Spoilers: after pretty woman but before breaking away.
Dawson sat on his bed reminiscing over the past few weeks of his adolescent life. Everything in Dawson's life had shifted course, and now his life was spinning out of control. The two most important women in his life had switched places.
Jen, who was once the women of Dawson's dreams, not to mention fantasies had been reduced to the possible friend. The once great romance of Dawson Leery's life had been rescripted as an awkward, and complicated friendship.
Joey, his best friend, and the only girl Dawson confided all his woman troubles too, had just became one of those troubles. The girl he once said getting romantically involved with would be incestuous, now is the girl Dawson couldn't stop fantasizing about. Dawson flashed to the night of the pageant, remembering Joey walk on to the stage, he had never seen Joey look so elegant and beautiful. Joey had transformed right in front of Dawson's eyes, and she left him speechless.
It hadn't happened like Joey thought, though; the dress, the lipstick and hairspray had nothing to do with his awe, well they did but only because they only enhanced what Joey possessed deep inside. Joey was beautiful, completely and utterly stunning, Dawson tried to explain how he felt but Joey misinterpreted it to mean Dawson just felt a physical attraction to her. It made sense considering Dawson felt tongue tied, and couldn't clearly express himself while he was drooling over Joey. Dawson had never had that feeling before when it came to Joey in the past, she was always his best friend, nothing more. Dawson had meant it when he told Joey his palms were sweating, his whole body was overheating as he sat next to her. It amazed Dawson how a girl he knew his entire life could turn his whole life upside down in an instant, making him break out in a cold sweat. So, now his best friend who he told all his secrets and crushes became his latest crush.
It made no sense to Dawson how his life got so complicated. Dawson sat there thinking that now to further add on the already bad soap opera which was called his life, was Jen's latest proposal to rekindle their romance. Not to mention Joey's warning to not let his new desire for her cloud their relationship.
Joey and his relationship was the most important one in his whole life, he didn't know what to if anything ever jeopardized their special bond. Recent events in their lives could definitely change the whole friendship, and Dawson would do anything to hold on to Joey. Dawson sat there contemplating if dating Jen would help relieve that tension he now felt between him and Joey, but then again it might just add more to an already tense situation.
Dawson knew for the most part he was over Jen Lindley, the only part left was the one that enjoyed the game of winning her affections back. Dawson thought back to the day he first laid eyes on Jen, he had thought then that she would change his life, and he was right but just not the way he wanted her to. Dawson realized Jen wasn't the same girl he once fell for, she had changed and for a long time he didn't want to believe that, but now was different and he understood. Dawson had been hoping to fall madly in love with Jen and experience true love, the one filled with happiness.Unfortunately all he ever felt was pain, and it broke his fragile romantic heart. Dawson being a hopeless romantic, hoped to know what it felt like to love someone with his whole heart, and meet that special someone he was meant to be with. Dawson after a long time came to grips that Jen wasn't that special someone, no matter how much he tried to convince himself she was. Dawson sighed thinking, "I finally come to that understanding and Jen starts proposing we start again, and I don't know what to do."
Dawson had no idea whatsoever to do, since his head told him one thing, and his heart said another. Dawson got off his bed deciding it was time for a distraction from his love life, and knew just the thing that could accomplish the task. Dawson walked over to his VCR, and popped in a tape pushing play on the VCR. Laying back on his bed, his lips curled up in a smile as he watched the screen. Joey entered the window while Dawson sat on his bed completely engrossed in the tape. Joey stared at the ridiculously large grin on Dawson's face, and moved towards the bed to sit down.
Joey: So, Dawson, what's got you so happy…drugs perhaps? So, I see you started movie night without me…what are you watching anyway?
Dawson finally realized Joey was in the room with him, and luckily hadn't seen what he was watching yet, so quickly Dawson turned off the TV and moved to take out the tape.
Dawson: It was nothing, Jo, and I never start movie night without you…so what do you want to watch tonight?
Dawson went over to his vast collection of videos and started sifting through them. Dawson needed to find a suitable movie night viewing to distract Joey from the tape already in the VCR. Joey knew Dawson better than anyone, and she knew he was trying to hide something, and it was up to her to figure out what it was.
Joey: I don't care Dawson…whatever you were watching before is fine with me… so was it any good?
Dawson: Yeah, but it wouldn't interest you…I mean I liked it but I am not sure you would…so let's watch something else, okay?
Joey looked at Dawson who wouldn't look her straight in the eye, and knew he was definitely hiding something. Joey glanced at the TV and realized it had something to do with the tape in the VCR.
Joey: Sure, Dawson…umm, Dawson, I would love to watch Jaws…you know it's one of my favorites next to the exterestrial who eats reeces pieces from outer space…do you think you can find it for me?
Dawson: Not a problem, Joey, and I wouldn't mind watching it myself…just give me a minute to find it, okay?
Joey: Okay…take your time.
Dawson turned back around to his tapes after he finished talking to Joey. Joey waited until Dawson was busy locating Jaws, and moved slowly from his bed. Going to the television, she turned it along with the VCR on. Dawson turned around as the television came on, and moved to turn it off as the tape started playing. Dawson lunged for the remote as Joey picked it up and held it behind her back. Dawson and Joey wrestled over it until the voice on the television said, "Miss Josephine Potter."
Joey whipped her head around so fast it could have given her whiplash. The tape Dawson had been watching so intently earlier was the news coverage for the pageant. Dawson had a week ago made a special tape of just Joey's performances at the Windjammer Pageant. Joey sat there in shock as she watched herself walk across the stage. Joey never saw the news, or realized how beautiful she really looked there on stage. It amazed her, but more amazing than her new found beauty was the fact Dawson watched her tape like he use to watch the tape of Jen. Joey knew he must have watched the tape repeatedly when she looked at the VCR, and saw high the viewing numbers were that told how many times a tape had been watched. Those numbers were high, as high as when Dawson first got ET, he watched it over and over again, and Joey realized he was doing the same thing with her tape.
Joey and Dawson both sat there in silence for a few minutes, both trying to think of something to say about the consequences of the tape. Dawson feeling nervous and embarrassed over Joey discovering his new hobby, cleared his throat breaking the eerie silence that hung over the room.
Dawson: Joey…I can explain.
Joey: Explain what? That you have a tape of the pageant…which I know you taped…and it just happens to be at the part where I come out on stage…I really don't understand what you need to explain, it seems pretty self explanatory to me, Dawson.
Dawson sighed realizing saying the words to Joey were going to be harder than he had ever anticipated. Joey avoided Dawson's eyes watching her, she felt strangely uncomfortable being alone with him just then. Something about knowing Dawson, who until that point didn't know she existed as a female, was attracted to her, it unnerved Joey wondering what Dawson really felt. Joey noticed that the silence was becoming endless again, and decided it was up to her to relieve the tension with a joke.
Joey: So, Dawson, about this tape…I know I am on this tape, so does that mean Pacey's little theatrical performance is, too? I was too busy backstage to actually see what happened, but I did hear about it…and I never miss seeing a screw up in action…especially when it involves public humiliation…so is our good friend Pacey on this tape making an ass out of himself?
Dawson sat there quiet not saying a word but still staring at Joey. Joey sighed thinking to herself, "maybe it was the wrong time to make jokes, I wonder what is going on in Dawson's analytical head? Why is he being so quiet, and why won't he stop staring at me? He is really making me uncomfortable." Dawson understood Joey felt uncomfortable being near him, and was trying to lighten the mood between them, but it wasn't going to work because the tension in the room was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Dawson sighed and ran his fingers through his hair while studied Joey's anxious face. Joey was desperate for Dawson to say something, to say anything, but all he did was sit there. Dawson didn't know what to say, all his thoughts were a jumbled mess inside his head. Even if Dawson miraculously knew what to say, he knew he couldn't open his mouth to utter the words. Dawson's tongue felt like it was stuck to the roof of his mouth. His mouth was clamped shut like a vise, and it felt too heavy to open. Dawson sat there silently praying he could make things the way they use to be, before his feelings for Joey started surfacing. Joey glanced at Dawson, her face filled with wonder and confusion as she thought, "he can't say the words I am longing to hear. No matter how much I want him to, I need to get over him. I just wish I knew how to do that." Joey moved from her place on his bed, and walked towards the window for a retreat from this awkward silence.
Joey: You know what, Dawson…I am kind of tired so let's just do movie night some other time.
Dawson rose from the bed and shook his head no, fearing he still couldn't open his mouth to speak. Dawson walked over to where Joey was standing, and swallowing the lump lodged in his throat started to speak.
Dawson: Joey, please stay…I know things between us are changing and I told you we could never go back to the way things were, but one thing that will never change is us being best friends…please stay Jo.
Joey: I don't know Dawson…I feel awkward being here right now…it feels weird being alone with you.
Dawson: On account of the tape, Joey?
Joey knew getting over Dawson wasn't going to happen in one night, and she wanted to stay, but things were just changing too fast. Joey looked again at the television as if the answers could be found there. Joey watched as she sang On my Own, she wondered right then if Dawson ever knew she was singing that from her heart to his. Every time he watched the tape, did he think about how incredible things could be between them, how much she was hopelessly in love with him?
Joey: Dawson? Why did you make a tape of me at the Wind Jammer pageant?
Dawson: I don't know Joey…you just looked so beautiful…I wanted to capture it on film for always. I was mesmerized by how you looked on that stage, so filled with confidence, and how brave you were to get up there in the first place.
Joey: It wasn't a big deal, Dawson.
Dawson: Yes, it is, Joey. You were amazing, better than how I expected you to be…I can't even attempt to explain my reaction to you, I just stood there staring at how beautiful you looked.
Dawson smiled thinking how true his words had just been, "she was beautiful, his beautiful Joey."
Joey felt her heart race over Dawson's declaration of his feelings, but fell when she realized Dawson still didn't feel what she felt, he only saw her dressed up. Joey felt a sharp pain sting her heart as it became clear Dawson didn't understand still how she felt, and probably never would. Joey's mood went from giddiness over him seeing her as beautiful to anger over his oblivious nature towards her unrequited love.
Joey: Oh, I see. I am amazing and beautiful when I am wearing makeup and a low-cut dress…but lose my desirability when I act like myself…are you afraid I may never look what you deem beautiful again? I mean is that why you found it necessary to record me, why? What did you plan to do with the tape, Dawson? Show me how I should look?
Dawson: Joey, that's not what I meant….I…I just…
Dawson stood there flustered completely frustrated to what to say, if there was anything he could say. Joey narrowed her eyes watching Dawson stumble over his own words. Joey felt infuriated knowing Dawson only noticed her when she was primped to look like a beauty queen. She just stood glaring, arms crossed, looking at Dawson. Joey knew she had to live with the knowledge Dawson didn't return her feelings, but he didn't need to make it blatantly obvious with his ramblings. Joey wouldn't live with knowing the only way to win Dawson's affections is to transform herself. It hurt
Joey so much feeling she loved Dawson for who he was inside, and he couldn't express the same feelings, he couldn't love her back unless she pretended to be someone else. Joey wanted him to appreciate her for who she was deep inside, not some paper doll Jen wannabe.
Joey: You don't have to keep babbling Dawson…it doesn't really matter why you made the tape. I meant what I said on the docks…I am moving on…I am not waiting for something to happen between us anymore…we probably make better friends anyway.
Dawson felt like he had been kicked in the stomach, he didn't want to believe it could be over before it even begun. Dawson looked at the serious expression on Joey's face, and knew she meant what she said.
Dawson: Joey, this thing between us is confusing…I don't know what to say. I do know pretending it doesn't exist won't make it go away…we have to deal with what's going on between us.
Joey: I am not ignoring it Dawson…I am moving past it. Evolving…and I think you should do the same thing Dawson.
Joey felt physically ill telling Dawson to get over his new infatuation with her. Joey was hoping Dawson's feelings could turn into love, and he would want her like she wanted him. Joey didn't want to move on, and she didn't want Dawson to move on either. No matter how many times her head told her to give up on him, her heart wouldn't let her because she loved him. Joey stared at Dawson's face which was mixed with emotions of hurt and confusion. Joey wanted to believe Dawson was as broken up about this as she was, but it wouldn't work. Trying to limit her heartache she convinced herself, it had more to do with what would happen to the friendship than Dawson loving her back. Dawson didn't know what to say, he knew how he felt but it was just too complicated to express his feelings. Dawson knew saying those three simple words would alter their whole relationship besides complicate it even more, and he couldn't sacrifice what they had for maybe something more.
Dawson: Joey…how can I move past something I don't understand. Our whole relationship is changing…and I am just trying to figure everything out.
Joey: What is there to figure out…we are best friends nothing more.
Dawson (frustrated): Joey, I might not know exactly what's happening between us…but I do know we have has stepped over the boundary of friendship…and we are more than friends.
Joey (surprised): So what are we, Dawson? What are you having trouble understanding between us…I can't wait around for you to make up your mind.
Dawson knew what his heart and head told him, but it was just hard to process. He was having these feelings about Joey. Joey realized that, like always, Dawson didn't have an answer. It was too hard a concept to just say how he felt. He would much rather analyze the situation to death before just acting on impulse. Joey gazed past Dawson and their pointless teen angst to the television screen. Dawson followed Joey's gaze and saw her watching the screen which was blank now. Dawson sighed deeply. This conversation wasn't going well and watching the tape seemed to be a viable distraction. Dawson realized staring at the blank screen that they both needed time to think, and sort out their feelings. Dawson moved to the bed and picked up the discarded remote. Hitting the rewind button, the tape started up again and the pictures on the television flashed backtracking the footage. Joey looked at the television and not at Dawson thinking, "I wish life was as easy as just rewinding a tape, but you can't rewind life, you just have to deal with it."
Dawson noticed Joey refused to look at him, so he stopped the rewinding and hit play. Again the tape played, but this time the scene was of Joey's interview before the pageant. Dawson stood there for a few minutes watching the interview play out on the screen. Dawson listened intently as Joey's voice spoke from the TV, "everything changes eventually, Dawson." Dawson thought to himself, "I never knew how right Joey was…now I wish I had paid more attention to her…it would have made it easier on both of us."
Joey finally gathering up her courage looked at Dawson, staring deeply into his blue eyes. Joey mentally kicked herself for thinking the viewing of this scene would have sparked a reaction in Dawson. Dawson stood there with that lost, perpetually clueless expression on his face.
Joey rolled her brown eyes, and turned away from his face walking to the window. Dawson sensed Joey's movement without letting his eyes drift from the screen, and understood it was time for space.
Dawson: Joey, stay…we don't need to further discuss this right now.
Joey turned back around, and, raising her eyebrows, met his pleading gaze.
Joey: Dawson, I think it's better if I go.
Dawson: Joey, this is movie night…I can put my feelings on hold so we can indulge our minds into a Spielberg Movie.
Joey: Dawson, I really doubt watching Speilberg films is going to alleviate the mounting tension between us…I think the best way of subsiding this monologue is by separating…I'm going home.
Dawson: I agree with you, Joey…I think we both need space, but you don't have to vacate the premises to achieve it…I want you to stay and watch the rest of the tape…to answer your question. Yes, I did tape Pacey's act…the tape was only going to be of you but I couldn't help recording his antics.
Joey: Dawson, I would like to stay but right now being in the same room with you is hard…besides how are we going to space between us if we are trapped in the same room all night.
Dawson: I know, Joey…being here with you is hard on me, too…I feel like I am suffocating right now. I can't breathe with you near me…I need some air so I am going out for awhile…please stay and enjoy watching the tape.
Joey: Dawson, where are you going to go? It's kind of late to be engaging in a leisurely stroll.
Dawson observed the worried look on Joey's beautiful face. Dawson smiled and gazed deeply in her worried brown eyes before walking to the bedroom door. Dawson picked up his suede jacked, and shrugged it on all the while his eyes remained on Joey's eyes.
Dawson: I won't go far I promise…I just need some time to myself, Jo.
Joey: To analyze our pathetic little lives until your brain explodes?
Dawson watched as Joey's mouth broke into a large smirk, and she laughed softly. Dawson laughed too, and opened the bedroom door. Taking one more look at Joey, Dawson walked out of the room and down the stairs. Joey stared at the door after Dawson, and then sighing deeply threw herself backwards on his bed with a flop. Dawson got in Joey's rowboat , and rowed away from the pier. As the boat drifted across the creek Dawson's eyes fell on his room. Dawson could see the shadows cast from the television, and imagined Joey curled up in his bed watching the tape.
Joey laid peacefully wrapped in Dawson's blankets holding his ET doll as she stared at the screen in a trance. Joey laughed at Pacey making a fool out of himself on screen. She did have to admit he did do a good impression of Braveheart, though. Joey mused to herself, "Pacey really knows how to make an ass out of himself. Too bad I missed it. I would have liked to have front row seats to see the judges' faces." Joey flipped off the television after it was over, and stood to stretch her legs as she wandered to the window. Joey peered out wondering where Dawson disappeared to, and if he was thinking about the same thing she was. Joey pulled herself away from starry night, and knew she needed to seriously think about her and Dawson. Joey opened Dawson's closet door, and finding her permanent thinking spot closed the door behind her.
Dawson had been rowing around the creek for hours. He had only stopped briefly to give his arms a break. Dawson sat in the middle of the creek thinking about Joey and him.
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