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Dawson is frantically typing on his computer when Joey glides through the window. "Hey," she said.
He looked over to see her in the early morning light. "Hey, Joey," he said. "Pacey's at work this morning." The remark stung Joey, but Dawson didn't intend for it to do so.
"Gee thanks," she said. "But I came to talk to you."
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"I know what I told you the other night, and I haven't been doing what I said I would."
"I'm glad that you said that, because I've missed having you around. I know that things probably won't be how they were, but I know that I need you around."
"Thanks Dawson," she said, flattered. "I just want things to be as normal as they can be considering. . ."
"I know," he said, saving her the anguish of having to finish.
"I thought we could do something today," she said. "Watch a movie maybe?"
"I'd love to, but I'm right in the middle of this."
"What are you working on?"
"It's a script," he said. "It's about this girl who finds out she has HIV after a one night stand. It shows what she goes through, you know finding out, and dealing with discrimination."
"Dawson, that just doesn't sound like you. I mean, you're more guts and gore, this sounds. . .I don't know, touching and informative," she said, making a face. "Why would you want to do that?"
"We had a speaker in class the other day who was living with AIDS, and last night I spoke with someone who has HIV. Jo, I didn't know about it, what it was like, how 'normal' people got it. I want people to know what I didn't know."
"Wow Dawson," she said, surprised at how he was growing up. "That's great. I guess that I'll let you get back to work then."
"Thanks Jo," he said. "Why don't we watch a movie tonight instead?"
"I can't tonight; I have plans."
"Oh. How about tomorrow?" he asked, trying for a compromise.
"Okay, see you later," she said.
"Bye," he told her, turning back to his computer. She stood on the ladder watching him for a minute, before she left.
It was about noon when Jen nearly jumped out of her skin when the phone rang. She nearly knocked her grandmother, who was on her way out of the house, over trying to reach it first. "Hello," she said, out of breath.
"Hey," Dawson said.
"Hey Dawson," she said. "What's up?"
"I was just thinking about you, and, um, I wondered if you'd heard anything yet."
"No, not yet," she said.
"It should be soon right?" he asked her.
"Yeah, in the next couple of hours," she said.
"Will you come over after you find out," he asked her.
"Sure," she said. "I'll see you later."
"Bye," she concluded. Jen was concerned because she was latching on to Dawson because of this situation. She couldn't help but to even think that she may be taking advantage of his kindness and friendship. Considering that she still had fairly intense feelings for him, she didn't really know if what she was doing was healthy.
Dawson sat on his bed after hanging up the phone, and didn't know what to do with himself. He had already finished his script, and although it wasn't extremely long, he thought he did a very nice job with the story. His mind drifted to Joey, and we was happy that they were going to try to rebuild their friendship. Instantly, he thought of her with Pacey, and quickly hurried out of the house to retrieve his camera from the ruins.
[Song: "Are You That Somebody?" by Aaliyah.]
Joey could see Pacey through the window of the video store as she approaches. He had his head in a book, but unfortunately it was because he was sleeping. She was really proud of him though, because he was really making an effort to work hard at getting his grades up. When she walked through the door, the ring of the bell above it woke him up. "Geez, I'd better wake myself up now, because it's looks like the beginning of a serious nightmare," he said sarcastically.
"Now Pacey, you just have to realize that beauty sleep was something created for the sole purpose of adding to the intrigue of fairytales. Let me assure you that you can sleep until you're thirty, and it won't help," she shot back.
"You know Jo, maybe that's true. Let me give you a tip though. I can clear up those problems with you're complexion if you'd just join me in the back room here for about an hour."
"You have to understand something Pacey, it doesn't take an hour to listen to the minute waltz, and, well, it won't take an hour for you to. . .."
"Okay, okay," he said. "Let's not attack my masculinity. What's up, anyway?"
"Well, I saw Dawson," she sighed.
"What happened?" he asked.
"He was busy doing something, but we both agreed that we wanted to preserve our friendship, and try to get it back to where it was."
"It's a step in the right direction."
"Yeah, but he didn't want to do anything until tonight."
"So I guess we're not going out then," he said.
"No, I told him I was busy. I mean this has to be convincing right? Besides, I just didn't want to come running when he snapped his fingers."
"Yeah," he agreed. "Are you sure that's this is the way to go about this?"
"Yes, Pacey. He needs to choose me. I care too much about him, and if I have to help that along, that's just the way it has to be."
Pacey wanted to make Joey part of the reality. "Joey, you are stretching this just a bit. For all you know, he could've already been yours. You were the one who gave him the ultimatum."
"And, he choose her," she said.
"Ex-girlfriend or not, Jo, she is still his friend. His friend was grieving for someone who she loved very much, and he thought she needed him."
She was shocked at what Pacey was saying, but she knew he was right. "It's done though," she said quietly, "and this is the only way that I know how to fix it."
"I'm sorry," he said. "It's not my business, so let's just get on with this. When should I come to get you?"
"Well, I was thinking that I could come to you, so that he would see us," she said.
"About eight," she said. "Look, I'm going to go into work, so Bessie won't guilt trip me tonight, in case. . .in case you need to find me."
"Okay," he said. "I'll see you later. And Jo?"
"I didn't want to hurt you, I just want to make sure you know what you're doing. I just want you to be happy."
She smiled at him as she headed for the door. Both of them knew that the smile was her way of showing that she forgave what he said about Dawson. He looked at his watch to see how many hours he had until eight o'clock.
Pacey was in deep thought when his brother walked into the store. "I was just going to forward your mail to the gutter, but since I was in the neighborhood. . .," Doug said, plopping a pile of envelopes on the counter.
"Thanks," Pacey said, rolling his eyes.
"So which street corner is my hapless little brother calling home these days?" Doug asked.
"Doug, I am busy, and I don't have time for this," Pacey said.
"I heard that you're staying with that Leary kid. Is that true Pacey?"
"Yeah. Now will you leave?"
"You are such a sad, sad person. Look at you, taking advantage of some people who are just to nice to tell you to take a hike," Doug said.
"Well," Pacey began, "no one can degrade me like my own family."
"Pacey, it's just a matter of time before you disappoint those poor people, and show them the screw-up that you really are."
"Doug, why don't you take a Barbara Striesand movie, on me," Pacey said. "Better yet, go find your boyfriend. Do whatever you want, just leave me the hell alone."
"You always preferred to live in your own delusions, rather than accept reality," Doug finished. To Pacey's satisfaction, he was finally leaving.
Dawson was watching the television with amazement. He couldn't believe how famously Pacey and Joey were getting along. When he saw the kiss he was enraged with jealousy. He cursed Pacey for wanting to take a walk, because he wanted to hear Joey's reaction to it. He was so busy waiting for her to say something, he didn't even watch her physical reaction, where she seemed to be locked in the moment for a while after Pacey had finished kissing her. His thoughts were interrupted by the ringing telephone. "Hello," he answered.
"May I speak to Dawson Leary?" a squeaky, female voice said.
"This is he," he answered.
"My name is Deborah, and I am calling from the clinic in Providence," she said.
"Okay," he said.
"We have your test results from yesterday. I need you to read me the verification number that you were given when you were tested."
Dawson dug the number out of his pockets, and read it to her slowly, "1-2-0-8-1-1-7-6."
"Mr. Leary, you test showed that you are HIV negative. However, we would like to remind you that if you think that you may have been exposed to HIV in the past year, that you should be tested again in six months, because it sometimes takes that long for the virus to show in the test after exposure."
"Okay. Thank you," he said. He quickly hung up the phone, and went to his window. He was waiting for Jen to appear, because he expected her to hear her results soon, because their names are so close alphabetically. About five minutes later, she ran out of her house, heading for Dawson's. He ran downstairs, and met her at the door. "Well?" he asked.
"It's negative," she said.
"That's great," he said, picking her up in a hug, and spinning her around. When he let her down from his grasp he saw her smile fade. "What's wrong?" he asked her.
"You know that this isn't over right?" she said.
"What do you mean?"
"I need to go back in six months," she said. "It could still show up."
"I know," he said. "But you can't think about it now. You just need to concentrate on what these results were. Now it's becoming less likely that you could have it."
"Yeah," she said, not seeming convinced.
"I have something to show you," he said, leading her up the stairs.
"What is it?" she asked curiously.
He handed her a copy of his new script. "I wrote this this morning, because I was inspired by that girl we met yesterday. It's a new script about a girl who finds out she has HIV after a one night stand. About her finding out, how small minds react to her."
"Oh," she said.
He could sense she was uncomfortable. "I know considering what's happening this is a bad time. I just think that considering what you've been through you would be perfect to play the lead. For the same reasons though, I can understand why you would say no."
She sighed while she flopped down on Dawson's bed. "I guess that my life would make a horrible script."
"What's that supposed to mean?" he asked.
"It's more like I am a reoccurring character on some nighttime story, than I am in a movie. You're a writer, to cause conflict and make for a good plot, I would've come here crying, and told you that I did have HIV. Instead, I'm like some contract character on Melrose Place, where there's always the threat of something bad happening to her, but in the end, it's not as bad as the viewers wish it was. The next day, she forgets all about it."
"I can tell that you've been spending way too much time with me. Jen you aren't some character in a movie or tv show. You are a real person. No matter what, I wouldn't want to have to listen to one millisecond of you telling me you were HIV positive. And like you said, it's not over yet. Unfortunately, HIV is going to be a reality for you for another six months."
"Maybe you're right," she said.
"You know I am," he said smiling.
"Let's check this script out," she said. They began to go over and analyze what Dawson had written.
Pacey returned to Dawson's house from work. When he walked by Dawson's room, he saw Dawson and Jen working on something, and he feared that if Joey saw them that it would just piss her off for their date. He quickly realized that there was nothing that he could do about it. He took a shower, and tried to pick something to wear. His third choice was the one he stuck with. He walked down to the kitchen to make something to eat. He saw Dawson and Jen talking at the couch.
"Hey Pacey," Jen said. "You look nice."
"Thanks," Pacey said.
"Big plans tonight, man?" Dawson asked him.
"Yeah," he hesitates. He started to mention Joey, but Dawson was up to answer the door, and saw her himself. Pacey smiled when she appeared.
"Hey, Joey. You cancel your plans?" Dawson asked her.
"No, um, actually. . .my plans are with Pacey," she said, looking at him smiling.
"Oh," Dawson said. Everyone in the room realized that lately Dawson was more and more speechless.
"Joey," Pacey said. "I just want to grab a sandwich."
"Okay," she said. "I'll help." Joey followed Pacey in the kitchen.
"What's going on with those two, Dawson?" Jen asked him. "It's like we're in some kind of alternate universe."
"It sure is," he said.
Pacey began making the sandwich he wanted. Joey hopped on the counter. "This is perfect," she whispered.
"What is?" Pacey asked her.
"We can get them to come with us."
"You're kidding," he said.
"No. Dawson can see us together," she said.
"And you don't mind seeing him with Jen?"
"Whatever you what," he told her. They both walked out of the kitchen, and Jen and Dawson hadn't moved.
"Where are you guys going?" Jen asked.
"To the movies," Pacey said. "Do you want to come with us?"
Jen looked at Dawson, and he looked back at her, like they were having some silent conversation about whether or not to go. Finally, Dawson says, "Sure."
The four of them began walking to the theater. Joey walked beside Pacey, and Jen and Dawson followed behind them. Joey grabbed Pacey's hand as they were walking, and Pacey looked at her and smiled. She would've loved to have seen Dawson's reaction, but she couldn't. Jen, however did, and she seemed just as jealous of Dawson's reaction to Joey as Dawson was of Pacey.
When they reached the theater, Jen and Dawson headed for the snack counter. Joey and Pacey headed for the wall furthest from them. Joey backed up against the wall, and motioned with her eyes for Pacey to come closer to her. He approached her, with his body inches from her, and their faces even closer. He placed his hand on the wall behind her, to the right, just above her head. She looked into his eyes, and whispered, "let's make this look good." He knew what she meant. He leaned in slowly, and began kissing her, much more passionately than he had last night. He didn't know how long he did it, and he didn't know who was watching them. He pulled away, and saw Joey slowly open her eyes. She wasn't sure if Dawson had seen them, and couldn't get the thought out of her mind about how good a kisser Pacey was. When Pacey stepped away, he could see that he and Jen were watching them, and they both looked like they had just witnessed a train wreck.
It was obvious that neither of the four tortured souls knew what happened in the movie. Each one was concerned with another of the group, and watching their respective moves. When the movie was over, the group gathered in the foyer of the theater, and it was very much silent between them.
"Pacey," Joey said. "Let's go get some ice cream."
"Okay," Pacey said. "You guys want to go?" he asked Jen and Dawson.
"I think that we've intruded on you two enough," she said, still a bit surprised about what she had seen earlier.
"I don't know," Dawson said. "That sounds good."
"I'd like to go home Dawson, and you'll walk me right?" Jen asked.
"Sure," he said, giving in.
They parted ways, and Dawson and Jen headed home, and Joey and Pacey headed for ice cream.
When they reached the ice cream parlor, they sat down, and began to eat. Pacey broke the silence. "I guess that you're disappointed," Pacey said to Joey.
"Why?" she asked.
"Because he went with Jen, and didn't come with us."
"Oh, no. I wanted us to be alone."
"Why?" Pacey asked, hopeful.
"I think that it's time for us to move to the next level," she said.
"What do you mean?"
"We've had the official dates now, so I guess that we should become a couple."
"You mean lovey-dovey, sickening, holding hands, kissing, for the world to see?" he asked.
"Yeah," she said.
"If that's what you want."
"Thanks Pacey," she said.
"Don't mention it," he told her.
"Pacey, I just want you to know how much this means to me. I mean, I think you're sacrificing a lot to do this, and I never imagined that there would be someone willing to do all of this for me." She paused, because she expected him to say something. He didn't. He just kept looking at his ice cream. She began again, "you know Pace, I guess that we always thought that Dawson was the most creative of the three of us, but. . .well, let's just say that you definitely know how to set up a kiss. For a minute, I almost believed that we were going out," she said laughing, trying to cover her seriousness.
"Me too," Pacey said, not looking up. His brother may have been right about him being delusional, because to him, this was beginning to seem very real.
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