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"Tell me again why we agreed to come to this!" Joey shouted over the blaring music.
"It's Mary Beth's sixteenth birthday!" Jen yelled back. "We couldn't say no!"
"Oh," Joey nodded. "Why not?"
Jen laughed. Even though she and Joey were standing right next to each other, they had to yell over the music pumping out of the dj's stereo system to talk to each other.
"Ohmygod," Joey wailed through her laughter, covering her face with both hands. "What is he doing?"
Jen looked out onto the dance floor where Joey had pointed. She nearly choked on her soda. "Pacey!"
Pacey was pulling Dawson across the room in a horrible version of the tango.
"Come on, D!" Pacey shouted. "Feel the passion!"
"Not with you, Pace," Dawson wrenched himself away. "Go find another victim."
Pacey got an evil glint in his eye. "Josephine..."
"No way!" Joey shook her head, having read his lips from her spot next to Jen. "Not a chance, Pacey!"
He grinned, and walked over to their table. "Come on, Dancing Queen. It's your turn to dance with the Pace-master."
"I'd rather - "
"Yes, I know. You'd rather eat a bowl of refried worms, or something equally ridiculous. Just come dance!" He yanked her out of her seat and onto the dance floor.
"Pacey! I don't dance!"
"Sure you do. It's easy." Pacey put his arm around her waist and pulled her close. "Ready?"
"Oh, well. You will be!" He began moving forward, pulling Joey with him.
The other dancers cleared a path for them, as Joey continued shouting protests.
"Joey!" Pacey said, spinning her around.
"Shut up!" He dipped her low, just as the song ended.
The dance floor erupted in applause. Pacey bowed, then quickly followed Joey back to their table.
"Pace, I never knew," Jen laughed. "When did you become such a dancing fool?"
"I don't know if you can call that dancing, but you got the fool part right," Joey said.
"Ha! You're just upset that you didn't get to spend the entire song with your body against mine!" Pacey teased.
"No, that's really not it,"
Mary Beth came over and sat down between Joey and Pacey. "Hey, guys! Thanks for coming!"
"Happy birthday, Mary Beth!" Jen said. "Are you having a good time?"
"Yes, a great time! Isn't the dj fabulous?"
Jen and Joey exchanged a look.
"Yeah, wonderful," Joey said sarcastically.
"Hey, Pacey, I saw you on the dance floor. Looking good!" Mary Beth enthused.
"Thanks, Mary Beth," He glanced pointedly at Joey. "At least somebody appreciates my talent!" Pacey paused. "Ooh, the Hokey Pokey! This is my favorite song!" He jumped out of his seat and ran to the center of the dance floor.
Mary Beth laughed. "They don't make 'em like him anymore."
"Well, just to be on the safe side, he should be castrated anyway," Joey said.
"Funny!" Mary Beth stood up. "I'll see you guys later!"
"Bye!" Joey cried with fake enthusiasm.
"You're horrible, Joey," Dawson shook his head.
A few minutes later, Pacey returned to their table. "Having fun, Jo?"
"Oh, yeah. Gee, what a great party," Joey rolled her eyes. "Maybe afterward we can go watch paint dry."
"Well, if it isn't the Queen of Mean. Can't you lower yourself to have a little fun every once and a while?"
"I try to limit my fun intake to the days that you're not around,"
"But we see each other every day,"
"I guess that's why I hate my life so much,"
"Whining, whining," Pacey shook his head. "I'm gonna have some fun! Come on, Jen! Let's go boogie!"
Dawson jealously watched Pacey lead Jen onto the dance floor. He sighed.
"Why don't you just admit it, Dawson," Joey said. "You like Jen, don't you?"
"No," he automatically replied.
"All right, all right. Yes, I do. But you can't tell her!"
"I won't, but don't you think you should?"
"Why not? Maybe she feels the same way."
Joey almost laughed. If only you knew, Dawson, She thought.
"I mean," Dawson continued. "She looks like she's having so much fun dancing with Pacey. Look at her smile..."
"She's not smiling because she's with Pacey, she's smiling because she likes to dance. If you asked her to dance, she'd smile for you, too."
"You really think I should ask her?"
"Yes, I really do,"
"All right. The next slow song, I'll make my move."
"Good," Joey said, satisfied that two of her best friends were getting exactly what they wanted.
A few moments later, Jen and Pacey returned to their table, laughing at each other.
"Pace," Jen said, gasping for breath. "You are the worst dancer I've ever seen in my entire life!"
"I'm not that bad!"
"Yes, you are," Joey offered.
Just then, the dj put on a cheesy old love song. Dawson looked at Joey. She mouthed, "Do it."
"Jen," Dawson asked quietly. "Will you dance with me?"
Jen immediately stopped laughing. "Yes."
They got up and walked off. Joey sat back in her chair, smiling and proud of herself.
"What are you smiling about?" Pacey asked.
"Want to dance?"
"Sure," Joey replied, surprising them both.
Pacey led her to the dance floor and pulled her close. Joey wrapped her arms around his shoulders. She could feel the warmth of his hand pressed against the small of her back and his breath in her hair.
"Perfect for each other," Pacey whispered.
Joey's heart started pounding. "What?"
"Dawson and Jen. They're perfect for each other."
"Oh," She caught a glimpse of them dancing. Both of them had dreamy expressions on their faces, and Jen's eyes were closed. Dawson looked like he was trying hard not to bump into anyone. Joey giggled softly.
"What's so funny?"
"Um, do you think..."
"Do I think what?"
Pacey suddenly changed his mind. "Do you think Bessie's okay with the kids?"
That wasn't what he was going to say, Joey thought. "I'm sure she's fine, Pace."
"So, are you having a good time?"
"You want to head home?"
"I asked first,"
Joey sighed. "That's so fifth grade, Pacey."
"Look, do you want me to drive you home or not?"
"No, if you're going to be such a jerk about it!"
"I'm not being a jerk!"
"Yes you are!"
"No I'm not! You're being a bitch!"
"Oh, now who's acting like a fifth grader?"
"Forget it," Joey pulled away from him. "I'll walk." She turned and left the party without saying good-bye.
"Joey," Pacey said, pulling up beside her shivering form in his car.
"Go to hell,"
"Come on, get in the car. You're freezing."
"You're going to catch pneumonia,"
"A much more appealing prospect than getting into a moving vehicle with you right now,"
"I'm sorry, okay?"
"Leave me alone,"
"What is your problem? You've been so bitchy lately."
"What's my problem? My problem is that whenever I see you, I get a fierce desire to be alone."
"Fine, then I'll leave you alone. But not until you get in this car so I can drive you home."
"Fine," Joey shot back. She opened the door and climbed in.
Pacey drove the rest of the way to Joey's house in silence. When they arrived, she stormed out of the car without a word. He sighed and followed her.
"Joey," Pacey ran to catch up with her.
"Come on, I don't want to fight with you,"
"I think it's a little late for that,"
"It's never too late to save a marriage," Pacey resorted to humor, which only made Joey angrier.
"God, Pacey, you just don't get it, do you?"
"Nothing! Forget it."
"Jo," Pacey caught her arm. "Don't walk away."
"Why not? You want to discuss parenting styles? Should we spank the kids or not, Pace?"
"Stop it, Jo,"
"Just go away, and leave me alone!"
"I can't do that,"
"Oh, yeah? And why's that?"
"Because...because I - "
"Oh, good, you're home," Bessie said, walking out the front door. "I need you two to babysit Alexander for me tomorrow."
"I'll do it, Bess," Joey looked away from Pacey. "He doesn't need to come."
"No, I'll be here. What time?"
"About noon. I have a doctor's appointment, and then I have to go to the Icehouse."
"Okay. See you tomorrow." Pacey turned and walked to his car, then he was gone.
"By the way," Bessie continued, as they went into the house. "You really oughtta teach Hope to share. She kept beating her brother with a frying pan everytime he wanted to borrow a crayon."
Joey rolled her eyes in exasperation. "Why doesn't anyone realize that they're just eggs?"
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