To Talk About
Disclaimer: Now, seriously people. If I owned Dawson's Creek, would I waste my time writing stories for the Internet? I think not. So if you're in the mood to sue someone, go be a White House Intern and leave me alone.
"What do you think?" Dawson Leery asked his friends absentmindedly, while rifling through a stack of videos. "ET, Jaws, or Jurassic Park?"
"How about we try something that Spielberg wasn't invloved with," Jen Lindley suggested gently.
"Yeah," Joey Potter agreed. "I'm getting sick of Spielberg. Let's go check out the Ron Howard selection."
"Oh, I love Ron Howard," Jen stifled a laugh as she noticed the dismayed expression on Dawson's face. "Wasn't Apollo 13 great?"
"One of my favorites," Pacey Witter spoke up. "Much more realistic than anything Spielberg could come up with."
"Oh, definitly," Joey said. "And Splash? That's what I call a great movie."
"A much better use of Tom Hanks than Saving Private Ryan," Pacey suppressed a grin.
"That's it!" Dawson finally exploded. "You're all insane! You've gone off the deep end! Ron Howard? Give me a break! No one, least of all Ron Howard, can even begin to compare with Spielberg! The man's a genius! And Apollo 13? A completely over-dramatized account of a minor disaster! Nothing compared to the international catastrophe of the Holocaust, which Spielberg brilliantly captured in Schindler's List. How much more realistic can you get? Apollo 13 was, at best, a horribly-casted pathetic attempt at making the general public believe space travel is a bad idea, which it isn't because someday we're all going to be living on Pluto, or someplace equally ridiculous, and - " He stopped when he realized that they were all laughing hysterically. "What?"
"That was great," Jen said, when she finally caught her breath. "He completely fell for it."
"Did you see the look on his face when Pacey said Apollo 13 was more realistic than anything Spielberg made?" Joey grinned. "That was a Kodak moment."
"I can't believe you guys," Dawson muttered. He put the movies away and stomped out of the store.
Pacey shook his head. "That dude cannot take a joke."
They walked out the door and ran to catch up with Dawson.
"Look, Dawson, it was just a joke," Jen said. "We're sorry, okay?"
"Whatever," he said.
Joey sighed. "Stop sulking, Dawson. We didn't really mean - "
"Who's the most brilliant director of all time?" Dawson interrupted.
"Steven Spielberg," Joey, Pacey, and Jen chorused.
"Better," Dawson smiled with satisfaction. "Now, what are we going to do? Movie Night is out of the question, since we have no movies."
"Why don't we call it a night?" Pacey suggested.
"Pace, it's only seven o'clock," Jen pointed out.
"Yeah, but me and Jo want to get going. Oh, hon, can we use your place tonight? Deputy Doug is home from his gay cops convention and I don't think watching heterosexual sex is his thing." Pacey said, with a mischevious grin.
"Bite me, Pacey," Joey snapped.
"With pleasure, Ms. Potter," Pacey grabbed Joey's waist and yanked her to him. He leaned over and gently nipped her lower lip.
An electric shock ran through Joey's body, but she quickly pushed that feeling aside. She pulled away and slapped him across the face.
"Ow," Pacey muttered, rubbing his sore cheek. "Damn, girl. You need to control your violent impulses."
"Yeah, well you need to control your hormonal impulses," Joey shot back.
Jen laughed. "Do you two ever stop fighting?"
"No," Dawson replied. "Never, in fifteen years. Since they could talk, they've been arguing."
"It's so cute," Jen said.
"Cute?" Joey said with a disgusted look on her face. "What are you talking about?"
"The way you two fight to cover up your hidden feelings for each other," she explained.
"Hidden feelings?" Joey said sarcastically. "Like hostility and loathing? Sorry, Jen, we make those feelings well known."
"No," Jen corrected. "Hidden romantic feelings for each other."
Pacey snorted. "Romantic feelings toward the Ice Queen? I have more romantic feelings toward Dawson than Joey, and I'm completely hetero."
"Pacey may be more like Dougie than we originally thought," Joey said wryly.
"Oh, and what about your sexual orientation, Josephine?" Pacey asked. "Are you hetero?"
"Of course I am. I'm just not attracted to guys that should be spending all their time in a padded cell,"
"You know, if you keep acting like the Virgin Mary, you'll never get a boyfriend,"
"Now I'm getting sex advice from a guy who's only experience is with his English teacher," Joey rolled her eyes. "Please, spare me, Pacey."
"You know what, Jo? At least I got somebody. That's more than I can say for you,"
"Oh, c'mon, Pace! Don't you remember? A truck driver named Bubba?"
"Give it a rest, you two," Dawson said wearily. "As amusing as you truly are, we still need to figure out what to do tonight."
"Well, we could always have Dr. Witter lecture us on his vast sexual experience and knowledge," Joey suggested sweetly.
Jen smiled and shook her head, as Joey and Pacey continued to glare at each other. "Yup," she thought." Madly in love."
* * * * * * * * * *
"What English explorer discovered and named Virginia?" Pacey asked.
"That's easy," Joey replied. "Sir Walter Raleigh. They named the state capital after him."
Pacey groaned. "She's right."
"Ha! Girls win!" Jen cried victoriously.
She and Joey high-fived. Dawson winced, knowing that the girls would rub it in their faces that they had won.
Pacey started to put the game away, ignoring Joey and Jen's victory celebration.
"What's the matter, Pace?" Joey taunted. "Sore loser?"
"No, your Majesty, but I don't like losing any more than you do,"
Joey softened. "Hey, Pacey, I'm sorry."
He shook his head and went to put the game back in the closet. "Don't worry about it."
Joey got up and followed him. "Pacey, come on. I'm sorry, okay?"
Pacey couldn't hold it back any longer. He burst out laughing.
Joey shook her head in disgust. "I can't believe you," She turned and stalked back into the living room.
Joey fell onto the couch next to Jen. The two immediately began whispering, and they occasionally looked up to glare at Pacey.
After a few minutes, Dawson spoke up. "Oh, come on. Now who's sulking?"
"Shut up, Dawson," Joey and Jen said in unison.
"Harsh," Pacey muttered.
"All right, let me get this straight," Dawson said. "Movie Night, wait - Board Game Night - has been reduced to the guys on one couch, the girls on another, and no one talking."
"Sounds more like a Junior High dance," Pacey said.
Joey stood up. "Well, I'm pretty tired. I think I'm going to head home."
"Why don't you crash at my place?" Jen suggested.
"Okay," Joey agreed.
They got up to leave, but Dawson stopped them. "Wait a minute, Jo. You always sleep here on Movie Night."
"Sorry, Dawson," Joey said. "I've had about as much of you two as I can handle for a while."
"How long's a while?" Dawson asked, knowing what she was thinking.
Joey grinned. "I don't know. Let's wait and see."
And with that, she and Jen turned and walked out the door.
"Wow," Pacey said quietly. "I guess I really pissed her off, huh?"
"That," Dawson replied. "Was an open declaration of war."
"War. Battle. Conflict. Fight. Armageddon. Call it what you like, but that comment was a dare to see who can stay away longer."
"Um, Dawson," Pacey said cautiously. "Don't you remember what happened when you challenged them to a game of Trivial Pursuit? We got our asses kicked."
"Hey, this isn't my fault. It's Joey's challenge this time,"
"Are you sure that's what she was trying to say? Maybe she really was just sick of us. I can't blame her."
"Pacey, aren't you always saying that I know Joey better than anyone else?" Dawson asked.
"Well, then, trust me on this one,"
"Whatever you say, Dawson," Pacey shrugged. "You do know her better than I do."
* * * * * * * * * *
"This," Joey said, when they got up to Jen's room. "Is going to be fun."
"What is?" Jen asked.
"Oh, the next week or so," she replied casually.
Joey reached under Jen's bed for the stash of licorice she knew would be there. After pulling a few out, she handed the bag to Jen.
"What I said back there about being sick of them," she explained. "was a direct challenge."
"What kind of challenge?" Jen asked nervously.
"To see who can stay away from the other longer - us or them,"
"Um, are you sure they caught that allusion, Jo?"
"Dawson knew what I meant," Joey assured her friend. "Don't worry. This is going to be a piece of cake."
Joey and Jen stayed holed up in Jen's house for the rest of the weekend. By the time Monday morning came, they were all psyched up for Day One of the war against the guys.
When Joey came back from the shower Jen's room looked like a beauty parlor. Make-up and hair pieces were all over her bureau and various outfits were laid out on her bed.
"Uh, Jen? What happened to your room?" she asked in confusion.
"Jo, there is one and only one surefire way to win this war," Jen said.
"Really? And what's that, to open up a salon?"
"Let me explain. What's the one thing guys have an abundance of once they hit puberty?"
"That's easy. Hormones."
"Exactly," Jen smiled. "That's where we come in."
"Why don't I like the sound of this?"
Joey sat down and Jen started putting blush on her cheeks. "Jen-"
Joey winced as Jen rubbed the eyeliner under her eye. "Ouch,"
When Jen finished Joey's makeup, she turned to pick out their outfits. "Hmm..." Jen said, looking Joey up and down. "Oh, I got it!"
She handed her friend a spaghetti-strapped tank top with a single rose on the front and a black miniskirt.
"No way am I going to wear this," Joey protested.
"Do you want to win the war?"
Joey sighed and put on the clothes.
"All right," Jen said, on their way to school. "The first way we're going to win the war is to dress like this everyday until they crumble."
Joey groaned inwardly. "There's more than one way?"
"The second way," Jen told her. "Is more difficult."
"More difficult than dressing like this?" Joey asked in a panicky voice.
"We're going to flirt," Jen finished.
"Jen, we're supposed to stay away from them. We can't flirt with them."
"Jo, we're not going to flirt with Dawson and Pacey. We're going to flirt with all the guys around them."
Joey finally understood and smiled. "Well, normally I'd say you're insane, but this is a brilliant war strategy."
"Dawson and Pacey are both extremely possessive guys. They'll be crazy with jealousy in no time."
They laughed and continued walking toward Capeside High.
* * * * * * * * * *
"All right," Dawson said, as he and Pacey walked into the school. "We can win this war easily. All we have to do is pretend we don't even see them, and they'll wave the white flag in no time."
"Are you sure it's going to be that simple, Dawson?" Pacey asked. "I mean, Jen and Joey are both pretty stubborn. You really think they'll surrender without a fight?"
"Trust me, Pace," Dawson said. "We'll have them on their knees begging for forgiveness in two days, tops. Pacey? Pacey? What's wrong?"
Pacey continued to stare over Dawson's shoulder. "Oh, man."
Dawson turned around, and his jaw dropped.
Jen and Joey were walking down the hall slowly, completely ignoring the fact that every head turned as they strolled by. Both girls looked like Calvin Klein's latest supermodel discovery, but both wore an "I could care less" expression on their face.
"You think it's working?" Joey whispered nervously.
"Absolutely. Everyone's staring at you."
"No way. They're staring at you."
"Look! There's Dawson and Pacey," Jen said.
"Oh, God," Joey muttered. "I can't do this."
"Yes you can. Just keep walking. Don't even look at them."
Dawson and Pacey's eyes never left the girls as they walked by.
"Wow," Dawson said.
"You can say that again,"
"They looked gorgeous,"
"Hey, Dawson," Pacey said. "It doesn't look like they're going to follow your plan for the war, so you might want to rewrite the script."
"Yeah," Dawson agreed. "That might be a good idea."
"In the meantime," Pacey swallowed as he remembered how Joey looked in that miniskirt. "In the meantime...uh, hang in there."
"Hang in there? That's the best that you can come up with when Jen and Joey look like that?"
Pacey shrugged. "I didn't write the script, Dawson. I'm just an actor."
Pacey grabbed his backpack and headed for geometry. He and Joey always sat next to each other in that class, since neither of them had any other friends there. Every day, she saved him the seat next to her, but when Pacey got there, Cliff Elliot, the King of Pigskin, was sitting next to Joey.
"I really like your hair like that," Cliff said.
Joey wanted to puke, but she forced herself to smile at him. "Then maybe I should wear it like this more often."
"That'd be nice," Cliff grinned. "Hey, thanks for letting me sit here."
"No problem," Joey said. "I like having you close by."
Joey couldn't really like this guy, Pacey assured himself. She's always made fun of him and his friends.
But as he watched Joey lean closer to Cliff, Pacey wasn't so sure.
Dawson took his assigned seat next to Jen in English. He half-expected her to smile and say hi to him, like she usually did. But Jen's attention was completely focused on Roger Fulford, the football jock who sat behind her.
"Hey," Roger said. "Have you ever been to the ruins?"
Jen remembered that day at the ruins perfectly. It had been one of the best days of her life; but she knew Dawson was listening, so she had to keep up the act.
"Um," she put on a face like she was thinking hard. "I don't think so."
"Maybe I could bring you up there sometime," Roger grinned. "It's real romantic."
Dawson felt like she had ripped his heart out and stomped on it. She didn't remember the day of their first kiss! He could still feel her lips pressed against his, and the smell of her perfume, and how soft her hair felt when it brushed his cheek, but she didn't even recall going there!
Jen snuck a quick glance at Dawson. His face was crumpled up and he looked like he was going to cry. Her heart melted. She wanted to win the war, but not if it meant hurting Dawson.
"Oh, the ruins," she laughed. "Of course I've been there. I wasn't sure if you meant the same thing."
Roger looked disappointed. "So, you have been there."
"Yeah. This guy I dated when I first moved here brought me there," Jen said wistfully. "It was really romantic."
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Dawson smile.
* * * * * * * * * *
Joey plopped down into the seat opposite Jen at lunch. "Can we please take a break from all this flirting?"
"I know. I'm getting sick of it too," Jen agreed.
"It's awful! Cliff put his arm around me on our way out of geometry; I thought I was going to hurl,"
"At least you got Cliff! I was stuck with Roger Fulford in English and he kept touching my knee," Jen complained.
"You should of slapped him,"
"I couldn't. Dawson was right there."
"No offense or anything, Jen, but I'm beginning to think that this was a bad idea."
"Me too," Jen admitted. "But at least the guys are miserable."
Joey glanced at Dawson and Pacey a few tables away. Dawson was staring into space with a depressed look on his face, and Pacey was dipping the same french fry into a pile of ketchup repeatedly, but never eating it.
Joey smiled. "They look awful. It's only a matter of time."
"I hope so," Jen said. "I'm really starting to miss them."
"You think they miss us even half as much as we miss them?" Dawson asked.
"I doubt it," Pacey replied dejectedly. "You should have seen Joey in geometry. She was flirting with Cliff like he was the last man on Earth."
"I know what you mean. Jen and Roger Fulford didn't shut up the entire English class,"
"I told you this wasn't going to be easy,"
"Well, how was I supposed to know that they would turn into Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schieffer overnight?"
"They were always beautiful, but man..." Pacey said. "I don't know how much longer I can take this, Dawson."
"Me either, Pace," he agreed.
Pacey couldn't keep his eyes off Joey. She was stunning. When Jen had mentioned their supposed "hidden feelings" for each other, he had just brushed it off. But he couldn't deny that holding her in his arms felt so right. And he also couldn't deny that he wanted to kill Cliff for even looking at Joey.
Pacey sighed. "I miss her already. How are we going to survive any more of this?"
"Should we just surrender?" Dawson asked.
"I don't know," He looked over at Joey. "Yeah. Give me back-up, Dawson, I'm going in."
They stood up and walked over to Jen and Joey's table.
"Can we sit here?" Pacey asked nervously.
"Sorry," Jen replied smoothly. "Those seats are saved for Cliff and Roger."
"Are they really?" Pacey asked, looking at Joey. "Because we were kind of hoping that you ladies would allow us to join you for lunch. I hear the fishsticks are one of a kind."
Joey rolled her eyes. Same old Pacey. But, no matter how annoying he was, she had to admit that she missed him and his smart-ass comments. Joey had forced herself to ignore her growing feelings for Pacey, but after the biting episode outside the video store, she didn't think she could do it for much longer.
"Hmm, jokes aren't working," Pacey said, trying to cover up the nervousness in his voice. "How about flattery? Ms. Potter, have I told you how positively ravishing you look today?"
"No, as a matter of fact, you haven't," Joey replied coolly.
"Well, you are even more smashing than usual," he said in an exaggerated British accent.
Joey looked away to hide her smile, but Pacey saw it.
"Ah, is that a smile on the lovely Ms. Potter's countenance?" He gently turned her so she was facing him. "Aye, that it is. And a beautiful smile, at that."
"Pacey - "
"Look, Jo, I know," Pacey said seriously. "It was stupid. I'm sorry. We forfit. You win. Can we please sit down now?"
Joey looked over at Jen, who was already deep in conversation with Dawson. "Well, I guess my only ally has forgiven the enemy, so yeah, you can sit."
"Thanks," He sat down in the sit next to her. "So, you really don't have a thing for Cliff, do you?"
Joey laughed. "What's it to you?"
* * * * * * * * * *
"Actually," Joey said, later that afternoon in Dawson's room. "I should be thanking you guys."
"Why's that?" Pacey asked.
"If you hadn't surrendered today, I would've had to dress like this again tomorrow," She shuddered. "Torture."
"It can't be that bad," Pacey said. "I mean, you look great."
Joey glared at him. "Have you ever worn a miniskirt?"
"Good point," he said.
Jen laughed. "Come on, Jo. At least we won."
Joey smiled. "Yeah. We did, huh?"
"No more," Pacey said. "I will never ever listen to you again, Dawson. First the Trivial Pursuit game, then the war. We got our asses kicked twice, thanks to you."
"Sorry, Pace," Dawson said. "I didn't know they were this good at making us jealous."
"Were you jealous?" Joey asked Pacey.
"Nah," he replied. "Of you and Cliff? Give me a break. I knew you'd never go for a guy like him. Besides," he added. "Any guy that flirts with you deserves the wrath of hell that he'll inevitably get."
"Oh, wait," Joey said sarcastically. "It's the return of Dr. Witter. Dr., will you please tell us again how you bedded your English teacher?"
"Well, young lady," Pacey answered. "It was a combination of my astounding intelligence and breathtaking physical attributes."
"Now, Dr. Witter," Joey continued. "As we all know, our dear friends Jennifer and Dawson have some tragic denial thing going on about their romantic interest in each other. What can we, you and I, do about this?"
"Joey-" Dawson said, sounding horrified.
"A compelling question, Ms. Potter," Pacey replied. "I do agree with you in the matter of Mr. Leery and Ms. Lindley's true feelings for one another. They, of course, refuse to acknowledge the fact that they care deeply for one another and both spend all their time wishing they were with the other person. As their friends, this whole denial concept can become rather tedious. In my opinion, we can force them to admit how they feel, and since Dawson is so dense, he can go first. Mr. Leery, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"
"Pacey-" Dawson's face was turning more red by the second.
"That's 'Your Honor', Mr. Leery," Joey interrupted. "Answer him."
"Uh, I do," Dawson said.
"Good. Madame Prosecutor, you may proceed," Pacey allowed.
"Thank you, Your Honor," Joey stood up and faced Dawson, who was seated on his bed. "Please state your name and occupation for the record."
Dawson looked slightly confused. "Dawson Leery, student and video store clerk."
"Thank you," Joey smiled. This was kind of fun. "Now, Mr. Leery, let's cut to the chase. Please tell the court exactly how you feel about Ms. Jennifer Lindley. May I remind you that you are under oath."
Dawson glanced at Jen nervously. "Uh, she's my friend."
"Is that all, Mr. Leery?" Joey asked sharply.
"Well, I...uh, I like her," Dawson said.
"As in, you have romantic feelings for her?"
"Yes!" Dawson cried defensively. "I like her a lot, okay?"
"Thank you, Mr. Leery. No further questions, Your Honor,"
"You may step down," Pacey said.
Dawson got off the bed and sat down on the floor.
"The prosecution calls Ms. Jennifer Lindley," Joey said.
Jen moved from the window seat to the bed and faced Joey nervously.
"Ms. Lindley," Pacey asked. "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"
"Uh, I do and all, but can you cut out the 'so help you God' part? I'm kind of an athiest," Jen replied.
"Sure," Pacey answered. "Ms. Lindley, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?"
"Madame Prosecutor," Pacey said.
"Thank you, Your Honor," Joey still didn't like calling Pacey 'Your Honor'. Somehow, it just didn't work. "Please state your name and occupation for the record."
"Jennifer Lindley, student,"
"Thank you. Could you please tell the court how you feel about Mr. Dawson Leery?"
"I like him a lot, too," she replied.
"You do?" Dawson asked in disbelief.
"Mr. Leery, if you don't shut up, I'll be forced to hold you in context," Pacey threatened.
"Contempt, Pacey. Contempt," Joey corrected.
"Right. Uh, contempt. Continue."
"Thank you, Ms. Lindley. No further questions, Your Honor,"
"You may step down," Pacey told Jen.
Jen got off the bed and went to sit next to Dawson.
"The prosecution rests, Your Honor," Joey said.
"Good. And since there's no defense, the court will now rule. I, Judge Pacey Witter, order Mr. Dawson Leery and Ms. Jennifer Lindley to start dating again. Case dismissed." Pacey hit Dawson's desk with pencil, like it was a gavel.
"That was incredibly bizarre," Dawson said.
"Yeah, well it's getting you two back together, so deal with it," Joey said. "Let's go, Pace. I think the witnesses need some time alone together to work things out."
Pacey followed Joey out the window.
"Oh, shit," Joey muttered, looking at her watch. "I'm going to be late for work!"
"No problem. I'll drive you." Pacey offered.
"Thanks, Doc, but I can't be a waitress in this outfit,"
"So I'll drive you home first and you can change,"
"Are you sure you don't mind?"
"Anything for my love slave," he quipped.
Joey sighed. "I should've known. You were being to nice."
"You know that I get withdrawal symptoms if I go too long without insulting you, Jo," Pacey joked.
"Can I ask you a question?" he asked suddenly.
"No, I won't sleep with you,"
"That's not what I meant,"
"Then go ahead,"
"Were you flirting with Cliff to make me jealous?"
Joey shifted uncomfortably. "Yeah,"
"That was the plan. If we dressed like this and flirted with other guys, then you and Dawson would get jealous and we'd win the war,"
"So you don't really like him?"
"I felt like I was going to throw up through the entire conversation. Does that answer your question?"
Pacey grinned. "Yeah. Thanks."
"I've said some pretty mean things to you," she said shyly. "You know I don't really mean them, right?"
"Of course, Jo," Pacey agreed. "I don't mean what I say either."
Joey nodded. "Just wanted to make sure."
A few minutes later, they arrived at Joey's house.
"I'll be right out," She climbed out of the car and ran into the house.
Pacey watched her from the car. She was beautiful, no doubt about it. And she had been so adorable when she was "questioning the witnesses", with that serious and focused expression on her face. He was falling for her - hard.
Joey hurridly washed her face and changed her clothes, not wanting to keep Pacey waiting.
What's wrong with me? she wondered silently. Why do I care if I keep Pacey waiting? So what if he's giving me a ride - he's driven me places before. And what is going on between us? He looked so fine when he was playing judge and ordering everyone around. But he's Pacey. We've always been friends, but we've also been fighting for as long as I can remember. How can I be thinking about Pacey like that?
Joey shook her head, trying to banish all thoughts of Pacey, but it didn't work. She sighed and looked in the mirror.
"Stop it!" she yelled at herself. "You don't care what you look like. It's only Pacey. Your old buddy."
Joey turned and ran down to Pacey's car. "Hey. Thanks for waiting."
"No problem," He smiled at her.
Joey felt herself melting at his grin. He's so cute, she thought. How come I never noticed how great he looks when he smiles?
Pacey jealously watched Joey gaze deamily out the window. I would anything to be the guy she thinking about right now, he thought. Whoever he is, he'd better treat her right, or he'll have me to deal with.
"So, Pace," Joey said, trying desperately to ignore her growing feelings for him. "What are you up to tonight?"
Pacey flashed her a grin. "I thought I'd have dinner at the Icehouse where my favorite beautiful waitress works."
That was so sweet, Joey gushed silently.
I hope that wasn't too obvious, Pacey worried.
"As long as you leave me a good tip," Joey said.
"You? Who said anything about you?" Pacey teased. "I said beautiful waitress."
"Just for that I'm going to spit in your water,"
"Jo," he said. "You are definitely the most beautiful waitress in the world. In fact, you're the most beautiful woman in the world."
"Good save," Joey allowed grudgingly.
"That wasn't a save. I meant it."
Joey was silent for a moment. "Do you really think I'm beautiful?"
Pacey stared at her in disbelief. "Are you kidding? You're so beautiful that even a blind man could see it."
Joey smiled shyly. "Thanks, Pace."
"Be careful. I might take you up on that."
"I only hope that you do," he said seriously.
Pacey pulled the car to a stop once they reached the Icehouse. He and Joey jumped out of the car and she led him to a table in her section.
"I'll be right back," she told him. "I just have to tell Bessie that I'm here."
"I'll be waiting,"
Joey turned and walked to the kitchen. "Hey, Bodie. Have you seen Bessie?"
"Yeah, she just went to the bathroom,"
"Will you tell her I'm here?"
"Sure. No prob."
"Thanks," She grabbed her apron and a menu, and returned to Pacey's table. "What can I get you, Sir?"
"Hmm," Pacey looked thoughtfully at the menu. "I'll have a cheeseburger with fries and a Coke, please."
"Coming right up," Joey said cheerfully.
Pacey sighed and watched her walk back to the kitchen. He was glad that they weren't trading insults anymore and had at least formed some kind of a civil relationship, but it wasn't enough. He wanted more. He wanted Joey.
Pacey looked up. "Oh, hey guys."
"Can we sit?" Jen asked.
"Of course," he replied. "So what happened with you two?"
"Well," Dawson smiled at Jen. "We're back together."
"That's great. I'm happy for you. Joey will be too."
"Thanks," Jen said. "So what's up with you and Joey?"
"Nothing," Pacey looked at her strangely. "Why do you ask?"
"I seemed to notice a bit of sexual tension between you two, especially the last few weeks," She ignored Dawson's surprised face. "When you left Dawson's together, I just figured..."
"There's nothing going on between Joey and me," Pacey stated, trying more to convince himself than his friends. "We're just friends, if we can even be called that."
"Do you want to be more?" Jen persisted.
"That's not the issue," he argued. "We're only friends. It doesn't matter what I want."
"Of course it does!" Jen exclaimed. "How do you know Joey doesn't feel the same way?"
"I just know," Pacey said sadly. "Can we drop it now?"
"Wait a minute," Dawson interrupted. "You like Joey?"
Jen rolled her eyes. "I love you, Dawson, but you're way too dense."
"New topic please," Pacey leaned back in his chair. "Let's stop analyzing my relationship with Joey."
"What about Christmas?" Dawson said. "It's only a week away."
"What about it?" Pacey asked. "Same as every year."
"What do you guys do for Christmas?" Jen spoke up.
"Everyone spends it at Dawson's," Pacey replied. "We all show up Christmas Eve, and Mrs. Leery and Bessie cook a big meal, while the rest of us watch ET - "
Jen groaned. "ET again?"
"It's tradition," Dawson told her. "Then we eat dinner, and after that, everyone gets to open one present."
"We sing one Christmas carol because too much Christmas cheer makes Joey nauseous," Pacey continued. "We put out the cookies, milk, and carrots, and we all go to bed. Bessie and Bodie stay in the guest room, and Dawson, Joey, and me sleep in Dawson's room."
"Of course, my parents sleep in their room," Dawson said.
"I figured," Jen replied.
"At seven o'clock on the dot, Dawson, Joey, and I all simultaneously wake up. Dawson wakes up his parents, Joey wakes up Bessie and Bodie, and I put on a pot of coffee because that's the only way we can get them to get up that early."
"We alternate every year who plays Santa and hands out presents," Dawson smiled as he remembered the many Christmas mornings they had spent together. "This year it's Pacey's turn."
"And after we open all the gifts, we eat a big brunch, get dressed, and go watch the Capeside Christmas Parade," Pacey finished.
"Wow," Jen said. "Sounds like fun."
"It is," Joey agreed, and sat down next to Pacey. "Christmas is my favorite time of year. You'll come, right?"
"No, I don't want to intrude on tradition," Jen said hesitantly.
"You're not intruding," Dawson protested. "We want you there."
"I don't think Grams would be too keen on the idea," Jen shrugged. "But thanks anyway."
"So, she's invited too," Dawson decided. "It's your first Christmas without your grandfather. You should be around other people, so it's not too sad."
"Well, I'll talk to her, but I don't think it's going to work,"
"I have a feeling that this is going to be the best Christmas ever," Dawson smiled at Jen.
Joey looked at Pacey, who was staring off in the distance.
Me. Pacey. Mistletoe, she thought. This could very well be the best Christmas yet.
* * * * * * * * * * *
6:56 a.m. Dawson glared at the numbers impatiently. Maybe it was slightly juvenile, but he couldn't wait to open his presents. Christmas morning was one of the only times he was ever transported back to the innocence of his childhood, the days when he, Joey, and Pacey were all best friends, period. No if, ands, or buts about it. The days when Joey's family was still intact and when Pacey didn't know that his father and brother hated him. To when he absolutely knew that his parents loved each other and nothing could ever come between them. Back to his perfect childhood...
6:57 a.m. Jen rolled over silently, afraid to make a sound. She really appreciated Dawson, Pacey, and Joey letting her in on their traditions, but some of them she just didn't understand. They were all awake - she knew that and so did they, but no one spoke or even moved. Why wait until exactly seven o'clock if everyone's awake before then? Back in New York, Christmas only meant more boring parties at her parents' friends' houses, and even less time with her parents. Sure, they all opened gifts around the tree on Christmas morning, but the tree was tiny and pathetic compared to the giant in Dawson's living room. Jen always got everything she asked for, but she never got what she wanted most - some time with her parents.
6:58 a.m. Pacey was in debt to Dawson, and he would be for the rest of his life. Dawson and his parents had allowed him to spend almost every holiday with them since he was a child. He had only spent the first few Christmases at his own house before he discovered that it was more fun at the Leery's where everyone didn't argue with each other. And Pacey loved Christmas at Dawson's - they always had so much fun opening presents, drinking hot chocolate, and joking around. At home there were few presents, for him anyway; Dougie probably got a whole mountain of gifts, since he wasn't a screw-up. And no one joked around...if he ever tried to wake up his parents at seven o'clock he would've gotten the crap beat out of him by his father. Life was much better at Dawson's where people actually cared about him.
6:59 a.m. Joey thought about all the Christmas mornings that had passed by. She had spent every one here, first with both of her parents and Bessie, when her family was still a family, then with her mother and Bessie, when her father started going off for days at a time with his bleached-blond cocktail waitress, and now with Bessie, Bodie, and Alex. The first Christmas after her mom died, it had just been her and Bessie. Neither had wanted to come, but the Leery's insisted, saying that they needed some support on such a hard day. Mr. and Mrs. Leery were great - they took her in and accepted her as part of their family, when her's fell apart. And Dawson and Pacey? They were the best friends anyone could ever hope for, always there when she needed them, making her laugh when she was depressed, holding her while she cried, and smiling at her when she was frowning. There was no better place to spend Christmas than at the Leery's.
7:00 a.m. "Merry Christmas!" Joey, Pacey, and Dawson cried, jumping up simultaneously.
Jen sat up with a start. How could anyone be that happy at seven a.m., even if it was Christmas?
"Come on, Jen, get up!" Joey pulled the covers off of her friend. "Go wake up your grandmother!"
Joey ran to the guest room and pushed open the door. "Bessie! Bodie! Wake up!" She jumped on their bed and smiled like a little girl. "Merry Christmas!"
"Merry Christmas, Jo," Bodie said, grinning.
Bessie groaned. "Yeah. What he said."
"Come on! Let's go open presents!"
"You go ahead. We'll be right down," Bessie closed her eyes and leaned back on her pillow.
"No you won't. You'll go back to sleep. Get up!"
"All right, all right," Bessie rolled over and climbed out of bed. "I'm up, okay?"
"See ya downstairs and don't take too long," Joey bounced out of their room and down to the living room.
Pacey and Dawson were already waiting for her. She sat down on the floor next to Pacey, so she could help him pass out the presents.
One by one, everyone else came downstairs. Pacey passed out cups of coffee so that no one fell asleep.
"Okay, everyone's here," Mrs. Leery smiled at Pacey warmly. "You can start the presents now."
Pacey picked up the first present on the enormous pile. "I hope you guys are ready, because we're going to be here for a while."
"Gimme an S!" Joey exclaimed with fake enthusiasm, mocking the Capeside High cheerleaders.
"S!" Pacey cried, pretending to be overcome with Capeside pride.
"Gimme an L!"
"Gimme a U!"
"Gimme a T!"
"Gimme an S!"
"What does it spell?"
Joey jumped up and clapped, with a huge, gaudy smile on her face.
Jen laughed, and Dawson rolled his eyes.
"You guys have a really bizarre concept of humor,you know that?" he asked.
Joey and Pacey grinned at each other. "We know." Joey replied.
"Oh, wait!" Pacey pointed to an up-coming float. "It's Miss Snowy Barbie Doll Capeside!"
Joey stood up straight and pasted a selfless, save-the-world smile on her face. "If I win Miss Snowy Barbie Doll Capeside, I'll devote all my time to saving the poor, starving children in Antarctica." she said, in a sickeningly sweet voice.
"Don't you mean Africa, Miss Potter?" Pacey asked in a deep voice.
"Yes, them too," Joey replied lightly. "And I'll put a stop to global warming. Say no to plastic!"
"Don't you mean styrofoam?"
"Yes, that too. And I'll stop all the people who test products on little animals - well, except rats, because they're ugly. And I'll lower the pregnancy and drug use rates among teenagers."
"But wait. Didn't you get stoned and knocked-up last night?"
"Yes, well, it's okay for me to do it, but not everyone else."
"Because I'm better than them, of course," She laughed as if the fact was common knowledge.
"Thank you, Miss Potter. You've been most delightful."
"Of course I have!" Joey curtsied daintily.
Jen giggled. "The sad thing is, that's exactly what they sound like! Well, except you and Pacey, of course."
"Yes, we were wonderful in the Miss Windjammer Pageant, weren't we Josephine?" Pacey asked.
"Why, of course we were, my dear Pacey," Joey said snootily. "That's because we're better than everyone else."
"That's true," Pacey casually draped his arm around her shoulders. "We're a special breed, huh, Jo."
"Well," She pushed his arm away with mock dissention. "You certainly are."
Pacey pretended to be hurt. "The great Josephine Potter doesn't like me! Whatever will I do?"
"There, now," Joey patted his shoulder soothingly. "Not everyone can be as wonderful and perfect as me."
They all laughed. Pacey reached over and pulled Joey into his arms. Instead of pushing him away, as she normally would've, she hugged him back.
It feels so good to hold her in my arms, Pacey thought, closing his eyes and trying to savor the moment.
This feels so right, Joey rested her cheek on Pacey's chest. What's going on between us? This is Pacey!
Dawson and Jen exchanged a knowing look.
It's only a matter of time, Jen predicted silently. And I can't wait!
* * * * *
NOTE: I didn't mean
any offense to cheerleaders or beauty pageant contestants. I was
just trying to show how Pacey and Joey had the same bizarre
humor, so please don't be mad at me!! :) By the way, my e-mail
address is AINZ email@example.com please tell me what you think and feel
free to criticize me. -Ainsley
Write to Ainsley