What I am is Disaster by: Kelli
Disclaimer: I don't own Dawson's Creek or the characters and anything that seems like it came right from the show did! I don't own Counting the Stars either. That beautiful piece of music belongs to the very talented Waking Ashland. If you don't know them, you should make it your business to! They are awesome!
Author's Note: Okay, everyone is probably wondering what the hell Kel is doing because this story has nothing to do with MTV. Don't worry, I'm not abandoning Made, I've just been in the mood to write something different and this is what happened. This fic is different than any I've written so far. It came about after listening to the song Counting the Stars by Waking Ashland. I swear they wrote the song with Pacey in mind; it just makes me think of him and how he feels about Joey. And it's filled with angst, which for some reason I've been so in the mood to write. So, be prepared for the angst! You'll get bits of the song in this and future updates.
This is going to take place roughly four years after Joey Potter and the Capeside Redemption, but obviously a year before the series finale. Everyone's lives are still the same as what they told you in All Good Things… i.e. Joey is an editor in New York; Pacey reopened the Icehouse; Jack's a teacher in Capeside and Jen is in New York with Grams working at the art gallery, and she's still pregnant and about to give birth any day. And Dawson, well he's way out in L.A., of course, and we won't be seeing him anytime soon. This is basically going to only focus on Pacey and Joey. I've always wondered what happened between Pacey and Joey in those five years that we didn't see before the finale. I guess this is just one scenario I came up with. I hope you like it. Thanks for reading and let me know what you think. I'm nervous about this!!
What I am is Disaster
Please tell me you feel something
Because what I feel is ecstasy
Oh same on you
You cast your spell on me
La da da da
The stars align for you and I tonight
La da da da
I need you in my life
La da da da
The stars align for you and I tonight
La da da da
I'll take that as a sign…
Joey sat on the front steps of the B&B, taking in the familiar surroundings, while the chilly March wind blew over her, causing her to shiver. 'Why can't it be spring already?' she thought, as she pulled her tan pea coat tighter around her. Even though the first day of spring was fast approaching, Old Man Winter did not seem eager to leave. The weatherman had reported there would be freezing rain tonight, but, although it was cold, the night sky was clear. In fact, there wasn't a cloud in sight.
Joey leaned back on her elbows and tilted her head up, drinking in the vast and beautiful heavens above her. The sky was dotted with what seemed like a million twinkling lights. Joey sighed at the canopy of stars she was sitting under. This was definitely one thing she missed about living in Capeside; you just didn't see the stars like this in New York City…
"There's nothing like stargazing in Capeside, is there?" a familiar voice said, echoing her thoughts. “I mean, you can't see the stars at all in the city."
"No, you can't, Pace," Joey stood up to greet him, "but we've seen them all before, right?"
She flashed him a big grin, and Pacey returned her smile as they shared the unspoken memory of the first time they had this conversation.
"Yes, we have, Potter. Now are you just going to stand there gaping at the stars, or are you going to get over here and give me a hug?"
"Hmm, I don't know." Joey tapped on her chin as she pretended to contemplate which was more appealing. "The stars are much prettier to look at than your old mug," she teased, her eyes sparkling as she tried not to giggle.
"Oh, shut up and come here," Pacey said, grabbing Joey by the hands and pulling her to him. He enveloped her in a big bear hug, picking her up off the ground. Joey happily returned the hug, squeezing Pacey tightly. They were clearly very happy to see each other.
"It's good to see you, Jo," Pacey said as he gave her another squeeze. Why did hugging her always feel like coming home to him?
"You too," Joey agreed, shutting her eyes for a second and letting herself relax in his embrace.
Pacey returned Joey to the ground, releasing her from his grasp.
"So, why is it I had to hear from Bodie that Miss Big Time New York City Editor, Josephine Potter, had returned to visit her humble beginnings? Why did I not get an audience with the Queen of New York herself?"
Joey rolled her eyes. "Pacey, I'm hardly as successful as you make me out to be. And I'm sorry I didn't come see you. I was just worn out from the train ride up here and felt like hanging out at home all day. I was planning on going over to see you at the restaurant tomorrow."
"A likely story," Pacey said as he brushed past her to take a seat on the steps. "This is how it all starts, you know."
Joey cocked an eyebrow at him. "How what starts?" she asked as she plopped down beside him on the steps.
"Well, now that you've gotten the hell out of this one horse town and left all of us pathetic losers here to rot, it's only a matter of time before you forget about us altogether." Pacey leaned back and crossed his arms over his chest as he continued, "your blatant avoidance of me this weekend only proves my point."
"Pacey, I wasn't avoiding you!" Joey exclaimed. "I had plans to pay you a visit first thing in the morning. You just beat me to it." Joey shifted sideways to look at Pacey. "And besides, your little hypothesis about me is wrong; just because I left Capeside does not mean I'm going to forget where I came from, or the people I left behind. I've already been in New York City for two years, and we've kept in touch the whole time!"
It was true. They had miraculously kept in touch over the years. Their friendship had remained strong through emails, phone calls, and the occasional visit. Joey sent Pacey letters and pictures from her adventures in France, and Pacey was with Bessie at the airport to meet her when she returned. He attended her graduation from Worthington, while Joey supported him when he decided to reopen the Icehouse. Their friendship had survived, despite the rockiness of their past, and Joey was grateful for that. There was a time, after she walked away from him for Eddie, that she was afraid she was going to lose his friendship altogether. Thankfully, that hadn't happened, and now Joey finally felt like they had reached a point where the ghosts of the past had all been put to rest. At least she hoped they had.
She and Pacey were not the only ones who remained close; Jack and Jen were included in their healthy friendship communication agreement. Jen and Joey didn't live far from one another in New York, and saw each other almost every week. They had gotten to be really close now that Jen was pregnant. Jack was back in Capeside with Pacey, teaching at their old alma mater, so he and Pacey hung out all the time. They had made more than a few trips to New York together to see Jen and Joey, and vice versa.
Sadly, the four of them were the only ones of their little group who actually did see and talk to each other on a regular basis. Andie was extremely busy in Boston with medical school, while Dawson and Audrey were busy becoming famous in L.A. Joey rarely heard from Dawson, who was now in talks to create a new television show. The only way she had gotten that much information about him was from Gail. It bothered Joey that she didn't have a clue what was going on with Dawson anymore, but she understood it was bound to happen eventually. She always knew his dream would take him far away, and she was happy he was getting the chance to live it. It was just the way things turned out. He was on one coast, while she was on the other…with Pacey…and Jack and Jen, too.
Pacey smiled in agreement. "Yes, we have stayed in touch, but soon you'll realize you need to ditch this loser," he shrugged. "It's inevitable."
"Sorry, Pace." Joey shook her head. "That's not going to happen," she paused for a moment and looked up into his blue ocean-like eyes, "because I don't see any losers here that are in need of ditching," she said softly.
"I wouldn't be too sure about that," Pacey said holding her gaze. "Don't let my clever disguise of success fool you, Jo. Just because Pacey is playing restaurant owner does not mean he's suddenly morphed into the town hero. If you take a closer look, you'll see the same old Capeside screw up that's always been here."
Joey leaned in closer to Pacey, squinting at him and looking him up and down, before locking eyes with him again. "I just took a closer look, Pace, and you know what?"
"What?" he asked, unable to look away from her suddenly, as if a magnetic force was between them, drawing him closer to her.
"I do see the same guy who's always been here, but he's not a loser; you see, he couldn't still be one if he never was one in the first place."
Pacey bowed his head then, becoming an insecure fifteen year old again who was full of self doubt and fear that he would never amount to anything.
"I wish that were true," he mumbled, still not looking up.
"Pacey, look at me," Joey pleaded, but he refused. She then reached out and gently placed her index finger under his chin, tilting his head upright so he had to look at her again. "You have got to stop putting yourself down like this! You need to take a good look in the mirror and see what I see," she grabbed onto his hands as she spoke.
"Which is what?" he asked, meeting her eyes again, trying not to reveal something in them that he had been hiding for months now, but that was hard to do when he was this close to her. And the way she was looking at him right now almost made him hope that she might feel the same way. Almost.
But they were just friends, which for all intents and purposes was a very good thing. Not too many men could say they had a relationship with their ex like he had with Joey. Maybe there was a reason for that, though, and Pacey knew what that reason was all too well. Being friends with just an ex was one thing; having a platonic relationship with the woman who was quite possibly the love of your life was another. While he enjoyed his friendship with Joey, the reality of it was bittersweet. Yes, he got to have this amazing woman in his life as his friend…but just as his friend.
For a while he had told himself that he was okay with it. Things had worked out for the best between them, between all of them. He and Dawson had even started to mend their broken relationship, which is what Joey had always wanted, and Pacey didn't want to ruin that. They were all friends again, which is why he shouldn't still get butterflies every time he looked at her. Or why just the sound of her voice on the other end of the phone shouldn't make his whole face light up. He probably still shouldn't think she was the most beautiful woman ever to walk the face of the earth either. And since they were 'just friends' he guessed kissing her right now was not a very good idea.
Yet, why was every fiber in his body telling him that he should? She hadn't answered his question yet. She was still staring back into his eyes, as if she was mesmerized by the same spell that Pacey was under right now. Maybe they weren't 'just friends'? Maybe he should kiss her, just to see how she would react…
Pacey inched his face forward, never taking his eyes from hers. Joey did not move away, but stayed frozen, locked in some sort of trance that she didn't understand. She knew she should answer his question, but the power to speak had abruptly left her. She couldn't see anything but Pacey's beautiful blue eyes, and why was her heart pounding like that?
Pacey's lips were so close to Joey's now that he could feel her warm breath mingling with his. He was almost there. Just a few more centimeters and he would finally be doing what he had wanted to for so long…
The loud ringing of Joey's cell phone cut through the silent night air, startling them both.
"Oh!" Joey jumped up, breaking the strong and strange connection between her and Pacey. "I'd better get that," she said nervously, grabbing her cell from her coat pocket.
She looked at the caller I.D. "Oh my! It's Jack!" she squeaked, her eyes suddenly going wide. "I hope everything's okay with Jen."
Jack was currently in New York City with Jen, since her due date was only a week away. Jack had taken a month off of work just so he could be with Jen when she delivered. He was going to be the baby's godfather and felt he should be there, especially since the father of the baby had left Jen high and dry. Even though Jen had Grams, Jack still wanted to be a part of the birth of his best friend's child. He hadn't left her side all week. Between him and grams, Jen was going a little nuts. She hadn't wanted Joey to leave her for the weekend, but Joey had promised Bessie she would come. She hadn't been home since Christmas. So, she had reluctantly left Jen, promising to leave her phone on round the clock in case Jen needed her…or if she went into labor…
Joey flipped open her phone and pressed it anxiously to her ear. "Jack, what's up? Is everything okay?"
Joey paused for a minute, listening.
"Ah! Oh my God!" she screamed as Pacey looked on in concern. "Her water broke?!" Joey looked at Pacey. "Jen's water broke!" she said giddily.
"Um, I got that," he replied with a chuckle.
Joey was practically jumping up and down with excitement as she continued to listen to Jack. "Okay! Well, tell her I'll be there as soon as I can! I promise! I'll leave my cell on in case it happens before I get there. Okay! Good luck, Jack. It will all be fine. I'll see you soon!"
Joey flipped her cell phone shut and turned happily to Pacey. "Jen went into labor! She's having the baby, Pace!"
Pacey stood and joined Joey in her excitement. "That's great! I'm assuming you're going back to New York now?"
Joey stopped suddenly. "Um, I want to, but I don't know how I'm going to get there seeing as I don't have a car. I took the train in last night," she said, glancing down at her watch, which read 9:30, "and I'm sure the next one doesn't leave until the morning."
"That's okay. I can drive you."
"Are you sure, Pace? It's going to take us almost four hours to get there and by the time you get back, it's going to be really late. You do have a restaurant to run."
"A restaurant that I happen to own," he said with a grin, “which means that if I want the day off, I can just take it. The place is capable of running without me. I do have an excellent staff. And it's not every day that one of your best friends has a baby. I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be."
Joey broke into a wide grin. "You're wonderful, Pace!" she exclaimed throwing her arms around his neck and kissing him on the cheek. "You go get your car while I pack. I should be ready in fifteen minutes!" She let go of him and started heading for the door.
"Okay," He called after her, shaking his head as he watched her sprint up the steps like a mad woman. He stood there for a moment after she had gone into the house, his cheek still warm and tingling from where her lips had been a minute ago. Her words were still ringing in his ears…
"You're wonderful, Pace…"
Joey had answered his earlier question, and Pacey didn't even know it. That was what she was going to say before they had been interrupted. Hearing it then or hearing it now did not make a difference-- Either way her words made Pacey's heart soar as he jogged the whole way back to his apartment.
Of course he didn't believe they were true, but just the fact that they came from Joey was enough for him…for now.
He reached his apartment, quickly grabbed a few things, and hopped into his silver Volkswagen Jetta. He was back at Joey's in ten minutes and they were on their way to New York.
"It's a perfect night for a road trip," Joey commented absently as she gazed out the window. Her mind was still on Jen.
"Yes, we should have smooth sailing all the way to New York," Pacey replied confidently.
But it wasn't, and now they were hopelessly lost on some windy, narrow country road in the middle of Connecticut. They had passed one lone gas station about ten miles back. Joey had begged Pacey to stop, but being the stubborn, typical male he was, he had refused. Now they still had no clue where they were, and there didn't seem to be anywhere for them to stop at all. They were on a deserted road with no one around for miles.
To make matters worse, it turned out the weatherman had been right. The clear beautiful skies had clouded over about an hour ago, and Joey and Pacey had driven right into the freezing rain. It was falling heavily now, the little ice pellets clinking against the windshield. The roads were already getting very slick. Pacey was driving as slowly and as cautiously as he could while Joey sulked nervously in the passenger seat with her arms crossed over her chest.
"Pacey, slow down!" she ordered as they rounded a sharp curve.
"I'm going as slow as I can, Jo!" he shot back, gripping the steering wheel and keeping his eyes focused on the road.
"Well, maybe we should pull over somewhere and wait until the storm passes."
"It's not going to matter when the rain stops; the roads are still going to be wet and icy." he told her through gritted teeth. "And in case you haven't noticed, we don't really have an abundance of places to stop at, now do we?"
"And whose fault is that, Pace, Mr. I'm a stupid man and I can't stop and ask for directions because I know everything! We wouldn't even be in this mess if you hadn't insisted on taking your wonderful shortcut!" Joey gestured to the road in front of them, which was glistening with ice. "Look where that brilliant plan got us!"
"Do you think you can do better, Jo?" he asked, concentrating as hard as he could to maneuver his little Jetta across the sleek pavement. "Because feel free to take over the wheel at anytime!"
"It's too late for that now. I should've driven us in the first place, but I trusted that you could get us there without a problem, since you've made this trip enough!"
"Again, I thought I would try a quicker way so that I could get you there in time for Jen. For the fifteenth time, I'm sorry that we got lost!"
"We!?" Joey asked, her anger rising more and more. "WE did not get lost. YOU got us lost! We'll be lucky if we make it in time for the kid's first day of kindergarten!"
"Good one, Potter. Good one. Now will you please just shut up so I can concentrate on driving and get us there in one piece for that first day? The roads aren't exactly in the best condition, in case you haven't noticed!"
"Oh, I've noticed. Just like I've noticed what a moron you still are!"
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"I should've known you would get us into something like this, that's all. You always do," she sighed in frustration.
"Name one other time I've gotten us into a mess like this," he challenged.
"Well, let's see," Joey narrowed her eyes pretending to think. "Oh yeah," she exclaimed, smacking herself lightly on the cheek, "there was that time in tenth grade when we were looking for snails, which, I might add, we wouldn't have had to look for if you hadn't massacred our original snails in some snail orgy in the first place, but that wasn't the worst of it! Or have you forgotten how you stranded us after forgetting to tie our boat up, and we had to wade through the freezing waters of the creek?"
Flashes of that day appeared in Pacey's mind and Joey's angry voice rang in his ears…
"Alright, Pacey, the water's getting kind of high, so we should probably…Pacey!
"Please tell me that you tied our boat up and the one floating downstream isn't ours?!"
"I tied the boat up and the one floating downstream isn't ours…"
"No, I didn't forget that." And how could he because that was the day he first realized he had feelings for her, but she wasn't thinking about that now.
"Ooh, and who can think of another time?" Joey asked, hew voice dripping with sarcasm. "I know! I know!" she said, waving her hand in the air. "Next, there was the time you had that brilliant idea to invite Fred Fricke, B&B expert reviewer, to the barely finished Potter Bed and Breakfast. The whole place was practically falling apart around us, and you thought it would be a great idea to have a well-known critic come and stay at the place! Another one of your mastermind schemes! Where do you come up with them?"
Pacey shrugged and kept staring coldly at the road, but he flashbacked to the day Joey was referring to…
"There is nothing wonderful about my life right now, okay? So I don't care how you do it, but you get Mr. Fricke on the phone, and you tell him that there is no room at the inn!"
"Because you don't show a movie reviewer a rough cut, and you don't serve a food critic our first stab at a new recipe. Especially if that recipe is your last chance at keeping a roof over your head!"
"Bessie is thinking about taking out a mortgage."
"Um, I'm sorry, Jo. I'll make this right, right now, okay?"
And he had made it right. It had taken some work, but they had managed to pull it off, getting the B&B a glowing review from Mr. Fricke. That was also a day in the Josephine Potter and Pacey Witter story that was permanently etched into his brain…
"You know you love someone when you can spend the entire night just sitting by the fire, watching them sleep…"
That was the day he knew he was in love with her.
Joey was on a roll now and didn't seem to notice the expression of hurt that was taking over Pacey's face. "And finally, my favorite one of them all – who can forget that absolutely wonderful night that you and I spent trapped in a K-Mart because of your inability to keep it in your pants!"
"Are these yours?"
"Yeah. These prophylactics I found in your pocket."
"Oh! Those! Uh, yeah. Actually, they are. But, look, we should probably concentrate on the matter at hand here."
"This is why we stopped? Pacey, we're stuck in here because you had some pressing need for birth control?"
"Yes. Okay? Because that's the kind of responsible guy I am, but seeing as it doesn't look like we're gonna get outta here anytime too soon, it's kind of a moot point."
"It's that girl from the party, right? You were on a date with me, and you picked up some other girl with questionable fashion sense, and then you were gonna go back to her place…"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Slow down. You and I were not on a date, which is only the first of many things wrong with that sentence."
"Pacey, my entire night is ruined!"
"Well, my night's not exactly going to plan, either."
"Ruined! For the sake of some Booty call!"
But his night hadn't been ruined. Actually, Pacey couldn't have planned it any better. That was the night he realized he was STILL in love with her, and probably always would be.
Joey didn't seem to remember these incidences with Pacey as fondly as he did. "Now do you see? I've named three major backfires on your part, and now I can add a fourth! Really, Pacey, why does everything with you and I end in disaster?"
Pacey swallowed hard and tried to fight back the lump of emotion that was rising in his throat. He couldn't answer her. That's how she thought of him…a disaster. Earlier he had asked her what she saw when she looked at him; he now had the answer…
I'm not sure what you see
Because what I am is disaster…
He was a disaster, and together she thought they were a disaster, a disaster that was doomed from the start. They were a sinking ship, just like their beloved True Love. How could he have been stupid enough to think earlier that he might have a chance with her again?
Pacey's eyes clouded over with tears then, and he tried to fight them off, but he couldn't. The tears that were threatening clouded his vision and suddenly the road in front of him blurred. He took his hand and started wiping at his eyes to clear them. His impaired vision and the distraction of his tears caused the car to begin to swerve over the already icy road.
"Pacey, what's wrong?" Joey asked, looking over at him worriedly.
"Nothing, Jo," Pacey sniffed, trying to hide his tears. "I uh, just have something in my eye." He took his eyes off the road for a split second to look at her…
And that is why he didn't see the tree branch in the road that had fallen down from the weight of the ice that was covering it. But Joey saw it.
"PACEY!" she screamed as they headed straight for the fallen limb. "LOOK OUT!"
Pacey saw the branch and frantically jerked the wheel hard to the left, trying to swerve out of the way, but the roads were too icy. The Volkswagen began spinning wildly out of control, careening across the broken yellow line on the road and into the other lane. Pacey was fighting a heated battle with the steering wheel for control of the car, but he was losing. He knew they were going to crash; there was nothing he could do but watch helplessly as they headed straight for a tree.
He could hear Joey screaming in terror, and all he could think of was how much he still loved her, and how she would probably never know that now. A million things raced through his mind in that split second, but the last thought he had was of Joey and his love for her. And how once again that love had gotten her into a disaster. This time, though, Pacey feared he would not be able to make everything right. This time he may even get the woman he loved more than anything in the world killed…
"God, please don't let Joey die…"
Then everything went black…
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