Disclaimer: Sorry, I'm bored with this. See part 1 for the disclaimer.
Last time: He stood and went to her, putting his arms around her again. She gave in to his embrace this time, holding him tightly. When they pulled apart he looked at her. She was looking down so he wouldn't see her tears. He put a finger under her chin and brought her gaze up to him. She had that vulnerable look on her face that broke his heart. He smiled at her. Then---he kissed her.
As they pulled apart, he closed his eyes, scared of what he'd see when he opened them. He could still feel her close to him. Finally, he looked at her. She was staring at him, open-mouthed, with a vulnerable, yet hurt look on her face. They just stood there looking at each other for what seemed like an eternity.
She shook her head and bolted for the window. She climbed out, flew down the ladder and ran through the yard. Dawson called after her.
"Joey! Hey, Jo!"
She continued running until he couldn't see her anymore.
He turned to his empty room, running his hands through his hair and sighing deeply.
There was a knock at the door.
It opened to reveal Mitch.
"Dad, do you ever have the feeling that your life keeps repeating over and over until everything is just a severe case of deja vu?"
Mitch looked at him confused.
"Everything seems like it always involves a kiss and Joey running away and me getting left in the dust. It's getting repetitive," Dawson continued.
"Are you okay, Dawson?"
"You know what? I bring it on myself. I never learn. I keep doing the same stupid adolescent things over and over."
"Dawson, you are an adolescent."
"I'm tired of it. I'm ready to be an adult now and get this idiotic teenage phase over and done with. It's too confusing."
Mitch chuckled. "Good luck."
Dawson braced himself as he headed to his locker. Joey was already there. Even though he knew they needed to talk things out, every fiber of his being wanted to turn around and walk the other way. Somehow he got to the locker. Joey saw him and frowned.
She stared into her locker, determined not to look at him.
"Jo, c'mon. Please, we need to talk about this."
"No, Dawson. You kissed me. I left. End of story."
"No. I don't know what you were thinking, Dawson. Did you think you could just kiss me and then we'd be a happy couple again just like that?"
"Well, it worked before," he replied sheepishly.
"This is different. You can't fix things that easily. You can't kiss me and expect me to jump into your arms. It doesn't work that way. I thought you wanted to be friends. I thought you wanted to make things like they were before."
"Joey, listen to me."
"No. What you did was unexcusable." She turned and walked away.
Dawson sighed and hit his head against his locker.
Jen and Jack walked down the hall together, laughing.
"So then I just kind of started drifting off," Jack said, "and Grams noticed I was gone so she asks me what's on my mind. So I feel like getting a rise out of her and I tell her, 'I saw the most beautiful thing yesterday' and she gets interested and then I said, 'His name's Nick.' And she almost fell on the ground and had a coronary. I had to bite my lip to keep from dying."
Jenn added once she'd recovered from laughing, "I loved what you did yesterday when we saw that ad for Leonardo diCaprio's new movie and you went on about what a gorgeous man he was. Grams' jaw was on the floor."
They both laughed.
Jen turned. It was Molly. Her laugh dissolved.
"What's so funny?" Molly inquired.
"Nothing," Jack said. "We were just kidding around. How're you?"
"Good. Ready for rehearsal tonight?"
"You bet. It's just a read-through, right? We don't have to have anything memorized, do we?"
"Nope. He'll just go through it with us and tell us how he wants things to be. He's really fun to work with. I had a supporting role in the play last year."
"Yea, I'm excited."
Jen walked sullenly beside them. This Molly girl was really bugging her.
"Oh, hey. I promised my chem teacher I'd be early. I've gotta take off. See you girls later." Jack sped off.
Jen took advantage of her opportunity while Molly stood beside her.
"Jack's quite a guy," she said.
"Oh yeah," Molly agreed. "He's fun and nice and *so* cute."
"It's too bad."
"Oh, you mean you don't know?" Jen feigned surprise.
"I can't believe it! Are you sure?"
"Positive. He likes tall muscular blondes. His last boyfriend was a Pro Beach Volleyball player."
"Yup. Jack's originally from California. That's where he met Diego."
"The Volleyball player?"
"Oh no. Diego's a masseuse. But it was just a fling, nothing real. They didn't really love each other."
"When Max found out--"
"Max is the volleyball player?"
"Yea. Anyway, he dropped Jack and Jack was totally devestated. That wasn't too long ago. He's still recovering."
"He's had it rough."
As Molly walked away, Jen couldn't help but smile wickedly. Abby would be proud.
Molly joined Jack and Dawson at their lunch table. She stuck her hand out towards Dawson. He slowly brought his hand to shake hers.
"Hi. I'm Molly. Jack and I are in the play together. And you are?"
"Dawson. Leery." He paused before hesitantly adding, "nice to meet you."
"You too. So you and Jack are friends?"
Dawson almost laughed. Him and Jack? It was kind of funny for them to be friends.
"Sort of," Jack answered.
"Yea, after he kissed my girlfriend."
Molly's eyes widened. "You did what?!"
Jack spoke in his defense, "Well, you punched me."
Molly's gaze moved back to Dawson.
"And then as soon as we broke up, you just took advantage of the opportunity to come in and pose *nude* for her."
Molly's jaw dropped.
At this point, Pacey and Jen both took their seats. The three of them that had been there sat in uncomfortable silence while Pacey and Jen looked confused.
"What's going on?"
"Nothing," the three of them answered in unison.
"Okay," Jen said with suspicion in her voice. "Oh, Molly, how nice to see you."
"Molly?!" Pacey did a double take.
"Pacey, what're you doing here?"
"No, I'm always here, what're *you* doing here?"
"Jack and I are in the play together."
"Wait," Jen interjected, "how do you two know each other?"
"Molly took over Dawson's shifts at Screen Play," Pacey explained. "You can usually find her in the romance section or over by the foreign films."
"Well, you like action and horror," Molly rebutted.
"She's a closet Barbra Streisand lover. I'd set her up with Doug, but I don't think he's interested."
"I caught Pacey renting 'Steel Magnolias.'"
"It was for my Mom."
"She was gone on vacation."
"No, she was home."
"Look, just because I like 'Funny Girl' doesn't mean I'm a Streisand lover."
"And just because I have a thing for Julia Roberts doesn't mean I like 'Steel Magnolias.'"
"Are you sure you don't have a thing for Shirley McLaine?"
"So, Molly," Dawson said, trying to change the subject, "you sound like a movie buff. What do you think of Spielberg?"
"Um, he's pretty good. I love Jaws, the only scary movie I'll watch."
"You and Dawson should get along well," said Pacey. "He's a Spielberg freak. ET is his favorite movie."
"I don't really like ET," she scrunched her nose.
"What?!" Dawson stared, incredulously.
"It scared me when I was little. When all those guys in the space suits come in their house and all that. It freaked me out. I haven't been able to enjoy it since then."
"Come on," Dawson said, "everyone like ET."
"Um, actually, Dawson, I kind of have to agree with her. It was a really traumatic experience for me when I was young," said Jen.
"Pacey, help me out here," said Dawson.
"Sure, D, it's a good flick. But not on my top 10 list."
Dawson threw his head down in despair.
As the end of lunch neared, Jack and Jen left leaving Pacey, Dawson and Molly alone at the table.
"So, I'm confused," Molly said. "Is Jack gay?"
Pacey almost choked on a french fry. Dawson smirked.
"Yes," Pacey said once he'd recovered. "He's gay."
"Then why did he steal Dawson's girlfriend?"
"He, uh, recently came out."
"Oh, okay. But where does Diego fit in?"
"Diego?" Dawson raised his eyebrows.
"Hmmm...Maybe it was a summer fling. You know how those can be," she concluded.
Pacey and Dawson looked confused. After a pause, Dawson tried to make small talk. "Molly, are you and Pacey pretty chummy, working together all summer?"
"No, he was too busy flirting with any skirt that walked in the place."
"I did not."
"Pacey, you flirted?" Dawson feigned surprise.
"Okay, I did."
Dawson tsked him. "You should get him to quit that, Molly."
"I don't care. He can flirt with whatever he wants to as long as it's not me. Oh, there's the bell. Gotta go! Bye, Dawson. It was nice to meet you."
Dawson and Pacey walked alone to class.
"Pacey, does she know about Andie?"
"Of course. Why wouldn't she?"
"I don't know. It just seems like you may have neglected to tell her."
"Why would I do that?"
"Pacey, answer the question."
"Okay, she doesn't know."
"Why didn't you tell her?"
"I don't know, I was really lonely and it was fun to just be able to talk to a girl who didn't know I already had a girlfriend."
"So you flirt with her?"
"Just a little. Come on, D, it's not like I cheated on Andie. I would *never* do that."
"I know. I'm just warning you to be careful. Because I'd feel really bad if she came home to find you with some other girl."
"And I wouldn't do that to her. Andie and I have been through too much together. I really love her. Molly's just a distraction from missing Andie."
"Okay, but don't let it go any further."
"Fine. Get a grip, Dawson."
"I'm sorry, but I know what it's like to be cheated on and it's the absolute worst feeling that is."
Since Jack was staying after school for play practice, Dawson walked home with Jen. He could tell she was upset about something.
"Jen, what's up?"
"I dunno. What do you think about that girl Molly?"
Dawson's brow creased as he thought of the best answer. "I think she's nice. Definitely a talker, a little forward, but nice."
"Well, I'm worried that she and Jack are going to start spending every waking hour together and I don't really like her. No, I definitely don't like her."
"Jen, do you not like her because she's a jerk or do you not like her because she's a threat to your relationship with Jack?"
Jen smiled. "My * relationship* with Jack? You make it sound like we're a couple."
"You know what I mean."
"Well, Jack's all I have. Don't get me wrong, Dawson, you're my good friend. But me and Jack both share this common bond. We're outcasts and we help each other to remember that we're real people. See, when I'm with Jack, I don't feel like the slut from New York. I feel like a person and I feel beautiful and special and happy. He doesn't judge me. He knows me and he accepts me."
"I wouldn't worry, Jen. Just because Jack has someone else to hang out with doesn't mean he'll completely alienate you. You can't break a bond like that. Things will work out."
"You know, you're right. I guess I'm just a little insecure. I mean, look at you and Joey. The two of you have worked through everything."
"Well, not really. We're kind of on the outs right now."
"What happened? You guys just worked things out. You've just barely become friends again and you're already fighting? What did you do?"
"Why do you assume *I* did something?"
"You're so oblivious, Dawson. Spill."
"Okay. I kissed her."
"What?! That was really stupid. Why'd you do that?"
"That's the thing, Jen. I don't know. It just happened. All of a sudden, there we were, lip to lip."
"But there's more to it than that. You know, there's the look, and then you move in, and then you close your eyes and then it happens."
"There was no look or anything. It just happened."
"So, she's pissed?"
"She thinks I'm trying to get back together."
"No! I mean, eventually. But not now."
"Then you need to tell her that."
"She won't let me get a word in edgewise."
"Listen, Dawson, I am going to do you a humongous favor since I'm spending the evening alone, well, alone beside movie night. I will get Joey for you. Okay?"
Dawson smiled. "Thanks, Jen."
"No problem. I'll see you later."
"So, I take it you don't want to watch ET tonight?"
She smiled at him and headed towards Joey's house.
Jen stood nervously at Joey's door. She made a mental note that Dawson definitely owed her one. Joey answered the door with a scowl.
"What do *you* want?"
Jen shifted uncomfortably under her gaze.
"Um--I actually came by for Dawson."
Joey scoffed. "He couldn't come himself?"
"Listen, I'm doing him a favor so just because you're mad at him doesn't mean you can chew me out."
"What do you want?"
"I just wanted to ask you to go see Dawson and work things out."
"How come I always have to go to him. He's the one that screwed up. He should come to me."
"No, I'm serious. It's always going to Dawson's house through Dawson's window into Dawson's room. It's stupid."
"Joey, listen to me. This isn't why I'm here. It's because you need to talk to Dawson."
"I don't *need* to do anything."
"Okay, do you even realize what you're doing?" Jen raised her voice and stepped forward putting herself very much in Joey's face. "Do you know what you have? You have a best friend. You have someone you can tell everything to. You have someone who carees about you. Someone who would rather be with you than anyone else. Someone who knows everything about you. A lot of people go their whole lives looking for that. You have it and you keep throwing it away. I don't understand that. Dawson is a great guy. But he's 16. He screws up."
Joey gave her a look.
"Okay, he screws up a lot. But he's sensitive and sweet and he cares about you." She stepped away and softened her tone. "So please, go talk to him."
Joey stood in silence for a few moments as Jen turned to walk away. Jen turned her head back to Joey.
"I'm gonna go now."
"I'll see you tonight. At Dawson's," Joey answered.
Jen smiled. "See ya."
Molly caught Jack as he gathered his stuff after rehearsal.
"Hey. You did a really good job today."
"Thanks I worked on it a lot at home."
"There's no way I'm gonna be able to share a stage with you. You're really good. This is only my first try."
She laughed. "Jack, you'll be fine. The trick to acting is you just loosen up. Pretend no one's watching. It's easiest to act at home by yourself. That's what I do. I run throught my lines in my room until I'm comfortable with them. It makes it easier for me to relax in rehearsal."
"I'll give it a shot. It's just that, uh, I've always had trouble expressing myself. And I guess I did this to prove to myself that I could do it."
"Don't worry about it. You'll do great."
"Thanks." He started to leave.
"Um--I don't really know how to put this so I guess I'll just say it. I would really like to talk to you, really talk. I can't do that with anyone now and I just get this funny feeling around you, like I can. So I was wondering, if you want to go somewhere and talk a little?"
He smiled at her.
"I'd love to."
Molly heaved a sigh of relief.
"So you're okay with that?"
"Of course. I'm flattered."
"Oh, I'm *so* glad. I really have some things I want to get off my chest."
"Promise you won't go around publicizing my inmost thoughts?"
Joey climbed silently up the ladder to Dawson's window. She hoped Pacey and Jen hadn't come yet so she could talk to Dawson. Or so he could explain what he'd done. That kiss had scared her. It scared her because she liked it. It was so familiar being in his arms and so natural to feel his lips on hers. She'd frozen. It was so hard to want Dawson, to feel that his love was all she needed in her life. She hated being so dependant on it. But it was the way she felt. And she didn't want him to know that. Yet.
He sat on his bed expectantly as she climbed through the window. He smiled a little as she entered and then he took a deep breath and rose to his feet.
"Joey, before you say anything, I just want to ask you to hear me out. It's really ironic that a year ago I was searching for drama and now I've got too much of it. Here I am stuck in this on-again off-again relationship and it's really driving me crazy. I just don't know what to think. I've pondered it and I've come to the conclusion that the first time we broke up, it was my fault. I was so caught up in my parents' divorce and my jealousy of Jack to think about you. But the second time, that was you. That was completely you. You broke my heart and left me miserable. And despite all that, as soon as we become friends again, things turn into on-again and then something happens and then we're off-again. I just want to tell you that the kiss the other night didn't have any romantic intentions. I was just not thinking. It was a habit, something we used to do all the time. I'm sorry. Okay. That's all."
Joey sighed. "So where does that leave us? On-again or off-again?"
"I don't know. Somewhere in the middle, I guess."
She took a deep breath. "Dawson, I forgive you."
"Thanks. The kiss was really stupid."
"No, I mean, I forgive you for everything. For the thing with my father. And I never got a chance to apologize for that."
He smiled. "I would hug you, but I'm a little cautious after last time."
"Pardon, are we intruding?" Pacey called from the doorway. Jen stood beside him.
"Come on in," Dawson said.
Dawson lay back against his pillow. He thought about what he'd told Joey. It was all true. Except that it wasn't the whole truth.
He didn't tell her, and he couldn't tell her, that part of the motive for that kiss was some crazy spontaneous act from sheer desire. And it triggered something in him, letting loose the emotions he'd tried so hard to bottle up all summer. She was beautiful again, having her sit so close caused a dull ache in his heart.
He was distracted by the puppy whimpering at the foot of the bed. Pacey threw it a piece of popcorn.
"So, D," he said, "did you come up with a name for Lassie yet?"
"Um, actually I did."
"His name's Harvey."
Jen's face showed her disapproval.
"You didn't name him after an invisible 6-foot tall rabbit, did you?" Pacey asked.
"Couldn't you just call him Fido?"
"I like it," said Joey.
Dawson looked at her with a probing grin. Was she thinking what he thought she was thinking? Did she know?
"Harvey is Elliot's dog. In ET," she continued.
Dawson smiled. She'd read his thoughts.
Pacey and Jen turned their attention back to the tv. Dawson and Joey smiled at each other knowingly, like only the best of friends can.
End Part 4
Main Page | Part 5
That's all for now! Part 5 will be along eventually. For some reason, I am liking this one the least of SKoW so far. But, don't worry, much more will be happening!! Don't forget to send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.