My Father, The Hero by: Laura

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It is dark except the glow of the television. Dawson is laying on his bed, on his stomach. He smiles unconsciouslyas the music to Close Encounters of the Third Kind blasts throughout his room. A noise is heard outside his window, then Joey steps in. She looks at the TV.

DAWSON: (glancing at her quickly, then turning back to the movie.) Hey, Jo. Close Encounters is on.

JOEY: Special Edition Director's Cut or Original Release?

DAWSON: Original Release, unfortunately.

JOEY: *Unfortunately*? *Please*, Dawson. Original was so much better. (Dawson looks stunned and sits up straight, pausing the movie and turning on the light.)

DAWSON: You *can't* be serious.

JOEY: You don't share my opinion?

DAWSON: No! Why do you think the original is better? Even though I have a certain *proclivity* toward Spielberg, it's evident extra footage is egregious.

JOEY: The extra footage is irksome. Spielberg should've realized it was better off without the prolonged ending. Who cares about seeing more shots of Richard Dreyfuss on the spaceship?

DAWSON: I don't believe you, Joey. Spielberg was not content with the original ending. He ran out of time and money and didn't get to do it the way he wanted. The Special Edition is the way he wanted it to be; his original vision. And what could be better than an original vision of Spielberg's? (Joey sits down on the bed next to him, looking skeptical.)

JOEY: It's needless material, Dawson. It drags. The images of the interior of the spacecraft that were presented just grow stale. (Dawson just shakes his head sadly at her.)

DAWSON: (muttering) Jo, Jo, Jo, Jo, Jo....*what* has happened to you?

JOEY: (looking at his movie shelf) I say we watch something pathetically childish. Homeward Bound. (She pulls a Sony Recording Tape with the title scrawled on the white label.) I didn't even know you still had this.

DAWSON: Homeward Bound?You're kidding, Jo, right? (Dawson eyes her as she stops Close Encounters and pops in her choice for a movie. She smiles wickedly and plops down on the bed next to him.) Remind me to throw this out when tonight is over. (Joey just takes the remote from his hand and looks toward the television. Dawson sighs and rolls his eyes.)



Joey and Pacey are at his locker, talking. Dawson walks into school and sees them. He heads over, smiling. They laugh at something as Dawson stops behind Joey.

DAWSON: Hey, what's so funny?

JOEY: Oh, nothing, really. We were just-

PACEY: Discussing what happened to Mindy Reagan yesterday.

DAWSON: I don't know why you both find that so funny. I feel bad for her.

JOEY: (rolling her eyes) You know, Dawson, sometimes you're too nice for your own good. She's one of Abby's friends, remember? *Nobody* should feel sorry for her.

DAWSON: (laughing) On the contrary, Jo. Personally, I feel sorry for *anyone* who has to be friends with Abby Morgan.

PACEY: Good point.

JOEY: (shutting Pacey's locker when she sees he's not paying attention.) Well taken. (Pacey looks at her, annoyed.)

PACEY: I wasn't done yet, Joey! (He twirls his combination and opens his locker back up, sending a glare in her direction.) Dawson, man, talk some sense into this girlfriend of yours. This is the third time she's shut my locker in the past few minutes. She's *purposely* annoying me.

DAWSON: (faking that he cares) Joey, are you *purposely* annoying him?

JOEY: Of course.


PACEY: Dawson! A little support here? (Pacey throws his hands up in the air and Joey takes the opportunity to slam his locker again.) Joey! I am seriously going to kill you.

JOEY: Bite me, Pace.

PACEY: You say that one more time and I may have to take you up on the offer. (He opens his locker again.) Then again, maybe I wouldn't. I wouldn't want to put Dawson out of a job, now would I? (He slaps Dawson's shoulder. Dawson reaches over and slams Pacey's locker. This time, a notebook gets stuck in the hinge, jamming his locker. Joey and Dawson walk away, laughing.) You guys think you're funny, huh?

DAWSON: Bye, Pacey.

PACEY: I'm going to get you for this, you know that, right?

JOEY: Have a nice day, Pacey. (She and Dawson go into their separate classrooms as the rest of the hall starts to clear. Pacey turns back to his locker and attempts to open it. When he realizes that it's jammed, he sighs and bangs his head on the hard metal. The bell rings, and Pacey is standing alone in the hallway.)

PACEY: Damn it! (He kicks his locker and looks around for someone to help him.)


Joey comes out of the lunch line, searching the cafeteria to find out where Dawson is sitting. She sees him sitting at a table toward the doorway and heads over. Sighing, she plops her tray down and looks at Dawson, waiting for him to ask what's wrong.

DAWSON: Jo, what's wrong?

JOEY: I'm going to kill Pacey. He "accidentally" spilled white-out all over my bio homework. I could have killed him. But obviously that was too extreme so I just let him copy the answers from my lab. (Dawson looks at her, puzzled.) The wrong answers, of course. I changed them back after. He's still clueless. And he will be until he gets a bit fat zero on the top of his paper. (She smiles.)

DAWSON: What is up with the all-out war between you two? It's certainly exploded into outrageous proportions.

JOEY: (looking at her tray, as if trying to figure out something. Her face lightens as something occurs to her.) Ah! Dawson, be right back. I forgot a fork. (Joey gets up and walks away as Pacey enters. He tosses his lunch bag onto the table, stealing a glance at Joey.)

PACEY: Where's she going?

DAWSON: She's getting a fork.

PACEY: Cool, then I'll have enough time.

DAWSON: Enough time to do what? (He watches as Pacey takes the top of Joey's hamburger off her tray and covers the burger with hot sauce he had taken out from his lunch bag. Mixing it with the already present ketchup, he then sets the bun back together. Dawson looks at him.) You just *happened* to have a bottle of hot sauce with you today to get back at her for the locker incident?

PACEY: No, this is clearly a premeditated act of battle.

DAWSON: I'm going to tell her you did that, Pacey.

PACEY: You do, and you're next on my prank list. And trust me, you don't want that. (Joey returns to the table, smiling at Dawson. Her face falls as she sees Pacey.)

JOEY: Oh. *You're* here.

PACEY: Yes, in the flesh. I know it's hard to resist me, Jo, but please try to restrain yourself. (Joey rolls her eyes and sits down, setting her fork on her tray.)

JOEY: Please. Like, I don't see enough of you at work. Can't you just disappear?

DAWSON: (realizing) Oh, so that's what this little feud is about. You two getting on each other's nerves at the Ice House?

JOEY: (sarcastically) No, Dawson, we're not. I love having Pacey boss me around.

PACEY: Well, sorry, Jo, if you didn't do a job right, *someone* has to inform you of the correct way to do it.

JOEY: And considering you have *no* idea what you're doing, you assume I should listen to you...why?

PACEY: Because I'm god and you're not.

JOEY: You're a delusional idiot.

PACEY: Ice Queen. (Joey rolls her eyes and takes a bite of her burger. Dawson suddenly realizes what she's doing and tries to stop her.)

DAWSON: No, Joey, don't- (Joey grabs her napkin and spits the hamburger out into it.) eat that... (Joey stands up, looking angrily at the laughing Pacey.)

JOEY: You stupid jerk!

PACEY: (in mock hurt) Oh, stop the harsh language, Joey. It hurts my feelings. (Joey is fuming. Without a word she grabs the burger and smushes it, cheese first, into Pacey's taunting face. She smiles now. Pacey stands.)

DAWSON: Guys...guys? This is enough.

PACEY: That does it. (He grabs some mashed potatoes off her tray with his bare hand and smashes it against her face. She gasps.)

JOEY: You asshole!

PACEY: You deserved that, don't blame it on me.

DAWSON: Joey, Pacey, come on. This is stupid.

JOEY: Shut up, Dawson.

PACEY: This is between me and her.

DAWSON: Pace, stop it. You and Jo were getting along before when Mindy Reagan made a fool of herself. Why can't you now?

JOEY: It was temporary. Five minutes of peace.

PACEY: We take pleasure in other's pain. Now we're back to our own pain. Or rather, *my* pain, which is Joey.

JOEY: And you're just *such* a delight to be around. (Pacey snorts in contempt and gets a fist full of peas. He retaliates by taking Dawson's milk off his tray and throwing its contents at Joey.)

DAWSON: That was mine!

JOEY: You're dead! (She throws more mashed potatoes at him. Soon food is flying all over the place. Everyone in the cafeteria looks at them, giggling and murmuring, interested.) I hate you, Pacey!

DAWSON: Stop! You guys! Stop it!

PACEY: You're a bitch, Joey. I don't know what Dawson sees in you! (They are screaming at each other. Dawson is trying to break them apart, getting creamed with food in the process. Suddenly a strong hand pulls Joey back from wringing Pacey's neck.)

LUNCH MONITOR: Ms. Potter, Mr. Witter, Mr. Leery...what do you think you're doing? (The three teens look up at the tall, elderly woman wearing a hair net. Joey blinks, mashed potatoes falling off her lashes onto the floor. They are all silent.)


Joey, Dawson and Pacey are sitting on a bench, across from the main desk of the office. They all are slouching, with their arms crossed and angry looks on their faces. They're all clean now, except a few stains on their shirts. Another kid (played by Erik Von Detten.) is sitting next to Joey, who is dressed in trendy yet grungy skating clothing. He keeps eyeing Joey. She shoots him a dirty look.)

JOEY: What are you looking at? (The kid just looks away.)

DAWSON: I can't believe I'm here.

JOEY: Dawson, come on. It won't be that bad. Worse case, we get detention.

PACEY: It's all Joey's fault.

JOEY: What? This is *your* fault, Witter!

DAWSON: Would you two stop? *What* is the deal? You work together for one week and now you're always at each other's throats! (He looks at Joey, waiting for an answer.)

JOEY: Don't look at me. He's the one with the personality problem.

PACEY: Oh, I wouldn't talk, freak.

JOEY: Well at least I'm not the town screw-up, Witter.

PACEY: Why would you be the town screw-up when you're already a- (a secretary walks out from the principal's office and looks at Dawson, Joey and Pacey.)

SECRETARY: Mr. Houseman would like to see you in his office immediately. (They all exchange looks and stand up. Joey heads to the door and Pacey tries to beat her there. She pushes him slightly and goes into the office. Dawson sighs sadly. The boy sitting in the chair watches the scene with interest. The secretary turns to him with a warm smile.)

SECRETARY: Erik, honey, the principal will be with you in a minute. He just has to take care of these troublemakers here. (Erik gives her a small smile and shifts in his seat. He looks around the room, bored.)


Mr. Houseman, a stout man with wire-frame glasses and a plaid bow-tie, looks up at the three students sternly. Pacey sits down without being offered a chair. Joey and Dawson eye the principal nervously. He gestures for them to sit down. They sit quickly. Mr. Houseman takes his own seat behind his desk and look across the stacks of papers at them.

HOUSEMAN: So...I hear you three have been making trouble in the cafeteria.

DAWSON: Mr. Houseman, if I may, I'd like to explain the whole situation. You see, I-

HOUSEMAN: No need, Mr. Leery. I have already been informed of the *situation*. You are free to go. (Dawson looks amazed.)

DAWSON: (disbelieving) I...I am?

HOUSEMAN: Yes, you are. And please stop standing there, gaping like an idiot and get back to class. I have to deal with these two delinquents here. (Pacey and Joey simultaneously roll their eyes. Mr. Houseman is looking at Dawson and doesn't see them. Dawson heads for the door, glancing at Joey.)

DAWSON: Yes, sir. (He steps out, but Mr. Houseman calls to him.)

HOUSEMAN: Dawson, shut the door on your way out. (Dawson looks worried. He looks at Joey again. She shrugs. Nodding slowly, Dawson closes the door behind him. Mr. Houseman gets up, pacing slowly back and forth behind his desk.)

JOEY: Mr. Houseman, I realize that we were wrong. We were completely out of line. Immature, childish, you name it, we were it. I apologize for my actions. (She looks at him hopefully. The fear of having this incident noted on her permanent record had entered her mind. It may only be a small food fight, but colleges, well the colleges she was eyeing, needed a perfect record.)

HOUSEMAN: Josephine, I am aware that this isn't the first time you have acted up in the lunch room. I seem to remember a certain incident involving Grant Bodine? (Joey's face falls.) And you, Mr. Witter...well, we have come to know each other very well this year, haven't we? (Pacey's face falls also.) This school is beginning to have a major discipline problem and I intend to make you two an example for the rest of the students here at Capeside. (Pacey and Joey exchange looks.) As of now, you are suspended for the rest of the day, and will receive detention every day after school *next* week as punishment for your behavior, seeing as detention has been cancelled for the rest of *this* week. Both of your fathers have already been reached and they are coming to pick you up right now. (Joey and Pacey are confused.)

PACEY: Mr. Houseman, I no longer live with my father.

JOEY: Um...excuse me, Mr. Houseman? Did you say *both* our fathers?

HOUSEMAN: Yes, both your fathers.

JOEY: I don't...I don't understand... (Mr. Potter walks into the office at that moment.)

MR POTTER: Hello, Joey.

JOEY: *Dad*?

PACEY: *Mr. Potter*? (They both stare at him incredulously as the scene fades.)



Joey and Mr. Potter are in Bessie's truck, heading toward home. Joey still looks like she is in shock. Mr. Potter looks at her, fondly.

MR. POTTER: I wanted to surprise you two girls. That's why I didn't call.

JOEY: (breaking out of her daze) Wha...what?

MR. POTTER: I just didn't count on walking in the house and getting a phone call from Mr. Houseman.. (his tone changes into a stern one) telling me to come pick up my youngest daughter from school because she was fighting in the cafeteria... (He looks at Joey questioningly.) And what was that about?

JOEY: (sighing) It wasn't a...*fight* and Pacey just...we were throwing food at each other. (Mr. Potter laughs.) I know it was completely elementary of us but it's too late to change that now.

MR. POTTER: (nodding) There's a lot of things I'd like to change in my past too, Joey. But I can't... (They are both silent for a moment.) So...what was the fight about?

JOEY: Oh...well, Bessie gave Pacey a job at the Ice House...*and* the tiny apartment above the place, you know the one I mean? (Mr. Potter nods.) And basically, the kid's been driving me absolutely crazy. I mean, he drove me crazy before, but *now*...

MR. POTTER: (laughing lightly as his daughter's face clouds with anger.) That bad, huh? (Joey nods.)

JOEY: I'm ready to send him to Siberia. (Mr. Potter smiles, slowing down the truck and looking behind him. Suddenly he makes a U-turn.) Where are you going?

MR. POTTER: You know, Joey, I think we should go out for lunch, seeing how yours ended up all over Pacey.

JOEY: (confused) Wait-what happened to being suspended?

MR. POTTER: (jokingly) Well, you know us Potters...we like to break the rules. (Joey actually smiles at this.) Besides, I want to hear all about your life-how's Dawson? Anything ever...?

JOEY: Dawson? (she smiles widely, happy to tell the story) Well...


Dawson is sitting in Social Studies class, other students are still piling in from the hallway. The bell rings and a few last minute stragglers rush in, dashing to their seats. A second later, the boy from the office appears in the doorway, checking the room number with a piece of paper he's holding in his hand. The teacher walks into the room, almost crashing into him.

TEACHER: Oh, you must be Erik Rhodes, am I correct? (Erik nods, looking a bit unsure of himself.)

ERIK: Um...yeah. I just...

TEACHER: (picking up a seating chart from his desk) Well, can take the seat toward the back, next to Dawson Leery. (Erik looks around the room, looking for an empty seat. He's clueless.) Dawson, raise your hand. (Dawson raises his hand, then watches Erik walk to his seat with interest.)

DAWSON: (as Erik takes his seat) Hi, Erik. Welcome to Capeside.

ERIK: Um...thanks. (He shrugs a little and lets his backpack drop to the floor.)


Joey walks into the house first, smiling wickedly as she creeps up behind Bessie, who is washing dishes at the sink. Mr. Potter follows her inside. As Joey gets closer to her sister, Alex, who is in his high chair at the table, suddenly bursts out crying and Bessie turns around. She sees Joey and glares at her.

BESSIE: Joey! Look what you did! I *just* got him to be qui- Dad?

MR. POTTER: (looking at his daughter with tears in his eyes) Hello, Bessie.

BESSIE: Dad? I...I don't...I don't believe it...Why..why are you here?

MR. POTTER: My parole hearing came up...and wasn't denied...I came home as soon as I got out of there. I wanted to surprise you both. (Bessie sets her dish towel on the counter, still in shock.)

BESSIE: you just show up? Without any warning? (Joey looks from Bessie to her father, knowing the two have a lot of unresolved issues.)

MR. POTTER: I would've I said, I wanted it to be a surprise. (He looks at Alex.) Is this...Is this Alex? (Bessie nods, at a loss for words.) May I hold him? (Bessie doesn't reply. Joey picks Alex up and hands him to her father. He looks at Alex in an almost state of awe and wonder. Alex coos and smiles at Mr. Potter, letting his tiny hands lightly pat Mr. Potter's nose. Mr. Potter beams, a few tears swelling in his eyes.) Oh, Bessie-bear, he's so beautiful.

BESSIE: *Don't* call me Bessie-bear, Dad. (Bessie looks at her father for a minute, then takes Alex from his arms and leaves the room. Joey watches her sister go, a bit unsure of what will happen next. Mr. Potter looks at his hands that held his grandson a moment ago, then toward the door that Bessie had stormed out through. He sighs and looks at Joey.)

MR. POTTER: Well...I guess a surprise wasn't a very good idea.

JOEY: (shrugging) I guess not. (Mr. Potter frowns and looks at the ground. Joey nudges him lightly.) Don't worry, Dad. She'll be okay in awhile.

MR. POTTER: Should I go talk to her? Or...geez, I don't even know how to handle my own kid.

JOEY: (smiling) Dad, no parent knows how to handle their own kid. It's not unusual. (Mr. Potter smiles slightly. Joey shrugs again.) Just let her burn off some steam. I mean, seeing you probably...well...probably brought up a lot of anger...just...just give her time. She'll come around.

MR. POTTER: (sighing again) I hope so. (He looks at Joey, who sighs too.)


Joey climbs in through the window. The light is on and his closet is open, but he's not in his room. Pots and pans can be heard banging from downstairs. Joey looks curious as she steps out into the hallway.


Joey walks down the stairs into the living room, then into the kitchen. She bursts out laughing. Dawson stops in his tracks, holding a potholder in one hand and a pan in the other. He looks at her questioningly.


JOEY: Nothing.

DAWSON: Is there something that you find funny about me cooking?

JOEY: No, but the blue and white plaid apron really brings out your eyes. (She gestures to his attire. He pulls it off and looks at her.)

DAWSON: And I go through *all* this trouble to make you dinner...

JOEY: Make me dinner?

DAWSON: Yeah, I figured we could use a little down time. I haven't seen you in a while.

JOEY: (sighing) I know...things have been so hectic at work...and...

DAWSON: I don't need excuses, Jo. I've been preoccupied too. Let's just... (He moves toward her and gently takes her in his arms. She half smiles.) Let's just spend some time together. Just the two of us. (Their lips meet in a sweet kiss. Mitch passes by the doorway, with a knowing smile.)

MITCH: (gesturing to the stove) Burning the sauce, Dawson. (Dawson pulls away from Joey quickly and blushes, then turns off the stove and moves the pan of sauce off the burner. Joey smiles.) Me and your mom are going to the movies. (Mitch looks almost giddy about something. Dawson looks at him strangely.)

DAWSON: Never seen someone so excited about movies. Well...besides myself. What's up?

MITCH: Oh, didn't you hear? Bob quit. He's moving to California or something.

DAWSON: (smiling) That's great, Dad.

MITCH: Yep, I know. (He smacks his hands together and smiles.) Your mother and I are going to have *great* time tonight.

DAWSON: I hope you do.

MITCH: Thanks kid. You two have a great time too. (He starts to walk away, then turns back.) Make sure not to have *too* great a time, k? (He raises his eyebrows and winks at Dawson. Dawson rolls his eyes. Mitch laughs and disappears from view. Joey goes to the stove and peeks under the lid of one of the pots.)

JOEY: So, what are we having?

DAWSON: Spaghetti. Sorry it's nothing spectacular-you know the range of my cooking is somewhat limited.

JOEY: Somewhat? You can cook hamburgers and spaghetti. That's a little more than limited. (She smirks at him.)


Joey and Dawson are sitting across from each other at the table. Two candles are lit, giving the room a flickering glow. Joey seems very happy. Dawson is gazing across the table at her, enchanted.

JOEY: So, a new kid, huh? Is he cute?


JOEY: (laughing) I'm not *buying* anything, Dawson, don't be stupid. Just window-shopping. (Dawson looks at her questioningly.) For Jen.

DAWSON: (smiling) Sure.

JOEY: Anyway, is he? Cute?

DAWSON: How would I know?

JOEY: Objectively, Dawson.

DAWSON: Sure, I guess he's cute. I don't know if he's Jen's type though.

JOEY: Well, you never know. Too bad I didn't get to meet this kid. New people can be interesting.

DAWSON: You didn't find Jen interesting.

JOEY: (shortly) Jen was different. (She lightens) Anyway, you said he was in your...

DAWSON: Social class.

JOEY: Oh. (She takes a piece of bread from the basket that's on the table.) and Pacey got detention every day next week. And my Dad's back. (She tries to slide it into the conversation but it doesn't fly.)

DAWSON: I know.

JOEY: (stunned) You know?

DAWSON: I...I ran into Pacey at the Ice House. He told me.

JOEY: Why didn't you tell me?

DAWSON: I was sort of waiting for you to bring it up...I didn't know if you felt like talking about it. I mean, how are you with it?

JOEY: Oh, I'm fine. I mean, as fine as can be expected. It's going to take some getting used to. (She looks at her plate.) I mean...well, you know what I mean.

DAWSON: (nodding.) It must be have him suddenly thrown back into your life without any warning.

JOEY: I'm actually okay with it, surprisingly. I figured when the day came that he got parole, I'd know about it, but it all worked out in the

DAWSON: (as if he's reading her mind.) But Bessie doesn't think that way?

JOEY: Um....let's just say they have a lot of...tension between them. Lots of things to talk about. Things to get out of the way. (She looks at Dawson, shrugging.) It's going to take awhile and it's not going to be pretty. (Joey swirls her spaghetti around on her plate with her fork.)

DAWSON: Well, if it ever gets too bad, you know you're welcome here anytime, Jo. (Joey looks at him and gives him a genuine smile. He smiles back as the scene fades out.)



Joey and Dawson are walking down the hall, holding hands. They stop at Dawson's locker, talking. Jen is at her locker, digging books out of the mess. She closes her locker and sees Erik at the locker next to hers, agitated as he tries again and again to get his locker open. She smiles and reaches over, twisting the lock slightly to the right and popping it open.

JEN: Always stop two numbers after your last number and it'll come open with out a problem. (Erik smiles gratefully at Jen.)

ERIK: Thanks.

JEN: (smiling) You new in school?

ERIK: Unfortunately.

JEN: Hard, isn't it? (Erik looks confused.) I just moved here in the beginning of the school year.

ERIK: From where?

JEN: Oh, New York City. It's quite a change of pace.

ERIK: Tell me about it. (Jen waits for him to continue.) I'm from Chicago.

JEN: Well, welcome to boring old Capeside. Want me to show you around? Introduce you to some people?

ERIK: Um...sure. (Down the hallway, Dawson kisses Joey good-bye and walks away, smiling. Pacey joins Joey by her locker. She glares at him. He says something inaudible and Joey punches him in the stomach.)

JOEY: *God* Pacey! Grow up! (She storms off down the hallway, leaving Pacey clutching his stomach in pain. He takes a deep breath and stands up, laughing to himself. He sees Jen and starts to walk over to her. Erik watches the scene with amusement.)

ERIK: Who are those two?

JEN: (laughing) Just Joey and-

PACEY: Pacey Witter, god of the school. (He smiles and offers his hand in greeting.) And you are...?

ERIK: Erik Rhodes.

JEN: He's from Chicago.

PACEY: Ah, cool, man. Must be great living here in the excitement capital of the world, huh? (He smiles, then spots Joey walking into her classroom down the hallway and his smile turns wicked.) Well, now if you'll excuse me, I have spotted my prey and must attack before it makes its escape. Catcha two later. (He pats Jen's shoulder as he passes by, heading for Joey.) Josephine, Josephine! You are going to *pay* for punching me. (The camera switches to Joey's point of view, as Pacey approaches her. She is standing in the doorway of her next class, about to go inside. Pacey stops her and she rolls her eyes.)

JOEY: Pacey, I *will* kill you. I am *so* not kidding.

PACEY: Well, *actually*, I just wanted to ask you how things are with your dad. But since you punched me before I got the words out, I didn't exactly get to finish my inquiry, now did I?

JOEY: Well, try not starting every conversation with an immature sexist remark and I might listen someday, how about that? (She turns on her heel and goes into her classroom. Pacey shakes his head and walks down the hall to his next class. Erik looks at his schedule.)

ERIK: Great, where is room 121?

JEN: (smiling) Hey, you have your next class with Joey. (She gestures to the room Joey had gone into as the bell rings.) Shoot, I have to go. I'll see if I can meet up with you later, okay? (Jen gives him a slight wave good-bye and turns down the hallway. She smiles to herself and glances back at him. Erik takes a deep breath and looks from his schedule to the room number above the door, then back at the schedule.)

ERIK: (to himself) This is going to be interesting. (He walks into the classroom.)


Dawson is sitting at his desk, looking at his notebook. He is scrawling Dawson & Joey Forever in various patterns on the cardboard backing. Jen plops down next in the seat next to him and he looks up, startled. He quickly closes his notebook and puts his arm over it. He smiles at her nervously.

DAWSON: Jen! Hi!

JEN: Hey, Dawson.

DAWSON: You're late.

JEN: (eyeing the teacher, who was too busy dealing with a student up at her desk to notice her tardiness) I know. I was talking to this new kid.

DAWSON: Oh, that Erik kid?

JEN: Oh, you met him?

DAWSON: Yeah, yesterday in Social.

JEN: He's in Joey's class right now. Although I'm sure Joey'll be too busy devising new ways to get rid of Pacey to notice a new student. What is up with those two anyway? Things are getting really bad.

DAWSON: I know. It's this whole working together thing. Personally, I think Pacey should just quit. To save any remains of the friendship he once had with Joey and to maintain a shred of sanity and dignity. This working two jobs is really making him weird.

JEN: Well, it's gotta be weird. First he gets kicked out of his own house, then moves into the apartment above the Ice House, and now he's working *two* part-time jobs plus school? Plus his *other* part-time job of annoying Joey? (They both smile.)

DAWSON: I think that one is considered a full-time job. Besides, Joey's having a bit of a strange time herself.

JEN: What do you mean?

TEACHER: Ah-hem! (He coughs into his fist, signaling he's ready to start class.)

DAWSON: (whispering) Didn't she tell you?

JEN: Tell me what?

TEACHER: Today we're beginning a new chapter on Imaginary Numbers. (Dawson opens his notebook quickly and rips out a piece of paper. Jen sees his little drawings of hearts and romantic messages and giggles lightly. Dawson looks at her and shut his notebook. He scribbles something on the paper and tosses it onto her desk. Jen opens it. Jen reads the note, then looks at Dawson, shocked.)


Joey is sitting at her desk, paying close attention to the teacher and the lesson being taught. A couple of girls are talking in the back, not caring that class is going on. Erik is sitting two rows away from Joey, looking a bit out of place and lonely. He tucks his longish dirty blond hair behind his ear and shifts in his seat as he realizes a couple of football players are eyeing him, sizing him up. Deciding Erik's not a threat to their popular status, they return to whispering things to each other about their last game. Erik's eyes fall on Joey. He seems a bit intrigued by her.

TEACHER: Okay, we're going through some new vocab today-it all has to do with travel. I'll say the vocab word, everyone repeat after me? Got it? (no answer.) Okay. Let's start. Viaje. (A few students mouth the word.) Come on, everyone. I can't hear you. Say it. Viaje. (Only Joey murmurs the word.) Fine, fine. It's your grades, your education. I know these words-I'm not standing up here saying them over and over for my own benefit here. (Erik isn't paying attention. His gaze at Joey has now turned into a full-fledged stare. Joey feels his eyes on her and turns around slightly to look at him. She turns back toward the front. Erik sheepishly looks down at his desk. After a second, Joey turns again and looks at him. She gives him a half-smile, then looks at her fingers, which are twirling her ballpoint pen nervously. The teacher is still talking, but his words fade into the background. Running her hand through her hair, Joey gives Erik another smile then turns around again. Erik grins to himself. Joey sneaks a peek at him out of the corner of her eye, no longer paying any attention to the class. Erik is still gazing at her.) Josephine, are you with me? (Joey is shaken out of her reverie. She looks up at the teacher, blushing.)

JOEY: What? Oh. Oh! I'm...I'm sorry, Mr. Horton.

MR. HORTON: Just tune in, please. (He goes to write something on the board. Joey looks at Erik again.)


Dawson is sitting with Pacey, waiting for both the girls to get out of the lunch line. Erik walks into the cafeteria and sees Dawson, and heads over.

ERIK: Um...Hey, Dawson. Do you mind if I sit here?

DAWSON: No, of course not. Go right ahead.

PACEY: Hey...(Pacey tries to remember Erik's name but can't.) new kid.

ERIK: (laughing) It's Erik.

PACEY: Yeah, right. I'm sorry. I'm just...really tired. This two job thing, Dawson, it ain't workin', man.

JOEY: (setting her tray on the table with a bang) Then maybe you should quit the Ice House.

PACEY: And give you the satisfaction of driving me out of a job? I think not, Ice Queen. (Joey doesn't notice Erik is at the table, but Erik is in awe of her. Dawson doesn't notice Erik's mouth dropping.)

JOEY: Haha, *so* funny, Pacey. (Dawson smiles and pulls Joey down onto the chair next to him.)

DAWSON: Enough with the verbal vomit, you two. And *you*...I haven't gotten to see you all day. How come you didn't meet me in the library during our study halls?

JOEY: I'm sorry...I must have forgotten. (Dawson looks hurt.) Relax, Dawson. I've just got a lot on my mind.

DAWSON: (running his hand through her hair.) I know. Sorry. (He goes to kiss her but as their lips are about to meet Pacey coughs.)

PACEY: I know this must be a hard concept for you two to grasp, having such a *highly* sexual relationship and all, but there *are* other people at this table, and we *are* trying to eat. (Erik looks at Dawson enviously.)

JEN: (sitting down at the table) Joey, how come you didn't tell me your Dad was home?

JOEY: Um...

ERIK: Where was your dad?

JOEY: Jail. (Erik opens his mouth to ask why, but Joey continues.) For trafficking marijuana. He got parole two days ago.

PACEY: And got to come home, to his lovely daughter Bessie, and *this* thing here which we call Joey.

JOEY: Bite me, Pacey.

PACEY: How about you bite *me* for a change?

DAWSON: Would you two stop?

ERIK: (suddenly) My Dad was in jail too. (Everyone quiets and looks at him.) I knew that would be an attention getter.

JOEY: What for?

ERIK: Assault. He beat up this guy.


ERIK: Cause he was the guy my mom was cheating on him with.

JEN: Wow. That's some...background.

PACEY: Well, don't worry, Erik. All of us here have got weird family systems here. We're all screwed.

ERIK: Then I guess I found the right group to hang with. (They all laugh. Dawson puts his arm around Joey happily, not seeing her eyes locked with Erik's across the table.)



Mr. Potter is driving down a tree-lined, picture-esque side street, en route to the high school. Out of nowhere, the sound of sirens fills the air. Quickly, he pulls over to the side of the road and watches as an ambulance whizzes past, accompanied by a few police cars. Not making anything of it, he pulls back out and continues on his way.


Joey walks out of the school, alone. Students are pouring out of the building happily. Pacey comes out and stops next to her.

PACEY: Well, I'm off to another fun-filled afternoon at the Ice House. How about you? (Joey smirks.)

JOEY: (rubbing it in his face) Not me. My Dad's picking me up. I'm off till Thursday. (Pacey rolls his eyes.)

PACEY: Oh, pity. (He shakes his head in fake sorrow and starts to walk away.)

JOEY: Oh, Pacey? By the way, Bessie's *totally* crazy this week. She'll be taking out her anger toward my father on her employees. Have a joyous day, ass. (Pacey looks at her angrily.)

PACEY: *What* is your problem?

JOEY: My *problem* is *you*! (Pacey gets up in her face)

PACEY: Oh really?

JOEY: You're everyone's problem. You're an embarrassment to human kind.


JOEY: You are! (Their faces are now inches apart. For a second they look at each other, their eyes meeting. Pacey turns away.)

PACEY: Yeah, well, forget you, Joey. (He stalks off. Joey looks a little shaken. She sits down on the steps, glaring at the ground.)

ERIK: How come every time I see you two you're at each other's throats?

JOEY: What? (her head whirls around. She finds Erik walking down the school steps toward her. The school is pretty much emptied now.)

ERIK: Mind if I sit down?

JOEY: Go ahead. (He takes a seat next to her.) So, what were you saying?

ERIK: I was asking why you and Pacey fight so much.

JOEY: We clash. I'm an intelligent human being and he's low-life pond scum. We're on opposite ends of the spectrum.

ERIK: Ah. So, he's your "enemy" then?

JOEY: No, actually, my second best friend. (Erik looks surprised.)

ERIK: What? Well, then I don't think I want to see your relationship with your *first* best friend. (Joey laughs.)

JOEY: Dawson's my best friend. Since we were really little.

ERIK: Oh, the boyfriend. (Joey senses a note of disappointment in his voice and finds herself a little disappointed also.) Is that who you're waiting for out here?

JOEY: Who? Oh, no. Dawson's staying after for film class today. I'm waiting for my dad to pick me up. (She looks at her watch.) I don't know where he is though. He's late.

ERIK: Could he be waiting in the other parking lot? (Joey shrugs.)

JOEY: He could be.

ERIK: I'm heading that way. You wanna walk with me? (Joey smiles.)

JOEY: Okay. (Erik smiles back and they walk away.)


The film students are sitting at their desks, which are arranged in a large circle in the middle of the room. Dawson is paying attention to Mr. Gold until he sees Joey walking along the path, just outside the window. He's about to wave when he sees who she's with. His face clouds with jealousy as Joey tosses her hair and laughs at something Erik said. Then as quickly as it came it flies from his face.


Joey looks at her watch, then out to the parking lot. Erik re-arranges his back pack on his shoulder.

JOEY: I don't understand. Where could he be? (Erik shrugs.)


Mr. Potter pulls to the side of the road as more ambulances pass him by. Intrigued, he looks around him, wondering what's going on. Then he notices a barrel of smoke raising to the sky, making the white clouds disappear behind blackness. He realizes what ever is on fire is not that far away. He turns the corner and sees it. An apartment building is almost completely engulfed in flames. Mr. Potter stops the truck and climbs out. He heads over, but is stopped by Doug.)

DOUG: Sir, please stand back. There's nothing you can do. (Mr. Potter seems almost in shock of the situation. Fire fighters were clambering around, many pointing to a fifth story window where a little blond-haired girl in a sooty white dress was peering out, crying at the top of her lungs and intermittently coughing fiercely. She's clutching a teddy bear.)

MR. POTTER: What's going on? Why is that little girl still up there?

DOUG: (starch and official.) Stand *back*, sir! The fire department and police have this under control. There isn't anyway to get to the young girl at this moment, the floors inside the building are collapsing. A cherry-picker is being brought here at this time. Are you related to the child?

MR. POTTER: You're *waiting*? You're *waiting* for it to arrive? That girl is *suffocating* up there! You can't be serious! (Mr. Potter takes off his jacket, pulling his handkerchief from his pocket, then tossing the jacket to the ground. He rushes past Doug toward the building, who desperately tries to grab him but fails. Mr. Potter races to the door way, ignoring the yells and screams of law enforcement officials. He takes a deep breath and covers his face with the white cloth, then dashes inside.)


The Ice House is crowded. Joey and Erik come through the doors; Joey looks angry. Bessie flies by her and Joey catches her arm.

JOEY: Bessie, where's Dad? He was supposed to pick me up half an hour ago.

BESSIE: How would I know where he is? Probably off with his latest mistress, or maybe rounding up some drugs! As long as he's not near me, I don't give a damn what he's doing.

JOEY: Bessie... (Bodie bursts out of the kitchen, looking alarmed.)

BODIE: Bessie! Turn on the TV, quick! (Bessie looks at him, confused, and flips on the black and white TV located on the back counter. She steps back, looking at the screen. Her mouth drops.)

BESSIE: Oh my god...

ERIK: What's going on?

JOEY: (looking over Bessie's shoulder at the screen) What the- (She places her hand on the screen.) That's Dad! (Bodie, Bessie, Erik and Joey all exchange stunned looks as Gail Leery's voice fills the silence with the late-breaking news.)

GAIL: Mr. Michael Potter was rushed to the hospital this afternoon with second-degree burns and multiple injuries after rushing into a burning building to save a young girl's life. He is currently in stable condition at Our Lady of Victory Hospital. (The scene fades.)


The hospital is bustling with attendants and doctors, pushing stretchers and wheelchairs around. An old man is hobbling toward the elevator with a nurse by his side. Bessie, Bodie, Joey, and Erik come into the main foyer of the small hospital, all of them looking a little panicked. Bessie races to the front desk and pounds on the desk even though a nurse is standing right in front of her. The nurse raises her eyebrows.

NURSE: May I help you?

BESSIE: Michael Potter. Where is he?

NURSE: May I ask you what your relation to the patient is?

BESSIE: His daughter. I'm his daughter. Where is he?

NURSE: (looking at her list) He's in attending room 3.

BESSIE: (tapping on the counter) Which way is that? (The nurse points in one direction and Bessie runs off, Joey in pursuit.)

BODIE: Thanks. (He follows Bessie and Joey, leaving Erik standing there alone. He looks around the room a bit awkwardly, then slowly goes in the direction Joey went.)


Joey and Bessie stop just outside the door, their pace slowing as they go into the room. Mr. Potter is sitting up in his bed against his pillows, dressed in a hospital gown. His arm is in a sling. His eyes are closed, but they can tell he's not sleeping. Bessie approaches the end of his bed, but Joey hangs back in the doorway. Erik stops next to her, looking unsure why he came along. Joey looks around the room at all the hospital equipment and takes a deep breath. The small beeps of her father's pulse fills her ears and she closes her own eyes, blinking back tears. She is remembering the last time she was in a hospital; her mother's death. She takes a step backward, wanting to leave.

BESSIE: (softly, sitting on the edge of his bed. Bodie rests his hand on her shoulder.) Dad? (Mr. Potter opens his eyes and gives his daughter a faint smile.)

MR. POTTER: Hey, Bessie-bear. (He grimaces.) I mean, Bessie.

BESSIE: How are you? Are you okay? (Joey takes another small step backward. Erik looks at her, not knowing what she's doing. Suddenly Dawson runs through the doorway. He looks at Joey, then at Mr. Potter.)

DAWSON: Hey-I came as fast as I could. Is everything okay? Joey? (He looks at Joey, concerned. He glances at the rest of the group.) Mr. Potter, how are you? My mom called me at home and told me what happened.

MR. POTTER: I'm actually okay, you guys. (He moves, then winces slightly.) A little sore and a little singed, but I'm okay. They're just keeping me overnight. (Dawson puts his arm around Joey comfortingly.)

BODIE: Well that's really good, Mr. Potter. We were all worried you were seriously injured.

BESSIE: They said you saved a little girl, Dad. Is that true?

MR. POTTER: (sheepishly) Well, I guess you could say that I did.


MR. POTTER: I was just driving to pick up Joey when I saw the fire, and...I saw the little girl trapped up on the top floor, and...and I guess I knew something had to be done.

BODIE: Wow, Mr. Potter, that was a really heroic thing to do.

MR. POTTER: (shaking his head.) It wasn't heroic. I was just thinking...that was someone's little girl up there. I thought about what if it had been you or Joey up there, or Alex...I'd want someone to save you. (He takes Bessie's hand.) I mean, Bessie, I know I haven't been a great father to either you or Joey, but I do love you more than life itself and my life would collapse if anything happened to either of my kids. (Bessie smiles.) You know that, right? (He looks from Bessie to Joey, then back to Bessie. Bessie is blinking back tears. She gives her father's hand a squeeze.)


Erik is standing by the pay phones, talking to someone animatedly. Dawson comes out of Mr. Potter's room and sees Erik. Dawson's pace slows as he dreadingly walks toward Erik. Erik sighs into the phone.

ERIK: Mom, I told you. No, I'm fine. I'm just- (pause) No, Mom, I'll be home in an hour, okay? (pause) Mom! (pause) Nevermind, forget it. (He hangs up the phone and rests his head against it, upset. Dawson coughs and Erik jumps.) Oh, hey, Dawson.

DAWSON: Tough time with your mom?

ERIK: As always. She's...well, nevermind, you don't need to hear my problems right now. (He looks toward the closed door of Mr. Potter's room.) Is everything okay? I mean, is Joey okay?

DAWSON: She's fine. Hospitals really get to her.

ERIK: Why?

DAWSON: Well...(reluctantly) Her mom died of cancer...Joey spent a lot of time here, with her mom. Chemo and all that stuff.

ERIK: I think Joey's had a rough life, hasn't she? No one deserves that much pain, especially her. (Dawson looks at Erik, a bit suspicious.)

DAWSON: Yeah, Joey hasn't been very lucky. And she deserves better...(He looks at Erik long and hard, so he can observe his response.) she's a great girl, isn't she?

ERIK: (thoughtfully) Yeah...she is. (He looks at Dawson, then looks away.) I mean, I really don't know her that well, but she seems great. (Erik coughs nervously.)

DAWSON: She *is* great. I've known her forever. In fact, our sixth month anniversary is coming up soon.

ERIK: (tightly) Really.

DAWSON: Yeah... (Erik nods, pretending not to care. He gets up and walks to the window of the waiting room and looks out side. It's getting dark. Dawson lets out a deep breath and leans back in his chair. He tries to act non-chalant.) So, I never quite caught it-why did you come to the hospital to see Joey's dad? I mean...not to be rude, but it seems a little unusual.

ERIK: Well, Joey and I were at the Ice House when she found out the news, and...I guess I sort of got caught in the whirlwind. I was, you know, *there*, and it was hard not to be concerned. (Dawson stares at Erik for a moment. Erik wavers slightly, not sure why Dawson keeps evaluating his responses like they were answers to a test. He shuffles his feet on the floor, creating the only sound in the quiet room. Suddenly, the door to Mr. Potter's room opens and Joey steps out. She closes the door behind her quietly and goes to Dawson. Without a word, he takes her in his arms, knowing she needs comfort. After a moment's embrace, Joey pulls away and looks up at him.)

DAWSON: Are you...?

JOEY: I'm okay. Bessie's...

DAWSON: Talking to your dad? (Erik eyes the pair, and slowly starts to walk out of the room, feeling awkward.)

JOEY: Yeah...I figured they'd need a little time Alone.

DAWSON: Anything you want to talk about, Joey? (Joey spots Erik leaving and pulls away from Dawson and walks over to him.)

JOEY: Erik, wait a sec. (He stops and turns back, tossing his head to the right to get his hair out of his face. Joey smiles at him.) Just wanted to thank know, for being here for me. I know that it's hard in a new town, and...well, I just want you to know that if you ever need *anything*...well, I'm your friend, okay? Just ask me. (Erik half smiles and glances at Dawson, nervously. He nods.)

ERIK: Thanks, Joey. (He pauses for a second.) Well, I better go. I'm glad your dad's okay, Joey. I'll see you tomorrow. (Erik opens the door. He gives Dawson small, low, wave good-bye.) See ya, Dawson.

DAWSON: Bye. (Erik leaves. Dawson takes Joey's hand.)

JOEY: He's nice, isn't he?

DAWSON: Yeah, he's a saint. (Joey eyes him.)

JOEY: What, you don't like him?

DAWSON: What's not to like? (Joey raises her eyebrows at Dawson. He shrugs.)


The hall is busy. Joey is at her locker. Jen stops next to her, looking happy, but trying to act sympathetic.

JEN: Hey, Jo. I heard about your dad. Is he okay?

JOEY: Yeah, he's actually not hurt as bad as the doctor's first thought, so...

JEN: That's good. It was a really heroic thing he did.

JOEY: for a reply) Well, how was your day yesterday?

JEN: *Actually*, I ran into Erik yesterday night, as he was coming back from the hospital. We talked for awhile. And...

JOEY: And...?

JEN: To be honest, I think I may have a little crush.

JOEY: On Erik?

JEN: Yeah-I was gonna ask him to the movies. You and Dawson want to go?

DAWSON: (approaching) Go where? (Joey and Jen look at him.)

JOEY: To the movies. With Jen and Erik.

DAWSON: (smiling) Oh, so you and Erik are a thing now?

JOEY: They're not a *thing*. It's a first date.

JEN: Which I haven't even asked him about yet. It's not news till it actually happens, guys. (Dawson pulls something out of his backpack.)

DAWSON: Speaking of *news*, have you seen the paper this morning? (Joey looks puzzled.)

JOEY: No. Why? (Dawson hands it to her and she opens it up to the front page.) Oh my god. (There is a large picture of her father under a bold print headline: "Local Man Returns as Hometown Hero". In smaller print, a second headline runs underneath it: "Michael Potter saves the life of young Kylie Hansen from fire". Joey looks at Dawson in amazement.)

JEN: Wow...they did a whole story on him.

JOEY: I can't believe this.

DAWSON: (smiling) Congrats, Joey. Your dad's famous. (Joey looks from Dawson to Jen, stunned.)


Joey is walking down the hallway, and is approached by Nellie. Nellie throws her arms around Joey and gives her a hug. Joey stops in her tracks, her face coiling in disgust.

NELLIE: I hope your Dad's okay, Joey! (Nellie looks at her with overdone sympathy and walks away. Joey shakes it off.)

Joey is in a classroom, and two guys in football jackets are sitting by her desk, talking animatedly to her and occasionally pointing out something from the newspaper they're holding.

GUY #1: I heard he fell two whole floors when a floor collapsed and he still managed to get to the little girl.

GUY #2: Didn't he get carbon monoxide poisoning or something? That's what Rob told me.

GUY#1: Joey, is your dad getting a medal for this? Money? (Joey rolls her eyes at them.)

Joey is sitting next to Dawson in the cafeteria, eating. Suddenly, Abby plops her lunch bag down next to Joey and starts talking.

ABBY: I saw the paper, Joey. How come you never told me your dad was so brave? And here I thought he was just a dumbass convict who'd never be able to find a job again if he ever got out of jail! And now he's off saving the world. I mean, *Colleen Youngman*-Kylie Hansen is her little cousin-her family is sending your dad a gift to thank him for all he did. Do you realize what this means?

JOEY: What does it mean? (She is unamused.)

ABBY: It means you have *moved up* on the food chain! Your dad just pulled your family's reputation from the ashes, girl. (Abby smiles.) That means you can dump this loser here (Dawson rolls his eyes. Joey glares at Abby) and get a *real* guy. (Joey looks as if she's about to explode.)


Dumping her backpack on the kitchen table, Joey sighs and walks to the living room couch, sinking back into it. Dawson walks in after her, looking exhausted himself. He sets his own bag on the floor by the door, glancing at a piece of paper on the table next to Joey's backpack.

DAWSON: (reading the note aloud) Joey- Dad, Bodie, Alex and I went out for an early dinner. We'll be back soon. Love, Bessie." (Joey rolls her eyes.) Hmm, they're making up well.

JOEY: Tell me about it.

DAWSON: (sitting down next to her, looking confused.) Isn't that a good thing?

JOEY: (shrugging) Yeah, it's a good thing, but- (the phone rings, interrupting Joey. She walks over to the phone and picks it up, dragging her feet.) Hello? (pause) No, he's not in right now. (she grabs a pen from a jar on the counter.) May I take a message? (pause) The Capeside Gazette? I- (pause) Yes, I'm sure he'd like to do an interview... (pause) Yeah, yeah, I got the number. (Joey scrawls something on a nearby piece of paper.) Okay. (pause) Yes, I'll make sure he gets the information. (pause) Yes, good bye. (Joey hangs up the phone and lets out a frustrated sigh. Dawson looks at her inquisitively.)

DAWSON: What did the Capeside Gazette want? Something to do with your famous father, I assume.

JOEY: (annoyed) Dawson, he's not *famous*. Outside the limits of Capeside, you mention the name Michael Potter and they'll have no clue who he even is. (She tosses the pen she was using down on the counter angrily.) I don't see why everyone is making such a big deal about my Dad all of a sudden. A week ago I was still getting snubbed cause he was a jailbird and now Nellie Olsen is asking me to go to the movies with her and her friends.

DAWSON: (laughing) She seriously did that?

JOEY: I had no idea people could be *that* shallow. I mean, I knew they had no real depth, but I didn't expect everyone to be so solidly one-dimensional.

DAWSON: Come on, Jo, don't get so cynical. There's plenty of people out there who don't base everything on outward appearances.

JOEY: (pacing back and forth) I mean, even Bessie-she was so full of pent-up hatred and repressed anger toward my father, and now! They're going out to lunch, just like a little family. You know, we were getting along just fine without him. We didn't need him to come back. (Dawson stands up.)

DAWSON: What, Joey?

JOEY: Now he thinks he can just *whirl* back into my life with this *heroic reputation* and dazzling coverage in the town's *dinky* newspaper, like he never did anything wrong in the past.

DAWSON: Wait, your dad? Joey, I'm not sure I understand.

JOEY: All day, all I've been hearing about is what a *great* guy my Dad is, and how *wonderful* he is for risking his own life to save that girl, and I've had it up to here! People do things like that everyday-it's not that out-of-the-ordinary. It's like my father does this one good deed and suddenly the fact that he cheated on my dying mother, as well as the little detail that he's been in the state penitentiary for the past- (Joey throws her hands up in the air, frustrated.) They might as well delete his entire past and tell him he's a saint.

DAWSON: (putting his hands on her shoulders.) Jo, I thought all this stuff between you and your dad was worked out. I thought-

JOEY: Right, forgive and forget, right? Look, I've forgiven him but I'm not quite ready to forget just yet. *I* get to decide when I'm ready to forget, okay? Not him. He doesn't have that right.

DAWSON: No one is saying he does.

JOEY: Yes, they are. Everyone in the town is saying it. And I don't see him arguing. It's only been a day since it happened and he's already back into the game. He's a grandfather and a father, a town all worked out for him.

DAWSON: Joey, I don't think you're being fair. What your father did *was* heroic. He deserves some credit. And he loves you, Jo. He loves you, he loves Bess, he loves Alex. He never said he was going to step back into your life acting like the past never happened.

JOEY: (backing away from him) You too, huh, Dawson?

DAWSON: (clueless) What?

JOEY: You agree with all them.

DAWSON: All who?

JOEY: You think that my Dad just gets a second chance at life just like that.

DAWSON: Joey, did you ever stop and think that maybe he's already paid the price for his actions? Hasn't he earned any small amount of retribution?

JOEY: (heading to the door) I knew it.

DAWSON: You knew *what*?

JOEY: I knew you wouldn't understand. You couldn't possibly understand.

DAWSON: What's *that* supposed to mean? (Joey opens the door, glaring at Dawson.)

JOEY: You're supposed to be on my side, Dawson. You're the one who I'm supposed to be able to count on. And instead you're standing there telling me that my feelings are wrong.

DAWSON: (defensive) I never said your feelings were wrong! Where did you get that from? (Joey storms out, nearly knocking over Mr. Potter, who is coming up the steps, Bessie and the rest of Joey's family following behind. Mr. Potter looks stunned.)

MR. POTTER: Jo? Where you going? (Joey just throws him a glare and races to her boat, unhooking it from the dock quickly.)

BESSIE: Joey! (Dawson races out to the porch, but Joey is already paddling furiously down the creek. Mr. Potter looks at Dawson, confused.)

MR. POTTER: Dawson, what's going on? (Dawson runs his hand through his hair and looks from Mr. Potter, to Bessie, to Bodie, then back to Mr. Potter. They all await a response. Dawson lets out a deep breath as Joey disappears down the creek.)


Joey ties her boat up to a post on the dock. It's not a recognizable area; a wooded area off to the side of a shady, serene side street. There's a small playground near the dock. She climbs out of the boat and walks down the dock, kicking gravel that had somehow made it's way onto the wooden planks of the walkway. Sighing, she looks up and spots Pacey coming down the path toward the creek.

JOEY: Great. Perfect. All I need right now. (Pacey walks up to her, smiling wickedly.)

PACEY: Why if it isn't little Joey Potter.

JOEY: What do you want, Pacey?

PACEY: Well, I certainly don't want anything to do with *you*. Why are you here, anyway?

JOEY: None of your business. What are *you* doing here?

PACEY: Public property, my own private matters. Why do you even care? (Joey smirks at him.)

JOEY: I don't remember implying that I *did* care. (Pacey rolls his eyes. Joey looks at him, pretending to be pondering something.) Let me guess. Here to give yourself a little personal pleasure in privacy? Surrounded by nature, like some sort of primal thing?

PACEY: No, sorry to disappoint you, Joey. I know you were looking forward to a show.

JOEY: (stalking past him) You're sick.

PACEY: Oh, *I'm* sick? You know, Joey, I'm getting a little *bored* with this attitude of yours. What the hell did I ever do to you to deserve such spite and hatred, huh?

JOEY: You were born. That's what you did.

PACEY: Real intelligent, mature, reason, Joey. When are you going to grow up? (They are standing face to face, both steaming.)

JOEY: (she's starting to cry, out of extreme anger and hurt) *Grow up*? *Grow up*? You're telling *me* to grow up? Pacey, I never even got the chance to be a normal kid! You have no idea what it's like to- You don't know don't understand *anything*...

PACEY: Understand what? That you're a complete bitch? (Tears are streaming down Joey's face now. Pacey waits for her to verbally attack him back, but Joey simply turns and runs off. Pacey is stunned. He does a double-take, then goes after her.) Joey! (He quickly catches up to her, grabbing her arm.) Joey! (He flips her around, her face inches away from his.)

JOEY: *What*! What do you want from me? Things are hard enough in my life right now! There's Dawson and there's my dad and I can't take this constant fighting any more! I don't- (Suddenly, Pacey's mouth is on hers. Every muscle in her body tightens in surprise and shock, then relaxes into his arms, completely lost in the moment. Pacey's tongue slips into Joey's mouth and she only closes her eyes tighter and moves closer. After a few minutes, Pacey breaks away from her. They both open their eyes slowly. Looking into Pacey's eyes, Joey suddenly realizes what she's done. Her mouth drops and she quickly pulls away.) Oh my god.

PACEY: Joey...

JOEY: Pacey, I have to go.

PACEY: Joey, don't run away-

JOEY: No, I *really* have to go. I... (Joey stumbles backward, still stunned by what happened. She turns and dashes off, not remembering that her boat is tied up down at the dock. Pacey doesn't even get the chance to say anything more. He watches her go, then sighs and shuffles his feet in the dirt, not quite sure what to do with himself now. The camera draws back to reveal Erik, who had been walking down the sidewalk as Pacey grabbed Joey's arm, and he had seen the whole entire scene.)



Joey walks into her living room, looking sullen. Bessie is in her bedroom, and hears Joey moving around. She comes out and joins Joey on the couch. She taps Joey's leg affectionately and tries to catch her eyes.

BESSIE: Everything all right, Jo?

JOEY: (shrugging) Yeah, everything's fine. (Bessie gives her a look which says "I don't think so."

BESSIE: Joey, you were never a very good liar. What's on your mind?

JOEY: *Nothing* is on my mind, okay? (Joey slouches further down into the couch and keeps her eyes averted.)

BESSIE: Look, Joey, I just want you to know, just because Dad's back, it doesn't mean things are going to be drastically different. In fact, things can only get better. We have extra help with Alex, and once Dad finds a job, we'll have extra money on hand, I mean-

JOEY: Bess, I'm not interested in a run-down of the advantages of having Dad home, okay? (Joey stands up.) God, you're the one who walked out of here when he came home. (Bessie stands also and sighs, then reaches into her pocket.)

BESSIE: Dawson told us what happened this afternoon. (Joey looks at the ground.) Dad's out for a walk on the beach with Alex. He asked me to give you this- (She hands Joey an envelope.) if you got back before he did. (Joey takes the paper gingerly. Bessie nods at her, then turns and walks down the hall.) Me and Bodie will be in our room if you need us. (Bessie shuts her bedroom door, leaving Joey alone with her thoughts. She eyes the envelope, then slowly opens it up, and pulls out a letter. Sitting down again on the couch, she begins to read.)

MR. POTTER: (OL) Dear Joey...I never thought the day would come when I could see you again without bars between us. Those few years away from you seemed like an eternity, and with every day that passed, I just missed you and your sister more and more. I know things are going to be hard between us all for awhile. Some days will be good, some days will be bad. I know it can't all be sunshine and smiles-we may have moved on but the past is still the past and it can't be changed. I wish I could go back in time and have none of this happen, but unfortunately I can't, so I must be content with the situation as it is. Things have happened extremely fast since my return home and I know it has to be very hard for you to adjust. It's been hard for me too. But I thank God every day that you have given me a second chance to be the father that you deserve, Joey. I swear that I will make every effort to be worthy of your love and Bessie's love, and to earn your trust once again. I promise to cherish you and your sister as I should have cherished your mother when she was alive. I hope, wherever she is, she knows how much I truly loved her, although I never bothered to show it. I vow never to make that same mistake again. I may not be the hero this town thinks me to be, but I hope that I can at least be a decent father. I love you, Jo.
Now and Forever,

(Joey is near tears. The front door opens, and Mr. Potter walks in, carrying Alex on his good arm. He doesn't see Joey at first. He sets Alex down in his play pen then turns, finally realizing Joey is sitting on the couch.)

MR. POTTER: Hello, Joey. (He sees the paper she's holding.) I see Bessie gave you my letter. (Joey looks at him, her eyes brimming over. She gets up and goes to her father, and throws her arms around him, crying and smiling. Mr. Potter smiles and pulls her close, hugging her tight.)

JOEY: I love you, Dad.

MR. POTTER: I love you too, Joey.

JOEY: I'm sorry about...about everything. (Mr. Potter takes a small step back and looks Joey in the eyes.)

MR. POTTER: No, don't be sorry. You had every right to be angry. (Joey wipes her face.)

JOEY: No, it was stupid and immature of me. You could've died and I just sat around and complained about the past.

MR. POTTER: You had every right to, Jo. Just remember, that I will always be here if you need me, no matter what. Anything you need, just tell me and I'll come to your rescue, okay? (Joey nods, looking serious.)

JOEY: Well, my life might need the help of Superman right now. (Mr. Potter looks at her questioningly.)


Erik is sitting at the lunch table with Jen. Jen looks pretty happy about the whole situation. Dawson walks into the cafeteria and sits down with them, followed by Pacey. Erik looks at Pacey, then at Dawson. He realizes Dawson is clueless about what happened between Joey and Pacey. Joey is the last to arrive.

JOEY: Hey, everyone. (She looks at Pacey nervously, then at Dawson. Dawson smiles at her, gesturing her to sit down.)

DAWSON: Hey, Jo. Everything...everything okay? (Joey nods.)

JOEY: Yeah...everything's fine. (She gives Dawson a smile, which he takes as a sign she's no longer mad about their little tiff the day before. Joey looks at Pacey again. Pacey shifts in his seat awkwardly. Erik looks from Pacey to Joey, then looks down at his lunch. Silence hangs in the air for a minute until Jen breaks it.)

JEN: So, Erik, I was thinking, you want to go see a movie tonight?

ERIK: (surprised) Um...sure...

JEN: Joey, Dawson, you guys coming?

PACEY: Thanks, Jen, I don't feel left out.

JEN: (smiling) Don't be silly, Pace. Of course you're invited too. (Pacey doesn't respond. Joey looks at Pacey then at Dawson, not wanting to spend an evening with Pacey and Dawson even in the same room.)

DAWSON: Well, Jen, I'd like to, but my parents are forcing me into this family night thing. Their therapist said it would be good for them; you know tying up all the loose ends. But they've been doing well since Bob split town. (He smiles.)

JEN: Oh, okay, Jo, you still coming?

JOEY: Um...I don't know, I...

PACEY: I probably won't be able to go either, Jen. (Joey looks at him, but he turns away. Jen looks at Erik.)

JEN: Well, Erik, I guess it's just the two of us.

DAWSON: Come on, Jo, why don't you go? Have a little fun-take your mind off of things. (Joey shrugs.)

ERIK: Yeah, Joey, come with us. (Dawson looks at Erik.)

DAWSON: And Pacey, you go too. Keep Joey company. Maybe you two can work out your differences or something, right? (Dawson laughs lightly. Joey almost chokes on the milk she's drinking. Pacey's eyes almost bug out. No one responds, so Dawson takes it as a yes. He looks at his watch.) Well, I told Mr. Gold I'd stop in during lunch to work on some things, so...I'll see you later, okay Joey? (Joey nods. He kisses her on the cheek with a smile.) I love you.

JOEY: (guiltily) I love you too, Dawson. (Dawson leaves happily, completely oblivious to the fact Joey looks like she's about to cry. Jen looks at Joey, confused.)

JEN: Joey, is something going on? (Pacey runs his hands through his hair and sighs. Erik lets out the breath he had been holding in and relaxes slightly. He waits for Joey to answer.)

PACEY: You have no idea. (Joey glances at Pacey, startled by his voice. Jen's eyes drift from Joey to Pacey. Joey shifts in her chair and gives Jen a half-smile, then looks away. Pacey buries his head in his arms. The table is silent.)


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