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"Good morning, sunshine..."
Joey groaned and pulled the covers over her head. "Go away,"
"Not a chance, Josephine. Come on, time to get up. Alexander is ready for his first bottle of the day, and Bessie's leaving in five minutes," Pacey said.
"I don't care, Pacey. It's six a.m."
"If you don't get out of that bed right now, I'm going to strip down to my birthday suit and climb in there with you."
Joey jumped off the bed, a startled look on her face.
Pacey smiled in satisfaction. "I knew that would work."
She glared at him. "Could you please leave?"
"No. I have to help you babysit Alexander."
"I meant the room, dipshit. I'm not getting dressed with an audience."
"Well, naturally," Pacey turned around and walked into the kitchen.
"Hey, make me some breakfast while you're out there!" she called.
"Dream on, Sleeping Beauty,"
"Come on, Pace. I need some nourishment if you want me to function up to my full capacity."
"Toast all right?"
"Is that the best you can do?"
"Hey, I'm not Julia Child. It's toast or nothing."
"Is adding jam too laborious for you?"
"Just get dressed. You can add the jam yourself."
A moment later, Joey fell into a seat at the kitchen table. Pacey slid a plate of burnt toast to her. She stared at it, her mouth twisting down in disgust.
"Gee, thanks, Pace," she said wryly. "Whatever would I do without your gourmet cuisine in the morning?"
"I told you I'm no chef," Pacey handed her a jar of strawberry jam.
"I didn't ask for a seven course banquet, I just wanted something slightly softer than a rock," Joey tapped the toast against her plate. "You aren't supposed to leave the bread in the toaster for hours, Pacey."
"This coming from a girl who burns microwave popcorn,"
"That only happened once,"
Bessie strode into the kitchen and handed Alexander to Pacey. "There are bottles in the fridge, baby food in the cabinet for lunch, and diapers in the bedroom. I'll be home at three o'clock."
"Three o'clock! I have to spend nine hours trapped in the house with that whiny brat?" Joey complained.
"Joey!" Pacey cried. "That's a horrible thing to say about your nephew!"
Joey glared at him. "I was referring to you."
"Be good, Alex," Bessie kissed him on the cheek. "Take care of these two. Make sure they don't kill each other."
"See you later, Bess," Pacey said, as she walked out the door.
"You, me, and a teething baby," Joey sighed. "There's a great combination."
"You forget Hope and Digby,"
She stared at him. "Pacey, I'm going to say this one more time. They're just eggs. Hope and Digby are inanimate objects. They're food. Not babies. Food. They don't have feelings, they don't cry, and we'll never watch their first steps with glowing parental pride. Their first word won't be 'Dada' or 'Mama' because they won't have a first word. They can't speak. Say it with me...they're just eggs."
"I know being a mother wasn't really a goal of yours, but you really should work on feeling a little more compassion toward the babies. They are your children, you know."
Joey took a deep breath and resisted the urge to tear her eyes out of their sockets.
"Jo, relax," Pacey sighed. "I'm just kidding. You know I don't really think the eggs are human. I'm stupid, not delusional."
"I was beginning to wonder,"
"So it seems," He stood up and brought Alexander into the living room. "Here, little man. Watch some cartoons while your aunt and I go make a baby cousin for you."
"I'm definitely thinking no," Joey said.
"Come on, Jo. You know I care about you. I'd go to the ends of the earth for you." Pacey said sarcastically.
"Yes, but would you stay there?"
"Always have a smart answer for everything, don't you?"
"I learned from the best,"
"All right, let's stop the bantering for a minute. Can we please talk about what happened - or almost happened - last night?"
"What, Mary Beth's party? It was boring, we left early. What is there to talk about?"
"What we almost did when I brought you home,"
"We almost killed each other, if that's what you mean,"
"No," He sighed in frustration. "Why are you making this so hard?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," She turned away from him and began washing the dishes that were piled up in the sink. Pacey grabbed her arm and whirled her around to face him. "I'm talking about when we almost kissed."
"Hmm. Must've slipped my mind." Joey said lightly. "It must not have been all that memorable."
"You're pushing me away again,"
"Yeah, well I learned from the best," He looked deep into her eyes, trying to understand her. "Why is it that you'll analyze things to death everyday, but you won't even talk about this."
"I only analyze things that mean something to me,"
Pacey walked toward the door and gazed out the window. "If you're deliberately trying to hurt me, it's working."
"Good. Maybe now you'll get the hint and leave me alone."
"If that's what you want,"
"Fine," He turned on his heel and walked into the living room. "Hey, little man. Whatcha watching?"
Joey leaned back against the counter and rubbed her eyes wearily. She had known exactly what Pacey was talking about when he mentioned the night before. In fact, she hadn't been able to stop thinking about it. And despite what he thought, Joey had already analyzed their almost-kiss. Her only conclusion was that she had no conclusion. And that spending an entire day locked up in the house with Pacey was not a good idea.
She sighed. It was going to be a long nine hours.
"Lunch is up," Pacey announced, sliding a plate of sandwiches in front of Joey. He sat down and opened a jar of baby food. "Ready, little man? Mmm, peas. My fav."
Joey eyed the green mush wearily. "Are you sure that's sanitary?"
"It's perfectly healthy, Jo," He slipped the spoon into Alexander's mouth. "Did you know that Gerber baby food flopped in France because gerber is the French word for 'to vomit'?"
"Gross," She took a bite of the ham sandwich Pacey had made for her.
"Better than the toast?"
Pacey continued feeding Alexander in silence.
"I'm really sorry...you, know, about earlier,"
"I didn't mean to snap at you,"
"So," Joey cleared her throat, happy to change the subject. "What do you guys want to do this afternoon?"
"We could take Alexander for a walk in the park," Pacey suggested.
"Or we could throw the kid out the window and make mad, passionate love on the kitchen floor,"
"You know, all that daydreaming is going to get you into trouble,"
"Hey, I've got nothing to lose. You're already my wife."
"Only for five more days,"
"I can't believe we made it this long without murdering each other,"
"I know. It's got to be some kind of miracle." Joey sighed. "Why haven't we killed each other yet?"
"Because we don't want to spend the rest of our lives in jail,"
"Geez, Jo. I don't know. Because we don't really hate each other. We really care about each other, we just don't let other people know it."
"Yeah, I guess,"
"Why are you getting deep all of a sudden, anyway? Why the urgent need to analyze our relationship?"
"I thought you wanted to analyze our relationship,"
"I wanted to analyze our almost-kiss, not our relationship,"
"What is there to analyze?" Joey asked, growing angry. "We didn't kiss, Pacey. Nothing happened."
"The fact that we didn't kiss is what happened. It's like a big question mark hanging over our heads. Didn't you see Felicity the other night? An almost-kiss is scarier than a kiss because you don't know how it would've turned out."
She shoved her chair back and abruptly left the table. "That's ridiculous."
"Is it?" Pacey asked, following her. "I don't think so."
Joey stared fiercely up at him. "Well, I do."
He shook his head ever so slightly, his eyes never leaving hers. "No you don't."
Joey's heart pounded in her chest. His gaze held hers as they stood rooted to the ground and staring at each other in silence. "Pacey..." she murmured, eyes slowly closing as his lips neared hers.
"Jo," Pacey whispered, taking her face in his hands.
"NO!" Joey screamed, suddenly jumping back and pushing Pacey away.
"What the - " he cried, as he fell against the counter. "Jo! What the hell was that?"
"I can't kiss you,"
"Because...it'll ruin our friendship,"
"Oh, now there's an original excuse,"
"Well, what do you want me to say? We have to stay friends for the children?"
"I know!" Joey sighed. "I just can't, okay?"
"No, it's not okay. It's massively not okay."
"Why does everything have to be so complicated?" Joey asked in frustration. "Why can't we want the same thing."
"We do want the same thing," Pacey said hoarsely. "I'm just the only one who'll admit it." Then he turned and stalked out of the house, letting the door slam behind him.
Bessie stumbled into the house and fell into a chair at the kitchen table. Joey immediately rushed in and faced her sister angrily.
"Bessie, do you know what time it is? You said three o'clock. It's nearly eight!"
"I know. Sarah decided to quit at the last minute, and there was no one else to work," Bessie moaned and pulled her feet up and onto the table.
"My feet hurt..."
"Sorry, Bess. Anyway, I have to go find Pacey. I'll be home soon." She disappeared out the door before Bessie had a chance to protest. Joey ran down the beach in the direction of Pacey's house. She discovered him standing outside alone, staring up at the sky. He didn't look at her when she approached him.
"Pace, don't be mad at me," she said softly. "I'm doing this for our own good. You don't know what kind of trouble erupts when you kiss one of your friends."
"I had sex with my English teacher," Pacey said sarcastically. "I think I can handle it."
"Just stop, okay?"
"Trying to make everything good. Everything is not good, everything is not going to get good, so why can't you just leave it alone?"
"Because I don't want to fight with you,"
"We're not fighting,"
"Yes we are,"
"You want to see fighting?" Pacey grabbed Joey and tackled her to the sand. He put one hand under her neck to prop her head, and then he roughly caught her lips in his. She made a weak attempt at pushing him away, but she didn't stand a chance. He was stronger than her, and besides, she didn't really want him to stop.
Joey finally sighed in submission, and relaxed against the ground. Pacey was slightly startled that she gave up so easily, but he didn't stop kissing her.
When at last he pulled away, Joey looked up into his eyes and waited for the inevitable romantic statement he would make. Pacey thought about it for a moment. "So, you really don't like the name Marmaduke?"
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