed up to the idea."
Joey had to bite her lip so she didn't squeal in delight when Pacey showed up at her door. She knew she'd never hear the end of it. Instead she gave him a half smile.
"Hey," she said, letting her happiness start to show.
"I thought you weren't getting back till tomorrow!"
"Change of plan. Uh, Jo, sorry to cut right to the chase here, but I really would like my answer now."
Joey noticed he was nervously wringing his hands. A laugh slipped out as she answered, "Yes."
He smiled and blinked. "So this is for real? You're not just setting me up for a really big fall, are you?"
"Of course not. That's a little below the belt, even for the Ice Queen."
"So, let's celebrate, huh?"
"Great. What did you have in mind?"
"Um.....movie night?" he asked uncertainly.
Joey rolled her eyes.
"C'mon," Pacey added, "lights are low, background music, makes for excellent foreplay. And the parentals will be out for the evening."
"Pacey!" Joey raised an eyebrow.
"Don't worry, I'm not expecting to score or anything. I'll be lucky if I get a kiss goodnight from Joey "Prude" Potter."
"You'd better believe it."
He took her hand as they walked to his house.
"Enjoy it?" Pacey asked Joey.
She moved from her position in Pacey's embrace.
"What I saw was pretty good. I'll have to watch the whole thing sometime."
"I dunno, I liked the parts where we didn't watch even better." He got up and stretched. "I'm gonna grab a drink. The Almighty Pace-a-dini sees that you want--" he closed his eyes and pressed his fingers to his temples, "a Diet Coke."
"I'll be right back."
Joey stood letting her blood flow again as she walked through the room. It felt so good laying there with Pacey, feeling his touch and his soft kiss. Maybe it was just that she'd been waiting all week but it felt so right.
She walked around his room letting her eyes fall on everything she saw. It all took on new meaning when it belonged to the boy she loved. She smiled. Well, maybe they weren't hopelessly in love *yet* but she was certainly falling for him.
As she moved past his desk, her eyes fell on a sheet of paper dated that day.
"I didn't know it was possible to miss someone this much. Even though you're not here, you continue to mean more and more to me everyday. I hope you know my every thought is about you and my every wish is for you to get better."
Joey stopped reading. She stood, stunned. She blinked to fight the tears that threatened to invade her eyes. She turned the sheet over quickly to check the signature.
"With love forever and always,
Then her eyes caught sight of her own name.
"I've been hanging out with Joey a lot since Dawson's gone and Jack is otherwise engaged. We just hang out, nothing big. No one could ever replace you."
This time Joey couldn't stop the tears. She ran from the room and practically knocked over Pacey as she sprinted to the door.
She felt like someone had hit her in the gut. Her breathing was rushed and her heart was racing. How could she be so stupid?
Pacey opened the door without knocking. He didn’t know if she would let him in. She sat on the floor, her head hanging, tears in her eyes. He waited for her to say something. But she didn’t. After the silence became too much for him, he spoke.
"It didn’t take too much to figure out what happened. I saw the letter on the floor and my powers of deduction came to the conclusion that you saw the letter and I guess it’s good that you did. There’s something I need to get out in the open."
Joey looked up at him with as much anger as she could muster through her tears. "What happened to risking everything? What happened to giving everything up? Oh, wait, I guess that just applied to me. I dump Dawson and you’re free to have two relationships simultaneously leaving your two girlfriends oblivious. That was pretty smart, Pace. Gotta hand it to you."
"No, Joey, listen. It’s not what you think."
"Oh no, of course it’s not. You just wrote a love letter to your supposedly ex’d girlfriend by accident. Yea, I can understand how that would happen."
"Joey, would you just shut up and listen to me?" He raised his voice in frustration. She looked at him with fearful eyes. Fearful and hurt. "There’s a reason we went on that spur of the moment fishing trip. My dad had some news to break to me. We got out there and he told me that Andie’s not coming back. He’d talked to her father and she was getting worse, not better. And her doctors say she’ll have to have a lot of treatment if they want her to get better. Dad was worried I would flip out. So we talked for a long time, me and my dad. It was amazing how well we could talk to each other. And I told him about Andie and I told him about you and how confused I’d been. And he likes you, he likes me being with you. But we both knew I couldn’t leave Andie now, even though both she and I know we’ll never be together again. So we decided that I would write her and be who she needs me to be so she can get through this. I care about Andie a lot, enough to know that she does need my help and I can’t desert her. But I care about you too and it was stupid for me not to tell you. I guess I was just worried that you’d be jealous of Andie. I mean, I’m not still in love with her, but I didn’t know if you’d let me write her. Do you understand?"
Joey nodded. "I think that’s really sweet."
He smiled when he saw the fear and the hurt leave her eyes. He moved towards her and took her in his arms. He moved in to kiss her, but she pulled away.
"What is it, Jo?" he asked.
"I need some time. Alone. I’ll call you later, okay?"
He moved away from her, more worried than he had been when he came. She was up to something. And he didn’t know what it was. "Okay. I’ll be waiting." He walked out of the house.
She’d called at one in the morning. He’d been by the phone waiting since that afternoon. As the hours passed, he was less and less sure that she’d call. But she finally did.
"Pacey," she’d said, "please come over." That was all. He could hear from the wavering in her voice that she’d been crying. Once he was outside on the way there, he couldn’t run fast enough. Every second he was away from her was another second of not knowing what was going on and he needed to know.
She was sitting outside, looking out at the creek. Her hair was disheveled and she looked tired.
"Jo, are you okay?" he asked, not sure he wanted to hear her answer.
"I talked to Dawson," she said.
His heart sank. "Wait," he said, "don’t say anything else."
"No. Please just let me look at you right now, while you’re still mine."
She obliged him, letting him gaze at her in the moonlight. Finally she couldn’t keep silent any longer.
"Pacey, I have to talk now. Please." His eyes were cold, but he sat beside her waiting to hear what she had to say. "I talked to Dawson. And I told him about us." Pacey looked at her, confused. "When you told me about Andie, I realized that I had a responsibility to Dawson just like you had one to her. Except my responsibility was to tell him, and be honest. So I did. And he took it okay. I guess. I expected him to kill himself or something dramatic. But afterwards, he said all he wanted to do was run to me and tell me everything. So I let him. And we talked for a long time. 4 hours, actually. And we agreed that he’ll need a little time before he’s adjusted to it. And he told me to tell you that he doesn’t hate you. He was actually extremely mature about the whole thing. I think being away from Capeside has changed something about him. But best of all, I think we’ll still be able to be friends with him. I was really worried about that. Because, I care about you Pacey, I really do. But Dawson is one of the most important people in my life and it would’ve been really hard for me to go without him."
Pacey nodded. "I understand. I know how close you two are. I was really worried that he would come home and you’d run back to him."
"I couldn’t do that, Pacey." She laid her hand reassuringly on his knee. "I was worried you’d go running back to Andie the minute she came back."
"Jo, I loved Andie so much. She meant everything to me for a while. We went through so much together and we helped each other out a lot. But after she left, I remembered something. I remembered you. Because even though Andie was a part of my life for a while, that part is over. And before she came along, there was only one person for me. It was you. Before Tamara, before Andie, there was always and only you. You were always the person I loved."
She smiled. "I would say something romantic too, but I don’t think I can top that," she said with a sly grin.
"Yea, well I am known for my dazzling elocution."
"Right, and I’m known for my cheery disposition."
"And your endless optimism."
"And my lack of negativity towards anything."
"While I am known for my brilliance," he said.
"And the multitude of girls who follow me everywhere I go." She glanced at him and raised an eyebrow. "Who…" he continued, "I disappoint with the news that I am already taken and am not in the slightest bit interested."
"You’d better not be."
"You want to go in?" he asked.
"No. I’m not tired. I think I’ll just stay out here a while longer and enjoy the night."
"It is beautiful."
"You ever seen the sunrise?"
"You think I’ve ever risen before 9? You’re crazy."
"Well, we could wait for it and watch it together."
"Yea, well you know me."
"So how long is it till sunrise?"
"Well…it’s 1:30 now, probably 4 or 5 hours."
"Hmmm…what shall we do for all that time?"
"We could talk."
"Talk? Yea, we could do that. But I was thinking we might…"
"Pacey!" She slugged him.
"Hey, I was only suggesting we might get to know each other a little better."
"Sure that’s what you meant."
"Why would you need to know me better? We’ve known each other all our lives."
"Well, somehow, looking at you out here, I feel like I’m seeing you for the first time."
"You are definitely full of sappy one-liners tonight," she said.
"I’m always full of sappy one-liners. It’s part of my charm. It’s something you don’t know about me."
"Hmmm and what else do I not know?"
"Well, vun ov zee best charmz zis Pacey pozessez," he said in an overdone french accent, "iz zee grayt art of French kizzing."
"Ooo, sounds interesting."
"He givz zees classez to any pretty young gehl who eez interested."
"And what if I’m interested?"
"Okay, step one. Mood. Zis ve have. Zee moonlight, zee stars, zee water. Eez all set."
"And step two?"
"Position. Zee girl sitz opposite zee boy."
"And step three?"
"Zee boy movz in closer…"
"And step four?" she asked as he was barely a breath away from her.
"Zis." He kissed her. "Oo la la," he said, as he pulled away. "You deed not tell Monsieur Pacey zat you are an expert at zis art."
"Maybe Monsieur Pacey could sign up for my class."
"And vat do you teach?"
"Oh, it’s still french kissing. Mine is just the advanced class."
"Ooo, Monsieur Pacey is very interested," Pacey said returning to his normal voice.
"But I don’t know if he’ll get in. There’s a long waiting list, it’s extremely popular," she said with a grin.
"We’ll see if this can move Pacey up to the top of the list." He kissed her again. When he had finished he looked at her questioningly. "So?"
"Hmmm…I’ll have to try that one more time just to be sure."
"Gladly." He kissed her again and pulled her close to him, caressing her cheek.
"Okay, well I think you qualify. When shall we start?" she asked.
"I’ve got all the time in the world."
"And I seem to have a few hours open in my busy schedule."
"When would that be?"
"This just keeps getting better," he said.
"I plan to keep it that way," Joey replied with a smile.
That's it! The end! Hope everyone enjoyed it, although I've learned that all you D/J fans don't have much time for P/J fic. C'mon, you have to admit they were pretty cute. Don't forget to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.