Made Day One...Just an Ordinary Day
But what would you do with those ordinary days?
You know, the ones where nothing particularly spectacular happens? You wake up, go about your life, and before you realize it you find yourself slipping peacefully back into slumber, your mind blank and your senses dulled as a result of your humdrum existence. There’s no drama, calamity or catastrophe, no trials or tribulations for you to deal with, but there also isn’t any wonderful moments, nothing extraordinary to make you recount the day with a sense of awe and wonder. It’s just the same old song and dance without any new choreography or music to change the routine and break the mundane rhythm.
If you knew you were going to have just an ‘ordinary’ day would you skip it in favor of lounging in your pajamas all day in front of the TV? Or, would you muddle through the monotony hoping tomorrow will be more exciting?
At one time, Joey would’ve shrugged off the ordinary days, having lived through enough to know she wouldn’t be missing anything if she did, but now she found herself praying for one. However, she was pretty sure her prayers wouldn’t be answered. Today was not going to be easy, regular, or boring. Instead, it would probably be humiliating and horrible. The day she’d been anticipating as well as dreading was finally here. Today she would be made; the show would officially start, and Joey feared her life would be ruined in the process, made into a complete mess from which she would never recover.
She awoke early, well before her alarm was set to go off, and a sense of foreboding settled over her before she even had a chance to open her eyes, which was not a good sign. Walking home last night, she had been excited for what was to come, but now that morning was here, her fears and apprehension returned with a vengeance, and she was sure disaster awaited her. She didn’t need a magic device or a fortuneteller to know this would be a good day to bury her face in the pillows, throw her comforter over her head and pretend she was dead to the world. She contemplated feigning illness, but Bessie would see straight through that act. She wondered if she had enough time to climb out the window and escape her fate. Maybe she could go to the train station and buy a one-way ticket out of here. She always dreamed of getting the hell out of Capeside, and now seemed like the perfect time to make her fantasy a reality. The only problem was she lacked the funds required to make a run for it. She mulled over a few other ridiculous possibilities, such as pretending she was suddenly inflicted with amnesia and didn’t even know her own name let alone what MTV was, but she knew it was pointless. There would be no hiding. It was time to face the music, or rather the television cameras. She got herself into this mess, and now there was no way out.
She was in the midst of beating herself up for ever sending her entry tape to MTV in the first place, when all of a sudden it dawned on her that she was blaming the wrong person. Clearly this was all Dawson’s fault. If he hadn’t blown her off for the bleached blond bimbo next door she wouldn’t have been forced to go to such drastic measures in the first place. And so far her plan to turn Dawson’s head was a complete bust. Pacey was right when he said…
Joey’s thoughts came to a crashing halt as soon as the name of her favorite sparring partner and supposed enemy popped into her head. Her mind was suddenly flooded with images of a forgotten backpack, an impromptu acoustic guitar serenade, and a drunken kiss that turned her whole world upside down.
As she replayed last night’s events, she wondered if it was all a dream. Her whole encounter with Pacey seemed so surreal, but a kiss like that couldn’t be conjured up by her subconscious mind. Her imagination was definitely not that good. Her heart was about to thump right out of her chest, her head became light and woozy, and her stomach churned and flip-flopped just from thinking about their lip-lock, which was just all kinds of wrong. A kiss wasn’t supposed to make her feel like that. Pacey wasn’t supposed to make her feel like that.
Maybe she was coming down with something. Yes, that had to be it. Didn’t she overhear the school nurse telling Mrs. Tringle a few days ago about a possible Strep Throat epidemic that was threatening to take over Capeside High? And wasn’t it almost time for Flu Season? Come to think of it, she might’ve even read somewhere that the Plague was making a comeback. Her ‘symptoms’ could be due to any number of things, and she needed to alert Bessie of her impending illness right away, before it was too late. Joey sat up and threw back her bedspread. As she swung her legs onto the floor her right foot connected with a cold, hard, round object sending a sharp, stabbing pain shooting through her big toe. Great, she thought, rubbing the stubbed digit. Just great. Now I can add cripple to that list of possible maladies. She reached down to grab whatever it was she kicked, and was surprised to find her Magic Eight Ball was to blame for the current ache in her toe.
“Now how did that get here?” she mumbled to herself, biting her lip and narrowing her eyes in confusion as she lifted it from the floor. She forgot she even had the silly thing. The last time she laid eyes on it was the day she got it. Pacey gave it to her as a gag gift on her thirteenth birthday and tortured her all day with annoying questions to the toy such as ‘Will Josephine finally grow some boobs this year, now that she’s a woman?’ or ‘Is this the year Aunt Flo will come to visit little Joey?’. Joey, of course, threatened him within an inch of his life, but he still wouldn’t quit. So, she asked a question of her own. Something along the lines of ‘Will this be the year Joey murders Pacey in his sleep?’ She didn’t even wait for an answer, but instead hurled the ball at an unsuspecting Pacey, bashing him right smack dab in the middle of his forehead. After his initial shock wore off, Pacey retaliated by wailing the eight ball back at her. But, Joey was anticipating this and ducked out of the way just in time, leaving the lamp on the end table beside her an open target. She and Pacey watched in silent horror as the lamp shattered into little pieces, while Dawson put his face in his hands in disbelief, once again an innocent bystander to their antics.
Bessie came running at the sound of the crash, her mother too sick to get out of bed and handle the situation herself, and proceeded to lay into Joey for causing such a commotion and breaking the lamp. Bessie started to scold her for adding to their mom’s stress, and that’s when Pacey jumped in and took all the blame for the accident. Joey kept trying to interrupt him, but he wouldn’t let her. Pacey, ever the charmer, even at thirteen, used his velvet tongue and winsome grin to apologize and somehow sweet-talk Bess into a calm state. He then offered to pay for the lamp, to which Joey and Bessie both protested, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer; he showed up the next day with a replacement, one Joey was sure he bought with the allowance money he had been saving for months to buy a new skateboard. He also left her a new birthday present, since her sister confiscated the first gift, saying it was too ‘dangerous’ for her to have. Joey found Scruffy sitting on their porch swing accompanied by a card. The card had a picture of an adorable little brown puppy, which looked a lot like Scruffy, only it was real, and was blank inside with a message scrawled in Pacey’s signature sloppy scribble…
Is Pacey sorry for hurting Joey’s feelings and getting her in trouble on her birthday?
The Magic Eight Ball says ‘all signs point to yes’.
Happy Thirteenth Birthday, Potter.
Joey sighed and gazed dreamily down at the eight ball, lost in her memory of Pacey. Had he always been that sweet? She never considered his actions or the intent behind them until now, and wondered why that was. If she really thought about it, he was always doing little things like that, not just for her, but for others as well. For instance, after Mr. Ryan got sick, he started mowing the lawn for Jen’s grandma, without her even asking him, and he wouldn’t accept any payment for his work.
Pacey might be known throughout Capeside for his tendency to screw up in a major way, but it was the minor deeds he did that spoke volumes about who he really was. Why hadn’t she noticed it before? Was it because the larger than life image of Dawson Leery stood in her way? And now that her ‘Dawson Picture of Perfection’ seemed to be fading fast, Pacey was finally coming into view. Her perception of him was still blurred, especially after his behavior of late, and she was finding she’d have to try many different angles and approaches before she would be able to zoom in and focus on the ‘real Pacey’. Once she did that, maybe she could figure out what his intentions were in regards to her.
In the meantime, she would simply ignore the weak knees and sweaty palms. They were merely just natural physical responses elicited by Pacey’s impulsive display of affection. He just surprised her, that’s all, and she got caught up in the excitement of the moment. It’s not like it meant anything. And, as Pacey kept trying to tell her last night, he was drunk, which most likely impaired his judgment. In retrospect, he was probably acting out of desperation to stop her from leaving, and just did the first thing that popped into his head. Surely there were no real feelings behind his actions. They were just friends, and she was finally coming to realize the significance of their friendship. She would hate to jeopardize it now by letting silly, hormonal teenage urges get in the way, especially at a time like this when she needed all the support she could get.
Still, she couldn’t shake the nagging little voice calling to her from some unknown place deep inside. It had been bugging her from the moment Pacey’s lips touched hers, and maybe even before that. She didn’t know what it was trying to tell her, its message garbled and fuzzy, but it seemed to speak the loudest in moments like these when she was trying to rationalize her relationship with Pacey. It was practically screaming at her last night when he blamed everything on the large quantity of Tequila he consumed, and it refused to be quiet now.
Wonderful. Now I’m hearing voices too. I’ve always wanted a mental illness, and though I know beggars can’t be choosers, I was secretly keeping my fingers crossed for Schizophrenia. Yay! Lucky, lucky me.
Glancing at her alarm clock, she debated whether or not she should wake Bessie and tell her she was sick. It was only five AM, and she knew her older, sleep deprived sister would murder her if she got her up this early. Alexander was still wreaking havoc on all of them at night, and Bess was taking the brunt of it. Besides, what would she tell her?
Bessie, I can’t go to school today because Pacey kissed me senseless last night, and I’ve lost my mind, not to mention I think he infected me with some weird and rare virus, which has taken over my heart and brain, as well as various other organs and body functions, causing me to react to said kiss in an abnormal way. My symptoms could occur at any time, without warning, and bring on death by humiliation. I should be fine in twenty-four to forty-eight hours, as long as I avoid anymore painfully awkward run-ins with Pacey Witter. So, as you can see, it’s imperative that I stay home from school today…
Yeah, Bessie would definitely not fall for that. Although, she may agree Joey was clinically insane and have her committed…
Give it up, Jo. There’s no way out of this one.
Joey groaned and fell back dramatically onto the sofa bed, finally accepting the inevitable; resistance was futile. The only option she had was to jump into her first day of Made and get it over with, as quickly as possible. As for Pacey, she had a feeling he wouldn’t grace the halls of Capeside High with his presence today, not with the nasty hangover he would wake up to. And she should be relieved over his probable absence, so then why wasn’t she? Did she actually want to see him? Was it possible their kiss meant more than she’d like to believe? Did she have more than friendly feelings for Pacey?
Once again she found herself with a million questions and no answers. Suddenly, having a psychic friend didn’t seem like a bad idea, or even…
Wait a minute. Who needs a psychic friend when you have a Magic Eight Ball? Joey never was one to put much stock in the supernatural, but the way she saw it, sometimes desperate times called for desperate measures. Here she was with all the answers in the palm of her hands, and she just couldn’t resist.
She gripped the black orb tightly, closed her eyes, and concentrated as hard as she could on her question.
Did Pacey kiss me because he wanted to, or because he was drunk?
She shook the eight ball a few times for good measure, took a deep breath, and turned it over. She paused before opening her eyes to stare down at the wise words of wisdom offered to her…
Reply Hazy. Try Again Later.
Joey rolled her eyes in disgust. “Figures,” she mumbled under her breath. Even the stupid eight ball wanted to confuse her. As frustrating as it was, she couldn’t help but ask it one more question…
Will I have an ordinary day?
She flipped the eight ball quickly this time, hoping for a positive response from the little blue triangle floating in the middle of the ball…
Outlook Not So Good.
Joey scowled and flung the ball angrily onto the floor. Throwing the covers back up over her head, she chose to ignore its ominous prediction and go back to sleep, not yet ready to face whatever out of the ordinary things awaited her.
Just a boy, just an ordinary boy,
But he was looking to the sky…
The incessant, high-pitched sound would not stop. For the last fifteen minutes it had been hounding Pacey, and he just wanted it to go away. If he could, he would find where it was coming from and end his torment, but moving wasn’t an option for him. For some reason, his extremities were refusing to cooperate with his brain and seemed to blatantly disregard all his attempts to motivate them. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that he felt like he had five hundred pound weights strapped to his arms and legs, but that was nothing compared to the excruciating, not to mention throbbing, pain in his head. It felt like the entire cast of Stomp had taken up residence inside of his skull and was trampling all over his brain in a non-stop performance. And the beeping that would not quit? Yeah, not helping much.
He laid facedown, his head buried in the pillows with the comforter pulled up over him in an attempt to block out the relentless noise, but it only seemed to get louder. He couldn’t figure out what it was, but it was the most annoying sound he ever heard. Suddenly, it dawned on him. There could be only one thing that would omit such an unpleasant and irritating racket – his fucking alarm clock. Oh, how he despised that electronic torture device and its mocking tone; always so chipper and bright with its wake up call, well all the while he was sure it took secret pleasure in pulling him from dreamland to send him off to the hell hole known as Capeside High. He was onto its evil plan to ruin his life, and it was time he put an end to it.
Filled with a renewed sense of determination, he mustered all the strength he could and managed to force his arm out from under the ‘cocoon’ he was enclosed in to grab onto his clock radio. Tugging on it with all his might, he ripped its cord from the wall socket and recklessly launched it across the room. It sailed through the air and landed in the doorway, right at the feet of Deputy Doug Witter.
“Good morning to you too, Pacey,” Doug said dryly, glancing down at the now demolished alarm clock. “I love being welcomed by flying objects. It’s such a nice way for you to show how happy you are to see me.”
“Go away, Doug,” Pacey groaned, his voice muffled by the pillow his face was still pressed into.
“I’m afraid I can’t do that, little brother,” Doug said, carefully stepping over the broken radio and sauntering up to Pacey’s bed. “You see, while mom and dad are away, I’ve been put in charge of you, my delinquent younger sibling.” Doug ripped the comforter from Pacey’s body, continuing in a sickeningly sweet tone, “And I’m here to make sure you start your day off with a smile. Now get your ass out of bed and get to school.”
Pacey didn’t have to turn over to know his older brother had that smug smile plastered on his face, and he wanted nothing more than to roll over and wipe it off, but he was too ill to even try. “I’m not going to school, Dougie. I don’t feel well.”
“Yeah, and I know exactly why you don’t feel well, Pace. Did you have fun drinking all of Dad’s Tequila last night?”
Pacey was caught, but he didn’t even care at this point. At just the mere mention of his alcohol of choice from the night before, his stomach lurched in warning, and he knew if he didn’t get to the bathroom soon, the contents of his stomach would be spewed all over his bedroom. He bolted from his bed, his limbs no longer paralyzed, and ran for the bathroom, making it there just in time.
After puking his guts out, Pacey fell back onto the cool, blue tiles of the bathroom floor, and made the usual morning after vow to never drink again. Becoming amigos with Jose Cuervo seemed like a good idea at the time, but not so much now that the fiesta was over, and he couldn’t even remember one damn minute of it. He thought drinking would help him to forget the pain Joey caused him, but all it served to do was increase the ache, both physically and emotionally. He didn’t even know if he had a good time getting wasted last night. The last thing he remembered was toasting to Joey’s health and wishing for some type of highly contagious disease to be passed on to her through the lips of the next boy that she kissed, whoever that lucky bastard was. Certainly wouldn’t be him, that’s for sure. She made that all too clear when she trashed him yesterday. He had no choice but to pick himself up, dust himself off, and move on. And he would…right after he dry heaved over the toilet some more.
Doug appeared in the doorway, all too amused at the scene before him. He leaned against the doorframe and crossed his arms over his chest, watching as his little brother paid for his bad judgment. “You know, I hope you learned your lesson, Pacey. Alcohol never-”
“Spare me the lecture, Doug,” Pacey cut him off as he gripped the sides of the toilet and prayed for the nausea to pass. “As you can see, I really don’t need it right now.”
“What’s really funny is thinking you could get away with this. I am a police officer, after all. Investigating crime scenes is one of my specialties, although I must admit you and your little accomplice did a good job of trying to cover up your party.”
“Accomplice? What in the hell are you talking about, Doug? I drank alone last night.”
Doug went on as if Pacey hadn’t even said anything, “You underestimate your older brother’s ability to get inside the mind of a criminal. I knew you would try something stupid like this once you found out mom and dad were gone for the weekend, so I took it upon myself to make a note of all the liquor in dad’s cabinet. When I checked this morning, I wasn’t surprised to find the Tequila missing. I also noticed dad’s fishing trophy wasn’t where it normally is, and mom’s crystal vase is missing. You’ll be paying for that one for a long time, little brother.” Doug chuckled sarcastically, and Pacey had to restrain himself from tackling him and pounding his face in. “I also noticed my guitar was moved. I hope you weren’t attempting to play it again. You always knock it right out of tune every time you touch it.”
Guitar, Pacey thought, a sudden, inexplicable sense of panic rising up in him. Oh, this can’t be good.
Doug smirked at Pacey’s obvious distress and confusion. “You really did a number on yourself, didn’t you? That must’ve been quite a mess you made.”
“I’ll clean it up, Dougie. I promise…”
“You really have no idea what went on here, do you?” Doug interrupted, shaking his head in disbelief. “Get yourself cleaned up and be downstairs in ten minutes. I’ll be waiting in the squad car to take you to school.”
“I don’t wanna hear it, Pace. You’re going, and that’s final.” Doug turned to leave, but called back over his shoulder, “Hey, Pace. Maybe this will help jog your memory.” He tossed a little, brown stuffed dog at Pacey. “I think it’s so sweet you still sleep with Scruffy.”
With that Doug disappeared down the hall, leaving Pacey alone to stare at Scruffy lying on the floor before him, with a look of terror on his face. He knew exactly what his presence here meant.
Scruffy had been passed back to him, which could only mean one thing.
Joey was there last night.
“Oh, fuck,” Pacey groaned as he banged his head off the toilet seat, wishing he would just get sucked down the drain and be left to rot away in the sewer for all of eternity. Anything would be better than the living nightmare he was about to walk into.
Two hours later, Joey was in the bathroom standing in front of the mirror blow-drying her hair when Kat burst through the door. “Good morning, beauty queen!” she exclaimed loudly over the hum of the dryer in an overly perky, singsong voice. “Are you ready for the big day?”
Shutting off her hair dryer, Joey glanced at Kat warily out of the corner of her eye. Was she always this happy? “Um, I think so.”
“What kind of an answer is that?”
“Um…uh…” Joey stammered, taken aback by Kat’s question. She didn’t know how to respond.
“Joey, Joey, Joey,” Kat drawled as she slung her arm around her. “Right here is what we have to work on. You have absolutely no self-confidence. You’re a beautiful and intelligent young woman. I’ve only met you once, and I could see that right away.” Joey dropped her head at Kat’s last statement, a deep red blush staining her cheeks. “Now, there will be none of that,” Kat scolded as she put her hand under her chin and lifted Joey’s head so they both were looking in the mirror. “A beauty queen always keeps her head held high. Walk tall and be proud of what you have to offer the world. That’s my first lesson of what I’m sure will be one of many, and one of the most important things I could teach you. Don’t forget it, okay?”
Kat caught Joey’s eye in the mirror and smiled at her, and Joey couldn’t help but return the gesture. “I won’t.”
“Alright.” Kat clapped her hands together excitedly. “Let’s get you dressed, and then get some makeup on that gorgeous face of yours.”
“But I am dressed.”
“Yeah, um, about that,” Kat said as she looked Joey up and down.
“What? What’s wrong with what I have on?” Joey asked as she followed Kat’s gaze to the light blue v-neck sweater and blue jeans she was wearing.
“Nothing. But, don’t you think you should dress up a bit? You’re going to be on Television.” Joey opened her mouth to protest, but Kat cut her off. “Now before you say anything about not having any dress clothes, I took the liberty of picking out something for you yesterday after I left the Icehouse. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Well, you really didn’t have to,” Joey said as she began to wring her hands, not comfortable with Kat’s charity, or her boldness. “I don’t have the money to buy a new outfit.”
“Nonsense,” Kat said as she reached around to the outside door handle and grabbed two hangers that held a denim skirt and a white cowl neck cashmere sweater. “Think of it as a gift, Joey, marking the start of what I hope will be a rewarding and exciting journey for you, and a wonderful friendship between us.”
She held the clothes out to her, and Joey reluctantly accepted them. “Thanks,” she said softly as she started to look at the floor, but stopped when she remembered what Kat said earlier. She lifted her eyes, and Kat smiled in approval.
“Good girl. I’ll leave you alone to get dressed, and then we need to hurry and get your face done. The whole Made crew is out there waiting for you to get started. They want to begin taping the opening scenes,” Kat said as she headed out the door. She paused to add, “And you might also be interested to know that a certain handsome young man is waiting for you out on your front porch.” Kat winked at her knowingly before closing the door.
A certain handsome young man? Who could that…?
Just then Joey remembered Kat telling her yesterday she thought Pacey was handsome. Did she mean Pacey was the one waiting for her? Oh God, she didn’t think she would have to see him today. Now what was she going to do? Right on cue, the heart palpitations began and she broke out into a cold sweat. But, at the same time, she couldn’t deny her happiness at the prospect of having Pacey by her side for the start of what could possibly be one of the most important and difficult days of her life. She couldn’t think of anyone she would want to share this with her more than him, which both surprised and scared her, since Dawson was usually the first person she turned to for support. Apparently, that wasn’t the case anymore.
Joey dressed quickly, and had to admit Kat did a great job with the ensemble she chose for her, even if she felt overdressed for school. After she finished, Kat and Bessie descended upon her and painted up her face with enough Cover Girl products to make even Bozo the Clown jealous. It was a little too much for Joey, but they both seemed so enthusiastic, she didn’t have the heart to tell them. After Bessie fawned all over her, took about a thousand pictures, and then made a teary speech about how quickly Joey was growing up, she was finally able to grab her backpack and make her way to the front porch with Kat following close behind.
“So, you decided to drag yourself out of bed this morning and join us,” Joey began as she pushed through the screen door and out onto the porch.
She stopped dead in her tracks when Dawson turned to greet her, his brows knitted in confusion. “Morning, Jo. Why wouldn’t I get out of bed?”
“Um, I, uh, just didn’t expect you to be here, that’s all, Dawson,” Joey said, her eyes darting around in search of Pacey, but he was nowhere in sight. She tried to hide her disappointment at finding the wrong ‘handsome boy’ waiting for her, but Kat picked up on it right away. Dawson, however, was just as oblivious as ever.
“Why wouldn’t I be here, Jo? Today’s your big day.”
“So I’ve heard.” Joey rolled her eyes in Kat’s direction. “But, really, you didn’t have to come.”
“But I wanted to.”
“Don’t you have something better to do, like walk Jen to school?”
Dawson frowned at her obvious jab at the amount of time he’d been spending with Jen. “Look, Joey. I know I haven’t been around that much lately, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care, you know that. You’re my best friend, and I want to be here for you, okay?”
Joey worried her bottom lip as she considered Dawson’s offer. She was completely baffled by it. What would make him switch gears so abruptly and decide to back her now after he was so against what she was doing before? It just didn’t make sense and was only adding to her stress. But, wasn’t this what she wanted in the first place? Dawson was finally paying some attention to her, and she shouldn’t take that for granted, as he was likely to drop her as soon as Jen came waltzing along to tempt him away. This might be the only chance she got to impress him.
“Alright,” she agreed, a tiny smile creeping over her face.
“Great!” Dawson smiled back. “You look really nice today, Jo.”
“Thanks,” Joey beamed.
“Ahem,” Kat cleared her throat to remind Joey she was still standing there.
“Oh my, I’m sorry! Dawson, this is Kat, my Made coach.” Joey gestured to the tall, dark-haired woman standing beside her. “Kat, this is my best friend, Dawson Leery.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Kat,” Dawson replied, extending his hand.
“You too.” Kat clasped his hand in hers and pumped it up and down. “Now, if you’ll excuse us, Joey and I need to go meet with the director of the show. If you don’t mind waiting, Dawson, she’ll be ready to walk to school with you in a few minutes.”
“I don’t mind. Take all the time you need. I’m not going anywhere.”
Kat linked her arm through Joey’s and ushered her across the front lawn towards a white van that had a small group of cameramen and various other crewmembers milling about it. As they walked, Kat leaned in to Joey’s ear as if she was telling her a secret and said softly, “That wasn’t who you were expecting to see, was it?”
Joey knew exactly what she was talking about, but feigned innocence. “What do you mean?”
“You wanted it to be Pacey standing there,” Kat said matter-of-factly.
“No, I didn’t!” Joey retorted indignantly. “Especially not after what happened last…” Joey realized what she was about to reveal and clamped her hand over her mouth.
She thought Kat would press her for more information, but her coach only laughed and patted her on the shoulder, “Oh Joey, honey. You are in so much trouble, and you don’t even know it yet.”
Kat kept on walking, leaving Joey to stare after her with her mouth gaping open and the little voice inside of her fighting to be heard more than ever.
Just as the Magic Eight Ball predicted, Joey’s day wasn’t going so well. She spent the better part of the morning being chased around by an entourage of people and having cameras shoved in her face. She was not used to being the center of attention, and wanted to just shut herself in her locker and not come out until she was sure they were all gone. They filmed her at her house before she left, on her way to school, and were trailing her everywhere she went throughout the halls of Capeside High. They kept pushing her to talk to the camera, tell them about herself, and urged her to loosen up and be more ‘real’, but she didn’t know how she was supposed to do that while wearing an outfit that wasn’t her style and a mask of makeup so thick she couldn’t even remember what she looked like underneath it anymore.
To make matters worse, they were interviewing her ‘peers’ to get their thoughts on Joey’s desire to enter the Miss Windjammer pageant. People she didn’t even know were analyzing her chances and talking about her like they’d known her for years, all because they wanted to be on MTV. Abby Morgan was one of the first to jump in front of the cameras and give her opinion on the ‘convict’s daughter’, all too eager to air Joey’s dirty laundry. Dawson had to physically restrain Joey to keep her from pouncing on the malicious girl. He even stepped in to defend her, coming to her rescue in a way he hadn’t in a long time. Jen did too, much to Joey’s surprise, and both had nothing but glowing things to say. While all this was taking place, Kat stood off to the side watching Joey curiously, and Joey wondered what she thought about what Abby had to say in regards to her father. She expected Kat to demand answers, but she just gave her a sympathetic smile and left it alone, just as she did earlier.
As for Pacey, she didn’t see him all morning. They didn’t have any classers together until the afternoon, and she didn’t see him in passing in the hall either. She was positive he hadn’t come to school, which was probably for the best. She didn’t have enough energy to deal with him.
Joey stood in the lunch-line in a daze, her brain on overload from the chaos of the last four hours. The crew decided to break for lunch, giving Joey a much needed reprieve. Jen and Dawson weren’t here yet, and she found herself alone for the first time all day. She was grateful for the solitude, and hoped it would give her a chance to clear her mind. She collected her food and turned to head for their usual table, freezing in place when she noticed Pacey was already sitting there with his head in his hands. She considered finding a seat at another table, but that would raise too much suspicion; Dawson and Jen would want to know why she wasn’t sitting with Pacey, and she wouldn’t be able to give them an answer. She had no choice but to join him.
“Hey,” she said softly, knowing he must have a pounding headache. She had to resist the urge to reach out and rub his shoulder in comfort.
“Hey,” he replied without looking up at her, his voice rough and weary. His own heart was pounding, although more so out of fear. Seeing Scruffy this morning really did alleviate his amnesia to a certain degree, and bits and pieces of the night before were starting to come back to him. He remembered falling and spilling chips all over the floor, as well as breaking the vase. Although, he still had no idea why Doug’s guitar was moved out of its ‘sacred’ spot, and quite frankly, he hoped he never got that part of his memory back. He had a vague inkling of when Joey showed up, but everything after that was still unclear.
A million possibilities of what could’ve taken place between them had been running through his mind all morning, and he avoided Joey at all costs, half afraid she would knock him out for some unsavory act he didn’t even remember committing. By lunchtime, he was so exhausted and miserable from his hangover that he gave up on his mission of avoidance, realizing he would have to face her sooner or later. And, if he really did do something to upset Joey, he needed to apologize. His ego was still slightly bruised from her insults, but obviously she felt some remorse, or else she would’ve never passed him Scruffy. If nothing else, he and Joey were friends, and since it looked like they would never be anything more, he had to hold onto what he could. He didn’t want to lose her now that they were finally becoming closer.
“I didn’t think you’d show up today.”
“I didn’t think I would either.” He finally glanced up at her sheepishly, avoiding her eyes, and gave a little shrug. “Dougie made me come.”
“Oh, Pace, he didn’t find out what you did last night, did he?” she asked, her voice rising in alarm.
“If you mean does he know I got shit-faced drunk and trashed my parent’s living room, then yes.” Pacey chuckled bitterly and rubbed his temples warily, trying to alleviate the overwhelming tension in his head.
“But I don’t understand how he could’ve found out. I made sure the place was spotless before I left.”
“I’m sure you did, but Dougie’s been watching way too much NYPD Blue and thinks he’s Super Cop. Apparently he took an inventory of the liquor cabinet and all but sealed off the living room with yellow police tape to search for clues.”
“I’m so sorry, Pacey.”
“It’s not your fault, Jo.”
“But if you hadn’t heard what I said then…”
“Joey,” Pacey said sternly, instinctively grabbing her hand to get his point across. “It’s not your fault. You didn’t force me to get drunk and demolish my house, so there’s no need for you to apologize for anything.” Pacey bowed his head again, his shyness returning and the tone of his voice softening once more. “I, uh, I found Scruffy this morning, so I already know you’re sorry…and I…I don’t really remember much about what happened while you were there, but I’m guessing I didn’t make things easy for you, yet you helped me anyway…and I just…I wanted to thank you.”
As Pacey spoke, he absentmindedly began brushing his thumb lightly over the back of Joey’s hand, the little circles he was making sending bolts of lightening up her arm. At one time she probably would’ve been repulsed by his touch or at least pretended she was. Now she wished he would never let go of her hand. The words he said, although nothing out of the ordinary, floated up to her ears and down into the recesses of her heart, causing the wooziness to return and her heart to beat wildly. His voice, one she had heard almost every day for the past ten years and sometimes found annoying, suddenly became the most melodious and beautiful sound in the world.
Joey wasn’t sure what happened in that moment to change everything, as there was nothing really earth shattering about the way Pacey expressed his gratitude, but she knew nothing would ever be the same again. She couldn’t put her finger on just what was different, but was positive she never felt this way before in her entire fifteen years, and that terrified her. She wondered if Pacey could feel it too.
She dropped her gaze to her lap, afraid to look at him, and took a few seconds to compose herself before replying in a small, shaky voice, “You’re…you’re welcome.”
Joey shook her head, never raising her eyes, and mumbled something inaudible.
“What was that, Jo?” Pacey asked, leaning forward in an attempt to hear her. “I couldn’t make out what you said. Maybe if you looked at me…” His voice trailed off as he waited for her to make a move.
Slowly she lifted her head, her eyes meeting his, and got lost in his bright blue orbs, which seemed to hold the same brilliant hue as the sky, as if God borrowed the color from the heavens just to put it in Pacey’s eyes. As their gazes mingled together, everything that had been so hazy all at once became clear, as if a fog had been lifted, and for one brief moment all the answers Joey was searching for were within her sights. It was like she was seeing Pacey for the first time, and yet she was overwhelmed with a deep sense of recognition that stretched past the boundaries life imposed on them. There was no beginning or end, as old and new overlapped; there was only Pacey, the boy she deemed unworthy not more than twenty-four hours ago, whose true form was finally coming into focus, revealing a young man worth more than his weight in gold.
Just as quickly as the image appeared before her, it vanished when Pacey dropped her hand without warning, and turned away. “Uh, you know what? On second thought, I really don’t wanna know what I did,” he said as he fidgeted anxiously in his seat and took a swig of ice tea, which was the only thing he was able to keep down. “Some things are probably better left unsaid. Let’s just chock it up to the Tequila and move on.”
Maybe she had the right idea this morning when she thought it might be all in her head. She was probably reading way too much into one little kiss. But, it all seemed so…so real, though it couldn’t have been that monumental if Pacey didn’t even remember it. She just didn’t know what to make of any of it. And, for every step she took forward, she felt like she just took two steps back, and she feared she would be stuck in this rut forever, unless Pacey let her in again.
Joey was so lost in thought, she barely noticed when Kat sat down with them, taking interest only when Pacey began flirting with her shamelessly. He seemed to morph back into the ‘old’ Pacey, as if nothing happened between them at all.
Typical, Joey thought. Just when I start to see him in a different light he reverts back to his Neanderthal ways. Pacey only goes after girls like Kat who are Barbie Doll replicas. He would never want someone like me, and I was stupid to think otherwise.
She tried to play up his unimportance and tell herself that it was just Pacey as she did in the past, but she knew that was no longer true anymore. From what just took place a few minutes ago, it was obvious to her he would never be ‘just Pacey’ ever again.
The bell rang a few minutes later, signaling it was time for them to head back to class. Joey exited the cafeteria with Dawson by her side. Kat went off to find the director and see what he had planned for after lunch, saying she would find Joey after her next class. Joey was barely listening as Dawson babbled on about the film project he was working on for American History. Her mind was still back in the cafeteria with Pacey.
“Hey, Jo, you coming?”
Dawson’s question startled her, and she jumped, her eyes moving away from Pacey for a second to focus on Dawson. “Um, why don’t you go on ahead,” she said distractedly as she swung her head back around to look for Pacey. “I’m just going to talk to Pac-” She stopped mid-sentence when her eyes fell on the doorway and Pacey was gone. She scanned the crowd of students in front of her, but there was no sign of him.
Dawson was still waiting for her. “Jo?” he asked, his voice tinged with a hint of impatience.
Joey looked around one last time before sighing in defeat, “Yeah, I’m coming, Dawson.” She fell in step beside Dawson, still unable to pay much attention to him, her main focus still fixed on someone else.
She was finally beginning to understand why the Magic Eight Ball predicted her day wouldn’t be ordinary. It had nothing to do with the start of Made, and everything to do with an ‘ordinary boy’ who wasn’t so ordinary after all. Prior to today, she would’ve dismissed the ordinary, convinced she would miss nothing if she did. But she knew she was wrong, for extraordinary things could be found anywhere, even on the most unremarkable day in the most average person, if you looked hard enough. Pacey was living proof of that, and whether her day turned out to be wonderful or terrible, she would never take the ordinary for granted again. She wouldn’t take Pacey for granted.
She still wasn’t sure what changed between them to make her see more clearly. She was hoping they would talk about their kiss so she could shed some light on the many unanswered questions she had, but Pacey didn’t even want to remember it. She wondered if she should tell him what happened or just let it go…
“Jo, earth to Jo!” Dawson snapped his fingers in front of her face to get her attention. “Are you listening to me?”
“Oh, yeah, I’m sorry, Dawson,” Joey said as she shook her head slightly in an attempt to clear her mind. “What did you say?”
“I just asked if you wanted to have a movie night later. We could watch E.T. for old time’s sake.”
“Um, sure, that sounds like…fun,” she said slowly. She stared up into the eyes of the boy from down the creek, the one she had pinned all of her hopes and dreams on for so long. She should be ecstatic that he was finally taking more of an interest in her, but when she looked into his eyes, although they were blue, she didn’t see the sky. She didn’t find what she was looking for.
“Great. I’ll see you around seven then?” Joey nodded in reply as they headed to class. “So, where’d you go when you were all spaced out back there? I thought I lost you,” Dawson teased, poking her in the ribs.
“Maybe you have, Dawson. Maybe you have,” Joey replied with a faraway look in her eyes as she went into her classroom, leaving Dawson standing there totally confused. She heard him call out to her, but she kept moving forward, and didn’t even look back.
Song: Ordinary Day by Vanessa Carlton
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