Picture Perfect by: Kilby

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[Previously in "Clueless" (my last story): Dawson has trouble believing that Pacey and Joey could be romantically involved, but later realizes he could be wrong. No one in the group has a clue about the other's feelings. Joey fears that Dawson may never come around. Pacey and Joey both feel a mutual attraction, but neither knows how the other feels. Pacey confronts his brother accusing him of trying to screw him up emotionally, and he tells him that he would live on the street before he would return home. Joey tries to explain how confused she is about her feelings to Pacey, but she can't follow through with it. Joey and Pacey share a romantic dance at the dock in Dawson's backyard. Joey kisses Pacey because 'it feels right,' and he doesn't know that no one is around to witness it.]

"This movie is horrible," Dawson said.

"I can't believe I'm hearing this from the hopeless romantic," Joey said.

"It's not realistic," he said. "What kind of idiot wouldn't know that those two are just pretending to be in love?"

"Hmm, I don't know Dawson," she said, not believing that he couldn't see the same thing taking place right in front of him.

"And I mean, this guy being so attracted to her, just because she has a finance, and then sleeping with her. That's even more ludicrous. Why would that blond guy let her use him like that?"

"He wanted to date her himself," she said. This time she wasn't making the obvious connection. "He's dumb for giving her a second chance after she was such a bitch to him."

"I guess that some things just don't stand in the way of true love," he said.

"If that's what you want to believe. It's ridiculous how you keep changing your position."

"It's not realistic, Joey."

"You mean to tell me that there is no man out there with enough compassion to help a woman get what she seemingly wants, and furthermore, if there was such a man, that he and she wouldn't be able to convince other people that they were in love?"

"No," he said flatly.

"Yes there is," she said. 'I know there is,' she thought to herself.


Jen approached Dawson when she saw him standing at his locker. "Hey stranger," she said to him.

"Hey Jen, what's going on?" he asked her.

"I don't know," she said. "I just haven't talked to you in a few days. I thought that you had forgotten about me."

"No," he said. "I guess that I've just been preoccupied with the movie, and this whole Joey and Pacey thing."

"Why are Joey and Pacey your concern?" she asked.

"They're my friends."

"But why is your business what they do?"

"They're just sickening," he said. "It's just way too strange."

"So what?" she asked. "Are you going to put an end to it?" she said laughing.

"No," he said. "I just figured that I would analyze it to death," he said with a smile.

"You should really concentrate on your own love life," she said.

"At the end of the day, I don't come home and pull a pile full of phone numbers out of my pocket," he said.

"Well, maybe the right girl is right in front of your face," she said. She could have only been more obvious by spelling out that she wanted him back. A normal person would have taken the hint, but not Dawson.

"I think that I might just let fate take control of my life for a while," he said.

"Not me," she said. "Fate always manages to do me wrong."


That night Dawson and Joey were still arguing about how realistic "Picture Perfect" was. When Pacey walked into Dawson's room, he was surprised to see Joey.

"Hey baby," he said going over to her and kissing her on the cheek, almost forgetting for a moment that he wasn't really her boyfriend. "I didn't know you were here." Dawson hated seeing them together, and he was closer to the breaking point.

"I'm just trying to make Dawson see something about this movie. . ."

"Hey, I don't want to get involved in your arguments," Pacey said. "Dawson, do you have a calculator I can borrow?"

"Sure," he said, "in the desk." Pacey grabbed it, and began to walk out.

"Pace," Joey said.

"Yeah," he said, stopping.

"I can't go out tomorrow. I promised Bessie that I would watch the baby."

"Oh," he said, looking confused. "You want me to come and help?" he asked.

"Yeah, that would be nice," she said.

"Okay," he smiled, walking out of the door back to his room.

The happiness that he saw Pacey had was almost enough for Dawson to feel guilty about what he was going to do -- almost. He got up, and closed his door tightly. "Joey, I need to talk to you."

"Okay," she said.

[Song: "Am I Dreaming?" by Ol' Skool with XScape and Keith Sweat]

"I know that you're with Pacey, and I know what you said a few weeks ago about me not going back, but I need to tell you."

"Tell me what?"

"That if things weren't the way that they are. . .well, I mean if it weren't for Pacey. . .I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am jealous of you being with him, and I hate it Joey, I do. But I can't help it, it's just the way that I feel."

"What are you saying?" she asked him.

"I guess that I'm saying, if you weren't with Pacey, that I would want to be with you."

"What?" she asked, because, she just couldn't believe it.

"I want to be with you," he said, frustrated.

"But Pacey," she said softly, touching her two fingers to her lips. Her reaction wasn't strategic, because she was genuinely concerned about him, now that they had been successful.

"I know, Joey. The last thing that I want to do is hurt Pacey, or you, but I just needed to tell you."

"I understand," she said. She headed for the window, and said, "I just need time to process this." She climbed down, and Dawson couldn't believe what he had done. He knew that what he just said to Joey may cause a great deal of conflict in the house between he and Pacey.


Pacey was grabbing books from his locker when Joey approached him. "Are you ready for a night of hell?" she asked him.

"Sure," he said. He raised his index finger to his cheek, and said, "you know, I've got some plans for what we could do after we get the baby to sleep." He smiled.

"Funny Pacey," she said as she rolled her eyes. "There's actually something we need to discuss."

"What is it?" he asked.

"We can't talk now," she said. "We can talk about it tonight."

"Okay," he said. "See you later."

"Bye Pace," she said.


Pacey was taking the long way to Joey's house, because he was trying to figure out what to expect when he got there. When she told him in school that they really needed to talk, she looked very serious. Before he knocked, he could hear the baby crying. Joey looked frantic when she opened the door. "I'm so glad you're here. You think you can help me?"

Pacey walked over, picked Alexander up, and coddled him. In less than a minute he had stopped fussing. "That's amazing," Joey said.

"Naw," Pacey said, sitting down, with the baby still in his arms. He had never imagined having a family, because his own was so screwed up, but there was definitely a familial feeling coming over him as he sat there with Joey, and was holding the baby in his arms.

"I never imagined that you would be such a natural with babies," she said.

"I'm the youngest of five, I guess that I just know how to treat a child so that it doesn't feel like it's being babied."

"Do you miss your house at all?" she asked him.

"I don't know, sometimes I guess," he said. "But it's really difficult for me to remember any good times, especially now."

"Why now?" she asked.

"Living at Dawson's, it's like being on the Cosby show or something. It's perfect, well except for the whole infidelity thing. I didn't feel like I had anyone at all until they were willing to take me in. It's like I'm some sort of homeless kid that no one loves."

She felt the urge to tell him that someone did love him, but her mind was telling her that she loved Dawson. She couldn't say it, because she thought it would be insincere.

"Hey, he's sleeping," she said with a smile, looking at Alexander. Pacey carefully got up and laid him in his crib. When he saw the look on Joey's face, he wasn't sure that he wanted to talk about whatever it was that they needed to discuss. He faced her, because he knew that if it was the news that he thought it was, it was inevitable for her to tell him.

[Song: "Why me Baby?" by Keith Sweat and LL Cool J]

"Pacey, I've got some news," she said with a grin.

"What's going on?" he asked.

"Last night, after you left, Dawson told me that he wanted to be with me."

"Oh," he said. "I, um, I guess it finally worked then."

"I hope you don't get disappointed in him, because he said that if it weren't for you, he would want to be with me."

"Oh," he said again. He was saddened. Although he knew this day was inevitable, he had hoped it wouldn't take place for a while.

"I thought we could plan a break-up," she said.

"A break-up?" he said. "Why?"

"We can't tell him this has all been an act, it could make him angry at the both of us, so I thought that an orchestrated break-up was the best way to go."

"Okay," he said.

"Pacey, thank you for doing this for me. I want you to know something," she said.

"What?" he asked.

"I've gained more than a relationship with Dawson from this. I've gotten you, and I couldn't have asked for a better friend."

"Thanks," he whispered.

"I hope that a little while after the break-up we can resume being friends," she said.

"Why do we have to wait?" he asked.

"I didn't think that we should do it amiably," she said.

"Oh, okay," he said. "Whatever you want." He had said that to her several times over the past few weeks. Before he had said it because it would lead to more time with her, but this time it was going to lead to them being apart. In his heart, he knew it was best, because he knew that she would never be as happy with him, as she would be with Dawson. He was desperately trying not to let her see what he was feeling, but he didn't know how well he was doing. The only one who did probably know how he was feeling was her, because of all the times she had to listen to Dawson ramble on about Jen.

They methodically planned the break-up, only interrupted a few times by the baby's wailing. Taking care of a baby was something that they weren't used to, and it wasn't surprising that they both passed out on the couch when it seemed he was asleep for good. They spent their last night as a 'couple' playing mom and dad, and slept quietly on the couch.


Pacey 'woke up and smelled the coffee' so to speak, because Bessie was brewing a pot. For a minute he didn't know where he was. Joey was fast asleep on his chest; she could probably hear his heart beating, just as she had when they were dancing a few nights ago. He smiled when he saw her, and quickly pushed the thoughts out of his mind about how this would be their last time to be together like this. He didn't move because he feared he would wake her. Not minutes later she awoke in the same fog he had. Bessie came in smiling at them. "I knew that the baby would wear you out, but I never imagined that you pass out from it," she said.

"Why didn't you wake us?" Joey said, in her best groggy early morning voice.

"You looked sleepy," she said, "and peaceful." She handed Pacey a cup of coffee.

"Thanks," he said taking the cup, and began drinking it.

"You have got to stop drinking that stuff," Joey said.

"Well, you know Joey, this is the other thing that clears up your complexion," he said with a smile.

She smiled at him, and she couldn't believe that he was a top form, even early in the morning. She looked at her watch, and saw that there was plenty of time before school. "I'll go get ready, we can go to your house, and go together," she said.

"Okay," he said. As bad as things were going to be later, he was happy that the day could at least begin nicely.

Bessie sat next to Pacey on the couch, as he was wiping the sleep from his eyes. "Pacey, what's going on with you and my sister?" she asked him.

"We're just having fun together," he said. When he saw the look on her face he added, "oh, not that kind of fun."

She laughed at him. "I like you Pacey," she said. "And I hope you stick around for a while."

"I don't think that's going to happen," he told her, sadly.

"Why do you say that?" she asked.

"I don't know," he said. She smiled sympathetically at him, and got up to return to the kitchen. "Maybe because my life is just destined to be miserable," he said quietly to himself. However, she had heard him.

Later, Joey came back ready to leave for school. "Thanks for the coffee, Bessie," Pacey said getting up to leave.

"Thanks for not letting my sister kill my son last night," she said. "I'll see you guys later. Don't be a stranger Pacey," she added.

Pacey and Joey walked out of the house, and Pacey took in a deep breath of fresh air. "Nice day to break-up," he said.

"I don't know about that," Joey said.


Pacey stood at his locker dreading what was about to take place. "Hey," Joey said coming up to him.

"Hey," he said back.

"You ready for this?" she asked.

[Song: "5 Steps" by Dru Hill]

"As I'll ever be," he told her. He shut the door to his locker, and leaned against it. He looked at Joey as if it were the last time that he would ever see her. When he saw Dawson within about twenty feet, he began laughing, like he was laughing at a joke that he had made himself.

Joey took that as her cue. "Dammit Pacey. Is everything a joke to you?" she asked, sounding angered.

"Lighten up Joey."

"Lighten up? Lighten up? How dare you say that to me? This isn't the time or the place. I can't believe you. You always do this," she said, almost shouting.

"You are way to serious," he said.

"Pacey, I just cannot take this anymore."

"Take what?" he asked, acting disgusted.

"Take you," she said. "Unlike you I would prefer that my life not be a joke. And that's exactly what it's becoming because I'm dating the proverbial punchline."

"You guys, this is not the place," Dawson says stopping them.

"No it's okay Dawson," he says to him. He looks at her, "fine. Go ahead and date whoever you want. That is if you can find someone to tolerate you."

"You go to hell Pacey. You are never going to be anything more than what you are -- a screw-up, and your future lies at clown college," she said as she walked away.

"That's fine," he said, yelling down the hallway. "I was bored with you anyway, you cold bitch."

She went into the bathroom, and entered a stall. She knew that there no one would be able to see that she didn't have a reaction, and that Dawson wouldn't come after her. As she sat there, she did have a reaction. She wanted to cry, but a long time ago crying had been something that she vowed she would never do again. Pacey's last remark had stung her, and she prayed that the whole 'screw-up/clown college' thing hadn't bothered him, the way that him calling her a cold bitch had bothered her. It had though, and it made Pacey feel like he had entered hell. Simultaneously, they both thought about how they would never share a kiss again. Pacey knew that things would only get worse now, and although Joey thought that she would soon have what she wanted, she couldn't help but to think the same thing.

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