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Inspired by ‘From Here To Eternity’ by Duchess
Summary - Please read the previous parts first. This story will make so much more sense if you do. This part takes place in mid-April, and is around the time of their Junior prom (I know the proms may be earlier than this, but it’s my story, and it has to fit in, OK?)
Rating - PG-13. One bad word is used here, and sex is implied.
Dedication -To my ‘baby brother’ Daniel, who turns thirteen in the morning. Not that he’ll ever read this anyway…
Anger by Becci Wooster
Joey groaned as she, Dawson, Pacey and Jen walked out of school. It was Friday afternoon, and there was just over a week to go before the prom, so Jen had suggested a shopping trip tomorrow.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t,” she said. “I’ve got to work.”
“Surely Bess will give you the day off to get a dress for junior prom,” Dawson argued. “You know how much she loves all the high school stuff.”
“She let me off last week to go with Jen for my dress,” Joey explained. “I need a new pair of shoes really, but I’ll have to make do with an old pair.”
“But if you and Jen have already been, why does Jen need to go again?” Pacey asked. Jen smiled.
“Accessories, Pacey. Accessories. Besides, I need to make sure you two get something sensible. Especially you. Joey’s gonna look beautiful, and I don’t want you looking like you got dressed in the dark.”
“Joey? Looking beautiful? Is it a magical dress?” Pacey joked. Joey hit him in mock anger, and he pulled her in for a kiss. A few moments passed before they broke away, remembering where they were.
“Guys? Save it for prom night, OK?” Jen asked smiling. Joey shot her a look that could kill, and Pacey grinned.
Pacey and Dawson smiled at each other uneasily. It was four o’clock on Saturday afternoon, and they had been trailing Jen for a couple of hours as she looked for a pair of shoes that she liked. They had found suitable ties a few minutes into the trip, but Jen was searching for her dream.
“I am so bored,” Dawson confessed.
“Me too. It’s like every girl has brought their friends with them shopping, and I’m fed up with being banged into.” Dawson nodded. Just then, Jen walked up to them.
“I think I’ve got them!” she announced, holding up a pair.
“Weren’t those the ones you saw three stores back?” Pacey asked, rolling his eyes.
“Yes, but these have got five dollars off,” Jen answered. Dawson tried to hide his grin.
“Why is it that every girl has dragged their boyfriends with them?” Dawson asked.
“Junior prom is a big thing,” Jen explained. “And we all want our date’s clothes to match our dresses.”
“I don’t care how much Joey begs, I am not wearing any dress,” Pacey joked. Jen clicked her tongue and rolled her eyes at him. “Just look at that guy,” he said, pointing at a guy about their age. He was holding a couple of bags whilst his girlfriend was crouched on the ground with her back towards him.
“Hey, doesn’t she look familiar?” Jen asked as the girl got up. She turned around and the friends could see it was Joey. The guy had obviously just said something good, because her face was beaming. She looked at him, and then reached up and hugged him. Dawson looked nervously at Pacey, who’s face was one of confusion.
Just as he turned back, Joey kissed the guy on his cheek. The guy then leaned down and kissed her on the lips. Pacey took a step backwards. Joey pulled away after a moment that felt like forever to him. She raised her hand to her lips, and shut her eyes for a moment. Then, she saw Pacey over the guy’s shoulder. His eyes showed the same reaction as they had when she’d refused his proposal. She shook her head, with her eyes as wide as saucers. Pacey turned on his heel, and walked out the shop. Joey followed, rushing past Dawson and Jen, who quickly left the shop behind her.
Pacey could hear Joey calling his name as he walked away. He felt the hot burning tears fill his eyes. He shut his eyes, and saw an image of Joey, his Joey, kissing another guy. Suddenly, he heard Joey’s footsteps closer to him. He heard her crying. Something broke inside him. He spun on his heels, and saw Dawson and Jen approach the scene. Joey had tears rolling down her face.
“Don’t cry. I saw that. Don’t cry,” he ordered in a harsh tone.
“Pacey! It wasn’t what you thought,” she proclaimed.
“Oh, so what was he doing? Seeing whether you had your tongue pierced?” Pacey asked.
“That was Anderson,” Joey tried to explain. “He’s the guy who I almost broke my neck over a year ago!”
“Oh great, it get better and better. What did he want? You two going steady?”
“No! I would never do that to you!” Joey screamed.
“Save it, Jo. I don’t want to hear about it. I just hope the two of you are very happy together.”
“What does that mean?” she asked, trembling.
“We’re through, Jo. I don’t want to be with you anymore. I can’t trust you…still, what can I expect from your family?” Joey’s head snapped up, as if she’d been shot. Dawson took a step towards her. “No, Dawson. It’s the truth. Her father cheated on her mother, and she’s cheating on me.”
“How can you be doing this?” Joey asked, looking at him with pleading eyes. For a moment, he was awash with sympathy. It passed as soon as he momentarily shut his eyes.
“I hope you’re very happy with him, Josephine. He’s welcome to you…” Pacey thought of the ultimate insult he could throw to try and ease the pain he felt inside. “After all, you’re a lousy lay.” A moment of silence followed.
“Pacey Witter, you’re an arsehole and I never want to speak to you again,” Joey said, mortified by his last statement and devastated by the last few minutes in her life. Pacey shrugged, and walked away. Joey watched him, and felt her heartbreaking. She began to sink to the floor as her tears filled her eyes, making it too hard to see anything. But as her knees buckled, she felt Dawson’s arms around her waist. He supported her, and then turned her around. She rested her head against his shoulder and wept.
Joey feebly pushed open the door to the high school. The past few days had been a living hell. She hadn’t slept since Friday night, and when she was awake, she cried. She’d some to school today purely to escape Bessie, who was concerned about her. But she dreaded the obligatory walks down the corridor that she had experienced before - looks of sympathy, sheer contempt, conversations ending, her name being discussed by strangers. And to top it all off, she felt like hell, and had a headache. She remembered Dawson holding her as she cried, and Jen backing off, sensing she was unwelcome. Dawson had then driven her home. The drive was silent, except for Joey’s sobs. Dawson hadn’t asked any questions. At the time, she was thankful, but now she wanted to tell someone the truth. She didn’t want everyone to think the same of her as Pacey now did. She wearily got to her locker, and fumbled with the combination lock, temporarily forgetting the code.
“Jo. I didn’t think you’d be in today,” Dawson said softly, approaching her.
Joey looked at him and shrugged. “God, you look awful,” Dawson said worriedly.
“Thanks. You always did have a way with words,” Joey tried to joke.
“I mean it. Have you slept at all?”
“I fell asleep at the table this morning, but Alex woke me up by throwing food at me,” she confessed.
“You look really ill, Jo. You shouldn’t be in school. What Pacey said was horrible. You shouldn’t have to face him.” Joey looked down at the floor for a moment, then back at Dawson.
“Hey, what do you say we bag school today?” she asked. “Then I can moan to you about how my life is one catastrophe after another.” Dawson nodded. The two of them walked back along the corridors, and were near the door when Pacey entered. He looked much the same as Joey, exhausted and distraught. He saw Joey, and turned his attention to Dawson.
“Hey, man,” he said quietly. Dawson returned the greeting, then Joey ran out of the door. Dawson looked at Pacey, shrugged, and went after her.
Joey sat down on the swing. Dawson had caught up, and led her to the swing set. He sat on the next door swing.
“What you saw,” she began, her voice weak and quiet, “wasn’t what it looked like.”
“You don’t need to explain.”
“Yes, Dawson. I do. I don’t want you thinking I’m a tramp.”
“Jo, I could never think that. None of us could.”
“Pacey does,” she replied coolly. Dawson was silent. “OK. I know I said I couldn’t get time off work,” she began to tell him. “I was at the Icehouse, and Anderson walked in. You remember him, right?” Dawson nodded. “Well, he came up to me, and started to talk. I told him about the real me, not the Deborah Carson me.” Dawson looked puzzled, but kept silent. “Bess came up to us, and Anderson introduced himself. She decided that I should go and speak to him elsewhere, and let me off work. So we went to the mall, so I could look at the shoes. God damned shoes. When you saw us, I was listening to him talk. He’s a senior, and he’d just got his acceptance letters for college. He got into Harvard, Dawson. Harvard. I hugged him to congratulate him, and he kissed me. He kissed me. I did not kiss him. I pulled away immediately, and I saw you three over his shoulder. The rest you know.”
“So why didn’t you just tell Pacey?” Dawson asked.
“How can I? He won’t speak to me. This hurts so much, Dawson, and there’s nothing I can do.” Joey looked down at the ground, and her eyes began to fill with tears.
“Do you want me to talk to him?” Dawson offered. Joey’s head shot back up.
“No, Dawson. Promise me you won’t. It’s over. He doesn’t want me anymore. I can’t have you make him angry. I can’t have him say those awful things to me.” Dawson thought for a moment.
“Jo, you know what he said…it wasn’t true.”
“How would you know?”
“He does talk to me, you know? And from what he’s told me, he was lying. He tried to hurt you.”
“He succeeded, Dawson. I gave him a kind of intimacy that not even you and I have. And I don’t know how I’m gonna be able to cope without him. Not just the sex, it was more than that. I know what it’s like to really see him. I know his body as well as I know my own. I know the feel of his lips on mine. If I shut my eyes, I can imagine what it feels like when he touches me. I can see his eyes, I can hold my arms open just enough for his waist to fit in them. I know almost everything about him. Things he doesn’t tell you, things he doesn’t even tell himself. I know him, Dawson. I love him. And I don’t know if I can live without him in my life.”
Joey broke off, her tears long gone. Dawson was impressed by this heartfelt emotional outburst. For a moment, he could see Joey as a woman in love. Not his best friend, but as a person who had found love at such an early age.
Dawson sat with his parents in the living room later that evening, watching television. The doorbell rang, and his father got up to answer it. He heard a female voice, and then Mitch entered the room with Jen. She shot him an apologetic look. Mitch had his hands on his hips, and looked at Dawson straight in the eye.
“Jen just came around to see how Dawson was feeling now. As he was obviously too ill for school today,” he announced to Gail. She looked at Dawson questioningly.
“I didn’t know you were unwell today, Dawson,” she said. Dawson flushed a slight shade of pink.
“I wasn’t…” he mumbled. “I skipped school today.”
“Why?” Mitch asked.
“It’s a long story,” Dawson said, running his hands through his hair and getting up off the couch.
“We’ve got all evening,” Gail prompted.
“Maybe I’ll just get off home,” Jen added.
“No, Jen. Stay. I need to speak to you about something anyway,” Dawson pleaded. She turned back to face him, and he offered a seat to her. she sat down, and so did Mitch. “OK. I skipped school today to speak with Joey.” “You don’t do that enough at school?” Mitch asked.
“She and Pacey broke up on Saturday,” Dawson announced. “Pretty badly, and she isn’t handling it too well.” Mitch and Gail immediately assumed compassionate expressions.
“Is she OK?” Gail asked.
“No. She keeps crying and she hasn’t slept or eaten since the fight. But what’s really upset her is that it was all a misunderstanding anyway, and Pacey said some things he shouldn’t have and didn’t really mean.”
“How did it happen?” Mitch asked. Dawson sat down and told the three the whole (real) story.
Joey knocked on Dawson’s front door the next morning. She could barely stand, but she knew she had to go to school. Gail answered.
“Hey, Mrs. Leery, is Dawson ready yet?” she asked, trying to be breezy. Gail was shocked at her appearance. Joey had bags under her eyes, and they lacked their usual spark of life. Her hair was lank and she looked weak. “He’s not quite ready yet, hon. Would you like some coffee?” she asked, letting Joey in the house.
“That would be great,” Joey acknowledged. They got to the kitchen, where Mitch was finishing his breakfast next to Dawson. When he saw Joey, he stood up.
“Shall we go?” he asked.
“Joey’s going to join us for a coffee,” Gail announced. Joey sat at the table, and Gail placed a mug of steaming coffee in front of her almost immediately. The aroma was powerful, and Joey’s stomach churned. Still, she would need the caffeine to stay awake. When she looked up, she noticed everyone was looking at her.
“I guess they know,” she said to Dawson. He nodded.
“You don’t have to go to school, Joey,” Gail told her. Joey shook her head. “that’s not what Bessie told me this morning. Apparently, the school phoned her yesterday to inquire into my absence. I missed a Geography midterm or something. She was pretty mad at me.”
“Pacey phoned me last night,” Dawson said gently. Joey looked at him, concerned. “He offered to cover my shift tonight. He never does that, Jo. I told you he was upset too.”
“Great. I feel so much better,” Joey said dryly. “I just hope he’s getting some sleep.”
“Joey, you should try. You look really bad. You’re weak, and it’s cause of what you’re doing to yourself.”
“I don’t need to worry about looking bad, Dawson. It’s not like I’ve got anybody to look good for,” she replied. She went back to her coffee, and Gail and Mitch exchanged worried glances with Dawson.
Dawson looked at Joey. He was worried about her. It was lunch, and half the school was trying to cram into the canteen. Luckily, Dawson, Jen and Joey had got there early and were almost finished. Pacey was at school, but hadn’t joined them for lunch. Now, Joey was playing with the food on her plate, having eaten none. She was even more pale now, and looked more fragile than Dawson could bare.
“Have you finished?” Jen asked Joey. Joey nodded slowly. “Then let’s go!”
They got up, and Jen led them out of the busy room. They made it into the corridor, which was less hectic. They headed to the usual hangout for the gang, and were about half way there when Joey grabbed Dawson’s arm.
“I don’t feel too good, Dawson,” she whispered. He turned to look at her, and she collapsed. He managed to stop her falling, and laid her carefully on the ground.
“She’s fainted,” he told Jen.
“Stay with her. I’ll get the nurse,” Jen offered.
“OK,” Dawson replied. Just then, Joey’s eyes flickered open.
“Dawson?” she asked, confused.
“It’s OK,” he said quietly. “You fainted. We’ll get you to the nurse.”
“OK,” she said, her voice shaky. Dawson picked her up effortlessly, and Jen led him through the questioning students to the nurse’s office.
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