Reality Bites
Part Two of Something To Talk About
By Ainsley

Disclaimer: Again, I don't own Dawson's Creek or any of the characters. Credit goes to Kevin Williamson, who is the God of all that is wonderful, and the WB. If I seriously thought I owned the show, I would expect you to stick me in a padded cell, not sue me. Please just read the damn story. It took me long enough to write.

"Guys! Great news," Dawson fell into a chair beside Jen at their table in the Icehouse.

"Nice to see you too, Dawson," Joey said sarcastically.

He ignored her. "My parents are going to a party tonight, so we get the house all to ourselves."

"Dawson, you da man!" Pacey exclaimed. "This is going to be the best New Year's ever!"

"Why does that sound firmiliar?" Joey asked wryly.

"I know I said the same thing about Christmas, but I really don't think Grams is going to let me spend New Year's Eve unsupervised in Dawson's house," Jen said regretfully. "Sorry."

"Don't give up hope yet, Jen," Dawson said cheerfully. "We still have six hours to convince her."

"What, there's a time limit? All parties must R.S.V.P. by seven o'clock?" Pacey asked.

Dawson stood up. "Come on, Jen. Let's go convince your grandmother that we're responsible young people and it's perfectly safe for you to spend New Year's at my house."

"Remember to assure her that Jen's not going to get knocked-up. She seems a little sensitive about that," Joey offered helpfully.

"Thanks, Jo," Jen said, smiling. "I'm sure she'll feel a lot better about it."


Pacey took a bit of his cheeseburger and turned to Joey. "So what do you think about this little shindig of Dawson's?"

Joey rolled her eyes. "Well, considering that Dawson's parties are known world-wide as the scientific cure for insomnia..."

"What's the matter? I thought you liked Dawson's parties."

"I did. When I was ten. But we're fifteen, Pacey. Our social lives consist of the occasional 'party' at Dawson's where we sit around and watch Spielberg movies that we've seen so many times we can recite the lines." She sighed. "I'm sick of it. Nothing ever changes in Capeside. We never have any fun."

"Fun," Pacey said thoughtfully. "You want to have fun?"

"Not so much fun as an adventure! I want to experience something different for a change! If I watch one more Spielberg movie, I'm going to scream, or kill Dawson. Preferably the latter. So if you don't want to visit me in jail and go to Dawson's funeral, I suggest you find something interesting for us to do now!"

"Whoa, easy, girl," Pacey held up his hands defensively. "It's not that easy. As you pointed out, we live in Capeside. There's nothing fun to do here. And besides that, why can't you go out and find something fun? It's not like you're some weak and helpless little girl who can't do anything for herself."

"Hmm, good point. See ya, Pacey,"

"Jo! Where are you going?"

"To find something fun," Joey tossed down her apron and walked out of the restaurant.

Pacey sighed. "Me and my big mouth."

"Mrs. Ryan, I can promise you that nothing will happen. We're very responsible," Dawson insisted. "We'll probably just sit around and watch movies all night."

"No, for the fifth time," Mrs. Ryan said firmly. "Now I can appreciate your determination, Dawson, but I'm going to have to ask you to stop. Jennifer will not be joining you this evening, and that's final."


"Dawson," Jen said warningly. "It's okay. Come on, I'll walk you to the door."

"Jen, this sucks," he complained. "I was counting on us finally having some time alone together."

"I know, but she said no, Dawson," Jen sighed. "Look, I want to come as much as you want me to, maybe even more. There's nothing that sounds less appealing than spending my New Year's Eve with my grandmother. But she said no and there's nothing I can do about it."

"All right," Dawson said reluctantly. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"Bye," She reached up and kissed him. "Don't have to much fun."

He snorted. "Don't worry."

Jen walked back inside the house and into the living room. "You know, Grams, we haven't spent much quality time together. How about you and I have some fun tonight?"

"Sorry, Jennifer, I can't,"

"Why not?"

"Mary and Bob Haskins from church are having a small get-together for New Year's Eve," Mrs. Ryan replied. "Why don't you do something with that nice Clifford Elliot?"

Jen glared at her. "Grams, Dawson is my boyfriend, not Cliff."

"Clifford is such a nice boy," her grandmother continued, as if Jen hadn't even spoken. "He goes to church. I think he's a good influence on you, Jennifer."

"Grams! Aren't you listening to a word I say? Dawson is my boyfriend, not Cliff!" Jen said angrily.

"Jennifer? Why are you shouting?" Mrs. Ryan blocked her ears. "This must be the influence of that awful Potter girl from down the creek. I don't think you should spend anymore time with her than you already have."

"What is wrong with you? Don't you realize that I can think for myself and what I do is because I choose to do it, not because of anyone's influence? Just because Joey comes from a broken home doesn't mean that she isn't a nice person once you get to know her, and if you'd actually get your head out of that Bible and stop being so narrow-minded and judgemental, maybe you'd discover even though some people don't go to church, they can still be good people. And for the ten-millionth time, Dawson is my boyfriend! Not Cliff! Cliff may go to church, but he's about as creative and interesting as a dishrag, so get over it!" Jen took a deep breath, and immediately regretted mouthing off like that.

"If you acted like that in New York, I can understand why your parents sent you here," Mrs. Ryan said sharply. "Well, I won't tolerate it. You're grounded for a week, effective now."

Jen turned on her heel and stomped up to her room.

Dawson walked slowly into his house and sat down at the kitchen table.

"What's wrong, Dawson?" Mrs. Leery asked.

"Jen can't come over tonight,"

"Why not?"

"Her grandmother doesn't think it's appropriate,"

"Oh. Well, it's her decision,"

Just then, the phone rang. Dawson hopped up to get it, hoping it was Jen calling to tell him that she could come.


"Hi," a deep male voice said. "Is Gail there?"

"May I ask who's calling?" Dawson asked politely.

"It's Bob," he replied.

"Bob from the station?" his calm voice began trembling angrily.


Dawson drew in a sharp breath. "Listen to me, you sorry ass son of a bitch. My mother may still be your co-anchor, but she is no longer your love slave, so do not ever call here again. It's bad enough that you're pathetic enough to sleep with a married woman and destroy her family, but to continue calling after she's broken it off is just mentally deficient. You two work together, so she's all your's at the station, but when she's in our home, she's off limits to you, you got that?"

"Dawson!" Mrs. Leery exclaimed, sounding shocked. "Give me the phone!"

"Mom-" he protested.

"Give it to me,"

Reluctantly, he handed it over. She glared at him as she apologized to Bob.

I'm really sorry. I don't know what's gotten into him...oh, thank you. All right, see you tomorrow. Bye."

Mrs. Leery hung up the phone and turned to face her son. "You may have pent-up anger over this situation, but do not take it out on him. Bob was simply calling to let me know that I left my coat at the station, so I didn't wonder where it was. And besides that, it's not your business to punish anyone for what went on between Bob and me."

"Someone's got to stop him from calling before he convinces you to jump back into his bed,"

"That's it! You're grounded, starting now!" Mrs. Leery ordered. "And no party tonight."

"But I already told Joey and Pacey!"

"Well, you'll just have to call them and tell them it's off. I will not allow that kind of behavior from you, Dawson."

Dawson got up and ran to his room.

Pacey wandered back home a little while later to find Volcano Dad on the verge of erupting.

"Pacey, is that you?"

"No, it's Bill Clinton. Hand over all your interns," Pacey muttered.

"I can't take much more of you! You didn't do the dishes or shovel the driveway, and you took the car again without permission!"

"Really? Did I do that?"

"I'm sick and tired of your mouth! Show some respect!"

"Yes sir, Officer Witter, sir!"

"Does it even bother you that you're the town joke?" Mr. Witter calmed slightly as he began to insult his son. "Don't you care that you're a hopeless moron who'll never get anywhere in life? In ten years, Pacey, your brother will be the Chief of Police, protecting all the citizens of Capeside. He'll have a career that people respect, and you'll be the one washing his cruiser, or pumping his gas, or bagging his groceries."

"Protecting Capeside from what? A bunch of bored kids with bottles of spray paint? In ten years, Dad, Dougie will be stuck here in the same place, probably the same house, with the same thankless job, and I'll be a million miles away."

"Doing what? Waiting tables? Because the way you're going, I'll be surprised if you graduate from high school, never mind go to college and get an actual career."

"I really don't care what I'll be doing. Work isn't everything, and neither is washing the dishes or shoveling the driveway. Because the way I see it, in ten years I'll still have the four most important things in the world to me, and it won't matter where I live or what my job is."

"And what are those four things,"

"Dawson, Joey, Jen, and my memories of Tamara," Pacey replied seriously. "Those are the only things I care about, and no one can ever take them away from me."

"You really think that when you're a washed-up fool with no job, no money, and no life that those people are going to want to be your friends?"

"I would bet my life on it,"

"Friends don't fill your stomach, or pay the bills, or keep you warm at night,"

"At least I'll be happy. That's more than I can say for you."

"You're grounded. I'm sick and tired of listening to you disrespect me and your brother. You're going to learn some manners if it kills you."

"One less mouth to feed,"

"You don't leave this house except for work and school as of now,"

"Until when?"

"Until I've decided that your attitude has changed,"

"Well, get used to seeing my face than, Officer Dad, 'cuz we're going to be spending a lot of time together."

"Don't count on it,"

Joey staggered in the door of her house. She had searched the entire town and not found a single interesting thing to do for New Year's Eve.

"Joey!" Bessie yelled.

Joey groaned. "Not again."

"What the hell is wrong with you?"

"What'd I do now, Bessie?"

"You honestly don't know?"

"No. Enlighten me."

"You left me to work the dinner crowds all alone! It was Sarah's day off and I had to call her in to give me a hand. Why did you leave like that?"

"I forgot I was working,"

"You forgot? Well, then where have you been for the past seven hours? Dawson called looking for you, so I know you weren't with him,"

"I was just walking around,"

"For seven hours?"


"Joey, you can't just forget that you have to work and wander around town all afternoon for no reason,"

"Just get of my back, Bessie. You're not my mother."

Bessie froze. "That's right, I'm not. And you never would've done this to her. So, I'm grounding you."

"Like I have a life for you to ground me from,"

"No sleeping at Dawson's or hanging out with your friends for a week. As far as you're concerned, dear sister, the world consists of our home, your school, and the Icehouse."

"And what a pleasurable existence it will be,"

* * * * * * * * * * *

Dawson waited until after both his parents and Jen's grandmother were gone before he ran over to her house. "Jen! Open up!"

Jen came downstairs and opened the front door. "Hi Dawson. What's up?"

"Let's go,"

"Where are we going?"

"To get Pacey and Joey,"

"I can't, Dawson, I'm grounded,"

"So? Your grandmother will never know,:

Jen looked at Dawson, then at her dictionary-thick chemistry book, and back to Dawson. "Let's do it."

They rowed to Joey's house and walked up to her door. "Jo!"

"Hey guys. What's up?"

"Let's go," Jen said.

"Where are we going?"

"To get Pacey,"

"I can't. I'm grounded."

"Where are Bessie and Bodie?"

"Bodie's friend in Providence owns a restaurant and the grand-opening is tonight. They went down for the party."

"So, come on. They'll never know."

Joey hesitated for only a second before saying, "Lead the way."

They walked to Pacey's house, huddling together in the freezing cold.

"How did you guys get to my house? It's freezing!"

"How did you walk aimlessly around town for seven hours?" Dawson asked.

"How did you know?"

"Bessie told me," he answered. "Look, we're here. Pacey!"

"Pacey!" Jen and Joey echoed.

Pacey appeared at his bedroom window. "What?"

"Come on. Let's go."

"I'm grounded," he replied.

"Aren't your parents and Dougie at that cops celebration in Boston?" Dawson asked.

"Yeah," Pacey thought about it for a moment. "I'll be right down."

Soon, the four of them were walking towards downtown Capeside. Joey turned to Dawson and asked, "So where are we going, anyway?"

"We," Dawson explained. "Are going to paint the town red."

"Really?" Pacey asked sarcastically. "And how exactly are we going to do that?"

"I haven't figured that much out yet," Dawson admitted.

"Well, as long as we don't end up back at Dawson's watching the Spielberg Marathon on TNT," Joey said wryly. "We need to do something fun."

"And we have considerably limited options," Jen pointed out. "What fun thing is there to do in Capeside?"

"Good question. Answer that, Dawson," Pacey challenged.

"We'll find something," Dawson said lightly. "Hey, isn't Nellie throwing a party tonight?"

"Yeah," Joey replied. "One that we aren't invited to."

"So, let's crash it,"

"She'll have us thrown out, Dawson," Jen pointed out. "Nellie hates us."

"She'll be too trashed to even know we're there," Dawson said. "Come on, it'll be fun."

"I'm game," Pacey decided.

"Fine," the girls agreed reluctantly.

They turned on the next street and walked up to Nellie's house. Loud music was blaring, and through the window, the could see a girl dancing on the table. Dawson timidly knocked on the door.

"Dawson!" Jen pushed open the door. "You don't knock on the door when there's a party. You just walk right in."

Dawson nodded. "I knew that."

Joey rolled her eyes. "Yeah, because you're such a party animal, Dawson."

"Hey, Jo, want a beer?" Pacey offered.

"No thanks. I don't drink."

"I seem to remember you drinking quite a bit at Cliff's barbeque last month,"

"How do you know? Were you there?"

"Don't you remember?" Dawson asked. "Pacey punched out that guy that was trying to get you to sleep with him."

"No he didn't, Dawson. You did."

"Dawson," Pacey said warningly.

"It was Pacey that saved you, Jo, not me," Dawson told her.

Joey stared at Pacey incredulously. "Then how come you let me think Dawson did it?"

Pacey shrugged. "That's what you wanted to believe."

"Um, Dawson, why don't we go dance," Jen suggested.

"Good idea," He led Jen away from Joey and Pacey.

"You keep surprising me, Pacey. I'm not sure what to think anymore," Joey shook her head. "This whole adolescence-growth process is too complicated."

"I know what you mean," he agreed. "Reality bites."

"That was a terrible movie,"

"No it wasn't! In fact, it's perfect for you."

"Why's that?"

"Because you're just like Winona Ryder's character, torn between two men. Do you choose the stable, nice Ben Stiller or the wild and passionate Ethan Hawke?"

"If you're referring to you and Dawson, that's a terrible analogy. Dawson's hardly stable, since he has multiple undiagnosed mental disorders, and he is passionate about pretty much everything. You, on the other hand, look nothing like Ethan Hawke."

"So that's what you want from me? A goatee and long, greasy hair? Jo, why didn't you just say so?."

"As much as I'd love seeing you look like a Generation-X slacker-wannabe, that's not what I meant,"

"Then what did you mean?"

"I meant that there's no potential script here. I'm not Winona Ryder and I'm not 'torn between two men'."

"Could've fooled me,"

"Pacey, for the ten-millionth time - I don't have feelings for Dawson! Maybe I did at one point, but they're gone now. Evaporated. Vanished. Whoosh!"


"Whoosh," Joey said. "Honestly, Pace, you're not competing with Dawson for my affections. This situation would make a terrible movie."

"And an even worse t.v. show,"

Joey smiled. "Right. So will you lay off the tortured love triangle concept? Because it doesn't exist."

"All right, I can take a hint," Pacey grinned. "So if I'm the only one in the race, doesn't that mean I automatically win?"

"This isn't a race and I'm not a trophy,"

"It was an anology, Jo. You know what I mean."

"Everything's an anology," she said wryly. "You're starting to sound like Dawson."

Pacey shuddered. "God forbid. Come, Lady Potter. Let's find our friends before I go really insane and start insisting that we go watch ET."

"I'd love to, Sir Witter,"

He took her hand and led her outside.

"Can you see them?" Jen asked. "What are they doing?"

"Shh!" Dawson hissed, crouching lower under the window. "They'll hear us."

"What's going on, Dawson? Tell me what they're doing!"

"Shh! Wait - he's taking her hand!"

"Aww," Jen gushed quietly.

"They're walking away. Where are they going?"

"Did he kiss her?"

"Did who kiss who?" Joey asked.

"Ah!" Jen and Dawson jumped up in unison. "Joey! Pacey! What are you doing here?"

"Looking for you," Pacey replied. "Why are you hiding under a window?"

"Were you spying on us?" Joey asked suspiciously.

"No," Jen said slowly. "We were watching...uh...Cliff!"

"Cliff?" Pacey repeated.

"Yeah. To see if he was going to kiss Nellie," Jen lied.

"Hmm, that's funny," Joey said.

"What?" Dawson asked nervously.

"Last time I checked, Nellie was dancing on a table and Cliff was passed out in the linen closet. So I really don't think there's any possiblity that they'll be kissing in the near future."

"Right," Dawson nodded. "Hey, time for a new adventure."

"I'm almost afraid to ask," Joey muttered.

"To the ruins!" Dawson exclaimed. "The sight of Jen and my first kiss."

"Wow, Dawson, you're ideas just keep getting better and better," Joey said sarcastically.

"I'm there," Pacey said quickly, realizing the romantic possibilites.

"Aren't we enthusiastic," Joey said. "Especially since it's illegal to go where we're going and we could get arrested. That's quite a way to blow our cover."

"Come on, Jo. Where's your sense of adventure?" Jen asked persuasively.

"Whatever," Joey shook her head. "But if we get caught..."

"We won't," Dawson said firmly. "Now let's go."

Dawson took Jen's hand and they led the way. Pacey and Joey walked behind them silence.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"Hey, Dawson, let's go for a walk," Jen suggested, noticing how uncomfortable Pacey and Joey were. "Please?"

"Sure," he agreed. "We'll see you guys later."

"Great," Joey muttered as they walked off. "They left us alone together."

"Is that such a bad thing?" Pacey asked.

Joey bit her lip. "Not necessarily, but it depends."

"On what?"

If you're finally going to kiss me or not, she thought.

" long they're going to be gone," Joey said, chickening out.

"I have a feeling that there's something you're not telling me,"

"You're a great one to talk,"

"What do you mean?"

"You still haven't told me what's going on between us,"

"I don't know what you want to hear,"

"How about the truth?"

"Maybe you're not ready for the truth,"

"Maybe I am and you're just not ready to tell me,"

"Maybe you're right,"

Joey sighed. "We're going to have to let this all out sometime, Pacey. What's wrong with right now?"

"Okay. You go first."


"I'm waiting,"

"Fine," Joey began. "Pacey, I-"

"Joey! Pacey! Someone's coming! Run!" Jen hissed.

Pacey grabbed Joey's hand and they ran off after Dawson and Jen.

"There they are!" a voice yelled. "Hurry!"

The footsteps behind them were getting closer and closer. Joey's grip on Pacey's hand tightened.

"In here," Dawson whispered, leading them under the dock where he and Jen had first kissed. "Shh!"

They all huddled together silently, waiting for the men following them to give up or discover their hiding place. Joey laid her head on Pacey's shoulder, and he stroked her hair reassuringly.

"Dammit! We lost them!" a man's voice said in frustration.

"Stupid kids. No respect," his partner mumbled.

They two men walked away, there voices fading in the distance. The four friends stayed huddled together under the dock for a few more minutes, before they quietly climbed out.

"That was close," Jen murmured.

"Too close," Joey shivered.

Pacey pulled her closer to him and kissed her forehead gently. "It's okay, Jo. They're gone."

Joey shivered again, but this time it wasn't because of the cold, or the anxiety of having almost been caught, it was the unexpected warmth that ran through her body when Pacey's lips touched her skin.

"So Dawson, where to next?" Jen asked.

"I think we've had enough excitement for one night," Pacey interrupted. "I'm going to take Joey home."

"All right," Dawson agreed reluctantly. "We'll see you tomorrow."

"Jo? Are you okay?" Pacey asked a little while later as they approached her house.

"What? Oh, yeah. Fine."

"Good. Now tell me the truth."

"I am telling the truth."

"Why don't I believe you?"

"I don't know. Maybe you're just dense."

Pacey sighed. "It bothered you seeing Dawson with Jen, didn't it?"

Joey rolled her eyes. "How many times do I have to tell you - I don't have feelings for Dawson! Maybe you just don't want to believe me, or maybe it just won't get through your thick skull, but I'm sick and tired of repeating myself!" She stopped and took a deep breath. "I swear to God, you ask me one more time if I'm in love with Dawson and I'll beat your ass so bad you won't be able to sit down for a month."

"I can take a hint," Pacey held up his hands defensively. "I may not believe you, but I'll stop asking."

That was the last straw. Joey grabbed him, pulled him to her, and pressed her mouth against his. Pacey hesitated, surprised by her spontaneous action, but quickly wrapped his arms around her waist and drew her closer. Joey rested her hands on the back of his head and sighed into his lips.

A minute later, Pacey pulled away. "Jo? Is this what you really want?"

"Pacey," she groaned. "Gimme a break. I don't know how else to convince you that I want to be with you, you, and only you. Not Dawson. Not Cliff. Not anyone but you!"

"That could be a really cute poem, you know," he said, smiling, his arms still around her waist.

"Fine! I'll write you a damn poem if you just shut up and kiss me again!"

So he did.

"They're so adorable," Jen gushed. "Look at them, Dawson. Dawson? What are you doing?"

"I'm snowboarding, Jen. What does it look like I'm doing?"

"You're covering your eyes. Why?"

"Because this is not something I particularly want to see,"

"Why not? I thought you wanted Joey and Pacey to get together."

"I do,"

"So what's the problem?"

Dawson sighed patiently. "Joey, Pacey, and I grew up together, Jen. They're like the brother and sister I never had. Personally, I find it quite perverted to be watching them kiss. Especially since it's their first time and it's kind of a private moment."

"Hmmm. Good point."

"I mean, how would you have felt if they were watching our first kiss and critiquing it like Spielberg's latest movie?"

"Another good point,"

"Thank you,"

"That's what I like about you, Dawson,"


"You're so adorable when you're perceptive," She stood up. "Come on. Let's go home."

"Pacey," Joey murmured.

"Not now. I'm busy." He bent his head and kissed her again.


"Josephine, dear, I greatly respect your intelligence, and at any occasion, upon being asked, I will gladly tell anyone that you are my cerebral superior. But there is one thing you must learn."

"And that is?"

"Never, ever interrupt a man when he's kissing a beautiful woman,"

"Of course. I'll just tell you later that your parents drove by a minute ago."


"I thought that was something you would want to hear,"

"Shit! They'll kill me if I'm not there when they get home!"

"Would you like to hear my suggestion?"

"If it's quick and painless,"

"Run. Really fast."

Pacey shrugged. "Works for me." He leaned over and kissed her on the lips. "See you tomorrow. And happy new year."

Joey shook her head and smiled. "I still can't believe he bit me."

NOTE: As always, criticism and opinions are welcome. Let me know what you think. Feedback to AINZ

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