Part Six of Something To Talk About
Disclaimer: Do you think I own these characters? I don't. If you do, please seek mental help immediately.
Props: A big thanks to everyone who writes to me and compliments my stories, because that's what keeps me going. Also, to my Grammy for being such an inspiration (and for her cheesy potatoes, chicken legs, and "Kraft dinner"). I love you!
Anderson Crawford reappeared in the museum, where Joey told him
her true identity. However, she refused his invitation to
"get to know each other better", claiming that she
liked Pacey too much. The Fab Four headed downstairs to the Grand
Ballroom for the awards ceremony, where it was revealed that
Anderson was nominated for his documentary on Kennedy's
assasination. Oooh, but the author (c'est moi) then left the
reader dangling as to the winner of the documentary competition.
Aren't I awful?
"Anderson Crawford, for For Whom the Bell Tolls!" George exclaimed.
Joey groaned, and slumped down in her seat, as Anderson walked up to the stage to accept his award.
"Okay," Jen muttered. "This is not good."
"No, it isn't," Dawson agreed.
"Thank you very much," Anderson said into the microphone. "I'd like to thank my parents for their continued support, and my grandfather for getting me interested in the Kennedy assasination. Also, Professor McKay for allowing me to use his equipment for the film." He smiled softly. "And I'd especially like to thank Joey Potter for inspiring me to follow my dreams. Thanks!"
Joey winced at Anderson's mention of her.
"That was...sweet," Jen said awkwardly.
"Well, it must've been quite a fling, Josephine," Pacey smirked.
"How exactly did you "inspire him to follow his dreams"?"
"I don't know what he meant," Joey insisted. "Pace, come on-"
"You never told me what you did the day you spent with him,"
"What are you implying?"
"Well, you had to have done something that made an impression on him,"
"I don't believe you," Joey said angrily. "Who the hell do you think you are?"
"I think I'm your boyfriend, and I think I have the right to be a little pissed off when some guy that I didn't know existed appears and thanks you for inspiring him! What exactly did you do to inspire this Anderson guy, anyway? And what kind of name is Anderson?"
"My boyfriend," Joey shook her head. "Not anymore you're not."
"You can't break up with me! I didn't do anything wrong!"
"Oh, really? I guess I imagined you screaming at me in front of hundreds of people, just because a friend thanked me! And then you implied that I slept with him, when in reality you have no right to make such an accusation! If I remember correctly, you're the one who had an affair with your English teacher!"
The crowd gasped. Dawson and Jen simultaneously groaned. Joey suddenly realized that the entire ballroom was watching her fight with Pacey, and she took a deep breath.
"We're through," she said firmly, then turned to face Dawson. "I'm sorry, Dawson, but I have to go. I really hope you win." And with that, she turned and stalked out of the ballroom.
"You," Dawson said through clenched teeth. "Are a moron."
"What? Did you just miss that entire conversation?"
"Pacey, I'm your best friend, and normally I can handle it when you say and do stupid things, but this time it's a little too much. How stupid are you? Anderson and Joey were only together for a day! And you know as well as I do that she would never sleep with a guy she's only known for a day. That had to be the dumbest thing you've ever said, and forgive me, but you've said a lot of dumb things!" Dawson stood and ran to catch up with Joey.
Pacey looked up at Jen. "Go ahead, it's your turn. Tell me how stupid I am. Tell me that I have no right to be angry, it's all my fault, and Joey would never sleep with a guy she's known for that short an amount of time."
Jen shook her head. "I don't need to. You just did."
Pacey sighed and slumped down in his seat. "How stupid am I?"
"Joey! Wait up!" Dawson called, chasing Joey through the hotel.
Joey finally stopped running when she reached a small lounge as far from the ballroom as she could get. She collapsed on the expensive-looking couch, tears streaming down her face.
"Jo," Dawson knelt down on the floor, thinking that he hadn't seen her cry since her mother died.
"How could he even think that, Dawson? How could I be naive enough to think that a relationship with Pacey, of all people, could work? Was I delusional?"
"Of course not," Dawson said quietly. "You were in love."
Joey shook her head. "I can't love Pacey."
"You don't have much of a choice,"
"Why couldn't I fall in love with someone nice? Like you."
"Joey, you know that you don't want a nice boyfriend. You want one you can bicker with, and make-up with. I'm too dry for you. That's why we're best friends."
"I know," she sniffed. "But why did it have to be Pacey?"
"Because that's life. You and Pacey are destined to be together."
Joey snorted. "Maybe you're the delusional one."
"Do you love him?"
"I don't know. You just told me that I do."
"Can you imagine a life without him?"
She shook her head. "No."
"Then you love him,"
"Well, I can't imagine a life without Abby, but does that mean I love her?"
"Of course not. You've just never known a life without her."
"When have I ever known a life without Pacey?"
"Jo, there's a difference. Would you want to live a life without Abby?"
"Would you want a life without Pacey?"
Joey paused. "All right, I see your point. But I'm still not happy about it."
"The happy part is optional. The fact is, you love him. And you don't have a say in who you fall in love with."
"No kidding. Like my mother didn't get a choice in who she fell in love with. She got stuck with a cheating drug dealer."
"See? You don't have it that bad."
"Yeah, I guess not," She shrugged. "But Pacey?"
Dawson laughed. "Josephine, at least you didn't get stuck with Cliff Elliot."
"I really blew it, didn't I?" Pacey asked.
"Why didn't you stop me?"
"Pacey, when you get angry, there is no stopping you,"
"Yeah," He nodded. "Do you think she'll ever forgive me?"
"If you apologize really nicely, and maybe grovel a bit, yes."
"I think I can handle that,"
"I should hope so,"
"Jen, can I ask you something?"
"Short of strangulation, can I stop you?"
"Do you love Dawson?"
"I think so,"
"Yeah, well, I think the capital of Massachusetts is Capeside,"
"No wonder you're failing half your classes,"
"I want a yes or no answer,"
"Good," He furrowed his eyebrows. "Are you two sleeping together?"
"Pacey," Jen rolled her eyes. "That's how you get yourself into trouble."
"All right, you don't have to answer,"
"Aw, thanks, Pace. You're such a sweetie."
"I know. That's why I'm such a chick magnet. Well, the fact that I have a bodacious buttocks doesn't hurt either."
"It's a wonder you aren't beating them off with sticks,"
"Yeah, it is. Lucky for Jo I'm a one woman kinda guy."
"I hate to point this out, but as of right now, Joey isn't your girlfriend,"
Pacey frowned. "Yeah, I hate for you to point that out too. Can't you just left me live in my imaginary world?"
"Because I have all I can handle with Dawson's anti-reality lifestyle. I can't lose you to fantasy land too."
"True. How come Dawson never screws up like this?"
Jen stared at him in slight disbelief. "You've got to be kidding me."
"You're right. Forget I said that." He eyed the grandfather clock in the corner of the ballroom. "They've been gone for an awfully long time. You think Joey's all right?"
"I'm sure she's fine, but if she wasn't, I wouldn't blame her," She shrugged. "Don't worry. Dawson can take care of her."
"I want to take care of her,"
"No offense, but you kind of blew your chances,"
"I know," Pacey sighed. "They have to come back sometime, right? Dawson wouldn't miss this award ceremony for anything."
"Yes he would," Jen said seriously. "If Joey needed him, he would."
"Do you remember when we were six?"
"When we were six in general, or are you alluding to a particular incident that occured at that age?"
"Please stop talking like Larry King,"
"I meant that time when Pacey and I put a frog in your bed,"
"Yes, I remember that quite clearly. Why?"
"I don't know. I was just thinking how much simpler things were when we were kids."
"Simpler, maybe, but not as fulfilling."
"All right, now you sound like a Hallmark card,"
"Don't be. It's reassuring. Some things never change."
"Some changes are for the better, Jo,"
"Ending slavery was,"
"Oh, now you're going to get all history book on me. That's the last thing I need right now, Dawson."
"Should I apologize again?"
"No. You'll just depress me."
They sat in silence for a few minutes. "Jo?"
"What are you thinking about?"
"Me and Pacey,"
"What about you and Pacey?"
"We're never going to work,"
"Of course you will, Joey. Just because you get in one fight doesn't mean your entire relationship is doomed."
"Our relationship was doomed from the start,"
"Don't be so cynical,"
"I'm being logical, Dawson. I mean, how could we possibly work? We're so different."
"Oh, yeah, and Jen and I are so similar."
"You guys will work because you belong together. Maybe me and Pacey don't."
"How can you say that after all you two have been through together?"
Joey sighed. "Dawson, this is pointless. Besides, you're going to miss your award. Go back to the ballroom. I'll be fine."
"I'm not leaving you here alone,"
"I need to be alone right now,"
"Jo, this is crazy. Come back with me. You don't even have to look at Pacey."
She shook her head. "No. Dawson, don't worry about me. I need to think for a little while."
"Dawson, I beat you up once before, and I can do it again. Go."
"Are you sure?"
"Positive. Go win that award."
"All right," Dawson stood up reluctantly. "I'll see you later, Jo."
Dawson walked back to the ballroom, and resumed his seat between Pacey and Jen.
"How is she?" Pacey asked frantically.
"She's...not great. But she's holding in there."
"Want me to go talk to her?" Jen offered.
"No, but thanks. She wants to be alone right now."
"Does she hate me?" Pacey asked quietly.
"Of course not," Dawson replied curtly. "But I almost believe that she should."
"I'm going to go talk to her. Where is she?"
"In the lounge at the far end of the hotel," Dawson answered. "Pacey?"
"You know I don't condone violence, but if you hurt her, I'll rip out your heart."
"If I hurt her again, I'll do it myself," He turned and walked out of the room.
"Jo?" Pacey asked softly, when he found her curled up on the couch. "How are you."
"Can I sit?"
"It's a free country,"
He sat down on the coffee table facing her. "Jo, I'm so sorry. I don't know what possessed me to say those things. I know you would never sleep with someone you barely knew. I just got so jealous to even think of you spending time with another guy that I went crazy." He paused, and waited for her to say that everything was okay, and all was forgiven. When she didn't, he continued. "I'm so sorry, Joey. But I care about you so much, and I need you. Please give me another chance."
"I'll give you another chance," Joey looked him squarely in the eye. "When Hell freezes over."
* * * * *
Sorry, guys. I couldn't resist! Part Seven will be out soon.
Thanks for all the feedback, and keep it coming! -Ainz
Write to Ainsley