Author’s Note: The time has come. This is the end of this series. It’s been hard for me to write, because this series has meant so much to me, but It had to be done. All my thank you’s are at the end of this final part, but let me leave you with something up here:
Sometimes the most seemingly insignificant moment in your life can change your whole world. This is what I’ve tried to show in this story. I hope I have succeeded.
Joey looked up from the book she was studying and screamed in frustration. This only made Lily cry harder. The phone rang from beside Joey’s desk. On the verge of tears, Joey picked up the phone and wavered a "Hello?"
"Hey, there," came Dawson’s strong voice over the phone line. "How’s my beautiful wife and daughter?"
"Your beautiful wife," said Joey trying to hold back her tears, "cannot get any studying done for midterms because your beautiful daughter won’t stop crying."
"Did you try feeding her?" Dawson asked worriedly, the playful tone gone from his voice.
"Of course I did, Dawson, what kind of a mother do you think I am?"
"Well, is she wet? Did you change her diaper?"
"Yes! God, and I rocked her, and sang to her, and rubbed her belly, and burped her! What do you want from me Dawson!?"
"Joey, look there is no reason for you to get all persnickity on me—"
"Oh, ho! With the big words again! Tell me Dawson, is that just another way for you to hide from reality?"
"Joey, that’s not fair."
"Not fair! Not fair? I’ll give you not fair! It’s not fair that you get away every day to work. It’s not fair that you and Pacey went out the other night while I stayed home-"
"Joey, I told you we could have hired a babysitter and you could have come…"
"With what money, Dawson?" Dawson sighed and ran his hands through his hair.
Responding to a yell from Mr. Olsen, he said into the phone, "Jo, hon, I Have to go.."
"Fine," she cut him off abruptly.
"Joey, don’t do this, you know I have to—" Click. Joey hung up on him. "work." He finished.
Bundled down with a baby bag, Lily in a Snugglie, and a Calculus book, Joey rang the doorbell of the McPhee house. Looking at the huge structure, she felt a pang looking down at Lily. "Dawson and I will probably never be able to give her this," she thought. Joey waited patiently as one minute turned into two. She knew they were home. Lights were on and all three cars sat in the driveway. Suddenly, she heard a scuttling and a screech.
"Pacey, stop that!" came Andie’s voice, close to the door. Joey rocked Lily a little and smiled. Lucky Pacey and Andie, still having so much fun together.
The door opened just then, revealing a flushed Andie and a grinning Pacey. Pacey’s shirt was untucked from his khaki shorts and Andie’s hair was extremely mussed up.
"Joey!" said Andie with some surprise. "Hey. Come on in." Andie took the baby from around its mother’s chest and began cooing.
"Hello, Lily. Hey sweetie. Aren’t you just the little most beautiful girl in the whole wide world?" The four month old smiled back at Andie.
"Joey, you looking for Jack?" asked Pacey. Joey nodded. "He’s in his room," Pacey pointed up the stairs. "Why don’t you go on up?" Joey glanced at Lily. "Don’t worry," Pacey assured her. "Andie is not going to let go of that child at least for another hour." Joey smiled quickly and started up the steps. "hey, Joey!" Yelled Pacey. She stopped and turned around. "You and your baby are really cutting into my action!" Joey grinned this time. The last thing she saw before she got to the top of the steps was Andie hitting Pacey and him kissing her. Joey’s face fell again.
"Hey, Joey." Jack looked up from his computer game. "What’s up?" One look at her face told him this wasn’t a social call. "Joey, what’s wrong?"
"Jack," her face fell farther and farther until it crumpled all together and she began to sob uncontrollably. "I just can’t take it anymore! I’m married. Married. And Dawson and I… we never just kiss for no reason anymore. I am always so resentful of him. He gets to work at nights and get away. Pretend for a couple of hours he’s still just a kid. And me? Except for school, I am always with Lily. I’m always a mom." Jack put his arms around Joey. He wasn’t going to say anything until she got it all out. "Like tonight, all I wanted to do was study my Calc for the midterms and she just kept crying and crying. She wouldn’t stop. Cry, cry cry! I wanted to throw something at the wall, so eventually I threw the bottle I was trying to get her to eat!" Her sobs subbsided into a sniffling.
"And look at Andie and Pacey. Look at Randy and Jen. Do you see how they are together? They kiss and they hug. They’re so affectionate with one another. And they have sex. Dawson and I never.. we never do that anymore. It’s like.. it’s like living together is what we do. It’s not fun, it’s not interesting, it’s just.. how we are."
"Joey," said Jack finally speaking. "You know I love you. I would love to be able to keep you from suffering, but I can’t." Jack touched her cheek, trying to lessen the sting from his next words. "You’ve made your bed, now your going to have to lie in it."
"I know," said Joey, "I just feel alone." She put her head into Jack’s shoulder and he encircled her with his arms.
"I understand that, Jo. But you’re not. Dawson IS there. And I will always be here for you. Always. Besides," he helped her sit up. "I have a couple of ideas about how we can get the romantic Dawson Leery to reappear. That is if you trust Andie and I to watch Lily for you tonight… "
Dawson arrived home, tired and not looking forward to another round of fighting with Joey. She was so moody all the time and she seemed distant, even when they were… His mouth dropped and his thoughts no longer seemed coherent as he looked around his bedroom. Soft music was playing and candles were lit, casting a soft glow all around the room and onto his... wife.
Joey sat on the edge of the bed wearing something she DEFINATLY didn’t usually sleep in. The silky white lingerie hugged her curves softly. Okay, so this was not what he had expected to come home to. Joey stood up and walked over to him. She put her arms around him. He tried to speak but all he could do was stammer.
"As articulate as ever," she laughed softly. They began to sway gently to the music. "Make love to me, Dawson,’ Joey whispered. He nodded and they continued to dance, undressing one another.
"She’s like the wind through my tree
She rides the night next to me
She leads me through moonlight
Only to burn me with the sun
She’s taken my heart but she doesn’t know what she’s done
Feel her breath on my face
Her body close to me
Can’t look in her eyes
She’s out of my league
Just a fool to believe
I have anything she needs
She’s like the wind
I look in the mirror and all I see
Is a young old man with only a dream
Am I just fooling myself
That she’ll stop the pain
Living without her
I’d go insane"
She’s like The Wind, Patrick Swayze
"Well, I do have a full scholarship to Boston University, just like Dawson. But Harvard. I mean, God. They gave me a partial scholarship."
"I know, Joey. But even though Harvard is in Boston too, it doesn’t change the fact we could really use the money you have in your college fund for an apartment for us up there. And we could if you go to Boston on a full ride, like me," Dawson said, reasonably.
"I know I just.. Harvard." Dawson looked at her. " I know." She said. "I know." She looked around the table. Bessie was picking at the napkin beside her plate of uneaten food. Mitch looked at Dawson and Gayle had her hand on top of Joey’s. Sighing, Joey said, "I’ll write BU my acceptance letter tomorrow." She gave a small half smile. "It’s a good school."
Bessie sighed as well, "This sucks."
"Yeah, it does," Dawson agreed.
"And so, on the brink of a new life, I congratulate you all on your many accomplishments and offer you this challenge, Make the world a better place," Principal Stiller blathered on to the graduates. "And now, I will award the diploma’s for our top honor’s students. The ten students who have graduated at the top of this class." The Principal began reading names. Dawson squeezed Joey’s hand. The yellow stripe across her shoulder’s identified her as one of the top ten. She stood up when the principal read her name.. "Josephine Marie Potter-Leery," for the first time ever she was proud to hear her entire first name. As she received the diploma from the principal a look of understanding passed between them.
Joey understood that the principal had only been trying to help her a year and a half before. And the principal understood that Joey hadn’t needed that kind of help. Principal Stiller actually grinned.
"Good luck, Joey."
"Thank you," Joey smiled widely back. She returned to her seat. Dawson rubbed her arm.
"How’s it feel to be a graduate?"
"You’ll see in a minute," she whispered back, as they called his name.
Later that night, six friends sat on the dock together. In honor of the night, Bessie had taken Lily to spend the night with her and Alex. Joey laughed at the idea of those two pairs of lungs in one house.
Andie spoke up from Pacey’s lap. "Did you guys ever think this would happen? That we’d be sitting here together the night after graduation. Two of us married with a kid, the other two of us engaged?"
Jen gasped and grinned giving Andie a huge hug.
"You mean?" said Joey.
"Yeah," Andie smiled. "See?" She held up a small diamond.
"You dog!" said Dawson slapping hands with Pacey.
"How’d you keep that a secret?"
"He didn’t," spoke up Jack. "He asked my permission." Pacey blushed.
"Well, y’know, since your dad is kinda MIA—" Andie gave him a light kiss.
"It was very sweet."
"Well," Dawson swung his legs off the edge of the dock. "I never imagined Joey and I would be married and have Lily. But I’m happy."
"You better say that!" Joked Joey.
"The little lady keeps him on tight reigns," joked Pacey.
"Hey!" Andie spoke up out of nowhere. "I have the best idea!" Jen groaned.
"Uh-oh, guys. She has an idea… "
"Very funny," Andie gave her a look. "No, c’mon. Twenty years from now let’s all meet. Right here. No matter what. Whether were still in Capeside," she looked to Jen, who had decided, oddly enough to go to the community college and stay to care for her grandmother, "or off in Paris," she looked to Jack, who had been offered an oppurtunity at art school in that country. "Let’s make it a pact." Dawson looked to Joey, who shrugged.
"Works for me," she said. "Even though I feel like I should be saying, ‘Brenda, Donna, and Kelly, best friends forever!"
"Ha-ha!" Said Andie, "C’mon. Let’s promise. Count of three."
"I promise!" the six of them yelled together, before dissolving into giggles and wasting the night away.
"Hey, mom…" Dawson, Joey, and Lily sat on a blanket in front of a gravestone. Lily, today on her first birthday, was able to toddle around a bit in her baby shoes. The three had driven down from their small apartment just off of University property for the weekend. Later they would retreat to the Leery’s and Bessie would bring Alex over. Lily could then carry on the time-honored tradition of ruining the birthday cake with her hands. "Mom, I want you to meet Lily. She’s your granddaughter. I know you may not have been ecstatic at how soon she came into my and Dawson’s lives, but I have no doubt as to how much you would have loved her.. " Joey’s voice caught. Then she felt a reassuring hand on her shoulder.
"Look at Lily," said Dawson. "She looks so much like your mom." Joey looked over to the toddler trying to stuff grass into her shoe. And in that light, that day, she was the picture of her namesake.
"Yeah," Joey leaned her head against Dawson. "We should bring her every year on her birthday." Dawson pushed Joey’s new bangs away from her eyes. He nodded.
"Joey!" Marilyn Lossie, who was in Joey’s Corporate Law class, caught up to her outside of the lecture room. "Hey!"
"Hey," Joey smiled. Marilyn was probably the coolest person she knew at Law School here in New York. She had left most of her friends behind in Boston when she, Dawson, and Lily had come to New York. NYU had a great law school, and Dawson had gotten a job with a local film company. It wasn’t directing, but with that, and Joey’s part time job in accounting (her major at Boston U) it had paid the bills. Dawson had gotten the go ahead from the company three years later to make a small film. It was a 40,000 dollar budget, but Dawson had been optimistic, calling it the next Blair Witch Project.
"not Quite," thought Joey. But it had been enough that he had gotten a bigger job, as assistant director in a new comedy being shot in the city, directed by none other than Rob Riener! Excited, Joey was able to enroll in Law School, hiring a new babysitter for Lily, who was now nine. Which brought her to where she was now, outside of the lecture room.
"So, listen. I was thinnking we could go get a couple of drinks. You, me, cute guys…" Joey smiled. She must not have noticed the ring. She held up her hand and conspiculously pointed to the ring finger.
"OH! I feel really dumb. Well, you, me, drinks?" She asked again hopefully. Joey thought a moment. She really didn’t want to stay away from Lily any longer. She wanted to help with her homework and cook dinner for her…
"I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t you come for dinner? You can meet my husband.. and daughter."
‘Daughter?" Asked marilyn surprised.
"Mm-hm." Said Joey, leading her towards her car.
"Dawson, I’m telling you. She’s so cool. It’s awesome to have another girl friend. I’ve really missed Andie and Jen, and Seana from new York." Dawson grinned back at her.
"I have news Joey."
"Yeah?" Joey stopped talking for a moment. It was two weeks later, and the happy couple was sitting in a fairly nice restaurant. Lily was having her third sleepover ever with a friend from school.
"Rob Riener backed out of the project." Joey’s face fell.
"Oh, Dawson, I’m so sorry. Here I am talking about how happy I am, and you.. I know how important this was. Did you have to give your advance back? Because I can go back to accounting—" Dawson broke in, grinning.
"You don’t seem to understand Jo. The film company handed over the project to me. The whole thing."
Joey, finally understanding, broke into a grin of her own and screamed. People around them turned to stare and Dawson said, "Joey, people are looking."
However, Joey ignored the puzzled patrons and flew over to the other side of the table kissing Dawson and throwing her arms around him.
"Mommy, I am booored. Are we almost there yet..?" A ten year old Lily whined from the backseat of the car.
"Yes, were almost there. You know that perfectly well Lily flower. We’ve been to capeside every one of your birthdays. I should think you would know the way there by now."
"Hmph." Lily pouted. Dawson looked over from behind the wheel to give Joey a smile. For once they weren’t visiting for a birthday, Pacey and Andie were finally getting married, eight and a half years after they had gotten engaged.
"I don’t know why I couldn’t stay with Marilyn. She said I could, I heard her telling you that!"
"Because!" Snapped Dawson, starting to get a little frustrated with the pestering girl. "Your Aunt Andie and your Uncle Pacey want to see you. They don’t get to see you more than the holidays and the summer, living out in Wisconsin, and they love you."
"They aren’t my real uncle and aunt," grumped Lily.
"Well, young lady, if you say anything like that in front of them you should know that not only will they be extremely hurt, but you will be grounded for a week when we get home."
"Honey, she’s just tired."
"Well, there’s no reason for her to be so rude."
"I know," Joey sighed, upset. She always hated fighting in the family. IT reminded her too much of her unhappy childhood. Suddenly, she felt a hand on her knee. She smiled to herself at how well he knew her.
Joey watched from the bridal room as people trickled into the church. Gayle and Mitch. She smiled. That was one great reconciliation. Gayle still looked young, Mitch still had the rugged look going on. They were holding the hand of a four foot two brunette with strikingly beautiful hazel eyes, looking like an angel in her pale blue dress. Lily. Joey looked on proudly and then turned back to the confusion in the room. Jen was hurridly making last minute adjustments to Andie’s hairpiece. Looking up, she grinned at Joey. Joey grinned back. Jen was still unmarried. Her grandmother had died the year before, but Jen continued to live in her house. She ran her own dress shop, designing dresses. She had a little boy, two years old, but as she had explained it, ‘Didn’t have a Dawson complex, so he bolted." But Timothy was her pride and joy.
Andie looked at herself nervously in the mirror. She caught Joey’s eyes in the reflection. Joey gave her a reassuring look and nodded. Joey knew that as her maid of honor, she should be doing what Jen had taken over, but she couldn’t. She had to go see someone else first.
"Hey, Jailbait," Joey smiled looking at her favorite sparring partner.
"Hey, Ice Queen. Why don’t you make yourself useful and help me with this damn tie?" A much older looking Pacey Witter gave her a familiar impish grin.
"Sure you trust me not to strangle you?"
"Anh, you love your kid to much to get yourself in trouble." He laughed. Joey straightened his tie willing herself not to cry. She was so happy for them. She had waited so long to see them go through with this.
"Hey," Pacey looked down at her. "Don’t get all sappy on me Josephine." She punched him hard. "That’s gonna leave a mark." They stood in quiet as she finished on his tie.
"Well," she said.
"Well," he said.
"Pacey, truth or dare?" pacey almost made a remark, but then simply answered, "Truth." He knew that was what she wanted.
"Did you look at me that day after collecting snails?"
Pacey laughed, surprised she still remembered.
"Yeah," He said. "I did, as a matter of fact."
"I figured," she smiled. Hugging him hard, she whispered. "You’ve always been there for me. I love you Jailbait."
"I love you too, Ice Queen."
"Hmm," she pulled away. "I’ll see you out there. You two are going to be so happy together."
" I know." Said pacey.
With one last smile, Joey left the room.
Andie walked down the aisle in the beautiful dress Jen had created for her, on the arm of Jack. Looking at Pacey, she knew. That day when she had rammed he car into his, it had been fate. That had been meant to happen. She knew this was the man she needed, wanted, and would always love.
Pacey watched Andie walk down the aisle. God, she looked gorgeous. Thank God she could never drive a car.
"When I saw you walking
down the street
I said that’s the kind of
Gal I’d like to meet
She’s so pretty
Lord, she’s fine
I’m gonna make her all mine.."
Hey Baby, Bruce Channel
"… And the award goes to Dawson Leery for ‘That’s What Love Is," said a much older Tom Hanks. Dawson grinned and Joey kissed him. "I love you," he whispered.
"I know,’ she whispered back. Her heart swelled with pride as she watched her husband march up to the podium to accept his Academy Award. She had known in her heart, no matter how much she had told herself it wasn’t practical, he would make it. And he had.
"… most of all though, I want to thank my beautiful fifteen year old daughter, Lily, for telling me which ‘hot’ guys to cast and my wonderful wife, Joey, for always supporting me, always believing in me. I know a lot of people thought this movie was sappy. And in a way, perhaps it was. But Joey has proven at least one thing to me, life can have a happy ending. Thank you," Grinning so mmuch his cheeks hurt he strod offstage.
"Joey?" Dawson said in bed that night.
"Yeah," she whispered.
"Will you marry me?" She grinned. He sometimes asked her that. It was his way of asking if she still loved him enough that she would marry him again.
"Yes, Dawson Leery, I will marry you."
"Do you ever wonder what would have happened if we hadn’t gotten together in high school?" Joey turned to look at him seriously. After a pause she shook her head.
"No, Dawson, I don’t. Because as teenagers we were so in love, so happy. I mean, even when things were at their lowest, when all I wanted was some assemblance of a normal life, you made sense to me."
"And now?" He asked.
"Were still just those teenagers."
"The night we met
I knew I needed you so
And if I had the chance
I’d never let you go
So won’t you say you love me
I’ll make you so proud of me
We’ll make ‘em turn their heads
Every place we go
So won’t you please
Be my, be my baby
Be my little baby
My one and only baby
Say you’ll be my darling
Be my, be my baby
Be my baby now
My one and only baby…"
Be My Baby, The Ronettes
"Okay, Mr. Leery, Mrs. Leery, I just need one more signature right there." Their lawyer Lynne Townsend stood off to the side, as they signed the papers.
When all of the signatures were done, Joey hugged her. "Thank you so much, Lynne." She said.
"No, thank you. I don’t know many people who have as much to give as you two do, that would come in and ask to adopt a child."
Seventeen years after having their only child of their own, Dawson and Joey had decided to adopt someone else’s child. Not a baby, they could often find homes. But an eight year old girl, whose Mom had abandoned her, telling the authorities four years before, that she was only 22 and couldn’t handle a baby. Joey couldn’t stand that excuse and was determined to make the child, Loreen happy. Lily was excited herself, at having a new little sister to dress up and teach make up tricks and tell about boys. As Dawson had groaned, "All were ever going to hear anymore is ‘DADDY! Can you introduce us to, insert cute teen actor’s name here?"
The married couple new they would have to work to gain Loreen’s trust, but they were more than up for the job.
Flashes of camara’s went off in front of a New York center called Options for Teens. Dawson and Joey Leery stood in front of the large structure having their pictures taken. Dawson and her answered questions candidly.
"Mr. Leery, are you donating this money because OT helps expectant teens just like you and your wife were?"
"Well, duh," said Dawson laughing. "Joey and I feel that we understand how each and every teenager who walks into this place feels and we think it’s important they understand their options and get help. Not everyone has supportive family like we do."
"Mrs. Leery, Joey, you yourself chose to keep your child. Does it bother you this organization gives out advice on how to get abortions?"
"No," said Joey, firmly, ready for that question.
"You can never understand what it is to be a pregnant teenager, unless you’ve been there. I’ve been there and I know that the individual parents must be the one’s to make the choice about what will happen to the pregnancy." Dawson squeezed her arm lightly. She smiled at him.
"What’s up next on your adgenda, Dawson?"
"Capeside," He grinned.
"I cannot believe Lily is twenty. I can’t believe Loreen is eleven and Tim is eleven. I can’t believe I’m pregnant again, " Andie rushed on, having not changed at all in that aspect. Twenty years to the day after the six friends graduation, they had all returned to the dock they had sat on that very night. Andie and Pacey had three children, another one the way. Pacey taught school in their small town and Andie wrote a book series for young adults under a pen name. Timothy and clothing remained Jen’s life, who dated occasionally, but never remained seriously attached to anyone. Jack had prospered in Paris and now owned an art gallery in Chicago with his partner of seven year, Greg.
"yeah," said Pacey. "Who would have thunk?"
Joey laughed. "Dawson might have."
"You know I was always a sucker for those happy endings, Jo.." He grinned devilishly. Surveying his wife and their four friends he figured it out. "Their the best kind."
"For all those times you stood by me
For all the truth that you made me see
For all the joy you brought to my life
For all the wrong that you made right
For every dream you made come true
For all the love I found in you
I’ll be forever thankful baby
You’re the one who held me up
Never let me fall
You’re the one who saw me through
Through it all.."
Because You Loved Me, Celine Dion
That’s all you guys. I have loved writing this series so much and it has meant so much to me. Everything that every single one of you has written to tell me has been invaluable. All of you in my internet life and all of you in my real life, who have supported me and helped me, thank you so much. Thank you, Mom, thank you, thank you, thank you Robin! Thanks Tamara for the reading. Thank you Jenny for the support and Madelyn. Thank you to all of the webmasters. And above all thank you to anyone who took the time to read this series.
I will be writing a new one very soon, and I hope you will take the time to check that one out. Until then,
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