Drop A Bomb by: Laura

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Rating: R

It's gonna be sudden
It's gonna be strange
I'm gonna turn on a dime
give you five cents change
it's gonna be long overdue
it's all gonna come out
outta me, onto you

one of these days
you're gonna push too hard
we'll go on like we've always done
'til you go too far
yeah one of these days
it's gonna reach the top
then it's gonna start to spill over
and it's not gonna stop
some people wear their smile
as a disguise
those people who smile a lot
watch the eyes
I know it 'cuz i'm like that a lot
you think everything's o.k.
and it is

'til it's not

-Outta Me, Onto You by Ani Difranco

Pacey quickly tries to cover himself and Joey at the same time, the bright beam of the flashlight shining into his eyes as it swirls around the front cab of the truck. He manages to grab his boxers from the dirty floor and slip them on before the door of the truck opens. Instinctively, he moves his body in front of Joey's to shield her as she scampers for her shirt.

"Well, well, well, what have we here? My very own little brother and his little girlfriend...how coincidental that I happened to come upon the two of you here..." Doug's voice rings with amusement at discovering the two of them, shaking his head with mock disappointment as Pacey pulls his shirt over his head. He has the decency to keep the flashlight directed at Pacey, however, knowing that who he assumed to be his brother's girlfriend is still trying to get dressed in the darkness of the passenger's seat.

"Doug, what do you want?" Pacey glares at his brother, infuriated that he would humiliate him like this.

"I was just out and about performing my civic duty of patrolling these here streets of Capeside when I happened to see the truck parked along the side of the road here. How do you think Dad would take it if I told him tomorrow that I came across you screwing some girl in the front seat of his truck? I don't think he'd be amused as I am, how about you?"

"At least then he'd know for sure that one of his sons wasn't gay," Pacey bites. Doug glares back at Pacey, and moves his flashlight toward Joey, who ducks her head behind Pacey's back. The last thing they needed was another person to know that she and Pacey were sneaking around behind Andie's back.

"You better take your darling little Andie home before I decide to get nasty and bring her home myself. I sincerely doubt that her parents would like to know what she was doing tonight." Pacey doesn't reply; he just starts up the truck and reaches for the door handle. Doug stops him. "Don't think for a minute that you don't owe me, Pacey. It's not exactly legal to pull off to the side of the road at night and have sex in such a public place."

"But it's not exactly illegal, either, Doug, or I'm sure you would have us both in the backseat of the squad car by now. Don't think *you* think for a minute that I think you're doing me a favor."

"Keep it up, Pacey. I may not be able to get you into trouble with the law but Dad is entirely different story. Don't give me reason to tell him about this," Doug warns, and turns away from the truck. Pacey sighs and closes the door, and then looks at Joey. She stares back at him for awhile, still in shock over what had just happened. How much had Doug seen? She'd never been so embarrassed in all of her entire life.

"I can't believe this..." she mumbles.

"We better get out of here," Pacey mutters back, and pulls away from the curb toward Joey's house. This night was too strange and too emotinally straining to even discuss...they'd have to save all the talk of repurcussions and consequences another time. His affair with Joey was getting too dangerous and too hard to handle - something had to give.


"Where were you last night?" Andie's furious shriek assaults him about two seconds after he steps into school, and Pacey winces. She stops him from walking and places herself square in front of him, annoyed and angry. "I called and called and no one was home. You weren't at home, you weren't at work, you weren't at Dawson's...where the hell did you go?"

"I'm sorry, Andie, I just..."

"It would've been nice if you had actually called me, you know. I was sitting at home worried sick, thinking something might've happened to you. At first I was just angry, but when eleven o'clock rolled around and no one had heard a word from you, I started to get kind of worried. I'm looking at you now and nothing seems to be wrong so frankly, I'm purely pissed!"

"Andie, I can explain."

"Then start explaining."

"I..." Pacey stutters for a moment, trying to think of something to say. "I can't explain. I just..."

"You just what? You just didn't feel like going out with me? Is that it? Stood me up just for the fun of it?"

"It's not like that, Andie..." Pacey rubs his head and closes his eyes, and then summons up his best 'pity-me' expression. "I had this huge fight with my dad last night...I had to get out of there but I didn't want to face anyone. I needed to be alone. I'm sorry I didn't call, but I was...I only meant to go for a short walk to clear my head, but before I knew it it was like, midnight and...I didn't even know that I'd been gone that long. It wasn't intentional..." Andie's expression of anger has melted into a look of love and understanding, and she reaches up to touch Pacey's cheek.

"Pacey, don't you know that you can talk to me about this? You don't have to deal with this all alone. I'm here for you if you need me...I know how things are with your father and I want to help you." She smiles at him reassuringly. "Just next time...call, okay? Even if you don't want to share with me and you want to be alone...just call me and let me know. Promise me that?" Pacey nods, feeling like an absolute scumbag at that moment.

"I promise."

"Okay." She stands on tiptoe and kisses his nose, then runs her hand through his hair. "I have to go down to the gym to put some stuff in my locker, but I'll see you before homeroom, okay?"

"Sure, see you in a few." She squeezes his hand gently and then walks away. As soon as she disappears from sight, Pacey is suddenly wacked over the head. He lifts up his arms to shield himself and winces again.

"You are such an asshole!" Jen's harsh, tight voice attacks his ears, and he looks at her in complete surprise.

"What the hell, Jen?"

"Don't look like you don't know what I'm yelling at you for. I heard what you just said to Andie. How can you live with yourself?" Pacey brushes past her, pretending not to know what she's talking about.

"I haven't the faintest clue what you're getting at, Jen, really I don't." He walks to his locker, and Jen follows in pursuit, her face twisted up in anger.

"I was over at the McPhee's last night, you know. I saw how upset Andie was. I almost told her the truth, but I figured that maybe I'd give you a chance to fess up to it first."

"What 'truth', Jen?" His throat is tightening as he speaks, wanting to escape before Jen makes a spectacle of him.

"About you and Joey. I know that last night you two were together, I'm not stupid. I don't think Andie would like to know that last night as she sat home crying that you were off some place fucking Joey's brains out," Jen whispers, and Pacey glances around to see if anyone heard her.

"And what proof do you have of all this, Jen? Maybe I was out walking last night, ever thought of that?"

"Thought about it, decided it was a crock, and I'm positive that it is. Now are you going to tell Andie what is going on or is she going to have to find out in another way?" Jen stares at him coldly, daring him to attempt to cut her down. Instead, he simply turns around and stalks off, muttering something to her as he leaves.

"This is my mess, I'll fix it," he mumbles lowly, not even looking at her. Jen crosses her arms and watches him as he hurries away from her, not sure whether or not she's happy or upset that Andie McPhee was finally going to be clued into Joey and Pacey's relationship.

"It's for the best," Jen says to herself, trying to reassure her conscience.


"And that, my dear friend, is the end of my fabulous film," Chris smiles as he presses stop on the remote control, pleased with his work. Abby looks at the now black screen with a definite sense of satisfaction, nodding in agreement with Chris' assessment of his little "film."

"I can just see it now...everyone falling hushed as they suddenly realize what they're watching...Joey and Pacey's mortified faces, Andie's pathetic little tears and that look Dawson gets when he's angry - when his nostrils flare out and he looks like a mad rodent or something."

"A mad rodent...I've never thought of Dawson that way but now that you mention it..." Chris laughs. "I guess some people just can't pull off looking sexy and angry at the same time. It takes talent." He leans back into his chair and puts his feet onto the top of his desk, looking at Abby with satisfaction.

"Are you implying that I look sexy with I'm pissed off, Chris?" Abby inquires, glaring at him. He shakes his head, and Abby isn't sure whether to be offended or glad.

"I was actually thinking of Joey," Chris says on purpose, trying to make Abby even more jealous of Joey Potter. He always had known that she was, from day one. It wasn't exactly something that Abby hid well. Abby hated Joey because Joey could get guys to love her by just merely being herself...just by being a sarcastic, cynical girl with great looks, she had made three guys fall for her in the course of six months. He grins as Abby frowns, crossing her arms in front of her chest.

"Oh really? Don't tell me that watching her and Pacey humping like wild animals makes you think that she'll give any to you."

"You are just so crude. What if your mother heard you talking like that?"

"She does hear me talking like that. All the time," Abby replies, looking down at her fingernails and deciding whether or not she needs to go get a manicure, feigning uninterest in anything Chris Wolfe has to say about Joey Potter. Last thing she needed was to hear about another moron becoming infatuated with Joey's supposed sex appeal. She takes the remote from Chris and presses rewind. "I love voyeurism! Joey and Pacey will be so *wretchedly* humiliated when this plays instead of Dawson's closing credits. And Dawson and Andie are never going to speak to them ever again. I'd say that we have done a fine job."

"I guess we have," Chris half-smiles, as Abby climbs up from her seat on the floor. "And since the job is done, I guess I get my reward now, then?" He catches her hand as she walks past him toward his bedroom door, and kisses it lightly. Abby pulls her hand away harshly.

"You're not getting anything from me until that movie is played tomorrow afternoon, got it?" Abby shoots him a dirty look and then pulls his door open in a huff. Chris doesn't seem to care one way or the other; he just reaches out and swings the door shut and shrugs slightly. The movie finishes rewinding and stops with a loud click. Chris yawns widely and picks up the remote from the bed where Abby had tossed it on the way out. He looks at the black television screen, lost in his own thoughts. Yeah, they'd done a fine job all right...but were they going to go too far? That look that he had seen in Joey's eyes the other day had remained in his head ever since, and he didn't exactly know why. Chris just knew that it had changed something within him, made him feel different. He had seen how much she really loved Pacey in that look, and suddenly the sex that was on that tape wasn't just about sex and the potential to embarrass them - it was something more, something that he wasn't sure he wanted to have a hand in destroying.


Joey sits on the edge of Pacey's bed, waiting for him to come in from the living room, where he was locking the front door. He had asked her to meet him here after school, but she wasn't sure what was about to happen. They hadn't really talked about what had happened the previous night with Doug, but it had affected her a lot. Everything just felt so strange now, as if she felt *everyone* knew, like everyone was watching her and Pacey's every move. She couldn't go on like this. Pacey comes into his bedroom, his hands stuck in his pockets and a forced smile on his face. Joey looks up at him, feeling awkward around him for the first time in awhile. It felt just like before this whole thing started, when she wanted to touch him and kiss him so badly but was trying to convince herself that she still hated him. Pacey sits down next to her gingerly, setting his hands in his lap.

"I've been thinking about last night."

"So have I."

"I was up thinking about it all night, actually. And I came to a decision."

"Which was...?" Joey peers at him, silently hoping that his next words weren't going to be: "I don't think we should see each other anymore." Sure, she had thought about saying that to him too...but the reality of it was that she didn't want that at all. Pacey is silent for a moment, still not sure that he's doing the right thing. "Pacey, if you're trying to say that we're over, just say it...I'd rather have one clean blow to the head than wait here in torture." Pacey looks at her, as if the idea that he'd break it off with her was just too much pain to bear.

"No, Joey, that's not it at all..." he turns to face her slightly, taking one of her hands delicately in his. "I've decided that it's time to break up with Andie." Joey blinks a couple of times, not sure she heard him right.

"Really?" A smile fleets across her face. She can't help it. Pacey nods.

"Yeah. It's just...I'm worried about her mental health, right? But here I am doing the worst possible thing a boy could do to a girl and telling myself that it would be harder for her to accept me dumping her than going out with a guy who's in love with someone else. I think it's the other way around. I'm just going to tell her that it's over between us...keeping this from her will do more harm than good." Joey nods, her heart practically floating. Finally...they'd be free to be together...no more sneaking around and feeling dirty. "I'm right, aren't I?" He looks to her for reassurance.

"Of course you're right," Joey exclaims, and brings her hands to his cheeks, smiling. "You're so right." She kisses him at length, feeling as if a great load has been lifted off of her shoulders. Pacey breaks away from her, now smiling himself. He rests his forehead against hers, breathing in deeply.

"So you think it's just better to...I mean, you think Andie will be able to handle this?" He brushes his mouth against hers, running his hands up her legs.

"Are you going to tell her about us or give her another excuse?" Joey asks, planting another kiss on his lips, her fingers already working to unzip his jeans. Pacey begins to kiss the softness of her neck as his fingers work open her shirt.

"Another excuse..." he murmurs breathlessly, and continues undressing her as she eases into his lap. "I'm going to tell her tomorrow." Joey just nods in reply, and pulls his shirt off over his head, her mind solely focused on one thing. Knowing that Pacey was going to be all hers had switched something on inside of her, she wanted him so bad. And he was going to be all hers. Finally.


"Hey!" Jen smiles widely as she opens her front door to find Jack McPhee standing on the front porch.

"Hi, Jen. I hope you're not busy or anything...I just happened to be in the neighborhood so I thought I'd stop by."

"No, I'm not busy at all. Do you want to come inside?" she opens the door wider and gestures inside the house, and Jack nods.

"Sure." He steps into the house, brushing against Jen by accident. He mumbles an apology and looks around the foyer of her house. "I've never been inside your house before, do you know that? It's really nice."

"I'm sure compared to that massive house you live in, it must look pretty dinky," Jen replies, nudging him a little. Jack shakes his head.

"Naw, I like it a lot more than my own house. Seems more like a home and less of a prison." Jen looks at him thoughtfully as he says this, wondering what he means.

"Well, wait until you meet *my* prison warden before you make that decision," she laughs, hearing Grams' footsteps coming down the stairs. In a minute Grams is around the corner and looking from Jack to Jen curiously.

"Who is your new friend, Jennifer?" she asks.

"This is Jack McPhee," Jen explains.

"I love your home, Mrs. Ryan. Did you decorate all of this on your own?" Jack starts a conversation amiably, knowing that Jen's grandmother wasn't exactly an easy woman to make friends with - that is, unless you happened to have run into her at church and she therefore knew you were okay.

"Yes, as a matter of fact I did, Jack. Thank you for the compliment," she smiles at him. "Are you new to Capeside? I haven't seen you in church before." Jen shoots her grandmother a look, knowing that her backhanded investigation had just begun.

"We've only been in Capeside since August," Jack explains. "It's all been a little hectic, but we're starting to really get into the swing of things here. We've been going to St. Peter's - it's a little church about an hour from here, since it's the church that my mother went to when she was little."

"Oh, so you're Catholic, how splendid. You should really think about attending church right here in Capeside. Reverend Willis gives a wonderful sermon," Mrs. Ryan warms right up to Jack, taking his hand and patting it. "It would be just lovely to see you and your family in our church community."

"I'll talk to my mother about it," Jack replies. "I bet she'd love the idea." Grams leads Jack right into the kitchen; he looks back at Jen with a wink, and she smiles. He's in.

"Maybe you could even convince Jennifer here to attend church," Grams says, pulling out a chair for Jack and glancing at her granddaughter. Jen rolls her eyes.

"Nice try, Grams," Jen says, and Grams sighs. She pats the back of the chair and gestures for Jack to sit.

"Why don't you sit down right here and tell me about your family. Are you Irish? McPhee is such an Irish name," Grams continues. "My late husband was Irish." Jack glances over at Jen as Grams talks animatedly to him, wondering what he's gotten himself into. Jen just laughs. The phone rings, and still laughing, Jen picks it up.


"Hi, Jen! It's Dawson." Jen's face falls into a state of somberness, her smile quickly fading.

"Oh, hey, Dawson. Um, what's new?"

"Nothing really. Just the same old, same old," he chuckles slightly. "What are you up to?" Jen looks at Jack, who is talking with his Grams as if they're old friends.

"Nothing much."

"You want to go catch a movie or something tonight? We haven't done anything together in awhile, I mean, just the two of us - I feel like we're not even going out," Dawson laughs, trying to make his statement sound less serious than it is. "We are still going out, right? I didn't miss anything, did I?" Jen sighs deeply, her anger toward Dawson softening a little as she hears the affection for her in his voice.

"Of course we're still going out, Dawson," she reassures him. "We've both just been a little preoccupied lately."

"Right," Dawson agrees, his voice wavering. He runs his fingers over his lips lightly, feeling guilty about what had happened yet again last night between him and Andie. Kissing Andie was like an aphrodisiac, or an adrenalin rush; he liked the feeling of his lips on hers too much. Yet here he was trying to make things all right with him and Jen. If only Andie would just break up with Pacey... His silence makes Jen a little uncomfortable.

"But as for going out tonight...I don't think I'll be able to."


"And I'm actually sort of busy right now, so can I call you back later?"

"I thought you said you weren't doing anything," Dawson interjects.

"Well, nothing is a relative term. It's just something you say when people ask you what you're doing, like a built-in reflex."

"So, what *are* you doing?"

"Nothing," Jen replies, jokingly. She can just see Dawson rolling his eyes at her at the other end of the line, but doesn't really care. "I'll talk to you tomorrow in school, okay?"

"You're impossible."

"Bye, Dawson."

"Jen..." Dawson whines.

"Bye, Dawson," Jen laughs, and hangs up the phone. She joins her grandmother and Jack at the kitchen table, and her Grams looks at her expectantly.

"Who was that, dear?"

"Oh, just Dawson," she replies with a shrug, and looks between her friends and her grandmother. "So, have we moved on from the topic of religion yet or should I turn around and run away?"


Pacey sits on the front steps of Andie's house, his face buried in his hands. He sighs deeply and runs his fingers through his hair; he looks like he didn't sleep at all the previous night. He doesn't move when the front door opens. Andie steps out onto her front porch, her bookbag slung over her shoulder, and stops. She looks at him, surprised, and then glances at her watch. Still standing in her doorway, she wonders how long he had been sitting outside.

"Pacey! Hi! I didn't know you were out here."

"That's probably because I didn't ring the doorbell or knock or anything..." Pacey says slowly, standing up.

"How long have you been sitting here?"

"Oh, since...about sunrise, I guess..." he mumbles. Andie gazes at his forlorn face and is immediately worried.

"Pacey, what's wrong? Is it your dad?" Andie rushes to his side, but he pulls away from her. "Pacey?"

"Andie..." he starts, and then stops. She lifts a hand and gently caresses the side of his face, trying to comfort him, but he almost winces at her touch. He covers her hand with his and softly pushes it away. "Don't."

"Don't what? Pacey, you're beginning to scare me...did something happen?" Pacey takes a deep breath and turns away from her, leaning forward onto the railing of her porch.

"A lot of things have happened," he tells her lowly. "Things have happened that I never expected to happen, and it's changed things."

"Changed what things, Pacey?" Andie asks timidly, suddenly getting a feeling of dread as to why Pacey's paid her an early morning visit. "You're not...you're not breaking up with me, are you?" He doesn't answer, but he looks at her, and she sees the truth in his eyes. "Oh god, you're breaking up with me."

"Andie, you can't pretend that things are the same anymore...something isn't right between us and it hasn't been for a long time...don't you feel it?" Pacey's voice if pleading, as if begging her to make this break-up mutual instead of one-sided. Andie closes her eyes, scarcely believing what was happening. Maybe she was still asleep, maybe it was a dream...

"So things haven't been exactly smooth lately...so what? You're just going to bail out?" Andie says, almost hoarsely.

Tears are already sliding down her face. "Is it me? Is it something I did?"

"No, Andie, it's me."

"That's what they always say..." she groans. "Is this about....is this about me and my problems, Pacey? Because things haven't been the same since I told you...that's when all this started. That's when you started acting different."

"It's not that, Andie, I swear. This...I've been feeling this way since...since before you told me," Pacey tells her. She brings her hand to her face, wiping her tears.

"Before? Pacey...Pace, that was over...that was almost two months ago. You've been feeling this way for two months and..." she lets out a long breath, visible in the cold morning air. She pulls her winter jacket closer to her body, letting her backpack drop to the ground. "I can't believe this." Pacey faces her, the pain in her voice paining his heart. She sits down on the porch swing, and he sits down next to her.

"I kept thinking that maybe things would change again, back to how they used to be, but it just hasn't happened."

"Have you found someone else?" Andie's voice cracks, and Pacey looks away. She takes that as a sign of guilt. "Who is she? Do I know her?"


"I have a right to know, Pacey...if you've fallen for another girl, you could at least tell me the truth," Andie demands, getting angry. Pacey turns back to her, but just can't bear to tell her that Joey is the other woman. It would only make things ten times worse and much more messy.

"There's no one else." Pacey looks her straight in the eyes. "It's not about that." Andie just laughs a bit skeptically and breaks the gaze.

"Sure," she scoffs. "Are you sleeping with her?"

"Andie, how can I be sleeping with her, if there is no *her*? I'm telling you the truth," he almost gags on his own lie, so disgusted with himself he wants to puke. Andie stands up and walks down the porch, not wanting to look at him. All this time she had convinced herself she was better off staying with Pacey, and he didn't even want her. "Andie..."

"Pacey, I would really just...I would really like you to leave," she says, still facing away.

"Andie, can't we even talk about this?"

"We just did. Now please just leave, all right?" He can hear that she's crying, but doesn't know how to make things right. He had known this was going to happen, but seeing her heartbreak was something that he just couldn't prepare himself for. Quietly, he steps off the porch and onto the lawn.

"Andie, I never meant to hurt you like this," he says softly, but she doesn't reply. Sighing, he slowly walks away toward school, leaving Andie alone with her tears.

"Whoa, man, what happened to you?" Chris chuckles, looking at Pacey Witter, who is slumped down on the ground in the corner. He looks like he's been hit by a truck. Pacey doesn't even acknowledge Chris' presence. Chris smirks down at him, amused. "What, Joey decided she didn't want to give you a rub and tug anymore?" Pacey suddenly looks up at Chris, shocked.

"You know?"

"Yeah, and frankly, I'm surprised. I really thought Joey had more taste." Pacey doesn't have the energy to fight back, and this disarms Chris slightly. "What are you moping about? Andie break up with you?"

"No, I broke up with her," Pacey mumbles, and Chris stops combing his hair. Trying not to act too surprised, he nonchalantly continues the conversation.

"How'd she take it?" He crosses his arms and watches Pacey, who just shifts his position on the floor a little and keeps his face muffled in his hands as he leans his forehead against his knees. "Not too well, I suppose, since I'm assuming the whole Joey thing didn't go over too well."

"I didn't tell her about Joey," Pacey mutters, and then looks up at Chris.

"Oh, you didn't?" Chris asks, smirking.

"How do *you* know about all that anyway?"

"As the reigning sex god of this school, I know who is partaking of whom and who is not. It's part of my regal duty," Chris replies with an air of dignity, and Pacey rolls his eyes.

"Just forget I asked." Pacey climbs up off the floor and wipes his face, sick of being in this humiliating position in front of Chris Wolfe. He might as well go tell Andie about Joey now; if Chris knew, everyone knew...and it was only a matter of time before Andie found out. "It's obvious that you find this whole thing to be terribly amusing, for reasons I don't even want to understand, so I think it'd be better if I just left before I can't resist the urge to punch you."

"Who ever said I was amused?" Chris replies innocently, and then starts laughing. Pacey clenches his fist tightly, fighting back his instincts to give Chris what he deserves, and lets out a long, deep, breath. Shaking his head, he grabs the door handle to leave.

"Glad to know my misery serves you as entertainment, Chris."

"Pace, come on, old buddy. You know I'm not being serious. Just trying to lighten the mood a little," Chris tells him. "These things happen all the time. It's hardly a rare Capeside occurence. Somebody's significant other is always shacking up with someone else - no one's died yet."

"It may not be a rarity for you, Chris, but this isn't something that I ever would have imagined myself doing. And as much as I love Joey, I can't help but feel disgusted with myself for what I've put Andie through with all of this." Chris frowns slightly. The bathroom door opens, startling both of them. A freshman steps in, and looks up in fear at the two juniors who are obviously having some kind of argument.

"Yeah, what do you want?" Chris rudely asks, and the small boy backs up a little.

"I...I had to go to the bathroom," his glasses slip up his nose as he tilts his face upward to stare at them, wide-eyed.

"Well, find somewhere else to go," Chris orders him, and shoves him outside. He shuts the door and leans against it. Pacey looks at him for a moment, barely believing him to be human. "So this stuff with Joey, it ain't just all about sex, huh?" Chris inquires, continuing as if they had been uninterrupted. He didn't know why he wanted to know more about Pacey and Joey - he basically has their entire relationship chronicled on videotape, but the couple fascinated him. Pacey doesn't answer Chris, so Chris urges him on. "I'm just curious, it's not like I'm going to tell anyone."

"Yeah, and I really trust your word, Wolfe," Pacey rolls his eyes again and tries to open the door. "Can I just leave? Please?"

"I have had every single opportunity imaginable to tell the entire school about you and Joey Potter, and I haven't. I've known about you two for like, the past two months, and I've kept my mouth shut. Isn't that enough of a reason to trust me?"

"You've known about us all this time and you haven't said a word about it? To anyone?"

"Not one word."


"I'll tell you after you answer my first question. You really love her?" Chris' tone is actually quite serious, and he gazes at Pacey calmly, waiting for an answer.

"Yes. I do."

"How much?"

"More than I've ever loved anyone in my life."

"How do you know?"

"That I love her?" Pacey questions, not sure why Chris is so interested. Chris nods. "I know I love her because when I wake up and she's in my arms, there's no place else in the world that I'd rather be. When I'm with her, I forget about everything else, everyone else. It's just...you get this feeling for someone that you can't define and you know you can't live without that person, like some terrible romance novel." Pacey shifts his gaze to the ground, shifting nervously. Soul-baring was not something that he was exactly comfortable doing with Chris Wolfe.

"So, you love her, and now you're free to be with her. I don't see the problem." Pacey remains silent, not sure if venting to some guy he obviously couldn't trust would be the best way to improve his situation. "Look, Pacey, I already know everything, it's not like you and Joey are some big secret to me. And I bet that I'm the only one of your friends who knows; it's not like you can talk to Dawson and Jack about this." Pacey's mind had stopped back when Chris said "I'm the only one of your friends."

"Since when have you been one of my friends?" Pacey asks. Chris scowls.

"I never said I *was* one of your friends," Chris replies. He doesn't even realize what he had let slip a moment before. "I wouldn't be caught dead verbally associating myself with you."

"But you just did, a second ago. You said 'one of your friends'...what is it, you think that since you haven't blabbed my secret all over school, that makes you an ally of mine? Knowing you, you probably have some ulterior motive here. You're probably taping me or something," Pacey remarks, as the bell rings, signaling that homeroom has started. Neither of them care.

"Are you going to take this opportunity to talk about this whole mess or not? Because frankly, you're getting annoying," Chris retorts. "I'm here, trying to be Mr. Nice Guy, which is someone I'm not too fond of being, and you're wasting my precious time squabbling over small details. Now are you ever going to tell Andie about you and Joey or not? If you're going to go out with Joey, she's certainly going to catch on quickly."

"She doesn't have to be hurt even more by knowing that Joey and I have been sleeping together," Pacey protests. "I don't see what possible good it could do besides pouring salt into an open wound."

"The truth hurts, but it shall set you free."

"How poetic."

"I read something like that on a cereal box or heard it somewhere, I figured it would be applicable here," Chris shrugs. "But in all seriousness...she's going to find out, it's not something you'll be able to keep from her forever. Isn't it better you just come clean?"

"This from Mr. Honesty himself," Pacey states. "You wouldn't understand, Chris."

"And why not?"

"You've never had a real relationship in your life. You're about using girls for sex and tossing them aside. You're about one-night stands and points on the scoreboard. But see, I actually want to consider the feelings of the women that I get involved with. Andie is a special girl that I can't stand the thought of hurting further." Chris' feelings are scratched deeply by this comment, so he quickly falls back into his shield of snideness that he was using before.

"Just get over it, Pacey. Stop trying to be Mr. Dramatic & Sentimental. I doubt Andie even cared about you anyway." Pacey stares coldly at Chris, wondering how such an unfeeling person ever came to be.

"I find it amazing that you can manage to go on living everyday, having to look at your own face in the mirror, Chris. I pity the next girl that you destroy; you obviously have no concept of human emotion whatsoever. Thanks for nothing." Pacey opens up the door, pushing Chris out of the way, and leaves. Chris sinks against the edge of the counter, feeling miserable. Was he really that cold and uncaring? His mind, which fifteen minutes earlier had been thrilled with the thought of finally revealing Pacey and Joey's indiscretions to the entire student body, was now wandering aimlessly. Everything was mixed up and turned upside down as his conscience started to grow louder and louder.

The bathroom door opens again and the same freshman sticks his head inside. He had seen Pacey exit and figured the coast was clear. He sees Chris and eyes him wearily. "Didn't I just tell you to get out?" Chris demands, and the freshman dashes away, the door thumping closed again. Chris sighs and buries his head in his hands. What was he going to do? It was too late to fix things now.


Jen walks out of her biology class and into the hallway, and immediately spots Jack walking a few paces ahead of her. She smiles and catches up with him.

'Hey, Jack!" She greets him.

"Hey, Jen."

"Did you see? It's starting to snow outside."

"Is it? I wasn't paying attention," Jack replies. "It's about time, though...it's too weird being in December with no snow."

"Definitely." Jen peers at Jack as he falls extremely quiet, apparently lost in his own worries, from the look on his face. "What is it?"

"I take it you haven't heard then."

"Heard what?"

"Pacey broke up with Andie this morning. Came over early and told her that things weren't working out between them."

"He did?" Jen manages to look surprised and not surprised at the same time.

"Yeah...not that I didn't see it coming. I mean...well, I didn't *really* see it coming, but I think I've known for awhile that Pacey and Andie weren't okay."

"I'm surprised that you're so calm about it. I figured when Pacey told Andie what's been going on, you'd be just as upset over it." Jack looks puzzled by Jen's comment.

"Why would I be upset? Other than the fact that Andie's upset, I mean." Jack says, his tone almost accusing.

"Pacey didn't...why did he tell Andie he broke up with her?"

"Said they'd grown apart or something," Jack explains. "Why, is there some reason I don't know about?" Jen realizes that he has no idea what she had been talking about, and shuts her mouth and looks away.

"No, of course not," she says, making a mental note to kick Pacey's butt. The guy didn't even have enough guts to tell Andie the truth. Jack starts to say something else, but Dawson interrupts them, joining at Jen's side.

"Hey, Jen," he kisses her on the cheek. "Jack." Jack nods back in cold acknowledgment of Dawson's greeting. "I can't believe my movie is really going to be shown in less than fifteen minutes. I feel like I'm going to throw up, I'm so nervous." He laughs a little, sounding over-anxious.

"I'm sure everything will go great, and everyone will love it," Jen assures him; she doesn't sound like she really cares, as if she feels like a broken record player telling him the same thing again and again.

"Have you guys seen Pacey or Joey anywhere? I haven't seen either of them today. Or Andie, for that matter. I hope they don't miss the movie...after all, Pace and Jo are the stars."

"I don't know about Pacey or Joey, but Andie's been sort of sulking around today, keeping a low profile. I told her to just stay home and take the day off, to you know, get her thoughts together? But she wouldn't listen. As a result she's running to the bathroom to cry between every period." Jack shakes his head sadly, looking at Dawson for a reaction.

"I should try to find her and see if she's okay, now that you mention it," Jen interjects. "I bet she really needs a friend right now."

"I'd check the bathroom in the science wing, if you're looking for her. Ten to one that's where she'll be," Jack informs her, and Jen nods. She heads off in that direction, trying to force down the urge to tell Andie the real truth the minute she saw her. It was probably best to force Pacey to tell her...it was the least messy way, at least. Jen leaves without saying good-bye to Dawson, but his thoughts are otherwise occupied.

"What's wrong with Andie?" He asks Jack.

"Pacey broke up with her this morning," Jack tells him, his voice cutting and edgy. "I'm sure you're devastated by *that* news."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means exactly what you think it means. It's too bad Pacey doesn't know the real reason why things went sour between him and Andie. I bet he'd be interested to know that his best friend had come between them and he didn't even see it." Dawson stares at Jack, stunned by what he's saying. Before he can even put together a coherent sentence in reply, Jack walks away, only looking back once to glare at him. He stares after him for a few moments, not moving from his place in the middle of the hallway. Then the bell rings, signaling him back to reality.

Still in a state of shock, he wanders into his classroom. His mind begins to go crazy, wondering how many people knew about his and Andie's little affair. Did Jen know already? Did Jack tell her? Did Pacey know, or is he *going* to know? He barely realizes what's going on as the principal comes on over the P.A. and announces that students on the first floor should proceed to the auditorium for the showing of the movie. Someone has to tap him on the shoulder and tell him they're leaving before he notices.


"What's the matter with you?" Abby asks snottily, as Chris takes a seat next to her in the back row of the auditorium. He looks pale, as if he's going to be sick.

"Nothing's the matter with me," Chris replies, not looking at her.

"Is everything all set to go?"

"Everything's fine."

"Good," Abby smiles wickedly, settling back into her chair. Chris turns and looks at her for a minute, suddenly feeling sickened by the expression of supreme pleasure and enjoyment she has on her face. She sees quite a different expression on his face, and questioningly raises her eyebrows. "What?"

"What, what?"

"What is *wrong* with you? This is our moment of triumph and you look like you're about to lose your lunch," Abby sits up straight, eyeing Chris suspiciously. "You're not caving, are you? This was *your* idea."

"Your idea. I just supplied the creative input to get it off the ground," Chris mumbles.

"You are! You're feeling like, guilty or something!"

"I am *not*," Chris protests.

"You *are*," Abby shakes her head, looking at him in disbelief. "Really, Chris, I expected so much more from you. I thought you were a real man." She acts like she's supremely disappointed. "Guess I was wrong."

"Abby, I am not feeling guilt or whatever. I'm just...I'm just merely worried about everything going off as we planned, considering Pacey dumped Andie this morning. With them already broken up, I don't see the point."

"Oh, Andie doesn't know a thing about Joey, I already did a full investigation on that matter. Don't worry, all the bases are covered. Everything we want to explode, will. Trust me." She sets her hand on his leg, licking her lips lightly and staring at him. "And then tonight, you can get your reward." Chris gazes back at her, becoming less focused on his moral dillemma and more focused on the thought of what Abby Morgan would be like in bed. Abby is immediately aware that the old Chris is back and ready to go, so she smirks lightly and moves away from him. "Too bad you'll have to wait until then."

"You better be worth it," Chris grumbles, rolling his eyes and shifting away from her. As he turns away, he sees Joey entering the auditorium and his eyes dart around the crowded room, searching for all the other victims in his and Abby's little game. Dawson and Jen were sitting down in the middle, third row from the front. Andie is sitting with her brother a few rows behind them. He twists around to the other side, searching for Pacey. Abby eyes him suspiciously once more.

"What in hell are you doing now?" Chris doesn't respond. He looks back to Joey and follows her down the left side of the auditorium. She slips into a row, and takes a seat right in front of none other than Pacey. They exchange looks, not really saying anything. But Chris got the the sense that some kind of message had just been conveyed between them. Joey glances down to where Andie is sitting, half-smiling and half-frowning, apparently in limbo between two emotions. Pacey taps her on the shoulder and she turns to him, her anxiousness fleeting away as a delicate smile spreads across her face. He murmurs something to her and squeezes her hand, and she nods. Abby, her curiosity piqued, follows Chris' gaze and snorts as she sees Pacey and Joey talking together.

"Way to be inconspicuous," she mutters. The principal taps on the microphone up in the very front of the auditorium, and it screeches loudly. Students cover their ears and groan. After stammering an apology, he begins to speak. Chris doesn't hear a word he says; his gaze is fixated on Joey and Pacey, as they quietly talk to one another. He wanted to know what they were saying... They don't outwardly show their affection for each other, but Pacey, once in awhile, would gently stroke the hand that Joey had laid on the back of her seat as she turned to talk to him, almost as an absentminded action as he replied. Chris doubted Pacey even knew he was doing it. Abby groans as Chris watches the pair, and after a few moments, reaches out and grabs his chin, turning his face toward hers. "*Stop* looking at them, you're making me nervous." Chris doesn't bother to reply to her, since it's then that the lights dim and the movie begins to play.


"So, Andie's all right?" Joey whispers back, as their two characters on-screen talk with one another about the monster.

"I think she is. I honestly don't know." Pacey sighs, his mouth settling into a deep frown. "I can't really tell how she's doing."

"Did you end up telling her about us?" Joey smiles a little. "She hasn't cornered me in a bathroom and bitch slapped me yet, so I'm assuming you didn't."

"You're right, I didn't. The look on her face just broke my heart. I couldn't tell her." He leans back in his seat and stares intently at Joey, wondering what she's thinking and if she knows what he's thinking. He glances up at the screen, and laughs lightly, remembering how at the beginning of the summer, Joey had refused to even kiss him once, for the film. She had protested it horrifically and he had wound up kissing Jen...that is, until Dawson cut it. His gaze shifts down to Dawson in the front of the auditorium, where he is sitting with Jen. He's watching his movie intently, judging it and analyzing it. Pacey knew Dawson was trying to evaluate the film from the audience's point of view, not the director's. Joey is looking at Dawson too, obviously thinking the same thing.

"He'll never stop deconstructing himself," Joey says, shaking her head. "I'm surprised he's not observing the audience's reaction and taking notes." They whisper back and forth about Dawson's analytical personality, nervously trying to distract themselves for their own situation at hand. Andie and Jack were sitting nearby Dawson and Jen, and Andie looked like a wreck. She had glanced back at them once, but had immediately turned away as soon as she saw Pacey looking back.

Andie watches the movie, but none of it really sinks in. Seeing Pacey on screen was just too much torture...she hadn't expected what had happened this morning, not at all. She thought if anyone was going to be doing the breaking up, it was going to be her. And she wasn't planning on breaking up with him, not yet. Her eyes drift downward from the screen to Dawson. Dawson was something that had just happened...Pacey was supposed to be the love of her life. And now he was the ex. The guy you'd feel awkward even talking to from now on. The guy you'd avoid in the hallway and sit as far away from in class. Andie couldn't stand the thought of Pacey being that guy for her. It wasn't how it was supposed to be...and it was probably all her own fault.

A few rows in front of Andie, Dawson is doing some heavy thinking of his own. He stares up at the huge movie screen, but all the images are a blur to him. His own movie seems unfamiliar and strange, his mind so displaced and weighed down with thoughts that he doesn't even feel like himself. Andie and Pacey were over...just like that. Had he come between them? Did Pacey know? Jack knows, it was pretty clear...Did he want Jen or Andie? Was Andie upset about losing Pacey, or did she expect Dawson to be there to rescue her from her post-breakup lonliness? He steals a sideways look at Jen, who is trying to focus on the movie, but is so embarrassed by her horrible performance as Penelope that she wants to sink into her seat and die. Dawson looks around the auditorium, wondering what everyone else is thinking about his film, temporarily letting his mind breathe, escaping the suffocation of his self-investigation. He spots Joey and Pacey, not even watching the movie, toward the back of the auditorium. They're talking to one another quietly, and clearly annoying their neighbors. Finally Joey turns around to face the front again, and Dawson averts his eyes elsewhere. Dawson felt as if he were in a parallel universe...his world was being turned upside down and sideways. Something was deeply unsettling about every single aspect of what was going on; but he just couldn't put his finger on what it was.

Abby smirks at the unsuspecting audience as the movie rolls on, delighting in the mischief she has planned. All the unsuspecting fools would never know what hit them, and she would go down in history, as would this day. No one would ever forget Abby Morgan, not if she could help it.

Jen Lindley walks across the screen, her long blonde hair wafting in the gentle breeze. She gazes around the Ruins with a forlorn expression, looking as if she's on the verge of crying. Abby rolls her eyes at Dawson's gag-worthy version of cinema. A beautiful girl falls in love with a monster...hasn't this one been covered for the last three centuries or so? She murmurs her displeasure to Chris, but he doesn't even acknowledge her. Annoyed at being ignored, she nudges him in the shoulder. He's sweating and his eyes are almost watering...his fingers play nervously with the edge of his shirt.

"We can't do this." He says, quietly. Abby's eyes widen.

"What do you mean? Chris, don't be a loser. These people don't matter. They exist for our entertainment. The whole point of all our hard work over the past two months has been to finally make these idiots realize exactly how pathetic they are. Our purpose is to ruin their lives, make things hell. For all of them. Where is the fun in letting an opportunity like this *go*?"

"I mean, this is wrong, and we can *not* do this." Abby can't even think of a reply. Without another word, Chris gets up and runs out of the auditorium, startling everyone around him. Abby sits still in shock for a moment, and then gets up and races after him. What was he going to do? If Chris Wolfe ruined things for her now...

Chris bursts into the hallway, scaring some teachers who were casually strolling along, and runs toward the stairs, heading for the balcony entrance so he could get up to the projection booth. He pushes a cheerleader out of the way as he leaps up the stairs, almost tripping as he goes. The movie was almost over, and as soon as the credits began to roll, the footage of Joey and Pacey would be public knowledge. He had to stop it, before it was too late.

To Be Continued...

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