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Author’s Note: I finally got back into this one! I’m sorry it took me so long to update. Writing two stories is pretty difficult, especially two as completely different as Made and Counting the Stars. I will try to update both regularly from now on. I thank you all for your patience and I hope you like this update. And just so you know, I have a lot more planned for both stories, so I hope you stay tuned!! Thanks again!
I never would have opened up
but you seemed so real to me
after all the bullshit I’ve heard
it’s refreshing not to see
I don’t have to pretend
she doesn’t expect it from me
Don’t tell me I haven’t been good to you
don’t tell me I have never been there for you
don’t tell me why
nothing is good enough
Hey little girl would you like some candy
your momma said that it’s OK
The door is open come on outside
no I can’t come out today
it’s not the wind that cracked your shoulder
and threw you to the ground
who’s there that makes you so afraid
you’re shaken to the bone
and I don’t understand
you deserve so much more than this
So don’t tell me why
he’s never been good to you
don’t tell me why
he’s never been there for you
don’t you know that why
is simply not good enough
so just let me try
and I will be good to you
just let me try
and I will be there for you
I’ll show you why
you’re so much more than good enough...
"Miss!" a middle-aged woman called out to Joey, her impatience evident in the tone of her voice. Her short, light-brown hair was bluntly chopped to neatly frame her perfectly made-up face, and she was dressed to the nines in a blue business suit, going well beyond the casual attire required to dine at the Icehouse. "Excuse me, miss!" she tried again, a little louder this time; her plea for service was politely sweet, but Joey didn’t miss the annoyed edge to it.
They were in the midst of the dinner rush at the Icehouse, and Joey was being pulled in every direction but the one that would allow her to sit down and take a break. She had been on her feet since she got there after school, which was three and a half hours ago, and the way things were going right now it would be another three and half before she would be able to rest them. Joey was already in a foul mood, and this stupid bitch that wouldn’t stop whining at Joey for more coffee every five minutes was definitely NOT helping!
"God…I’m coming," she muttered under her breath as she grabbed the hot coffee pot and headed over to her table after serving a very pleasant, not to mention very patient family of four, their meals. Now they deserved the bright and sunny, albeit fake, smile that she plastered on for them. This caffeine-addicted monster that was dangling her mug out to Joey like she was the Queen of Capeside definitely did not.
"More coffee, Ma’am?" Joey said tersely as she tried to stop the scowl that was threatening to take over her face.
"Yes." The woman shoved her cup at Joey, barely even glancing at her. "That would be lovely, seeing as my cup has been empty for ten minutes now."
Joey took a deep breath to try and diffuse the ticking temper time bomb that was raging inside of her, ready to explode, if this lady made even one more jab at the speed of her service. No one insulted Joey’s capabilities as a waitress! If there was one thing she was good at in this life it was, unfortunately, waiting on people hand and foot in a timely fashion. This lady just better step off!
"Well," Joey sighed. "Let me just get that for you." She grabbed the cup and filled it with the steaming brown liquid before placing it back on the table. "There you go." She forced a small smile onto her lips, not wanting to give the cranky beast the satisfaction of getting to her.
"Finally." The customer rolled her eyes dramatically. Joey ignored her comment and started to walk away when she heard the woman say to her male companion, "I should’ve known better than to expect good service at a restaurant owned by the local drug lord and from his daughter no less! I don’t think we’ll be coming back to this white trash establishment."
Joey stopped dead in her tracks, slamming the coffee pot down onto an empty table. The explosion she tried to squelch a few minutes ago went off with a loud and thunderous roar, sending tiny shards of fiery hot rage bursting through her, penetrating her calm exterior. Joey was seething with anger as she spun around to face her malicious critic. Her fists were tightly clenched at her sides and her eyes were dark and clouded with hurt. "What was that, bit-…" she started to spit out, but was cut off as a large hand clapped over her mouth, stopping her from unleashing her wrath on the unsuspecting customer.
"Hey, Jo!" Pacey said loudly as he gripped her arm tightly and began pulling her away, all the while keeping his other hand firmly clamped over her mouth. "You’re needed in the kitchen right away! Bessie needs to see you about that…that thing."
The coffee lady was now staring them up and down, pursing her lips in further disapproval of their actions. Pacey nodded to her while he attempted to remove a struggling Joey from a potentially dangerous situation. "How ya doin’, ma’am? Lovely night…oh…" he paused to wince and grunt in pain as Joey jabbed him hard in the side with her pointy elbow, "isn’t it?" he finished with a slightly pained grin, finally successful in dragging her away. He moved them over behind the restaurant counter because he knew he would never make it to the kitchen with the way she was fighting him.
Pacey waited a few seconds before releasing Joey from his grasp and prepared himself for the inevitable tongue-lashing.
"Pacey," Joey hissed, "why did you do that!?"
"That’s okay, Jo." Pacey shrugged off the black backpack he was carrying, letting it slide down his arms before dropping it on the floor. "No need to thank me."
"Thank you?!" Joey exclaimed incredulously. "There’re a lot of things I wanna do to you right now, Pacey, and, believe me, thanking you definitely isn’t one of them!"
"Shh, keep your voice down." Pacey put a hand on her shoulder and whispered in her ear, "I’m sure all of these fine paying customers who are trying to enjoy a nice meal, don’t want to hear about the numerous kinky things you’d like to do to me." He put his other hand over his heart. "Think of the kids, Jo."
"The kids, huh?" Joey challenged as she met his gaze, her dark chocolate eyes still flashing with anger. "I don’t think you should be worrying about the poor children, Pace. Not when your own life is in danger." She kept her eyes locked with his as she reached over and grabbed a fork off of the counter. "Remember how I warned you that I was plotting your demise? Does a screwdriver to the temple ring a bell?"
"Yeah, but in case you haven’t noticed, that’s a fork."
"Fork? Screwdriver?" She shrugged and held the utensil in question up to Pacey’s temple. "It doesn’t really make a difference; both are sharp and pointy and will easily puncture your puny little head." She grinned at him evilly before continuing, "When you think about it, forks really do make wonderful murder weapons."
"I beg to differ, Jo." Pacey started to back away from her, but Joey followed, her fork still in position to take him out at a moment’s notice. "I’ve played Clue many times and not once has Colonel Mustard ever stabbed Miss Scarlet with a fork in the library."
"Well, this is the Capeside Edition, Pace, and I make the rules in this game of Clue. The murder victim is Pacey Witter. And Joey did it…in the Icehouse…with a fork."
"Okay." Pacey held up his hands in surrender. "I get it. You’re pissed at me, but I had to stop you from yelling at that woman." He grabbed onto her arms, his tone suddenly becoming serious. "I understand how badly her words hurt you. Believe me, if anyone understands what that feels like, it’s me. But, she isn’t worth it. You’re so much better than her, you know that don’t you?"
Joey removed her fork-wielding hand from Pacey’s temple and slumped her shoulders in defeat. She was trying to avoid discussing this with him, but knew he wouldn’t let her. "No, I’m not." She tossed the fork into a bucket of dirty dishes and shoved her hands into the pockets of her jeans. "She’s right. I’m white trash. No matter where I go or what I try to do to escape that label, I’m never going to be able to. Nothing will ever be good enough. I’ll never be good enough. It’ll haunt me for the rest of my life." She quickly looked away, but not before Pacey saw the tears welling up in her eyes.
"Joey." Pacey gently took her face in his hands and made her look at him again. "That’s not true and you know it. You’re an amazing person, and if the narrow-minded inhabitants of this godforsaken little town can’t see that, then that’s their problem and their loss. I say to hell with them all!"
"I know I shouldn’t let people like her bother me, and most of the time I don’t, but it’s hard to be strong all the time. Sometimes…it just…it hurts, Pace…" Joey’s voice trailed off, her tough façade breaking, tears spilling out of her eyes.
Pacey’s words of comfort only served to make Joey sob harder and she covered her face with her hands to shield herself from the prying eyes of the Icehouse patrons. An emotional and vulnerable Joey Potter was once a rare sight to Pacey, one he almost never witnessed, until recently. Here she was breaking down in front of him for the second time in two weeks, but this time Pacey couldn’t fight the urge to console her like he did that night on the boardwalk. He knew the pain she was feeling all too well, and he would do anything to dry her tears.
He found himself wrapping his arms around her without any hesitation or worry over whether Joey would welcome his embrace. He wasn’t surprised either when she accepted his offer to console her, allowing the gesture. She willingly collapsed against him and pressed her face into his chest, releasing her anguish in a river of tears that flowed down her cheeks and flooded onto his blue Hawaiian shirt. Pacey welcomed the puddle her teardrops left behind; it somehow made him feel as if he was absorbing her sorrows as well, that she was transferring them over to him, and this was one burden that Pacey would gladly carry for her. He wanted nothing more than to take all the hurt away.
The fact that Joey was actually letting him do all these things was nothing short of a miracle, but again, Pacey wasn’t shocked by it. Not that much anyway. Lately, their relationship was like an ocean, with the tides always turning, going in and out so often that he couldn’t keep up with it. Two months ago, they were merely supporting players in the movie of life that was largely scripted, and almost always directed by Dawson, and their parts were clear cut and easy to play. They bickered, bantered, and just plain didn’t get along. And, that was the extent of it, aside from the occasional plot twist in which they acted like two people who just might care more for each other than they let on.
However, the director’s attention was focused on a new leading lady these days, leaving the sidekick and tomboy best pal to fend for themselves. Joey wasn’t happy with the recent change in her role; she was cast as the only girl in Dawson’s life a long time ago, and wasn’t used to sharing the spotlight. Pacey didn’t much care if Dawson had no use for them anymore. That meant they were free to work on their own independent production. Pacey had aspirations to become the hero in this new story, and he wanted Joey to be his leading lady.
And Dawson…well, he didn’t fit into the picture.
Yes, Dawson and Joey made up the very next day after their big blow up, just as Pacey predicted. But, it wasn’t the grand apology that Pacey knew Joey was looking for. Dawson gave that one to Jen, spending three hours convincing her of the error of his ways, while Joey only got the half-hearted ‘I’m sorry, old buddy’ version. It even came with the standard pat on the back. He continued to take Joey for granted, and he still wasn’t being very helpful or understanding when it came to her current situation. At least now he didn’t find her upcoming Made appearance and pageant hopes and dreams to be the most hilarious thing he’d ever heard, but he wasn’t exactly jumping on the ‘Joey Potter for Miss Windjammer’ bandwagon either. Anytime she talked about it, he barely listened, dismissing the subject almost as soon as it came up, and switching it to his favorite one…which would be Jen, of course. Dawson had no idea that Joey was doing this for him, and she continued to suffer in silence over her unrequited love.
Pacey, on the other hand, was Joey’s biggest supporter, just like he promised. ‘Passing Scruffy’ back to her two weeks ago seemed to knock down a piece of the wall Joey built around herself, allowing him access to an area that was once restricted. Little by little, she was letting him in. When Joey freaked out after meeting with the producers of the show, she called Pacey to calm her down. After that, she started showing up on his doorstep, feigning boredom, but Pacey could tell she was just looking for someone to talk to, and he was happy to oblige. And, last week he came to her rescue when Abby Morgan and her spiteful little group told Joey that the trailer trash daughter of a criminal could never be ‘made’ into a beauty queen; he pretty much told the evil wenches to go fuck themselves, and Joey gave an equally biting and far more brilliant retort as well, only proving what a great team they made.
Now, here he was, holding her tightly in his arms while she cried on his shoulder, and he knew then that he never wanted to let her go. If their relationship really could be compared to an ocean, then Pacey was in way over his head. He started ‘swimming’ in a new direction all those weeks ago after their snail expedition, and at first, it really wasn’t that big of a deal. But then he started drifting further and further from the shores of the land of friendship and minor crushes. The water became deeper and deeper, and Pacey got swept up into a powerful tidal wave of emotions. He was almost past the point of no return and dangerously close to drowning in a sea of love…over a girl he once called his enemy. He was pretty sure Joey would never test these uncharted waters of romance with him, and was content to navigate them alone for as long as he could. Joey needed him, and that was all that mattered right now.
Besides, things between them hadn’t changed that much, considering she was threatening to maim him with a fork a few minutes ago.
"Pace?" Joey asked, finally breaking the calm silence between them, her voice muffled as she spoke into his chest.
"I think I just got some snot on your shirt."
"That’s no big deal, since most of my shirts look like someone blew their nose all over them anyway," Pacey came back without missing a beat.
She looked up at him, a grin twitching at the corners of her mouth, fighting for control of her tear-stained face. "So, what you’re saying is, my mucus would be an improvement to this eye sore you have on?"
"Exactly, Potter." He grinned at her. "And, it just comes along with the job of being your shoulder to cry on. There’s bound to be some green slimy stuff from your nose crusting up my shirt, but I’ll wear it like a badge of honor, since I consider it one to be the guy you lean on."
Joey scrunched her face up in disgust. "Now it’s an honor to have my boogers all over your clothing?"
"That’s just sick, Witter." She put emphasis on his last name, poking him playfully in the ribs as she said it.
"This from the girl who schemes up different ways to kill people with flatware. I’d say that’s bordering on psychotic, Jo."
"I wouldn’t insult the psychopath, Pace." Joey quickly pulled away from him and grabbed a big metal serving spoon from a container behind the counter. She whirled around to face him, her eyes sparkling with mischief. "She might just beat you senseless with a spoon!"
Joey lunged at Pacey, waving her spoon wildly as she tried to smack him with it. He ducked just in time, narrowly escaping a spoon to his head. "Oh, no you don’t!" He made a mad dash for the same container and snatched up a soup ladle. "Now it’s a fair fight, Potter."
She narrowed her eyes at him and tried to keep a straight face as she spoke, "I assume since you’ve acquired a weapon of your own that you’re challenging me to a duel?"
"Oh, the gauntlet has definitely been thrown down, Josephine."
They locked eyes in a defiant glare, each silently daring the other to strike first. Pacey waited a few seconds before pouncing on her; brandishing his ladle like a sword. Joey responded in kind, and thus the ‘Great Silverware Battle of the Century’ began. Soon arms were flailing, serving utensils were clashing, and Joey and Pacey were laughing hysterically. Pacey’s size and strength clearly gave him the advantage in this fight, and he soon overpowered her. He caught her wrist in mid-swing and forced her to drop her ‘weapon’ before twisting her arm behind her back. She moved to grab for his ladle, but he stopped her. "I wouldn’t do that if I were you," he warned.
"And just what are you going to do? You don’t have enough hands to stop me." She went to reach for it again, but, in a surprise tactic, Pacey released the ladle from his hand and captured her hand with his before Joey even had time to react.
He raised his eyebrows at her menacingly, his ice blue eyes boring into her dark brown ones. "It looks like I win, Jo," he said as he backed her slowly up against the refrigerator, trapping her there. "Do you concede to my victory?"
She met his gaze stubbornly, unwilling to give in. "Never."
He leaned forward, narrowing the already small gap between them, until his face hovered inches from hers. "Then you have a problem because I’m not letting you go until you do."
"And I’m not admitting defeat, so it looks like we’re stuck here."
"Not if I make you give in."
"You can’t make me do anything, Witter."
"I bet I can."
"Nope." She shook her head fiercely. "Not gonna happen, Pacey. There’s nothing you can do to me that’ll make me give in."
Pacey’s grip on her hands loosened, and his expression softened, as all of the feelings he was trying so hard to hide came bubbling up to the surface. This no longer had anything to do with silverware, not when he was so close to the girl of his dreams, the one who gave him butterflies every time she looked at him. Everything he could have with her was right there in front of him, and all the things he was too afraid to say were on the tip of his tongue. He wanted to tell her that her beauty took his breath away. To him she was incredible, wonderful and perfect. She deserved so much more than Dawson Leery. He wanted to beg her to let him be the one to love her, the way she was meant to be.
He just didn’t know how to put any of that into words, but maybe he could show her.
"I think I know a way to make you surrender to me." His voice came out barely above a whisper. He waited for her reaction, hoping to find something in it that said she felt the same way he did.
Joey opened her mouth to respond, but discovered she had nothing to say. Her mind was blank, and why was it difficult for her to form coherent thoughts all of the sudden? Better yet, why was her heart racing in her chest like a runaway train? And why was she trembling? She wasn’t cold. Now that you mention it, she was actually feeling a little overheated.
But, most of all, she wondered why Pacey was looking at her that way, like he wanted her to give up more than just this battle. She only saw this look one other time…right before he attempted to kiss her after the carnival, and that could only mean one thing…
He was going to try again.
She was positive he wanted to kiss her; she could see it in his eyes, just as she did before, but there was something different about it this time. Joey realized what that something was when the idea of Pacey’s lips on hers sent shivers up and down her spine.
She didn’t want to stop him; she didn’t even have the desire to try.
This revelation terrified and excited her all at the same time, leaving her utterly confused and lacking the rational thought to figure out what it all meant. She was too caught up in the intensity of the moment, too wrapped up in him, to think about anything, to even move.
Pacey’s arms went around her waist, and he pulled her closer. Joey practically melted into him, so much so that she was pretty sure if he kissed her she was going to end up a puddle, right there on the floor of the restaurant.
Oh, my God! The restaurant! The fact that they were still in the middle of the Icehouse, which was packed tonight, slipped her mind. Probably because it felt like she and Pacey were the only two people in the universe. But now she was very aware of the audience they had.
Especially when Dawson and Jen announced themselves as members of it.
"Joey? Pacey?" Dawson said their names slowly, his tone of voice matching the bewildered expression on his face as he took in the scene before him. "What in the hell are you guys doing?"
"Nothing!" Joey squeaked as she managed to rip herself from the figurative and literal hold that Pacey had on her. "We were, uh, just messing around."
"I’ll say," Jen quipped as she arched an eyebrow suggestively.
"No, um," Pacey stuttered nervously, "what she means is…well…we were fighting…and there was silverware…and she threatened to murder me with a fork and…" Pacey stopped rambling when he noticed the blank and befuddled stares Dawson and Jen were giving him. He bowed his head in embarrassment, inwardly cursing their impeccably bad timing.
"Whatever, Pace," Dawson said with a sideways glance at Jen, who silently agreed with him that Pacey had most definitely lost it. "Are you ready to go start on our history project?"
Pacey, Jen, and Dawson all had American History together and were working as a group on a project about Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride. Of course, Dawson already had some type of film extravaganza in mind. Pacey warned him in advance that under no circumstance would he don tights and ride around on a horse through the streets of Capeside shouting, "The Redcoats are coming! The Redcoats are coming!" Dawson reluctantly agreed to this stipulation, muttering something about temperamental and uncooperative actors under his breath. Joey had the good fortune of being in another class and didn’t have to be a part of Dawson’s latest blockbuster.
"Yeah," Pacey sighed, "I’m ready." He turned to Joey, not sure what he was going to say. "Are you…are you alright now, Jo?"
"Yep! Never better!" She didn’t even look at him. Her attention was focused on Dawson, who of course hadn’t even noticed that Joey’s eyes were red-rimmed and puffy from crying. To be honest, he really didn’t acknowledge her at all, other than to question what she was doing with Pacey. Pacey wished he could’ve gotten an answer to that one himself, but they were interrupted before he could ‘kiss’ it out of her.
"Okay…I guess I’ll see ya then."
"See ya." She nodded as she bent down to pick up their discarded spoons.
Pacey walked around to the front of the counter and joined Dawson and Jen, still too shaken up from his encounter with Joey to remember that his backpack was lying on the floor behind it.
"You all set?" Dawson asked.
"Ok, then let’s get moving. We have important shots to plan and camera angles to work out and…" Dawson was on a roll as he headed out of the Icehouse. He forgot to say goodbye to Joey, but Jen didn’t.
"Bye Joey," Jen said, rolling her eyes in Dawson’s direction.
Joey’s gaze was fixed on Dawson’s retreating form, and she barely mumbled, "Bye."
Jen and Pacey trudged after their film-obsessed friend, leaving Joey alone to wallow over the way Dawson ignored her just now. His tendency to blatantly overlook her shouldn’t come as a surprise, since it was becoming an every day occurrence.
Now, Pacey, he was a different story. His recent behavior where she was concerned blew her away; she never knew what to expect from him anymore. What transpired a few minutes ago was proof of that. She still couldn’t sort it all out, and at the moment she should be thinking of other things…like her impending leap into the world of MTV reality television. She was supposed to meet her Made coach…tonight!
Joey just remembered that Kat, her coach for the next two months, was coming to pay her a visit at the Icehouse this evening. She called Joey yesterday to arrange it. Their first ‘official’ introduction was to take place tomorrow at Capeside High, in a completely staged scene for the cameras, but Kat wanted the chance to get to know Joey before that circus started. Joey thought that was a great idea, but her day was so horrible that she forgot all about it.
Little did she know Kat had been there for her entire shift at the Icehouse, quietly observing Joey’s every move from where she sat perched on a stool at the end of the counter. She had a front row seat for the show Joey and Pacey just put on, and she definitely wanted to know what that was all about. Now that Joey’s friends were gone, the tall, twenty-four year old, raven-haired beauty and former Miss Massachusetts figured it was time to make her presence known.
She got up and walked over to Joey, extending her hand across the counter. "Excuse me, you’re Joey Potter, right?"
"Yes, that’s me."
"I’m Katherine Miller." She shook Joey’s hand firmly and smiled widely at the befuddled expression on Joey’s face. "Most people call me Kat, though. I’m your Made coach."
"Oh! It’s nice to meet you." Joey returned her handshake. "I was just wondering where you were." She stared in awe at the gorgeous woman before her. Kat had long, wavy, jet-black hair and bright emerald green eyes that were offset by her flawless olive complexion. She wore a pair of jeans and a simple white cotton t-shirt, but somehow she still managed to look stunning. Joey was more than a little intimidated by her beauty and smiled shyly at her.
"I’m sorry," Kat apologized. "I’ve actually been here for awhile, but I didn’t want to bother you. You seemed so busy."
"Yeah," Joey shrugged and gestured toward the dining area, "it’s a little crazy here tonight."
"You’re family owns this restaurant, right?"
"Yes, we do." She wondered just how much information she should divulge to Kat about her family, and decided now was definitely not the time to announce that her dad was doing time for trafficking cocaine. Somehow she didn’t think that would make for a shining first impression.
Kat was a very forward and outgoing person, and never one to beat around the bush. So, she jumped right to it and asked Joey the question she’d been dying to, "So, was that the guy?"
"I saw your entry tape, Joey," Kat explained. "I know you have more than one reason why you want to be a beauty queen, and that one of them just happens to be to impress a guy. If I remember correctly, it was your best friend, someone you’ve known your whole life. Was he the one that was here a few minutes ago?"
Joey chewed nervously on her bottom lip and fixed her eyes on her shoes for a few seconds. She didn’t like talking about this with a complete stranger. She lifted her head and answered weakly, "Yeah."
Joey jumped as Kat smacked her hand down on the counter excitedly. "I knew it!" she exclaimed. "I knew as soon as I saw you two together that he was the one! He seemed so sweet and protective of you, and he’s handsome too." She winked at Joey.
"Wait a minute." Joey was confused. "How did you get that he was ‘sweet and protective’ when he was only here for like 2 minutes and barely said two words to me?"
"No, he was here for about fifteen minutes," Kat corrected. "And he had a lot to say to you, in more ways than one."
"I’m afraid not," Joey argued. "He left without even so much as a goodbye."
Kat plopped down on the stool in front of Joey and squinted at her in confusion. "He said good bye to you. I heard him. Right after he dragged you back here, and you threatened him with a fork." Kat chuckled, remembering how cute it was. "Then you were crying, and he was comforting you." She sighed, a dreamy look in her eyes. "Then, just like that," she snapped her fingers, "you were bickering again. But that’s the way love goes…it’s such a roller coaster ride, and you two took me right along with you." She put her hand to her chest. "I was on the edge of my seat when he almost kissed you."
As Kat babbled away, Joey stood with her mouth gaping open, as it sunk in that she was going on and on about Pacey and not Dawson. She had to clear this all up right away. She couldn’t let her think she was in love with Pacey. Because she wasn’t. That was just the most ridiculous thing she’d ever heard. Sure, he almost kissed her, right over there, up against the refrigerator, when she was putty in his hands, just a heap of mush in his arms, and on her way to becoming ‘the puddle formerly known as Joey’…
Joey shuddered and inhaled deeply, closing her eyes tightly for a second to regain her composure. She would not let Pacey Witter get to her, him and his raging hormones. He was just trying to put the moves on her. There were obviously no feelings involved…none at all. Not now, not ever, and there never would be. Ever!
"Kat, you’ve got it all wrong. You’re thinking of Pacey…"
Kat interrupted, "Yes! That’s his name!"
"But he’s not the one I’m in love with!" Joey said sternly. "Dawson is the one with the blonde hair that came in here to get Pacey." Joey started wiping down the counter frantically as she launched into all the reasons why she wasn’t in love with Pacey. "You thinking I’m in love with Pacey, well that’s just the most absurd…I mean, Pacey’s just…he’s a moron and a loser. Not to mention, he acts like a complete Neanderthal with no manners or brains in his head whatsoever. And his childish and immature sense of humor," she paused as she picked up a bucket of dirty dishes, "don’t even get me started on that!" She turned to place the dishes on the silver cart behind her, her back to Kat as she finished, "there are about a million reasons why I could never love someone like Pacey."
"Oh…o-okay," Kat stammered, a little taken aback at the forcefulness of Joey’s words. Why did she get the feeling that ‘the lady doth protest too much’? "I just thought, um…by the way you two acted…oh, just forget it." She shrugged it off, certain she hadn’t heard the last of this. An awkward silence followed her last comment as Joey busied herself with the cart of dirty dishes.
Neither of them realized there was someone listening to their entire conversation. Pacey returned for his forgotten backpack just as Joey began her cutting diatribe against him. He heard every word she said, each insult stabbing him in the chest, his heart aching by the time she was done.
Pacey left the restaurant before Joey or Kat saw him, made up a lame excuse for Dawson and Jen about a family obligation, and then walked home in a daze. Joey’s words haunted him every step of the way, and made sure he got the message loud and clear.
Joey Potter could never love a screw up like him.
He was a fool to think otherwise, to even hope that she could care about him. His earlier thoughts were right on the money; she did deserve the best.
What he was wrong about was thinking he would ever be good enough to give it to her.
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