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Author's Note: This is for all of the people of Littleton, Colorado. I've been thinking about the horrid tragedy that occured there for the past week, I mean, who hasn't? And all I can think is..if only someone had told. I know that a good number of people go on the internet and read fanfiction, so here is my plea to all of you: If you think someone might do something like this, if theres any chance, please, please, please tell an authority figure. Please, we as teenagers, are really the ONLY people who can keep this from happening again. I watched the televised funeral for Rachael Scott today, and I hope that we can all as the young people of America pick up the torch she dropped. As for all of the people of Littleton, all I can say is I am so, so sorry for your loss and my prayers are with you.
*Okay, clarification, this takes place about ten weeks after the last fanfic, because I had an idea I wanted to use, but it only works if you can tell Joey is pregnant, okay? So, let's just say she's in her sixth month and it's June.
"This was actually a good idea, Jen. Thanks for suggesting it." Joey looked over at the girl whom she had once considered the bitch from the west (otherwise known as New York) in appreciation. "You were right. I really needed to get out of Dawson's bed-" Joey stopped as Jen grinned. "Allow me to rephrase that.."
"Wasn't that what got you in trouble in the first place?" Jen grinned mischievously.
Joey made a face. "Soo funny."
Jen and Joey were looking at baby clothes, girl's especially, since Joey was convinced that she was carrying a girl. Dawson remained firm that he was going to have a son. It had become a great joke between all of the "group" guessing whether Joey or Dawson was right in "The Great Debate."
Joey suddenly put a hand on her stomach, which had grown considerably in the past couple of months.
"What's wrong," Jen asked rushedly.
"Nothing!" Joey groaned. "You and Dawson. I put my hand anywhere near my stomach or make any odd noise and it's 'Joey, Joey, what's wrong!? Do you need an aspirin, a doctor, perhaps 24 hour surveillance and a hired nurse?' " Joey mocked. She smiled to let Jen know she was kidding. "The babies kicking. Ya wanna feel?" Joey grabbed Jen's hand and put it to her stomach. Jen's eyes widened as she felt a hard push against her palm.
"Wow... doesn't that hurt you?" Joey shook her head.
"She's so strong." Jen also believed the baby was a girl.
"C'mon," said Joey. "Let's shop." She grabbed a pink knitted wool baby hat sitting on a table close to them. She put it on top of her stomach and said "There, sweetie, you like your hat?" glancing in a nearby mirror. She groaned. "How did I get so huge?" Jen smiled. She heard this at least once a day.
"Your not huge, Joey. Your pregnant. And didn't Dawson tell me that the doctor said you were showing early because you ARE such a small person?"
"That's just want they want you to think. I'm telling you, pregnancy is just a conspiracy to keep women from actually having bodies that don't sag and go in contorted positions." Jen rolled her eyes and began to mouth the words with Joey. "I'm never going to be able to wear a bikini again. Or for that matter a dress under a size 12. Hmmph."
Joey knew she was whining, but she couldn't help it. Being pregnant did not agree with her. She was hot, her back hurt almost as much as her ankles, and if Dawson didn't stop hovering she was going to have to kill him. She didn't know how she would explain to her unborn child that she had murdered her daddy, but she could figure that out later. In other words, Joey was acting like every other pregnant woman in the country.
Jen sighed and looked at her watch. "Joey? I'm going to go call my Grams. She has a freak attack if I don't check in every few hours. Okay? I'll be right over by the pay phone and I'll bring you a Coke or something. You look hot."
"Kay," said Joey absently. She continued to examine a small pink jumper suit. "I can't believe how small this is," she mused to herself.
Her mind beginning to wander with the heat, Joey looked over and noticed a young girl, about six years old, holding a doll in one hand, her mom's dress in the other. She smiled a gentle smile at the sweet looking child, wondering if her own baby was a girl who would look just as adorable. The little girl looked back at Joey worriedly and tugged on her mother's dress.
The mother looked down at her daughter questioningly. "What is it, sweetie?" The girl pointed to Joey.
"Mommy, how come that girl over there has a big tummy just like you with a baby in it?" The mom looked over at Joey and looked her up and down disapprovingly.
Then she softened her face and turned to her daughter. "Because, Emmy, she is a bad girl. She does bad things, and doesn't love herself or the boy's that she knows. Remember, you don't want to be a bad girl like her." The woman glared at Joey, as if to say, how dare you corrupt my child. Then she turned abruptly, dragging along Emmy.
The child turned and glanced back at Joey, with an innocent look. Joey simply stood in shock that someone would say something like that about her. Part of her wanted to go up to that woman and slap her and say that at least she knew what love was and how she had been in love with her boyfriend when she slept with him, how she was a straight A honor student who worked to support herself and her sister and nephew. The other part of Joey was so ashamed of herself and her ever largening stomach that she wanted to hide herself away from impressionable children, knowing teenagers, and glaring adults.
Joey was shocked out of her thoughts by Jen coming up behind her. " I don't know, Jo. Maybe we should get Jack in here, my gay friends in New York all had great taste..." she trailed off as she noticed Joey's face. She handed her the cold Coke she had brought and put her hand on her shoulder. "Joey, what's wrong?" Joey shrugged her hand off.
"Nothing, okay? Let's just go now."
"Okay..." Jen bit her lip and followed Joey out of the mall.
'Stay out of this.
Oh, I know you mean to help me,
And I know you've good intentions
But stay out of this.
This isn't your problem,
Do not interfere-you are not needed here
Let the pendulum swing'
Kate Bush-Between a Man & a Woman
Joey lay down upstairs in Dawson's bed as she heard murmurs downstairs. She was sure they were talking about her, but she didn't care. She didn't want to talk. All she wanted to do was lie up here for the next three months away from everyone and everything. But she knew sooner or later Dawson would come and demand some explanation.
Sure enough, a few minutes later her boyfriend bounded into the room. He sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed Joey's shoulders. She lay facing the wall, which he knew was a sign she didn't want to talk. He decided to take a stab at it anyway.
"You wanna tell me what happened Jo? Jen says you were upset about something." Joey shrugged. "You want to at least face me?" Joey shrugged again. Dawson grabbed her and turned her over to face him.
"Dawson, stop it." Joey snarled.
"Is this about your birthday? Cause I didn't forget you know."
"No, it's not about.."Joey stopped. Her face softened a bit. "What do you mean you didn't forget?" Dawson jumped up off the bed.
"Well," he said. " I thought for once we could finally do something just for the two of us, you know, no baby involved. So I made us dinner reservations at Le Petit Bistro.." Joey groaned and covered her face with the comforter.
"Forget it," she mumbled under the covers. " I am not going into an expensive, nice restaurant looking the way I do." Dawson went over and pulled the blanket off her face. Joey's hair fanned over the pillow, and he thought she looked like the most beautiful woman ever. Oppositely of Joey, he thought she looked more beautiful every day. There was something so wonderful about looking at the woman who was carrying your child. Yeah, okay, he was a romantic. So what?
"So this mood swing is about how you look. Joey--"
"It's not about how I look," she snapped.
"No, tell me what's bothering you."
"Dawson," Joey looked at him, no longer defensive, just scared and lonely. She felt like some sort of slut. " Do you think," this was really hard for her to get out, " do you think that since I let this happen to me, that I'm a slut?" She cast her eyes down, no longer able to look at him after saying that.
"What?" Dawson asked incredulously. He lifted her chin up to his eye level. "Joey, you are not a slut. Look, this..this was a mistake, but it was a mistake of love. And you know, it's not like we were going at it like rabbits or something. It was just once.."
"You say that like it makes it acceptable."
"Okay, so yeah, we were too young to have sex. We both know that now. Chalk it up to a learning experience. We have to think about our new family now."
"Really, Dawson. A learning experience?" Joey said somewhere between scornfully and amusedly.
"We messed up. But now were going to have a family. I'm not saying it will be easy, but really, were going to be okay. I know because," he shrugged. " Spielburg said so." Joey laughed aloud.
"Mr. Leery, when are you going to stop scripting that life of yours?"
"My dear, that is one thing that will never change. Get used to it."
"If I hadn't found it charming would I have slept with you that night?"
"You mean, in the past sixteen years we spent sleeping in the same bed all I had to do was tell you that my script including our wedding to get you to sleep with me?
"Damn! Wish I had figured that out sooner!" The couple grinned at one another. Suddenly Joey turned serious.
"But, Dawson, it doesn't change the fact that people look at me, complete strangers, and see I'm young and without a wedding ring and they judge me. I mean their judge and jury."
"Joey, since when do you care what other people think? I mean, how do you think your mom felt after the town figured out she was being cheated on by your father?" Dawson hated to bring up the subject, but he knew it was one of the few analogies that Joey would appreciate. " But, I remember very clearly, your mother taking me, you, and Bessie out to dinner like a week after. The waitress stared and so did all the other patrons, but your mother..God, Jo. She just kept that head of hers up straight and helped us order." Dawson put his hand on hers. "Every day I see more of her in you. If she was strong enough, so are you." Joey smiled and nodded.
"Okay, now, get up, and do all that girl stuff you and Jen do and get ready to go out. It's your birthday. Your sixteen, finally." Dawson helped her to her feet.
"You know?" Said Joey as Dawson held open the door to the restaurant for her, "It's nice to be alone with you for a while, but I'm kind of sad everyone else isn't here too."
"Aah," said Dawson. " I foresaw such a dilemma." Joey looked at him suspiciously.
"What did you do?"
"Nothing," he said innocently.
"Reservation for Leery," Dawson said to the maitre'd. The couple was led over to a large table with balloons tied to chairs and red roses on one plate. At the table sat Jen, Jack, Andie and Pacey.
"Surprise," called out the first three.
"Uh, yeah, surprise," said Pacey and continued eating a roll. Andie hit him on the back. After almost choking he turned to her. "What?" She rolled her eyes. Dawson pulled out a chair for Joey and she sat and smelled her roses.
"This is so sweet," Joey began to get misty eyed.
"Uh oh, look out for those pregnancy hormones!" Joked Jen and the whole group laughed.
"Okay, so for you. From me and Prince Charming," Andie reached across the table to hand Joey a flat package. On the top was a small card. It read "So that when you and Dawson are in the old folks home together you can remember us as we were." Inside was a picture of the six of them at the Capeside Carnival from the time right before Joey had discovered she was pregnant. There was also a fifty dollar gift certificate to a local clothing store.
Pacey spoke up, " We weren't sure what would fit you anymore, since you turned into a school bus.."
Dawson glared at him, but Joey laughed off the comment. "More like a barge. Thanks you two." Dawson looked at her in surprise. Well, this event was certainly putting her in a good mood.
Jen reached over with her present. It was a couple of rectangle boxes tied together with ribbon. When Joey opened them she discovered two boxes of a really good brand of charcoal, some watercolor paints and new brushes. She sat and stared at the art materials in her lap. No one said anything. Jen cleared her throat.
" I just figured.. well, you don't have to give up art." Joey turned to look at her.
"Thank you," were her simple words, but Jen understood the meaning beneath them.
Jack broke the silence that followed by handing Joey his gift. It was a biography of Degas. Joey smiled and said it would be a good way to pass the time when Dawson insisted on having Spielberg marathon nights. Everyone laughed except Dawson, who put on his best "I'm a really hurt puppy dog" face.
"Well," said Andie, peppily (I have no idea if I just made up a word there.) "Should we order?" She rubbed her hands together.
"One sec," said Dawson. " I haven't given the gorgeous birthday girl my present yet." Joey looked surprised.
"I thought this was it." Dawson laughed with Pacey.
"Yeah right," said the latter. "Dawson Leery pass up an opportunity to act like a romantic doofus?" Dawson nodded at him.
"See what I do to you some night in your sleep man." He turned to Joey. " I know you wanted this." He handed her a square package that turned out to contain the new Sarah McLaughlin cd.
"Thank you," Joey kissed him on the cheek.
"What?" Pacey looked shocked. "Where's the jewelry, Leery?" Dawson, Joey and Andie sent him a simultaneous look. "What?" He asked innocently. "I thought it was like a rule the doting boyfriend had to give jewelry."
Later, after Pacey and Andie had headed off somewhere to be alone and Jack had driven Jen home, Dawson and Joey sat outside his house on the porch swing. The silence was a friendly one.
"This is nice," Joey said finally, swinging the bench a bit.
"Mmhmm," said Dawson putting his arm around her. After a bit, he spoke up again. "Joey?"
"I do have a piece of jewelry for you. I just didn't particularly want to give it to you in front of an audience." Joey didn't look exceptionally surprised. Dawson pulled out a small ring box for her and removed an irish claddaugh ring.
"Joey," he cleared his voice. "I want to marry you. But I don't want anyone to ever think it was just because you were pregnant, especially not you. So I want you to think of this as out pre engagement ring. And then in a few years, after we graduate, if you want to, I would love to get you the real thing." Joey just nodded and allowed him to put the ring on her left finger. She didn't feel that she needed to say anything. It had already been said. She kissed him tenderly on the lips.
Later that night in bed, she slipped her hand into his for comfort. He turned and for the first time in many months he held her in his arms. One hand on her stomach, the other around her shoulders, they fell into a peaceful sleep.
'Look into my eyes
You will see what you mean to me
Search your heart, search your soul
When you find me, then you'll search no more
Don't tell me it's not worth trying for
You can't tell me it's not worth dying for
You know it's true, everything I do, I do it for you'
Brandy - I do it For You
Very special thanks goes out to Tammy and Robin without whom I would probably just give up sometimes when I get stuck. Thanks you two. Also, I bored, it's time to create some CONFLICT! I'm not sure what yet.. but we shall see.
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