The Age of Innocence by: Becci


‘I see you,
The only one who knew me,
but now your eyes see through me,
I guess I was wrong.’
Breakfast At Tiffany’s - Deep Blue Something

Dawson was laying on his back, staring up at the ceiling in deep thought. He didn’t know how that box had got there. He hadn’t planned to have sex that night. How could he explain himself to Joey? Would she listen to him anyway? He knew he wasn’t the cause of her hurt, despite what she believed, but was he completely faultless? He hadn’t put the box of condoms there, but he had gone and fetched one from his parents’room. It wasn’t him planning to sleep with her, it’s just that he knew that if things progressed, they’d need one. He shut his eyes, but all he could picture was Joey’s disgusted and tortured face. It wasn’t just that she might break up with him because of this, she was his best friend, the one he could talk to. If she didn’t want to see him, what would he do?

Joey sat in the bathroom, with the door locked. It was the only place to have privacy in Bessie’s house. She knew that Bessie had seen her come running in in tears, but she didn’t want to talk about it right now. Joey was hugging a picture frame to her. in it was a photo of her and Dawson, around the day of his last seance. They were smiling and happy, before things got complicated. Why had they got romantically involved? Joey wished that they’d just stayed friends. If only she hadn’t fallen for him. If only she didn’t know what it was like to kiss him, to fall asleep in his arms, to hear him say those three words. She loved him, and thought he would never hurt her. Then she’d found out he was planning the loss of their virginity like he plans the storylines of his movies. He was just like the others. After one thing.

The next morning, a very tired and extremely worried Dawson Leery got to his locker at Capeside High. He opened it weakly, not really able to concentrate on anything. His life was falling apart, he thought to himself. In one night, he’d lost his best friend and his girlfriend.

This morning at breakfast had been really uncomfortable. His parents had heard part of his fight with Joey, and were tiptoeing around the subject. He knew he had to see Joey and explain, but he didn’t know how to when she didn’t want to see him.

“Hey, bud! Why the long face?” Pacey said. Dawson jumped involuntarily. He hadn’t even heard his friend approach.

“Joey dumped me last night,” he announced, and watched as Pacey’s face changed from an expression of mirth to one of shock.

“Woah. Tough break man. But you know you two. By the end of the day, you’ll be all hug hug kiss kiss again,” Pacey said, trying to cheer himup.

“Not this time. She told me she never wanted to see me again,” said Dawson glumly.

“That’s gonna be hard, as we all have European history together next period!” Pacey pointed out. “What did you fight about, anyway?”

Just then, the bell went for homeroom. Dawson managed to avoid the question by slamming shut the door of his locker, and scurrying down thehallway.

Joey was woken up by the sound of her sister’s voice. She looked at the alarm clock, which hadn’t gone off. It was 8.30. She was going to be late for school. Then it hit her. She’d broken up with Dawson last night. The thought brought fresh tears to her eyes. She got up off the bed, and walked into the kitchen.

“Bessie! Why didn’t you wake me up?” she asked, although she didn’t want to go to school and face Dawson.

“I thought you’d already left,” Bessie said. “You look terrible. Areyou ill?”

“I feel terrible. Can I have the day off today? It’s the last day before Winter break, and nothing important will happen,” she pleaded.

Bessie looked at her uncertain. “I’ll spend the day working in the Icehouse,” she offered. Bessie’s face changed and she smiled.

“OK then. First though, how did the date go last night?” she asked, curious as she had seen Joey in tears the previous night. She noticed her little sister stiffen slightly.

“Terrible. We broke up,” Joey said quietly before walking away to get changed into some proper clothes.

Dawson looked about the cafeteria at lunchtime. Joey hadn’t turned up for first period, and he couldn’t see her now. He saw Jen and Pacey together buying their lunch. They noticed him, and walked over to their usual table.

“Pacey, did she turn up for homeroom?” he asked, a note of urgency in his voice. Pacey shook his head.

“Jen, was she in Biology?” Jen shook her head too.

“What did you do that was so bad that she dumped you?” Pacey asked.

“I didn’t. That’s the problem. She’s mad at me for something I didn’t do.” Dawson explained. “We had a great time, and then she blew up at me. God, what’ll I do if she doesn’t forgive me? what if she doesn’t let me explain? What if she had an accident?”

“Dawson, calm down! She’s probably not up to seeing you yet. Maybe she’s helping Bessie out at the Icehouse,” Jen said sensibly. Dawson sat down and began to pick at his food. Jen and Pacey exchanged worried glances.

‘I really feel,
Like I’m losing my best friend.
I can’t believe this could be the end.
It looks as though you’re letting go,
And if it’s true, then I don’t want to know’
Don’t Speak - No Doubt

Joey sat down on a stool at the counter and took what was the first break since she had started work. There were a lot of people coming back to Capeside for their Christmas. That was good news for Bessie and Bodie’s business, but it meant a lot of work. Bodie served her with a piping cup of hot chocolate.

“Thanks,” she said meekly. It was obvious Bessie had told him about her and Dawson breaking up. He hadn’t yelled at her for breaking a plate earlier, and now he was giving her a drink on the house. Bodie lookedup.

“Joey, do you want to see Dawson?” he asked her.

“Not really. Why?” she asked.

“’Cause he’s just about to find you,” he replied. Joey leapt up off the stool, and ducked down behind the counter. She heard Dawson ask if Bodie had seen her. Bodie told him that she’d spent the day there, but he’d just let her go free. When Dawson finally went, Joey got backup.

“Thank you so much,” she said to Bodie. Bodie smiled back.

“Hey! There’s been times that I wished I could do that when Bessie comes looking for me!” he joked. Joey smiled, shook her head and sat back down.

Dawson had ran out of school as soon as the bell had gone. He had raced to the Icehouse in the hope that she was there. When Bodie told him she wasn’t, he didn’t know what to do. He had to talk to her. He was in a similar dilemma to the other day. She was too good at hiding.

As children, he’d spent hours searching for her. That’s why they’d played the Jaws game in his closet. It was easier for him to escapereality.

Pacey waltzed into the Icehouse, and saw Joey. She was talking to Bodie. Obviously Dawson hadn’t found her. He put his finger on his lips, signalling to Bodie to not let her know he was there. He then snuck up on her and made her jump. Bodie walked away, laughing.

“You die Pacey,” she said.

“Nice to see you haven’t lost that spark,” he commented. Than, seriously, he spoke to her. “Look, Dawson told me about you two breaking up. If you want to talk, I’m here for you.” Joey eyed him suspiciously. “Seriously, I’m a dab hand with relationship problems.”

“OK. I’m ready to talk,” she said, finally deciding that, even if he betrayed her, Dawson would find out how angry she was. “Let’s go somewhere else.” She stood up and started to leave the Icehouse. Pacey followed.

Jen walked home from school as slowly as she could. She didn’t want to go back home. Her grandmother was starting to arrange the funeral today, and the house felt anything but festive. Noticing the cold wind, she pulled her coat a little tighter around her. She stopped on the bridge, looking out onto the water. Suddenly, she became aware of someone stood next to her. She turned around and saw that it was a guy around her age.

“Hey,” he said. “You’re Jen, aren’t you? I’m Jack Mc Phee. I’m in your Spanish class,” he explained. Jen smiled at him.

Joey walked along to the dock outside the Icehouse, and then sat down at the edge. Although it was still the afternoon, the cold weather meant it looked much later. Pacey joined her, and they sat in silence for a few moments before she began to speak.

“I found a box of condoms in Dawson’s room,” she began. “He took me on this perfect date, and then I found out that it was all planned. He thought we were gonna have sex.”

She looked up at Pacey, whose face was slightly pink, as if he was embarrassed.


“Is that why you broke up with him?” he asked. Joey nodded.

“God, you’re both gonna kill me. Ummm… Joey? Dawson didn’t put those there.”

“then who did?” she asked confused.

“I did. It was meant as a prank. I thought you’d laugh about it, not break up with him over them!” Joey’s face turned purple with rage, and then it changed as she began to realise what she had done.

“You mean you put those there as a joke? What kind of joke is that? You’re sick, Pacey. Oh God! What if he won’t accept my apology? What if he took my advice and called Jen last night?” Pacey stood up and shook his head.

“He did nothing of the sort. He was really upset all day about it. He said he didn’t have anything to do with it. He’s looking for you now to apologise, although he didn’t do it.” Joey stood up, and ran her hands through her hair.

“Pacey, why do you have to be so juvenile?” she asked. He shrugged.

“If you’re gonna start sleeping together, I don’t want you to catch anything. You’re my best friends,” he joked. Joey hugged him suddenly.

“Thank you for owning up. I just hope he forgives me,” she said.

“He will. Tell him how sorry I am. I may have done one good thing though.”

“What?” she asked suspiciously. He smiled slyly.

“If this is your first fight, you’re about to have your first make up. Have fun,” he said. Joey spun on her heels and ran towards Dawson’s house. Pacey watched her and sighed before walking back towards his house, filled with people who despised his every action.

Jen smiled as she entered her Grandmother’s house. Everything was beginning to look better. She and Jack had spoken for a bit, and then he’d asked her out on a date the following night. She’d accepted. They were gonna go to the Rialto to see one of last year’s box office hits, and then he was gonna buy her dinner at the Icehouse. She hummed to herself as she walked up the stairs.

“Jennifer, is that you?” cam the voice of her Grams.

“Yes, Grams. It’s me,” she said cheerfully.

“Your parents called this morning, dear. They’re coming to the funeral,” she said. Jen groaned, her happy mood ruined.

Do you know where you’re going to,
Do you like the things that life is showing you?
Where are you going to?
Do you know?
Do you get what you’re hoping for
When you look behind you
there’s no open doors,
What are you hoping for?
Do you know?
Do you know where you’re going to? - Diana Ross

Joey saw Dawson sat on the dock. She walked over and joined him. He looked up, surprised that she didn’t disappear. For over an hour now he’d been seeing images of Joey sitting down to talk with him. He’d spoken to three of them. Anyone walking past must think he was mad, but he didn’t care. He had his speech scripted. However, this vision sat down beside him and stared out over the water. Dawson began to do a final draft of his speech in his head. Joey, I’m sorry about last night. I know you said that I should stay away from you, but let me explain. I don’t know who put those there, but I didn’t. I’d never do anything like that. don’t you know by now that I can’t plan things when you’re involved? Anytime I try, I fail. Like the other night. I had it all planned out. When I found you, I was gonna apologise for what you saw, and explain that there was nothing going on between Jen and I. But I froze up. Then, you started to leave my room. I had to do something quickly, and I know that these long talks we have could be cut down to a couple of sentences. Rather than tell you how I felt, I kissed you. And I’m glad I did. I love you Jo, in so many different ways, and I’m so scared that I’m gonna loose you. I couldn’t handle that. I was only partly joking when I said I’d kill myself if you went to France. Like I told your father, you’re everything to me. I can’t live without you. Forgive me. I love you.

Joey sat in silence, and began to plan what she wanted to say. Dawson, Pacey told me it was him, not you. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean what I said last night. You’re not a man. You’re a Dawson, and I love you. I got so angry because you plan everything so much. I’ve only seen you react twice in a way that wasn’t scripted - then night at the ruins and the night we kissed. You need to stop it. Let some things happen naturally. We’ll have sex together eventually, but when it happens, it’ll happen. You can’t plan it. And it’s in the future. We have our whole lives together, if only you’ll forgive me. You’re the only stable thing in my life, and I can’t lose you. I love you Dawson Leery.

Joey licked her lips, and opened her mouth to speak. Dawson turned to face her, and did the same simultaneously. Noticing each other, they smiled and looked at each other. They looked deep inside each others eyes for a moment, fully absorbing what the other one felt. Then, Dawson reached out to tough Joey’s face. He brought it to his, and they kissed.

Gail and Mitch Leery arrived home from work at the same time. They got out of their cars, and saw their son on the dock with Joey. She had her head resting on his chest. Relieved at what appeared to be the end of that argument, they entered the house together, without disturbing them. About half an hour after they got back, Dawson entered the house with Joey. It was rare for Joey to use the front door.

“Mom, dad, can Joey stay for dinner?” he asked. His parents were a little surprised, as Joey hadn’t had dinner with the family for years.

“Of course she can, sweetie,” Gail replied. “Is Lasagne OK, Joey?”

“Of course it is,” Joey answered. “Thanks a lot.” Mitch looked up at Dawson, who was watching Joey intensely.

“I take it your romance is back on then?” he enquired. They both smiled.

“We’ll be upstairs. Can you call us when the food’s ready?” Dawson asked, without waiting for an answer. He went upstairs, dragging Joey by the arm. Mitch smiled, and stood up and walked over to his wife.

“To be 15 again. Lots of different dates. Lots of little squabbles that seem like the end of the world. Lots of making up,” he joked.

“I don’t know. I don’t think those two would fall out over something trivial,” Gail replied thoughtfully. “I think they’re in love. I don’t think it’s just dating. Our son’s in love!”

My love,
There’s only you in my life,
The only thing that’s right.
My first love,
You’re every breath that I take,
You’re every step I make.
And I,
I want to share all my love with you.
No one else will do.
And your eyes,
They tell me how much you care.
Oh yeah, you always be,
My endless love.
Endless love - Diana Ross and Lionel Richie

Dawson and Joey were lying on his bed, kissing. It was as if they were making up for the hurt and pain of the past 24 hours. After a few moments, they broke apart, and lay staring at each other. It was just as Dawson had told Pacey a few weeks earlier, they could communicate without saying a word. They were soulmates, it’s just that they mademistakes.

“Joey, how did you know it wasn’t me?” he asked, tentatively.

“Pacey told me it was him,” she confessed. “But it didn’t seem like something you’d do. It’s too masculine, some how, for you. “

“Are you saying that I’m feminine?” he asked.

“No! But you’re not a typical man. I’d like to think that you like me for more than my stunning looks,” she said jokingly.

“Of course,” he answered seriously. “But they are a definite plus.”

“Dawson! Dinner’s ready!” Gail Leery called up. The two leapt up and went downstairs. They sat together at the table, holding hands under the table top.

When Jack got to the Lindly household, Jen was already waiting outside for him. He presented her with a bunch of flowers, which she took inside. She told her Grams that she was going, and they began the walk to the Rialto. Jack was tall, taller than Dawson or Pacey. He had dark hair, but it hung in curtains. His eyes were dark brown and you could get lost in them. He was polite and courteous, but he had a sense of humour. He made several jokes on the way, which Jen enjoyed. Although he was new to the area, he seemed to be fairly confident without being cocky. In short, he was perfect in Jen’s eyes.

He was just what she needed to put the past few days behind her. Plus, her parents would approve of him. As they were arriving in a few days, they would no doubt meet him. Jack paid for his ticket, and for hers. He also paid for the popcorn, and opened the doors for Jen.

When they had finished dinner, Mitch announced that he had some work to do for the next morning. Joey offered to help Gail with the washing up. Dawson tried to persuade her not to, but she felt obligated to help out. Gail told Dawson to wait for Joey, because the two of them could talk about him whilst they put the dishes in the dishwasher. Dawson reluctantly withdrew to his room.

“Your mother and I used to joke about you two getting married one day,” Gail said quietly. Joey looked up, with a hint of sadness in hereyes.

“I still miss her,” she admitted.

“Well, she’d be very proud of you sweetie. Bessie may look like her, but you act just like she did. You’re independent and strong willed, just like she wanted you to be. I think that was her greatest regret when she got cancer. She wanted to see you and Bessie grow up and have your own families,” Gail revealed. Joey smiled despite herself.

“She used to tease me about him, you know. I told her not to be so silly, but she was right…” Joey paused, suddenly realising that she was about to confide her feelings for Dawson to his mother.

“Go on…you can talk to me about him…” Gail prompted.

“I…I guess it took her death for me to realise that Dawson was the only thing I’ll always have in my life…and Jen’s arrival for me to realise that I loved him.”

“You really love him, don’t you. I know he loves you,” Gail said. Joey nodded and looked at the ground nervously.

“I’m glad,” Gail told her. “I’m glad he’s fallen for someone like you. You’re good for him. Tell you what, let me finish here. You and Dawson go to the Icehouse or something for dessert. Here’s $20. Go and have some fun. Whilst you can. Adulthood comes too quickly.” Joey took the money, and began to walk to Dawson’s room. She felt all mixed up. It was weird. Gail acted like she was her mother sometimes. Other times, it felt like Joey was the adult, like with Bob.

Jen and Jack were ate at the Icehouse, debating the plausibility of the film they had just seen when Joey and Dawson arrived. Jen waved them over. Dawson walked over to the couple, whilst Joey walked to the bar, and told Bodie what she and Dawson wanted. Then she too sat down with Jen and Jack.

“Guys, this is Jack Mc Phee. He’s new at school. Jack, this is Dawson and Josephine,” Jen said.

“Call me that and you’ll get hurt,” Joey warned him. “Joey’s my name.” She shook hands with him.

“Nice to meet you two. OK…let me get this straight…you’re the Spielberg fan, and you’re the one who downed two members of the football team?” he said, aiming the descriptions at the wrong people.

“No, that would be Jo’s work,” Dawson corrected. Jack whistled as he exhaled.

“Wow. I suppose he called you Josephine, eh?” he joked.

“No, he asked me to be his concubine,” Joey explained. She looked at Dawson and saw his confused face. She smiled. “Long story!”

“You two will back me up. Have you seen the movie showing at the rialto?” Jen asked. Joey and Dawson smiled at each other.

“Yeah last night,” Dawson said. “Although it sucked! The ending was completely ruined. It was too predictable.” Jen nodded.

“See? Plus, scene three was too brief,” she commented. Jack shook his head.

“I can’t believe you’re saying that! It was romantic. You knew what was gonna happen, and that was what made it special,” he argued. Joey sat back in her seat, and looked at Dawson with a smile on her face.

“That’s what she said last night!” he told Jack.

The four of them walked back to Dawson and Jen’s houses a few hours later, still discussing films and predictable endings. Joey had insulted many of Dawson’s favourite movies, and Jen had defended them.

Both the guys found it amusing to listen to, and had barely said a word. Jack walked Jen up to her door. She kissed him on the cheek, and entered her house. He turned around, and looked over to Dawson’s house, and he could see Joey and Dawson kissing goodbye. Eventually, they broke apart, and Joey walked back toward the creek with a happy smile on her face.

“So, where do you live?” he asked her. she stiffened slightly.

“34 Janson Street,” she told him, waiting for his face to drop in unhidden disappointment. Instead, he smiled.

“Cool! I live on the same street,” he told her. “Can I row you home then?” She accepted. They rode home discussing the other things they had in common. He too was hoping to get a full scholarship. His father had died when he was a child, and his mother had struggled to get enough money for them to pull through. He had a sister, who was a year younger than him. Suddenly, he changed the subject.

“I take it you and Dawson have been going out for a long time then?” he asked. Joey blushed at his bluntness, then smiled and told him the truth.

“72 hours,” she confessed, and then began to laugh. He watched her for a few seconds, and then joined in.

The next morning, Dawson was waiting for Joey to arrive. He saw Jen was in the porch outside her house, so he used the ladder to get out, and he walked over to her.

“Hey,” he said. Jen looked up suddenly. She hadn’t noticed him.

“Oh! Hi! I was just waiting for Jack,” she said.

“He seems nice enough,” Dawson said. In reality, he saw Jack as a show off. His ideas were old ones used a million times before, and Dawson didn’t like the looks that he’d been giving Joey.

“Yeah, he does. Um…my parents are coming for the funeral,” Jen began. “they’ll probably want to meet you.”

“OK. Is there a date?” he asked, almost frightened of making Jen cry.


“I’m really sorry about your Gramps, Jen. I saw Joey go through the whole grieving process, so if you want to talk to me, I can…”

“That’s OK, Dawson. Besides, she’s offered me her shoulder to cry on. Plus, there’s always Pacey,” she smiled. “It’s funny. When we were going out, I always felt like an outsider. Now Gramps has died, I’m inundated with friends.”

Joey saw Dawson talking to Jen as her boat approached the jetty. Jack was rowing it. The two had discovered that they were both meant to be seeing the neighbours at the same time, so he’d offered to row her to Dawson’s house. Whilst he rowed, he told jokes and stories of his life in the city. She’d told him all about the kids at school, and especially about Dawson, Pacey and Jen. They moored the boat and walked up to Jen’s house, still talking avidly.

“…and so I said, ‘well, you can stuff that turkey!” he said as heopened the door for Joey. Joey broke into laughter.

Dawson noticed out of the corner of his eye that Jack was in the boat with Joey. He was talking, and she was listening intently. As they walked up Jen’s drive, Joey had a smile on her face. Then, when they entered Jen’s porch, Jack had said something about a turkey, and Joey had cracked up.

“Oh my God! you have to tell them the joke!” she finally managed to say. Then, she hugged Dawson quickly. “Go on, Jack!” Jack looked up and saw the black look that Dawson wore. He stopped smiling and gave Jen a quick kiss on the cheek.

“Come on, Joey, we’d better get back to my house,” he said. Joey looked at him, confused.

“OK. Bye, Jen. bye Turkey guy!” she said, smiling at Jack. Dawson guided her out of the door and they began to walk back to Dawson’shouse.

“He is so cool!” she said. Dawson gritted his teeth. It wasn’t the first time he’d felt jealous about someone spending time with his Joey. He knew it was silly, but there was something about that guy he didn’tlike.

Just as they walked up to the large Leery house, a car pulled up into the driveway. It was Pacey in his dad’s truck. Joey rolled her eyes.

“Well, if it isn’t Capeside’s very own Romeo and Juliet!” he said as he climbed out of the car.

“Hey, Pace. What are you doing here this morning?” Dawson asked, ignoring the last comment. Pacey walked up to the couple, and put his arm around their waists.

“Well, I was feeling a little lonely, so I thought how about the three of us got together and did something crazy?” he said. Joey pulled herself free of his grasp. “Or, we could go shopping. I’m not bothering with my family, but I guess I’d better get something for you guys.”

Dawson clasped his hand to his head.

“Oh my God! Christmas is on Monday! I completely forgot! I was meant to go shopping on Saturday, but I kinda got caught up with a certain visit to a certain prison,” Dawson explained. “What about you, Jo?”

“Done it. But I guess I’d better get Jack something,” she said thoughtfully. Dawson tried his hardest to control the jealousy inhim.

“Who’s Jack?” Pacey asked. This time, Dawson rolled his eyes.

“Some guy new at school,” he explained impatiently. “He’s been taking Jen out, enjoying naff movies and hitting on Joey!” Joey looked up at Dawson, with her eyes open wide, her mouth open slightly and a look of shock on her face.

“He has not! He just happens to be a nice guy who I have a lot in common with. Believe me, he’s not hitting on me. And if he was, I wouldn’t be interested anyway. I love you Dawson. Stop being so jealous!” Dawson looked into her eyes and saw that she was telling the truth. He pluled her face to his and gave her a deep kiss. They only broke apart when Pacey started making puking noises.

“Jealousy is a common thing around here,” Joey said before bouncing into the truck. Dawson and Pacey looked after her, and then entered the car.

Christmas Eve

Dawson woke early, excited as if he was a small child. Christmas eve was the most exciting day of the year for him. This year, as normal, he would be with Joey in the evening. However, this year was different.

This year, he had paid for his parents to have dinner out, and he had invited Joey, Pacey, Jen and Jack to his house. His idea was for them all to have dinner together, and share presents. Then, when the others went home, he’d be alone with Joey. He had a special present for her this year.

He went downstairs after having a shower and getting dressed. His parents were in the kitchen, having breakfast. He gave his mother a kiss on the cheek.

“Hi, guys,” he said cheerfully. His parents exchanged looks.

“what puts you in such a happy mood today?” his father asked.

“Well, not only is it Christmas eve, but I’m spending almost a whole day with Jo,” he confessed.

“The others are coming over tonight, aren’t they?” Gail asked,worriedly.

“Of course they are! I’m not planning an orgy or anything,” he said whilst reaching for a bowl to have some cereal in. “Although an eight hour sex session with Jo would be interesting,” he joked. His parents looked at him, shocked. “Woah. I was only joking. I promise that I’m not planning any funny business.”

“Dawson,” Mitch began, “without trying to pry, how far have you two gone?” Dawson sat down with his breakfast and smiled at his parents.

“No further than what I’ve seen you two doing on the coffee table,” he said.

“Let’s change the subject,” Gail said suddenly, her face showing signs of slight embarrassment. “What are your plans for today, Dawson?” He looked up at her.

“Well, I’m working in the video shop until midday with Joey, who’s working Pacey’s shift. Then, we’re going for lunch together. After lunch, we’re gonna watch a movie, then she’s going home to get changed whilst I prepare dinner. Jack’s gonna drive her over about 7, and Jen and Pacey will be here. we’re gonna have a Christmas day amongst us, and then they’re all going home. Even Jo.” He looked up at the time.

“Oh my God! I’d better go. I can’t be late for work!” With that, he bounced out of the kitchen, leaving his parents behind, mildly amused.

Joey was sat at the back of the video shop, pleased that Dawson wasn’t there yet. She hadn’t been able to wrap his present yet, and she was desperately trying to get it done now, before he came. She’d brought him two gifts, one to give whilst the others were with them, and one for later, when they’d be alone. She smiled to herself as she stuck the last bit of tape onto the paper. He’d love the present. Or at least, she hoped he would. Just then, she heard the bell ring, signalling that someone had opened the shop’s door. She hid the present in her bag, left the private room, locking the door behind her, and looked to see who was there. It was Dawson. He walked up the centre of the shop, smiling at her. She loved his smile. He came behind the counter, and kissed her.

“Hey, beautiful,” he said. “Sorry I’m late, I was persuading the parental units that we’re not planning an orgy for tonight.”

“That’s all right. So, what movie shall we watch for the next 94 minutes? I’ve narrowed it down to three - Matilda, Toy Story or Miracle on 34th Street,” she said.

“What’s with the kiddie theme?” he asked.

“I don’t know, nostalgia, I guess,” she said wistfully.

“Not everything that’s old is good,” said Dawson, worried about what Joey was thinking. Did that mean she wished that they’d never got together?

“I know,” she said, ”and I’m glad!” With that, she hugged him, and they kissed once more. They ignored the sound of the bell that rings when someone enters. They broke apart when they heard a cough that didn’t come from either of them. They turned, and came face to face with Bessie.

“Ummm…Joey, Dawson. OK, I need your help, Jo. Alex is screaming constantly, and neither Bodie or I can silence him. You seem to keep him silent. What’s your secret?”

Dawson, whose face showed signs of embarrassment, went out to the back room. Joey was also blushing.

“English Patient. I’ll just get it for you,” she mumbled before turning and looking for the video amongst the stock.

“You know, I don’t mind witnessing the PDAs, Joey, but some people might. Like Mrs. Lindley, or Stan. You ought to be more careful.” Joey turned back to the counter, and began to ring the video up on the till.

“I know. Thanks, Bess. And I don’t just mean for not minding. Thank you for being there for me, and putting up with my bad moods. I do appreciate it,” she stated sincerely.

“What’s with all the affection, Jo? What’s up?” Bessie enquired, half joking and half serious. Joey shrugged.

“I don’t know. Maybe it’s just that for the first time since Mom died, I’m happy,” she uttered.

“Well, long live Dawson then. How much for the video?”

“I’ll pay. Go home. Play it to Alex. I promise you that Rosemary’s child will fall asleep quicker than Bodie after a roast dinner.”

“Thanks, kiddo!” Bessie left the shop.

A few hours later, Joey and Dawson had finished their shift, had lunch out and started the walk back to Dawson’s house.

“Joey, I’m sorry,” Dawson said suddenly.

“What on earth for?” Joey asked.

“For the way I acted towards you. The whole Jen obsession, telling you that you’d never be her, being completely insensitive to your feelings.” Joey paused for a second, drew a breath, and put her hand on Dawson’s chest.

“You were worth the wait and heartbreak. You remember how you asked if my hormones were developing a thang for you? They weren’t. What I feel for you is much deeper than a bunch of chemicals.”

“What? Chemical this,” Dawson said, pretending to be offended before pulling her face to his in the deepest kiss they’d shared. When they puled away, they were both out of breath.

“Wow!” Joey responded. “You know what, I’ve never been happier than this moment. That scares me.”

“You’ll be happier later today, I hope!” Dawson said mysteriously.

“Just what have you got planned?” Joey asked, with her hands on her hips.

“Joey, has anyone ever told you how beautiful you look when your cheeks are red?”

“Don’t change the subject, Leery!” Joey ordered. Dawson began to walk off. Joey watched for a second before running after him, and they walked to the creek.

From where he was stood, Jack saw Joey and Dawson kiss. He watched as they talked, wishing he could hear what they were saying. Then, Joey pulled an indignant face, and Dawson began to walk off. Jack sighed as she ran after him, and they got in the boat and began to row away. God! She’s so beautiful, he thought. I mean, Jen’s nice, but Joey’s more than that. I wish she wasn’t with Dawson. He’s such a mummy’s boy! Completely obsessive, and completely wet. She’s bright, sharp and beautiful. What could she see in him? Jack walked over to a nearby bench and sat down, with his head in his hands. This wasn’t the first time he’d questioned the relationship between Dawson and Joey. Ever since that first meeting, he’d been interested in Joey. Being in the same Spanish class as Joey and Jen, he’d noticed how beautiful she was. Not in the pretty way like Jen. Joey was like a woman, she had her own style and she was elegant. She was so unlike any other girl he’d ever met. Depressed, he ran his hands through his hair.

Pacey sat in the swinging chair in the porch of his house. He needed time to think and calm down. He’d just had another fight with his father, this time about how late he could stay at Dawson’s. He knew that Dawson wanted time alone with Joey before his parents came home.

Pacey had been with him when he bought that wonderful present for her. He thought he’d be back about 8pm. His father argued that Christmas was a time for families, and that he had to be back home by 7pm. It was only an hour difference, but it was an hour longer that he’d have to spend with the family from hell. Merry Christmas, Pacey he thought to himself.

The movie ended, and Joey immediately leapt up from the bed. She walked over to the chair, and began to put on her shoes.

“Am I really that bad company?” Dawson asked her.

“No, honey. It’s just that it’s 3.30, and I want to get ready for tonight.”

“You could get ready here,” Dawson objected.

“I bet I could,” Joey replied. “I’ll see you at 7, OK?”

“Wait! Are you going to be rowing over?” Dawson asked.

“Good point,” Joey said thoughtfully. “I don’t think I can in what I’m gonna wear.”

“Why don’t you get Jack to drive you over?” Dawson suggested.

“Woah! Is this Dawson who thinks Jack’s trying to steal me away suggesting that I’m on my own with him?” Joey teased.

“I don’t mind.”

“That’s all right. I’ll get Bodie to drive me. Jack’s been kinda weird lately. See you later then.” Joey began to walk out of the window.

“I’m missing you already,” Dawson called out of the window. Joey smiled to herself as she climbed down the ladder.

So? What did you think? Please e-mail me with any comments. It’d be nice to know that someone’s out there.
Thank you.


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