Part Eight of Something To Talk About
Disclaimer: That's the problem with today's society. Everyone's so picky about stealing.
Props: My Nana for all her books on writing and publishing, and for encouraging me in everything I do.
Joey decided to go to Paris! :(
Partir, c'est mourir un peu.
(To leave is to die a little.)
Joey gazed down at the city of Paris beneath her from the Eiffel Tower.
There was an obviously American tourist wearing white socks pulled up to his knees, Birkenstock sandals, and a brightly colored shirt with a camera around his neck standing at the base of the tower. She shook her head, and laughed, pointing him out to her friend, Sylvie, with whom she was staying for the semester.
"Ah, Americans," Sylvie said, giggling, with a thick French accent. "They are so easy to spot."
"He reminds me of Pacey,"
"This makes me wonder why you love the boy so much, Josephine. Look at that man. He is an idiot. If he reminds you of Pacey, you must have worse taste in men than my sister."
Joey smiled. Sylvie's sister, Monique, attracted men like bees to honey.
She was always bringing home a new boyfriend for dinner, and Sylvie and Joey would laugh throughout the meal. The same man never came to dinner twice, and every week, without fail, Monique brought a new victim home.
"I guess everything reminds me of him,"
"You are not kidding. Last night, you saw him in your escargot, and two weeks ago, Mona Lisa's smile resembled his! You must get this boy off your mind, Josephine."
"We'll just have Monique fix you up with one of her leftovers," Sylvie teased. "You liked Robert, did you not?"
"Wasn't Robert the one who tried to steal the silverware?" Joey laughed.
"No, I think I'll pass. I hate to sound picky, but my dream man isn't a kleptomaniac."
"How about Marc?"
Joey rolled her eyes. "Marc? He was practically blind! Poor guy, did you see the look on his face when he realized he had kissed your father instead of Monique?"
"Le pauvre Marc," Sylvie shook her head. "Ah, my sister's brought home some very strange men."
"Yes, she has. And thanks, but I'd rather not date any of them."
"Well, would you let me fix you up? I have this great friend..."
"I'm not really up for it, Sylvie, but thank you. I'd rather just stay at home and mope over Pacey."
"Nonsense!" Sylvie grabbed Joey's arm and began pulling her toward the elevator. "You've been thinking about this boy for too long. Here in France, we have a saying. 'In love, there is always one who kisses, and one who offers the cheek.' As it appears to me, you spend too much time kissing the boy, Josephine. It's time to go out and offer your cheek!"
"Sorry, but you lost me at the part about kissing Pacey,"
Sylvie groaned, and pulled her into the elevator. "Oh, mon Dieu! Josephine, you are doing the giving in this relationship. You give, he takes. It is bad! You need a relationship where you each give and take equally!"
"No, Sylvie, he's not like that at all. Pacey's sweet, and kind, and such a good kisser..." She leaned back against the hard wall of the elevator and sighed. "I miss him so much."
"No, no, no! I will introduce you to my friend. You will like him. It will be good for you. He will make you forget all about this Pacey boy."
Joey sighed, and followed Sylvie down the street, and back to their large apartment in Passy, on the Right Bank.
"You go rest, and I'll give him a call," Sylvie ordered, ignoring Joey's protests.
Joey went into the guest room, where she was staying, and pulled out the picture of Jen, Dawson, Pacey, and herself that had been taken Christmas morning by Mrs. Leery. She laid her finger on Pacey's smiling face and a single tear fell down her cheek, and landed on the glass frame.
"Pacey, if you keep staring at that picture, your eyes will burn a hole through it,"
Pacey placed the photograph upside down, and looked up to face Dawson and Jen. "I can't help it. I miss her so much."
"We all miss her, Pace. But you can't keep moping around like this. Half the time you're snapping at everyone who says a word to you, and the other half you just walk around like a zombie. You can't live like this."
"You're right. Got a gun?"
"Don't even joke about that," Dawson said seriously. "I may still be mad at you, but I won't let you even consider killing yourself."
"It was just a joke, Dawson,"
"Not a funny one,"
"Would she kill me if I flew to Paris?" Pacey asked.
"Yes," Jen replied. "There would be lots of pain. Much blood. The Champs- Élysées would be permanently dyed red."
"Glad I asked,"
"Would you like me to lie to you?"
"She'd welcome you with open arms, kiss you, tell you that she loves you, and the two of you would ride off into the sunset."
"Somehow, I feel worse,"
"Sorry, Pace. But it's the truth. Joey doesn't want anything to do with you right now."
"I think I'll go home and mope some more,"
"Walk me to my house. I should go too." Jen leaned over and kissed Dawson's cheek. "Night, Dawson."
"Night, Jen. See you, Pacey."
Pacey and Jen walked out of his room and Dawson stared at the blank television set. Just then, the phone rang.
"Hello?" Dawson asked into the receiver.
"Dawson?" a familiar, but slightly fuzzy voice said. "It's me."
"Joey! How are you?"
"Oh, it's wonderful. Paris is amazing, and the people I'm staying with are great..."
"You say the same thing every time you call. I want to know how you are, Joey."
"Terrible." she admitted. "I miss you guys so much. Especially Pacey. Even though I still hate him."
"He misses you, too. The guy's in so much misery he's unbearable."
"Good. He deserves it."
"You just missed him and Jen,"
"Tell Jen I said hi,"
"Okay. And Pacey?"
"If I tell him you said that, it'll kill him."
"Hey, no opposition here."
"Jo," Dawson sighed. "I know you're angry with him, and God knows I am too, but do you think it's healthy to carry this baggage around? Maybe you should just forgive and forget."
"You don't get it either, Dawson. This isn't one of your movies, or a t.v. show, or a novel someone in some tiny town is writing, making it up as they go along. It's real life. And real life doesn't have prewritten happy endings. Pacey and I aren't getting back together. It's not going to happen. The Fab Four is no more."
"If you tell me that my parents never really loved each other, and Jen doesn't care about me, you could destroy my entire universe in one phone conversation."
"Sorry, Dawson. But Pacey pretty much destroyed what was left of my universe when he accused me of sleeping with Anderson. My outlook on life is not at the highest it's ever been."
"Your outlook on life has never been high,"
"Well, it's hit an all time low,"
"I wish I could make it better,"
"You are, just by listening to me," Joey said. "New topic. How's Jen?"
"She's good. But we both spend all our time trying to snap Pacey out of this trance he's in."
"You're reverting back to the old topic, Dawson."
"Sorry. Jen's good."
"Thorough. I knew I could count on you for details."
"There's not much to say, Joey. Life in Capeside pretty much sucks."
"Yeah, well, it's not too much better here."
"Then why don't you come home and make life better for all of us."
"Because I can't. You're still not getting it. I'm not coming back before I have to."
"Dawson," Joey said in exasperation. "Because I can't handle being in the same hemisphere as Pacey, never mind the same town! I need to deal with this my way, here, before I can even consider coming home."
"Okay. Let's talk about something else."
They sat in silence for a moment.
"So," Dawson spoke up. "How are you?"
Joey groaned. "Good-bye, Dawson."
Sylvie walked into the guest room, and sat down on the bed next to Joey.
"What did Dawson say?"
"He wants me to come home,"
"Are you going to?"
"Because I'd like to keep my sanity at a level even relatively close to normal."
"Ah. I see."
"Did you call your friend?"
"Yes. He's going to take you out tomorrow."
"What should I wear,"
"I'll help you pick something out," Sylvie offered. "Want me to curl your hair?"
"No thanks," Joey smiled, remembering the day at the hotel in Boston. "I have issues with curling irons."
"Josephine! He's here!" Sylvie called, the next evening.
Joey took one last look in the mirror, and sighed. "Here goes nothing." She walked downstairs and toward the front door.
Standing next to Sylvie was a tall, gorgeous brunet wearing a beautiful leather jacket and holding a sketch book.
"Josephine Potter, I'd like you to meet, my friend, Jean-Claude René," Sylvie said. "He's an artist."
"She's completely forgotten about me, hasn't she?" Pacey moaned. "I bet she's having a wonderful time with all these French guys, and doesn't even think about me."
"Of course she does, Pacey. Don't be ridiculous." Dawson said. "People don't just forget about the ones they love."
"I used to think that, too,"
"Joey hasn't forgotten you. I know that for a fact."
Pacey sat up straight. "You've talked to her, haven't you?"
"She called last night after you and Jen left," Dawson admitted.
"What did she say?"
"To sum it up, she said that she loves you, but she's still furious. And she won't even consider coming home until she has to."
Pacey sighed. "Is she having a good time at least?"
"Great. I'm not even on the same continent as her and I'm making her life miserable. How the hell do I manage these things, Dawson?"
"Her life isn't miserable, Pace. Joey loves Paris, and the family she's staying with, but she misses us. And she doesn't know how to feel about you."
"What am I going to do?"
"There's not much you can do,"
"I hate being useless,"
"You're not useless. You're currently unable to rectify the situation."
"Thank you, Larry King,"
Dawson smiled. "You know, Joey said the same thing to me in Boston."
"Yeah. She did."
"Dawson," Pacey fell back against the pillows at the head of Dawson's bed.
"I miss her so much."
"I know, Pace."
"Sometimes I feel like my heart is gone. Like it's in Paris with her, and I have to just walk around and pretend that I'm normal and happy, while there's this giant hole...and I don't so much care about getting my heart back, but if I don't get Joey back soon, I'll die."
"There's only a month or so left of this semester. She'll be forced to come home soon."
"Yeah, and as great as it'll be to see her, she still won't be mine. I won't be able to kiss her or hug her whenever I want. I'll have to ignore every fiber of my being that's telling me to grab her and carry her away somewhere. She still won't be the same Joey that I lost in Boston."
"I hate to say it, Pace, but that old Joey may never come back."
"That's what I'm afraid of,"
"Jean-Claude?" Joey repeated weakly. "The artist?"
"Yes, that is me," Jean-Claude said, watching her cautiously. "Are you well?"
"Pacey...he said..." Joey stammered.
Sylvie groaned. "Excuse us, please, Jean-Claude. We'll be right back." She dragged Joey into the next room. "What are you thinking, Josephine? Pacey is in America, you are here! In Paris, the city of love. Give Jean-Claude a chance. I'm sure you two will like each other."
"You don't understand. Pacey said something to me before I came here. He said if I left, he'd lose me to a French artist named Jean-Claude...how did he know?"
"Don't be ridiculous, Josephine. Pacey could not have known that there really would be a Jean-Claude. He was simply creating an imaginary French male. Now, go out with Jean-Claude!"
"I can't, Sylvie. I can't. I want Pacey."
"Josephine," Sylvie sighed. "You said yourself that you can't forgive him."
"I can't! But I can't stop thinking about him, either. I miss him so much, and I hate him at the same time...this is too confusing! Do you have the movie E.T., by any chance?"
"Dawson," Pacey moaned. "Shoot me."
"No. Sit up and watch this movie."
"I can't! There's too many memories."
"Memories are good,"
"Memories suck when the person you love hates you, and relocated to another continent to get away from you," Pacey sighed. "Dawson. Turn it off."
"Look, it's starting," Dawson ignored Pacey's whining.
"Dawson! Turn it off!"
"Pacey, suck it up, and watch E.T. like a man!"
Pacey groaned and slumped back against the pillows. "I hate you."
"Yes, Pacey. I hate you, too."
"No. I really hate you."
"Shut up. You'll miss the beginning."
"I'm guessing that's biologically impossible, but you're welcome to try."
"Isn't that the movie with the little alien who likes Reese's Peanut Butter Cups?" Sylvie asked.
"No, they're Reese's Pieces!"
"Oh," Sylvie nodded. "Why do you want to watch it?"
"I just do. Think you could tell Jean-Claude in a really nice way that I
won't be joining him this evening?"
"Josephine, you're insane! You're going to skip a perfectly good date with a perfectly nice boy to sit at home and watch a stupid movie about an alien?"
"Hey," Joey said, offended. "E.T. is not stupid."
Sylvie threw her hands in the air in exasperation. "Fine!"
Joey slumped onto the couch and sighed. "Joey, phone home."
* * * * *
As always, I love
feedback. Hope you liked it. Part Nine will be out soon. -Ainz
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