Disclaimer: I do not own Dawson’s Creek or any of the characters associated with it. Is that enough?
Author’s Note: This is going to be a different fic. Prepare yourself for something new and different. First of all, I should give a bit of information to explain it all. The concept of the movie Sliding Doors is how much one little incident can change your whole life and who you end up with. I’m going to toy with that here. Basically after part 1, the following parts will explore two different possibilities, both of them taking place in the same time. Hope this makes sense. However, this is just the introduction. Things aren’t going to get strange quite yet… Email me with feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One more thing: It's 10 years in the future. :) That should be enough to get you through it.
Jen knocked on the door expectantly. When it opened, she saw Jack, still in his bathrobe, his hair wet.
"Jen!" he cried. "What are you doing here? I thought you wouldn't be in till later."
"Well, it turns out I had a brilliant idea, talked to my editor about it and she loved it. Good news is I'm here early. Bad news is I have to have the article done. Soon. So I guess I'll be pulling the midnight oil a few times. But you won't mind, will you?"
Jack shook his head. "Oh, come in. Sorry, I wasn't even thinking." He showed her in to his small but cozy apartment.
"Is David here today?" she asked.
"No, he's actually out of town on business."
"Oh." Jen put down her shoulder bag. "So I guess it's just you and me, huh?"
"Looks like it. Hey, would you like anything for breakfast? "
"No thanks," she said. "I ate a few hours ago. It is 10 already. Some of us have been working for hours."
"Well some of us had a late night last night," Jack said.
"Same project?" Jen asked.
"Yup. Same one. I'm getting really frustrated."
"So you're having writer's block of sorts? Is there such a thing as architect's block?"
"You're hilarious, Jen, why didn't you go into stand up?"
"Sorry. I know I shouldn't be kidding around with that. I know it means a lot to you. I'm sorry."
"Forgiven. So, what's your new article about?"
Jen smiled and sat down at the table. "Okay, well you know how in high school, you think that love will last forever? And that your boyfriend will always be your boyfriend and all that garbage? Well, I figured that the girls who read the magazine would be interested in seeing what happened to some real life high school sweethearts, successes and failures. My roommate from my junior year married her high school boyfriend. I was going to interview them and get their thoughts. And I was going to call Dawson and Joey. And I did have something I wanted to ask you about."
"What? Not my thing with Joey, right?"
"No, no. Just wondering if you thought Andie would agree to do it too. I mean, we're not really close so I didn't know if she'd be interested."
"Andie always has plenty to say. I'm sure she'd love to."
"Okay. Then I'll talk to her and Pacey too. Looks like I have some calls to make."
"It's a good idea, Jen. I just hope you plan on showing both sides of the story, making sure they know that teenage love doesn't always last forever."
"Jack, this is me. The queen of the short-lived relationships. Even my marriage didn't make it a year. I'm not exactly an optimist. But you have to acknowledge the fact that some people that meet in high school do end up together for the rest of their lives. Like my roommate, Claire. She and Andy are still going strong. I mean, you should see the two of them. They're like the same person in two bodies. Completely perfect for each other. And they'd been in the same class since kindergarten."
"Can you even believe how lucky that is? To be so close to your perfect mate of all the people on this whole earth? I guess it just makes me wonder if I'll ever find the perfect person."
"Jack, you and David are great together."
"I know, but I guess I'm still in the belief that someday I'm going to find someone and I'll just know the minute I meet them that it's meant to be."
"Yea, I know what you mean. But with the track record I've got, I could've already loved him and lost him and not even known it."
The two of them sighed in unison.
"So, are you going to ask them to come all the way out here for the interviews?" Jack asked.
"Actually, I was thinking we might go up to my place."
"Up in New England? The big house that Brian left you?"
"Sure, why not? Actually, I admit I have ulterior motives. I called Pacey a few months ago and talked to him about turning that place into a B&B and letting him run it. In fact, I’d even be willing to sell it to him once he had the money. He seemed really interested and this would be a great opportunity to show him the place."
"Leave it to you, Jen. You make a business opportunity out of a divorce settlement."
"Jack, it is not my fault that I have this huge house that I can’t possibly live in. It’s way too big for just me. It should have families and children and dogs and all that kind of happy stuff. And Pacey would love it. I would start it up myself, but I worked way too long and too hard to get my job and now that I have it, I love it too much to give it up."
"So you think we’ll all just have a little get-together at your place in Maine?"
"Come on, Jack, it’ll be fun. Just like old times."
"Maybe you remember old times differently than I do, I don’t remember lots of fun stuff going on."
"We’re all grown up now. We can behave like adults."
"We’ll see about that," Jack said skeptically.
Jen watched him pour the cereal into his bowl.
"I can’t believe you still eat Froot Loops. You’re 27 years old!"
"Hey, if it works, why change it?" Jack said. "David eats Cap’n Crunch. We have cereal together in the morning. We bond over breakfast."
"One of these days, I’m going to turn you into a coffee drinker."
"Good luck. I never touch the stuff."
"You really think it’s a good article?" she asked.
"Sure I do. It’s great. You need to get over your stupid doubts. You’re a good writer, Jen. You relate well to teenagers."
"Probably because my best friend still is one," she joked.
"Hey, I resent that," Jack said playfully.
"When’s David coming back?"
"And I leave Monday so looks like it’s just you and me for the weekend. So, I’m thinking we can either go shopping or we can just hang around here and eat ice cream."
"Please don’t let it be shopping."
"I guess the question you need to ask yourself is, do I feel lucky?" She smiled smugly.
"Help me out here, will you?"
Pacey ran to his girlfriend's side. She struggled with a large box that she was having trouble lifting. He easily took it from her, moving it to the other side of the room.
"Thanks," she said cynically. "I'm glad this is so easy for you. Maybe *you* should be moving all my stuff."
"Hey, I volunteered. You were the one that told me you could do it yourself."
"Well I thought I could," she pouted.
"That's my girl, always independent," Pacey smiled.
"You'd better believe it."
"So, you are sure about this, right?" He took her in his arms. "You really do want to live together?"
"Of course. You're the one who seems nervous. I mean, you've asked me over and over again if I'm sure it's the right thing. I think you're just scared of commitment."
"Oh no, you're not fitting me into a typical male stereotype, are you?"
"Pacey, you are a typical male!"
"No, hey I can be sensitive." He got a melancholy look on his face. "Oh, the pain of the world. Oh the grief and the wretchedness of it all!" he moaned.
"That's not sensitive, that's suicidal," she said.
"Fine. How about this..." he kissed her and looked her in the eye. "Darling, you mean so much to me. I'm so glad you came into my life. Since we met, I've learned so much about you and about myself. I didn't know that it was possible to love someone this much. In your eyes, I see everything I want for the rest of my life."
She pulled away. "Nope, not convincing at all."
"Come here, you," he laughed, pulling her back. She yelped and ran to the other side of the room. He came after her and pinned her against the wall, kissing her firmly.
He pulled away and changed the subject, acting as if nothing had just happened. It was his favorite way of teasing her.
"So, I got a call from Jen last week, and she said she wanted the two of us to be interviewed for this article of hers."
"Yea, she called me too. I know all about it. She said we were all going to meet up at her place in Maine next weekend. I was meaning to talk to you about it today."
"So, you want to go?"
"Sure, why wouldn’t I?"
"Well, I don’t know. I just thought you wouldn’t."
She frowned. "Well, I may not get along well with everyone, but it’ll be nice to get us all back together. I mean, I haven’t talked to Jack in ages and…"
"Great, then we’ll plan on it."
"Good. Let me make sure I can get work off."
He sighed. "Just tell them you can’t come in. No matter what. You have your own life, you can’t just be there to help them out all the time."
She sensed his frustration and put her hands on his shoulders, forcing him to listen to her.
"Pacey, I like my job. I know you don’t, but I do. And if all goes well, I can get promoted. I promise that things will be better after that happens."
"Okay. Deal." He said, kissing her again.
He kissed her, nice and hot, just the way she liked it. He started to pull her back to the bed, and just as they reached it a screaming beep pulled them apart. Joey coolly glanced down at her hip and pulled her pager from its case. She sized it up and quickly made her way for the door.
"Jo, what's going on?"
"It's Carrie. She needs me desperately for something. I promise I'll be back soon. Since I'll be gone next weekend, I'd better go in now. Bye, Pace."
He watched her go, not trying to conceal the disappointment on his face. Joey was climbing the corporate ladder. And it felt like he was always coming in second. No, make that third. Dawson came in second. Many a romantic evening had been ruined by that pager. And it was always, "Oh Pace, they really need my help with this project," or "Dawson's been through a lot these past weeks and he needs me." Didn't she realize Pacey needed her too?
Pacey knew he souldn't be jealous of Dawson. He and Joey were only friends, but they were best friends. And their romantic history sitll made Pacey edgy. He wanted Joey to come to him, not Dawson. He hated being the jealous boyfriend. It felt petty. But he couldn't help it.
They'd had the Dawson argument. Actually they'd had several. That was most of the reason he'd asked her to move in with him. He thought if they were together, she'd come to him. Not Dawson. He was starting to wonder if he'd done the right thing. When their relationship started, he was sure Joey was the only girl he wanted, the only one he would want forever. Now he had his doubts. Was she really "the one?" Could he love someone else?
He cast his thoughts aside as he started to plan the next week’s events. They would have to leave Friday as soon as he got home from work. He wanted to come home and leave as fast as he could, not even giving Joey a chance to run off to work. If he had his way, she'd leave the pager here.
A weekend with the old gang. It would be nice to see Jen again. But he saw Dawson and Joey regularly. It shouldn't be anything terribly exciting. But he had other purposes. Jen had talked to him about turning the huge house into a Bed&Breakfast and she'd asked Pacey if he'd go in with her. He sat back and smiled, thinking about it. Him and Joey. In a quaint old house, in the middle of nowhere. Raising a family. Settled. Gracious innkeepers. Evenings on the front porch with mugs of hot chocolate. Sitting by the fire. An Old-fashioned Christmas with a big tree and mistletoe. He sighed. Heaven. If only he could convince Joey.
End Part 1
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