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[Previously in "love jones": Joey and Pacey are trapped in an elevator, and each almost confesses their feelings for the other. They talk about how confused they are, and Joey can't help but to kiss Pacey. When the kiss starts to lead to something more, he stops her, saying it's not the right time or place, and it would cause many problems for them to be together. After out of the elevator, Dawson arranges for he, Jen, Joey, and Pacey to meet at his house that night to try to resolve some of the problems that they are facing.]
Dawson was pacing when Joey climbed through his window at about five minutes to eight. "What's wrong with you?" she asked him.
"I just think that this is going to be big," he said, referring to the meeting that he had arranged earlier today.
"Dawson, it's not going to be all that bad, we are all friends."
"Friends with many suppressed feelings, and hidden agendas."
"You make this sound like some kind of spy movie," she said. "We just want to work out our differences, as friendly as possible. This is a good thing."
"We'll see if you feel that way after it's over," he said, still skeptical.
[Song: "Victory" by Puff Daddy]
Joey sat on the bed next to Dawson, and as they watched Jen and Pacey enter the room, they believed the world had just reached some kind of slow-motion mode. Pacey grabbed a chair, and moved it so he would be sitting next to Joey's feet, and Jen pulled a chair up to Dawson's side. Silently they all agreed that Dawson would be the moderator.
"First," he said. "We're just here to work out some of our problems, and I think it's best that we all try to avoid nasty confrontation and physical violence." They all shook their heads in agreement. He continued, "I think that it's also best that we agree to be truthful."
Joey and Jen shook their heads. Everyone looked at Pacey, and he finally said, "okay," very reluctantly.
"Now that we're all here, I really don't know how to start," Dawson said.
"I want to start," Joey said. "There is something you need to know," she told Dawson, looking at Pacey.
"What is it?" Dawson asked, concerned.
"Pacey and I didn't sleep together," she said, bluntly.
"What?" Dawson and Jen said simultaneously.
"We didn't sleep together," she said again.
"But you said that you did. He said. . ." Dawson said.
"No Dawson, I denied it, and you didn't believe me," Pacey informed him.
"I lied about it," Joey said.
It was obvious that Dawson was hurt. "Why?" he asked.
"I wanted to make sure that you would take me as I am, no matter what it was."
"You had no right to do that," Dawson said.
Joey didn't know what to say to that, because she knew that he was probably right, but she couldn't do anything about it now. She began to think of how this could become a horribly long night.
"I guess that I can go," Pacey said, standing.
"You can't go, Pacey," Dawson said.
"I'm not involved in this now," he said.
"I know that you don't feel like a part of this crazy love triangle," he said, "but you are."
"God Dawson," Jen said. "You can't count."
"What?" Dawson asked.
"Rectangle," Jen said.
"Rectangle?" Dawson asked.
"Yes rectangle," Jen said. "This is a love rectangle."
"As much as I've always loved the drama on General Hospital," Pacey said, "this is too much for me. I really don't have anything to do with this."
Dawson got up, and stood in front of the door. "Pacey, you are a part of this," Dawson said. "Sit down," he commanded.
Pacey sat, angrily. "Now," Dawson said, "what has happened to make us mad at each other?"
"You treat me lousy," Pacey said. "Why do you do that?"
"I, uh, I didn't like the idea of you having sex with Joey," he said.
"Do you still hate me?" Pacey asked Dawson.
"No," Dawson said.
"What changed?" Pacey asked.
"It's not true," Dawson said.
"I wish that I lived in your world Dawson, I really do."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Dawson asked, offended.
"Ten minutes ago you hated me, and now everything's okay. I don't believe that Dawson. I think that someone stopped payment on your reality check," Pacey said.
"Pacey there is no reason for you to attack me," Dawson said.
"I want to know the real reason," he said. "You are jealous of Joey and me with or without the sex thing."
"And?" Dawson said, as much as an admittance as anything else.
"What?" Joey said.
"I don't know what happened," Dawson said, "but since you dated him, I've just. . .I just noticed that you have something with him that you don't have with me."
"Dawson, you need to understand that we are alike. We connect. But Pacey and I are different from you and me," Joey said.
"I do understand that, but I can't help how I feel," Dawson said, looking down.
"Dawson, can I say something without hurting you?" Joey asked.
"I don't know if it'll hurt me until after you say it," he answered.
"I think that us being together was a mistake. I mean, I think that it has really messed our friendship up."
Pacey couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Joey, you can't mean that," Dawson said, stunned.
"Dawson, I still want to be your friend. I want us to have what we had. I want things to go back to the way they were," Joey said.
"I don't believe you Joey," Jen said.
"Butt out Jen," she said.
"No Joey," Jen said. "You wanted Dawson for all that time, and now that you have him, you just want things to go back to the way they were. It's amazing that you can accuse him of jealousy, because this deep love that you were supposed to have felt for him came after he began to date me, and now that I'm out of the picture it's gone. Now that you have him, the threat is gone, and the challenge is gone."
"Jen, you don't know how I felt. You didn't live in the misery that I did while I watched him with you. Besides that fact that I didn't have anything to do with you breaking up with him. You did that. You did. If you can't accept the consequences of your own actions, I'm sorry. There is no reason for you to sit there and psychoanalyze me and my motives. My motives are pure. I want my friend back. You, on the other hand, just want to sabotage things, because you realized what you gave up. Amazingly enough, you realized that after Dawson began to notice me. You should understand that the danger of being on that high horse that you ride is that you can easily fall off."
"I can't believe this. You are trying to blame me for everything? I don't think so. The dumper's remorse thing works both ways. I know who I want. Do you know who you want?" Jen asked.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Joey said.
"Plain and simple, Joey. They're both in the room," Jen said. It made Pacey look up. "The two people who this whole entire thing is obviously about. Who do you want Joey?" she asked. "The life-long pal that you were so in love with, or the ex who you still obviously have a thing for?"
"Jen there is one thing I'm sure of, I don't like you," Joey said.
"You don't have to like me, but you know that what I'm saying is true. Pacey is the reason you don't want to be with Dawson," she said. "It has nothing to do with getting your friend back."
"No, Jen," Pacey said. "I don't have anything to do with this. You don't know the torture that I went through when I was dating her. Knowing when she was kissing me that she thought of him. Knowing that it was only a matter of time before she would run to him. Knowing I could never mean as much to her as he does. That's what this is about. You can't blame her. The grass is always greener, you know."
"So what?" Jen asked him. "It's okay for her to get what she supposedly wants, but once she has it, and finds its not what she thought it would be, she can just throw it away. This is not about a five year old after a trip to the toy store. Real people are involved."
"Maybe she just needs some space. You know, some time without a boyfriend," Pacey said.
"That is vicious," she said. "You cannot compare me to her."
"Oh, why not Jenny? I mean, you both want our friend Dawson here. You both want him as a friend. You're both fighting over him. I know that your momma gave you the speech about busses. God, just get over it. You just missed this one, another one will be along in ten minutes."
"This isn't the city Pacey," Jen said. "The bus only passes through once in a while. I've got places that I want to be."
"Look," Dawson said. "This is not helping. Jen, I'm not hurt by what Joey said. Everybody just give it a rest."
They sat in silence for minutes. Finally Pacey said sarcastically, "are we all friends yet?" No one answered him. "Look, the situation is easy to assess. Jen still wants you Dawson. She thinks that Joey did something to keep her from you. Joey doesn't think that she wants you anymore. That bothers Jen because she thinks that Joey was just jealous. Joey thinks that Jen was jealous of what you have with her. Joey wants to be your friend again. She and I are friends. We are friends who didn't sleep together. As far as me, I have no beef with you, and what's happened is no skin off my back. The answer lies with you Dawson. Can you do something before these two girls throw down?" Pacey asked him.
"Well Pacey," Dawson said. "Since you and I are okay now, I guess the problem is with them. And they didn't like each other to begin with."
"Dawson, it has always been because of you," Jen said. "You are why we don't like each other."
"Why do you both give me so much power?" he asked. Pacey was growing disgusted, because he thought that he would die still loving Joey, while Dawson was faced with the dilemma of who to choose.
"Dawson," Joey said, "you are my friend, and being your girlfriend has been miserable. I just hope that it hasn't ruined our relationship. Who you date is not my concern, so I will wish you the best."
Dawson looked up at Pacey. "I know the solution," he said. "We don't date each other."
"Dawson, I hate this idea," Jen said.
'Me too,' Pacey and Joey thought at the same time. They both realized that their feelings for the other wasn't the issue. The conflict in the group was because of Dawson, and neither of them knew that the other loved them. Joey knew that if she spoke up about it, she would have given Jen the satisfaction of answering her question. She choose Pacey, but would be damned if she let Jen know. Her train of thought led her to wonder how Jen had known, and she began to question if Pacey knew.
"Once we have our problems as a group worked out," Dawson said, "we can change it, if we need to, but now we need to stop this, before we lose each other."
"I think it's a good idea," Pacey said, just wanting to get out of there.
"Yeah," Joey said.
"Fine," Jen added.
"Now can we try to be civil?" Dawson asked. "That is, now that the truth is out."
"I'm sorry Jen," Pacey said. "You too Dawson."
"Same goes for me," Joey said. She and Pacey shared a glance, because they knew how important it was to make amends.
"Pacey, man, I'm sorry for all I've done," Dawson said.
"It's okay," Pacey said. "What more could I ask from you?"
"I'm sorry everybody," Jen said. Finally there were some feelings that things may get better. They left Dawson's hoping that they could start fresh tomorrow.
At about midnight Pacey was standing in his room, looking into the mirror above his dresser. He turned around when her heard a tap on his window. Joey was looking at him from her ladder. He motioned her inside. "Hey," she said. "I'm glad you were awake."
"Yeah," he said, a bit preoccupied.
"That was something tonight, wasn't it?" she asked. She was hoping he would bring up their new rule.
"What's wrong?" she asked him.
"Nothing," he said.
"Pacey, I can tell. What is it?"
"I don't know," he said, seriously. He was staring into the mirror again.
"Pacey, tell me what you were thinking about."
"I don't know," he said. "It's just. . .when I look into the mirror, I don't see myself anymore."
"Pacey you're still yourself," she said.
"No," he said. "Five months ago I was easygoing. I had fun, I joked. I lived in the delusion that no matter what they said or did, my family loved me. I was happy as a screw-up. I didn't realize that my life was supposed to be miserable. Look at me now, there is nothing of the old Pacey left. I don't know where it went wrong. When I started taking so much crap from my brother, when I slept with my teacher. Somewhere down the line I've just gone down this spiral to low self esteem. I've been trying to do right, but it's killing me."
"At the risk of sounding like a Hallmark card, I could give you some advice," she said.
"What?" he asked.
"Someone told me once that growing older is inevitable, and growing up is optional. Pacey, you stopped just getting older, and began growing up. How could you not see how special, how good the person that you look at now is?"
"I don't think so," he said. "If anything, I'm regressing."
"Pacey why do you think that I love you? Long before you started making these changes in yourself, I saw what you truly were, and who you could be."
"But before I began changing you just traded insults with me," he said sitting next to her.
"Pacey, the man that I'm sitting here with is just that -- a man, the grown up version of a boy that I used to know. You had all of these things inside you, but you were too afraid to let them out. You can still make me laugh. You can still tell me silly stories. You can still keep me from going insane when I need to think about something else. You are still you, but you have evolved. We both know how families can screw people up, and that's what happened to you. Your family gave you the low self esteem that you have. Being a screw-up was your way of paying them back. Now that they aren't part of the picture, you still have it, but you don't get bad grades, or crack jokes, or become the center of attention because you don't need to. You are surrounded by people who love you now. You don't know how to take that, because you've never had it."
"Are you saying you love me?" he asked.
"Yes," she said. She stood up, and walked with him to the mirror. "I love that man. The one you see. The one who studies. The one who is slowly opening his heart to the people he loves. The one who has been my best friend, working with me on schemes, keeping me from making mistakes, listening to me talk when I don't really have anything to say. I love the old Pacey too," she said, "but I can't say that I miss him, or like him better than you. The difference is that before you made me smile inside. I never wanted you to know it. Now, I smile on the outside."
He looked down. She put her fingers under his chin, and put his head back up straight. "You always said that I was honest. I will tell you when I don't like what I see," she said. "I just want you be you, and trust that your happiness is out there. There are people who will use you, and abuse you, but there are people who will love you, and take care of you no matter what. You can't keep those people out, just because you're afraid to let the others in. You won't live life that way."
"Joey, no one is ever going to love me," he said. "It's always going to be like it was tonight. Two girls fighting over Dawson. You heard Jen, there just aren't enough buses here. Dawson will always be 'one of the good ones'" he said. "No matter what I do, I will never be one."
"Pacey, that's not true. I mean, I know enough about life to know that things change, and sometimes it's good, and sometimes it's not. You don't pick who you love, you just love them."
"I know that," he said. "I know that you love who you love, but you can't make them love you. I think that I'll just be disappointed if I can't get the person who I want to love me to love me. Why try? Joey, can't you see? Things are always going to be the same. If people are going to love me, it's only going to be because they love me like a friend, a brother, or a son. Who are those people? Coincidentally, those are the people who've know me since I was little."
"Pacey, I don't know what to do with you," she said, confused. "Alex," she said.
"What about him?" he asked.
"He loves you. I mean the only time that I've ever seen that child stop fussing cold, and believe me he fusses a lot, is when you take him. He doesn't leave the house without that little ball that you gave him. He lights up when he sees you."
"He's just a baby Joey."
"Exactly," she said. "Babies are supposed to be the best judges of character. Unlike us, they know when someone loves them. Without any preconceived notions, or messed up views of the world, they love us back unconditionally. Somehow, as messed up as I am, I see in you what he sees in you."
"Your not messed up."
"Yes, I am," she said. "I've had this same conversation. I know what it feels like to think that no one loves you. But we can't think about the past now, Pacey. We need to think about today, and live the best lives that we can. You can't shut yourself out of the world, because you have some messed-up notion of how you should be."
"I'm sorry," he said. "I just. . .I'm just very confused about what's going on. I guess that we're some pair."
"I guess so," she said. She grabbed him, and gave him a hug. "Promise me that you will always be here for me," she said.
"Only if you make the same promise to me," he answered.
"I will," she said, "always."
"Me too," he said. They didn't move a muscle, and were still in each other's embrace. Despite the fact that the conversation they just had was very complicated and heavy, they were still right where they wanted to be. They were together. 'It can't be long until I have to tell him how I feel,' Joey thought to herself. Pacey wished that he could stay there with her forever, because, for once, he was right where he wanted to be, and he felt like he was loved. Even though he thought she just loved him as a friend, he was satisfied with that, for now.
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