Spoilers: after breaking away!
A Family Affair
Dawson tried to study, but the noises coming from downstairs made it hard to concentrate. Closing his text book, he ran his fingers through his hair and sighed. Dawson needed some to drown the noise of his parents constant bickering. Dawson turned on the television, and flipped the channels for something to watch. Everything finally became quiet, and Dawson settled in to watch an old movie. Just as a good part in the movie came on, so did the waging battle downstairs. Dawson tried to ignore them by turning up the volume on the television so it was blaring, but nothing worked. No matter what Dawson did, he could still hear his mom and dad arguing, or discussing as they called it. Dawson was so engrossed in not listening to his parents yell at the tops of their lungs about Mrs. Leery's infidelity, he didn't even notice his girlfriend enter the window. Joey moved to the bed, and stood in front of her depressed best friend, and boyfriend. Joey sat down with a flop awakening Dawson from his deep thoughts.
Joey: So, they're at it again? They sure are ear piercing. How do you deal with it?
Dawson: I wish I knew, Joey. I have tried everything, cotton in the ears, blasting the television, head phones, ear plugs, but nothing works.
Joey: So, who's winning?
Dawson: looks like my hormonally driven parents are headed to divorce court. Joey, I would never have thought in a million years, that they, my parents, would get a divorce.
Joey: Dawson, just because they argue doesn't necessarily mean they are breaking up. I mean what does their marriage counselor say about the progress they are making?
Dawson: Dr. Collins? Well she thinks that Gail and Mitch need to rebuild their relationship brick by brick. She considers a marriage like building a house, start with the foundation, and work your way up to intricate details.
Joey: Somehow, I see a script already forming in your head. Am I right, Dawson? Do you really have an idea to reconcile the dynamic duo?
Dawson: Well, yes and no, Joey. See I want to help recreate their first kiss, but I don't know how. I need some help, will you help me, Jo?
Joey: Of course, Dawson. I don't want your parents to split up, I love coming over here and being part of a real family. I mean, I look at your parents, and understand how they feel about each other. It's the same way I feel about you, and I use them as a precedent to our future life together.
Dawson: Me, too, Joey. I might be repulsed by their dry humping in the living room and porno graphic movie making, but I do admire how they have been able to keep the passion alive all these years. I can only hope when you and I are that old and married, we still have their fire.
Joey: Believe me, Dawson, I don't think the internal flame is about to burn out anytime for us. I want to help with your parents, so what do I do?
Dawson: Okay, Jo, well one time when I was being subjected to a father-son bonding moment, I heard about their first kiss. If I can, I would like to recreate that day, the same setting, same atmosphere, same boat.
Joey: Don't forget the chapstick.
Dawson (quizzical): How did you know he kissed her with chapstick?
Joey (flushed, turning red, and avoiding eye contact): Involuntary eavesdropping Dawson. I came over, and heard you and your dad talking. I didn't want you to spot me, so I stayed hidden at the top of the stairs. I witnessed everything, including Mr. Leery's story about his first kiss with Mrs. Leery.
Dawson (embarrassed): Joey, when you say everything, did you?
Joey (smiling): Watch you kiss the replica of my decapitated head? Yes, I did. I guess you could say I was your first kiss after all, Dawson.
Dawson (smiling, too): Yes, I guess you could. I am, mind you, utterly and totally mortified at the prospect of my sexual indiscretions being open to the public. I didn't expect you to see me make a complete fool out of myself, but I am glad you did. I enjoyed our first consenting kiss a lot more than kissing the wooden head that resembled you.
Joey (laughing): Yeah, well at least my lips won't give you splinters.
Dawson emphasized his point by leaning over and kissing Joey sweetly on the lips. Joey kissed him back, and pulled away to look deep into his eyes.
Joey: Dawson, when I accidentally saw you kiss my head, I tried to imagine it was really me. I closed my eyes, and visualized how your lips would feel on mine. Soft and gentle. Your kiss would be tender, but at the same time passionate. I wanted so much then to replace the head, and kiss you.
Dawson: I wanted to kiss you, too. I closed my eyes, but instead of imagining Jen's face, it was yours. I am still grateful to Pacey for daring you to kiss me in detention. I was really nervous kissing Jen my first time, you know making sure my technique was perfect. But kissing you felt natural, and I didn't worry about making my bottom lip dance.
Joey (smiled at him): It tangoed, Dawson. I could have bludgeoned Pacey with a encyclopedia for daring me, but at the same time silently thanking him for letting me have my chance. I didn't expect for you to kiss me back, that took me by surprise. I assumed you would have acted like you were kissing your sister, if you had one. It wasn't until our lips connected that I felt the electricity between us.
Dawson: It was like a magnetic force drawing us closer together. The kiss was intense, and it felt like we were the only two people in the room. Just you and me, that was all that mattered. If this had been a movie, fireworks would have exploded above our heads, bells would have been ringing, and the audience would have been applauding.
Joey (blushing again): Dawson, you really need to stop living in the movies. I agree it was incredible, wonderful, unbelievable, sensational-- and any other adjective you could come up with to describe the feeling that overwhelmed me. It was better than my first kiss.
Dawson (confused): I thought that was your first kiss. So who else have you kissed, Jo?
Joey (looking away): Anderson.
Dawson (looking even more confused): Who's Anderson?
Joey (sighing): You know, Dawson, the guy I convinced I was Deborah Carson. To impress him, but it didn't work out and I ended up humiliating myself. Well, before he left, he kissed me. It didn't really mean anything, I mean he had nice lips but there just wasn't any sparks like there was with you.
Dawson (looking jealous and hurt): I can't believe you kissed him. I thought you loved me.
Joey: I did love you, I still do. Unfortunately my feelings were unrequited as you chased after Jen Lindley planning the perfect kiss. I felt rejected, and knew I would never be anything more than your best friend. Anderson, was really cute and charming, and I liked him. He made me feel special and beautiful, something nobody has ever made me feel. I wasn't in love with him, I barely knew him. I just was just attracted, and flattered by the attention he paid me when you ignored me. He was a fling, Dawson. I knew it wouldn't last, I pretended to be someone else and it back-fired.
Dawson (still looking hurt but feeling better): Did you enjoy it, Joey?
Joey (thinking thoughtfully): Yeah, I did, Dawson. It wasn't any better than yours, if that is what you are worried about, it was just different. If it really makes you feel better, I thought about you in the back of my mind as I was kissing him.
Dawson: Thanks, Joey. It doesn't but I guess I have no right to be jealous. I just kind of feel cheated, you know we always share everything together.
Joey: Well, Dawson, technically if you don't count kissing my decapitated head I wasn't your first either, Jen was. Was Jen, I mean is Jen a better kisser than me, Dawson?
Dawson: Not better Joey, just more experienced. I liked Jen's kiss, but she is kind of aggressive when it comes to kissing. I like softer kisses with less tongue and more feeling. I think our kiss was much more passionate than my kiss with Jen. I have kissed three women, and know my kiss with you tops them all.
Joey (confused): Three? According to my calculations Dawson, there is just Jen and I. Who else did you kiss?
Dawson (avoiding eye contact): Nina.
Joey (smirking): The movie groupie from Providence? Ah, I forgot about her. She was the one who tried to get you to go home with her, to supposedly fall asleep on her couch.
Dawson (laughed): I turned her down, Joey. I was on the rebound from being dumped by Jen, so I knew it wouldn't of been right.
Joey (pretending to be disappointed): Oh, too bad, Dawson. You could have gotten lucky like you wanted.
Dawson (raising his eyebrows): Who told you I wanted to get lucky?
Joey (sheepishly): Billy.
Dawson (outraged): Billy? You mean Mr. I got caught doing it in my parents bed, Billy? Well that makes sense. He would do anything to discredit me in front of Jen. NO Joey, I didn't want to get lucky with a perfect stranger. I just liked Nina, and she distracted me from my break up with Jen. She knew a lot about movies. It was nice to find someone that shared my interests.
Joey (pouting): If you aren't aware so do I. I mean, who sits through every boring movie you pick out for movie night, watches ET to satisfy your Speilberg obsession, and tolerates you trying to script and turn your whole life into a movie? I do. And If you had let me, I would have made you forget all about the girl next door, Jen Lindley.
Joey leans in to kiss Dawson passionately on the lips, and run her fingers through his hair. Dawson breaks the kiss off, and holds Joey's face in his hands.
Dawson (pretending to be clueless): Jen, who?
Joey (laughing): Dawson! Okay, let's forget about the three people each of us kissed and get back to setting up your horny parents.
Dawson: Okay, but first I need to ask. Was Pacey your third kiss? I mean he told me he had the hots for you, and wanted to kiss you but he never told me if he did or not.
Joey (smirking): Jealous, Dawson? Yes, Pacey did kiss me, but I pushed him away. I like Pacey, but not in that way, and he even knew it. He asked me if I was thinking about you, and I was. I love you, Dawson.
Dawson (smiling): I love you, Joey.
Dawson and Joey looked into each other's eyes and leaned forward to kiss. Just as they touched lips, they heard a loud crash downstairs. Joey and Dawson broke apart quickly and raced downstairs to see what all the commotion was about. Running downstairs, Dawson looked around until he found his mom curled up on the floor in a ball with broken glass surrounding her. Joey walked up behind Dawson, and peered over his shoulder to see Mrs. Leery crying uncontrollably. She was clutching a picture, and rocking back and forth, her body wracked with heart breaking sobs. Dawson left to get the dust pan to clean up the broken glass while Joey kneeled on the side of Mrs. Leery. Mrs. Leery wouldn't raise her head to meet Joey's eyes, but Joey knew she saw her approach. Dawson carefully cleaned up the broken glass, and splintered picture frame. Dawson's face was sad, and he looked like he might cry himself. Joey gently touched Mrs. Leery's hand, and she raised her head to Joey. Dawson put the dustpan away, and walked to his mom. Mrs. Leery opened her arms and Dawson leaned in and hugged her tightly. Looking at the concerned look on both their faces, Mrs. Leery wrapped Joey into the hug, too. They sat there all hugging until Mrs. Leery asked for a tissue. Dawson went to get her one, while Joey talked softly to Mrs. Leery.
Joey: Are you okay, Mrs. Leery?
Mrs. Leery: Yes, I'll be fine. Joey, when are you going to start calling me Gail? Someday you will probably be calling me mom. Dawson really loves you, and we are so happy he has you in his life.
Joey (smiling): I love him too, Gail. I don't know what I would do without Dawson.
Mrs. Leery and Joey shared a secret smile, but it soon faded as Dawson entered. Dawson walked towards his mother with a sad puppy dog look on his face.
Dawson: What happened mom? Where's dad?
Mrs. Leery: Your father left, he told me the sight of me made him sick. I tried to make him stay and he got angry and threw our family portrait against the wall. I guess he will never forgive or forget what I did. I guess I really can't blame him, I destroyed our happy life together. Oh god, what have I done?
Mrs. Leery started to cry again as Joey pulled her close, and held her like a baby. Joey soothed Mrs. Leery, rocking her gently in her arms. Dawson felt so confused, and upset that he just slumped to the floor in a heap.
Joey: It's okay, Mrs. Lee.. I mean Gail. Everything is going to be fine, Mr. Leery just needs time to think. He'll be home soon. I know you two can work this out.
Dawson (smiling at Joey): Mom, Jo's right. Dad is probably driving around in the truck right now thinking about you. Dad loves you.
Mrs. Leery (sniffling): Dawson, I don't think it matters anymore if he loves me or not, he can't forgive me. I can't blame him, but I miss him so much. I love Mitch with all my heart. I know I messed up, I just want another chance to make it up to him. And to you Dawson. Dawson, I know right now you are confused, and angry at me. You have a right to be. I just want you to know, even though I never meant to hurt you, I am sorry. I love you, you're my little boy. Well, I guess you're now a man, but to me, you will always be my sweet angelic boy.
Dawson (hugging his mom): I might not understand why you did the things that you did, but I do love you. I am envious of what you and dad share. I hope someday, Joey and I have a marriage as strong and special as yours and dads.
Mrs. Leery (wiping her eyes): Don't tell me you guys are already planning the wedding.
Joey (smirking): Oh, Dawson's already past that. He's now trying to find us matching burial plots.
Dawson (smirking): I wasn't the one who picked out the names for our children, Jo.
Mrs. Leery (surprised): Joey are you pregnant?
Joey (frowning): No, Gail I am not pregnant. Someday I hope to be, but finishing high school is the most important thing to me right now. I think Dawson was attempting to be humorous, but someone should tell him you have a sense of humor first.
Dawson: I have a sense of humor, Joey. I happen to be very humorous, right mom?
Mrs. Leery and Joey looked at one another, and burst out laughing. Dawson sat there a little miffed that his mother and girlfriend were teasing him. Joey was glad that Mrs. Leery was feeling better, she didn't want the Leery's to break up. Joey loved coming to Dawson's house, it was like belonging to a real family. Something Joey hadn't had since her mother died years earlier. Joey thought of Mrs. Leery as a second mother, and loved her almost as much as her own mother. Joey knew if they split up, Dawson would fall apart. He already didn't deal with change and reality well, what would happen if his whole life became ripped apart over a divorce. Dawson was worried, he was so use to seeing his parents getting along, or getting it on. Dawson didn't know what would happen if they did decide that marriage counseling wasn't working, and separated. Dawson was determined to make his plan successful, and plotted the script out in his head. The wheels in Dawson's head started turning with ideas until he had it all planned out. Excusing himself, he went and started to work on "operation parent trap". Joey stayed and comforted Mrs. Leery. Joey knew by the look on Dawson's face where he wandered off to, it was like she had x-ray vision and could see inside his devious mind. Joey cracked a smile as she imagined what he had in store for them. Knowing Dawson, it would be just what they needed. Dawson was a complete optimist, not to mention romantic, and he was also very head strong when it came to something he wanted to do. Joey understood Dawson was determined to fix their marriage, and if she knew Dawson as well as she did, he would too.
Joey sat there a few minutes more in silence as Mrs. Leery excused herself to fix her face. Joey thought about how she felt when her parents marriage was in trouble, and her mother died of cancer. Joey was young, but she learned early the cruelties of life. After her mother died she felt abandoned. She had Bessie, but it just wasn't the same. Joey wanted her mother, the woman who tucked her in at night, made cookies with her, took her to play at Dawson's house. She longed to just wrap her arms around her mother, and never let go. Joey on occasion smelled or heard something that reminded her exactly of her mother. Usually when this happened Joey fought back the tears, and pain over her death. It was like she just lived that day over and over again, a nightmare she couldn't wake up from. Joey remembered her mother's face, how ghastly pale and sickly she looked. No matter how sick she got from chemotherapy she still wore a smile. Joey's mother always smiled, she smiled just like Joey. Joey didn't realize she was crying until the tears made a puddle on the shining hard wood deco floors. She wiped her eyes quickly, and decided to go find Dawson. Joey didn't want to relive the memories any longer, it was bad enough every morning she woke up, and realized she was gone. Joey climbed the stairs to Dawson's bedroom, and knocked on the door. Dawson called, "it's open."
Joey opened the door to Dawson's grinning face. Joey tried to smile too, but could only manage a grimace. Dawson noticed the sadness in Joey's eyes, and rushed off his bed to comfort her. Dawson pulled Joey in for a hug, and held her close to his body. Joey laid her head on his shoulder, and just reveled in the warmth of his embrace. Breaking apart, Dawson gently lead Joey to sit on the bed with him. Joey laid on the bed, and Dawson laid with Joey's head resting on his chest. They stared at the ceiling before Dawson spoke softly turning to face her.
Dawson: Joey, are you okay?
Joey (still had tears in her eyes): yeah, I just somehow started thinking about my mom, Dawson. I miss her so much. I don't know how I started thinking about her, but now I can't stop. I just want her back. I want her to smile and hug me the way she use to. I feel alone with out her.
Dawson (rubbing her back): I love you, Jo. I promise you are not alone, I am always here for you. Hey, maybe she is heaven looking down on us right now.
Joey (looking up): Yeah, if you believe in angels.
Dawson: I do believe in them, angels. And I know because you are my angel. You look just like her Joey.
Joey: No, Bessie looks like mom, not me.
Dawson: No, Joey, you do. You have her warm beautiful brown eyes, same button nose, and warm caring smile. I know if she is looking down us right now, she is thinking the same thing I am. How proud she is that you turned out to be such a beautiful, intelligent, kindhearted woman. You are amazing Joey, you always take my breath away.
Joey (had fresh tears in her eyes): That is the sweetest thing anybody has ever said to me. Thank you, Dawson.
Dawson (smiling adoringly at Joey): What are you thanking me for? I mean if anyone should be giving thanks, it's me. I couldn't make it without you. It's selfish I know, but I need you in my life.
Joey (smiling and snuggling closer): You never have to, I am always going to be right next to you. Dawson, I am kind of tired do you mind if we talked about the reconciliation in the morning?
Dawson (pulling Joey closer and wrapping his arms tighter around her): Sure, Joey. I am tired too, but tomorrow we are going to have a extremely busy day. Sweet dreams, Jo.
Joey (half asleep): Sweet dreams to you, Dawson.
Dawson (kisses the top of her head whispering): They will be if they are of you, Joey.
Dawson and Joey drifted off into dreamland holding onto each other. Each dreamed of the other, and their happy life together, unaware what awaited for them tomorrow as they conspire to reunite the Leery marriage.
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