Part Fifteen of Something To Talk About
Disclaimer: *Sigh* It's the last regular chapter of this story. The first fanfic I started is coming to an end. It's been fun! But, even after 14 soon-to-be-15 chapters, I still don't own these characters.
Props:My daddy again because I was really worried about my last two finals (French + Chemistry = HELL). When I got home from school that day, he had sent me, my mom, and my sister flowers from Chicago, where he was on a business trip! He's the best daddy in the world! And thanks to all the people who have told me how much they enjoy my story because the support has been endless! So far I've gotten...drum roll, please...40+ e-mails about 'Something to Talk About'! Thanks to everyone, especially Becci for her numerous e-mails about this series!
and Pacey got back together! Yea!
Pacey sat on his bed and stared at the envelope full of money that rested in his hands. Years of working at the video store, and before that, mowing lawns and shoveling driveways, had left him with quite a stack of dough. He had kept it all in a large manila envelope hidden in his closet for as long as he could remember, and not once had he taken out even a dollar.
God, there's got to be almost three thousand dollars in here, Pacey thought, skimming through the thick stack of bills.
Three thousand dollars, he considered. Was she worth it? Was this crazy scheme of his worth it?
"All right, Witter," Pacey murmured to himself. "If you've ever thought clearly and seriously, do it now. Would you give up all this money for her?" He thought about it for a moment, then nodded decisively.
"Absolutely. In an instant."
Pacey climbed to his feet and began absent-mindedly pacing across his small room. "This is insane. I'm insane. How can I even consider this?" He paused. "I love Joey. That's what matters here."
He sat back down on his bed and began counting the money. "Two hundred...five hundred and fifty...six hundred and twenty-five..."
"Pacey? What are you doing?"
Pacey jumped, sending dollar bills flying into the air all around him. "Dawson," He let out a deep breath. "Oh, thank God it's just you."
"Where the hell did you get all this money? Did you rob a bank or something?" Dawson looked on incredulously as Pacey scrambled to pick up every dollar.
"No, I've been saving,"
"You're not running away, are you?" Dawson's eyes widened with the dramatic possibilites. "You and Joey! Are you guys running away together?"
"Don't be ridiculous, Dawson. Of course I'm not running away."
"All right, Pace, if you're not running away, what's going on?"
Pacey eyed his best friend cautiously. "If I tell you, you can't repeat a word to anyone."
"Okay," Pacey sat down on his bed, and Dawson followed suit. "So, here's my idea..."
"Jen?" Joey asked cautiously, as they strolled down the tree-lined sidewalk of 'downtown Capeside'. "Have you noticed anything strange about Pacey?"
"Yeah, kind of," Jen confessed. "I didn't want to worry you, but does he seem a little nervous?"
"That's exactly what I thought," Joey shook her head.
"Everything was fine for the first week or so after we got back together, but ever since we got out of school, he's been acting so strange."
"It's almost like he's trying to hide something,"
"You don't think he's..."
"Absolutely not," Jen said quickly. "He loves you, I'm sure of it."
"Maybe he didn't tell the whole truth about what happened with Abby,"
"I don't like this, Jen. Something's going to happen. I can feel it."
"Couldn't it be something good?"
"Are you usually nervous about something good?" Joey asked. "Because I've known Pacey forever and this is how he acts when he's nervous about something."
"Jo, look," Jen pointed to two people bearing intensely similar resemblances to their boyfriends. "That's not them, is it?"
"Let's find out," Joey said. They ran up the street to where Dawson and Pacey were indeed standing, just outside Capeside Jewelers'.
"Hey, guys," Jen said, touching Dawson's arm lightly.
The two men jumped, and immediately turned to face Joey and Jen.
"Joey," Pacey looked alarmed. "Hello."
"What are you two doing here?" Joey asked suspiciously.
"Just picking something up," Dawson said vaguely.
"Actually, Pacey has to go." He shot his friend an urgent look.
"Yeah. I have to go." Pacey echoed. "See ya." Joey and Jen watched him run down the street, in the opposite direction from his house. They turned to Dawson.
"Spill it," Jen ordered.
"Spill what?" Dawson asked nervously.
"What are you two doing in a jewelry store?" Joey grilled. "Don't play dumb with us, Leery. I've known you forever and I know when you're lying. So talk."
"Fast," Jen said.
"Pacey was picking up something for his dad...a birthday present for Mrs. Witter," Dawson stuttered.
"Uh huh. What kind of jewelry?" Jen asked.
"A bracelet. Diamonds."
"You're lying," Joey stated. "Pacey's cheating on me, isn't he?"
"No!" Dawson exclaimed. "Absolutely not!"
"Then what the hell is going on?"
"Jo, calm down," Jen said. "Why don't you believe the story about a bracelet for Pacey's mom?"
"First of all, Mrs. Witter's birthday was two months ago. It's the same day as Bessie's. Second, Mr. Witter doesn't make nearly enough money to buy her a diamond bracelet. He's the police chief, for God's sake, not Bill Gates. And third, Dawson knows as well as I do that the Witters haven't been happy for years. Pacey distinctly told us that they don't even make an attempt to seem like a loving couple to their family. It's all bull shit, and the only reason Dawson didn't remember any of that is because he falls apart under pressure. So why don't you tell me the truth, Dawson? Because I'm getting more furious by the instant, and you know what happens when I get mad."
"I can't tell you," Dawson said quietly, his voice shaking.
"I want a name," Joey ignored him. "Is it Abby? Did Ms. Jacobs suddenly return again? Is there someone new?"
"There's no one else, Joey. I promise."
"You know what, Dawson?" Joey asked. "You're word means absolute shit to me right now." She turned on her heel and stalked away.
"I'll talk to her," Jen promised, and ran to catch up with Joey.
"Jo! Wait a minute."
"What is it?"
"Have you ever stopped to consider the obvious? Maybe Pacey bought something for you, and they were being so secretive because he wants to surprise you."
"I hate jewelry and they both know it. When we were twelve, Dawson gave me a butterfly necklace for my birthday. I thanked him politely, and waited until the three of us were alone to tell them that I hated all jewelry and that if either of them ever gave me something like that again I'd beat them up." Joey told her. "And they both tease me about it all the time, so it's not like they forgot."
"All right, but do you really think this is enough evidence to conclude beyond all reasonable doubt that Pacey's cheating on you?" Jen asked. "I mean, look at what you have. He's acting nervous and he bought jewelry that can't be for you."
"We caught Dawson lying about it, too,"
"All right, so maybe they're keeping something from us,"
"Maybe? Come on, Jen, you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure that one out."
"But, Jo, Pacey loves you. I'm sure of it."
Joey nodded sadly. "I used to be sure of it, too."
"Shopping?" Jen suggested.
Joey shook her head. "I'm not in the mood."
"We could go to the beach,"
"Jo," Jen stood up and paced across the living room.
"We've been sitting here for an hour. You're not in the mood for anything."
"The girl's just had her heart broken, Jennifer," Grams said, laying a plate of chocolate chip cookies on the table. "Let her be."
Joey looked up at Jen's grandmother gratefully. Jen watched, surprised.
"Not that I condone serious dating at such a young age," Grams recovered quickly. "But I do understand what it's like to have a romance end sadly. And to be cheated on is a terrible blow to one's self-esteem."
"But that's just it, Grams," Jen said in frustration. "We don't know that he did cheat on Joey."
"Yes we do," Joey spoke up.
"We don't have any proof,"
"What do you want, red lace panties in his coat pocket? How much proof do you need?" Joey cried.
Grams looked taken aback. "Josephine, one must restrain one's temper at all times."
"Yeah," Joey said. "Look, Jen, you're right. We do have to go out and do something. Let's just go back to my house so I can get my wallet, and we'll go out to dinner or something."
"Good. Let's go." They walked down to the dock and quickly rowed the boat to Joey's house.
"I don't think I'll ever get used to rowing to someone's house," Jen said, as she climbed out of the boat. "I still believe they should implement a taxi system in Capeside." Joey laughed, for what seemed like the first time in ages. "City girl."
"What's wrong with that?"
"Nothing," Joey pushed open the front door. "I think I left it in here..." She searched the living room quickly. "Hmm, that's strange. I can't find it."
Joey resumed the search and didn't even look up when the doorbell rang. "Can you get that, Jen?" She asked, sweeping out the items under the couch.
A few moments later, Jen returned to the living room.
"Jo, you got flowers."
"What?" Joey lifted her head, and smacked it right into the underside of the coffee table. "Damn it," she muttered. "Let me see those."
Jen handed her a beautiful bouquet of brightly colored flowers.
"They're gorgeous," Joey murmured. "Look, there's a card." She opened the envelope and out fell a bunch of perfectly cut out letters. "What the hell...?"
"Maybe it's some kind of message," Jen offered.
Joey rolled her eyes. "Ya think?" she asked sarcastically.
Jen sat down next to her friend on the couch, as Joey spread out the letters.
"All right, there are thirteen," Joey said. "Two O's, a U, two T's, an H, two C's, an E, an X, an M, an S, and an A."
They played around with the letters, but couldn't spell anything out.
"This is crazy, Jen," Joey complained. "Why would Pacey send me thirteen random letters?"
"You assume they're from Pacey,"
"Who else would send me flowers and construction paper letters? This reeks of him."
"Well, maybe there's more," Jen said.
Sure enough, a few minutes later, a delivery man dropped off another bouquet of flowers, bearing thirteen more letters.
"All right," Joey tore open the envelope, rapidly becoming engrossed in the mystery. "A C, three O's, a T, an I, an H, an A, an L, a K, an R, an E, and an M."
Jen fiddled with the new collection of letters. "I still got nothing, Jo. Nothing that makes sense, anyway." "There's twenty-six letters there. How can they spell nothing?"
"I don't know,"
The doorbell rang again.
"That's how," Jen said. "There's more letters." Joey quickly took the flowers, a dozen perfect red roses. She gazed at them, while Jen pulled out the next thirteen letters. They moved them around many times, until Jen finally snapped her head up and gave a cry of victory. "I got it!"
"What?" Joey asked anxiously. "What do they say?"
"The butler did it!" Jen announced.
Joey groaned. "This is serious."
"I know, I'm just trying to make you laugh," Jen sighed. "All right,
I have something but it doesn't make sense."
"What is it?"
"'Come to six formal houses at the ice',"
"But then there's still a bunch of letters left over," Joey pointed out.
"I know. That's the problem."
"What if it's 'Come to the Icehouse at six'?" Joey suggested.
"You're right! But where does the 'formal' come in? And there's still letters left."
Joey moved a few letters around. "'Come to the Icehouse at six o'clock'!"
"Good," Jen fiddled with the last eleven letters.
"Dress formal!" Joey cried. "That's it! 'Come to the Icehouse at six o'clock. Dress formal'!"
"We got it!" Jen and Joey exchanged a high-five.
"All right, now let's get going." Jen said.
"We have to get you dressed. It's already 5:15. You can wear that black sheath you bought in Paris. It's too hot for your velvet one." Jen stood up and tried to pull Joey with her.
"No, Jen, I'm not going,"
"What? Are you insane?"
"He's cheating on me. I'm not going." She repeated staunchly.
"Joey, think about it. Would Pacey go to all this trouble and do this wonderfully romantic thing for you just before he told you he's having an affair? Doesn't that sound a little certifiable?"
"I don't care,"
"You're going. If I have to dress you myself and drag you all the way to the Icehouse, you're going."
"Isn't that a little ebullient?"
"You know, it probably is, but since I haven't read too many thesauruses lately, I wouldn't be the one to ask,"
"City girl," Joey muttered, as Jen dragged her to the closet.
"Bite me," Jen shot back.
At promptly six p.m., Jen dropped Joey off at the Icehouse and sped away. Joey glared at the back of the car as it disappeared around the corner. She straightened her dress, uncomfortable with the low neck, and hemline that grazed her thigh.
"Joey, is that you?" Bessie stared at her younger sister in shock.
"Yes, it's me," Joey grumbled.
"Shut up, Bessie,"
Bodie snorted. "Jo, this just came for you." He handed her a small white envelope.
"Who brought it?"
"I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you," Bodie shrugged and smiled. "You look great, by the way."
Joey tore open the envelope. The card inside read:
YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL. REPORT TO THE SITE OF OUR FIRST KISS.
"If he thinks I'm going to run all around Capeside in these heels Jen picked out, he's got another think coming," Joey said.
"He's not dumb, Jo," Bessie told her. "You've got a ride." She pointed to Jen's car that had returned to the front of the Icehouse.
"She's in on this?" Joey asked in disbelief. She noticed Bessie and Bodie's smiles. "You all are!"
"Just go. You don't want to keep Prince Charming waiting." her sister pushed Joey toward the car. "Have a great night, Jo."
"Have you been in on this the whole time?" Joey accused her friend when she climbed into the car as gracefully as she could.
"I had to keep it a secret. But I promise, it'll be worth it." Jen followed Joey's directions to the site of their first kiss. "Here you go, Cinderella."
"I resent this," Joey said bitterly.
Jen just laughed. "Enjoy your evening."
Joey walked down to the spot where she and Pacey had really kissed for the first time. It was a romantic spot under a tree, overlooking a park. She sighed.
"Get a load of Miss Josephine,"
Joey turned around sharply. "Dawson."
"You look quite lovely," he said in a fake British accent.
"I should've know. The whole world is in on this."
"Don't worry. It's worth it." Dawson handed her a sheet of paper and a pen. "Here. You must complete this survey before progressing to the next level of your surprise."
Joey looked over the survey. "'Would you ever experiment with bondage? What are your thoughts on leather and whips?'"
She faced Dawson.
"What kind of a sick joke is this?"
Dawson laughed. "Don't worry. That's not really part of this. I just invented it for my own amusement." He took back the paper and handed her another envelope.
"I swear to God, if this one has more construction paper letters, I'm going to blow a hole in someone's head." She glared at her best friend.
"First you, then him." Joey opened the envelope and pulled out a rose-colored card.
Joey read the card out loud:
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee."
She sighed. "Is he trying to tell me something?"
"I'm guessing, but maybe he's trying to say that he loves you,"
"Maybe," Joey shrugged. "There's no instructions on this card.
Where to next?"
"I believe he said, 'She'll know where to go',"
"All right," Joey walked over to Jen's car and got in. "To the ruins, Jeeves."
They arrived at the ruins about five minutes later. Joey exited the vehicle, and Jen sped off again, presumably to meet Dawson. Joey walked over to one of the marble benches and sat down, waiting for Pacey to make his grand entrance.
After a few minutes, he still hadn't shown up.
"Pacey, I'm here, you can come out now," She called.
Joey heard a laugh, then Pacey emerged from the shadows. "You never change, do you, Josephine? In the middle of being romanced by your dashing boyfriend, you're still impatient and cynical."
"You won't be my boyfriend for long if you don't tell me why you dragged me out here in a dress and heels,"
"You look gorgeous, Jo,"
"Okay, ready?" He took a deep breath, more for his own benefit than anything else.
"Yeah, go for it," Joey nodded. "Whatever it is."
Pacey took her hand and gently lowered himself down on bended knee.
Her eyes widened and her jaw dropped. "Pacey, what the hell are you doing?" Joey asked frantically, her mind racing. "Get up! Get up! Ohmygod, what are you doing? Get up!"
"Shut up and let me be romantic,"
She closed her mouth.
"Joey, I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you,"
Pacey said seriously, gazing at her familiar face.
"And I realize that we're only sixteen, but I know that I will never find another woman I care about as much as I care about you."
Joey's eyes misted over. All the anger and frustration of the past few days melted away until the only thing she could see or feel was love.
"You probably think I'm crazy," Pacey laughed softly.
"But I'm not. I'm not asking you to run off to Vegas with me and get hitched, I'm just asking you to say yes. Say yes, and let's show everyone that we are going to be husband and wife someday. Not tomorrow, or next year, but someday." He paused, and pulled a small, black velvet box out of his pocket. "Joey Potter, will you marry me?"
Tears rolled down her cheeks as Joey looked into Pacey's eyes. For an agonizing moment, she did not speak. "Pacey..." She started.
Pacey's heart sank, knowing that her next words would be 'I can't.'
"Yes," Joey said, taking his face in her hands. "Yes. I'll marry you."
"So, you and Pacey are engaged, huh?" Jen smiled, gazing down at the beautiful, but simple diamond ring on her friend's finger. "I can't believe it."
"Yeah," Joey shrugged. "I mean, he's no Mexican fortune teller, but a girl's got to take what she can get."
Dawson turned to Pacey. "I still don't get it."
Pacey shook his head. "I still don't want to know."
* * * * *
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