Dawson checked his watch as he climbed the stairs. Joey should be over any minute now for their movie evening. It was the first weekend of the summer holiday, and they had a special line up of the Oscar winning movies from the past seventeen years. He opened his door, and she was sat on his bed.
"Hey Jo!" He greeted enthusiastically. Then he paused to look at her.
She was sat on his bed, crying. "Jo? What's up?" he asked, worried. She looked up at him, and then cried harder. He sat beside her, and pulled her into his arms. He rocked her to try and soothe her.
"Ssssh. Joey, what's wrong?" Joey kept crying.
"Is it Bessie?" She shook her head.
"Have you and Pacey had a fight?" Again, she shook her head.
"What is it? Joey, tell me. Please," he begged.
She was beginning to scare him. She pulled off his chest, and ran her hand through her hair. She screwed her eyes up, and then looked at him, her tears having subsided somewhat.
"I think...I think I'm pregnant," she told him. He was shocked.
"What makes you think that?" he asked.
"My period's late, and I was really sick this morning," she said quietly.
"What...Have you told Pacey?" he asked. She shook her head.
"I couldn't. You're the only person who knows," she confessed. She began to cry again, and he took her in his arms.
"Joey, it'll be OK. You don't know for certain. We'll get you a test, OK? But you need to tell Pacey."
"I can't Dawson. Not until I know for definite."
"Do you want to sleep here tonight?" Dawson asked. Joey nodded.
The next morning, Dawson and Joey were sat on the dock, looking out over the creek in silence, holding hands. A silent communication that gave Joey the support she needed.
"Hey guys, what's up?" Jen asked, walking over to them. Joey looked up, her reverie destroyed.
"Joey? What's wrong?" Jen asked, shocked by Joey's tear stained face.
"I think I'm pregnant," Joey said, trying to sound unemotional. Jen gasped, and sat down on Joey's other side.
"But...have you taken a test?"
"No. My period's late, and I've been really ill," Joey answered. "But nothing's for definite. You should take a test." Joey looked at Jen, and shrugged.
"Won't that look good? The Potter kid buying a pregnancy test. Yet another screw up from my family. I guess I took after my dad's side of the family after all," Joey replied ruefully.
"Well, if that's worrying you, I'll go and buy it for you," Jen offered.
"You need to know one way or the other. What does Pacey think?"
"Pacey doesn't know yet," Joey told her.
"Don't you think you should tell him?"
"That's what I said," Dawson offered.
"I can't....not until I know," Joey insisted.
Joey took a deep breath, and opened the door. She left the bathroom, and shut the door behind her. She entered Dawson's bedroom, shaking. As soon as she came into the room, Jen and Dawson ran over to her.
"Well?" Jen asked.
"What's the result?" Dawson asked. Joey sat down, and screwed her eyes up tight.
"I'm going to be a mother," she announced before burtsing into tears. Dawson and Jen were both shocked.
"He's gonna leave me. I can't believe how stupid we've been. And now I'm gonna be all alone," she sobbed.
"Don't say that, Pacey loves you!" Dawson protested.
"Dawson, you'd stand by me. This is Pacey. It's over."
"Pacey's a good guy," Jen argued. "He'll stand by you."
"Shit. Why me? I was supposed to get out of this town, not get stuck with a kid at seventeen!"
"Pacey was prepared to marry you a few months ago," Dawson reminded her.
"So? That was before I got knocked up!" Joey pointed out. She stood up suddenly. She looked at Dawson and Jen. They seemed almost scared by the ferosity of her answers. "I'm sorry. But this is really...I need some time alone, OK?"
"Sure." And with that, Joey climbed out of the window.
Later that afternoon, Joey had come back to Dawson's house, and he and Jen had convinced her to tell Pacey. So she'd phoned him, and arranged to meet him at the the Icehouse. Jen and Dawson were going to go along for moral support, because Joey was convinced that he would bail on her. The three friends went downstairs, and passed through the living room, where Mitch and Gail were sat.
"Dawson? Can we have a few words please?" Gail asked. Joey and Jen went ahead to wait outside, and Dawson went back into the living room.
"Sure," he replied. Mitch and Gail exchanged glances.
"Sit down son," Mitch began. Dawson obeyed.
"We appreciate that you're seventeen. Almost an adult, and we can't keep tabs on you all the time. It's not fair on you, and it's too hard for us," Gail explained. "But this morning, I found a pregnancy test in the bathroom." Dawson looked at his parents wide-eyed.
"We won't be angry, Dawson. But we'd like to know which of your friends the test belonged to. I know that you were in love with Joey, and for a couple of nights when she and Pacey broke up, she stayed the night. But we also know that you and Jen got set up on a date. So you're gonna have to tell us son. Which one is it?" Mitch asked.
Dawson ran a hand through his hair.
"Look, guys. I can't tell you. But it's not me, OK? I'm not a father. And I won't be for some time, OK? I just can't tell you who will be. Not yet."
"Do you promise it's not you?" Gail asked. Dawson nodded.
"Positive. I'm still a virgin, guys. No need to panic, OK?" Mr. and Mrs. Leery nodded. Dawson got up and walked out of the room, deeply embarrassed.
Pacey put a hand up over his eyes to protect them form the glaring evening sun. He saw Dawson, Jen and Joey come over to him. He had been more than slightly concerned when Joey had phoned him an hour ago, asking to meet him at the beach. She wouldn't say what she wanted, she just said it was urgent.
"Hi guys," he greeted.
"Hey, Pace," Dawson said.
"Look, Jen and I are just gonna go get some saltwater taffy, OK? We'll be back soon." With that, he and Jen made a sharp and not-so-subtle escape.
"What's up?" Pacey asked. He could see that Joey had been crying, and he was panicking inwardly.
"There's no easy way to sat this, Pacey…" Pacey braced himself. She was going to dump him. After the way he'd treated her in the past few months, he deserved it. But please let it not be for Dawson, he pleaded. "Pacey, I'm pregnant." As if on cue, his jaw dropped. Joey chewed on her lower lip nervously.
"When?" he asked.
"Probably the night of the prom. We weren't exactly careful," Joey reminded him. He nodded slowly, processing the information. Joey was scared. She wasn't expecting him to be so calm about it.
"Are you keeping it?" he asked. Joey nodded, not knowing how he would react. His face broke into a smile, and he hugged her. He picked her up off the ground, and swung her round, laughing. Joey began to giggle too.
"We're gonna be parents! Oh my God! I love you, Joey," he called out. Eventually, he put her back on the ground.
"You're wonderful, Joey. And I want this to work. We'll find somewhere to live together, and we'll save up to get married. This is gonna be perfect, just you wait!" He paused for a moment to catch his breath.
"Who knows?" he asked. "Dawson, Jen, me and you," she answered.
"What about Bessie?" he asked. She shook her head.
"I haven't even been back home since I realized what was happening," she confessed.
"Bess won't be happy. Oh God. How am I gonna tell her?" "We'll tell her. And now. Come on. When she sees how happy we are, she won't be mad. Besides, you've got to tell her sometime," Pacey argued. Joey gave in, and they hugged again.
Bessie's face was a deathly shade of white, which contrasted sharply to her sister's red face.
"And just how are you going to raise this child?" she asked.
"We'll find somewhere to move in together," Joey said defensively.
"And how are you going to afford that?" Bessie asked.
"I don't know," Joey confessed.
"Of course you don't! How the hell does a child expect to raise a child? This is exactly what I was frightened of! Bessie shouted, color returning to her face.
"Bessie, we love each other. We can make this work. We know it'll be difficult, but we'll manage somehow," Pacey said quietly.
"You keep out of this! What will your father say? The chief of police will be really proud of his underage son and his knocked up underage girlfriend, won't he?"
"Bessie, I'm not getting rid of my baby. I can't do that. You couldn't, so why do you expect me to be able to?" Joey asked.
"Go. I don't want you here. Go. I don't care where. Just get out of my sight, the pair of you, before I throw something," Bessie demanded.
"Bessie," Pacey began.
"I am so disappointed in you, Joey. I wanted so much more for you. And what about mum? All the sacrifices we've made to help you and you go and do this." Joey realized tears were burning in her eyes. She turned on her heels, and ran from the house. Pacey stood up, and walked over to Bessie, who had her head in her hands. She looked up as she sensed him approaching.
"Bessie, she's your kid sister. She's scared. Can you imagine how badly what you just said hurt her? She's pregnant, but she's your sister," he said. The he too walked out of the house in pursuit of Joey.
When he got to the dock, he noticed the rowboat was missing. She must have taken it with her. Which meant he knew where she had gone. Dawson's house. He got in his car that was in the driveway, and started the engine.
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