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It was a windy day in the sleepy town of Capeside, yet two of its success stories barely noticed. They were Josephine Potter, now a successful lawyer after leaving the town aged 18, and Dawson Leery, a fresh new director who had the backing of Steven Spielberg's money. The two had been best friends, and then they had fallen in love. 10 years after Dawson and his family had moved away, they had met up. Dawson had told Joey that he still loved her, but Joey thought it was impossible for him to say that unless he learnt about her past. Joey had given him a box full of letters that she had written, but never sent to him, and he had started to read about the woman he loved. He sat on the jetty by his childhood home, and read Joey pouring out her heart. For hours, he concentrated on her handwriting, not noticing anything around him. The 220 letters covered her life between 16 and 18, then between 21 and 23. The early ones were by the Joey he knew already. The words 'depressed', 'lonely', 'love', 'need', 'miss' and 'want' were all familiar to those he would have used to describe his first year without Joey. He smiled as she described the prom, and when she told him all about Pacey's latest infatuations. He was close to tears as she described the emptiness she felt inside her. Then he read the first letter of her twenties. His Joey had got engaged! She had told him about James, but she brushed it off. It turned out she was in love with him, though not in the same way she had cared for him. The tone of the letters had changed dramatically. These were by a woman who had been badly hurt, and was angry about that. The word 'love' was rarely used, instead she told him how much she wished he was there. She had needed him as a friend, not as a lover. The letters had progressed, and she had written about her life in an almost detached way. It was late evening when he had finished reading them all and digesting the information. It was too late to go and talk to her, the kids would be in bed, if she wasn't herself. He reached into his coat pocket, and found his bunch of keys. Amongst them was the key to the house. His parents had never sold it, they'd bought it out right, and they must have thought about one day returning there. He let himself into the house and went upstairs to his old room, where he slept on the floor.
Joey looked out into the darkness to see what the time was. 1:09 am. She couldn't sleep. She felt too exposed. She had let Dawson read her intimate secrets. Not even her sister knew of the pain she had felt during those two periods of her life. No one, not even the letters, knew of her darkest secret. It was something that she would never let anyone know. A few days after her break-up with James, she had drunk a bottle of Gin and taken some tablets. She had wanted to die. Luckily, she had not taken enough tablets to kill herself, just enough to make sure the hangover then next day was a lot worse. It hadn't just been the hurt of James's betrayal that had led her to do it-- it was the loneliness she had felt too. She had got angry that no one was there to talk to. With a long sigh, Joey rolled over and tried to sleep once more.
By 6am the following morning, Dawson had woken up. The sunlight poured through the bare windows, like a torch was being shone through them. It had taken him a few moments to remember where he was and why. He ran a hand through his now short hair, and got up slowly. His neck was stiff from sleeping on the hard wooden floor, but otherwise, he was fine. He went downstairs and out onto the porch. The sun was just coming over the horizon, and it was beautiful. It was a sight he had missed. He walked down to the jetty, and sat, dangling his feet in the creek. He was an adult now, but still something inside of him was like a child. He remembered the days that he and Joey had spent as children on the dock. They used to play about, or film one of his movies. Then he remembered his own movie. He needed to get back to the city in a few days, with or without the help of the lawyer he had asked. Of course, he hoped she would help him, even if she didn't feel the same about him as he felt about her. He looked down the creek, and pictured Joey rowing her small boat round the corner. Suddenly, there she was! It must be my imagination, he thought. But, sure enough, there she was! Joey rowed the corner, and held her breath. He was sitting there! As she neared the jetty, he stood up and rubbed his hands together. She looked up at him hopefully, but he gave no clue as to what he thought about her now.
She climbed out of the boat and tied it up as a lump came to her throat. It had been a mistake to let him read her most personal thoughts. How could he love her? He knew way too much. Tears sprung to her eyes. She stood on the deck, facing away from Dawson, and cursed to herself silently. She was meant to be a grown-up now. Adults don't cry. Her mother had only cried when Joey had told her that she would miss her when she died. Joey had only been 12 then, but she hadn't cried at all. She suddenly became aware that Dawson was stood beside her. "Joey, don't cry," he said gently.
"I'm not," Joey said, her voice full of emotion.
"Look at me, please. What I want to say will be so much easier if you look at me," Dawson asked. Joey obediently turned around to face him. She gasped slightly when she looked into his eyes. She recognized that expression. She had seen it only once before. That was when he was about to......Dawson leaned down and kissed her. His arms wrapped around her waist, and he picked her up off the ground without any problem. "I love you, Jo," he whispered between kisses. Joey didn't reply, she just smiled. He loved the person she had been, and the person she had become.
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