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"Dawson," Joey whispered. It WAS him. She took a step towards him and he wrapped his arms around her and held her. He knew it was exactly what she needed, even without asking. Seeing Dawson made Joey let down her defenses. She knew that he knew how she was feeling. She broke down and began to cry.
"Shh...it'll be okay, Jo," Dawson said. He didn't think there was much else to say, so they stood like that, Joey in Dawson's arms. After a while, Joey stopped crying. Her eyes, though red-rimmed and puffy, lost their brightness, and she looked defeated. Dawson stepped back and took a good look at her.
"Dawson," she started to say, "I-I-Love.." She couldn't finish. Her eyes rolled into the back of her head and she dropped to the floor.
"Jo!? Joey!?" He screamed, alarmed. She didn't respond or wake up. Dawson hurriedly picked up the phone and dialed 911..
The waiting room in the ER was crowded with crying, moaning, and pacing people of all sizes. Dawson happened to be one of the pacing people. He stopped suddenly and pounded the wall. "Why won't the doctors tell me anything!?" he wondered aloud, frustration already setting in. He walked over to the front desk.
"May I help you sir?" the receptionist asked. Dawson put on his best guilt-trip smile.
"Yes, ma'am, you see my best friend in the entire world fainted right before my eyes and wouldn't wake up. I tried to wake her up but got no response. So I called here, hoping to get her help. Unfortunately, I've been here for over 6 hours, and no one has told me anything yet. Could you find anything out for me?" he asked hopefully. The receptionist looked sympathetic.
"What's her name? I can try to find out what room she's in at least." Dawson sighed gratefully.
"Thank you soo much. Her name's Joey Potter, except it might come up Josephine Potter."
After three searches, her name finally came up. "Room 231," she said.
"Thanks again!" Dawson called as he walked quickly down the hall.
Pacey looked around the beach at all the cute girls. "Ahh...paradise." he breathed. Even though Joey had just broken up with him, he was fickle and had already started to check the new girls out. All of a sudden, he did a double-take. He saw a blonde, and deeply tanned girl and his eyes immediately popped out. She was wearing a red and orange bikini, and looked incredibly sexy in his opinion. He got up and walked over to her. "Hello ma'am, I was sitting here, and just couldn't resist approaching a beautifully, sexy woman like yourself. I was just wondering if you'd like to grab lunch with me on this gorgeous day." He took a breath. "By the way, what is your name?" The girl smiled and turned around. Pacey immediately recognized her and his mouth dropped open. "Andie!?" He exclaimed.
~Back at the Hospital~
Dawson scanned the room numbers posted on the door. None of them matched Joey's room number. Suddenly, a doctor passed by. Dawson hurriedly ran up to him. "Excuse me Doctor, but could you tell me where I might find room 231?" he asked.
The doctor looked at him sympathetically, and said, "Yes, sir, it's in the ICU. In fact, I'm headed in that direction right now, if you'd like to follow me." Dawson eagerly said yes, and they started down the winding hallway. Finally, he was led to another hallway. This time windows lined the wall. He again scanned the wall for room 231. Suddenly, he spotted it.
"Joey!" He exclaimed. He looked in the window and gasped at the sight of all of the machines she was hooked up to. A doctor came up behind him and patted him on the shoulder.
"She'll be fine," he said," she's just malnourished. It looks as if she hasn't eaten in a week."
Dawson placed his fingertips on the glass and let out a shaky sigh of relief. "Can I go inside to see her?" he questioned the doctor. The doctor looked troubled, then decided to let him in.
"Okay," he said, "but only for 15 minutes, and be very careful with her. She's been through a lot."
Dawson laughed. You don't know half of it, he thought. He dressed in the clothes that were required, to keep all germs out, and walked in. There lay Joey. His Joey. Dawson pulled up a chair and sat down. Her face looked gaunt, stretched over her skull. He cursed silently, and smoothed her hair away from her face. "Why did you do this to yourself, Jo? Why didn't you just call me? I would've come that very day if you had asked me. I love you so much. I just don't understand...." his voice broke and he realized tears streamed down his face.
Suddenly, one of her hands moved to cover his. Joey's eyes opened and she whispered, "I love you too. I just didn't want to bother you with my problems. Dawson, listen to me. Pacey isn't my true love. I made a huge mistake, and hurt Pacey badly because of it." Dawson stared at her and asked what was running through his head.
"Then who is your true love, Jo?"
It took the last of Joey's strength to get out her answer. "You," she whispered.
"Andie?" Pacey repeated. "What are you doing here?"
Andie smiled and said, "I'm on my way back to the states. I was offered a position as a Supreme Court lawyer. I decided to take it and beforehand, vacation in the Bahamas, where I am now."
Pacey, still shocked and amazed, said, "The invitation for lunch is still open, if you'd like to go. We could catch up on each other's lives."
"I'd love to," Andie laughed and Pacey relaxed.
3 hours, and four Mountain Dews later, Andie and Pacey had almost caught up on life's great events. Pacey was just finishing up with, "So, Joey broke up with me, and I came down here with my fun-loving brother Deputy Dougie and your bro, Jack." Andie wiped her eyes on a napkin.
"That is one of the saddest stories I've ever heard." she said.
Pacey looked at her solemnly and sadly. "I don't really care anymore that Joey broke up with me, as long as she'll be happy." Andie, almost exploding with the thought of what she was about to do leaned over the table and kissed Pacey passionately. They pulled apart, realizing what had just happened, and leaned in for another kiss.
"Me?" Dawson squeaked. "But you said..."
"I know what I said," Joey quickly interrupted, even though it took more energy than she had, “but I was wrong." She leaned in close to his face, and as he leaned closer to her as well, their lips touched in a passionate kiss, full of love, lust, and longing. Then Dawson pulled away.
"Okay, Joey," he said, “you better heal fast, so you can come home. I don't like these clothes they put me in." Joey laughed weakly and Dawson smiled. While they talked about what had been going on in their lives, Joey's doctor, Dr. Frisko, came in with Joey's chart.
"Well, Josephine..." she began.
"Joey!" Dawson and Joey said in unison.
"Joey," she began again and smiled. "It looks as if you can be discharged in three weeks if you cooperate with the doctors and everything. I'll have you moved to a regular room instead of being in the ICU shortly." Then she strode briskly out of the room. The doctor was true to her word. A half hour later, two orderlies came in to move her, with the understanding that Dawson could come with her. Dawson and Joey held hands the whole way.
+A couple of months later+
"Jo, is everything ready?" Dawson called. They were in the process of going to Capeside for Christmas, just like every other year.
"Yeah, I am!" Joey called back. She was so excited to get there and tell them the news...
Everything is perfect, Joey thought. She and Dawson were at a restaurant on a date. They had been dating for two months now, and they were loving it. Pacey had called the day before, and told them his news. He had run into Andie, their "teenhood" friend, and had proposed to her. Their date to be married was next June. Joey and Dawson were ecstatic when they heard, although Joey felt a twinge of jealousy toward Pacey and Andie. Dawson was to be Pacey's best man, and Joey, Andie's maid of honor.
Back to the restaurant. Joey looked at Dawson and, with the look on his face, knew something was up; he looked like he was about to burst. "Something's up, Dawson; tell me." Dawson grinned and brought out a small black velvet box. He got down and one knee in front of her, and she thought, This is it, he's gonna ask me!
She was right, for the next words out of his mouth were, "Joey, will you marry me?"
Tears filled her eyes and her love for him grew. "Oh my gosh...yes!" she practically screamed. Everyone else in the restaurant clapped, and Joey and Dawson realized everyone had been watching them. They didn't care; right now, this day was the best one of their lives.
"Oh my gosh! I can't believe you're here!" Gail Leery, Dawson's mom, exclaimed, giving Dawson and Joey a hug. "Joey you look beautiful, how have you been?" she asked.
"I've been just fine," Joey responded, knowing that once Gail got started, her questions could last for hours.
"Where's Lily, Mom?" Dawson asked. "I have a new DVD for her to watch. Early Christmas present," he added sheepishly.
"Dawson, you spoil your sister to no end," Gail said, hitting him lightly on the head.
"Look who's talking," he retorted.
"I know, I know, I know..." she trailed off walking into the kitchen. "Lily's over at the Potter's, and she'll be back in about an hour, if you'd like to wait. Or you could just go over there in the rowboat like usual." She smiled, knowing what they'd do.
"Ugh, I am so out of shape!" Joey moaned as she struggled with the oars to her house.
"C'mon, Jo, go faster!!" Dawson whined playfully. Joey frowned at him.
"You think you can do better? Dawson laughed.
"Of course I could; why, with these muscles, I could lift the Empire State building!"
Joey gave him an angelic look. "Okay, muscle-man, you can row." She stood up and tried to hold in a laugh as she watched Dawson's face turn from smiling to a look of horror. He cleared his throat.
"Uh, Jo, sit back down, the boat is gonna tip, and we will both fall out." He was too late though; as soon as he finished, he found Joey and himself swimming with the fish in the middle of the creek! "Ooh, Joey, you've done it this time!" Dawson sputtered, and pushed her under. She, in turn, did the same, and pretty soon, it was all-out war.
After about a half hour, they dragged the rowboat to the bank of the creek, on the Potter's side. Thoroughly wet, and tired, they knocked on the door. Footsteps sounded on the wood floor and the front door opened. "Oh My God, Jo! You're here!!!" she screamed and threw her arms around her younger sister. Then Bessie turned to Dawson and gave him a hug as well. "Hey, Dawson, long time, no see!"
The three of them heard tinier footsteps pounding through the house. "Dawson, Joey!" Lily and Alexander shrieked in delight, Lily running toward Dawson, and Alexander running toward his Aunt Joey.
"Hey Lily, how's it going in Capeside? You aren't giving Mom any trouble are you?" Dawson asked. Lily smiled mischievously, reminding Joey so much of Dawson at that age.
"Of course not, why would I do that?" she asked.
Dawson smiled down at her and said, "Well, then, I guess I can give you an early Christmas present when you get home, for being so good, of course."
Lily's eyes went wide. "What is it? What is it? What is it!?" she asked him doggedly. Dawson flashed the same grin, and wouldn't tell her. Then Lily's expression turned serious and she whispered to her older brother, "Okay, I have a secret that I have to tell someone... I have a crush on Alexander...I don't know what to tell him! What if he doesn't like me?"
Dawson looked thoughtful for a moment. "Tell him exactly what you told me."
"Okey dokey, thanks." she said and gave him a big hug.
Meanwhile, Alexander and Joey were having their own conversation. "Aunt Joey," he whispered, "what do you do when you have a crush on someone, but are afraid to tell them?"
Joey thought back to her and Dawson's sophomore year of high school and even before then, knowing exactly what he was going through. "You like Lily don't you?" she teased her nephew.
"Yeah," Alexander blushed," I just don't know how to tell her."
Joey looked at him, and told him, “Tell her just what you told me, that you like her a lot but don't want your friendship to change. She can't hate you for being truthful."
"Okay thanks," he said. Then he and Lily ran towards the kitchen, waiting to see what Bodie had cooked for them.
"Mom wants you home by 6:00, Lily!" Dawson called out.
"Got it!" she called back.
Then, hand in hand, Joey and Dawson walked out the door to the S.S. Icehouse for dinner, and to visit with Pacey.....
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