Split Second
When the Summer Ends Part One by: Holly


Summary: What will happen when Dawson returns to Capeside after having new experiences in Philladelphia? Will he find the same people he left behind, or will they be different and facing new problems and realizations? How will everyone deal with each other…

Author's Notes: Getting sick of me yet? Anh, too bad. Seriously thought, after hearing what were in store for next season, I felt it was a neccesity to take things into my own hands. Therefore I present to you this new series. I don’t have a clue where it’s going. But that’s cool. I however, remain a devoted d/j, p/a fan if that helps. We shall just have to see what happens. Um, thank you Amy for fanfic advice, thank you Becci for just being cool, and thank you Robin for all of the personal advice. I luv ya all…

“Dawson!” Pacey greeted his best friend at the bus station brightly. “What’s up man?” Pacey hit Dawson’s shoulder, for a very manly hug. “I missed ya, D.” Dawson Leery grinned from behind a fringe of darkish red hair.

“Pace! It’s good to see you,” Pacey looked Dawson up and down. He had been working out, Pacey could tell Dawson could now give him a run for his money in the area of biceps. His hair had obviously been styled by suave Philadelphian hairstylists, as well as dyed. Even more than that, Dawson held himself differently. Instead of all hunched, he stood up good and straight. Pacey watched amazed as he winked at a blond girl who had just gotten of the same bus as him.

“Bye Tracy..” He called out. Mouth wide open Pacey struggled for a reason Dawson Leery would know a babe like that.

“Did.. um, did she like work with you at the tv station or something?”

“Nah,” said Dawson, grabbing up his brown tote bag. “Just some random girl I met on the train.” Pacey stared after his friend, who headed off to the squad car Pacey had come in.

“Well, well, well,” he said. “That’s a change.” As he watched Dawson flirt with a different girl who had been standing by the car, he laughed a little to himself. Dawson Leery, getting some action. Then he thought about Joey… after seeing her last week, well, let’s just say, his fear for her was great.

“I did not want to be stuck
one second longer than I had to be there,
stuck inside the door..”

“Dawson, you have changed so much. God..” Jen marveled as she watched Dawson gather up last minute things for the first day back to school. “From what Pacey has told me you’re some all around bad ass, beer swigging, jock now.” Dawson snorted a bit.

“Pacey exaggerates. Have you ever heard him talk about his sex life? Pure fiction.” He reached over Jen to grab a notebook filled with new film ideas. As his head passed by her legs, he noted how toned she was.

“Jen Lindley, did you become even more beautiful while I was away?” He smiled at her suggestively.

“Ahh, let’s go Casanova..” Jen watched Dawson as he grinned back. He didn’t seem to be at all upset at the rejection. She shuddered as she stood up. Funny.. he was beginning to remind her a little too much of Chris Wolfe for her tastes.

“I’m always scared I’ll slam my fingers in the door
because the last time that I left
I slammed my fingers in the door..”

“So, where’s Jack?” Dawson pulled his old jalopy out of his driveway, Jen sifting through tapes beside him. She made a face at an old copy of Greenday, before answering awkwardly.

“See, the thing is Dawson..”

“Go on, spit it out.” Dawson made a sharp left toward the school.

“I’m not sure you’re going to want to hear this,” Jen warned.

“Jen, whatever it is, go ahead.” Privately, he swallowed hard. It had to be about Joey, what about Joey? No. He shook himself a little. He had sworn to himself that love, romance, and Joey had hurt him too much. He was sixteen years old. He needed to be having fun, not torturing himself.

“J.. Joey’s kind of closed herself off. She only runs into us every once in awhile. I truly think the only person she has spoken with in the past two and a half months has been Jack, Bessie, and Alex. For some reason, she’s allowed Jack in a bit. I think it’s like a trade of trust. He trusted her when he was coming out, she trusts him now..”

“Is that all?” Dawson forced himself to give a little laugh. He swung into a parking spot in the student lot at Capeside High. “Here we are,” he turned to look at Jen.

“Dawson,” she said, looking at him seriously. “ I know what you’re doing.” Dawson looked somewhere over her head.

“What are you talking about Jen?”

“Dawson Leery, do you honestly think a big city girl like me doesn’t know all the tricks of the trade? If you can hit on every short skirt in sight, then Joey doesn’t really matter any more right? Or at least you can make her think she doesn’t when she sees you. Except, Dawson,” she grabbed his hand. “It doesn’t apply to you and Joey. Oh, Dawson. I don’t know how to tell you this.. you’re best friends with Joey.”

“Not anymore,” Dawson said bitterly, letting his old self show through. “She and I quote ‘Doesn’t want to know me anymore’.”

“Dawson, I know you think if you go in there with this whole new attitude, you won’t have to deal with Joey, because you won’t be the same guy who was her best friend. But you will. Deep in there Dawson, you’re still the same.”

Dawson looked deep into Jen’s eyes. “Nope. I’m not. I’ve finally grown up. Ironic, isn’t it, that all this time Joey wanted me to grow and now that very thing has led me past her?” He looked back towards the school.

“Yeah right. Growing up means changes. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t essentially the same person. You love Joey. I’m not sure exactly how you love her anymore, but I know that you care about her. That’s why you have to be prepared Dawson. For what you’re going to see now.. with Joey…” Dawson snapped his head around to look at Jen, who was playing with her fingernails.

“What do you mean?” Jen started to open her car door.

“You’ll see soon enough Dawson.”

“When you want to get out,
you get up and walk straight to the door.
Not stop and think about it
Thinking that one second longer
That a car could hit me in it
If I thought more than I did.”

Ohmigod, thought Dawson as he walked to his locker with Jen. What if joey has a new boyfriend? If that’s how she’s changed. What if she’s really popular now or something? In all these thoughts, he neglected to remember Jen’s description of Joey’s self inflicted loneliness. At his locker, Dawson met up with Pacey.

“Hey,” pacey nodded to Dawson.

“Hey,” Dawson replied. Pacey looked to Jen.

“Where’s Jack?”

“He, uh, drove you know, to school with..”

“You guys don’t have to beat around the bush you know? IT’s okay to have normal discussions about her, that aren’t of the analytical kind.”

Pacey cleared his throat suddenly, averting his eyes to the floor from someone who he had been looking at. Jen looked to Pacey and then to Dawson. Dawson turned quickly to see the very person he had just been talking about.

“Oh.. God.” He let his backpack fall with a heavy thud. All around him, students were greeting each other and talking about their respective summers, but all he could see was Joey. Joey hunched over, emaciated, looking as though she hadn’t eaten in months, something not even the baggy jeans and thick sweater she was wearing on this 85 degrees day could conceal. Joey ducking her head, not making direct eye contact with any person. Joey, whose once long, bouncy hair, hung straight and dull, covering her face. Joey, with a dull, dead expression, mixed in with a hint of fear. Her bright eyes and healthy complexion gone. “What happened?”

“I’m sorry, man,” Pacey looked over to Joey, as did Jen. “ We weren’t sure how to tell you..”

Jen spoke up. “She doesn’t eat, Dawson. She doesn’t sleep. She didn’t get a new job. All she does, Jack says, is sit curled up in front of the television. She literally can spend a whole day there not moving. None of knows what to do. Bessie tried to take her to a therapist, but Joey refused to talk. She sat there for three one hour sessions, not saying a word. We’ve all gone to see her, but the only one she’ll talk to is Jack. She’s—she’s really sick Dawson. Pacey had to take her to the hospital last week.” Dawson looked at Pacey in shock.

“Like I said, D. We didn’t know how to tell you. I went over to see her (I did that once a week for the entire summer, hoping she’d open up to me). Bessie had left to go talk to some more insurance adjustors. All of a sudden, Joey goes limp. She hadn’t said a word to me, we were just watching Sally Jesse Raphael, and she fainted dead away. Man, I was freaked. I called an ambulance, and we got her to the hospital. Turns out she hadn’t eaten in over three weeks, or drank anything in over four days. She was in the hospital for a couple of days, being evaluated for an eating disorder.”

“What?” Dawson turned out of his spell from staring at Joey. “An eating disorder?”

“No,” said Jen. “ After they figured out she was just depressed, they released her to Bessie. Bessie’s at her wits end though. We just don’t know what to do anymore Dawson.” She frowned and Pacey put an arm around her. Dawson watched as the shadow of what his best friend and girlfriend used to be, slipped into the girl’s room. Joey, he thought, who have you become?

“Dawson.. things have changed since you left.. Joey’s changed, I’ve changed, Jen’s changed.”

“So I see.”

Pacey and Jen nodded to each other. “We gotta go, Dawson,” said Pacey. “Talk to you later, man.” He stopped walking away for a second and turned around. “If it helps Dawson, I know how it feels..” Dawson nodded in acknowledgement. Pacey slapped him on the shoulder as he and Jen took off. Dawson looked after them for a moment, longing for them to come back and reassure him. When he finally turned, Dawson found that Joey had disappeared as well.

Banging his fist against his locker in frustration, he began to set up the storage space for the new year. Suddenly, he felt a hand running up his back.

“Hey Dawson. You look fabulous. Summer did you good,” Dawson turned to see Mandira Fye, a girl he remembered vaguely from his elective last year in Street Law.

“Hi, Mandira. Thanks. You look good as well,” she did too, he noted. Her hair had recently been cut into a sleek bob that outlined her perfectly complexioned ace. The jeans and blouse she wore hinted perfectly at her curves.

“Y’know Dawson. There’s a saying ‘Burn me once, shame on you; burn me twice, shame on me,” Dawson looked at her blankly.


“I saw you watching Joey,” she clarified her random quote, “Everyone’s heard about your messy break up.”

“Of course,” groaned Dawson, leaning back heavily against the bank of lockers.

“I can’t believe you still want her after that. Besides, look at her. She’s a mess, Dawson. You don’t deserve that,” Mandira squeezed his arm suggestively. “Why don’t you let go of her and explore new.. options…” She smiled, finally letting go of Dawson’s arm, and sauntered off.

Dawson stared after the beautiful girl. Those jeans… He shook himself out of it. The Dawson of last year would have smirked and brushed Mandira off, the Dawson of this summer would have flirted with her and possibly hosted a small make out session. What would the Dawson of this year do? How much had he really changed?

Lyrics belong to Lisa Loeb. Please.. I need some feedback on this one!! I’m off to watch Gymanatic’s national’s now. Ciao!


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