Disclaimer - I am in no way connected with Warner Brothers, or any other company or individual connected with the show. I do not own the characters of Joey, Pacey or Dawson. Please do not sue me. Thanks a lot. Have a nice day!
Classification - This is one of those where they’re all grown up. I’m not gonna give away my storyline, but Jen’s not here, so that cuts down some of the possibilities.
Author’s Note - I know that this sort of story is done a lot, but I’m creating a difference, so bear with me, OK?
Pacey Witter walked into his apartment building, and up two flights of stairs to his apartment. He unlocked the door and walked in. He was greeted with the sight of his best friend and roommate lying on the couch, moping.
“Hey, Bud, are you still thinking about her?” he asked, mildly frustrated.
“Five years, Pacey. I miss her so much, you know? Why did I let her go? Why didn’t I stop her?” came the reply from the couch.
“Because you were stupid. Because you loved her. Because you knew she needed to escape. God! You spend so much of your time thinking! Phone her!” Pacey walked into the kitchen and put the shopping bags he was carrying onto the counter. His roommate got up from the couch and joined him in the kitchen. Pacey opened a cupboard, and his friend passed him a couple of boxes to put in it.
“I can’t Pacey. I just can’t. She’s probably married or something. I don’t want to know.” Pacey looked into the eyes of his friend.
Dawson Leery hadn’t changed much over the years. He was now 27, but looked pretty much the same as he had aged 15. He still had that thick blond hair and the eyes that meant you always felt sorry for him. The two boys had grown up together in Capeside, a small town in Massachusetts. After being separated during college, they had met up again back home, and eventually moved to Boston. They had been living there for about four and a half years.
“How can you say that? You know you need to know. Until you do, you can’t carry on with your life. Call Bessie. She’ll have Jo’s number. And if you can’t face speaking to her, at least ask Bess whether she’s married. Look, I’ll even sit with you whilst you do it.” Dawson looked at Pacey hopefully, then the look disappeared and he walked back to the couch and collapsed onto it. Pacey sighed and shook his head, disappointed in Dawson.
Dawson laid on the couch, staring up at the ceiling, his mind filled with thoughts of Josephine Potter. Jo and Pace had been his best friends. When they were 15, Joey had become his girlfriend, the one girl he had ever truly loved. They had been together nearly three years when they had gone to different colleges. They had still come home every holiday, and seen each other every single day. College hadn’t changed their lives that much. Then, the summer they graduated, they met up and Joey dropped her bombshell - she was leaving him. She was moving to the other side of the country. Alone. She’d been offered a job in California, one that she couldn’t give up. She didn’t want to tear Dawson away from his family and home, so she’d told him she’d have to split up with him. They only had one week after this announcement before she had to go, so they’d tried to fit in a lifetime’s worth of plans into seven days. That last night, with her sleeping beside him in the bed they’d shared since they were seven, Dawson had made a decision. He’d ask her to marry him. They could move together. They’d have their lives with each other. But by morning, he woke up to find he was alone. Joey got up and went without saying goodbye. He’d waited too long. Dawson felt the burn of tears in his eyes again at the thought of his loss.
Joey stared into nothingness whilst she listened to the song playing on the radio. It was an old one, one that reminded her of things she wished she could forget. The song playing was called Angel, and it had been their song. Her and Dawson had listened to it over and over whilst making out on his bed. Had it really been five years since they last met? She knew that she couldn’t go back to him. She could never go to Boston just in case. She only visited her sister Bessie and her family at times when she knew Dawson wouldn’t be there.
“Mommy, can we go to the zoo now?” called the voice of her daughter.
Joey snapped out of her trance, and looked affectionately at the four year old girl.
“OK. Go get your coat and I’ll be ready soon,” she said in a kind tone.
The little girl ran off happily, and Joey smiled after her. If she was on her own, she could summon the strength to return to him, but how would she explain that she had a child?
Joey had moved away from Capeside when she was 22, distraught at losing Dawson. She’d lived in California for only a few months, she had to give up her job to have Aimie. She’d moved back to the East coast, to where she belonged. She’d found a job in Washington, and now wrote a regular column in a national newspaper under the name of Jenny Weery. Despite her hectic life as a single mum and a busy journalist, she still found time every day to think about the boy she loved.
As soon as Dawson disappeared into his bedroom, Pacey picked up the phone and dialed the familiar number. After a few rings, a voice answered.
“Hello? Who’s speaking please?” came the voice of a young girl. Pacey knew it was Bessie’s seven year old daughter Carly.
“Hey, my name’s Pacey. Can I speak to your mum please?” he asked.
“Just a minute,” the voice said. Then, he heard the girl shout out “Mu-u-um! Some man’s on the phone. Pa…Pay…” Pacey smiled to himself. In a few seconds, the telephone was picked up, and Bessie’s voice came down the line.
“Pacey? Is that you?” she asked.
“Spot on!” he replied.
“So, how are you?” Bessie asked, genuinely interested.
“Fine, fine. Dawson isn’t though. That’s why I’m phoning. He’s still bumming over your kid sister. Can you give me her phone number please?”
“Um…Pacey,” she began, “Joey told me not to let Dawson contact her. She has reasons for it, don’t make me break her trust.” Pacey cursed silently.
“OK, so what if you gave me the number? I’m not Dawson. She couldn’t be mad at you for that, could she?”
Joey unlocked the door to her house, and let her and Aimie in. Aimie went running into the living room, and turned on the TV set. Joey rushed into the kitchen, as she could hear her answer machine bleeping. She pressed play, and began to make drinks for the two of them as she listened to the messages.
“Hey, it’s Carl. Time is 2.30, and I need you to come to the office tomorrow for a meeting. Be here at about 11, OK? Phone me if there’s a problem. Bye!”
Joey groaned. She enjoyed her job because she could work from home, and be at home for Aimie, but she still had to attend meetings. The machine continued
“Hi, Joey. It’s Sophie here. Could you baby-sit Harry tonight? James has a parent teacher meeting he’s just told me about. Call me.” Joey smiled at this message. Sophie was her best friend, and Harry was the same age as Aimie. The two generally were happy in front of a Disney movie, so there wouldn’t be a problem. The last message was the one that shocked her.
“Hello, Josephine. Long time no see. It’s Pacey here.” Joey spun around and looked at the machine, as if it was the machine making it up. “I got the number off Bessie. Why didn’t you say you’d moved back here? I’ll phone back in a few hours. I need to talk to you.” Joey sunk weakly into a nearby chair.
She knew that Dawson and Pacey lived together. If Pacey had her phone number, did that mean Dawson did? She managed to get her head together and she gave Aimie her drink. Then, the phone rung. Joey knew it must be Pacey phoning back like he’s promised. Taking a deep breath, she picked up the receiver.
“Hello? Pacey?” she asked.
“Hey, Joey! It’s great to hear from you! How are you?” Pacey asked.
“Pacey, does Dawson know that I’m here?” she asked, ignoring his previous comment.
“No, he’s gone out to have a mope. Why?”
“I don’t want to speak to him, Pacey. Can we just leave it?”
“Well, he’s what I wanted to talk to you about. Joey, he’s almost suicidal about losing you. It’s nearly five years,”
“September 15th. A week next Thursday,” Joey said automatically.
“Sure. He needs to talk to you. He loves you.”
“I miss him too, “ Joey admitted, “but I can’t see him. I’d only hurt him more.”
“I doubt it,” Pacey replied. Give me one good reason why you can’t meet with him.”
“Pacey, I have a child.” Back in his apartment in Boston, Pacey froze.
“What? When? How?”
“She’s four, Pacey. Her name’s Aimie. As for how, I see Capeside High’s Health Ed classes went completely over your head!”
“I mean, you? I thought you hated kids!”
“Well, it’s not like I planned to have a child aged 23, you know. But I don’t think it’s a good idea for Dawson to know, OK? If he misses me as much as you’re making out, then do you think he’d like to know?”
“Are you married then? How did you meet her father?”
“No, I’m not with her father anymore. He….he let me down before she was born, so I left him..”
“Joey, I’m sorry.”
“Me too. Look, I’m gonna have to go now, OK? I’ve gotta bath Aimie before her friend comes over tonight. Don’t tell Dawson where I am. Please.”
“Sure. I’ll come and see you some time, though, OK?”
“OK, I guess. Bye, Pacey.”
Pacey hung up the receiver and sat down slowly. Joey had a child! But why wouldn’t she see Dawson? She was single, and it didn’t make sense. She’s 27. Her daughter’s four. That made her 23 when she had her. Not long after she broke up with Dawson, she must have got pregnant, he worked out. Still, Dawson wouldn’t mind. Even if he did, he wanted to know how she was. Pacey thought for a bit, and then came up with a brilliant idea.
“What are we going all the way to Washington for?” Dawson asked once again as Pacey drove them on the freeway.
Pacey had informed him that they urgently needed to go for something, and that morning, they had left the apartment ridiculously early. Dawson waited for an answer, and realized that he wasn’t feeling as bad as he had been recently. Today was Thursday, five years to the day since she’d left him, and for once, his heart didn’t feel like in was in a vice that was closing.
“Shh. We’re almost there now. This is our exit,” Pacey eventually replied.
They’d left the house at 7 that morning, and it was now almost 4pm. He was tired of driving, but he knew it would be worth it just to see the expression on his friends’ faces when they saw one another.
“Well, will you at least tell me how long we’re gonna be staying?”
“I can honestly say I don’t know,” Pacey said truthfully. “It could be tomorrow that we come back, or it could be in a few weeks.”
“What about work though?” Dawson asked. Pacey laughed.
“Will you chill out? Throw a few sickies. God! Can you remember how you handed in your homework before we went on that trip to Providence when we were 15?” Dawson smiled despite his anxieties.
“OK, point proved. Did I tell you Mom called last night?”
“She asked us to come home for a few weeks to celebrate their anniversary. 32 years. I thought that Joey and I would be like that…” Pacey groaned at the mention of her name, and turned on the radio. Dawson took the hint and spent the last 30 minutes of the journey looking out of the window.
Joey struggled to park her blue BMW into the car lot. She undid her seat belt and Aimie’s, and then went into the supermarket. The meeting from that morning had gone well. She had been given a few features to do, and that meant a higher than normal pay slip this month. Still, she hated having to drag Aimie round the shop. Either Aimie was awkward, or she went running off and Joey had to chase after her.
“What are we doing here, of all places?” Dawson asked as Pacey swung his black Mondeo into the parking lot of a supermarket.
Pacey smiled, and then replied. “Well, before you find out why we’re here, I think we need to get a few things. You know, snacks. OK?” Dawson reluctantly followed Pacey into the shop.
Joey walked along the tin aisle, looking for some tinned tomatoes, when Aimie went running off. She chased after her with the trolley in front of her. Aimie led her straight to the snacks aisle.
“Mommy, I want these!” she said, holding up a packet of potato chips. Joey smiled at her. It was hard to be angry at such a sweet child.
“OK, honey, put them in the trolley. But now, I’ve got to get some things, OK?”
Aimie nodded. Whilst she was in the row, Joey figured she might as well pick up the pretzels that she needed. She crouched down to reach the bottom shelf, where they were kept.
Dawson turned the corner into the snack aisle. He was cursing to himself for ever agreeing to come on this trip with Pacey. The guy had lost it. He’d rather be back at the apartment, thinking about Joey. The aisle was empty, apart from a small girl running about, and a young woman who was standing back up. She stood up, and faced Dawson and Pacey, who was also looking at her. Dawson felt shock strike him. The woman was dressed casually in jeans and a top, but she looked beautiful. Her dark hair was tied back in a ponytail, but strands had fallen out and were framing her face. She wore no make-up, but her eyes were so familiar. In fact, if Dawson didn’t know better, he’d say she looked like he imagined Joey would look.
“Jo? Is that you?” Pacey asked.
Obviously, he was thinking the same thing. The woman looked as if she was as shocked as he was. Dawson stared at the woman. Was this his Joey? It was, he realized. Before he could say anything, the girl went up to her, and tugged at her jeans.
“Mommy, I want some candy,” she said sweetly but demandingly. Mommy? Dawson thought to himself.
Joey looked flustered, then picked the little girl up in a swift movement.
“Come on, we’re going home. Now,” she demanded.
With that, she spun on her heels, and left the store, leaving the trolley in the snack aisle with two very shocked men.
Pacey couldn’t believe how good Joey looked. He looked at Dawson’s shocked face as Joey left the store.
“The point of our trip is leaving the store,” Pacey announced. “May I suggest we follow her?” Without saying a word, the two ran out into the car lot.
They were just in time to see a blue BMW leaving. They quickly got into the Mondeo and Pacey pulled out quickly, following the car ahead. They sat in silence until they pulled up outside a reasonably large house. Joey had pulled into the drive and quickly left the car and entered the house, the child in tow. The guys got out of the car, and walked up the drive. Dawson’s throat was completely dry. What could he say to her? At 22, he’d been ready to marry her. At 27, he didn’t even know if she liked him. He froze to the spot. Luckily, Pacey didn’t. He rang the bell.
Joey stood with her back to the door. What were they doing here? This wasn’t meant to happen! The bell rang for a second time, and she took a deep breath. Aimie had ran straight upstairs, but they’d seen them together. Joey ran her hands through her hair, and pulled herself together. She had to open the door. She did, and came face to face with Dawson Leery.
“Joey,” he said.
They stood looking at each other, before her eyes started to fill with tears. She covered her face with her hands, and began to cry. Instinct took over, and Dawson found himself step inside the house, and hug her. She hugged back, and cried on his shoulder. Pacey stepped past them into the house, and shut the door.
A few minutes later, Joey walked into the living room with three steaming mugs of coffee. Pacey and Dawson were sat on the couch. She put their mugs on the table, and sat in a chair with hers. She stared at nothing for a few moments, then realized they were both watching her.
“What?” she asked.
“Joey, we haven’t seen you in five years,” Pacey explained. “I for one would like to know what you’ve been doing.”
“OK. I’ll answer anything you ask me.” Joey looked at Dawson. “Go on. You first. I’m sure there’s lots you want to know.” Dawson just stared back, not knowing what to say to her.
“Well, you could start with telling him what you told me,” Pacey proffered.
“OK. Dawson, I have a daughter. Her name’s Aimie and she’s four.”
“She’s beautiful,” he stated.
“How long have you been living here,” Pacey once again asked.
“Four and a half years,” she said coolly. Dawson’s eyebrows shot up.
“And you never contacted me?” he asked incredulously.
“No. Would you really have wanted me to crawl through your God damned window and tell you that I was back. Oh yes, and I have a daughter by another guy? Would you really have wanted that?” Dawson shook his head silently.
“What happened to her father?” Pacey asked.
“I met him just after I moved to California,” she explained. “I was weak, and I turned to him for comfort. Within a few weeks, I was pregnant.”
“Wow. That hurt,” Dawson said, looking pained. “We only slept together once we were 18, and within a couple of weeks, you’d got pregnant by this guy?”
“I know. I’m sorry. I was messed up. But I don’t regret it. I have a beautiful daughter, who I love to bits.”
“So what do you do now,” Pacey asked, desperate to get off the subject of the past. “I write for a newspaper. I’m Jenny Weery.”
“Wow! I read your column all the time,” Pacey said, in awe.
“Well, the name’s a combination of all yours. Perfect for someone who doesn’t want people to know where she is.”
“So, you’ve lived alone for the past 5 years because you thought the fact that you had a daughter would hurt me?” Dawson asked. Joey nodded.
“I moved away in the hope that I could be independent. How could I turn up needing your help because of a mistake? No matter how much I wanted to, I couldn’t. I couldn’t do that to you.” Joey began to cry again.
Dawson and Pacey watched as she broke down. She hid her face with her hands, and this time, Dawson stood up and walked away. He went over to the window and looked outside.
“Mommy, why are you crying?” Aimie asked suddenly. She had just entered the room unnoticed. Joey frantically began to wipe her eyes, keen for her daughter to not see her tears.
“It’s all right, honey,” Joey said gently. “These are two friends of mine. This is Pacey, and this is Dawson.” Dawson turned around to face Joey again.
“Joey, I need some time to absorb all this crap that’s just come out. I want to talk though. Just us. Can I take you to dinner in a couple of hours?”
“OK,” Joey said. She wanted to speak with Dawson, too. “Pick me up about 7.30?” “OK. I’ll see you then.” Dawson began to walk towards the door.
“Do you want me to look after Aimie,” Pacey asked. At the mention of her name, the little girl pulled a face at Pacey. Dawson smiled despite his mixture of emotions.
“I see she takes after her mother!” he pointed out. Aimie turned to face him, and smiled.
“Obviously she does,” Pacey said. “Well, we’d better go. Bye, Jo. Bye, Aimie.” Joey got up and walked the two of them to the door. She let them out, and watched as Dawson and Pacey got into their car and drove off.
Dawson licked his dry lips as he waited for the door to be answered. He’d spent the past two hours analyzing how he felt now he knew how Joey was. He was more confused than ever. His Joey was a mother. He still considered himself to be young, so how could she possibly have a child? He’d never quite linked sex to parenthood. He thought that the first was started in your late teens, whilst the latter was for your thirties. Pacey was stood behind him, ready for an evening of baby-sitting. He knew how shocked Dawson had been at all this news, but Dawson needed to know it. He needed to leave his childhood behind and grow up. Joey had done it earlier than anyone else he knew.
Joey answered the door, her heartbeat rising slightly. She was wearing a simple black dress, teamed with a long thin cardigan with black feathers on the collar. Her hair was twisted back, with a few butterfly clips in her hair, contrasting with its dark color. The dress stopped mid thigh, and her legs were bare. She wasn’t quite ready, and she had slung her shoes over her shoulder. She opened the door, and greeted Dawson and Pacey. She led them into the living room, whilst she ran upstairs to finish applying her makeup. She returned a few moments later, looking even more stunning. She sat down to put on her shoes, and began to fire directions at Pacey.
“So she’s got to be in bed by 8.30, no matter what she tells you. Make sure she brushed her teeth and didn’t just run the water over the brush. She normally has a glass of milk and a cookie before bed. Help yourself to anything, apart from the alcohol. I know you too well, Pacey. I don’t want you drunk and in charge of my baby, OK?”
“Sure. Go on then! Go have dinner! We’ll be fine.” Aimie, who was also in the room, waved bye to her mother, who kissed her on the forehead before leaving the house and getting into Pacey’s car with Dawson.
Most of the meal was eaten in silence, with the occasional burst of chit chat such as what their jobs were, and how long it had been since either of them had heard from Jen. It was only during dessert that they began to really talk.
“Joey,” Dawson began, “why did you leave that morning without saying goodbye?”
“Because I had to,” Joey explained. “I had waited five years for you to grow up, become an adult, and prove your feelings for me. I kept waiting, believing that you’d come around, like you did when I nearly went to France. Then, on that last morning, I woke and looked at you sleeping. You had a smile on your face. You were happy at home. I knew then that you’d never ask me what I wanted you to, and that you wouldn’t come to live with me. That’s why I couldn’t stay until you woke up. It would have been too painful for me to see you again, knowing that you weren’t going to ever say what I was waiting for.” Joey stopped speaking, and looked down at her hands. Dawson was over come with the feeling of regret. He had to tell her.
“Joey, I was ready. I took extra time, but I was ready. I woke up in the night, and saw you sleeping. You were so beautiful lying there. It was then that I realized I didn’t want to lose you, and it was then that I took responsibility. I decided then to ask you to marry me. I didn’t want to wake you, so I waited until morning. And you were gone. I waited too long to tell you. I’ve never got over that,” Dawson revealed. Joey’s face crumbled, and she began to shake.
“Oh, God, Dawson. I never knew. I should have waited. Then maybe my life wouldn’t be like it is.”
“What happened between you and Aimie’s father?” Dawson asked, curious.
“The fact that I’d waited five years for him to propose to me… I’d better go,” Joey said, walking away from the table and out of the restaurant door.
Dawson sat frozen for a few moments whilst the full realization of what she’d just said sunk in. Then, he got up, left a $100 note on the table, and ran after Joey. He ran out into the parking lot and saw her stood next to the car, in tears. Her hair glimmered in the moonlight and she was breathtakingly beautiful. He slowly walked up to her, and spoke gently.
“Joey, can we um… can we talk about this please?”
Joey turned to face him and nodded. He led her over to a bench, and they sat down. Joey set about wiping away the tears without smudging her makeup. Dawson sat back, with his hands behind his head, breathing deeply. Eventually, they both stopped, and began the conversation Joey had hoped would never happen.
“I’m so sorry, Dawson. I’m so sorry. I should have waited on that morning. None of this would have happened.”
“That’s all right. What’s happened has happened,” Dawson said. “Can I ask for details? How… when… why didn’t you come back to Capeside?” Joey took a deep breath in, and looked into Dawson’s eyes, which were full of hope.
“I left you that morning because you didn’t beg me to stay, and you didn’t propose. I found out I was pregnant a few weeks after moving to California.”
“But how? I mean, we were so careful!” Dawson exclaimed.
“Not always. And not on that last night. I told Bessie, and begged her not to tell you. she was eventually persuaded that it was the best for you. I didn’t think you wanted to grow up, so I didn’t want to force you by presenting you with this baby. I stayed away. I had to give up that damned job when I was six months pregnant, and I moved to Washington soon after. It’s close enough to see Bessie every so often, but far enough away to hide from you. Bess was there when Aimie was born on June 14th, weighing 7 pounds 4 ounces. It was hard being on my own with a baby, but I coped. I found a job that meant I could stay at home with her, and she’s so wonderful, Dawson. She really is. She’s just as imaginative as you are, and she’s so intelligent, and I love her to pieces. She starts Kindergarten in June next year, and I knew that she’d ask questions about her father. I don’t know what to tell her. Not even I can understand quite why I didn’t come running back home.”
“What… um…is Aimie her only name?” Dawson asked, eager to know everything about his daughter.
“Aimie Stephanie Potter. If she’d been a boy, she would have been called Steven.”
“Aimie Stephanie Potter. I have a daughter. We have a child.”
“I know, Dawson,” Joey said, smiling despite her fears. “And now you’re back I’d like her to know her father. That is, if you even care about her.”
“Of course I do, Joey. Not only is she your child, but she’s mine, too. I want to know about her. I don’t want her growing up without a father. And I want to learn about you, too, Jo. I’ve loved what I could remember about you for so long, I need to see what you’ve become.” Joey carried on smiling, with tears running down her cheeks. After all she’d done, Dawson forgave her! She looked at Dawson, who looked back at her. Tears flowed from his eyes, too. They stood up, and hugged.
“My parents are Grandparents!” Dawson exclaimed. “I guess I’d better tell them… Joey! It’s their anniversary soon, and Pacey and I are going for the big party. Will you come, and bring Aimie? It’d be so good, I really want them to meet her.”
“Of course,” Joey answered. “After all, she’s got to have one Grandmother.” They continued their hug, and eventually got back in the car and drove back to Joey’s house.
Joey let them in, and they entered the living room. Pacey was lying asleep on the couch with the TV set playing to itself. Dawson grinned at Joey, who smiled back.
“You two might as well stay here tonight,” Joey said quietly. “I’ll make up the spare bedroom for you. Tomorrow, you can meet your daughter.”
“Joey,” Dawson said, “Thank you.” He hugged her once again, which slightly surprised her.
“Whatever for?” she said.
“For telling me about her. For telling the truth. For waiting until you were sure,” he said, before quickly planting a light kiss on her lips. Joey felt her heart do a little skip as she felt his warm soft lips against hers. Just as she began to feel relaxed, he pulled away. “Thank you Joey.”
Joey woke up to the sound of Aimie opening her bedroom door. She looked at the time. 8:03. She groaned.
“Mommy,” Aimie said, “Daddy says we have to go now. Are you ready?” Joey sat up in bed, shaking her head.
“Aimie, can you tell Daddy I’ll be down in five minutes.” The little girl nodded, and ran out of the room. Joey got out of bed, and quickly changed into the clothes she had set out the night before. Today, the three friends and Aimie faced an eight hour journey to Capeside. Dawson had said they’d be leaving at 8, but she’d assumed that he’d wake them up in time.
Downstairs, Pacey sat on Joey’s couch (and his bed for the past three weeks) and smiled as he watched Dawson pace backwards and forwards. Then Aimie came running downstairs.
“Mommy says she needs five minutes,” Aimie said, before joining Pacey on the couch.
“We’re gonna be late!” Dawson exclaimed.
“Chill, Dawson. We have plenty of time to get there. The party doesn’t start ‘til 7, so we’ll be there on time,” Pacey said sensibly.
Dawson knew he was right, but he wanted today to be perfect. His parents had been shocked, naturally, when he announced he had a daughter. Today would be the first time they’d see her. Over the past three weeks, he’d got to know the girl who he’d fallen in love with the first time he saw her. And her mother. Despite the changes, they were still very much connected. It was as if he and Joey were one soul, they had this bond that was indescribable. He was still in love with her, and although she’d never said so, he thought she loved him too. They’d gone on a few dates, as well as living together for the past three weeks, but they hadn’t kissed yet. Not properly, anyway. However, they had talked A LOT, and were in a relationship.
A few minutes later, Joey descended the stairs. She was wearing a jumper and trousers, but somehow managed to make it look elegant. Dawson’s expression turned from one of angst to one of awe and love as he saw her.
“Sorry, Aimie woke me up. I forgot to set my alarm,” she said apologetically. “Did you get Aimie ready?”
“Yup. We’re all set. Can I have a private word with you first though?” Dawson asked.
“We’ll go to the car then,” Pacey said. He knew what Dawson wanted to say. He’d heard him practice the speech, and fully supported him. He walked out the front door, guiding Aimie with him.
Dawson motioned to the couch, where Joey joined him. His throat was dry, and he was incredibly nervous, but he knew that he couldn’t wait this time.
“Joey, let me say this straight off, no interruptions, OK? You can no, and I’ll be incredibly embarrassed, but I don’t care. I have to say this.”
“Go on, then,” Joey said, noticing his face was turning a light shade of pink.
“Joey, marry me. Damn! I had this huge long speech planned, and I spent ages perfecting it. It was all romantic, and everything, and you probably never want to see me again.” He stopped babbling, and looked up at Joey. Her eyes were glistening with tears. “Oh great! I’ve made you cry!” he said. “Forget it, OK? I’ll never mention it again.”
Joey reached out her hand, and touched his face. She brought his face to hers, and gave him a deep and loving kiss. Dawson was shocked at first, but responded. It was their first kiss in five years, and their best yet. After what felt like a lifetime, Joey pulled away, but kept his face near hers.
“I’d love to. I love you, Dawson,” she muttered.
Dawson reached into his pocket, and produced a ring box. He opened it, and Joey nodded her head, with tears of joy running down her cheeks. He slipped the ring onto her finger, and kissed her once more. Then, they walked out of the house and toward the car.
Dawson, Joey, Aimie and Pacey had just enough time to change before it was time for the Leery’s anniversary party. When they got to the hall, Joey took a deep breath. She knew that a lot of people she hadn’t seen for a long time would be there. But she was even more nervous about presenting Aimie to her grandparents. Although she’d considered Dawson’s parents to be like replacements after her mother’s death, she still had butterflies in her stomach. Pacey opened the door, and Joey took Aimie’s hand and Dawson’s as they walked into the room.
Gail and Mitch Leery were stood on the other side of the room. Dawson saw them almost immediately, and led Joey and their daughter to them. Pacey followed. He saw his parents recognize them, and Gail ran forward to hug her son.
“Dawson! You’re here!” Gail said, hugging her son. She took a step back, and looked at Joey. “My God, Joey, you’re beautiful! Come here!” She hugged Joey, who was rather taken aback.
“Hi, Gail. This is Aimie,” Joey said, less nervous. “Aimie, this is your grandma, and this is your grandfather. Say hello, sweetie.” Mitch had come over, and patted Dawson on the shoulder. Aimie kept hold of her mother’s hand, suddenly very shy.
“Hello,” she said sweetly. Joey picked her up off the floor, and swung her on her hip. Gail and Mitch started to speak to their only grandchild, while Pacey smiled at the scene.
When Aimie was finally settled with the strange members of family, Pacey excused himself, and then Dawson and Joey looked around for Bessie and Bodie, who they knew would be there. Sure enough, in the corner of the room, they were stood talking. Dawson knew that Joey wanted to go and speak to her sister, but he stood behind her, and slipped his arms around her waist.
“This is the only time we’ve had together since we got engaged, Joey,” he said, before kissing the back of her neck.
“I know. I love you Dawson. So much,” she told him before turning and kissing him on the lips. Then they walked towards Bessie and Bodie, with his arm around her waist.
“Joey! Dawson! How long have you been here?” Bessie asked.
“What, no ‘hello, Joey, my only sister?’” Joey teased.
“Hello Joey, my only sister,” Bessie played along. She looked at Dawson, who was watching the banter with a look of love on his face. “How’s everything?”
“Wonderful,” Joey replied. “Where are the kids?”
“I don’t know!” Bessie admitted. “Alex’s probably with Jane somewhere,” she said, referring to Alex’s best friend, “Carly said she was getting herself some juice, and she disappeared. Where’s Aimie?”
“With mom and Dad,” Dawson said, snapping out of his daydream. “You look wonderful, Bessie.” Joey elbowed him in the stomach. “But not quite as wonderful as your sister, I’m afraid. Joey, can we dance please?” Joey looked at him as if he was mad.
“Since when did you dance?”
“Hey, there’s still stuff you don’t know about me!” he said. Joey looked apologetically at her sister and brother-in-law, before being led out onto the dance floor by her fiancé. Not that anyone other than Pacey knew though.
“What’s going on there then?” Bodie asked as the two started to move to the music.
“I don’t know,” Bessie said thoughtfully, “but I’ll find out.”
Joey rested her head against Dawson’s chest as the music began. The song was one from their childhood, I love you by Celine Dion. They began to move together in perfect synchrony. She sighed in contentment. She felt so comfortable in his arms. She almost felt as if the world was safe.
A few hours later, the toasts were beginning, so Dawson, as the couple’s only child, took the microphone on the stage. Before long, every set of eyes was on him. Joey watched from the front with Aimie once again on her hip. He looked nervous, and looked down at her. Joey smiled back, and Aimie waved at the man she knew as Daddy.
“Hi! Well, speech time is here, and I’d like to be the first to congratulate my parents on 32 years of marriage. I know there have been bad times as well as good, but they worked through them all and stand here today as close as ever. I’d like everyone to raise their glasses and join me in a toast to my parents, Gail and Mitch.”
Everyone lifted their glasses, and said “Gail and Mitch.”
The pair turned to face each other and kissed. The crowd applauded. Then Dawson continued. “I can remember when I was 15 being jealous of their relationship, and imaging that I could never expect to have that in my life. I got to 27 thoroughly believing that. However, recent revelations have changed my life out of recognition, and I’d like to thank my parents for their understanding and support over all my life, but especially the last three weeks. I’d like to think that I’ve given them my fair share of problems, and also some joys. Today, they met their first grandchild for the first time. Now, without taking the emphasis off their achievement, I’d like to share with you all the fact that I have now got the chance to follow their example. Josephine Potter, my best friend and mother of my beautiful daughter Aimie, earlier agreed to marry me.” Bessie, who was stood by Joey screamed, and hugged her sister, who smiled radiantly.
Mr. and Mrs. Leery both smiled, and hugged each other. The rest of the crowd applauded. “Joey, would you like to join me up here?” Dawson asked. Bessie grabbed Aimie, and gave her sister a shove forwards, and Joey climbed the steps to the stage. She walked up to Dawson and kissed him. The crowd’s applause was even louder. Mitch stood forwards.
“Thank you Dawson. I hope you and Joey will be as happy as Gail and I have been. Congratulations.”
End of Part One. Want more? E-mail me and I’ll do some more.
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