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“Wade, you have to go. She was your best friend.”
“Was being the operative word there.” Dawson bustled around the kitchen where he was making spagetti for him, Gail, and Maddie. “And don’t you get it? I’m Wade now, not Dawson.”
“Honey,” Gail spoke up. “You’ve always been Dawson, and you always will be.”
“Dawson.. Wade.. whatever! The thing is, don’t you wish her happiness?” Dawson spun out of Maddie’s grasp.
“Of course I do, and that’s exactly why I’m staying away!” He stirred the sauce. “ It’s like that song I used in my movie? By Jude? I have to stay away.. If I go there.. If I go to her, I’ll just ruin it all. This shouldn’t be about me and her reconciling, this should be about her wedding.”
“But that’s ridiculous. It seems to me that more than anything else she wants you there.”
“Well, you know, I really don’t think I could stand pretending like I liked the guy she’s marrying. What’s his face. I don’t even know his name.” He paused. “I remember a time she said she’d never be with anyone else.” Madelyn and Gail rolled their eyes at him simultaneously.
“Dawson Leery,” said Gail. “No matter how old you are, or what name you use, you are my son. And you will do as I say. You are going to this wedding, you are going to find out what happened to your friends and to the one person in the world you truly cared about more than life itself. I probably never should have let you close yourself off by moving out here with you but at the time it seemed like a good idea. Well, I was wrong. You’ll go to this wedding. And you’ll leave soon, so that you have time with them all before the ceremony.” Dawson turned to glare at his mother, who stood with his hands on his hips.
“And,” added in Maddie. “ I am not going to do a single thing for you if you don’t go. I’m not collecting your mail, I’m not calling people back, taking messages, doing typing, ordering you food, protecting you from reporters.. In fact, I should go straight to the Enquirer with this tragic love story.” Dawson groaned. He knew when he was beaten. The two women grinned at each other.
And so he found himself in a first class seat on a 737 bound for Seattle a week later. The flight was an hour and a half, altogether to short for him. His mom and Maddie had seen him off. Maddie had hugged him tight.
“Good luck, Dawson,” She had said using his real name. “Call me if you need me. You know I’ll be there on the first flight. And don’t worry about the office, I have it all under control. You and Fox don’t meet until June first, so you’re good.”
“Thanks a lot,” said Dawson sarcastically. “ This is all your fault, you know that right? If this doesn’t go well you are so fired.”
“Oh, I know. I love you,” she said hugging him.
“Yeah, I love you too. I’ll call you.”
“Now honey,” said his mom, trying not to embarrass him. “You’ll do fine. I’ll be up May first in time for the ceremony. That’s two weeks from now. Don’t worry.”
He gave her a brief smile before boarding the plane.
As the flight attendant began the rigamarole about safety procedures, Dawson zoned out. He had been up all night, worrying. He didn’t have a clue what it would be like to see Joey again. To see any of them for that matter. He owed them an explanation.. if he could come up with one fast enough. He knew an apology was in order. It was true that friendships ended, but they weren’t supposed to end like that. And friendships that close weren’t ever supposed to completely go away. It’s not like he hadn’t thought about Joey every day for the past ten years. He had.
Sighing, he wished he knew something about what they all did, except for the brief information on Jen. It only seemed fair since they all knew what he did. Sighing, he rolled over and fell asleep.
“Old friendships fade away, love falls apart But you’ve not spent a single day outside my heart…” - I Do by Jude
When he woke up an hour later the plane was beginning it’s descent into the Seattle airport.
“Damn,” He thought. “That went much too quickly.” Joey didn’t even know he was coming. He had tried to call her a couple of times, each time hanging up before someone could pick up. Until the last call, just the day before. Someone had picked up the phone. He knew instantly it was Joey. Her voice had that same tone to it, scathing at times, but beautiful. “Hello? Hello?” The voice had said. “Listen, scumbag. I know you’ve been calling a lot and if I ever find out who you are I am going to ram this telephone down your throat.”
Dawson had hung up laughing. That same fire, that was what was keeping him going. Armed with the address from the letter, he waved to a man carrying a sign that said “Leery”. Maddie must have called a limo company. He wished she hadn’t. That wouldn’t be conspicuous or anything.
“Dawson Leery?” Asked the man in the black suit.
“I guess,” Dawson sighed.
“What?” Asked the man.
“I mean, yep, that’s me.”
“The limo’s right outside,” the man stooped to grab Dawson’s bags.
“Let me,” Dawson intervened. He hated that part of being a celebrity.
“Here we are, sir. 213 Limerick Road. Dawson stared at the house in front of him. It wasn’t small, but it wasn’t big. It was square shaped and white with blue shutters. The front had an adjoining porch with a swing on it, steps leading up the porch. The front yard was grassy and actually had a white pickett fence. Dawson laughed, he couldn’t help it. In the driveway there was an old beat up station wagon, a porsche, and a ford escort. Quite a combination, he noted. He wondered whose cars were whose. Thanking the driver and giving him a big tip, Dawson climbed out and wrestled his two bags up the steps to the porch and set them down. He noticed a child playing off to the corner of the porch. She was pulling apart dandelions and looking extremely bored.
“Hi,” he said softly, as not to startle her.
“Hi,” she said. “Who are you?”
“W-Dawson. My name is Dawson.” He said decisively.
“I know who you are. I heard my Aunt Joey praying all last night, Please let Dawson come, Please let Dawson come.”
Dawson swallowed hard. Thank God he had come. No matter how it turned out, he hadn’t understood until that moment how important it was to Joey. She was not a praying person. Or at least she hadn’t been…
“So, your Bessie’s daughter?” She must have had another kid, he thought to himself.
“Bessie? No. Aunt Joey’s not really my aunt.”
“Oh.” I wonder whose kid she is, Dawson thought to himself.
“You should tell Aunt Joey you’re here. She’ll be real glad.”
“Well, to tell you the truth—what’s your name?”
“Well, to tell you the truth, Glenna, I’m a little nervous.”
“Mommy, always says when your nervous about something, you should just take a deep breath and jump right in, like when I learned to swim.”
“Your mom is probably right.” He paused. “What’s your mom’s name?” Dawson was cut off by the door swinging open.
A petite blond stepped through. Dawson would have known her anywhere. She had put a little weight, just enough to make her look older. But everything else was exactly the same. Andie.
“Glenna Teadora Witter, what are you doing?”
“Talking to that man. It’s all his fault I wasn’t unpacking.”
Dawson made a little face at her, jokingly. Andie turned around and gasped.
“Dawson!” She threw her arms around him in the hyper Andie fashion. “Thank you for coming. Oh, God, thank you so much. You have no idea…”
Suddenly she ran into the threshold of the door dragging him along, Glenna forgotten. Dawson had barely had any time to process Glenna .. Witter?
“Joey! Joey!” Her voice shook. Joey was going to be shocked. She had been so depressed when she hadn’t gotten a call from him, and now he was here.
“What is it, Andie? What’s wrong?” Dawson noticed they were standing in a type of living room, and Joey voice was coming from down the hall. She walked out, in a sundress with a yellow background and blue flowers. Dawson knew he would never, ever forget what she wore that day.Her hair was now cut into bangs and reached only to graze her shoulders. She was as slim and tan as ever, but the ten years showed, not only physically, but in how she carried herself. In her arms was a mixing bowl and a spoon. The second she saw Dawson, she dropped the ceramic bowl. It shattered into a million pieces around her sandeled feet. She didn’t seem to notice. Her eyes were wide, her mouth opened. He stared at her, she stared back. And then they did the only thing they could. She burst into tears and he pulled her in for the tightest hug each had ever experienced.
“Oh, God I missed you,” she whispered.
“Me too,” The tears flowed freely for both of them now.
“I can’t believe you’re actually here. I can’t believe your actually hugging me.”
“I know.” Andie stood off to the side watching this, grinning so hard it hurt. Tears of her own began to form. This reunion had been a long time coming. She almost felt like the cameras from the TLC reunion show should be on them all.
It could have only been a few seconds before people rushed in from all over the house to find out what was going on, but it felt like an eternity to Dawson and Joey both. And in that eternity they forgave one another.
Pacey ran in from upstairs. “What’s going on honey?” He asked. Andie pointed to Dawson and Joey. Pacey smiled and put his arm around his wife. She leaned his head against his shoulder peacefully. Jen and Jack came in from the backyard where they had been admiring Joey’s fiance’s garden.
“What’s happening in here?” Jen asked. Bessie trailed close behind them.
“Dawson!” yelped Jen. Dawson and Joey finally pulled apart. Joey hung onto his arm as if she actually couldn’t believe he was there.
“Hey, Jen,” He smiled at her.
Bessie folded her arms. She was the only one in the room who still held a grudge. Then again, she was the only one Joey had called every day for two years to cry. Still, she was glad he was there.
“I’m sorry Will’s not home right now,” Joey said as everyone sat around with drinks. “He really wants to meet you Dawson.” There was a silence.
Trying to put past uncomfortable topics, Dawson asked “Bessie, where is Alex? I haven’t seen the little guy..”
“He’s not really little anymore,” Bessie said bitingly. Joey shot her a dagger look. Bessie made her tone lighter. “He’s upstairs playing video cyber games. I can’t get him away from them.”
Dawson looked to Pacey and Andie, who were holding hands. “I know that.. that I haven’t been around. And I feel awful at that horrible infraction on my part. But I really do want to know how you all have been. You.. you have no idea how much I’ve missed you.. wondered how you were.” Pacey cleared his throat.
“Then why didn’t you call us, Dawson?”
“I was depressed. And lonely. And hurt.” He glanced furitively at Joey. Her face looked strained.
“Please, can we not start in on this right away? Please? There’s plenty of time to discuss.. that period of time. Can’t we please just get to know each other again now? Or can’t Dawson get to know all of us, since we know each other.”
“Yeah,” said Pacey. “Sure Jo.” He leaned over and put his hand on hers. Dawson noted this.
Joey smiled at Pacey. “Tell him about you and Andie and Glenna.”
Pacey grinned, thinking of his little girl. “Well, Dawson, when you last left the saga of our lives, Andie and I were no longer dating. Turns out, we both ended up in Boston. Of course, Andie was at Harvard and I was only at Boston College, but we were in the same state and lonely, so we got together a lot on the weekends. Eventually, I think we just realized that we were falling in love again, so we went back to being a quote, couple.” Andie nodded.
“And then Junior year, surprise!” She smiled. “We found out about Glenna. So we got an apartment equadistance from both schools and Pacey worked a lot of nights, and we got by.”
“We were dirt poor there for a while, huh?” Andie smiled up at him. She nuzzled him with her nose. “Anyway, Pacey works for an insurance company as an accountant, and I am a pyschologist.”
“And you guys are still in Boston?”
“No.. no. When we got done with college we moved to a small town in Maine. Good schools for Glenna. Plus we missed the small town atmosphere.” Dawson smiled.
“I’m so happy for you two.” Pacey kissed Andie’s hand.
“Thanks, D.” It made Dawson feel very good to hear the old nickname.
Dawson turned to Jack and Jen, sitting close to each other, just like in high school.
“Jen, I’ve heard from some friends of mine about the producing you’ve been doing out of Chicago. I loved Snake Ears.” Jen laughed.
“I thought maybe you might know something about me.”
“So what else?”
“Hmm.. let’s see.” She took a sip of her gin and tonic. “I’m living with someone, Greg. Not sure how serious it’s gonna get. During the day I do HIV counseling in neighborhood clinics. The producing is extra.”
Jack spoke up, and Dawson turned to him. “I live in New York. I lived in Chicago up until last year with Jen, but then she wanted to move her little boytoy in,” He grinned at her and she gave him a light slap. Some things never change, thought Dawson. “So, when my boyfriend Dan asked me to go to New York with him because of his job, I agreed. I can kind of go wherever. I’m a freelance writer.”
Everyone has someone except for me, thought Dawson. I could start to feel very sorry for myself right now. Instead he turned to Joey.
“Joey?” He stated it as a question. She blushed.
“I. I went around the world and it was amazing. So much to see, so many amazing things. And I got introduced to photography. I went to New York.. I don’t know,” she looked down. “I guess, I thought you might be there. Anyway, there was a great art program. And now I freelance for photography, just like Jack does with his writing. I met Will that way. He’s .. he has his own magazine, a small one, circulates only on the west coast, but it’s getting bigger. Anyway, he hired me to do some work for the publication and I agreed. That was three years ago.”
“That’s a long time.” Said Dawson. The table fell silent. Jack, knowing that these next two weeks were going to be stressful, took a huge gulp of his beer. No one seemed to know what to say. Just then the door slammed, breaking the silence.
“Hello?” A male voice called out. Will was home.
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