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Summary: Dawson learns the rivalry between Mitch and Mr. Potter.
Joey and her father were walking back to the Potter house, deep in conversation after not seeing each other for years.
"I can't believe they let me go. But, it was on the condition that if I ever did any more dirty work I'd be back in prison. Forever." He smiled again. "But, I'm going to stay this time."
Joey nodded, still a little uneasy. He noticed her discomfort. "Jo, you okay with this?" Joey stood still.
"Yeah...I..." she shrugged,"...it's just weird."
He pulled her in for a hug. "I love you and Bessie very much. I hope you have forgiven me?"
Joey pulled back and hooked her thumbs in the pockets of her jeans. "Dad...it was a long time ago." She sighed. "I guess...I have."
His tense face relaxed into a smile. "Come on Joey." He pulled her lose, happy to be reunited with his daughter. He pulled back and studied her face. "How do you know Dawson Leery?" He asked. The name Leery rolled off his tongue like it were poison.
Joey shrugged, confused and uneasy. "I've known him forever. He's...a really close friend."
Mr Potter scowled. "Those Leery's..." he mumbled.
Joey was puzzled. What was wrong? And with the Leery's?
Dawson saw Joey walking to school the next morning, and ran over to her. "Jo! how are things with your dad?"
Joey looked cautiously behind her, then back at him at his concerned face. "Fine. He's really happy to be home." She kept on walking.
"Jo! Wait up!" He hurried after her. "Everything okay?" his face held an expression of pure concern.
Joey sighed. "Yes." She looked over his shoulder. "Hmmm. Blondie is approaching."
Dawson's eyes lit up, and he whirled around, instantly or getting Joey as he greeted Jen. In which, Joey took her chance to sneak off.
It was 9:30pm, and Dawson glanced worriedly out the window. Joey should have come by now. Or, at least called, saying why she couldn't come or something. He debated whether or not to call Jen. No way, that was just...too weird.
Oh well. He pressed play on the tape recorder and started to watch the movie. Alone.
The next day, Dawson decided to visit her. He walked around the side of the house towards the front door, accidentally peering into a window. He saw a female shape, standing up and stretching or something. It looked like Joey, that was good, she was at home. He walked up the steps and knocked on the door.
After a few seconds, the door opened, and Dawson was standing face to face with a not very friendly looking Mr Potter.
"What do you want?" he demanded coldly.
"Uh...I want to speak to Joey."
Mr Potter snickered. "Speak? Yeah right. I'm not having some big handed dull faced boy touching my daughter! She's not home, anyway. So go away." He slammed the door hard.
Startled, Dawson stepped back, not quite sure what had happened.
"Dad?" Dawson called, coming into the kitchen where his dad was drinking coffee and reading the paper.
Mitch Leery looked up at his obviously confused and bewildered son.
"What has Mr Potter got against me?" Dawson asked, crossing his arms.
Mitch knew it would come to this sooner or later. He got up, putting down his cup of coffee. "What happened, Dawson?"
"I went to Joey's house...totally innocent. To see if she could help me on my script and ask why she didn't turn up for movie night. He comes out, and he...he accuses me of having ulterior motives for his daughter, and then says she isn't home, but I swear I saw her..."
Mitch nodded, clearing his throat to silence a babbling Dawson. "I guess I owe you the truth." He motioned for Dawson to sit down.
"Eight years ago, Mr Potter...Mike, and I were great friends. You and Joey sometimes used to swim in the creek together, or stomp around in the wilderness."
"Get on with it." Dawson said sharply.
"But then I found out...he was starting to deal drugs. He had a drug ring, a sort of club. They were making thousands! I knew this. I knew it was illegal. I was also disgusted with him for cheating on Lillian. And so, I turned him in."
Mitch shrugged. "It was basically my fault...he left. And, you and Joey got closer and closer, which I anticipated would happen."
Dawson let out a deep breath. "Oh, god. So now he's back..."
"And not very happy with his daughter associating with the enemies son." Mitch finished off wearily.
Dawson was in his favorite spot in the Ruins, sitting near the water fountain against a huge pine tree. He needed time to think. Poor Joey. It must be so hard on her.
After talking to his dad, Dawson felt afraid. What if he couldn't see Joey again? His best friend?
His eyes widened in fear. Just then, someone tapped him on the shoulder. He looked up to see Joey, standing there, a half smile on her face.
"I'm sorry I've been all flighty with you Dawson." Joey apologized, settling down next to him against the tree.
Dawson just smiled widely, glad to be talking to her. "That's okay. I mean, having your dad back is complicated enough. Plus finding out my dad turned your father in, that must be brutal."
Joey shook her head in disagreement. "No. It's all come and gone. It's over..." she shook her head sadly. "I wish my dad would forget about it."
"Is that why you couldn't come last night? Your dad wouldn't let you?" Dawson asked tentatively.
Yeah. I don't want to make him mad." she played with the zipper on her sweater.
I'd hate it if I couldn't see you..." He said quietly "...I need you!"
Joey laughed wryly. "Sure. Whatever."
He turned to her. "Do you think you'll be able to sneak to my house tonight? I need help on the script...you are the producer."
Joey thought for a minute, then accepted the invitation. "Okay. I'll be there."
Dawson felt great relief wash over him when Joey entered his window.
"If I'm back at ten, Dad won't notice I'm gone." She told him.
"Okay...well, I'm having trouble with the kiss scene." He handed her a copy of the script.
"The kiss scene? I thought you said there wasn't going to be a kiss?" She said, puzzled.
Then she saw Dawson's flushing face. "I mean...not the kiss scene. Uh...the sad scene."
Joey folded her arms and shook her head in mock disgust. "Dawson! That's so...stupid and putrid. And..."
Dawson held both his hands up. "Joey, if you're my best friend you'd understand! Our first kiss has to be..." he tried to search for the right word. "Amazing."
Joey sighed. "Dawson, you can't plan a kiss."
Dawson set down the script. "Why not?" he argued.
"Because it's really unromantic. Planning is like...it hasn't got as much passion." She shrugged and looked down at her folded hands. "Not that I'm an expert...but it's just what I think."
Dawson rolled his eyes. "Joey...it *is* romantic. Our first kiss...my first kiss has to be incredibly perfect." He sighed dreamily. "My plan is, to take her to that special place at the Ruins. There, I'll set up the..."
Joey listened to him rattle on about his plans with a sinking heart. It was their special place...the Ruins. For years, they had snuck in there and played for hours. Now, Dawson was using it as a ravaging place.
"And then...I'll kiss her." He finished off.
Joey decided to ruin the moment. "Then are you going to screw her?" she asked, checking her nails.
Dawson gasped. "Joey!"
"What? *You* have to think this over. Once you kiss somebody, questions arise. Will you go to second base? Which is touching, you know, *there*. Then, you can find out if hers are real...I'm betting she's had work."
Dawson was too shocked to give her a lecture. He just raked his hands through his hair. "Now you've made me nervous!" He said through gritted teeth.
Joey heaved a sigh of relief when she closed her bedroom door behind her. Good. Her father hadn't noticed where she had been. Joey had made up her mind though. She liked Dawson. But why waste her time listening to him moan about Jen? He wouldn't mind if her visiting hours lessen and lessen. Joey just didn't want to get in trouble.
TO BE CONTINUED...
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