"Have you ever considered smiling occasionally?"
She ignored him.
"It'll do wonders for your mood swings,"
"You'll get wrinkles from frowning all the time,"
Not a word.
"Would it kill you to answer me?"
Joey finally looked up and glared at him.
Pacey grinned. "I love that look."
"What look?" Joey asked, reluctantly curious.
"The one you give me, like 'If you don't shut the hell up, I'm going to tear your fucking head off'."
She returned to her book.
"Come on, Jo, it's a Friday night," Pacey said, jumping to his feet. "You're wasting precious fun time."
"I'm wasting precious *study* time by listening to you," Joey replied. "Why don't you go harass Dawson?"
"He's at the movies with Jen tonight,"
"Ahh, their second first date?"
"Yeah. It's the revival of the blond couple."
"Well, if they're happy, I'm happy,"
"Are you really happy, Joey?" Pacey asked, his voice taking a serious tone.
"You're not going to start bugging me about my "true feelings for Dawson" again, are you?" Joey asked wearily. "Because I don't know how else to convince you that we're just friends."
"No, I get it now,"
"Then why are you asking me if I'm happy?"
"I'm being a good friend,"
"Yes, I'm perfectly happy, Pacey," she said. "But I'd be delighted -- no, joyful -- if you would leave me alone so that I can finish my homework."
"You need to go out more. When was the last time you went out?"
"I went over to Jen's the other day...?"
"That doesn't count," Pacey told her. "That's like saying going to the drugstore qualifies as going out."
"Well, what are you asking? The last time I actually went out? For fun?" Joey thought about it. "Probably Mary Beth's party."
"Okay, let's go," Pacey grabbed her hand and hauled her to her feet.
"Pacey! I have to study!" Joey protested.
"You know what, Josephine? You're going to graduate high school, having wasted all your time studying, and what will you have to show for it?"
"A full scholarship to an ivy league institution that will get me the hell out of Capeside,"
"Other than that. You won't have any fun memories. Come on, let's go out and make some for you."
"And how, exactly, do you presume to do that?" Joey asked doubtfully, as he dragged her toward the front door.
"By getting you out of this house," Pacey replied. "Bessie, I'm taking Joey out!" He yelled over his shoulder, then slammed the door behind them before she could answer.
"Morning, Jo," Dawson said, leaning up against Joey's locker.
She looked him up and down. "I see you survived the second first date with Jen. Your virginity intact and accounted for?"
Dawson raised his eyebrows. "That was uncalled for."
"I know," Joey sighed. "I spent the weekend with Pacey. It makes me vicious toward others."
"Sometimes he has that affect on people,"
"Well, obviously not enough on me. We're having dinner together tonight."
"With the children. He thinks it'll be good for them to have dinner with us as a family."
"Not really," Joey said. "I'll shove down a few French fries on my break while watching Pacey try to bottle-feed an egg. Kind of ruins your appetite."
"I can imagine,"
She shrugged. "So, really, how did your date with Jen go?"
"We had a good time,"
"I was afraid of hearing another unnecessary comment from you if I said that we had a great time,"
"Well, I'm glad you guys had fun," Joey said. "No unnecessary comments."
"Good morning, my young friends," Pacey sauntered over to join them.
Joey rolled her eyes. "You know, you're not *that* much older than us."
"Three months is a long time, Josephine,"
"Can you please not argue?" Dawson asked. "You'll ruin my good mood."
Pacey eyed him carefully, then announced, "Somebody got laid this weekend. Finally hit it with the blonde goddess?"
"I hope you used protection, Dawson," Pacey said. "Because, you know, when you sleep with someone, you're in effect sleeping with everyone they've ever slept with, and everyone *they've* ever slept with, and so on."
"Thank you both for the concern, but it's superfluous. Jen and I had a great time, but it ended with a kiss at her doorstep. That's it."
"Speaking of the blonde goddess..." Pacey let his voice trail off.
Dawson's eyes lit up as he spotted Jen down the hall. "Talk to you guys later, okay?" He said absentmindedly, running off to catch up with Jen.
"Pitiful," Joey shook her head in disgust. "Absolutely pathetic."
"Oh, come on, Jo. I know there's a romantic hidden behind that sarcastic exterior." Pacey elbowed her teasingly. "Tell me your heart didn't skip a few beats during our date this weekend."
She glared at him. "Pacey, that was not a date. That was you dragging me to a boring teenybopper movie with the repetitive theme of two opposites attracting and falling in love, and then trying to convince me that it was a memorable high school event."
"It wasn't *that* bad,"
"Please. Either the guy is popular and the girl's an outcast, or vice versa. They're thrown together by some ridiculous, contrived circumstance and, of course, spend the first half of the movie bickering with each other over every little thing. Often, one or both of them is still in love with their ex, who is always either a hot-blooded tramp or a star athlete with severe asshole tendencies. Then they toss in a few bonding moments when they realize that, despite having completely adverse friends, hobbies, and lifestyles, they're not all that different after all, but high school social classes prevent them from getting together. The big climax occurs at some form of a dance, which they attend with people other than each other. Usually the girl gets hurt and runs out crying, the guy follows and says a few pretty words, they kiss, and live happily ever after. The End, credits roll, let's all go home."
"But you're not bitter or anything,"
"I'm not bitter, I'm realistic. In real life, love has problems that aren't so easily solved."
"You don't think they have problems?"
"No, I'm sure they do. But real problems are a lot more complicated than 'Oh, no, the cheerleaders will, like, *totally* kick me off the squad if I go out with a guy who doesn't have a letter jacket!' or 'Damn, babe, ya know, my homeboys will freakin' *shoot* me if I'm tight with a girl who's not giving me any.'"
"Jo, take it easy," Pacey slung his arm around her shoulders as they walked down the hall. "I know you have repressed feelings for me, but you don't have to take it out on the rest of the world."
"Has anyone ever told you that you have severe psychological issues?"
"Probably. I bet I didn't listen, though."
"Well, as fun as this little chat has been, I'm afraid this is my stop," Joey shrugged Pacey's arm off of her shoulder. "Catch ya later, homeboy."
"See ya, babe," Pacey watched her saunter into the classroom and smirked. "Dawson, my friend, you have incredibly bad taste in women if you could let that one go."
"We were elected to the *what*?" Joey repeated in disbelief.
"The prom committee," Dawson replied. "Apparently, everyone wants to go to the dance, but no one wants to plan it."
"So *we* were given this honor?" Jen asked doubtfully. "Who elected us?"
Pacey looked confused. "Can she do that?"
"More importantly, can we stop her?" Joey asked.
"Unfortunately, she can do that. And we can't stop her." Dawson told them. "It's a done deal. We are the prom committee."
"Would anyone mind if I shot myself?" Joey said miserably.
"As long as you let me borrow your gun," Jen replied.
"Let's not be melodramatic," Pacey said. "Am I the only one who sees the bright side here?"
Jen and Joey exchanged a look. "Yes." They said in unison.
"Let's think about this for a minute. The prom is, like, the premiere breeding ground for all the people we hate the most - namely, the Bitchy and the Beautiful crowd. Correct?"
"Correct," Dawson nodded. "I don't understand why that's good."
"If we're in charge of planning this little taffeta-filled shindig, we have the power to make their most memorable high school event totally and utterly suck."
"So, you're saying that we should purposefully screw up their big night just to perpetuate some bizarre, Carrie-esque revenge for all the years of hell they've put us through?" Joey thought about it for a moment. "Not a bad idea. See what good can happen when you use all those brain cells, Pace? God did put them there for a reason."
"'Fraid not, guys. We're being graded on this." Dawson informed them.
"How is Mrs. Maslow pulling that off?" Jen asked.
"It's part of our family planning project,"
"Yes, 'cuz we all know how many proms our parents have had to plan," Joey said sarcastically.
"She's calling it a device to show us that sometimes, you have to do things you don't want to do. She says it a lesson the four of us need to learn."
"What is this woman's deal?" Pacey asked. "Did we kill her eggs in another lifetime or something?"
"Repressed anger left over from our initial cynicism about this project," Dawson explained. "She's probably still pissed that we've treated this whole egg deal like a joke."
"We? Dawson, I'm sorry, but you've taken it more seriously than anyone." Jen reminded them. "Remember the bank account?"
"Okay, so the rest of you," Dawson allowed.
"I have always given this project the utmost of respect and seriousness," Pacey declared.
"Pacey, you wanted to name our child Marmaduke," Joey said.
"So, basically, we deserve this punishment, huh?" Jen shook her head.
"Oh, won't this be fun."
"Let's just split up the work and make it as painless as possible. We'll start with the easy stuff. Mrs. Maslow said she's already booked a caterer and deejay, but we have to plan the menu and choose the music."
Dawson told them. "Jen, would you like to help me with the food planning?"
"Sure," Jen agreed. "And you two can take the music."
"Why do I always get stuck with him?" Joey whined.
"Because, Pacey, it's a bad idea,"
"*I* think it's a good idea,"
"That's 'cause you're an idiot,"
Pacey frowned. "I never liked you anyway."
"Trust me, it's mutual,"
"Come on, Jo," He complained. "It's not that bad of a song."
"It sucks. If I hear that song one more time I'll bang my head against a wall."
"Why didn't you tell me sooner?" Pacey asked. "I'll go out and buy the CD the second my schedule permits."
Joey sighed. "I despise you."
"Then I must be doing something right, eh?"
She ignored him. "How about something from the Bryan Adams oeuvre?"
Pacey shook his head. "Entirely too cheesy. 'Ohh, Please Forgive Me...'" He mocked. "Forgive you for what? What the hell did the poor guy do that warrants wailing on like that?"
"It could be any number of things," Joey replied. "Besides, I *like* that song."
"And that other one," Pacey continued. "'Everything I Do (I Do It For You)'. What's up with that? When he takes a piss, is he doing it for her? Does he say, 'Hmm...I'm hungry. I think I'll get an apple. But, sweetie, you know I'm doing it for you'?"
She stared at him in slight disbelief. "I'm not even going to answer that."
"That's because you know I'm right," He leaned back in his chair triumphantly.
"You're such a dork,"
"Just the way you like me,"
Joey sighed. "Yes, unfortunately."
Author's Note: Feedback, feedback, feedback! I need to hear what you guys think. Especially you, Daryl. I really want to hear this one. -Bryanna
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