Andie smiles as Pacey walks into the cafeteria. Part of her still couldn't believe that Pacey Witter actually liked her. Her, Andie McPhee. Straight-A student with a hyper personality and a schizophrenic mother. He plops his tray down next to hers on the table with a loud thud and a charming grin.
"So, guess what, McPhee," he greets her. She looks at him, raising her eyebrows.
"I've given this whole "changing my life" thing a hell of a lot more thought," he starts. Andie beams, moving closer with an encouraging smile.
"You have? Great! What ideas have you come up with?"
"Ideas? I'm supposed to have ideas?" Pacey asks with mock stupidity. "Well, I don't know about that aspect of it." Andie hits his shoulder.
"Come on, Pacey. I mean, have you signed up for tutoring? Signed up for volunteer programs? What kinds of things are you thinking about doing?" Pacey shrugs.
"I don't know...I was just considering if it was all worth the effort, you know? I mean, studying, yeah, I can do that. Maybe I can pull up my grades, with your help...but that theory about helping others to help yourself...I don't see the point. I don't see how I could help anyone anyway." Andie's face falls with Pacey's reply.
"How can he not see that he's trying to destroy himself? He's such a great guy and..." She exclaims to herself, wanting to scream in frustration. "Pacey! Do you know how good it makes you feel when you make someone else feel better? I love helping people. It's a natural high," Andie explains. She gently tugs on his sleeve, and gazes at him imploringly. "Why doesn't he understand?" she asks herself, annoyed.
"Why do I suddenly feel like I'm in health class?" Pacey jokes. Andie glares at him.
"Fine, Pacey, I was just trying to give you some ideas. If you're this determined to keep thinking of yourself as a loser, go right ahead. Just remember that there are people out there, like me, who don't think of you that way and you threw it all away," she starts to get up. Pacey grabs her arms and stops her.
"Andie, calm down. I'm just kidding around, okay? Sit back down," Pacey says, soothingly. Andie relents and sits down with a sigh. "I didn't know this meant quite so much to you. I mean, I'll sign up for that Youth Services thing-is that a good idea? Helping others to make yourself feel good, right? Sound like a plan?" Andie smiles again. Pacey relaxes back into his chair. "You could sign up too. We could make it a thing to do together."
"That'd be great..." Andie trails off, then sighs again. "But right now...my mom is sort of...time-consuming. I'd love to, really...I mean, I used to do stuff like that all the time back in Rhode Island...before...but..." Andie clumsily tries to explain herself. Pacey sets his hand comfortingly on her wrist and looks into her eyes.
"Andie, don't worry, I understand," he says. Looking down at his hand, he continues. "How is everything, anyway? At home? I mean, how is she doing?"
"Same as always. Has her good days, has her bad days. I...I don't really want to talk about it in school, if you know what I mean," Andie replies, looking around the cafeteria self-consciously. Pacey pats her hand and leans over and gives her a kiss on the cheek.
"Well, you know that I'm here for you if you need me, kay?" Andie practically melts underneath the caring gaze of her boyfriend.
"Yeah, I know...Thanks, Pacey."
"Anytime, McPhee..." he looks down at his lunch. "I don't know how they expect us to eat this stuff. It's not even recognizable. Do you know what this crap is supposed to be?" Pacey inquires. Andie laughs.
"Don't ask me...I have no idea."
Dawson opens his locker, wanting to crawl inside it and die, perhaps. He glances down the hall, to where Joey is talking with Jack at her locker. Or maybe throwing herself at him would be a better term. He'd heard about Joey and Jack's semi-dates through Pacey. Three of their little "dats" had taken place already, and Dawson was ready to kill someone. Turning away from the disturbing sight, Dawson focuses on digging his biology book from the bottom of the mess in his locker.
"Hi, Dawson," Jen smiles, stopping next to him. Dawson turns to face her, and for the first time in a long while, is thrilled to see Jen standing there. What he needs right now is a friend who is just as depressed as he is. And Jen is it. "Hey, Jen! What's new?" He asks. Jen shrugs.
"Not much. So...guess what?"
"Chris asked me to go to this party tonight...at his house." Dawson looks at her, immediately concerned. "And I turned him down." Jen continues. Dawson smiles widely, relieved. Not thinking, he throws his arms around her in a friendly hug.
"Really? Jen, I'm so proud of you!" He pulls away, still beaming. Down the hallway, Joey watches the pair embrace. A knot hardens in the pit of her stomach. Dawson still smiles giddily at Jen, who is thrilled with his reaction. "So this means that-"
"Yeah, little Miss Teen New York is going back to boring old Capeside Jen," Jen says, proudly. Dawson hugs her again.
"You have no idea how glad I am to hear that."
"Good, because I sort of have to ask you to keep me on track, Dawson." Dawson looks at her a bit strangely, not quite sure what that means. "I need you to be my guardian angel...sort of," Jen laughs. "That sounded really stupid. What I mean, is, if I ever show up at eleven o'clock in your room again, drunk off my ass, then...just slap me or something. Because I seriously can't go through this again." Dawson smiles sincerely.
"I won't slap you...but I'm glad to be there for you, Jen," his thoughts wander to Joey momentarily. "Well, if she can move on, so can I," he tells himself. Then he looks at Jen. "In fact, to keep your away from that party, I think we should go to a movie. That place that took over the Rialto...I guess it's supposed to be nice. I haven't been there yet. You interested in checking it out?"
"I'd love to."
"Great! Pick you up at seven?"
"Sounds perfect. I'll see you then."
"Yeah, see you then," Dawson waves as Jen walks away. He pulls his book from his locker, happy for one of the first times in a long while. "Who needs Joey?" He turns around, shutting his locker, and nearly jumps out of his skin. "Joey!"
"Hey, Dawson. What's new?" Joey asks, a little too excited. They'd been trying to get their friendship back on track lately, but it wasn't going so smoothly. Dawson shrugs.
"Nothing much. What's new with you?" He asks, tightly. Joey shrugs too.
"Nada mucho. I was thinking...you know, we could have a movie night tonight. We haven't had one in so long..." she eyes him, trying to see his reaction. She hadn't told him about her many dates with Jack...they had turned into actual dates now...full-blown. Dawson looks at her, slowing his pace as they walk down the hall.
"Actually...I'm sort of busy tonight." Joey looks at him, surprised.
"Yeah, I sort of have this thing with Jen," Dawson informs her. "So, maybe next weekend or something. I'll see ya around," Dawson replies, then walks into his class, leaving Joey alone in the hall.
"Yeah...I'll see ya..." she sighs, and slowly and sadly walks to her own classroom.
Pacey wanders into the guidance office and looks the huge bulletin board on the wall up and down. The secretary, sitting at her desk, looks at him kindly.
"May I help you, son?" She asks. Pacey nervously slaps his hands together.
"Yes...um...where are the sign-ups for that Youth Engaged in Services program...thing?" The woman smiles.
"It's on the left side of the bulletin board, toward the top," she points. Pacey nods.
"Thanks," he walks over, surveying the vast array of fliers tacked up. He finds the sign-up sheet and takes his backpack off. He digs through the crumpled up papers inside and finds a pen, and signs his name on the next available space. Then Pacey shoves his pen back in his bag, not bothering to look at the other students who were offering their time along with him. If he had, he would have surely crossed his name off immediately, because Joey Potter, his arch enemy, had been the first to sign up.
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