How Do I Deal? by: Holly

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Author’s long Boring Note That Nobody Reads: Hello again! It’s me. I want to take this pause in fanfic reading to thank Tammy, Eden, people at The Dc Fanfic Center, Meaghan, the people at the DC Fanfic Lounge, Alex, and anyone else I accidentally forgot.

Also, RCH thank you for all your great feedback! Much appreciated!

One more thing, Un Dc related. Any of you who are going to prom in a couple of weeks, please don’t drink and drive. Be safe, okay?

Go see Life Is Beautiful!!! *Jenny, How’s Jasper doing? Five times today, huh? Dartmouth Rules!!

Joey nervously took an uncomfortable seat in the principal's chair. It was her first day back to school since she had fainted and she bit her nails nervously. Dawson had told her last night how he had mistakenly announced to the entire student body that she was pregnant. She was understandably displeased. Now she and Bessie had been called in for this early morning meeting with the principal and her guidance counselor and Joey didn’t need two guesses to figure out what it was all about.

Principal Stiller came in with Mr. Milo and cleared her throat as she took a seat. She folded her hands and looked directly at Bessie. “Bessie, “ she said with an air of disapproval. Bessie looked straight back at her and smiled dryly.

“Hello, Ms. Stiller.” The principal looked to Joey.

“Joey, Mr. Milo and I have been alerted as to your, ahmm, situation.”


“Yes. Your condition.” Joey looked at the two of them confusedly.

“We have a suggestion. One we highly recommend taking. There is a school only ten miles outside of Capeside that offers parenting classes, daycare, and so forth for expecting students. We would like to send Joey there.” Principal Stiller looked expectantly at Bessie.

“So you want to send her to some psuedo school?” Asked Bessie angrily.

Ms. Stiller rolled her eyes. “I assure you it is not a so called “psuedo school.” It has a very good reputation. And quite frankly, I, as well as the rest of the administration would not be comfortable with Joey completing the term here. I mean, if she is going to be passing out in hallways, she certainly needs special help.” Bessie opened her mouth to protest angrily as Mr. Milo jumped in.

“I think what Principal Stiller means is that, well, we’ve found pregnancy can be catching. One girl gets pregnant and soon she has a gaggle of girls following her wanting to feel the baby kick, and see sonogram pictures, and so forth. Then they want to have babies.” The counselor said this as gently as possible.

“What!?” Joey spoke up.

“Ms. Potter, Joey...” The counselor said soothingly.

“NO! I’m supposed to be punished because some cheerleader ditz wants to screw up her life too? If nothing else I should be testimonial about what not to do!”

“Ms. Potter!” The principal said sharply. “This is not up for discussion. It’s this or home schooling or you can be ridiculed by cruel classmates as well as cause a mass hysteria from concerned parents. I hope you will make the right decision.”

* * * * *

Joey slammed the office door shut with a loud bang.

“They can’t do this! Everything I’ve worked for...some school that probably has never heard of logarithms. Can they do this, Bess?” She asked hysterically.

“Joey, calm down”

“How can I possibly calm down?” Bessie took her by the shoulders.

“Nothings being decided today. Why don’t you go to all your classes and just see how things are? Okay? You, me, Dawson and Gail can all talk about this later, okay? Joey?”

“What?” She snapped. Bessie looked her levelly in the eyes.

“You know what Dr. Peterson said about stress and over exciting yourself. Just stay calm. We’ll figure it out? Okay, Joey-bean?” Bessie said using a childhood nickname.

Joey gave a small half smile. “Okay, Bessie bear.” Bessie got Joey in a gentle headlock, and said “I’ll Bessie Bear you!” as she rubbed her knuckles against Joey’s head.

* * * * *

Joey took a deep breath and stepped into her chemistry class. At least Andie would be one friendly face she could count on. She handed her teacher, Ms. Linquist, a pass from the principal. Ms. Linquist looked at Joey a bit sadly and nodded, relinquishing her to her seat.

Joey looked down as she walked down the row of desks. Already she could hear the small whispers and little titters of her classmates. She could do this. It wasn’t as though she hadn’t heard them before. She knew how to deal with them. Stay inconspicuous until somebody else made better gossip.

Joey slid into her seat next to Andie and glanced up at her. Andie smiled warmly. Joey gave a hesitant smile back and lifted her notebook out of her backpack.

* * * * *

“Joey, can I speak with you for a moment?” Ms. Linquist asked as Joey and Andie were about to walk out the door.

“I can wait for you outside…”Andie trailed off. Joey smiled at her gratefully.

“No, Andie. That’s okay. I’ll meet you in the cafeteria okay?”

“Okay,” Andie smiled back and shrugged, as she walked out.

“What’s up Ms.Linquist?” Joey gave her a half smile. Ms. Linquist was one of her favorite teachers. She was one of the few brighter people among the feeble minded Capesidian population. Ms. Linquist gave Joey a smile back. She nodded for her to sit. Joey sat down in the desk directly across from the teachers and took a deep breath.

“Before you start, Ms. Linquist, I know what your going to say-” The teacher leaned forward.

“I doubt you do, Joey. Listen to me.” Joey looked up into the thirty somethings warm eyes. “Joey, I have been teaching here for eight and a half years. In that time I have lost many bright students to pregnancy. Either they chose to go to that joke of a school down the road, or they left school altogether. Joey, you have some of the best potential of any of my students ever. I’ve seen your transcripts. You have a real chance at making yourself something.” Joey blushed and looked down. Ms. Linquist sighed heavily. “But not if you give up on yourself. Joey, I’m not a guidance counselor. I can’t tell you what to do, or even make recommendations. However, I am imploring you not to give up.” Ms. Linquist reached for the post-its inside her desk drawer. Joey looked up.

“I’m going to write down a number. It’s a support group for expectant teens and teen parents. They can help you and the baby's father, Joey. They not only offer parenting classes, but can counsel you on adoption. And there are meetings where you can talk and vent to other people in your situation.” She handed the slip of paper over to Joey, who stared at the number. “I hope you’ll look into it.” Ms. Linquist stood up and squeezed Joey’s shoulder. “And I hope you will continue to attend this school.” Joey had found an allie.

* * * * *

“Where’s Joey? What can be keeping her? Do you think she’s okay? I mean, what if she fainted again? I knew it was too soon for her to come back, but oh no. ’Everything’s fine Dawson. Stop hounding me and get off my back.’ Ha! I don’t think I’m over protective, do you think I’m over protective?” Dawson licked his lips. Andie moaned and leaned her head into Pacey’s shoulder. “I have a migraine. Rub my head honey, he’s hurting it.” Pacey rubbed her temples.

“Dawson, man, if you don’t calm down I’m going to have to beat you down. I hate rubbing her head.” Andie pulled her head up and stuck out her tongue.

“Oh, that’s mature.” Cracked Pacey. Dawson looked around anxiously.

“That’s it. I’m going to find her.” He made a move to stand up. Jen reached up from the seat beside him and grabbed his arm. She pulled him back into his seat.

“Dawson Leery! You are making a scene. Sit down and eat this indigestible stuff they call lunch. Joey was fine five minutes ago when Andie left her in the chem lab, and I’m sure she will be here any minute,” Jen said sternly. Jack remained quiet throughout all of this.

“Dawson,” a voice said from behind him.

“Noo!” Dawson groaned. “Great this just completes my life in hell. Hi Abby.” Abby Morgan sauntered up to the table and put her hand on Dawson’s shoulder in mock sympathy.

“How is Daddy doing? God, Dawson. I never would have thought you of all people would have enough, well, little men, to make a baby. Especially not on your first time.” Dawson looked at her, stone faced.

“Who told you that?” Abby gave him a sly grin.

“It’s all around school, daddy dearest. Everyone knows you and Joey only did it once. And to think, the first time is so clumsy. You must have practiced a lot.” Jen looked as though she might laugh, as did Jack. Instead Jack spoke up.

“Why don’t you go away, oh Satanic One?”

“Fine,” Abby raised her eyebrows. “Dawson, if you ever want to get away from the little lady and her screaming infant, call me. You’ll find out what it’s like to be with a real woman.” She turned and sauntered away, just as she had come. Jen let out the small laugh she had been holding in. Dawson glared at her.


* * * * *

Joey flushed the toilet in the girl’s bathroom. She was feeling nauseous again, and knew she needed to eat, or she wasn’t going to make it through the rest of the day. Just as she was about to unlock the stall door she heard the door to bathroom open and the three voices of Capeside High cheerleaders. She stopped not wanting to face them. Joey heard a voice she recognized as Lizzie Gorman’s, a girl in her heath class, speak up. “So, anyway, my dad said he’d get me the new Porsche if I can pull off straight B’s, so here’s hoping.” Joey heard another one, Amy Something, chime in.

“Speaking of parent’s, I suppose you heard about Joey Potter and Dawson Leery?”

“What that their dating? That is so common knowledge. And who really cares? Although Dawson is kind of cute if you go for the--”

“Puhlease, Lizzie. I know you’ve been sick and out of school, but how could you have not heard about Dawson and Joey?” Asked Amy disgustedly.

“What?” Asked Lizzie confusedly. Joey leaned against the stall wall and steadied herself for what was coming. The third person in the party spoke up. It was the Cheerleader captain, Christy Livingstone. “She’s pregnant.”

“Your kidding! I can’t believe it! Those two always seemed so--pure.”

“Oh, please. First of all, it’s common knowledge they’ve slept in the same bed forever. Secondly, offspring of trash are still trash. I mean, look at Bessie her sister. At least Joey reproduced with someone of her own race--” Christy cut Lizzie off.

“Lizzie! What’s with you? That was totally uncalled for.”

“Whatever. C’mon, Christy you can’t tell me your surprised.”

“Whatever yourself,” Christy muttered. “C’mon Lizzie, let’s go.”

Joey felt a solitary tear roll down her cheek as she heard three pairs of footsteps walk out. She sniffed and opened the stall door. She walked over to the mirrors and looked at herself.

“I was surprised,” She whispered.

* * * * *

“Joey! Hey, Joey!” Dawson called to his girlfriend outside the school. She turned around and waited for him to catch up.

“Hey,” She smiled and kissed him lightly.

“Hey,” he said. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere. Why weren’t you at lunch?” She took his hand.

“I had a phone call to make.” They began walking towards Dawson’s house.

“Phone call? To who?”

“Dawson,” Joey stopped and looked at him. “Ms. Linquist gave me the number of a support group for teen parents. I want to try it. There’s a meeting tonight, and they said we could come.”

“A support group? What--why?” Dawson looked confused. He let out a stuttery breath. “Joey, are you thinking, I mean, what- J-J..” Joey sighed.

“Dawson, chill out. I just want to meet other people like us. I want--I want to keep our options open, okay?” She looked straight into his eyes. “I want you there. It’s at the community center at eight. I’ll meet you there.” Joey turned to walk off, leaving Dawson sputtering “B-but, Joey, where are you going?”

* * * * *

Joey raised her hand to knock on the front door, but then brought it down. She had been standing in front of this door for a few minutes now, debating whether to go to him. Suddenly the door opened.

“Hey, Jo. What’s up?” She looked into Pacey’s eyes.

“Hey. Were you, ah, going somewhere?”

“No, nowhere important,” Pacey said. Actually, he was going to work at the video store, but he could sense Joey needed to talk to him about something important, probably baby stuff. He held his hand out, to usher her in.

“So, what’s up Jo? Need me to father your child--no, wait! You have Dawson for that. Hmm, you want me to play Godfather?” Pacey scratched his chin and said “Anything for the familia,” in a hoarse voice.

“You jerk!” Joey elbowed him and laughed.

“Ice Queen.”

“Jail Bait.”

“Teen statistic.”

“Screwdriver to your temple.” At this point Joey was laughing hysterically.

“See, I got ya to laugh didn’t I?” Said Pacey elbowing her back.

“Yeah,” Joey grinned. “Yeah, you did.”

* * * * *

“One hot chocolate, for the little lady,” Pacey grinned as he sat down across from Joey at his kitchen table.

“Thanks, Pace,” she smiled gratefully.

“So, what’s up, little missy? I know you didn’t come here just for my world famous weak, prepackaged, just add water, hot chocolate.”

Joey paused and pursed her mouth before speaking up.

“Pacey? Have you ever--wanted something, but felt like it didn’t belong to you?” Pacey stared at her.

“Joey, do you have any idea who you're talking to? Welcome to my personal hell.” He stopped a moment. “I mean take Andie. I don’t deserve her. She’s wonderful, and I’m the town misfit.” Joey twirled the mug in her hands and looked up into one of her best friends faces.

“Pacey…I want this baby, but for some reason, I feel. I feel like it doesn’t belong to me. Like it’s someone else’s baby. Like I don’t deserve to keep it because it was a mistake and other people try and try and can never have babies...Does that sound really stupid?” Pacey shook his head.

“No. It sounds human. Look, Joey, most of us will never understand why certain things happen. Why you got pregnant. Why Andie came to me. Whatever it is. That doesn’t mean that these things are punishments, or that they aren’t ours. Joey, whatever you decide to do with this child, he isn’t a punishment. He’s a test. And he is yours. No one elses.”

“I don’t think Dawson would love you saying that.” Joey smiled a bit through her tears.

“Yeah, well,” Pacey sighed. “Dawson doesn’t exactly live in our world if you know what I mean.”

“I know. He has like this whole story board mapped out for how we could afford to raise this child, but the truth is, I don’t know. I do know that I’m not ready to give up my dreams, but I really don’t think I can go to that hospital, have that child, and then just hand it over to a stranger. I’m selfish Pacey. I’m not strong enough to do what’s best for my baby. I want to keep him.”

“Sounds to me like you’ve decided, Joey.” He took her into his arms and let her cry on an unbiased shoulder.

How do I deal with you,
How do I deal with me,
When I don’t even know myself
what it is you want from me?
How do I deal with us,
How do I know what’s real
When I don’t even trust myself what it is I feel
How do I deal?

* * * * *

“We have two new people joining our group tonight. Joey and Dawson. Let’s welcome them.” Joey smiled at the people sitting in the circle. Her eyes were puffy, and red, but she felt a sort of relief from knowing what she wanted. Dawson looked over at her. He could tell she’d come to a sort of resolution, but he didn’t know what it was. If she wanted to give this baby up, it would kill him. He truely believed in their love overcoming all. Suddenly Joey was speaking to the mass of jumpy looking boyfriends and fat, pregnant girlfriends.

“I’m Joey and this is my boyfriend Dawson. I’m fourteen weeks and were here to get support and to find out how to care for our baby when we bring it home twenty six weeks from now.” She glanced back at Dawson, and he grinned at her widely.

“Great,” Said the counselor, Anne. “Then let’s start by talking about how school is going for everyone.” Joey sat down and gripped Dawson’s hand.

Okay, all end of part five, which has been the hardest to write so far, but now I have some cool ideas for part 6, so that will hopefully be up soon. And don’t worry and think I’m copping out, or making the road of parenthood easy on Dawson and Joey. Believe me, it will be tough. Email me and let me know if this one was okay! Thanks! Song by the multitalented, wonderful, Jennifer Love Hewitt.

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