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Summary: We find out more about Joey as she resorts to unusual methods.
Author's Notes: Yeah, I know. I've been writing this series for almost a year now. I'd like to thank any of you who have been waiting that long. I promise that this summer will be the time in which I finish this. However, I've worked out where the storyline is going, and I'm excited. I just want to get on with it!
Thanks To: Nick Piper. Even if I don't e-mail you often enough. And I'm sorry I got ratty with you!
'I need love. I need the thing that happens when your brain shuts off and your heart turns on.'
- Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel
It was Thursday night. A flame seemed to be burning in Joey's stomach, one that no amount of water could quench. And every time she saw Dawson, her flame became bigger. And she knew that every day she was a little closer to losing him. Forever. Because that was what marriage meant to him. She sighed as she put on more black eyeliner and thought over the day's events. Not much had happened, really. The final dress fitting had taken place, but she hadn't been involved in that. Obviously, Josephine had. And her bridesmaids. Olivia was the flower girl, with Josephine's only female cousin under the age of forty and her best friend, Jessica. How on earth could Dawson be marrying a woman who's best friend was called Jessica? It was far too Sweet Valley for her liking. Still, it had left Pacey and Dawson free. The three of them had gone to the cinema. Turns out that Dawson and Joey have been there on the same night seeing the same movie. And of course, that just makes everything much worse. To think that they'd been so close. If she'd got there before… But that wasn't the answer.
Joey made herself smile into the mirror. Not too bad, she thought. Then her smile became real. She was due to start her shift in three minutes. And Dawson and Pacey were coming to watch her 'perform'. Of course, Dawson didn't know about her second job. After all, singing at weddings didn't really pay well, and well… this was a damned sight more fun. She stood at the full-length mirror, and leaned forward. After pushing her breasts further forward into the already skimpy top, and pulling her skirt up a little more, she nodded. Perfect. She hadn't told the boys where she worked, just given them instructions on how to get there. Every cabby in the city knew where 'Twinkle' was. And from Pacey's expression, she guessed that he suspected the truth. But she wanted to see Dawson's reaction to finding her working in a strip club. On a good night, she made $350. It kept her in her designer clothing and huge apartment. And she didn't have the hang ups about her body that she'd had when she was younger. She'd seen enough men lookay at her to know that she was pretty damned hot. She could go up on that stage and be the sexy Joey, then turn it off while she worked otherwise.
"Okay, Star, I'm off to work," she called out to the girl sat at the next dressing table.
"Good luck. It's a good crowd tonight," she replied. Smiling, Joey walked out of the room.
Dawson was confused as he left the cab. He paid the driver the extortionate fee of $40 for a five-minute drive, and lookayed up at the sign outside the building. The neon lights proclaimed 'Girls! Girls! Girls!' He turned to Pacey.
"Why on earth does Joey want to meet us in a strip club?" Dawson asked. Pacey chewed his lip, and shrugged.
"Maybe she's turned lesbian," he suggested. Dawson shot him a lookay that would kill.
"Okay. If you're gonna be like that, I'm going in." So they did. They were charged $10 entrance, and told there was three-drink minimum. And they tookay their seats and sat and waited.
"All right, chaps. Here's the moment you've been waiting for! The eleven o'clock show! Hot Hot Hot! Tonight, we have Holly, Grace and our very own singing and dancing sensation Eve!" came a voice over the intercom. The lights dimmed, and three women tookay to the stage. Music began to play, some pop music that was unintelligible. Dawson frowned at Pacey, who was grinning like the Cheshire cat.
"Pacey. You can't tell me that you enjoy this. These women…" Dawson began, pointing to the nearest one. And his mouth dropped open. She was wearing a blond wig and clothes that were skimpier than any she'd ever worn, but it was Joey. And she was dancing around a pole. In a strip club.
Dawson got up and walked out, turning towards her at the door. He lookayed her in the eye, and shookay his head. She tipped her head defiantly. He left.
Joey smiled and tucked a stray strand of hair behind her hair. She wrinkled up her nose in an expression that Pacey had seen thousands of times before.
"That could have been a mistake, couldn't it?" she asked. Pacey nodded. "I over did it, didn't I?"
"Just a tad," Pacey said. Joey shookay her head. "Lookay, it's not to say that he'll never speak to you again. Just chill a bit. The guy's only been in a strip club twice before, and to see you dancing up there was… a little extreme."
"Well, you're obviously the master. And even you seem to be a little excited," Joey said smiling.
"Give me a break," Pacey said, readjusting his hands in his lap. "You're practically naked up there…"
"Okay. Stop there, big boy," Joey said, beginning to laugh. Then she sighed. "I thought that this would be easy, you know? Back in Vegas, he was a puppy begging to be patted."
"Nice metaphor. But you hurt him, Joey. He was convinced that if he came out here, he would find you. But over the years, he realized that it would be harder. And then one day, he let go of you. And he met Josephine. And she doesn't runaway from him any where near as many times as you have." Seeing Joey's fallen face, he smiled. "Don't get me wrong. She's an absolute bitch. And nowhere near as beautiful as you are. But they're getting married on Sunday. And you and I see marriage in a very different light from Dawson. He's in this forever."
"You know we haven't had a proper conversation since meeting up?" Joey asked. Pacey lookayed surprised. "Exactly. And that's why I thought if I could just get his attention… and short of streaking down the aisle, I don't see how I'm going to succeed. That's what all this was about…"
"And I'm guessing the reason behind last night's kiss…" Joey nodded.
"I'm sorry about that. It's just I saw him watching… and you know how jealous he used to get…"
"No problem, Jo. In fact, I could be honest and tell you that I enjoyed the kiss." Joey smiled, and Pacey sniggered. "So what are we going to do?" he asked.
"How are we going to get you and Dawson together?"
"Well, I can't force him. That's obvious. Maybe I should just forget about it. If we're meant to be, surely he'd come to me."
"But I thought you were all up for the fight?"
Joey shrugged. "We have other ways. Maybe he just needs to get a reminder of Joey Potter from Capeside. Before she went psycho. I'm going to the Bachelor Party tomorrow, not the Bachelorette one. So let's just see what happens…"
"Jo… are you okay?" Pacey asked, reaching out and putting his hand on her knee.
"Yeah… why wouldn't I be? Oh, Andie's been talking, right?"
"She was concerned. That's all."
"Look, I'm okay. I'm on medication, and it seems to be working. I just can't… I can't put myself through all this if it's not going to work… Have you ever wanted something so badly, and known that trying to get it would hurt you? It's like I'm climbing a tree to get to the shiny red apple at the top. If I lookay down, I'll get scared. If I let go, I'll fall and crack my head open. But if I get it…"
"You'll be able to walk past the tree every day and think that you got the apple," Pacey suggested.
"I'm not like that, Pacey. I've done it before, I know. But this is right. And in all this madness that I experience every day, all I can see is that shiny red apple. And, God, do I want to taste that sweet juice."
"I think you carried that metaphor a little too far for polite company, Potter," Pacey said. She smiled.
"Thank you for caring, Pacey."
"No probs. Now, who should I send me bill to?"
"Spoken like a true shrink," Joey said, swatting his hand away.
Okay, so this has become something of a feature. I'd like to give my site a plug. The address is http://members.tripod.com/~Amoo282/index.html. Make sure that you visit.
I'd like to give a big plug to Anne G here, for writing such good fanfic, and lots of it. Also goes to Laura for her chicka status, and for it being her birthday recently. Finally, a plug goes to REJ, who wrote a fanfic with Andie being the psycho that she was born to be. Don't get me wrong, I'm not slagging off the character, it's just nice to read a fanfic that doesn't just forget her mental problems like they seemed to do on the real show.
Oh, and I've been getting criticism – people don't think that Joey and Dawson would smoke / drink / take drugs. Maybe I'm missing the mark. I'm trying to say that Dawson and Joey are now 26 - they think they've grown up and are trying to act like adults. However, they're still making loads of mistakes and getting hurt in the process. And believe me, I've got loads of hurt coming their way.
Dawson tookay off his sunglasses as he walked into the coffee shop. His eyes adjusted to the light and he walked over to the bar. As he did so, he spotted Joey. She was sat at the counter, dressed in a pair of short cut off jeans and a cropped top. Her hair was tied back into a perfect ponytail, and two tendrils spilled, one on either side of her face. He sat in the seat beside her, and as she felt his presence, she lookayed up.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
"I got a phone call last night from Dad asking me to meet him here. What about you?"
"I got a phone call from Pacey… so let's guess what they were trying to do."
"Remind me to kill them both. Your clothing choice is rather different today." Joey played with her ponytail.
"Yeah, well, that's my night job. And when I'm on that stage, I'm someone different. This is more me…" Dawson nodded wordlessly. "Lookay, I'm sorry about that. I don't know what I was thinking. But I'm not gonna pretend that I'm disgusted by the person that I become. Because I earn really good money doing that, and it's fun. There's something so liberating about being able to pretend to be someone else. At the same time though, Dawson, I know that you were upset last night. As much as I try to deny it, there's still a link between us, and I ought to respect you more than I did."
"Joey?" Dawson asked.
"Maybe we should let their plan work. Do you feel like a walk?" Joey nodded. Dawson got the attention of the guy behind the counter. "Two espressos to go, please. One decaff, no milk, no sugar. The other with cream and two sugars."
"You remembered," Joey said smiling.
"What did you expect?" he asked.
Becci's Note : Okay, I want you to pretend that this is a montage type thing. There's no sound, only the song, 'Sweetest Thing' by U2. You see Dawson and Joey doing all the typical tourist things, even though they both live in the city. They're on the Staten Island Ferry, they're outside the Empire State Building. They're eating ice cream in Central Park, they're posing for Japanese tourists by that fountain in 'Down To You'. They're sat on a bench watching traffic go past. Finally, they're walking along the street where Joey live, and are stood outside the door to her apartment.
"So," Joey said.
"So," Dawson repeated.
"Today's been brilliant." Dawson nodded. "I'd invite you inside, but…"
"But we've got to get ready."
"Yeah. Dawson, I really mean it. It's been good to finally get to talk to you. I missed this, you know? We spent so much of our past berating ourselves for analysing too much, but I've spent years wishing that we could just go back into your bedroom and argue over the ending of a movie. God, life was so much more simple then."
"I don't agree with you there."
"Dawson, trust me. No matter how hectic I thought my life was at sixteen, it's nothing compared with the past couple of years. But I've missed you. And I know that you're getting married on Sunday, but I really… I have to know if I can be a part of your life. Preferably without Josephine giving me the death stare."
"Oh shit! Joesphine! I was meant to meet her for lunch."
"Go on, go home to her. I'll see you tonight."
"Okay, bye, Joey. Thanks for a great day." Dawson ran off as he said that. Joey put both her hands over her heart as she put her head down and tried to stop the bitter tears that were trying to fall.
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