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Summary - Please read the previous parts first. This part comes almost immediately after the last one. It may be quite short. If it is, I apologize.
Rating - PG-13.
Forgiveness by Becci Wooster
Joey smiled weakly as Dawson left her house. He had just driven her home after they had been excused from school for the afternoon so she could see a doctor. She had fainted in the hall at school, and the doctor had said it was probably due to exhaustion. She still hadn’t slept since Friday. The doctor had given her some sleeping tablets, and she was going to try and get to sleep.
Two days later, on Thursday, Joey came back to school. She’d had a day off to sleep, and was feeling a bit better now. But the thought of what had happened still hurt. She walked up to her locker, and sure enough, Dawson was there waiting for her.
“Hey, Jo,” he greeted, hugging her. “How are you feeling?”
“Lousy, but better. Thanks Dawson.”
“OK, so how about we go to the prom together on Saturday night?” Dawson asked. He and Jen had cooked up a plan, and he was implementing the first part of it. Joey shook her head, and shrugged.
“Dawson, I don’t really feel like having fun,” she said.
“Look, we can spend Saturday watching coming of age movies, then you can go home and get all dressed up and beautiful, and then we can go together as best friends. Dance a little, gossip a little, make fun of all the cheerleaders, maybe have some punch, depending on whether it’s spiked or not. Then we can come back to my place, and crash in my bed. Junior prom doesn’t mean you need a date.”
“Well…” Joey paused.
“We could even have a sleepover on Friday night,” Dawson added. Joey smiled, and nodded.
“If you put it that way, how can I resist?”
“Good. I hate to hit and run, but I need to go and see Jen. Are you gonna be OK?”
“Dawson. I just slept for like 20 hours. I’ll be OK.”
“Great. I’ll see you later,” Dawson called, walking away from her.
“Sure,” Joey muttered to herself.
Life’s too long.
I’m cold here without you.
I grieve for my condition for I cannot find the words to say
I need you so
I love you - Sarah McLachlan
Dawson’s chin dropped a couple of inches as he saw Joey. It was Saturday night, prom night, and she looked absolutely wonderful. She wore a simple yet flattering lavender dress that stopped a few inches above her knees. She wore half her hair tied back, and the rest hung in curls. She had a light shade of lipstick on, and looked much happier than she had in the past week. She smiled shyly at Dawson, and then hit him playfully.
“Dawson! Stop it!” she cried. “Do I really look that bad?”
“Joey…I’m speechless…we have to show you off to Mitch and Gail.”
“Dawson…no. Besides, Gail helped me with my hair. She knows what that looks like!” Joey pleaded uselessly as Dawson dragged her into the kitchen. His parents were equally wordless. Joey looked stunning.
“Honey, let us take some photos,” Gail suggested. Joey looked at Dawson nervously, but seeing him nod, she agreed. Mr. and Mrs. Leery took some photos of Joey and Dawson, and then the two friends had to leave.
Jen saw Dawson nod at her from across the hall, signaling that it was time to implement their plan.
“Pace,” she said to her companion, “will you dance with me please?” Pacey looked at her, and then smiled weakly.
“OK,” he agreed.
Jen had been a good friend to him in the past week. He kept wondering if he’d done the right thing, but every time he shut his eyes, he saw Joey and Anderson kiss. It was tearing him apart. He was concerned about Joey’s appearance, and especially when he’d heard she had fainted the other day. But her betrayal and his pride, weakened as it was, prevented him from going to talk to her. He knew that Dawson was comforting her, a fact that was supported earlier that evening when the two had arrived together. Therefore he stayed away from Dawson in case his guilt made him forgive Joey. Pacey led Jen onto the dance floor, and they moved to the song playing.
Dawson smiled at Joey, who immediately became suspicious. She smiled back, and his grin widened.
“OK, Dawson. What are you thinking?” she asked.
“Remember last time we went to a dance?” he asked.
“You punched Jack,” Joey remembered. “And the time before that, you were mooning over Jen.”
“Well, from memory, you’re a great dancer,” Dawson said.
Suddenly, Joey knew what he was getting at. “Oh, no...” She began to protest. But resistance was futile, and he dragged her onto the dance floor. They began to dance, and then Dawson began to speak.
“I know how miserable you’ve been this past week,” he said slowly.
“Sssh, Dawson. I don’t want to think about it. To think about him,” Joey replied.
“Well, Jen and I have made a plan,” he began. Joey stopped moving, and looked at him in horror. “You see, she brought Pacey to the dance with her. And while you are discovering the plan, Pacey’s over there, being told the truth about last weekend.” Joey looked over to where she automatically had placed Pacey.
Sure enough, Jen was talking to him. And he looked shocked. “Then, she’s gonna tell him how stupid he’s been,” Dawson informed her with a smile on his face. Dawson stepped towards Joey, and began to dance with her. She looked at him incredulously. “In a few moments, he’s gonna walk over here and ask to cut in,” Dawson predicted. Sure enough, Jen and Pacey made their way across the dance hall, and Pacey stood awkwardly beside Joey. She looked at him, and he looked at her. Dawson and Jen moved away slowly, and began to dance.
Pacey looked at her stricken face, and watched as tears began to form and then flow down her face. He immediately wished he wasn’t the cause of her pain. But he knew he was.
“Joey,” he whispered hoarsely. He face crumbled, and she turned and ran. He watched for a moment, before following her out of the hall and into the cold night air.
She stood crying against a brick wall, and looked so fragile. Pacey walked up to her, and after pausing a for a moment, placed his hand on he shoulder. She turned to look at him.
“I’m so sorry,” he said. Tears were beginning to form in his eyes too. He held his arms open, and she fell into them. He rested his head on her, and she rested her head on his shoulder. Their bodies melted into one. Music from a new song flooded the air from the dance floor. It was ‘Angel’ by Sarah McLachlan. Joey and Pacey began to sway to the music, and in that unspoken moment, they knew they were loved.
Spend all your time waiting for second chance,
For the break that’ll make it OK
But there’s always some reason to feel not good enough
And it’s hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction
Memories seep through my veins
That may be empty
Weightless and maybe,
You’ll find some peace tonight
In the arms of the angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
Pacey grinned to himself as Joey pulled him towards her house. She was smiling too.
“But what about Bessie?” He asked.
“Who cares?” Joey asked. She kissed him, and he never muttered another word of doubt.
“I love you,” he told her.
“I love you too,” she replied. Although it was the average response, it was true.
Pacey tangled his hands in her hair as they kissed. It was morning, and despite Joey’s protests, he felt he had to go.
“I’ve got to go,” he whispered, his words silenced by her lips. Just then, the light switched on. Pacey and Joey pulled apart, aware that someone had caught them.
“Pacey!” Alex cried, running towards his friend. Joey and Pacey turned around to discover Bessie was stood in the doorway of the kitchen, at seven o’clock in the morning.
“Hey, Al,” Pacey said, trying to sound casual. He face was bright red. Joey turned to him, and giggled silently, looking down and shaking her head. She looked at him, and he began to laugh as well.
“Morning Pacey,” Bessie said calmly.
“Umm...I’m going now, OK? I’ll see you later, Joey. Bye Al, bye Bessie,” Pacey called as he made a hasty retreat. Joey watched him leave, and then went to the counter to make some coffee without looking at her sister. She poured herself a mug, and sat at the table.
“I take it you’re back together,” Bessie said, copying Joey’s actions. Joey nodded.
“Listen Bessie, I know it’s uncomfortable...” Joey started, but Bessie cut her off.
“No. This is your home. I’d rather it happened here than in his car. But try and keep it out of Alex’s view, OK?” Bessie asked. Joey smiled, and nodded.
“Where's Bodie?” Joey asked.
“He went to open the Icehouse,” Bessie said. “He sends his congratulations though.”
“What? How does he know?”
“Let’s just say you’re not very quiet,” Bessie said, taking a sip of coffee. Joey blushed. “So, he’s good, eh?”
“Bessie!” Joey squealed. Bessie looked at her, and the began to laugh.
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