Back To School by: Jade
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Author's Note: You have to know Season 1 at least a little because I'm assuming anyone who reads this will know what's going on even if I don't elaborate things like how Joey first talked to Anderson and all that. However, although I don't own a single episode of Season 1 on video (don't ask), I did pay a fair amount of attention when I watched it on TV. I'm re-enacting scenes based on my memory, along with the help of detailed transcripts on Kristin's Dawson's Creek: The Website, so I would appreciate that you guys would take it with a pinch of salt if there are any inaccuracies, like if I make Dawson smile in a particular scene where he doesn't in the actual thing, that sort of stuff. Sometimes, I change little bits of details now and then just so it's easier to write the story. Confused about what I mean? Read on
"You're right, Dawson. It's perfect."
"Okay, so we've decided. I'll get right down to the re-write."
Pacey sighed. "Too bad. I was really looking forward to having to kiss you again, Stephanie." He pretended to be in sorrow for a couple of moments before he brought up the question, "So, does that mean I get to kiss Jen?"
Pacey grinned and winked at the former. Joey rolled her eyes and Dawson hesitated. Jen looked at their individual reactions and laughed.
Pacey was changing out of his sea monster costume when Joey walked over to him. "You know," she said crossing her arms and squinting against the sunlight in the direction of Dawson and Jen. "something about her doesn't strike me as right."
"Gee, that's a-" he paused to take off his wet shirt and grabbed a new one, "-surprise. You know that knot in your heart that seems to be getting tighter by the minute? It's jealousy."
"Yeah, smarty pants."
"Trust me. I've had more than my fair share of it."
Dawson was yelling at them as he pointed to his watch. "Hey guys! We got to get going!"
"Come on." He hastily ran a towel through his hair one last time and wrapped it round her neck before she had time to fight off the wet cloth. "Let's go!"
"Don't worry. I'll help you find your cousin."
"That's so sweet of you. I can never thank you, I know."
Pacey leaned over to kiss Jen, in the art of acting and refused to let go.
Dawson's expression fell as he looked up from the camera. "Whoaaa! Cut. Cut. Pacey, what the hell are you doing!"
"I'm kissing, what does it look like?"
"Snorkeling! It's not the way it's scripted. He looked to Jen in concern. "Are you okay?"
Jen was caught off guard but still found it amusing. "Yeah, I'm fine."
Joey couldn't help grinning too. "It's just a kiss, Dawson."
"And you know what?" Pacey started to lean toward Jen again. "Honestly, I think we should have another. Yeah?"
"No. No. No kiss. I'm cutting the kiss. It's out."
For the second time today, Joey was on Pacey's side. "Wait a second, you can't cut the kiss."
"Yes, I can. I just did. All right? It's not working. It doesn't make sense to have our new character to be kissing her dead cousin's boyfriend. All right? The kiss is officially out."
It was hard to argue with Dawson when his mind was set anyway. Pacey, who had a lot on his mind himself, offered no resistance
"All right. So, then is that a wrap cause I got plans tonight, you know."
"Yeah, it's a wrap."
Jen noted the time and decided she'd better make a move before her Grams kicked up a big fuss. "Yeah, I probably should be going too. Bye guys."
"Hey, Jen, wait up," Dawson called out as he ran after her, ignoring his equipment and leaving his two best friends behind.
Joey was curious. "And what are you up to this evening?"
"Well, it just so happens that the woman of my dreams is going to be at the school dance tonight and I plan on attending."
He winked. "If only you meant it."
That night walking home with Joey and Dawson felt so much worse than that night after the movie, when he had a black eye. He felt unhappy, sad, confused and most of all, rejected. God, he would never understand women!
He looked up and saw her. "This can't be happening," he sighed. Walking over, he addressed her cautiously, "Miss Jacobs?"
"You know, I feel this strange familiarity creeping over me."
As expected, she gave him a load of reasons and arguments that he hardly paid attention to and interrupted her several times to make his point.
"Now, where do you get off taking all the responsibility for this? I may be just fifteen, but I am well beyond the age of accountability. Maybe not within the confines of the judiciary system, but for me. My lips kissed back. Right, I kissed you back."
She agreed but refused to give up her side of the argument.
"But, this can't happen again. From now our relationship is strictly teacher/student. I-I want that clear."
"And if I object?"
"Well, it's not up for discussion. You know it has to be this way, Pacey. For all the obvious and not so obvious reasons."
He stood there, helpless and frustrated. Here he was, standing in front of the first woman he's ever had a real connection with and there was nothing he could do. He heard himself say, "This is so unfair. Umm...I'm not good with girls. And I finally meet someone-"
She reached out a hand to caress his face.
He sighed again. And she started to walk away but all he could say to stop her was, "Well?"
He wasn't sure of what happened next but he did remember the feel of her fingers on his face and then they were kissing.
It was another fine day but Joey was stuck at the Icehouse, tolling over orders that had been coming in all afternoon. Bessie, who looked like a beached whale, was of little help.
"Bodie," she chided, as he teased her sister one more time about her size. She grabbed her notebook and settled in the seat beside Pacey.
She glared as she heard his last words, "Our serving wench is here."
Dawson, who was seated opposite them was more concerned with the disruption of his schedule, created by his new PA role to Nellie on the production of Helmets of Glory. He winced as he said the title out loud in his head. As Pacey had said before, it definitely did feel like "pure humiliation". However, it was indeed better than nothing it was a chance to prove himself to Mr. Gold and the rest of the class.
"Of course this completely ruins my romantic plans with Jen this evening..."
Pacey had been waiting for Joey to object to Dawson's obsession and sure enough, it came.
"Would you forget Wonderbra for a moment? Don't you have to work on your own movie? What's up with that?"
"Originally, I was going to do both. That was the plan. Bridge fantasy with reality and prove that, yes, romance can be created."
"Get off of that," she quipped.
Pacey was confused. "What are you talking about, man?
"End of the movie, right? The monster is dead. Beauty killed the beast. Penelope, our heroine, says her final good-byes to the beast. I was thinking of shooting it up at the ruins."
"Ah, that's trespassing, don't get caught," Joey warned.
"It's the perfect monstrous haven. Lush and romantic."
Pacey knew exactly what Dawson was up to and was proud of him. "And the perfect place to seduce the young and beautiful actress playing Penelope. You dog, you are sly," he voiced.
Dawson wrinkled his nose. "You make it sound so cheap."
Joey decided that she had enough of guys' talk. "Do you want anything or did you come just to infect the place?"
"Uhhh," Pacey said, with a knowing grin.
"I'm picking up a to-go order. Ten fish and chips, five family fries, and a dozen shrimp burgers."
She took down Dawson's order and looked to Pacey. "And what do you want?"
"Actually something a little sexy would be good, I got a maybe sorta date this evening."
And thus began another spat.
"Hmm, who's the lucky farm animal tonight?"
"Ahh, What's that, what's that that makes a woman horny?" he continued, ignoring her last question.
"Your polar opposite?"
"You mean oysters," Dawson offered.
"Right oysters, A dozen oysters, Joey, pack 'em up."
But Joey wasn't listening. Her attention had been diverted to a good-looking boy who had just walked into the restaurant.
"And you could pack 'em up now, Joey. Hellooo? Joey? Hello? Anybody home?"
"Who is that guy?"
Joey looked back at Dawson, pleading ignorance. "Who's who?"
Pacey wasn't about to let her off so easily. "Uh, the guy that was breaking your neck."
"Who is he? Do you know him?" Dawson asked again.
"I've never seen him before. He's probably some rich kid who just stepped off his Mommy and Daddy's yacht or something."
"Could it be? Joey is finally noticing the opposite sex!" Pacey noted with exaggeration and perhaps, a little too loudly.
"Shut up," she warned in a low but aggressive voice.
Pacey was at an advantage. He noticed Joey's distraction and grabbed the chance to annoy her further. Throwing his voice across the place, he shouted in the direction of the guy, "Excuse me, young man! This woman here thinks you're very attractive!"
She reached over and covered his mouth before he could embarrass her anymore.
"Forget it, Joey. Guys off yachts don't go for waitresses."
Her voice took on a new tone as she made her threat. "I'm going to kill you. One night in your sleep, a slit throat maybe, or a screwdriver to your temple. Be ready."
He shrugged it off but for a split second, Pacey wondered if she actually meant it.
The telephone was beckoning to him and he hurried to answer it before it drove him nuts.
"All right, I'm coming already!" He picked up the receiver and said a little too rudely, "Yeah?"
"Pacey, I need your help
"As long as she didn't keep a secret. Didn't lie about it. The truth doesn't hurt, it's the lies that kill you. Honesty is still the primary quality I'm looking for in a girl."
I really like this guy, Joey reminded herself time and time again. So, when he said what he said, she grimaced inwardly.
He arrived in the wheelchair Dawson requested forty-five minutes later.
"Oh, magic filmmaking."
"Pacey-" Dawson managed to stop his friend from saying more as he felt Nellie's eyes on them.
Sure enough, they heard her next. "What's your loser friend doing here?"
"Get out of that thing," said Dawson.
" Just keeping it warm." Pacey exchanged hostile looks with Nellie, who was prompted to raise another objection, but this time round, it was brushed off by the director, who was close to being desperate.
"Who, wo, woa. You've got an idea? Let's hear it. I'm open."
And that was why she turned away when he leaned down to kiss her.
"Look at the time, I've got to go."
"Is that the truth? Or are you just trying to wiggle yourself out of a romantic situation?"
" I'm sorry," were the first words out of her mouth.
"Let's get Cinderella home."
Joey was grateful that he didn't push her for an explanation, which compelled her to say, "Today was a lot of fun, Anderson. But you should know the truth."
"And that would be?" he asked.
"I'm not Cinderella. Not even close."
They had finally completed the filming of that particular scene and no one was more relieved than Pacey, who wanted to get away in order to see Tamara. That night, something had clicked between them and maybe, just maybe
That was the reason he took the route through the school rather than around it but when he heard her and Mr. Gold talking and laughing, his heart fell to the floor once again.
He questioned himself for the umpteenth time. What the hell am I doing? This is so stupid!
But then she came round the corner and he saw her face and the self-doubts stopped.
"Hello Tamara," he said.
Her face fell. "Mr. Gold is right around the corner."
"I know, I heard. He's walking you home."
"Well, Mr. Gold is a friend of mine."
"Friend, Pacey," she emphasized.
"Well, I know what you do with your students so I know he's in for one heck of a ride." He didn't know where this conversation was going but he wanted to hurt her, make her feel something for him, with his words.
"Look you have got to stop with this before it gets out of hand."
"Oh this is already out of hand." She turned to go but he stopped her.
"What do you want from me?"
"You. I want you."
That night, Pacey lay in his bed wondering if things had gone too fast for either of them. He would never regret what had finally happened between them at the ruins but now there was someone else to think of.
He was determined that no one could ever find out, otherwise it would mean the end to Tamara's career and her life.
Jen had been tossing around in her bed for half-an-hour before she gave up and finally went downstairs to get herself a glass of warm milk. As she waited for the milk to heat up, she admitted to herself that she liked Dawson a lot but there would come a time when she would have to come clean with her past. What then? How would he react once her secret was out in the open?
Next door, Dawson had fallen into a peaceful sleep with a smile on his face.
Joey sat by the window seat, looking out into the starless sky. She had been wrestling with herself if she should just go back and find that piece of paper and call Anderson.
Yet, she knew it wouldn't amount to anything even if she plucked up her courage and swallowed her pride. Anderson wasn't whom she was in love with.
He had been her chance, her only chance in a long time to try to forget, to try to change how she felt. But she had failed again.
A single tear fell as she continued to watch the sky.
To be continued
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