Part Thirteen of Something To Talk About
Disclaimer: I could own these characters if I wanted to! I could be Kevin Williamson! I could fly if I put my mind to it! I'm a good person and I'll never let anyone tell me differently! Sorry, a little too much self-esteem studying in health class.
Props: Brianne, the awesome chick! She gives me great ideas, and is currently in the process of posting my stuff on her page.
Author's Note: For the record, Mitch and Gale stayed together after she cheated on him.
Feedback, guys! No one tells me what they think anymore, except Adalia (who I thank very much). I'm trying to show Joey's full barrage of emotions, but I don't know if it's working. You guys have to tell me! Thanks for reading. -Ainsley
Joey was told by several people that Pacey and Abby had slept
together, so she blew up at him when he didn't dispute the story.
"Joey, wait!" Pacey chased after her. He finally caught her, and grabbed her arm to stop her. Tears were forming waterfalls down her cheeks.
"Jo, please. Just give me one second."
"I hate you," she whispered. "I hate you so much that I can't even breathe."
"You've got the story wrong," He touched her cheek lightly. "I didn't sleep with Abby."
"Really?" Joey laughed harshly. "Coulda fooled me. The entire school is talking about it, including Abby. Nellie Olsen is offering to help 'cheer me up' because she feels bad for me. And I didn't hear you deny anything, either."
"I got drunk with Abby. I left the party with her. I went back to her house, and I made out with her. I was about two seconds away from having sex with her before I called for you."
Joey looked at him doubtfully. "You what?"
"I called your name. Abby was too drunk to notice, but I did. And I realized that I loved you, and I couldn't go through with it, so I left."
"Oh," She nodded. "So, how far were you before you discovered that you didn't want to sleep with her."
"You heard me,"
"Uh," Pacey stared at her. "We were kissing."
"Are you sure you want to hear this?"
"Oh, yes. By all means, continue."
"Her shirt was unbuttoned and - Jo, I really don't think this is a good idea,"
"God," he muttered. "She took off my shirt, and - "
"What, you weren't capable of doing it yourself?"
"Joey, why are you doing this?"
"Doing what? I'm just curious. So, what happened next?" She grinned. "This is better than a soap opera."
"Then I, uh...took her shirt off, and I, um, got on top of her, and..."
"My, my. We seem quite inarticulate all of a sudden."
"I'm not torturing you. I'm just asking you some questions, friend to friend. That's what we are now, right?" Joey asked. "Buddies? Pals?"
"No, we're not pals,"
"Then what are we? Because I'd hate to think that we do that whole stereotypical 'ex' thing. I don't want that for us, Pacey."
"What is wrong with you?"
"What do you mean?" Her eyes widened innocently. "Oh, forgive me. I interrupted your story. You were on top of Abby?"
"Joey, enough! Give it a rest!"
"You don't have to tell me,"
"It's a double edge sword. If I tell you, you'll hate me and never speak to me again. If I don't tell you, you'll hate me and never speak to me again."
Joey shrugged. "Life's unfair. Deal with it."
"Joey, I love you. What ever happened to 'love is all that matters'?"
"You hurt me, that's what happened," She glared at him. "Not once, twice. I could forgive you for the Boston incident with the whole Anderson thing. In fact, I think I overreacted about that. But I came home to make amends, to tell you that I loved you and to maybe even rekindle our relationship. And what's my 'Welcome home, Joey' present? I find out that you've been off gallivanting with Abby!"
"Was she good?"
"Was she good?"
"What kind of a question is that?"
"A really blunt one," Joey said coldly. "Now, I know you didn't go all the way, as the term is used, but judging from you experience with Abby, however brief, was she good?"
"I don't know. I was drunk."
"Oh, come on, Pacey. You've got to remember some little bit about it. Some touch, or kiss, or something. Do you remember what it felt like when she took off your shirt?"
"Don't lie. Was she a good kisser?"
"I don't know,"
"Better than me? Or better yet, how'd she compare with Tamara?"
"You've got to be kidding me,"
"What do ya think, Pace? If you had slept with Abby, would she have been as good as Tamara? Now, answer carefully, because this is a true judgment of character. Which was better, the illicit affair with your English teacher, or the passionate, drunken one-night stand with the town whore?"
"What is going on with you?"
"Forget it," Joey shook her head. "I don't care. I'm outta here."
She turned and ran home as fast as she could.
Joey shivered. She was freezing, but she made no move toward the house behind her. She didn't even think to put on the sweater that was tied around her waist. The dock was hard beneath her, but she didn't care. Salty tears were streaming down her cheeks, leaving wet spots on her cotton shirt, and patchy red splotches all over her face.
Pacey and Abby. Pacey and Abby. Pacey and Abby. The words ran through her brain like a broken record.
She turned around. Mr. Leery was standing behind her. "Oh, hi, Mr. Leery."
"Mind if I join you?"
"No, of course not,"
He took a seat next to her on the dock .
"I'm sorry I didn't come to see you and Mrs. Leery when I got back from Paris, I just..." her voice trailed off.
"That's okay. Dawson told me what happened."
"You and me, we're kind of in the same boat, huh?"
"I guess. But Pacey and I weren't together when it happened." Mr. Leery shook his head. "That's a technicality. You two were emotionally involved, and that's what matters. Would it have hurt any more if you were officially dating?"
"Of course not," He sighed. "Forgiveness is hard, Joey."
"How did you do it?" Joey asked, suddenly understanding what he had been through in the past few months. "Forgive her?"
"I guess I just decided that life's too short to be away from the woman that I love because she made a mistake,"
"That's what I was thinking when I got on that plane to come home. Now I wish I hadn't."
"Oh, Joey, you can't go through life regretting things. Yes, I regret the fact that Gale cheated on me, but I don't reget the fact that I found out. Our relationship is stronger now, and I know that we can survive anything if we survived this."
"I don't think things are going to work out that good for me and Pacey,"
"Maybe they won't. Maybe you and Pacey had your chance together, but it didn't work." Mr. Leery said. "But maybe you belong together and things will work themselves out."
"I doubt it,"
"Don't doubt the power of love," He stood up, and squeezed her shoulder. "If you ever want to talk..."
"Thanks, Mr. Leery,"
"Anytime," He smiled sadly. "I'll see you later, Joey."
"Get me a beer,"
"Pacey? You look terrible!" Jen said. "What happened?"
"I'll tell you as soon as I have a Bud. Actually, I'm not picky. Any form of alcohol will do."
"I'm not giving you anything to drink, Pace, unless you want soda, juice, water, or milk."
"Fine. Soda." He paused, then added. "On the rocks."
Jen ignored him and grabbed two Cokes out of the refridgerator.
"All right, I went up to the ruins to look for Joey. I found her, and she was sitting on a bench and staring off into space. Then she told me that she heard from several people that I had slept with Abby - "
"But you didn't!" Jen cried.
"I know, but that's the rumor. Anyway, Joey accused me of having sex with Abby, and I was so shocked I didn't deny it. Then she ran away. I chased her and finally caught up with her." Pacey swallowed. "Oh, God, Jen. It was horrible. She was crying and she said that she hated me...remember how upset she was in Boston? Well, multiply that by a thousand and that's how sad she was just now."
"So I told her the truth...that I hadn't slept with Abby. And you know what she did? She made me describe in detail how far I had gone with her. She was evil about it, too. It didn't seem like her at all."
"She must be really upset,"
"Yeah. Jen, what am I going to do?"
"I don't know, Pace," she said quietly. "I don't know."
"Good morning, mes amis!" Joey announced, walking up to her locker with a bright smile on her face.
Jen and Dawson exchanged a look.
"Morning, Jo," Dawson said carefully. "How are you?"
"Fine. Why do you ask?"
"Well, Pacey told us about..." Jen started. "Um, the ruins..."
"Oh, yeah," Joey waved her hand dismissively. "That."
"So, how are you taking it?" Dawson asked.
"You mean I have a choice?" Joey laughed. "Relax, guys. I'm fine."
"Absolutely. Now stop looking at me like I'm going to burst into tears at any moment. Go to class!"
"We'll see you later," Jen said over her shoulder.
"She's lost it," Dawson whispered.
"I know," Jen murmured back.
Joey slammed her locker door shut. "No time, Pacey. I'm late."
"I'll walk you to class,"
"Jo, we have to talk sometime,"
"And we will,"
"Later," Joey turned and quickly walked away.
Pacey fell against a locker and sighed. "This is not good."
"Excuse me, Maggot Boy, you're touching my locker,"
Pacey opened his eyes and groaned. "Don't start with me, Abby. You and I have managed to make my life a living hell, so I'm warning you, I'm not in a good mood."
"Oooh, I'm terrified," Abby rolled her eyes. "Just move before you give me something contagious."
He sighed, and moved away. Abby looked on with a slight appearance of remorse in her eyes.
"Pacey, wait - " She ran to catch up with him.
"What now, Abby?" Pacey asked wearily.
"Look, I know it probably doesn't mean anything, but I'm sorry,"
He eyed her cautiously. "You are?"
"Yeah," Abby shrugged. "I know how much you care about Joey, and I feel bad...stop looking at me like I have three heads." Pacey laughed nervously.
"I know I'm a bitch, and you have every right to not believe me, but I really am sorry."
"Uh, thanks, Abby,"
"Yeah, well..." She shifted her bag from one shoulder to the other.
"Just don't spread it around, okay?"
"I'll see ya,"
"Yeah...bye," He watched her walk down the hall in slight disbelief.
Then he sighed, and turned the corner.
"God, Jen, what am I going to do?" Joey asked, leaning against the bathroom wall. "I can't handle this."
"Of course you can, Jo. You're strong."
"Why did he do it?"
"Honestly," Jen said seriously. "I think the more important question is why didn't he do it."
"What do you mean?"
"Why didn't he sleep with Abby?"
"I don't know,"
"Because he loves you,"
"If he loves me, why did he leave the party with her in the first place?"
"People do stupid things when they're drunk. And he was in pain. You should've seen him, Jo. He walked around like a zombie for weeks after you were gone. Then he started drinking and Dawson and I just couldn't reach him."
"So it's my fault he left with Abby,"
"No, don't be ridiculous. I'm just explaining how people make mistakes when they're drunk."
"Do you think I should forgive him?"
"I doesn't matter what I think,"
"But if it was Dawson, would you be able to forgive him?"
Jen sighed. "I don't know, Jo. It would be hard, but I think I would be able to. People make mistakes, and I know that better than anyone."
"I hate this,"
"Why did things have to change? It was all so wonderful when we first got to Boston. Before Anderson, before the awards ceremony, before Paris,"
"There's not much we can do about that," Jen announced, picking herself up off the bathroom floor. "Joey, what do you want?"
"Well," Joey thought about it. "I guess I want to forgive Pacey and get back to the way things were. You know...me and Pacey, you and Dawson...the Fab Four."
"Then let's make it happen,"
"We get back to the basics,"
"What do you mean?"
"We'll start to do the stuff we used to do. Movie Nights at Dawson's, lunches at the Icehouse on Saturdays, stupid stuff like that. And we'll do some things we've never tried like picnics and bowling and ice skating. You and Pacey need to start over as friends."
"You've got to be kidding me,"
"It's worth a try,"
Joey sighed. "But what about Paris?"
"Joey," Jen said seriously, taking her friend by the arm and leading her back into the social whirl of the Capeside High School hallway. "Forget Paris."
* * * * *
Write to Ainsley