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“So, did you have fun?” Joey asked a few hours later. She had finally been able to calm down enough to take a shower before presenting herself once more. Afterwards, she had given Lily the cliff notes version of what had happened, since she had already blurted it out before, while sipping some hot coffee.
“Yeah, we had the whole night to catch up. She’s going to come stay with me in Capeside soon,” she said.
Joey nodded, forcing a smile. “Good.” She looked back down at her cup of coffee, playing over and over Dawson’s message in her head. Lily sat there, studying Joey.
“You know he still loves you,” she said finally, causing Joey to look up. Again she forced a smile.
“How do you know that?” she asked, her voice small and frail.
“Well,” Lily began, shifting on the couch so she was facing Joey. “One day, a few months back I had walked into Dawson’s room. And I had caught him looking through a photo album of his filled with pictures of you two; you know, growing up, pictures from the prom..” she trailed off. “And his expression… I’ve never seen it on his face before. He was smiling, and just the whole vibe around him; it’s hard to explain but I know he loves you, Joey,” she assured her. “And I know you love him because if you didn’t, we wouldn’t be talking about it now and what happened between the two of you wouldn’t have happened last night.”
“I do. I love him so much sometimes it hurts because I know he and I can’t be together,” Joey said.
Lily frowned. “Why can’t you two be together. Are you married or something?”
Joey laughed. “No, I’m not married. I’m not even seeing anyone.”
“Then I’m not following.”
“Remember when Jen died?” she asked. “You probably don’t because you were only eight..”
“No, I remember; a little..”
“Well, back then, I hadn’t seen Dawson for a year or so. Actually I hadn’t seen anyone. My boyfriend back then was going to propose to me, so needless to say I hightailed it out of there before then.” She sighed. “He and I broke up and I was left with Dawson and Pacey. The two men I’ve always loved in one way or another. Before she died, she made it her dying wish for me to finally choose; Dawson or Pacey.“
“Yeah I remember hearing about you and Pacey being together. So what happened?” Lily asked, having had only heard bits and pieces from ‘involuntarily eavesdropping’ over the years.
“Well…feeling sad about one of my dearest friends dying and her dying wish being for me to choose…” she paused. “I ended up choosing Pacey; feeling as though my relationship with Dawson was solid. Also I guess I was kinda worried about giving it another shot…and not having it work.”
“Joey, it’s been...eight years. Why haven’t the two of you discussed any of this within those years?” she asked.
“Because all the pain I’ve caused him by making that decision; regardless of the fact Pacey and I didn’t last… I couldn’t possibly ask him for another chance,” she explained. “Besides, last time I checked, Dawson was dating some actress.”
“I really didn’t like her,” Lily admitted. “And he’s not dating her anymore -thank god.”
Joey laughed. The two sat there for a little while in silence.
“Well, honey, thanks for listening to me go on and on; I’m sure it was boring.”
“Actually it was interesting,” she admitted. “Gosh there was so much drama between the three of you! I’m glad my life isn’t filled with that much drama!” Lily said, causing Joey to laugh once more.
“Hey I think I’m going to go lye down for a while. Do you mind?” Joey asked, feeling tired considering it was only two o‘clock on the afternoon. She hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before, plus crying had really drained her.
“It’s fine; I don’t mind,” Lily said, understanding.
“You sure? I mean, you’re leaving tomorrow afternoon,” she pointed out.
“Really, I don’t mind. I’m sure I can find *something* to amuse me for a few hours,” she said, smiling.
Joey smiled. “All right. See you in a little while.” With that, she stood up and headed towards her bedroom.
Joey awoke the next day to the lingering smell of breakfast cooking, feeling more refreshed then the day before. She felt at peace until she opened her eyes and the memories of the past forty eight hours came crashing back to her. She sat up, realizing she had slept the entire night when she had only meant to take a nap. She swung her legs over the side of the bed and stretched before stumbling to the bathroom to comb her hair and look at least half way presentable before making her way out into the living room.
“Lily?” she called out.
“Well, well, well, look who’s decided to finally wake up,” she teased, filling her plate before sitting down at the table.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t expect to sleep that-” she began, feeling bad.
“Joey, I was just teasing,” Lily assured her. “Have something to eat,” she said, motioning to the stove where a pan of scrambled eggs sat; bacon on a paper plate on the counter. Joey looked over at the food, debating whether or not to grab a bite to eat. But her stomach grumbled and she decided to fix a small plate.
“So, you got everything packed?” Joey asked, making conversation as she stabbed her breakfast with the fork.
“Yuppers. Dawson said he was coming to pick me up before one,” she explained. Joey nearly choked on her eggs hearing his name. She looked up at the clock in the kitchen realizing it was almost noon.
“Dawson?” she croaked.
Lily looked up from her plate. “Mom and John are busy, so Dawson said he’d bring me home,” she explained. “I knew you probably didn’t want to see him, so I was just going to wait downstairs so you wouldn’t have to see him.”
“Lily, don’t be crazy,” Joey said, touched by what she had planned in order to save Joey from more heartache. “It’s okay, really. I don’t mind seeing him,” she assured her.
“Are you sure?” Lily asked.
“Yes,” she assured her once more, smiling. The two then continued eating their breakfasts, making small talk between bites. Joey was putting her plate in the sink when there was a knock on her door. Her heart leaped into her throat, knowing who would be standing on the other side once she opened it. Lily looked over at Joey.
“I’ll get it,” she assured her, smoothing her hair out as she walked over to the door. She kept telling herself she would be prepared to see him after what had happened between the two, but that was all blown out of the water as soon as she opened the door. She dared to look up at him; instantly noticing he hadn’t shaved in a day or two, making him look more irresistible than usual.
“Hey,” she said softly, motioning him inside.
“Hey.” Joey closed the door behind him, taking a steadying breath while her back was turned to him.
“I’ll go get my stuff,” Lily said, sneaking out of the living room, giving Joey and Dawson a few minutes alone. Joey stood there in front of Dawson, unsure of what to say to him. There were so many things she wanted to tell him. So many things..
“So..” he said finally, breaking the silence, but not the tension.
“So,” Joey repeated.
“Joey, why didn’t you call me back?” Dawson asked finally. Joey stood there for a second, unsure of how to answer.
“Would it have mattered if I did?” she asked.
“It would have mattered to me,” he said. “Why are you doing this?” he asked.
“Doing what?” she asked.
“This. Pushing me away again.” Joey paused, her gaze dropping to the floor, unable to look at him; afraid he’d be able to look deep inside her soul. Before she could answer, Lily entered the room with her bag, unaware that Joey and Dawson were talking.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I thought-” she began.
“No, Lily, it’s okay,” Joey assured her. Dawson looked over at Joey, sadness and frustration visible in his eyes.
“You about ready?” he asked his sister.
“Yeah, everything’s packed,” she assured him.
“Well thanks for staying with me for the entire week and a half; keeping me company,” Joey said, hugging her. “We’ll have to do it again sometime.”
“I’d like that,” Lily said, hugging her back.
“Be good,” Joey said.
Lily grinned. “I will.” The two said their goodbyes and Lily then disappeared out the door, leaving Joey and Dawson alone once more.
“I guess this is goodbye,” Joey said, barely able to hold back the tears threatening to let loose.
Dawson paused and Joey could tell he was about to say something. She wouldn’t ever find out because he clenched his jaw and muttered, “Bye, Joey,” before disappearing out the door as well. Joey stood there for a few minutes before closing her eyes, trying to regain her composure.
Here goes,” Joey said to herself. “The heartache begins…”
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