Anatomy of a Murder
Part 1: Building a Mystery

by Katy


Rating: PG-13 (Not getting into the really bad stuff yet)

Author's note: This part is included to show what happens after the season finale. It's foreshadowing at the future, and setting the tone for parts to come.

Guest stars: Aimee Summers-Aimee of the DC Fanfic Lounge and formerly of Aimee's Capeside Paradise, helped me plan out this story. As a thanks, I'm giving her a recurring role in this fanfic. She's appearing as a classmate of Pacey's.

"You woke up screaming aloud,
a prayer from your secret god.
You feed off our fears
and hold back your tears.
Give us a tantrum
and a know it all grin
just when we need one
when the evening's thin "
-Building a Mystery

Summer 1999

"And once again, we get to experience the never-ending thrills of a Capeside summer," Pacey said as he shuffled a deck of cards.

"Try to contain your enthusiasm," Dawson said, giving his friend a sardonic look.

"Well, while you're bashing around Philadelphia, I'll be racing up overtime at ScreenPlay Video, "Pacey said, setting up a game of solitaire, "I'll be Capeside's premier Tarentino connoisseur.

"Pacey, I'll be 'bashing' around a town where I don't know anyone but my mom. That doesn't earn me points on the coolness scale."

"But at least you'll be doing something," Pacey lamented, "whereas I'll be stuck in Capeside. Andie's gone. You'll be gone. Joey's playing the recluse. Jen and Jack have formed an elite club that no one else is welcome in. This sucks."

"I don't think anyone's got it easy," Dawson said, "this year's been rough for us all."

Anyone else would have missed the underlying meaning in that. But Pacey knew Dawson too well. Pacey studied Dawson's face. His friend was doing a pretty good job of pretending he wasn't thinking of Joey.

"You know she's just reacting out of pain," Pacey said, "I'll bet that when you come back, she'll..."

"I don't want to talk about it," Dawson said shortly, "Joey's not one to mix words. She meant what she said." A look briefly flashed across Dawson's face, but Pacey wasn't quick enough to catch it. "She wants nothing to do with me. It's over."

Just like that. It was over. As if Dawson could really get over her that quickly.

Dawson's expression quickly changed. "I'm almost done packing," he said.

Pacey wasn't going to let his friend get out of it that easily. "I don't believe you can just drop it like that. You can still get her back..."

"I said it's over!" Dawson yelled, standing up. His face was flushed and his knuckles were white from gripping the edge of the bed, "I can't wait for her anymore," Dawson whispered, trying to control his voice, "I can't do it and still stay sane."

Dawson paused a moment and then sat down again. "Don't worry about me and Joey," he said, "why should you? You still have your girlfriend." Dawson spit out the words angrily, as if Pacey were in the wrong by having Andie."

"Hey don't turn this around on me," Pacey said, "if you hadn't noticed, I won't be seeing Andie for a while..."

"But you still have her," Dawson said, staring at Pacey, "she loves you. She's always going to love you. She's not the type of girl to just turn her affections away from you. And it's not fair. Me and Joey were always together. We were meant to be from the very beginning. But we fall apart, while you're in perfect bliss with a girl you just met." Dawson narrowed his eyes. "Why is it that when my life is falling apart, yours gets suddenly better?"

Pacey stared, wide-eyed, at his friend who was suddenly turning on him. "Man, look what this is doing to you!" Pacey yelled, finding his voice, "I've supported you all along and now you're blaming me for something no one could control."

Dawson waited a moment, and then his face collapsed into sadness. "I'm sorry," he said, "I don't know what came over me. I'm just mad at the world, and you were the closest thing I could lash out at."

"It's alright," Pacey said, still giving his friend strange glances, "I'd probably be the same way if I were in your case. I mean, this isn't the first time Joey's pulled this. I'm surprised you haven't gotten angry like this before. Just don't give up on her right away. You don't have to wait for her, but just don't give up all hope. You're Dawson. You're supposed to be the dreamer."

Dawson gave a sad smile. "Maybe it's time to be something different."

Joey pulled her jacket tighter around her and surveyed the ashen ruins of the Icehouse. A yellow police tape, stretched around the foundation, fluttered in the wind. Stepping over it, Joey's face tightened.

It was as if the Icehouse was a metaphor for her life. A stoic building which had resisted so much action for so long. It had stood through hurricanes, physical and metaphorical. It had seen people come and go. Then one night it went up in flames and all that was left were the dark ashes which stood as tell-tell reminders of the past.

There was the counter where Joey had played Deborah Carson to Anderson, now darkened with smoke and ash. There was the lobster tank that had caused so much excitement on a full moon. The lobster tank was empty and cracked now. There was the stage her dad was building. Surprisingly, it was one of the few things that had survived.

Why was her life always like this? Why was it always one tragedy after another? Her mother, her father, the Icehouse, her relationship with Dawson... Why couldn't she have a normal life?

Why wasn't there anyone she could trust? Trusting Dawson had led to heartache. She may be on speaking terms with Jen, but she wasn't so sure she wanted to be buddy buddy with the girl who once tried to take her boyfriend. Pacey was too involved with Andie. Even Jack was turning away from her, preferring the company of Jen. After everything with her dad and Dawson, how could she possibly trust anyone? The two people she trusted most in the world had broken her heart. That didn't say much for the rest of the world.

With firm resolution, Joey decided that from now on, she could only trust herself. Other people were all out for their own gains. Forget them. From now on, she wasn't out to please anyone but herself.

From somewhere down the hall, somebody screamed in agony. Elsewhere, somebody whimpered in their sleep.

Andie shivered and pulled the course hospital blanket tighter around her. This was for her own good. This was going to make her better. She could consider it 'extreme therapy.'

She distinctly remembered what it was like to be in the psychiatric ward of a hospital. The hard beds, the cold food, the sad faces of other patients... It was the world that most people never saw. People who had no hope were sent here under the pretense of treating them. But it was really to keep them out of sight of the rest of the world. These were products of the world. If 'normal' people didn't have to see them, they could sleep better at night.

Andie wiped the bitter thoughts from her mind. They weren't going to do her any good. They would only serve to make her angry and resentful. Instead she would focus on the good things life had.

The sad fact was, there weren't many good things Andie could think of. Family would be the obvious choice, but her family was so dysfunctional that it wouldn't do her any good. So she would focus on Pacey.

Thinking about Pacey, Andie realized that he really was the one stable thing in her life. While everything else had gone haywire, he had stood by her side telling her he was there for her. And he always was.

Andie had never loved anybody so much. This was the kind of love where you cared for someone so much that it almost hurt.

Andie closed her eyes and smiled. She would always have Pacey. That much she was sure of. There was no way she would ever let him go.

Jen and Jack were flopped back on the couch, watching an old movie on television, just like they did every night. It was a reassuring ritual, the one stable thing they had. It was a secret ceremony, for them only.

Jen smiled. Things were finally working out for her. When she first came to Capeside, she really didn't have any true friends. You could almost count Dawson as one, but at that time, he was interested in her romantically. They never really developed a friendship. Joey had never been a friend. There had been one time when they had called a truce, but never friendship. She never really hung around Pacey long enough to get to know him. He had always been involved with one of his many twisted relationships. And she didn't know Andie at all. But Jack was different.

With Jack, Jen could develop a good friendship without the threat of it becoming something more and destroying everything. He was always blunt and obvious, so he didn't hide anything from her. He had been through hell and back with things in his life, so he had experiences and wisdom to share with her. He was her best friend.

Jack was glad to have Jen as a friend. She was one of the only friends he had. He had never particularly liked Dawson, but he could get along with him if the need arose. He loved Andie, but she was so involved with her own problems. The only thing he and Pacey had in common was Andie. And Joey had been a friend, but now she was distancing herself from him.

With Jen, Jack could have a brutally honest friend who was there for him when he needed it. They could talk, and laugh, and party, and relax together. It was comfortable. They hadn't known each other long, but it was as if they had always been friends.

The friendship was beneficial to both of them. They completely trusted each other at a time when they couldn't completely trust anyone else. They knew they'd always have each other, even though maybe they wouldn't have anyone else. That was a reassuring thought for two people who truly needed each other.

A Few Months Later...

"That's it for today, class, you are dismissed," said Mrs. Ferguson, the Pre-Calculus teacher, "Joey, may I speak to you for a second?"

Joey groaned, but she gathered her books. As the rest of the class filed out, Joey approached her teacher's desk.

Mrs. Ferguson sat down in her chair and removed her glasses. "Joey," she said, looking at her carefully, "I've noticed your participation in class, or lack thereof. You don't complete your assignments, you doze off in class, and your grades are starting to reflect it. You're a brilliant girl. You are probably one of the most intelligent students in the school. But lately, you just aren't living up to your potential."

"Why should I?" Joey asked angrily, her eyes daring the teacher to reply, "Why should I even bother trying? I worked myself to the bone, getting good grades and trying to prove myself, but I'm still in the same situation I was in last year. Why should I have to prove myself to anybody but myself?"

"Joey," the teacher said slowly, "I'm well aware of your economic situation. How do you plan on making it into college, if not with a scholarship?"

"That's for me to worry about," Joey said sharply.

"Joey, as your teacher..."

" is your job to teach, and not to tell me how to run my life." Joey finished, "You are not my mother. You cannot tell me what to do. I believe this conversation is over."

Joey grabbed her books and stormed out of the class.

"There goes the shrew," Jen commented to Jack as Joey stormed into the cafeteria. Jen and Jack now hung out exclusively with each other. Their contact with their old friends was limited, and they often found themselves ragging on their old friends.

"Is it just me, or does she get meaner by the day?" Jack asked, looking at his one time friend and girlfriend, "How does a girl change so much?"

"You've got me," Jen said, "but it's her problem."

"You're right," Jack said, "let other people live their own lives, we'll live ours."

Dawson sat at his lunch table, furiously typing on his laptop. When anybody attempted to place their tray on his table, he shot them the evil eye and they quickly moved.

'Ingrates,' Dawson thought, rubbing the stubble on his chin. He hadn't shaved in a few days. 'Interfering in my creative process.'

Dawson was in the midst of typing his masterpiece, the script that would make him famous. It was about a young boy, betrayed by all of his friends, who were jealous of his genius. In the script, the boy fell in love with a beautiful girl, who led him on and broke his heart, leaving him unable to love. But in the end, it turned out alright for the boy, as it allowed him to grow up and see that the world was a bleak, disparaging place which would destroy an idealistic young boy.

Dawson took a break from typing to survey the cafeteria and all the students milling about. 'Like rats,' he thought. He saw Jen and Jack at a corner table, only speaking to each other, as usual. Wouldn't want him around, Dawson thought bitterly, he wasn't part of their club. There was Pacey, his one time best friend who never understood him. 'Why should he?' Dawson thought, 'he's too busy living his dream life.' Pacey was sitting with Andie, who was practically drooling over Pacey. It was nauseating.

And there, coming through the cafeteria door like a hurricane, was his former love, Joey. JOSEPHINE, Dawson reminded himself. She wasn't his Joey anymore. Well, at least she was as miserable as he was. 'But she brought it on herself, I did nothing to anyone,' Dawson mused. Oh well, he was an artist. Torture was a prerequisite.

'My god, what happened to them,' Pacey thought, as he surveyed all of his old friends, now fragmented. Jen and Jack were an elite clique. Anytime he tried to talk to them, they looked at him as if he weren't worth the dust on their shoes. There was Dawson, angrily glaring at anyone who met his glance. He knew the boy had been hurt, but this was insane.

Joey stormed by and knocked some of Pacey's books off the table. "Watch it!" she yelled at him angrily as she stormed off. Pacey jumped back a little in shock. Geez, she had always been the Ice Queen, but now she was just Cujo.

What happened to everyone? Why couldn't they just get past all of their petty differences?

Andie stared at Pacey and wrapped her hands around his arms. 'He's so beautiful,' she thought, 'I could just take him now.' Ever since she came back from her psychiatric treatment, Andie had spent every waking minute with Pacey, making up for lost time. Every morning, she was at his house with coffee and breakfast for him. Sometimes she had even been able to watch him shave. She would always ride to school with him. She carried his books and walked him to class.

Andie knew she loved him. It was beyond love. It transcended it. He was hers and there wasn't anything anybody could do about it.

Andie surveyed the other people in the cafeteria, to see if any other girl was giving Pacey the eye. Her eyes narrowed. They couldn't have him. Pacey BELONGED to her.

Joey stormed by and knocked some books off the table. She belted out something at Pacey and stormed off. Pacey stared after Joey in shock.

Andie felt her face turn red. Was Pacey checking Joey out? Her grip tightened on Pacey's arm. She would have to keep her eyes on them and keep them apart.

"She turned her back to me, facing the wall. I could see her back rise and fall, rhythmically, with her breathing. She turned again, this time towards me. The faintest hint of teardrops glistened on her dark lashes. 'He shot her,' she said, looking down at her feet, 'he shot her and...and...'..."

"Shit," Pacey said, dropping his pencil and running his fingers through his hair, "what does the bastard say..."

"Excuse me?" came a female voice. Pacey turned to see a girl sitting at a nearby table. She had shoulder-length blonde hair, and bore a striking resemblance to a young Claire Danes. She was looking at him curiously. "Who are you talking to?"

Pacey gave an embarrassed smile. "No one, actually. I didn't realize anyone was listening."

She gave a small snort. "You're talking to yourself in a library, asking what the bastard said." She grinned. "I was wondering what was wrong with you."

Pacey smiled. "I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name."

"I didn't toss it," the girl said, cocking one eyebrow. "I'm Aimee. Aimee Summers. I just moved here from Minnesota. I'm a sophomore."

"Pacey Witter, junior," Pacey replied.

"Upperclassman? Got any advice?"

"Stay away from English teachers. No good can come of it. And never play truth or dare."

"I'll remember that. What's that you're working on?"

"This? Oh, it's a mystery story I'm writing."

"Can I see?"


Pacey handed her the story and Aimee settled down to read it. Might as well get some feedback.

Dawson glared at Pacey's back from behind one of the stacks. Wasn't this charming? While Dawson was sad and lonely, Pacey just had girls all over him. Amazing how the town loser can have it so good just as the nice boy falls.

Dawson smiled. He'd get him one day. He'd wipe that smile off of Pacey's face. Pacey would feel loss. He would know what it was like.

"It's wonderful!" Aimee declared, setting the story down, "I love it!"

"Really?" Pacey asked, somewhat surprised, "I didn't think it was haunting enough."

"I got chills," Aimee said, "when Geraldine was going through the files while the killer was in the building, I got creeped out. You know, there's a national suspense short story contest going on. You could win five thousand dollars."

"Really?" Pacey asked, "Maybe I'll enter. Would you help me with a couple parts?"

"Sure," Aimee said, smiling.

Andie clinched her fists. That little whore was hitting on Pacey. Thank God Dawson had told her about this.

Andie stormed in the library. "What the hell is going on in here?" she demanded.

Pacey and the girl looked up, shocked. "Nothing, Andie," Pacey said, "Aimee was helping me with my story."

"Oh, she was, was she?" Andie asked, glaring at the girl, "It looked more like she was trying to get you into her bed."

"Now just wait a second," Aimee said angrily, "I wasn't doing anything of the sort. He asked me to help him."

"What the hell is wrong with you, Andie?" Pacey asked, "You've been so possessive ever since you came back."

"I have a right to be!" Andie yelled, "You are mine and people keep trying to take you!"

"Andie, I don't BELONG to anyone," Pacey said, his eyes glinting dangerously, "and no one is trying to take me. You're just imagining things."

Pacey stormed out of the library angrily. Andie turned to Aimee, her eyes glittering with anger. "Now look what you've done," she said.

I broke up with Andie that same day. It destroyed her. I would see her in the halls, giving me puppy dog eyes. She showed up at my house, nearly every night. I had to change my phone number.

Dawson made it his one man mission to make my life hell. In his twisted mind, he thought that by making my life hell, it would make his better. It only served to make him even more bitter.

Joey's grades plummeted dangerously. With no friends to her name, and the distinct possibility of repeating the eleventh grade, Joey dropped out of high school and got a job as a waitress in an all-night diner.

I never spoke to Jen and Jack. They avoided everyone and we had nothing to say to each other. So I just let them be and they pretended I didn't exist.

I spoke to Aimee occasionally, but we never really saw each other, save a few encounters in the library.

I entered that short story contest and I won second place. My story got the attention of the headmaster of a creative arts school. Second semester, I transferred to the Rhysdale Academy of the Arts in California, where I boarded until I graduated.

It wasn't until several years later that I returned to Capeside. I had hoped everyone would grow up and move on, but they weren't able to. In fact, things had taken a distinct turn into the dangerous.

To Be Continued in "Cruel Intentions"


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