At This Point in my Life by: Freakbunni


Author's Note: As usual, your comments and criticisms are always welcome. I tried a new format; I think I like it better this way. Hope you do too.

At This Point in my Life

[Background music: "Sixth Avenue Heartache," The Wallflowers]

[Scene: Dawson and Joey are in Dawson's room the morning after their talk at the ruins. Dawson is asleep in bed, while Joey is sitting at the window, watching the sunrise.]

[Sirens ring, shots ring out, a stranger cries screams out loud . . . I had the world strapped against my back, I held my hands, never knew how to act . . .]

[She glances over at Dawson as he begins to stir. Rolling over, he becomes aware that Joey is not lying next to him.]

[Music fades out . . .]


JOEY: Morning Dawson.

DAWSON: What time is it?

JOEY: About quarter to six. I wasn't able to sleep.

DAWSON: Something bothering you?

JOEY: No, not really. Except for the fact that today is the day I'm supposed to give my answer to Mrs. Tringle about France. [She pauses for what seems like eternity.] I have been sitting here trying to analyze the problem for about three hours now, and I come to the same decision every time.

DAWSON (getting off the bed, a little concerned): Which is?

JOEY: After taking into consideration everything that's happened in the last twenty-four hours. . . I've decided to go, Dawson. [They are silent for a moment. Dawson sits back down on the bed. Joey walks over to him.] Dawson please don't take it the wrong way. This in no way reflects our present situation. The fact that I'm going doesn't make the things I said last night any less true.

DAWSON (his face softening): I understand, Joey.

JOEY: I mean it's not like I'm never coming back. Three months isn't that long . . .

DAWSON: Joey, I understand.

JOEY: . . . and I waited fifteen years for you so you could at least wait three measly months for me to even out the score . . .

DAWSON: JOEY! [He picks her up, throws her on the bed and playfully climbs on top of her, all with a big smile.] I said I understand! I want you to go.

JOEY (surprised): You do?

DAWSON: Yes! I'd kick myself if I let you pass up a chance like this. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity. You're only going to France, you know.

JOEY (now confused): Correct me if I'm wrong, but you sound a little too over-enthused about me going.

DAWSON: No, I didn't mean it like that! It's just that . . . I've realized that for the past few months everything has been about me. It's either Jen this or my mom that and then back to Jen this again. I've been a selfish, egotistical moron. I want this to be about you now. Granted, this causes a minor complication in our . . . evolving relationship. Yes, I'll be lonely. Yes, I'll be sad. Yes, I'll miss you . . .

JOEY: Don't make me feel guilty or anything.

DAWSON (laughs): . . . but when is the next time you'll ever get to go to France? And get the school to pay for it?! I know you'll regret it if you don't go.

JOEY(flattered): Thank you, Dawson. For making this easy. I would have gone anyway whether you wanted me to or not. It just would have been harder if I didn't have your support. [She begins to play with the sleeve of his shirt. She looks up and gives him her trademark grin.] I gotta go Dawson. School awaits. [She crawls out from under him and heads toward the window. Dawson follows her, wanting to give her a kiss good-bye, but he's suddenly a little shy.]

DAWSON: Wait a minute. [Joey turns around, and Dawson hesitates for a split second before giving her a slow, gentle kiss.] I'll see you at school.

JOEY (taken by surprise and blushing profusely): Okay. [She makes her way down the ladder. Cut to the Lindley residence, where Jen has arrived in time to witness Dawson and Joey's kiss.]

[Music fades in . . . ]

[And the same black line that was drawn on you is drawn on me and it's drawing me in . . . sixth avenue heartache . . . ]

[Jen remains where she is, watching the scene unfold from where she stands. She turns away, hurt beyond repair, and enters the house.]


[Background music: "Dream," Forest for the Trees]

[Scene: A typical school day at Capeside High. In the hustle and bustle that is the hallway, Pacey makes his way to his locker. Dawson sees him and approaches him.]

DAWSON: Hey, Pace.

PACEY: Hey Dawson.

DAWSON: Pacey, you will not believe what happened last night.

PACEY: It could not possibly be any worse than what happened to me last night, but I digress. What is it that I won't believe? DAWSON: Joey and I . . . well, we talked and we've sort of gone past the limits of friendship, so to speak.

PACEY: Well, it's about damn time. Mr. and Mrs. Man-Meat, Jr. Has a nice ring to it.

DAWSON: Oh shut up, Pacey.

PACEY: Glad to see it finally happen. All's right with the world. [Under his breath] Almost. [He turns to Dawson with a sudden, serious expression on his face.] Look Dawson, can we talk? Something came up and I really need someone to . . .

DAWSON: I can't right now. I have to find Joey, but I'll see you during lunch, all right? [He takes off down the hall, leaving Pacey at his locker.]

[Background music: "Nothing Compares 2 U," Sinead O'Connor]

[Scene: Jen's bedroom. She has crawled back into bed, her eyes blank and expressionless.]

[It's been seven and hours and fifteen days since you took your love away . . . I go out every night and sleep all day since you took your love away . . . ]

[Grams comes in with a simple breakfast: coffee and toast.]

GRAMS: I take it you're not going to class today. [Jen says nothing. She just stares out the window, as if Grams doesn't exist. Grams places the tray on the nightstand. She stands over Jen, maternally brushes the hair from her face, then gently kisses her on the forehead. The sound of the doorbell fills the solemn silence of the room. It rouses Jen momentarily as Grams exits.]

[It's been so lonely without you here, like a bird without a song . . . Nothing can stop these lonely tears from falling, tell me baby where did I go wrong?]

[Music fades out . . . ]

[A few moments later, she returns.] You have visitors, Jen.

[A man and woman in their mid-forties enter the room, richly garbed in Versace and Donna Karan, respectively.]

JEN (whispered): Gene? Cynthia?

GENE (in a gentle, condescending tone): I have repeatedly asked you to call us Mom and Dad. [He walks over to his daughter and scoops her into his arms, with no hint of hesitation.] How've you been holding up?

CYNTHIA: We've missed you, honey.

JEN: I'm . . . I'm not all here anymore. [Her mother comes over and gives Jen a warm and meaningful embrace.] I've missed you too.

CYNTHIA: Grams called last night. We caught the first flight out.

[Jen desperately hangs on to her mother, not wanting to let go.]

[Music fades in . . . ]

[Cause nothing compares, nothing compares 2 U . . . ]

[Scene: An unsupervised classroom. Pacey waltzes in, sees Joey, and proceeds to the empty seat next to her.]

JOEY: Pacey, what are you doing here? You're not even in this class.

PACEY: Well, I am now. [He sits down.] Dawson was looking for you. I hear through the grapevine that a certain couple are . . . well, a couple. A couple of what, I don't know. You have any idea who they might be?

JOEY: Excuse me?

PACEY: Come on, Jo. You don't need to be all up-tight about it. Dawson already told me. I'm seriously thinking of sky writing a big "I've been saying this for months!" over Capeside. [Joey's face turns red.] But, of course, Dawson failed to elaborate. [She is silent.] Well?

JOEY: Well, what?

PACEY: I want to know what happened.

JOEY: Why?

PACEY: Why not?

JOEY: Are you delusional, Pacey? I wouldn't divulge anything to you even if my life depended on it. [Pacey just sits there, patiently waiting to be told.] You actually think I'm going to tell you?

PACEY (sarcastically): Duh.

JOEY: Enh! Wrong answer Pacey. You can crawl back into that cesspool of vomit you came out of. Buh-bye now. [She turns away from him. Pacey's smirk slowly fades away, and for the first time Joey's actions have hurt him. They are quiet. Pacey just stares at her. Joey looks at him.] What? No snappy rejoinder this time? [She sees an uncharacteristic sadness in his eyes. Something's wrong.]

PACEY: Sorry to disappoint you. [He gets up and leaves. Joey is astonished, but says nothing. As Pacey exits through one door, the teacher enters through the other.]


[Scene: An overcrowded cafeteria. Dawson is seated at a table, looking around for either Pacey or Joey. He sees Joey just as she walks in.]

DAWSON: Joey! [She sees him, smiles, and walks over to the table. They sort of stand there, not knowing exactly how to greet each other. When Dawson finally makes a move, Joey sits down. Dawson tries to play it off, and sits down as well.] So, did you tell Mrs. Tringle?

JOEY: Yeah. She was ecstatic about the whole thing. I found out that the family I'm staying with lives somewhere in Paris. It's going to be a summer school type thing, but not really. Mrs. Tringle said that there'll be other students from different American schools there as well, to add a touch of home, as she put it.

DAWSON (hesitantly): When do you leave?

JOEY: The week after school ends. [They are silent for a moment.]

DAWSON: The week after school ends? That's two weeks from now! This summer doesn't look too productive. I'm beginning to reconsider you going.

JOEY: Come on, I'm pretty sure you and Pacey can concoct some sort of adolescent mess while I'm gone.

DAWSON: Speaking of Pacey, I was supposed to meet him here. He said he needed to talk to me.

JOEY: I saw him third period, but he bailed before we could get the proverbial insults rolling. What's up with him anyway? He had some kind of mood swing thing going on a while ago. [Just then Pacey walks into the cafeteria.] Speak of the Devil. [Pacey sees the two of them sitting together, hesitates, but walks to their table anyway.]

PACEY: Dawson. (To Joey) Ice Queen. (She sneers at him.) I see my entourage has congregated without me. [He takes a seat. The sadness that was so apparent hours before has completely vanished. Pacey is back to his usual self.] What's on the menu?

DAWSON (glancing at the lunch line): Mystery Meat Monday seems to be gaining popularity these days.

PACEY: Well, then, let's go see what all the fuss is about. [He gets up.] You coming?

DAWSON: I'll pass. (To Joey) You?

JOEY: I'm brown bagging it today, thank you.

PACEY: Your loss kiddos. [He walks over and joins the ever growing line of students. As he awaits his meal, he glances at Dawson and Joey, who are engaged in conversation. Joey playfully punches Dawson in the arm, and he retaliates with a peck on the cheek. Joey's reaction, however, is somewhat unexpected. She shies away from him and nervously looks around to see if anyone saw what just happened. Dawson is oblivious, as usual.]

DAWSON: So, do you plan on telling your dad about France?

JOEY: Actually, Bessie and I were going up to see him this weekend. He hasn't seen Alex yet, and it's as opportune a time as any.

DAWSON: I'm glad things are finally smoothing out between the two of you.

JOEY: Yeah. With all that's happened, it's very tempting right now to blow off Paris and just stay here. Everything seems to be falling into place.

DAWSON (leaning in for a full kiss): And they'll still be in place when you come back. [Joey is reluctant to kiss Dawson, but she is saved when Pacey returns. Dawson, unfortunately, notices her hesitation, and is taken aback.]

PACEY: Mmmm. Very appetizing. [He digs in.]

DAWSON (shaking off his confusion): Pace, Joey's going to France.

PACEY: Well, there's a revelation! The land of the menage a trois. The origins of the French kiss. Mon Dieu! How long will you be gone?

JOEY: For three months. Long enough for you to have grown a better personality I hope.

PACEY: Ouch. You better watch out Dawson. She bites. [He continues eating.] So. I see you prefer to hang with the hygienically-challenged Europeans this summer.

JOEY: Pacey, I would prefer a ball of lint over you.

PACEY: The feeling's mutual, I assure you.

DAWSON (interrupting): Well, I hate to break up this highly intellectual conversation, but I have to meet with Mr. Gold. Film class stuff. [He gets up. Looking at Joey, he is tempted to kiss her, to anything her, but, judging by her previous reaction, decides not to. Instead, he grabs her hand and squeezes it.] Meet me after school in the film lab, 'kay?

JOEY: (embarrassed by yet another display of affection.] Sure. [He leaves.]

PACEY: Well, I see that he chose to utilize the oh-so-seductive-and-barely-noticeable-yet-highly-erogenous-hand-squeeze. I'm familiar with it, but I find it a little too over stimulating, even for me. What's up with you anyway? I saw how you reacted every time Dawson played Mr. Affectionate. What's your damage?

JOEY: Bite me, Pacey.

PACEY: After countless years of hovering over our friend Dawson, you finally land the guy and now you don't want any physical contact with him? Do I sense a fear of intimacy?

JOEY (breaking down, slightly): I don't know! I'm still trying to get used to all this and I'm not . . . [She catches herself and stops.] Whoa. For a minute there I was about to divulge something to you.

PACEY: I'm just trying to help better your predicament, you know. Offer up some useful advice.

JOEY: Thank you. Advice from the self proclaimed sex god whose only relationship can be considered punishable by a court of law. Now I know the world has definitely ended.

PACEY (suddenly angry): Well you know what Joey? Why don't you bite me for a change? [The look of sadness has resurfaced.] Forgive me, for I have made the ungodly mistake of being concerned about a friend. I didn't realize that it offended you so much nowadays. [He gets up.] I think it's best if I grace you with my absence. Enjoy France. [Joey is shocked to see Pacey take her comments seriously. She opens her mouth to say something, but Pacey cuts her off.] Wait. Let me guess. Um, 'Of course I'll enjoy France. You won't be there.' Or, 'Even the simple act of dying would be enjoyable if it meant being away from you.' I get the point Joey. Put another nail in my coffin why don't you. [He stalks out of the cafeteria, leaving a speechless Joey behind.]

[Scene: Mr. Gold is at his desk, leafing through a stack of homework. There is a knock on the door, and Dawson pops his head in.]

DAWSON: Mr. Gold? You wanted to see me?

MR. GOLD: Yes, Dawson, step right in. [Dawson enters.] Is there something you want to tell me?

DAWSON: What are you talking about?

MR. GOLD: About the Boston film festival and the film you submitted?

DAWSON (confused): Um . . . [He speaks slowly.] I made a film and entered it in the Boston film festival?

MR. GOLD: You mean to tell me you don't know?

DAWSON: Know what?

MR. GOLD: Have you checked your mail recently? Because I received a list of award nominations today and a certain Dawson Leery caught my attention.

DAWSON: What? I'm on the list? I was nominated?!

MR. GOLD: For best script and best direction, no less. Congratulations. [He hands the letter to Dawson.]

DAWSON: I can't believe it! I can't even begin to describe . . . Thank you Mr. Gold. Considering the way mail is handled at my house, I may never have found out. [The bell rings.]

MR. GOLD: Don't let excitement pave the way to tardiness Dawson. I'll see you next period. [Dawson exits, giddy as ever.]

[Scene: The Lindley residence. Everyone is in the dining room having a late lunch.]

CYNTHIA: Jen, your father and I have talked to Grams, and we thought it best if you came home with us after the funeral.

GENE: And if you like, you can stay for the whole summer. [Jen stops chewing, taking the offer into consideration. Her thoughts drift to her grandfather, to Dawson, and finally to Dawson and Joey.]

JEN: I'd like that. [Jen looks down at her food as her parents talk about plans for the funeral. Not wanting to hear talk of her grandfather, she gets up and excuses herself.]

[Scene: Capeside High, after hours. Pacey is near Dawson's locker, patiently waiting for him to show up. Suddenly, Dawson comes running down the hallway.]

PACEY: Dawson! Hey!

DAWSON (slowing down): Hey Pace. [He quickly opens up the locker, shoving books into it while simultaneously taking some out.]

PACEY: We didn't get a chance to talk during lunch. I was hoping we could do it now . . .

DAWSON (not hearing Pacey): Pacey, my film got chosen at the festival! The festival! Mr. Gold got some sort of letter that had my name in it and I got to get home and see if I got anything. God, first the whole thing with Joey and now this . . .

PACEY: You lead a charmed life, man.

DAWSON: Thanks Pace. I'll catch you later! [He takes off down the hall.]

PACEY: Hey wait a minute Daw - [But he's already out the door.] (yelling out into the empty hallway) I just wanted you to know that I'm leaving! That I'm being shipped out! [He sighs.] Nice to know someone else doesn't care.


[Scene: Leery household. Dawson bursts in through the front door, making a mad dash to the living room, where his parents are back to their usual dry humping on the coffee table. He sees them, but it doesn't register; he is more interested in finding yesterday's mail.]

DAWSON: Did anything come for me in the mail yesterday?

GAIL: Um, yeah. [She adjusts her clothes.] I put it in your room on the t.v. [Dawson rushes up and his parents resume their activities. He reaches his room and sees the letter. He picks it up and rips it open.]

DAWSON (reading out loud): Mr. Dawson Leery, we at the Boston Film Festival are pleased to inform you that your film was chosen out of the hundreds of entries to be screened at this year's festival. In addition, you have been nominated for best script and best direction in our nineteenth annual awards ceremony. [Joey suddenly pops in from the window.]

JOEY: Where were you? I was waiting at the film lab forever. It hasn't even been 24 hours yet and already I've been stood up. Now you're carrying on a conversation with yourself. Great. Is there something I should know?

DAWSON: Joey, I'm in! Look! [He shows her the letter.] I've been chosen Joey! They picked me!

JOEY (reading over the letter): Oh my God Dawson! You're even nominated! [In their excitement Joey hugs Dawson and he picks her up and gives her a kiss. Enter Dawson's dad.]

MITCH: Dawson I . . . [The sight of the two of them in such an intimate embrace stuns Mr. Leery. Joey practically jumps out of Dawson's arms and gets as far away from him as possible, clearly embarrassed.] I . . . I'll come back later. [He closes the door.]

DAWSON: No wait! [He re-enters.] What is it?

MITCH: This probably isn't the best time to tell you but . . . I just wanted you to know that Jen's grandfather died yesterday morning. And since you and her were . . . well, you know . . . I thought maybe you could go over there and talk to her.

DAWSON: Her grandfather died? [His dad nods his head, then steps out.] Oh boy. [He looks out the window toward her house. They are silent for a moment, their former elation long forgotten.]

JOEY (quiet, yet forceful): Go talk to her Dawson.

DAWSON: Talk to her? Are you kidding? After what happened between us yesterday I'm probably the last person she wants to talk to.

JOEY: Um, hello? You're probably the only one she wants to talk to. I know this may sound strange coming from me, but first and foremost, you guys were friends. So you broke up. Fine. But that doesn't release you from your obligation to her as a friend. You were the one closest to her, and right now she needs you.

DAWSON: She probably hates me Joey. I don't want to go over there and make matters worse.

JOEY: You're already making them worse by being here instead of there. [Dawson still is reluctant.] Dawson, it's times like these when past grudges cease to exist. They don't count anymore. She needs you as much as you think she hates you.

DAWSON: Why are you so concerned about it? You two weren't exactly buddy-buddy.

JOEY: I'm speaking from experience Dawson, as a person who's been there done that. [The tone of her voice softens.] Remember the day my mom died? We had a field trip to the creek for some stupid biology project or whatever and I was leaning over getting a sample of water . . .

DAWSON (remembering): And I accidentally pushed you in. [He smiles.]

JOEY: Yeah, and you laughed at me, you pointed at me and you drew attention to the fact that I was in the water. All that and it never occurred to you to at least help me out. [She smiles as well, inspite of herself. Dawson walks over and sits next to her on the bed.] I was so completely angry and disgusted with you that day. I remember promising myself I would never talk to you again as long as I lived. I recall having made it known to everyone in Mrs. Carson's eighth grade biology class.

DAWSON: You were well versed in the area of profanity and obscene gestures, if I remember correctly.

JOEY: The point is is that when I heard the news about my mom that same day, you, my self proclaimed enemy, were the only person I wanted to talk to, and I was so utterly grateful that you came over despite the fact I totally dogged you out earlier that day. And if you hadn't come over . . . I'd probably still be in my room staring at the wall. [Still he is silent.] What are you afraid of Dawson?

DAWSON (exasperated): I don't know. [Joey looks at him, disturbed.] What?

JOEY: If this is the way you're going to deal with Jen, then . . . [She gets up and walks to the window.] then who's to say that, if the time ever comes, you won't do the same to me? [Dawson is silent, absorbing Joey's words.]

DAWSON: I'd never do that to you.

JOEY: I'm pretty sure you thought the same about Jen, Dawson. [She looks at her watch.] I gotta go. I have to be at the Icehouse, and I don't have the eternity it usually takes you to make a decision. [She gets up and walks out the door. After a few more seconds of pondering, Dawson gets up and follows her.]

DAWSON: Hang on a minute. [He catches up to her at the stairs.] Walk me to Jen's house? [Joey smiles.]

JOEY: Sure. [As they make their way down to the front door, they over hear Dawson's parents talking in the kitchen.]

GAIL: All I have to say is that it's about time.

MITCH: It was hilarious how Joey got embarrassed and totally disengaged herself from Dawson . . . oh, hi guys. [He notices the two standing at the front door, obviously hearing every word of their conversation. Joey's face is completely red.]

DAWSON: I'm going over to Jen's.

GAIL: Okay. [The two exit out the door.]

DAWSON (laughing): They were talking about us Jo. When I get home I'm going to get attacked by a barrage of questions, not to mention tips of a sexual nature from my dad. [Joey smiles.] Well, this is my stop.

JOEY: I'm sure things will all work out. I've got some stuff I've got to sort out to, with Pacey, of all people. Did you know that after you left at lunch he blew up at me? I didn't even do anything. At least I think I didn't.

DAWSON (disbelieving): Pacey?

JOEY: I don't know. He's become all manic-depressive and what not. It must have been that mystery meat.

DAWSON: Weird. That doesn't sound like him. [Joey looks at her watch.]

JOEY: I'm going to be late. Don't try too hard, okay?

DAWSON: Okay. [He leans in, hoping for a kiss. No one is around, so Joey complies, but suddenly stops short when she sees Dawson's parents gawking at them from the window.]

JOEY: Dawson, your parents are watching us.

DAWSON: Huh? [He looks over his shoulder where his parents are trying to play it off by fixing the curtains.] Well, they're eventually going to have to get used to it. [He leans in again as his parents look on.]

JOEY (uncomfortable): I'm sorry, Dawson. Not here, okay? Please?

DAWSON (crestfallen and hurt): Alright. But I expect a raincheck though. [Again he squeezes her hand.]

JOEY: I'll see ya. And stop with the squeezing thing already. I'm not a lemon. [She walks off. Dawson takes a deep breath and heads toward Jen's house.]


[Background music: "I Can't Make You Love Me," Bonnie Raitt]

[There is a shot of the creek as the sunsets, and the camera slowly pans to Jen's house. She is seated by herself on her porch, looking out into space. ]

[Turn down the lights, turn down the bed, turn down these voices inside my head . . .]

[Dawson appears. He approaches the house cautiously, trying to decide if it is a good idea to talk to her.]

[Lay down with me, tell me no lies; just hold me close, don't patronize . . . ]

DAWSON: Jen? [She looks up and is startled by the presence of another human being.]

[Don't patronize . . . ]

JEN: Who is it? [She gets up and opens the screen door. At the sight of Dawson, she stops in her tracks.]

[Cause I can't make you love me if you don't . . . ]

Dawson? What are you doing here?

[You can't make your heart feel something it won't . . .]

DAWSON: I'm not disturbing you am I? Cause I understand if you want me to leave . . .

[Here in the dark, in these final hours . . .]

JEN: Oh no. I didn't mean it that way. Come in. [She opens the door wider and Dawson steps inside.]

[I will lay down my heart and I'll feel the power . . . but you won't, no you won't . . . ]

[Music fades out . . .]

DAWSON: I heard about your grandfather. [They sit.] Are you alright?

JEN: No. Not by a long shot.

DAWSON (hesitantly): Do you want to talk about it?

JEN: Everything's been said that can be said. It's just digesting all that talk that's difficult. [She pauses.] Let's talk about something else, please? This whole morning has been about Gramps and if I get anymore "it'll be alrights" from people someone's going to get hurt.

[Dawson is quiet, trying to think of something to change the subject.]

DAWSON: My film was chosen at the Boston Film Festival.

JEN: What? Oh my God Dawson, that's great! [Dawson whips out the letter, which he had stuffed in his back pocket before he left his house, and hands it to Jen.]

DAWSON: I was even nominated for best script and best direction.

JEN: This definitely deserves a spot on the refrigerator. Looks like we'll have to call you Spielberg junior from now on. And look, the festival is during the week after school ends, from the tenth to the thirteenth. Not a bad ending to the school year.

DAWSON (reaching for the letter): You know, in my excitement I didn't even get a chance to read the whole thing. [He glances over it.] Look, it says I can bring everyone involved in it, all expenses paid. What do you say Jen? How does a trip to Boston sound?

JEN: Dawson, I'd love to but . . . my parents are here from New York, and I'll be going back with them after the funeral.

DAWSON (shocked): You're going back to New York?

JEN: Just for the summer. You know, to get away from all the extreme drama that seems to follow me no matter where I go. [They are silent for a moment.]

DAWSON (hesitantly): Am I one of the reasons, Jen? [She looks at him, then quickly looks away, trying to avoid the question.] Jen?

JEN: Dawson, can I ask you a question? And I want the truth. [He nods.] Can you honestly look at me and not feel anything anymore?

DAWSON: Jen . . . I still care about you. That hasn't changed.

JEN: That's not what I asked. [Dawson is silent.] Look, I know that things are between us are totally out of whack. Right now I'm holding on to these feelings that I need to let go of because if I don't they'll forever haunt me every time I look at you. I know that part of you will never forgive me for what I've done, and I accept that. But I'm trying to come to terms with the truth. DAWSON: And what truth would that be?

JEN: That you don't want me anymore. [She pauses. Dawson is speechless.]

DAWSON: Jen, when I did want you, you didn't want me.

JEN: I never said that. I never said I didn't want you. All I said was that I needed to try life by myself. That doesn't mean I never thought of you every second we were apart, never wondered if you were thinking about me.

DAWSON (getting defensive): You ended this Jen, remember?

JEN: I know, I know. Call me a hypocrite, call me indecisive, call me every hateful word you can think of . . . all I know is that right now it hurts me more being here with you than it does when I sit in my grandfather's empty room. [She pauses. Dawson looks down.] I know about you and Joey. [Dawson looks at her, startled.] I saw you two this morning before she climbed out of your room. [She stops to take a deep breath.] I'm happy for the two of you. I really am. I want you to know that I respect your decision to be with her. I may not agree with it, but I respect it and I won't try to change your mind. But I'm not going to sit here and pretend that it doesn't affect me. I have all these issues, Dawson. And leaving Capeside for awhile seems like the best solution. I need some sort of closure, and I can't get that staying here. I need to get away from this place, away from you. So, yes, you are one of the reasons I'm going. I hate to say it, but it's true.

DAWSON: Can't we talk about this? Get things between us back to normal before you leave?

JEN: Normal? What do you mean normal, Dawson? The only normal we've known is holding hands in the hallway and kissing in obscure areas of Capeside. And it was implicitly established at the beginning of this conversation that that was something you did not want.

DAWSON: Well then maybe normal is the wrong word. I'm just looking for some kind of reassurance that we can still be friends. More than anything I still want to be friends with you and I'm afraid that when you come back after summer's over we won't know each other anymore. That our three months of being together resulted in nothing more than us becoming complete strangers. I'm trying my best to hold on to what it is we have left, Jen, and I'm sorry if that's not enough. The last thing I want to do is discard it all.

JEN (acidly): Well maybe it needs to be discarded. [Dawson is stunned into silence.] You can't expect this all to be resolved just because you say you still want to be friends. Did you ever stop to think that maybe being friends is exactly what the problem is? Or that maybe I just don't want to be friends? I'm not Joey, Dawson. I'm not going to stand around and repress my feelings because I'm afraid it might jeopardize your picture perfect life with the girl from down the creek. This isn't a movie and a storybook ending is not even remotely in sight. Let me deal with this in my own way, Dawson. At least give me that much.

[Music fades in . . . ]

[Morning will come and I'll do what's right . . . ]

DAWSON: Jen . . .

[ Just give me till then to give up this fight . . . ]

JEN: Just go, Dawson. Walk away. No amount of your comfort or good intention can help better my situation, so just leave. Please. You're only complicating things by being here.

[And I will give up this fight . . . ]

DAWSON: Jen, don't do this, don't shut me out . . .

JEN (forcefully): Go Dawson. Before I'm forced to say something I'll most likely regret.

DAWSON: Jen please . . .

JEN: I said go! Leave! [Jen buries her head into her hands, ending the conversation. Dawson stares at her for a few minutes longer, then, though it pains him to do so, he walks away, leaving Jen quietly sobbing on her front porch.]

[Cause I can't make you love me if you don't . . . You can't make your heart feel something it won't . . . Here in the dark in these final hours I will lay down my heart and I'll feel the power, but you won't . . . no you won't . . . ]


[Background music: "At This Point in My Life," Tracy Chapman]

[Scene: The Witter household. Pacey is in his room, beginning his preliminary packing for Boston. Boxes have already been provided, courtesy of the Witter family. He spots the brochure of Grammercy Military Institute his father left for him on the desk.]

[At this point in my life I've done so many things wrong . . . don't know if I can do right . . . If you put your trust in me I hope I won't let you down . . . If you give me chance I'll try . . . ]

PACEY (picking it up): Hmm . . . ghost of Christmas future. [He leafs through it, then tosses it on the bed. Turning back to the desk, he begins to rummage through the drawers. As he looks through a stack of papers, he catches a glimpse of a failure notice for his English class that he was supposed to get signed by his parents.] Ah. Ghost of Christmas present. [He dumps the papers in the trashcan, and then opens up another drawer. The first thing that catches his eye is a picture of Dawson, Joey, and himself, taken last summer. He reaches in to pick it up. He looks at it forlornly, brushing his fingers over the dusty glass.] Ghost of Christmas past. [He sighs. Feeling restless and upset, he gets up and exits out the window, intending to take a walk.]

[You see it's been a hard road . . . the road I'm travelling on . . . and if I take your hand I might lead you down the path of ruin . . . ]

[Pacey walks around mindlessly, passing the docks, then the video store, but not noticing his surroundings.]

[I've had a hard life . . . I'm just saying it so you'll understand that right now, right now, I'm doing the best I can . . . ]

[As he passes the Icehouse, Joey is about to leave.]

[Music fades out . . . ]

BESSIE (only a voice from inside the restaurant): JOEY! Don't forget to sterilize Alex's bottles and to pick up some diapers at the store!

[Pacey looks up and sees Joey at the entrance to the Icehouse, ready to go.]

JOEY: Alright already! For the ten millionth time, Bessie! Wanna remind a couple hundred more times before I step out the door?! [She runs out and nearly knocks over Pacey.] Hey! Watch where you're going . . . [She looks up and sees that it's Pacey.] Oh Pacey! I'm sorry I didn't see you . . . [Pacey brushes his shirt, takes one look at Joey, and continues on his way.] Hey wait a minute. I want to talk to you.

PACEY: Sorry, but I don't think my ego can take anymore bashing today thank you very much. [Joey catches up to him, and pulls his shirt, making him stop.]

JOEY: Pacey, you are not leaving this spot until you tell me why you're acting like a complete Neanderthal.

PACEY: What's it to you, Joey? Why do you care? Why don't you just throw your usual brutal, acid-laced comments in my general direction and go diaper shopping or whatever the hell Bessie yelled at you for . . . [He breaks away from her.]

JOEY: Goddamn it Pacey! What's your malfunction?

PACEY: Ahem. I'd like to quote one Josephine Potter: [He does a bad impression of Joey.] 'I wouldn't divulge anything to you even if my life depended on it.' [Joey is silent. Pacey walks off to the side, leaning on a rail, and looks out over the creek.] (quietly) Do you want to know what's wrong with me, Joey? You see, I have this annoying habit of being in places where people don't want me. Home. School. Capeside. So annoying in fact, that my dad has taken it upon himself to better our surroundings by sending me away to military school.

JOEY (shocked): Military school?!

PACEY: In Boston, complete with crew cuts and a sadistic drill sergeant. What more could I ask for?

JOEY: Why?

PACEY: Because I've become one of the unwanted masses, that's why. You should know. You spend all your time trying to get rid of me anyway. [He pauses.] Why is that Joey? When did you start hating me?

JOEY: What are you talking about? I don't hate you.

PACEY: So you're telling me that all this time you've actually been professing your undying love and gratitude for me through rude, hostile insults? I find that amusing. So tell me, am I that completely unbearable? Am I that much of a blemish to society?

JOEY: No . . .

PACEY: Then why Joey? Why all the crude remarks? Why the disgusted look on your face everytime I'm around? It hurts, Joey. I don't want to be your verbal punching bag any more. Why don't you assault Abby or something? At least do it to someone who deserves it.

JOEY: Pacey, what ever it is I said, I'm sorry. I apologize, all right? This never used to bother you before. Why is it bothering you now?

PACEY: I'm leaving in two weeks Joey, but unlike you, I'm being forced to go because I'm such a blight to the Witter family tree. And that's not even the worst part. [He sighs.] I look around me and I can't find one single person who'll miss me when I'm gone, not one person who cares enough to try and make me stay. Present company included.

JOEY: Pacey, you know that's not true.

PACEY: Are you sure? Because I have a family so determined to get rid of me that they've taken the initiative to supply me with moving boxes, a best friend who's too wrapped up in his perfect life to give a damn about mine and another who just loves to remind me how sad and pathetic I truly am, as if I don't get enough of that crap from the Brady Bunch over there.

JOEY: Pacey . . . You know, if you just stopped wallowing in your own sorrows you wouldn't be blind to the fact that there are people who care, who'd miss you. They just don't always know how to express it the right way. [She walks over to where he is standing.] I don't when it was exactly that we developed a . . . distaste for one another. It just sort of happened. And we went along with it, accepted it without a second thought. So we were labeled as mortal enemies. Whatever. That wasn't always the truth. [Her voice softens.] Look, I never got to fully thank you for driving me up to see me dad, Pacey. As spontaneous as it was, you never even stopped to hesitate. Didn't contemplate like Dawson would have. You're not a loser, just a little lost. We all are. You're not stupid, either. You're there when it counts, and it's everyone's loss if they can't appreciate that about you. I know it may not be as apparent as you'd like it to be, but I care about you. I have very few friends, and I don't care to lose any of them. [She looks at him.] I hope you're paying attention because I don't intend on repeating myself.

PACEY: You mean that?

JOEY: About not repeating myself? Of course.

PACEY: No! About the other stuff. Does my presence here really mean that much to you?

JOEY (dripping with sarcasm): No, Pacey. I'm just lying to you so you'll feel better, then I'll bring you back down again with some catty comments regarding your talent for buggery, your miniscule mental capacity, and your educational prowess, or lack thereof. Of course I mean it, Pacey. Why would I lie about something like that when making fun of you is so much more festive?

PACEY (laughing): And I apologize too. For anything and everything.

JOEY: Apology accepted. [Joey walks over to where Pacey is and gives him a warm, friendly, caring hug.] So there's no way to change your dad's mind about this military school thing?

PACEY: I seriously doubt it. I told my father how I felt about how he treated me, but you know, in one ear out the other. He hasn't spoken a word to me since. As a matter a fact, no one in my family has said anything. Why bother leaving when it already feels like I'm gone? [He pauses] I'm beginning to think that this may be what's best for me. Maybe I'll finally get my act together and become something.

JOEY: Maybe. But I'd rather you get your act together here instead of in Boston. I'm sure Dawson feels the same way too.

PACEY: Yeah, well, he's sort of in the dark about the whole situation.

JOEY: He doesn't know?

PACEY: He wouldn't give me a chance to tell him! I tried to twice today, but there was this certain brunette that was distracting him and some film contest he won and I couldn't squeeze myself in.

JOEY: You'll have to forgive Golden Boy. His lack of awareness usually runs rampant when something important comes up.

PACEY: Yeah, tell me about it. [They pause.]

JOEY: We talked. At the ruins.

PACEY (confused): Huh?

JOEY: Me and Dawson. He said . . . he said he wanted me.

PACEY: I could have told you that months ago. That's great Jo.

JOEY: Yeah. [She pauses.]

PACEY: Come on. Let's get some ice cream and then you can help me pack.

JOEY: What?

PACEY: When was the last time we spent some quality time together, sweet Josephine?

JOEY: When you tried to get three snails to sleep with each other.

PACEY: You can't tell me that wasn't greatly exciting.

JOEY: I don't want it to seem like I'm contributing to your deportation.

PACEY: You're missing the big picture here Joey. We could bond, insult each other, you know, the works. We'll make it into a 'mortal enemies night out' of sorts.

JOEY (leading the way): Alright. Just make sure nothing jumps up from your drawers and bites me, giving me rabies and what not.

PACEY: Don't worry. They've had their shots. They've all been domesticated. Just don't make any sudden movements. By the way, you're paying. I saw you stuff that wad of bills in your pocket.

[Music fades in . . . ]

[They continue down the street, laughing and joking. The scene then slowly fades to the Lindley house, where Jen is in her room staring out the window at Dawson's house.]

[At this point in my life although I've mostly walked in the shadows . . . I'm still searching for the light . . . You see I've been climbing stairs, but mostly stumbling down . . . I've been reaching high but always losing ground . . . You see I've conquered hills but I still have mountains to climb . . . And right now, right now, I'm doing the best I can . . . ]

[From Jen's house the scene shifts slowly across the fading sunset of the creek, then to Dawson's house. He is sitting on his bed, staring out his window at Jen's house, still reeling from his conversation with her.]

[At this point in my life, I'd like to live as if only love mattered . . . as if redemption was in sight . . . as if the search to live honestly is all that anyone needs . . . no matter if you find it . . .You see when I've touched the sky the earth's gravity had pulled me down . . . But now I've reconciled that in this world birds and angels get the wings to fly . . . ]

[Then the scene shifts back to Joey and Pacey, who are walking out of the ice cream shop with cones in their hands and smiles on their faces.]

[If you can believe in this heart of mine, if you can give me a try, then I'll reach inside and give you all the sweetness that I have . . . At this point in my life . . . ]

[Fade to black . . . ]

[At this point in my life . . . ]


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