Fast Forward by: Jen


Note From Jen: I need some help guys. I'm begging you, please give me some direction. I'm not sure where anyone wants this story to go, so if you could let me know, I'd be eternally grateful. Also, thank you to everyone who has sent me feedback since the beginning, and everyone who has asked me to continue.

I, Joey Potter, am living in hell. Wait, hold on, I've already told you that much. But that was also five years ago. This time around my inferno is a little different: I'm getting married in four days.

And now you're probably thinking where did the time go? What happened? Who is she marrying? Well, have no fear, I'm going to tell you.

Let's start at the beginning: the second beginning. Erik asked me to marry him, and believe it or not, I said yes. But times were to be difficult after that. I had to heal, not only physically, but mentally as well. You see, I finally figured out that the whole thing was in my head; that I created everything with Pacey, to escape something I though I wasn't ready for with Erik. Commitment and I weren't the best of friends back then, but I fixed all of that by saying yes.

Erik and I went along as good as ever, until it all came crashing down when Erik graduated almost a year and a half later. We were torn over what to do: should he wait a year and go to law school with me, or should he go ahead? Another problem, live together or apart? And the final dilemma, were we absolutely certain that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together? Believe me, that was the biggest problem, being that that's the reason most marriages end in divorce; the two people involved weren't completely and totally sure of themselves.

So, of course, in true Erik-and-Joey fashion, we split up again. Now don't get anxious on me here. It only lasted a day. We had another great-minds-think-alike moment, and met each other halfway between his room and mine without prior scheming.

We resolved any issues we may have had, and here we are, three-and-a-half years after break-up # 2. Anyone trying to follow this whole mess from the inside would be going totally out of their minds, but our friends just seemed to expect it.

Now you ask, what about the supporting characters in this drama, i.e., our friends? Well, no story can be complete without them, so here's the update. Dawson gets to go first, he being the best friend and all. Good 'ole Dawson Leery is presently out with Erik and the rest of the guys doing whatever it is they do every other Saturday afternoon. He's come a long way since his "jealousy" (yes, Erik told me) and he's got a girl of his own now. Any wagers as to who she might be? You'd all be wrong, because I can't believe it myself. Dawson's main attraction is none other than our very own Andie, as in the very same Andie who was once Pacey's girlfriend.

Dawson's not the famous director either. He's a freelance photographer, and it suits him well. Andie is a writer for the Boston Globe, and she and Dawson are as perfect a match as you can get. Even Pacey says that seeing them together makes you wonder why she ever went out with him.

It would seem that I should go to Pacey next, but in all fairness, I must do Viktor because he is the other best friend. Viktor's a World History / AP European History teacher at Milton Academy, a college-prep school outside Boston. And guess who he is going out with? Another you'd-never-believe-it, Jen Lindley. They just recently got together, but personally, I think it looks promising. Jen is an economics teacher at Milton, and both she and Viktor love it there.

As for Pacey, he's in between girlfriends right now, but we have hope for him yet. He is also the only one of all thirteen of us who is still in college, in his last year of med. school. I think Pacey will make a fine pediatrician, which is what he set out to be.

Moving on, we come to Jamal. You really have to love this guy for everything he is. Instead of forgetting his past , he went back to help other kids with the problems he had. Along with being a financial market analyst for Prudential, he's a baseball coach at Woodrow Wilson High School, the same inner-city school he graduated from. He has a girlfriend, Megan, who is a math teacher at Wilson.

At this point, I think it's time to explore the current life of Joel. He is doing well for himself, his girlfriend Amanda, and their baby Jonah. Yep, sensitive-guy Joel had a baby, and he's three months old. Dad is a junior editor for Random House with hopes of one day writing the Great American Novel, while mom is a children's book artist.

Pushing forward, it's Evan's turn. Evan isn't doing too great at this point in time. He's got a degree in accounting, but he hates his job. He has a girlfriend, Dina, but he wants to break up with her. Evan just doesn't seem to have the best luck in any situation.

On to Max, and his attached-at-the-hip gal Jill. They're still attached at the hip, and will probably be the next ones to get married. Max finally found a job that would utilize both of his majors: he's the on the legal representation team for D.R.A.N., a firm that does biochemical research for the government. Jill is employed by an advertising agency, working her way up to hopefully be an executive.

You probably think I forgot Jack, but I was saving the biggest success story for last. Jack is a co-cheif graphic designer for MacroHard, a software company owned by Bill Gates. You're probably thinking the name is just a little too stupid, too much the antithesis of Microsoft, but Gates did it as a joke, and it stuck. Jack absolutely loves his job, and he's very good at it. One wouldn't believe the things that come out of a brain like Jack's.

Now that I've gotten through the friends, I'll give you a little update on the family front. Dad is great, and he loves running the new Ice House. Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Windham III have been married for four years, and Bessie is the happiest I've ever seen her. Alex is in fourth grade, and his little brother Aaron is starting kindergarten in the fall.

What about me? What about Erik? I've worked for, oddly enough, Reiker & Sons and Associates for the past three months since I graduated law school. Erik has worked for a year at Oakley & Associates, his mom's law firm. Talk about going against the grain, Erik not only skipped Reiker and joined his mom's firm, but he's a criminal defense attorney, not a mainstream lawyer like the rest of the Reiker men.

So, now that all the catching up has been done, I'm going to move ahead. Jen, Jill, and Andie are supposed to be coming to get me so we can go try on our dresses and get the final fitting before Wednesday. Bessie, Erik's mom, Samantha, his grandmother, Aimee, and his sisters, Maggie, Emma, and Becky, are going to meet us at the bridal shop. I know I'm not supposed to get all girlie, but the dresses are gorgeous. There are seven bridesmaids and the dresses are three very light green, and four sky blue. I had to go traditional, so my dress is white and indescribable.

Erik was, surprisingly, very into helping out with everything. The colors were a compromise though, because neither of us could agree. He's got eight groomsmen, four in light green vests and four in light blue vests. Add in Becky's six-year-old daughter Charlie in light pink, and Aaron in a cute little tuxedo with a light green vest, and the wedding party, aside from parents, is set.

Who are the Best Man and Maid of Honor? Viktor and Bessie, of course. There wasn't really any decision to be made on that part, even though all our friends are like sisters and brothers. Viktor has known Erik almost all of his life, and Bessie is my sister, and more importantly, my best friend.

Ah, now some real action. I'll have to get back to that 'hell' part later. Jen's here.

"Joey, open up!" Jen yells as I slowly make my way to the door from the kitchen.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm coming." I open the door, and there they are.

"Let's go, we're supposed to be there in ten minutes," Jen's suddenly become the most punctual person I've ever known.

"Okay, let's go."

We get on the elevator and push 1. Erik and I live in an apartment building. Actually, calling this an apartment building is being modest; it's more like a sky-scraper full of penthouses.

We exit the elevator and run to the double-parked Saab where Jill and Andie are awaiting our arrival.

"What -" Jill starts.

"Sorry, I know, we're going to be late. Don't worry, I'm sure Samantha has taken care of it," Jill's as much a stickler for promptness as Jen.

"So, Joey, how does it feel?" Andie asks, referring to getting married.

"You ask me every day. You think it changes?" I'm exaggerating, but she has asked a few times.

"No, but you've got four days left until the big day. Your not even nervous?"

"Don't remind me. Yes, I'm nervous."

"Scared, worried, anxious?"

"Oh God, too many adjectives! My brain is beginning to fry guys," and it truly is, for I am thinking about things way too much.

"So just stop," Jen suggests, "Think about nothing but what is going to happen in the next ten minutes for the next four days. I know, it's hard to do, but you've got to try it, 'cause it really helps." She has an interesting point, but I doubt I can do it. And anyway, you'd get bored.

"That's a good idea. Maybe I'll try it," Jill's acting a little weird. Almost reserved, and she never has before.

"Something wrong Jill?" I ask.

"No, nothing much." She reaches up to scratch her head and the sun starts to reflect off her hand. It's a ring.

Jen notices before I can say anything. "My Lord, Max asked you?!?"

"Yes, last night," Jill is grinning from ear to ear.

"Hey, why not go faster and we can have a double wedding?" Jill would love that - when pigs could fly.

"No way. I'm going slow, Max is going slow. We are not getting married five days after we got engaged."

"I was joking, but I see your point. It took us five years to get here."

"And a long five years that was," Jen says with a laugh.

"Hey, I never said it was an easygoing, quick five years. Were we really that bad?" I'm almost afraid to ask.

"No, just hard to follow," Andie replies.

"And confusing," Jill adds.

"This is the place, right?" Jen has stopped in front of Bridal Boutique, and is again, double parked.

"Yeah," I answer, avoiding the parking thing.

"Get a spot, we can't stay like this," Andie says, taking the words right out of my head.

Jen parallel parks and we all jump out and run for the door. We've made it, exactly on time. Samantha, Aimee and Bessie are waiting.

"Where are Maggie, Emma and Becky?"

"Becky and Charlie are getting Charlie's haircut and should be here in a few minutes," Samantha answers. "Emma is running late because Ben is running a fever and Rick is on his way home from Billy's soccer game. And Maggie had to go out to a site and said she'd be here by 2:15."

"Maggie and her architecture, you know how she is Joey," Aimee comments smiling.

"Are we ready ladies?" Gwen, the owner comes in with two employees trailing her.

"We are, but four more will be here shortly," I answer.

"Joann, you wait here for the other ladies to arrive and then show them in," Gwen directs one of the women. "Everyone, follow me." We all follow, like children in school.

In the large room, Aimee, Samantha and Bessie sit down while Jen, Andie, Jill and I go into the fitting rooms. I, of course, am first to come out.

"Oh Joey, it looks better every time," Bessie gushes.

"It looks wonderful," Aimee agrees.

"I think it's perfect. We got everything fixed last time," Gwen says. "Take a look Joey."

I walk over to the full-length mirror. I honestly don't know how to describe it. It really is perfect. The top has thin straps and it's slim and plain white satin. The skirt is long and full. I'm wearing these gloves that come midway up my upper arm. This dress is everything I've ever wanted. And I'm not wearing a veil; how's that for defying tradition? Okay, not very gutsy, but I'm going to wear a halo of light pink roses.

"Oh Joey, that's beautiful," Maggie says entering the room with Emma, Becky and Charlie in tow.

"Wow," Emma agrees.

"Joey looks like Barbie Mom, " Charlie says, evoking a laugh from all of us.

"She does, doesn't she," Becky laughs.

"Okay, everything looks right. You can go change," Gwen says after we've all quieted down.

I start for the dressing room as a figure comes running in. I stop and look towards the door where Erik is standing, looking shocked.

"Erik Collin Reiker! What are you doing here?" his mother demands.

" forgot..." he looks away from me and at his mother. "Sorry, I forgot when we were supposed to get the tuxes fitted. I've got two cars full of guys waiting outside because I can't remember if it was 3:00 or 3:30."

"It's at 3:30. You could have just called one of us," Samantha says. As a sign, Bessie, Maggie, Becky, Emma, Aimee and Samantha all hold up their cellular phones.

"Six phones between us, plus Jen's car phone, my phone and Andie's phone," I say, getting his undivided attention once more. He's looking at me so oddly, it's getting eerie. "You're not supposed to see me." I wait a minute, but his expression doesn't change. "What?"

Erik starts to make his way over. "You look....indescribable."

"Whoa little brother," Maggie says jumping in front of him. "You can't be here now. Wait until Wednesday."

"Why?" Erik whines like a two-year-old.

"Because you just can't. I don't make the rules, I'm just here to make sure you abide by them."

"I thought that was the job of police officers and lawyers," Erik replies in a haughty voice.

"Don't be a wise ass, just leave."

"Fine!" He throws up his hands and turns to leave, but then turns back. He lifts his arm and points at me. "I'll see you later," he grins and runs out.

"That was exciting," Maggie comments.

"It wouldn't have been that bad Mag," Emma says.

"Yes it would have, it would initiate the curse," Aimme says with a wink and an heir of sarcasm in her voice. "Go get changed Joey."

So I just got a peek at Joey in her dress, and it's gorgeous. Now I really can't wait until Wednesday.

Wednesday. God, time flies when your having fun. I'm about to get married in four days, and every time I think about it, this incredible rush runs through me. I'm about to really and truly prove that I love Joey with all my heart, and that I'm ready to spend the rest of my life with her. So where is the conflict and why is this story still so interesting? I don't think Dad or Gramps wants us to get married.

They seem to be having nothing to do with this. Sure, they both own about a million tuxes, and that would explain it, but they couldn't even come with me. All my friends are coming, even Mike, but Dad and Gramps couldn't make the time to come.

Maybe their disappointed in me. I mean, I went to work for Mom instead of them, and I'm getting married at 25. They can't not like Joey, they hired her over thousands of graduates. I don't really see what their problem is.

My problem is that I don't think my own father will come to my wedding. Mom will probably force him, but he won't have come because he wanted to. Sometimes I think he wishes I'd never been born.

All right, that's too depressing to harp on at this time. I'll skip to the more exciting topic: a proposal.

Now, you're probably thinking I can't be getting married without having already proposed, but you'd be wrong. You see, I did propose, in a moment of pure desperation, and that was the only time I ever did it. Tonight I'm going to do it again, and this time it's going to be perfect. Joey may not seem like the type to want anything big and embarassing, but I know she does, so that's what I'm going to give her: a second proposal. Maybe a little late, but better late than never.

So tonight, I'm going to ask Joey to marry me. And she better say yes.

To Be Continued


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