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Author's note: Sorry this has taken so long. It was due to two things. First of all my old modem like blew up, so I had to get a new computer. Secondly, I am in a production of Brave New World, which I ironically enough call my 'real life' even though it's actually being someone else's life… Oo, my head hurts.
Anyway, this is the next to last part of this series. The big finis will come soon. After that I'll begin a new series, which I hope you will all give a chance. Thank you for all of the wonderful feedback I've been getting!
Disclaimer: Oy, my head.
Rating: What is the deal here? I simply refuse to do this. What kind of a society makes censorship a part of every day life… Umph. Omph. CENSORED. (Sorry, it's the whole Brave New World thing…)
Dedication: To all of you who have written me to tell of similar experiences.
Dawson heaved a deep sigh. He glanced over next to him where Joey was snuggled under the sheets he lay on top of. Having been home from the hospital for a week, Dawson noticed a marked improvement in Joey's demeanor. She liked being around Lily and caring for her. Dawson noticed that even though Dr. Pettersen had ordered Joey to take it easy, she was already up and about feeding Lily, bathing her, changing diapers. Last night she had been up from 2 am until 6 am with the baby, who just simply hadn't felt like sleeping. Aah, the joys of parenthood.
She still refused to let the walls crumble even a little as far as talking about her feelings on the hysterectomy and so forth. Lord knows, he wanted to talk and analyze it to death. But she remained tight mouthed, focusing all of her energy on Lily. Joey also refused to discuss returning to school, which puzzled Dawson. All throughout her pregnancy she had been excited at the prospect of getting back. Of course, she needed time to get back on her feet, but when Andie had come over yesterday and offered to tutor Joey she had looked at Andie oddly and declined.
Joey glanced over at Dawson. She knew he wanted her to say something. To tell him how she felt about that thing.. that thing they didn't talk about. Sighing herself, she removed the American History textbook he held in his hand and replaced it with another, smaller book. Her journal. Dawson looked at her puzzledly.
"Go ahead," She said. "I want you to read it."
"Oh, no!" Dawson jumped off the bed and dropped the book like it was a piece of molten lava. "This is some weird hormonal satanic test to see if you can trust me. Well, I learned my lesson back in sophmore year. No invasion of privacy-"
Joey cut in before Dawson got started. "Dawson," she placed her hand on his arm. "I want you to read it. I know you have some questions that I don't feel up to doing person-to-person at the moment. This journal can answer them all for you. Besides, this way I get to sleep, so…" She beckoned him to lean over, and she kissed him lightly on the lips, surprising him. That was the first sign of physical, or emotional for that matter, affection she had afforded him since.. the incident. "Go." Dawson watched her burrow deeper under the covers. He reached over to turn down the air conditioning.
"Don't," she said.
"Oh, yeah, I forgot," He replied. Joey had a weird idiosyncracy that when she felt the need to be comforted she turned the air conditioning way up and kept herslef warm by burrowing under the covers. How many people would know that, thought Dawson satisfied. He checked on the baby under her own blanket in the crib across the room. She sighed a baby sigh and sucked her lips in and out. Dawson smiled gently and walked out of the room leaving the two females in his life to sleep.
After stopping in the closet like kitchen to get a generic coke (less expensive) Dawson settled down on the living room couch. He realized he had the whole day to do this. It was the one Saturday he wasn't working, most of his homework was done, he actually had free time. With the tip of his thumb, Dawson traced the figures on the outside of the notebook that held Joey inside of it. Feeling weird about doing so, he opened the book to somewhere around the middle.
November 8, 1998
Ugh. Pacey kissed me. I cannot believe that cretin would actually think that…
Way too early, thought Dawson. Must get that bad picture out of head. He flipped to a later part of the journal.
December 10, 1998
Men. All they think about are boobs and sex. I swearto God…
Well, thought Dawson, don't need that. Skimming over a couple of sections he finally reached what he was looking for. December fifteenth of their Junior Year.
The day they had found out Joey was pregnant.
.. I can't believe I allowed this to happen. We were always so careful. So careful. I cannot believe this is happening. What will happen to Dawson and me? Will our relationship be able to overcome this? And even worse, what will happen to me?
Dawson closed his eyes tightly. He knew where it went from there. He decided to skip to where they were now.
Everyone else is just getting into the swing of senior year. I have just gone through a surgery that removed any hope of my being able to have other children than Lily. What if something should happen to her someday? She's my one and only. Dawson, he can go and have other children with someone who isn't maimed and cut up. Someone pure and untouched. And I'll still be here. School, senior year, it just seems stupid now. What could they possibly teach me that I haven't learned from having a child and having something taken away from me that I never truly appreciated.
Dawson might leave me. I would leave me. I f he goes with someone else he has no ties. He can have as many children as he wants someday. I knew I wanted children, I never realized how much I would love one of my own. Or how saddened I could be by finding out
I will never again experience that joy of bringing life to something again.
Dawson felt a single tear run down his face. She actually thought he would leave her. It was ridiculous. It's not like girls were flocking toward him. And even if they were the idea he would abandon her and lily was preposterous. He felt a love for the two of them that transcended words.
How could he show that to her? How could he make her understand that he wasn't about to go anywhere? Then it occurred to him. There was only one thing that could convince her of that.
"Are you insane!?" Joey yelled, waking up Lily, who began to cry in her playpen. Joey walked over to her child and picked her up, cooing soothingly, while shooting a contrasting scathing look at Dawson. "We can't get married now! We haven't finished school. We live with your parents. We don't have steady jobs. Are you nuts? You have to be insane. What the hell did you read into in my journal? Did I ever once mention the idea of marrying you NOW?" Joey stalked over to the changing table to put a fresh diaper on Lily.
Dawson ran up beside her and took the soiled diaper, throwing it in the nearby garbage. Not the most romantic place, but..
"Not in so many words, but Joey.. I love you. You love me. And this way.." Joey turned to stare him down. He continued, gulping and praying to avoid a tirade, "You can know that I would never, ever leave you. You could understand that I don't care that you can never have any more children. That I will love you forever and in no way think of you as 'soiled goods'. And that if we want a sister or brother for Lily someday, I will be ecstatic to give a less fortunate child a home." Dawson winced as Joey slowly picked up Lily and sat down with her on the bed, as the baby had finally ceased crying. He didn't know what to expect. Joey looked up at him and to his amazement he saw tears brimming in her eyes.
"That is so… that is the most romantic thing you have ever said to me, Dawson Leery. It's even more romantic than what you said that got us in this mess
in the first place," Dawson grinned.
"Besides," he said. "We live together already. So we'll be married in high school. Think you can stand a little more small town gossip?" He elbowed her in the side. She smiled back.
"Yeah," she said, "You know how I love causing anarchy in the Yacht Club's sewing socialite groups."
Dawson tilted her chin up. "So," he said. "Josephine, will you marry me?" Joey shook her head.
Dawson was shocked. "You won't?"
"Nope," she said. "But Joey will," she smiled devilishly. Dawson chuckled good naturedly and kissed his fiance. All of a sudden the two heard a gurgling. They looked down at Lily, in Joey's arms. "I guess she wants her say too," Joey laughed. "Alright, Lily, what do you think about me and your daddy getting married?" The baby gurgled again and she seemed to have a smile on her face. "I think that's a 'Do whatever you want as long as you feed me now.'" Joey commented.
"Aye, aye Roger," Dawson saluted and went into the kitchen to find a bottle.
"Here, Mom, take Lily would you?" Dawson straightened his tie. It wasn't a tuxedo, but Gayle had commented that he looked very handsome. Joey wore a skirt and blazer that was cream colored. Not a long white dress but as Bessie had said, very becoming. After Gayle had picked up Lily from Dawson's arms, he joined Joey in standing in front of Magistrate Clark. The magistrate looked back and forth between the teenagers and glanced into the back of the room, where Gayle, Mitch, and Bessie stood. Each had signed their consent earlier for the marriage of their son and sister, respectively. Behind the family was friends. Jen looking around, happy for her friends, wishing it hadn't had to be this way, so soon. On her arm was Randy, who had become closer with the group since Joey's ordeal. Pacey and Andie sat on an upholstered bench, very close together. Pacey marveled that his two best friends from childhood were actually getting married. I mean, he had expected it someday, but not so soon.. Andie glanced over to pacey and gripped his hand, smiling. Jack, instead of standing off to the side as he usually did stood right next to Joey, as she had asked him to, in lieu of her father.
The magistrate looked to Dawson and Joey. "Do each of you come here in good faith?" He asked, somewhat sternly. A smile on his face, however, lightened the mood.
"yes," they answered simultaneously.
"Good," He said. "Dawson, place the ring on Joey's left hand and repeat after me," Dawson placed gold ring on Joey's finger.
"I, Dawson Leery.."
"I Dawson Leery,"
"Do swear to protect, honor and cherish you,"
"Do swear to protect, honor and cherish you,"
"Josephine Potter, for all of my days of living."
"Josephine Potter, for all of my days of living."
"Here, I'm standing strong
I've made my choice at last
Here where I belong
With you my love, my friend
Lost inside of you
I'm breathless floating through
Take me home
We can run with the rainstorms
We can sit and stare at the world
Confess our secrets to mother earth
Home, down the new road of our life
Through the window of snow fields
A new you, a new me
Take me home…
Come, take my hand
My heart, my soul
Come to a place
Loved long ago…
And home, to the lakes of our childhood
We can leave the meaness behind
Under the sunset skies…"
Donna Lewis-Take Me Home
Joey repeated a similar oath after placing a ring on Dawson's finger. Soon after, the magistrate pronounced them husband and wife. Kisses and hugs were exchanged from family members and friends and an air of joy filled the room. However, somewhere below it all there was a touch of melancholy. They all adored Lily and were happy for Dawson and Joey, but if only they could have done this is a few years. If only Joey hadn't gotten pregnant so young, if only….
"It was nice of your parents to take Lily downstairs with them for the night," said Joey, later as she and Dawson lay in bed next to one another, after fufilling what they jokingly called "Wedding Night Duties." He stroked her hand gently.
"Are you kidding? Were going to have to tear that child away from my mother when we go to college." Joey looked at him seriously.
"Do you really think we'll make it there? To college?" Dawson glanced down at her equally as serious.
"I know we will." He kissed her on the top of the head and together they lay awake all night, not talking, just enjoying each others presence.
"Their all staring at me, Dawson," Joey said through gritted teeth. "The rings are a dead giveaway."
"Joey, honey, everyone knew about us getting married days ago. It's Capeside," He reminded her, as they walked into school holding hands.
"Oh, yeah," said Joey nervously. Nervous that she was coming back, nervous about people's reactions, nervous about leaving her baby with a strange daycare.
"I changed my mind," she said, turning around, as she and Dawson reached their first period US History.
"Too late," Dawson opened the door for her. As she went in conversation halted, and then the little murmurs began. Joey began to turn redder and redder, until Dawson thought she was going to bolt from the room. All of a sudden, MariBeth stood up and glaring at the other students in the class, called out, "Hey, Joey! C'mere!" Joey walked over uncomfortably, as Dawson sat in his seat on the other side of the room, following Joey with his eyes the whole time. "Hey," said MariBeth again, when Joey reached her. The rest of the people in the classroom stared obviously. " You sit beside me."
"Thanks," said Joey, staring down at her desk, not making eye contact. MariBeth put a hand on her arm.
"You know," she said. "You've only missed five weeks. You'll catch up right away." Lowering her voice, she continued, "Forget about all of them. It'll go away as soon as someone else does something out of the 'norm'." MariBeth grinned and Joey couldn't help but smile back.
"Joey, Joey!!" Joey looked up from the sandwich she was eating, across from Dawson in the cafeteria. A gaggle of girls stood in front of her. "We are so excited about your baby!" said one named Melody. Joey shook her head.
"Because they are soo adorable!" she answered. Joey rasied her eyebrows at Dawson, who shrugged.
"Do you have any pictures?" Asked another one, who Joey thought was a sophmore. Joey shrugged herself and reached into her wallet to retrieve the two small pictures of the newborn she carried with her. A chorus of "Omigosh, she's so cute!" followed. Joey mumbled thank you's inanely until she heard the sophmore say, "Aww. I want a baby. I think Josh and I are going to try to have one soon."
Joey looked at her as though she were nuts. Dawson tried to telepathically send her a message, 'Joey, chill,' he chanted in his mind. Paying the same amount of attention to Dawson's thoughts as usual, she stood up and looked the girls straight on.
"If you want to have a baby be prepared for the parts that aren't the KODAK moments. The diaper changings, the 2 am feedings, the fact that the baby has to come before yourself, your partner, your schoolwork, everything. It can't be turned off when it cries, it doesn't go away on Friday nights when you want to go out, and it WILL change your life. Why don't you try a puppy first?" Joey walked off, replacing her pictures in her wallet, leaving behind a huge group of shocked girls. Dawson stood up, smiling. When he caught up to her, he gave her a small peck on the cheek.
"That was great honey," he said.
"Yes, I know," she replied smiling at him.
Stay tuned for the next part, which will probably be the last. Here's a sneak preview…
"I just can't take it anymore, Jack. I want to bail so badly,"
"Mom, this is Lily,"
"I want to give you this, please let me"
"We're still just those teenagers."
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