Whatever You Do! Don't! by: Becci

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Author's Notes: THANK YOU MEAGHAN! Did I make it clear enough? Iíve just finished reading her e-mail, and Iím starting part three. Just to reassure you, the story will end D/J. Itís just a matter of waiting. I hope you enjoy the waitÖ

‘ I learned one valuable lesson throughout everything: you need to
allow yourself to feel love and let love feel you. It sounds strange, but

- A Friend


Capeside, June 5th, 2001

Joey tried her hardest to stop crying, but didn’t succeed. Doug let her into the house, and led her towards the kitchen. She sat in the familiar seat, and he offered her a coffee. She gratefully accepted, and he set about the task. The Witter kitchen was a familiar place to Joey by now. She and Pacey had spent hours sitting there talking after Andie left town and Mr. Potter went back to jail. Even Doug had discussed their feelings with them. He had come to a better understanding of his brother, and despite Joey’s family history, he liked and respected the feisty young woman. Which is why he was so concerned when she turned up looking so distressed. He put the steaming mug of coffee in front of her, and sat down with a matching drink.

"Where’s Pacey?" she asked, calming down somewhat.

"He went out with Jack and Jen. He should be back any minute now."

"And your parents?"

"They’re on vacation in Miami. Of course, the public think he’s taken her to a police safety convention," Doug disclosed, winking at her. Joey nodded, unable to attempt a smile. "What’s wrong, Joey?" Doug asked gently. Joey looked at him, and burst into tears again. "Don’t cry," he pleaded, moving nearer to her. He opened his arms, and she gratefully accepted his embrace. He put a hand on her head, and rocked her gently, trying to comfort her.

"Made another woman cry, Douggie? You seem to have that effect on women," called a voice from the doorframe. Doug looked up, and saw Pacey with his two friends. He frowned, signalling that now was not the time to joke. Joey pulled her head off Doug’s chest, and looked up.

"Joey! What’s wrong?" Jack asked, realising that was whom Doug was with. Joey stood up, and put her hand over her mouth, and broke down into heartfelt sobs once again. Jack stepped forward, and hugged her close to him. Joey took solace in the comfort of her ex-boyfriend.

"What’s Dawson done now?" Jen asked, knowing that this wasn’t the usual tiff the two had. Joey broke apart from Jack, and stood silent for a moment.

"I’m pregnant," she said quietly. However, everyone in the room went silent.

"Oh my God," Jen said quietly, under her breath.

"I don’t want to keep it. I can’t be a mother at eighteen. Not one good enough o deserve a child," Joey explained. "And I want to have a life before I give it up to raise a baby."

"Does Dawson know?" Pacey asked. Joey nodded.

"I told him I wanted an abortion," she confirmed. "He thinks I’m wrong."

"That would explain why neither of you were at school today," Jen said. Joey nodded.

"I got back home this evening to find Mitch, Bessie and Dawson waiting for me to tell me not to kill the baby. I said all this stuff…Hurtful stuff…I don’t know what I’m doing…" Joey broke down into tears again. Pacey’s face softened to one of pure pity.

"Joey, does Bessie know you’re here?" he started. She shook her head.

"I can’t go back home. Not to Bessie. Not yet," she said.

"Why don’t we see if you can stay with us for a bit?" Jen offered. Jack nodded. They still lived with Jen’s grandmother. Jack had opted to retake his senior year to achieve better grades.

"Oh, I can just see your grandmother letting a Potter stay in her house. And a pregnant one at that," Joey pointed out.

"Why wouldn’t she? I’m not exactly the model for church attendance. We just went to see a film filled with violence, swearing and sex. But she’s mellowing in her old age," Jen pointed out.

"And she let me stay," Jack argued. "There are at least three bible passages that condemn homosexuality as a mortal sin." Joey looked at Pacey.

"Pacey… Dawson…he hates me," she sobbed. Pacey shook his head.

"Dawson could never hate you, Joey. I’ll go and see him, talk to him, you know. You go with Jen and Jack, OK?" Joey nodded, then turned to Doug.

"Thank you," she whispered, and then hugged him. Doug went red, causing Jack to laugh.

Dawson sat in his room thinking. He had started to write a script, but on reading the last few pages to proof read it, he had discovered that the story had become his life. Out of the blue, the oblivious but adorable hero had found out his girlfriend was pregnant. He was over the moon until she announced that she didn’t want to have his baby. Deflated, Dawson had highlighted the section, and pressed the delete button before turning off the computer. He now sat staring at a blank screen. His over-analytical brain had already grasped the symbolism as he realised the very real problem of Joey’s actions. She didn’t want him anymore. And Dawson didn’t know how to cope with that reality. His life, like the screen, was empty without her.

Joey sat on the swinging seat, deep in thought. To her surprise, Jen’s grandmother had agreed to let her stay. She had even offered to phone Bessie to tell her where Joey was. Joey had expected to be judged. Mrs Ryan had often judged her due to her family’s choices – this was her mistake, and one hat she was willing to be judged for. But instead, the old woman had offered her support. In fact, there had almost been understanding in her eyes. It was late. She should be in bed. Jen and Jack already were, but she was not going to school tomorrow with them. She would instead be staying in the house. She knew she had to go to school eventually, but it would be hard. She was currently the top of her graduating class. She had been informed that, at the graduation ceremony, she would be named as valedictorian. But she didn’t want to have to tell the principal that she was pregnant. Joey had told Dawson that tomorrow was the day she’d have the abortion. She already knew that she needed some more time. She couldn’t do it tomorrow. Despite her wish not to have this child, she knew that she needed to make sure it was the right decision. She’d been shocked by Dawson’s proposition to care for their child. But she knew that if that went ahead, the two would never be together again. And she didn’t think any child deserved to grow up without a mother. It was something she’d experienced.

She watched as a car pulled into the Leery’s driveway. Struggling in the meagre light of the evening, she managed to see Mitch’s figure come out of the house. He hugged the driver of the car, a woman. Suddenly, Joey realised who it was – Gail. The two adults she respected the most went into their house. Obviously Mitch had called Gail to help Dawson get through this. But who would help Joey?

Joey heard the door open, and turned to see who it was. Mrs Ryan came out onto the porch. She sat in the seat opposite Joey, and smiled. Joey looked down at the ground.

"Thanks for letting me stay," Joey mumbled.

"I can see you’re suffering, Joey. I can’t let you feel pain," the lady replied. Joey looked up, surprised. Not just by the kind words but also the use of her nickname. "Joey, I want you to feel you can talk to me. I don’t condone your pregnancy, but I can understand your panic and loneliness."

" I told Dawson I was having an abortion," Joey confessed.

"I know. Jennifer told me," Mrs Ryan answered.

"I know what you think of my family. The whole town has been watching me, waiting for me to make some monumental mistake. And I finally did. But I wanted so much more for myself. I feel I owe it to my mother to make a success of myself, but I want to have fun. I want to be able to smile. And having this baby would ruin so much I had planned."

"But don’t you thin that God has a plan for all of us, child? I don’t think we can ever truly plan our lives – he already has. And nothing that he plans will ever be too much for us to bear. It can only make us stronger people. Maybe you were meant to have this child, Joey. Sometimes it’s just hard to see what God has planned for us. But it will work out."

"How can you be so sure?" Joey looked up, her eyes filled with tears.

"I have to," Mrs Ryan replied honestly. "Otherwise, what purpose is there in suffering?"

"Maybe there is no God. How can I be stronger because he took my mother away from me? And then he took my father away from me twice. And now he’s taking Dawson. Why would he wish such bad things on me?"

"Don’t have the abortion yet Joey. It’s a knee-jerk reaction. Wait for a few weeks until things have settled. You’re scared. I don’t blame you. But don’t take this child’s life because you think you can do much better without it."

"I’m so confused. I want my mum. I wish she were here. She’d make it all right," Joey wept. Mrs Ryan looked at her sympathetically, and then, almost on instinct, sat next to Joey, and held her close, rocking her and trying to soothe her.

‘And through it all

She offers me protection

A lot of love and affection

Whether I’m right or wrong.’

-Angels by Robbie Williams

Dawson wiped the tears that fell from his eyes, burning his cheeks. He was on his bed, in his darkened room, thinking. Regretting. Confused. Utterly lost. His life had turned upside down in a matter of days. After his parents got divorced, he thought that was the hardest thing he’d have to go through. He’d learnt not to rely on his parents – he wouldn’t be able to when living his life. So instead, he’d assumed he could rely on his friends, himself and Joey. His friends would get him through the bad times – they understood him, and he was close to them. As long as he was with Joey, he felt safe. They were young, but he knew that she was the only one that would ever capture his heart. And now she was pulling away. She had taken herself out of his life, and was taking their child with him. And for the first time in his life, he felt completely alone.

His father called from downstairs. Dawson rubbed at his puffy eyes, a futile attempt to hide the tears that had stained his face. He got off his bed, and went down the stairs and into the living room where he found his father…and mother.

"Dawson…"she said, shocked by his appearance. He chewed on his lower lip, and she stepped forward to embrace him. He let his head drop onto her shoulder, and wept. Although his mother’s arms were wound tightly round his waist, he couldn’t feel her. There was an invisible distance, one that only Joey could break down.

Capeside, June 6th, 2001

‘Child walks to the river’s edge
And looks out as far as she can see
And draws each breath as if it was her last
And wipes away the tears across her sleeve
She can see where the river crawls to the sea
Like a baby into mother’s care
Somehow the longing is so far away
The innocence so wasted’
Home by Sarah McLachlan

Joey sat on the dock, looking over the water, deep in contemplation. Dawson saw her figure from a distance, and decided he needed to see if they would ever salvage their relationship after all this.

"Joey…" he said softly, announcing his arrival. She didn’t turn to face him.

"Dawson…" she acknowledged, equally unable to respond.

"Joey, is there any chance at all that we’ll ever be able to regain what we’ve lost over the past few days?" Dawson asked finally.

"I don’t know."

"You’ve hurt me so much, but nothing hurts more than the thought of losing you. And it feels like you’re letting go."

"All I’ve ever known is that I love you. From the time we were thirteen, my life has revolved around my love for you. And I’m 18. We shouldn’t be tied to each other at such a young age. I’ve never stopped to think if I like myself. I don’t know who it is that I’ve become. I need to find that out. And I don’t mean in the same way that I tried when we were 15. As easy as it is to let your love envelop me, I can’t do it anymore. I get so confused. I’ll always love you, but I need the challenge."

"So you’re giving me the brush off?" Dawson asked.

"No! I’m just saying that I need to sort out whatever this gap in me is. Bringing a child into this won’t help. I need to live for me. I need to know what makes me happy. I don’t expect you to understand, but…" Joey trailed off.

"So this is it? The end of us?"

"For now," she acknowledged. Dawson felt tears burning in his eyes. "I love you, Dawson," she whispered, dissolving into tears herself. He pulled her close to him, and kissed her. She responded eagerly. Then he pulled himself away.

"Joey, I won’t let you hurt me again. This is it. The hurt I feel now may one day go away. If I get my heart broken again by you, it may never heal. This is it until the day you can commit to me forever." And with that, he walked away, leaving her distraught on the dock.

Dawson looked up from his computer as the phone rang. It was five o’clock that evening, and only he and his mother were in the house. He picked up the extension in his room.

"Hello?" he answered.

"Dawson, it’s me," Pacey’s voice replied. "Come to the hospital now!"

"Why? What’s happened?" Dawson asked, feeling panic twist in his stomach.

"Don’t make me talk to you on here for hours. Just come. It’s Joey." Dawson felt like someone had punched him. He sat don on his bed, letting the phone drop. Then he realised what had been said. He put the phone down, and went running downstairs to fetch his mother. He would have to go to the hospital. He had to know what was wrong.

I’m sorry it took so long to come out. (OK, bad phrasing) However, the next part may need some time, ‘cause the story’s gonna start taking off now. E-mail me with comments please – Meaghan’s constant nagging (I love her for it!) Got me to write this piece. Proof that feedback works.

-Becci Wooster

20th July 1999

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