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Dawson and Pacey just got here about twenty minutes ago. They came to see me, and now their out with everyone else. Dawson made it a point to be sure I knew how sorry he was about not being here, and Pacey just let it be known that he would have been here if he could have. Nothing like the devotion Erik showed me, but I guess that's to be expected.
Anyway, it seems that Pacey, even though Jen and I were sure he was after me, has gotten himself his own story line with girlfriend included. He was ecstatic when he told me. She's a freshman at...the University of Rhode Island, I think he said. They met sometime last week at a party. So much for the much anticipated Joey-Pacey romance, not that I want it anymore anyway.
Bessie just came in, and she looks like something's on her mind. This look she's giving me is just like the one she used when I told her Dawson and I broke up. Ugh, now I remember why she's using this look - I haven't explained yet why Erik and I broke up.
"Hi Bess," is all I can mumble.
"Don't 'Hi' me, Josephine. I've been racking my brain, trying to figure out what has happened to your common sense. I knew you broke up, but this is insane. Do you realize, even fathom how much Erik loves you? He has been out there since eight o'clock last night, pacing and lamenting as if you'd died. Erik is virtually going insane, as everyone else can see, because he is hopelessly, irrevocably, undeniably in love with you. God forbid I be morbid, but if you had died, his demise wouldn't have been too long after."
"Don't Joey, you know I'm right. Erik was so unbelievably worried about you - he probably still is. Every single person in that waiting area, with the exception of Dawson and Pacey, will tell you that Erik would have completely lost it if information anything but good had been given to him. I can't believe you could break up with someone like him. He loves you for you, nothing more. You can't deny that you love him, either. You have told me so many times that you 'think' you're in love with him. Stop thinking, and just see what's in front of you. You are blind to the thought of love Joey, because of Dawson, and because of Mom, and Dad, but most of all, because of me. Sure, Dawson broke your heart, but I'm sure your better off knowing you can only be friends so you don't screw around with your emotions for the rest of your life. When Mom died, you think she left you-"
"No, Bessie, I've dealt with the Mom issue. I know she didn't leave me. As for the Dawson issue, I don't have the ability to love him as anything more than a friend. I can't - I just don't see him as anything but my best friend."
"Okay, but let me finish. Dad was dealing and cheating on Mom, and you feel betrayed. But he loves you Joey, you must know that. Pull your brain out of your pocket and realize, however illegal, Dad was doing it in part for us. He has changed so much in the past four years, just for you and me. Now we're up to me. I screwed up because I was virtually your mother, and I didn't tell you I loved you. I should have, I know that, but you can't hold that against me. I was eighteen, my mother had just died, my father was in jail, and I had to take care of my thirteen year old sister. I had to practically usher you into adulthood, when I had just gotten there myself. I love you Joey, as if you were my own child, best friend and kid sister all in one."
"You don't think I know that? I know Bessie. When I was in the car, and I didn't know what was going on, I thought about Erik, and how much I needed to tell him I loved him. And I thought about Dad, and how he was there for us, even if not in the most obvious ways. But most of all, I thought about you, and how good of a mom you really were to me - how good of a mom you are. I wouldn't be the same person I am today if it weren't for you. Being a mother isn't just giving birth - that's what so many adopted kids need to realize. A mother is someone who is there for you, through the good and the bad. They protect you, help you, teach you, guide you. A mother doesn't have to be a woman, it can be a man in many cases. A mother loves their child unconditionally, even when they are the most rotten being known to mankind, like me sometimes. Bessie, you are my mother, as far as I'm concerned, and I thank you. I love you, and I take your opinion with the utmost authority."
"Thank you Joey," Bessie's starting to cry, but they're tears of joy.
"Can I confide in you?"
"Of course, you know you can."
"I don't know if Erik loves me...enough. As much as I love him. I mean, when we broke up, I think I was having, I don't know, thoughts, about Pacey."
"Oh God Jo, if he loved you anymore, he'd be bordering on obsession. You should have seen him. So much emotion in that boy, that was just dying to get out, but couldn't. I love Ryan, with all my heart, and I know he loves me, but I can only wish our love was that strong. And Pacey, well that's a subject I don't want to touch. He loves you like a sister, like someone he needs to protect. It was probably just a mindless crush. I better step out for the doctor, but I want you to think about something. Ask yourself if you truly love him and if you can live without him. Think about whether there really was a reason for you two to break up."
"I will Bess. I promise." She leaves, and Dr. Ylagen comes in. And I begin to ponder.
My mind is a mess, and it's not cleaning up too quickly. Dawson asked me about five minutes ago to meet him in the cafeteria. He's talking to Jen, then he'll be up. I hope this isn't some sort of interrogation, because I don't feel like being grilled. But then, Dawson is one for straight talk, so I guess I better be prepared.
Bessie came out from her talk with Joey, and she said something about talking to me. I think she wants Joey and I to get back together as much as I do. And I want Joey back so extremely much.
Here comes Dawson, proverbial baggage and all. He sits down across from me, coffee in hand, and he looks like he means business.
"So here's the deal Reiker. I need to know something - actually a few things," interrogation in the worst way. Dawson is out for answers, and he's not leaving until he gets them.
"This accident has given me a few things to cogitate. Granted, not many because of the lack of knowledge due to the fact that I just found out not two hours ago, but still, I must postulate. I'm going on the assumption that you too have thought about many of the same things I have, considering our similar relationships with Joey. The foremost question being, do you love her?"
"Come on Dawson. You actually have to ask me that?"
"Answer the question Erik."
This isn't going well. Not well at all. "Yes, I love her. I love Joey so much I doubt myself sometimes. I can't imagine a life without her. Do you want me to tell the world? I love Joey Potter as much as any one human possibly can love another. Doubt me if you must, but I do."
"And I love her just as much, if not more. I must acknowledge the fact that I feel threatened by your presence in Joey's life. For so long, I was the one she turned to, told everything to, hung out with all the time. But, as you well know, Jen and Jack are also a factor in this. Joey tells Jack and Jen everything. But she loves you, and spends most of her time with you. I feel like, between the three of you, she's pushing me out-"
"Dawson man, you need to talk to her about this."
"I know, and I intend to, but this discussion is between you and I. What I'm really trying to ascertain, for mostly my own comfort, is whether or not you are good enough for her. I'm not trying to degrade you, or be rude in any way, I just want to know if you deserve Joey. However conceited, or disrespectful that is, I shamefully admit that is my point. I realize that for the past fifty years, your family has been part of the Forbes 500 list, and heads one of the best law firms in the country. I also recognize that you are an exceptional student, athlete, and friend-"
"You can stop there Dawson. Debate this in your head, and please spare me. I apologize, but however 'rude' it sounds, it really is none of your business whether or not I'm good enough for her. I respect your concern, but figure it out on your own, and be happy with it. Just please don't inform me, because it's not up to you. It's up to Joey, and only Joey. Your her best friend, but you should leave it up to her. Not that it matters, because as far as our relationship is concerned, I don't think there is one anymore."
"Erik, give me a break. You and Joey may be blind, and maybe that's one thing I respect about both of you, but any idiot knows that you two will be together forever, no matter what I, or anyone else says. When you walk into a room, cheesy as it may sound, her face lights up. Maybe everything would be better off if neither of you had met because I don't know how he would live without you, and more than likely, vice versa. I must say, even though you don't want me, that I think, more than anything, you both were made for each other. You definitely do deserve her. And I apologize for ever doubting that."
"Thanks Dawson. I don't know how you can feel threatened by me, or Jen, or Jack. Sure, she may be in love with me, and tell her deepest, darkest secrets to the other two, but you've known her forever. You two grew up together, and nothing can replace the bond that is shared between two people that have experienced virtually everything together. I speak from experience, because however different Viktor and I have become, I know he'll always be my best friend because we have something that can't be touched; can't be reproduced. Joey will always be your best friend, no matter what happens."
"You know, I think we share something too."
"Insecurity, in the biggest sense of the word. You doubt that she loves you, I doubt that she's still my best friend."
"You know what Dawson? I confess that I totally agree with you. As for the mention of my father and grandfather's names in the Forbes 500, I have no interest in it. I can definitely wait for the day when the Kennedy plague hits and we start dying right and left. Now, I must ask, are we through?"
"Yeah, I'm satisfied. Let's go get you your girl."
"Whoa, hold up just a second. Who said anything about 'getting the girl'?"
"Blind as a bat," Dawson is grinning from ear to ear, and heading to the elevator. It seems a little premature to just go down there and demand that Joey and I get back together. I want to hold off, at least until Joey is released and back at the dorms before I pull any emotional stunts on her.
Dawson comes back and yanks me along behind him. Nobody is going to let me off the hook too easily.
"So Pacey, who's the new girlfriend?" Andie's asking with a devilish grin. I'm back in the waiting are. I successfully avoided seeing Joey, despite Dawson's desperate plea.
"Aryn Mitchell. She's a freshman at U of R.I., and her brother is a freshman at Brown. I met her at a frat party Tuesday. We went out Thursday, and I really like her. Nothing is definite, but I still have hope, and it looks promising enough. And she's gorgeous."
"Beauty isn't everything Pacey," I tell him, just to be annoying.
"Oh, really Erik? Look at your lady, then tell me that again."
"My lady? Ha! As far as I know, it's just me right now." Pretty much everyone rolls their eyes at me.
"Ignore him," Viktor advises.
"I intend on doing so from here forth. So anyway, back to Aryn. As I was saying, gorgeous, smart - a Political Science / Economics double major- and funny. Definitely promising."
"I thought that about Joey too, after our first date," I don't even get to finish before everyone groans. I think I'm actually starting to lighten up a little.
"Do us a favor, and shut up Erik. We don't want to hear it," Jack says with a laugh.
"Well it's true! We went to that Springsteen concert, and afterwards I thought she was gorgeous, smart and funny. Of course, I used a few more descriptive adjectives."
"Lay off man, I haven't slept since Friday night," Pacey jokes amongst everyone else's laughter.
"My brain is a little fried, so don't expect me to use anything more than monosyllabic words."
"You don't use anything else most of the time anyway," Andie sticks in.
"Mr. Potter? Can I speak with you?" A nurse has entered without my knowledge and is waiting for Mr. Potter.
"Sure. Is anything wrong?" The nurse leads him out of the waiting room, but not out of earshot. "No, nothing is wrong. I just wanted to update you on Joey. She's doing fine now, and everything is stable. She'll be ready to be discharged by tomorrow morning. But she will be in pain, what with her shoulder joint readjusting and her wrist healing. Depending on whether or not the fracture heals correctly, Joey may have to have her wrist operated on, for obvious reasons. But I wouldn't be worried, because her bones aren't frail, or old, so her wrist should heal nicely."
"Thank you." Mr. Potter is coming back in to the room. "She's going home tomorrow. Bessie and I've discussed this, and I think I'm going to stay in a hotel here for a week or so, just until she's settled. I realize you kids have to get back to Boston, and Joey knows it too, so don't feel obligated to stay any longer than you think is necessary."
"Oh, Mr. Potter, we don't have to leave until tonight sometime. It only takes around two hours to get back anyhow," Jen tells him.
"Okay then. I think I'll go talk to Joey now, tell her in case the doctor hasn't already." With that, he heads down the hall to her room.
Now Dad's here, and he looks like he wants to have a chat. He told me I'm being released tomorrow morning, and all I can say is thank God.
I don't think I can stand this not being able to do something for much longer.
"So Joey, I wanted to ask you something."
"Well you remember last summer when we all went out on the yacht?"
He's talking about Bessie's new yacht, bought when the newly built Ice House hit the big money.
"Yeah, me, Erik, Bessie, Ryan, Alex and you. I remember."
"That was the first time I could truly say that I saw you one hundred percent happy. All I can think about, waiting out there, is how much Erik cares about you. It makes me think that I should have been there for your mother like that. I know Bessie came in here and did her get-in-your-face thing and said you were a fool if you didn't love Erik, so I'm not going to do that. I just want you to know that he does love you, and he cares about you. My two girls are all grown up now, but I'm pleased that you have each found yourselves someone able to give you the love you deserve. It's completely up to you what you do with Erik, and I won't say that you'd be crazy to walk away, but I will say that I think you will be very sorry if you do."
"Thanks. I love you Dad."
"I love you too Joey. Now you better get some rest." He leaves, and finally, the most important discussions have been completed. Erik and I still aren't together, but I can wait for that. Dawson hasn't given me the I-love-you-and-your-nuts spiel, but I can wait. I have yet to hear Jack and Jen's speech, but it's coming. Andie and Pacey won't have anything to say, until after the inevitable conclusion. Ryan doesn't say much of anything. But what I'm really waiting for is the chat with Viktor. His will most definitely be the -support-my-best-bud-and-he-loves-you-to-much-to-let-you-go harangue.
It'll come, as will everything else, in time. Now I think I'll just sleep a little to pass the time.
To Be Continued
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