Summary: After leaving him twice, Joey's finally ready. Has Dawson really moved on?
Author's Notes: As always, feedback is gratefully received. This series, like the last part of the previous one, will have links to the songs if the whole song is sung. Otherwise, I'll just duplicate the lyrics here. Please go to the pages where I put up the song words. There are pictures there too, and I've spent ages selecting songs! And one thing - Jo or Joey is Josephine Potter. Josephine is the other one, OK?
Warnings: Rating: The last series, 'This Girl's Life', was rated R because it handled serious issues, but some people didn't understand why it was an R rating. This one also surrounds serious topics, so I'll let you decide.
‘Love deeply and passionately. You may get hurt, but it's the only way to live life completely…Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.’
Dawson looked around the room. All his friends were there, as were his family. Everyone was happy. Except him. He silently chastised himself - this should be a happy event. This was the first day of the week long celebration that would end with him marrying Josephine. His fiancée was sat beside him, talking to her mother. She was tall, and had long brown hair that could be straight one day and curly the next. Her name was Josephine, but she preferred Jo. But there the similarities ended. She had an average sense of humour, and rarely used sarcasm. Her family was rich, and she’d been born and raised in a New York suburb. She was completely devoted to him and accepted his views as being right. He should be happy. But he wasn’t.
He looked around the room again and saw lots of people he didn’t know. Most of the guests were members of New York society. This wasn’t how he would have planned things. But he hadn’t planned the party. His future mother-in-law had. Josephine’s parents insisted on paying for everything - he was marrying their only child. But this made Dawson even more uneasy.
Josephine turned to look at him. She frowned at his expression.
"What’s wrong, sweetheart?" she asked.
"Nothing. Don’t worry… I was just thinking that it may not have been a good idea to ask Pacey to be best man," Dawson lied.
"Oh, don’t be silly. He’s just adorable! He’ll do us proud," Jo replied. She was always so eager and so keen. Dawson’s friends didn’t get on well with her, but she remained oblivious to their sarcastic remarks.
Dawson was distracted from his thoughts by someone using the microphone on the stage. It was Jim, Jo’s father.
"Ladies and gentlemen, can I have your attention please?" he said. "We’re here today to celebrate the engagement and forthcoming wedding of my little girl to Dawson Leery, film maker genius. Please raise your glasses to a toast." The guests obeyed the command. "To their perfect future!"
"Their perfect future!" cried the guests. Josephine leaned forward and gave Dawson a kiss. He decided to take action. He kept her close and deepened the kiss. He shut his eyes in an attempt to keep the images of another girl out of his head. The guests clapped in response. Then the hired band began to play. Dawson heard a familiar voice sing, and pulled away from the kiss. He looked at the stage, and his mouth dropped open.
On the stage stood a tall and stunningly beautiful woman. She had long deep brown hair that she wore in curls down her back. She wore a silver dress that showed off her wonderful figure. Her lips were soft and full and out of her mouth came a wonderful melody. As she began to sing, she stared right at Dawson, making him listen to every word. It was his Joey.
<Song - ‘Queen of Hollywood’ by the Corrs - >
The relevance of the words was not lost on Dawson, or Pacey, Bessie and Dawson’s parents who were all present. It could have been written about Joey. Dawson was lost for words, but Joey walked off the stage after that song, leaving the band to play some slow songs. She walked off the back of the stage, giving Dawson a few moments to collect himself. He looked about, and locked eyes with Pacey. He stood up.
"Honey? I’ll be right back, OK?" he said to his fiancée, who wasn’t listening.
As Joey came out through a door and onto the dance floor, she could feel many pairs of eyes on her. But she was interested in only one pair. She’d located Dawson as soon as she began to sing. And she knew that right now he must be trying to find her. Sure enough, she felt his presence behind her as she sat at the bar on a stool. She licked her lips quickly, and waited for him to speak first.
"Ummm… for lack of a better line, what are you doing here?" Dawson asked. She smiled, and turned around to face him.
"No hello?" she said. Her eyes filled with tears and her bottom lip began to quiver as she realised that at last, he was in front of her. He also looked close to tears. They opened their arms and embraced. Pacey had found them by now, but kept a discreet distance. Dawson had told him over and over how much he felt for her, and what had happened.
"Jo…" Dawson started.
"Ssssshhhhh," she whispered. "I know."
"Five years… what are you doing here?" he asked.
"I’m the wedding singer," she said, pulling away from him. The irony of the situation made her smile despite herself.
"You look… so good," Dawson commented. Joey squirmed uncomfortably. Just as she was about to disprove the claim, a familiar voice cried out.
"Joey!" Knowing the voice instantly, Joey turned around, her tears coming fast and furiously. It was her sister. She stood up and the two women hugged.
"Bessie… It’s been so long…" Joey stumbled as they pulled apart. "Can you ever forgive me?"
"Of course. I love you, Joey. You’re my only sister," Bessie reassured her.
"Pacey!" Joey said, seeing her long lost friend stood a little distance away. Then they hugged.
"Hello, Jo," Gail said, announcing their arrival. Joey looked over at Dawson’s parents, who had been so close to her all those years ago. Holding Mitch’s hand was a small child of about four.
"Who’s this?" Joey asked. Dawson smiled proudly, and touched the child’s hair. "Is she…?" Joey asked, unable to spit out the words.
"She’s ours," Gail answered to comfort her. "Our very own little surprise. Joey, meet Olivia."
"Ollie," the girl corrected. Her parents smiled.
"So you’re not an only child anymore?" Joey asked Dawson. "Damn! There goes all those insults!" She laughed lightly, her voice light and carefree.
"Dawson, honey? Who is this?" said a tall brown haired lady who approached the group and took Dawson’s arm. Joey knew this move was a defensive one. Probably caused by Dawson talking to an attractive woman who he obviously knew and yet had not introduced to her.
"Jo! Josephine! This is Joey. She’s… a friend that I haven’t seen for years," Dawson blustered.
"Joey Potter," Joey offered, extending her arm.
"Oh yes, the hired singer," she was dismissed. "I didn’t know you knew Dawson."
"We were childhood sweethearts," Joey explained, staking her claim.
"Oh. I’m his fiancée, Josephine Haroldson," the other woman said. "I’m of the Manhattan Haroldsons… Potter’s not a familiar name for me, I’m afraid."
"Oh, never mind. You probably wouldn’t know us anyway. Very small family. We only mix with the very elite," Joey said. Dawson smiled at this.
"Josephine, honey? Why don’t you go and talk to your mother? She’s trying to get your attention," Dawson lied. Josephine left them to talk to her mother as asked. He turned back to Joey.
"Your fiancée?" she asked. He nodded, swallowing heavily. Joey brought her hand to her mouth, and went pale. "What happened to forever, Dawson?" she asked, before running off in the direction of the ladies toilets. Dawson looked pleadingly at his mother, who raced after Joey, followed quickly by Bessie.
Non - Commercial Break
I’m just taking some space here to thank everyone reading this who sent feedback on ‘This Girl’s Life’. It was really encouraging, and I had some very eloquent opinions. There were far too many people to name here, but I did appreciate several of you who wrote a few times. Of course, that does put a lot of pressure on me to perform! I hope you’re enjoying it so far, so I won’t keep you here for long. I really appreciate any feedback, so please e-mail me with any. Oh, and during the last series, I used some quotes from a friend at the beginning and then from a quotes book in the middle. The quotes used in this series are from a chain e-mail I got. Normally, I hate them, but some of these statements are interesting and are apt to my story. On with the fanfic!
Bessie looked under each of the stalls in the ladies loos. Each was empty. She stood up and shrugged at Gail. Then they heard a sob. Following the sound, they pushed open the second door, and found Joey huddled up on the toilet seat. She had her head resting on her knees and her hair covered her face. But it was clear that she was crying.
"Joey?" Bessie said. Joey looked up, her face stained with the tears that had fallen in such a short time.
"I love him!" Joey cried.
"We know," Gail replied. "Come out please." Joey obeyed, and sat on the counter where the sinks were.
"Oh honey," Bessie said, hugging her. Joey rubbed at her eyes, smudging her carefully applied make up.
"I didn’t know whose party it was," Joey explained. "We just got asked by this guy if we’d play at this wedding party type thing he was arranging. Said he was the best man. I just saw him out there… and got silly."
"We?" Gail asked. Joey smiled despite herself.
"Me and the rest of the group. We’re called ET. At my insistence." The other two women grinned. "I know. But surely, that just proves that I haven’t let him go?" Joey asked. Bessie hugged her again.
"He loves you too," Gail replied.
"I don’t see how he could be engaged if he did," Joey said.
"He came to New York, despite you telling him not to. He looked for you everywhere, Joey. And he found a girl called Josephine. And look at her. She’s so much like you. The fact he’s with her proves he still loves you."
"And now I’m ready for him, he’s with someone else. That sucks! It really does!" Joey cried. "You know what? I did what I told him I was going to. I came here, and settled myself. I found a job, a place to live, and put myself through college. I got a degree in Classics. And then I formed this group. And I’ve made decent money singing with them. They’re like a surrogate family. I decided last week that I was ready to find Dawson. I was going to phone you both the day after tomorrow, and ask after him."
"Oh honey," Gail breathed, upset at the missed opportunity.
"No. I don’t want your sympathy. I wasn’t Dawson."
"Well go get him," Bessie said. "Josephine’s nice enough, but she’s nothing compared to you. You’re the love of his life. So go out there and get him."
"I will. But I’m going to do it my way," Joey replied. She wiped at her eyes one more time. "I’m going to go get him," she said, hugging Gail and then her sister. Then Joey walked out of the room.
Dawson sighed silently as Joey came out of the ladies toilets. He walked towards her and smiled nervously.
"Joey…" he said. She looked at him for a few moments. Then she nodded. Understanding, he walked closer and they hugged. "I’m so sorry you had to find this out," Dawson whispered.
"Sssshhh," Joey commanded. They pulled apart and stood awkwardly for a few moments. "I’d better go sing," she said. He nodded, and she walked towards the stage again.
Joey smiled at the rest of the group. She’d been telling the truth when she’d told Gail and Bessie that they were like a family. She’d met Mark at college, and he’d introduced her to his two friends Harry and Damien. They’d been considering forming a group, and needed a vocalist. She supplied that instrument, and they played in bars, clubs and at function like today. They’d laughed about Joey being the wedding singer, and they supported one another. She walked over to them.
"You guys?" she said. They all looked at her. They’d gathered that something was wrong, but had played a couple of other songs while she’d been gone.
"You OK?" Harry asked, seeing her puffy eyes.
"That’s Dawson over there," Joey explained. Whenever she got drunk, she’d tell them information about Dawson.
"The Dawson?" Damien asked. Joey nodded. He let out a low whistle.
"And right beside him is his fiancée," Joey finished.
"Ouch!" said Mark.
"Ouch," Joey agreed. "Now I’m gonna try and get him back, but I need your help, OK?"
"What are we going to do?" Mark asked.
Joey took the mike off the stand and held it, getting everyone’s attention with a subtle cough. She smiled.
"Ladies and Gentlemen. We don’t normally talk at functions such as this, being the hired help and all, but I’ve discovered that it’s Dawson’s wedding party. Dawson and I have known each other forever. I’d really like to wish him and his fiancée all the best. Dawson of all people deserves the happiness that comes with marrying the one person you love above all others." Joey could feel the pain of the irony twisting inside her stomach. "I’d like to sing a song that means a lot to me next. I hope you like it." The audience clapped politely. Martha, Josephine’s mother, leaned forward.
"Dawson! Why didn’t you tell us that you knew her? She seems such a lovely young lady," she bubbled. Dawson could practically feel Josephine clenching beside him. He smiled at her, and listened to Joey.
<Song - ‘100 Tears' by Vonda Shepard - >
Once again, it seemed as if every word was apt, and every word seemed to come straight from Joey’s heart to Dawson’s. He understood perfectly. She was telling him he could choose her. If only that were true…
Well folks, that’s it for part one. There’s going to be a lot of songs, but I’m trying to keep them out of the body of the story if they’re whole songs. So the parts have to be longer! I hope you like this piece. Please send me feedback!
© Becci Wooster
25th November 1999
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