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And I know we
Both had someone that we just kept from
And they still think that they're the only ones
I like the way we hang but it ain't belong
We know the feelings ain't gonna go
Always thought that he knew about you
When I met you I said we were through
In time my feelings came right back
But I didn't let us get off track
And I got so into you
Wait, too fast what do I do
When I know I shoulda held it off
But you just turn me on
And I know we
Both had someone that we just kept from
And they still think that they're the only ones
I like the way we hang but it ain't belong
We know the feelings they don't know
We kept things pretty tight thus far
Love without the sex
And hundred thousand dollar cars
Ain't it funny how our aura's unify
An entity upon itself
That can spread wings and fly
A peaceful coexistence that will surely last
Becomes a reminiscent dream
For those in our past
If they knew just a fraction of all the things we do
They still wouldn't comprehend
The depth between me and you
And I know we
Both had someone that we just kept from
And they still think that they're the only ones
I like the way we hang but it ain't belong
We know the feelings they don't know
-"If They Knew" by TLC
Chris bursts into the projection booth and locks the door behind him. Not pausing to catch his breath, he runs over to the film projector and stops it abruptly, barely making it in time. The movie snaps off violently, leaving the kids in audience below a bit confused. Not quite sure if there's credits coming or if that was really the end, a few people begin to clap hesitantly. After the screen remains black for a few minutes, the applause finally flows freely. Dawson's puzzlement over the rushed ending of his film fades away as the approval of his peers washes around him. Him, as well as everyone else in the audience, is completely unaware of the disaster that just almost occurred. Chris breathes a heavy sigh of relief, not quite able to believe that he had stopped it in time. Abby's voice, ringing shrilly from behind the closed door, convinces him that he really has.
"Chris! What the hell are you doing?!? Chris! Open this door right now!" Abby is shrieking at the top of her lungs, pounding on the locked door with all of her might. "Wolfe! I'm going to kill you!" Chris just smiles lightly to himself, feeling as if the heavy load that had been sitting on his shoulders was finally gone. Chris Wolfe, just this once, had actually done the right thing. Taking a deep breath, he goes over and unlocks the door, letting the fuming and furious Abby Morgan come storming in. "Did you just do what I think you did?" She races to the projection window, and looks down at the auditorium, which is slowly emptying out. "I can't believe you! Are you insane? Have you totally and completely lost your pathetic little mind? I just...! What the hell is the matter with you?" She grabs his shirt and shakes him violently. "You just ruined everything that we have been working for! Just like that!"
"I just couldn't do it."
"You just...*couldn't* do it? Just like that. You couldn't do it."
"That's right...I couldn't do it. It's not right." Abby stares at Chris, letting go of him in shock.
"Am I really hearing you? Are you, Chris Wolfe, really saying this? You're talking about right and wrong?" She grabs his shirt again. "You had months to get a conscience! Why get one now?" Chris gently removes her hands from their tight clenches on the orange fabric of his shirt, and steps away.
"Abby, I'm not getting into it. I'm just going to walk away from this, and pretend it never happened. It's for the best. You should do the same too."
"You've really lost it. You're just letting all of our hard work go to waste because *you* suddenly feel guilty. Well guess what, Chris? Guilt? It's highly overrated. That's probably why you've never felt it before! You are giving up the opportunity of a lifetime here. The chance to make their lives a living hell. And you're letting it slip right through your fingers." Chris glances back and glares at her as he turns to go down the stairs. "You know what? Fine. I don't need your help for this anyway. I still have the original tape anyway. I never should've gotten you into it in the first place. I thought you were a real man, but I guess you're just as much of a wimp as Dawson Leery is." With fire blazing in his dark eyes, Chris takes two large advancing steps toward her. It frightens her slightly, but she tries not to show it.
"Listen to me, you little witch. What Pacey and Joey have is *real*. We have no place to destroy it. Which is exactly what we'd be doing if we played that tape. We'd be destroying their friendships, we'd be destroying their relationship, we'd be destroying their lives. I don't want to do that, and if it makes me a wimp for not wanting to be so cruel, so be it. I would rather be a wimp than be a cold heartless bastard who goes around killing true love with his own bare hands. I'm not that cynical and bitter yet, and I don't plan to be. If I was as evil and harsh as you are Abby, I'd be forced to kill myself. So if you think it's okay to use that tape to wreck Joey and Pacey's lives, go ahead. But I won't be able to talk to you, no, even *look* at you if you do anything but destroy it."
"You're kidding about all this, right? Totally joking?" Abby asks him, somewhere between bewildered laughter and upset tears. He doesn't answer her; he just stares at her coldly, showing her his complete seriousness in his stance. She stares back at him, still not able to comprehend the reality of what was going on. Glancing around, taking a step toward the door and then a step back toward Chris, she tries to regain her ability to think. After a few whirling, mind-boggling moments, Abby turns back to Chris, and without warning punches him right in the stomach. It takes him by surprise, and he lets out a large gasp and clutches his stomach in pain. "It was *your* plan you freakin' loser!" Abby practically screams at him, ready to tear her own hair out. "I should strangle you! I can't even *believe* that this is happening. We were in this together! We had a deal! And now, just like that, you're backing out on me. Stabbing me in the back. Glad to know that your new virtuous self-righteous stance doesn't extend to the loyalties and strengths that are supposed to be a part of friendship! All right to stick up for Pacey and Joey - even though they both hate you - and screw me royally. Yeah, that makes sense! But then again, you never were one known for his intelligence."
"Abby, don't you even see that what we had planned on doing was wrong?" Chris asks, still wincing a little as he slowly stands up straight. "I can't understand how you can't see that."
"I see everything perfectly well, Chris. And you know what? I don't care if you never speak to me again. Hell! I don't even care if you pretend I don't exist. Because you've already blown it with me. *You* do not exist for *me*, so I frankly don't give a damn if you're upset with my actions. Cause Dawson and Andie *are* getting the tape, and there is nothing you can do about it." Abby turns on her heel and storms out, slamming the door behind her. Chris just stares at nothing for a few minutes, everything slowly registering with him as the shock of it all wears off. There had to be some way to stop her. But how?
"God...Pacey..." Joey moans lightly as his lips slide down her slender neck to brush down in between her shoulder blades. She instinctively moves in closer toward his bare body, her back against his bare chest as he nestles her into his arms. Pulling the covers tightly around them as she slowly turns around to face him, still pressed tightly against him, her lips search out his in the growing dimness of his bedroom. With winter closing in around them, the days were getting shorter as the darkness began to fall earlier and earlier. Pacey draws back and smiles ever so slightly, so content laying in bed with her that he never wants to leave.
Joey loved being with him. The actual sex was mind-boggling and unforgettable, but the moments afterward were the moments that she treasured above all. Just being able to lay there, running her hands over the smooth contours of his firm arms and chest as he held her close, his deep breathing falling into rhythm with hers. There was a sweetness and perfection to it, an innocence, that she had never experienced before in her life. Pacey takes in a long, deep breath, inhaling the intoxicating scent of her dark brown hair, and then nuzzles his head on her shoulder. He lightly kisses her neck, murmuring an I love you in her ear and stroking the small of her back gently.
"I love you too," she whispers back, closing her eyes and fully losing herself in the warmth and closeness of the moment.
Joey walks up the downtrodden path to her small house, her boots sinking into the wet ground. Snow had fallen while she had been enveloped in her secret world with Pacey, but it had all melted as soon as it hit the ground. She smiles lightly to herself as she remembers all of her past winters, secretly wishing that the next snowfall would stick around. The air is occasionally sprinkled with tiny snowflakes, wafting down from the sky in erratic swirls and spirals, getting caught in the chilling December wind. Despite the cold, Joey still feels hot all over.
She steps up onto her front porch, her boots squeaking as the water squishes out of the rubber soles and against the wooden planks. Twisting the handle on the front door, she finds herself locked out. She fishes around in her coat pocket for her key. Her gloved fingers fumbling with the metal keys, Joey almost drops them all together when someone steps onto the porch behind her. She turns around quickly, startled.
"Hey, Joey! Where've you been? I've been calling for like, hours," Dawson asks good-naturedly, smiling. "Don't tell me you've been walking home from school for the past five hours." Joey frowns, and then smiles, and then frowns again.
"No, of course I haven't been out walking this long. I just...I had some errands to run after school," she stammers, and then looks away hurriedly. Before he can verbally elaborate on the quizzical look he gives her, she continues. "Why have you been calling? Is something wrong?"
"There has to be something wrong in order for your best friend to call you? Since when?" Dawson laughs. "And it's not bad news either. It's the exact opposite in fact." He waits for a moment, anticipating the question "what is it?" Joey, her mind already on other things, doesn't even seem to care, so he fills in the blanks for her. "Yesterday, I was so nervous that no one would like my movie, I just started sorting through all of our old albums and things, and guess what I found." Joey glances at him. "What?"
"You'll never believe what you were doing in kindergarten, that's all I have to say," he grins as he pulls a photograph from his pocket. Joey, now semi-interested, tries to focus on what he's saying.
"And what was I doing?" Dawson hands her the picture, which is a snapshot of Pacey and Joey underneath the picnic table that used to be in the Leery's back yard. They're kissing each other, in a cute little kid way.
"Apparently you didn't hold Pacey in such contempt when you were five years old." Suddenly Joey is overrun with a gamut of emotions. Images of Pacey flew through her mind, and the complete irony of Dawson finding this photograph was almost too much for her to handle. His delight and amusement over it, his complete blindness to what is right under his nose, made her freeze in fear. Any second now he would wake up and realize what's been going on, and she kept having to catch her breath, wondering when that moment would be. Dawson peers at her as she stares at the picture, wondering what is going on with her today. "Don't you think that's hysterical? My mom took it. I thought it was just too funny. I can't wait to show Pacey."
"Yeah, it is funny...I mean, god, now...I wouldn't touch Pacey with a ten foot pole." Something in the way she said that makes Dawson feel a bit strange. Her voice was tight, and she didn't really even sound like herself.
"Are you sure you're okay?"
"Me? Yeah, fine. I'm just cold." She tightens her grip on her house key and slips it into the keyhole, hoping Dawson gets the hint that she wants to go inside and be left alone. He doesn't. "I think I'm just going to go inside now and make myself some hot chocolate or something." Joey casts Dawson a questioning glance when he makes no move to leave, wondering if he really expects her to invite him inside. "Of course he does," she thinks, "He's my best friend...but why can't he see that now isn't a good time?" She smiles tightly at him. "You wanna come in?"
"Sure, for a few minutes. The picture isn't the only thing I came to tell you about." Still holding the picture in her left hand, Joey pushes open the door and steps inside, unlacing her rubber boots and taking them off before going a step further into her house. Dawson follows suit.
"What's the other news?" Joey asks, setting her boots off the side by the heater and going directly into the kitchen. She begins taking out things for hot chocolate and placing them on the counter.
"Well, today, after the movie went over so well at school, I was inspired." He sets a stack of papers and a video tape on the counter. "I wrote the first draft of my script and did some preliminary footage."
"Today? Dawson, it's only been a few hours since school ended. How could you have finished this all already?"
"Oh, no, it's not done. But I had a script started, that I've been working on for awhile...I just couldn't get the right feeling to it, you know? But today? Bam...it was just what I needed to get myself moving on this." He taps the tape. "This is just some different shots I was trying out. Some shots of the town, some shots around my house...trying out different things, seeing how they look on camera if I were to use them for sets, backdrops, whatever. Various angles...you have to read the script, and tell me what you think. The main character is a guy named-"
"Wait, Dawson, press pause for a second here. I mean...you've never mentioned this to me before."
"I wasn't excited about it before! Before this, it was just half the first act stuck in some file on my computer. Now I really feel like I can bring it to life. I already have people in mind for the parts."
'What's it going to be about, Dawson?" Joey asks again, fingering the script. She reads over a page, hoping for a clue.
"It's a romantic comedy. About this guy who falls in love with his best friend's girlfriend."
"And...and where did you get this idea from?" Joey inquires, intentionally keeping her eyes focused down into the mug that she is pouring milk into. Slowly, willing her hands not to start shaking, she mixes in the Nestle Quik and puts the container back in the pantry.
"It just came to me. I know that it's sort of a cliched, over-done type of plot, but I know that I can make it work. I really think that I can take it somewhere."
"I'm sure you can, Dawson," Joey forces a smile and looks Dawson in the eyes. "You have enough talent to make anything better than it seems."
"Thanks," he says gratefully, and takes the mugs from her, and puts them in the microwave. He is just as comfortable in Joey's house as he is in his own, feeling like he's at a home away from home. Tapping in the time on the microwave and pressing start, he lifts himself up to sit on the counter, letting his feet dangle in a careless and easy manner. Joey moves silently across the room, taking a seat on the counter across the kitchen from her friend. The distance seems even greater between them as she withdraws into her own thoughts. Dawson studies her carefully, seeing that something is obviously bothering her, but not able to read her face like he usually can. Her dark chestnut brown hair falls slightly over her face as she gazes aimlessly around her, her eyes filled with a pensiveness and a kind of thoughtfulness that made her seem like she was searching for answer's to all of life's questions in the patterns on the kitchen wallpaper. "Hey, Jo?" Dawson asks quietly, breaking her trance.
"Huh? Did you say something?" Joey replies, standing up. The microwave beeps, and Dawson climbs down off the counter, turning to retrieve the mugs of hot chocolate.
"I was just checking to see if you were still mentally here. You seemed to be off in your own world there...what were you thinking about?" He hands her a cup and she takes it gingerly.
"I don't know...stuff."
"That's all I get? *Stuff*?"
"It's complicated, Dawson. I just have a lot of stuff on my mind, and it's stuff that I really can't tell anyone about right now?"
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. Hopefully things are going to be better than fine now. Things just got a whole lot less...complicated." Joey smiles a little, imagining how things are going to be now that she and Pacey are free to be together. She glances at Dawson. At least...they were technically allowed to be together. They hadn't talked about how long they should give it before they officially start dating. The only thing they knew without discussing it was that they would never breathe a word of their affair to anyone ever again. They were going to start anew, start clean...everything would be over the table... Joey giggles, thinking that things would probably be *on* the table as well, as they had been two days ago when-
"Jo?" Dawson's voice calls her back from her fleeting daydream. Joey shakes her head, jogging her senses. Dawson was probably going to think she's going crazy.
"Sorry," Joey murmurs, taking a sip of her hot chocolate, then jumping back, burning her tongue. Dawson laughs amicably.
"Be careful, Jo, it's hot." He takes his own mug, and carefully blowing on it first, takes a slow sip.
"Dawson, if I ask you something, will you promise to answer me honestly?"
"Sure," Dawson replies. "As long as it doesn't involve anything about Katie Couric." Joey laughs out loud.
"Oh, okay, I promise, nothing about Katie Couric," She moves over and stands next to him.
"So, what's the question?"
"I was just wondering...do you think that there's certain people that are just...off limits? Things that shouldn't be, even if they're meant to be?" For a second, Dawson wonders if she knows about him and Andie. But the earnest expression on her face reassures him that her question is not out of suspicion.
"Like...who?" Dawson asks, nudging her. "Who do you have in mind?"
"I don't have anyone in mind. I mean...god, I haven't thought about dating anyone since Jack and I broke up." Which was true, because since the moment she'd dumped Jack she'd been jumping into bed with Pacey whenever she got the chance. Which really couldn't be called dating...technically. "But it's just something that I've been thinking about lately."
"You think about this...just because?"
"Yeah, why not?" Dawson looks at Joey as she speaks, wondering what is going on with her. She'd been acting like she was an entirely different person all day long, her mind wandering off, her eyes glazing over strangely; Joey simply wasn't acting like Joey. She stares into Dawson's eyes, waiting for a reply to her stubborn question. Suddenly, Dawson has an inkling of the reason behind Joey's behavior.
"Joey...you like someone, don't you?" He nudges her with a playful smile, delighting in the fact that he and Joey were about to share something together. It would be the first secret she'd ever divulged to him post-breakup, and a huge step back toward what they once were. "Come on, tell me."
"I don't like anyone," Joey denies, inching away from him.
"Come on, Jo, I know that look on your face. That's the look you had when you saw that Anderson guy...that's the look you used to give me...that's the look you gave Jack...and now it's there again. Look in the mirror, and you know you can't deny it."
"I can deny it without looking in the mirror, Dawson. I don't like anyone."
"Joey, you can tell me. I'm not going to tell anyone. Who knows, maybe I can even help you snag him or something. Formulate a plan." He winks at her, but it only infuriates her. She should've known better than to ask him such a silly question. She didn't know why she had.
"Dawson, just forget it. I don't like anyone, and that's that." Joey states defiantly. Dawson looks crushed, but tries to hide it. v "All right, Jo..." He knows she's lying, outright lying; he can see it buried in her eyes. He falls silent, wondering why it is that Joey can't tell him. He thought that they were friends again - and sharing is what friends do, isn't it? Joey doesn't say another word for quite some time, her thoughts running around so crazily that she feels as if she's going to fall over with dizziness. The room was spinning before her eyes. "Maybe I better get going," Dawson finally suggests, moving toward the door. Joey nods.
"Yeah, it's getting sort of late. Um...I'll watch your tape and read your...your script tonight. Promise."
"Bye." Dawson backs out the door awkwardly, feeling the walls building up between them again, brick by brick.
"Huh...what?" Chris looks up, startled. He's surprised to find Jen Lindley looking at him as she takes a seat at the front counter in the Ice House, a few feet away from him. "Oh. Hi, Jen." He smiles tightly, and he slips back into his own thoughts almost immediately.
"Where's your new constant companion?" Jen inquires, smirking a little. To see Abby and Chris apart was a rarity as of late; they were as thick as thieves, one would say. But now she's nowhere to be seen.
"Abby. She's hanging around with you 24/7...don't tell me there's been a clash between two evils," Jen laughs a little, still embittered toward Chris for the way he had treated her. Apparently his treatment of Jen was the farthest thing from his mind. He doesn't reply, his frown creasing more deeply across his face. "What, she wouldn't have a threesome with you and one of your buddies?" Chris looks at Jen; her words were actually stinging his feelings, and it was enough to make him remember why he had devoted himself to losing his conscience about things in the first place.
"Yeah, Jen, that's the reason why Abby and I don't hang anymore, sure. Of course, that would mean that I am attracted to her sexually which I am not, not in the slightest bit. So I guess maybe you're theory doesn't fly after all." He turns away from her. Jen is silent for a moment, staring at him coldly. She should've known better than to make a friendly gesture like saying hello to a cretin like Chris Wolfe.
"I don't know why you and Abby don't get together. I've never met two people as cruel, calculating, and horrible as the two of you. You're a matched pair. Abby's a bitch and you're an ass." Jen starts to get up.
"You know, you're right. Abby is a bitch. But truth is, you haven't seen anything yet," Chris stands, backing away from Jen. "Not a thing. You and your friends' worlds are about to be turned upside down, Jen...everything is going to be over. For good." Without another word, he turns and walks out of the restaurant, leaving Jen to wonder what the implications of his statement were. Waiting to make sure that he's gone, Bessie emerge from the kitchen, approaching her sister's friend with a look of concern.
"Hey, Jen...I heard all of that from back there...do you know what it's all about?" Bessie glances out the window over Jen's shoulder as Chris disappears down the dock, puzzled and worried.
"I don't know, Bessie...but I'm sure we're going to find out in no time at all." Jen frowns, looking at Bessie. She sighs, and turns to go back into the kitchen.
"Whatever it is..." she starts, then stops. "If anything bad happens, Jen, will you promise to tell me what's going on? Joey and I aren't on the best of terms since...well, we had a fight and she's not going to tell me if something is happening in her life." Jen nods, understanding.
"Okay, Bess...I promise."
Joey walks into school slowly, her feet dragging a little. She'd stayed up late watching and reading the new material for Dawson's next movie. Apparently his inspiration had provided him with an overflow of ideas, all of which Joey had graciously told him she'd pick through. What she had thought would be a privilege ended up being a nightmare. The stuff was actually quite good, but it was torturous to read it all. He had picked the worst story line imaginable at that point in her life; all night she had been up wondering if he really did know about her and Pacey after all, and this was his form of punishment for her before he revealed that he knew the truth, and that he was never going to speak to her again. Or maybe it was just a plot line, with no basis in any real life events. Either way, Joey's stomach as doing flip-flops as she entered Capeside High that morning.
Holding the video cassette and script in her left hand, she opens her locker with her right and begins trying to gather her thoughts. Any hope of setting her mind in any kind of order is dashed as Pacey stops momentarily at her side, still keeping things discreet as to not reveal their relationship to the students in the busy hallway. Not touching her, but coming dangerously close to her body, he whispers into her ear, his voice deep and ragged, already filled with desire. A shiver goes down her spine just hearing it.
"You're amazingly beautiful," he breathes, and Joey smiles, then guiltily glances around to make sure no one is watching.
"Can you think of one good reason why I shouldn't just take you now, in the hallway? Because I'm really tempted to do so." Joey blushes a deep shade of pink, trying desperately to keep herself from becoming aroused. Daringly, Pacey brushes his hand across her waist. Joey takes a deep breath.
"Pacey..." she steps away, turning to face him. "We can't act like this in school, not right now." He nods.
"I know..." he sighs. "Do you want to come over to my house after school today?" Joey looks both ways down the hallway before replying yes, nodding quickly and then looking away. Pacey smiles, and turns to go. He glances back once or twice as he walks away, winking at her as he sees her stealing a glance or two of her own. Grinning to herself, Joey turns in the opposite direction.
She practically jumps right out of her skin when she crashes right into Abby Morgan. Her backpack slips out of her hand and crashes to the floor, Dawson's tape falling out. Abby picks it up, looking at it with interest.
"Abby, god!" Joey exclaims, bending down to pick up her bag and some other papers which had spilled from her open bag.
"Nice to see you too, Josephine," Abby smirks. "What is this?" She holds up the tape, tapping the front.
"It's just stuff for Dawson's new movie, give it back," Joey says bitingly, not hesitating a moment before grabbing it from Abby's grasp.
"You know, Joey, with an attitude like yours, it's amazing that you have any friends at all. I know that I couldn't stand putting up with someone as bitchy as you all the time. You should really try to be nicer."
"Thanks for the advice, Abby, but I don't think I'll be taking advice from the school's biggest outcast, if you don't mind." Rolling her eyes, Joey walks away from Abby in a huff. Abby just smiles to herself and follows Joey, walking a few paces behind her. Joey enters the girls' locker room to go get ready for gym class. Abby takes out her own tape of Pacey and Joey from her bag, congratulating herself on the truly wicked idea that had just clicked into her mind. Not only is Dawson Leery going to get an eyeful of his two best friends, Joey is going to be the one to give it to him.
"Hey, Andie," Jack greets his sister, sitting down next to her. Other students slowly come in from the hallway, looking about as happy to be in science class as they would be if they were going to their own execution. Andie smiles at Jack, shaking herself from her reverie of self-pity. "How are you holding up?"
"I'm fine," Andie shrugs.
"Really?" he asks, peering at her.
"Yes, of course I am. I mean, just because Pacey broke up with me, that doesn't mean that my world is going to collapse. I should've seen it coming."
"Well, obviously you should've realized that one, Andie. I'm sure your little rendezvous with Dawson were your first clue that the end of your and Pacey's relationship was nearing the finish line." His voice sounds more harsh than he meant it to sound, so he playfully nudges her in a lame attempt to make his statement sound more of a jest than a reprimand.
"We did not have secret *rendezvous*, Jack. And I would really appreciate it if you just stopped bringing that up all the time, okay? Besides, I really don't think that Pacey dumped me because I was going around with Dawson. I don't even think he knows about that, at least I hope not. I'm sure he would've said something if he knew."
"Then why did he dump you?"
"I don't know. Things just weren't the same anymore. Something was wrong before I even realized I had...feelings, or whatever, for Dawson. My affair with Dawson was only an outward dilatation of mine and Pacey's problems," Andie says quickly, trying the get the last word in before the teacher starts speaking.
"Whatever you say, Andie. I still think that you should tell Pacey the truth."
"Now why would I want to do that?"
"Well, if you're planning on ever getting together with Dawson, you're going to have to tell him sooner or later," Jack whispers as the bell rings. Andie avidly shakes her head no.
"Dawson is with Jen, I'd like to remind you," Andie replies, her voice carrying a double meaning. "It's not like I'm the only one here who is lusting after someone else's significant other. I'm not blind, Jack." She turns away from him before he can fight back. Jack opens his mouth to say something, but class starts.
"Today, we're going to be going over Chapter 10..." The teacher's voice fades from Jack's consciousness as Andie's words echo in his mind. He glances around the room guiltily, feeling as if suddenly everyone knew about his hidden feelings for Jen Lindley.
A few minutes after the bell rings, Abby slips inside the locker room. After making sure the room is indeed empty, she strolls up and down the different aisles of lockers, searching for Joey's backpack. The lockers were too small to hold anyone's backpack, so they were always left on the floor. After rifling through one bag and then discovering that it wasn't Joey's bag, she finally finds what she's looking for. Opening up Joey's backpack, Abby double-checks to make sure she's really alone, and takes the tape out of Joey's bag. She takes it out of it's case, and the photo of Joey and Pacey falls out. Abby smiles.
"This is just too good," she whispers out loud, thinking of what a sting it would create if Dawson saw this picture after viewing her tape. She takes the video that she and Chris had created and places it in Joey's tape case, along with the old photo and a small piece of paper. Then she closes Joey's bag, making sure it looks exactly as it did when she came in. Sticking Dawson's tape into her own backpack, Abby leaves the locker room. Finally. Joey and Pacey's secret lives were going to be revealed...and there was no one left to stop her.
As if walking on eggshells, Andie silently approaches Dawson. She had been standing on the other side of the hall for a few minutes, swaying between the decision to walk away or to go talk to him. Taking a deep breath, she taps him on the shoulder. He smiles when he sees her, then quickly covers his happiness with a frown.
"What's up?" The conversation sounds forced already. Andie sticks her hands in her pockets and looks him straight in the eye.
"I've been thinking about us," she says outright, and Dawson motions for her to keep her voice down. "No, I won't, Dawson, we need to talk about this," Andie states, but nevertheless lowers her voice.
"I know that I keep telling you that this has to end, I know that. But I'm going to ask you something outright, and you have to promise me an honest answer."
"Okay, I promise," Dawson replies, feeling awkward.
"Pacey and I are apart now. If you were to break up with Jen...would you be willing to take the risk and just...and just try to have a real relationship? Is that something that you'd want, or do you want me to forget this ever happened and you can stay with Jen?" She speaks quickly and nervously, and Dawson looks away from her, not sure what to say.
"Andie, this isn't the best time to be talking about this."
"You said you'd give me an honest answer."
"Dawson." Andie's tone becomes demanding, no longer pleading. "You promised."
"The truth? I'd like to be free to go out with you Andie, yes. But even if I break up with Jen, the idea of us getting together is not going to go over well with anyone."
"I know that. That's why I asked if you'd be willing to go for it, no matter what Pacey, or Jen, or Jack or Joey would possibly think of us. My feelings for you are strong enough that I want to try this. Are yours?" Dawson falls silent. Andie waits patiently, knowing that eventually he'll find an answer.
"Yes, to what?"
"Yes, let's just be together. I'll tell Jen the truth, and we can just be free to date, like normal teenagers."
"You're going to tell Jen the truth?"
"I have to. I promised her when we started dating...no secrets. And here I am, living the biggest secret possible. I owe her the truth, now more than ever." Andie nods, understanding, but also afraid. If he told Jen, Pacey would find out the truth as well. Andie and Dawson stare at one another for a minute, not sure what to say now. "Why don't...why don't you come over today. After school. We can just do something...normal. Watch a movie, eat dinner...whatever. It can be our first step toward normalcy." Andie laughs lightly.
"Okay..." she squeezes his hand gently, feeling like maybe her life was beginning to find it's way back onto the straight path. They smile at one another, and then Andie walks away slowly, her heart feeling lighter. Dawson closes his locker, nodding to himself.
"I guess today's the day," he murmurs to himself, already getting nervous about how he would handle things with Jen.
"Today's the day for what?" Joey's voice startles him. He turns to her, putting a fake facade of happiness on his face.
"Nothing," he replies, shrugging. "What's up?"
"Nothing really. I watched the tape and read the script over." She starts opening up her backpack, digging to find the tape.
"What'd you think?" He inquires. "And be honest."
"Am I ever dishonest?" Joey says. Dawson shakes his head no. "I think what you have so far is fabulous, Dawson. It's going to be a really great movie."
"You didn't think the script was too cliched?"
"No, not at all. I mean...there were a few lines here and there that sounded as if they were from the cornball hall of fame, but other than that..." Joey gives Dawson her trademark half-smile.
"So you really thought it was okay?"
"More than okay. You have to make sure to give me a part in it."
"You? A part? Sure...but I think I'll have to make you kiss Pacey again," Dawson laughs, thinking himself in a powerful position to make Joey suffer. Joey forces a grim smile, almost annoyed with how unaware Dawson is, clueless as to the torture he's already putting her through. He says good-bye as he realizes the bell's about to ring, and Joey just waves and turns to go to class. All she wanted was to get out of Capeside High and forget that this day even existed.
"Hey, Jen," Jack greets Jen with a friendly smile. He stops walking and takes a seat next to her on the bench. He shivers, glancing out onto the ocean which stretched out behind them. The dock was not an ideal place to be hanging out in December.
"Hey, Jack," Jen replies, not even attempting a smile in return. He looks at her, automatically concerned.
"You okay? You look really worried."
"I am," she mumbles.
"About what?" he inquires, moving a bit closer to her. Jen doesn't reply. "Is something wrong?"
"I don't know."
"If you're going to keep being vague, Jen...could we at least move some place warmer? That way at least I can beg for answers without the threat of frostbite." Jen giggles lightly, looking as if that's the first time she's cracked a smile all day long. "Either that of tell me the problem quickly." "I don't know if it's a problem or not, though...it's not something that I can talk to my Grams about, definitely not."
"Oh, so it must be about sex or atheism," Jack jokes.
"Neither, I believe," Jen shrugs. "Well...I guess you could argue that it could be about...if it turns out that the thing I'm worried about turns out to be the problem-"
"Jen, Jen, back up the truck. I didn't bring my teenage angst decoder ring with me. Want to speak in understandable English?" Jen looks at him, taking a deep breath and trying to figure out a way to explain the situation to him.
"Okay...it's like this. I know about a certain...shall we say...*secret*. Having to do with our group of friends. And today I run into Chris, who tells me that Abby has some kind of power that would equal destroying all of our friendships, and she was going to turn our lives upside down."
"Wait, what secret?" Jack asks, alarmed. For a split second he thinks she knows about Dawson and Andie, but that wouldn't make any sense. If she knew about them, she would've dumped Dawson a long time ago and he surely would've known about it. "What is it that you know?"
"I can't tell...but if Abby knows...all hell is going to break loose."
"Jen, you can't just tell me you have this secret and then not tell me what it is!" Jack exclaims, grabbing her arm and shaking her half-jokingly.
"I've already told you more than I should've, Jack. But...I just...if Abby knows what I think she knows..." Jen looks down at the ground. "Things are going to change forever, Jack. Everything's going to be different...and horrible."
"Do you want me to talk to her?"
"I don't see how you can, Jack, considering the fact that I can't even tell you what I know that she might know. But thanks anyway." She pats his leg gratefully, but then lets her hand linger there longer than needed. She blushes lightly, then quickly takes her hand away. "I think I just confused you more and possibly even confused myself," Jen says of her mind twisting language in the previous conversation. Jack grins.
"Yes, I think so." Jen gets up, but Jack catches her hand. "Jen...really...if you're in trouble...or if anyone else is in trouble...you can tell me. You can trust me." He squeezes her hand gently, and Jen nods.
"I'll keep that in mind, Jack." She smiles lightly and walks away, leaving Jack alone to think about what Jen had said. What was Abby going to do? Or had she already done it?
Dawson enters his bedroom with Andie in tow, and tosses both of their book bags onto his bed.
"So..." Dawson starts, feeling uncomfortable.
"Want to sit down?"
"Sure." They both sit down on the edge of his bed. Very aware of their close proximity, Dawson stands up again, almost immediately.
"So, um...want to watch a movie or something?"
"Maybe we should talk first, Dawson...this seems really weird."
"What seems really weird?" Dawson inquires, acting innocent.
"This. Us, sitting in your room as if we don't even know each other. You barely said a word to me on the walk here, and now it seems like you're afraid to come near me for fear I'm going to bite." Andie is hurt, and looks to Dawson for an explanation. Dawson takes his seat again gingerly.
"It's not you, Andie, it's me-"
"Oh, this is great. You're breaking up with me before we even start dating?" Andie jumps up, Dawson's very words sounding oh-so-familiar to Pacey's. Dawson is startled, surprised by her response.
"What? Andie, I'm not 'breaking up with you,' I was just-"
"I know, I know..." Running her pale hand through her blond hair, Andie paces up and down the length of Dawson's bedroom for a minute before speaking again. "Okay, Dawson, this is the way I see it." Dawson starts to say something, but Andie just reels into a rapid-fire succession of thoughts and ideas, barely giving Dawson time to let one sentence register before ending the next. "You and I...we got together under strange circumstances. Pacey and I were going in different directions...you got into a relationship with Jen basically because she was there and you just felt like it was the natural thing to do.
"So there we both were, confused and lonely, not really sure of where we stood with either of our partners. Jen and yours relationship is about as heated as a brother and sister's, Pacey's been slowly retreating away from me ever since I told him about my mental problems...and you...you didn't even hesitate. You didn't treat me differently after you found out. And that's what drew me to you, and the fact that I was drawn to you and that I needed you...that made you want me back. Joey depended on you for everything, and then you two broke up, and there you were. Suddenly, you had gone from the center of someone's universe to being just another guy. You could give me what I needed, and honestly, I think being the caregiver somewhat turns you on."
"Andie!" Dawson interrupts, thinking her over-analytical ramble is going off track, and frankly, getting a little embarrassed. She barely even pauses a second before continuing on, stopping only to take short breaths between sentences.
"You needed me just as much as I needed you, but we were both too scared to admit that. Because that would mean hurting the people who are closest to us. We'd be hurting Pacey and Jen by admitting our mutual attraction, so therefore we just danced around it. We kissed, we agreed to forget it, we avoided each other, we wound up kissing again...it's a vicious circle. The only way that we can stop it is to truly, once and for all, just bite the bullet. We have to face the truth. When something is meant to be, it's just meant to be. Not that I'm saying that we're meant to be...I mean, to say that now would be sort of jumping the gun, and would be putting all these high expectations on our relationship. I think that's where Pacey and I really lost what we had. Our relationship got weighed down at such an early stage with all of our emotional baggage, and it just sunk under the pressure. I don't want that for us. I just need someone that I can *be* with...have fun, act like a normal teenager. Someone who has the same quirks and strangenesses - if that's a word - that I have, do you know what I mean? You look at the world the same way I do. I feel like you just understand who I am. You're as neurotic and nitwitty as I am."
"I'll try to take that as a compliment," Dawson interjects.
"You should! Dawson, what I've been trying to say is...I just want to be *us*. I just want to be with you. I want this crap to be over with. I'm so sick of all the sneaking around, and I'm really glad that we're finally just going to come clean about it all. But at the same time, it feels strange. I'm so used to keeping my feelings for you hidden, and feeling such enormous guilt whenever I thought about you or, god, kissed you...it's like this mental reaction. Just being here in your room makes me feel like a criminal, even though I have no reason to feel that way anymore. Please tell me that you don't think that sounds crazy? I don't mean to be making things harder for us, because that's *definitely* the last thing we need at this point. I can't take many more complications to this storyline! I'm already-"
"Andie, just stop!" Dawson stands, his voice loud. "Just...just stop. Okay?" Andie looks at him, swallowing her words. "Let's just take this one step at a time. We'll be fine." He gives her a reassuring smile, cupping her face in his hands. Tears spring to her eyes.
"You really think so?"
"It's going to take time, Andie. We've dug ourselves into a deep hole here, but we'll get out. We're going to be fine." He kisses her lightly, and she sighs. Andie closes her eyes, resting her forehead against his.
"Okay..." They kiss again, and step away from each other. "One step at a time."
"So...what is our first step?" Andie asks, looking around his room. Her mind lightened of its load of worries, she smiles at Dawson.
"I don't know...what is our first step?" Dawson repeats. Andie shrugs, stepping back toward him.
"This seems like a good start," she murmurs, kissing him tentatively. He welcomes this idea, opening his mouth to her. Pulling her closer, they kiss for a long time, for once allowing themselves to enjoy it fully.
"A very good start," Dawson whispers after awhile, breaking away for a moment before immediately pressing his lips back against hers, this time with much more passion. Twining her fingers in his dark blond hair, Andie moves him toward the bed. They collapse onto it together. As they continue to kiss, however, Dawson's backpack falls off of the edge, falling to the ground with a loud clamor. Hearing the noise, they both instinctively pull away from one another, thinking someone is coming into Dawson's room. When Dawson realizes it was just his bag, he laughs and picks it up. He climbs off the bed and goes to set it on his desk chair when he remembers what's inside. "Hey, Andie - want to do your first girlfriend-like act for me?" Andie looks at him, raising her eyebrow suggestively.
"Which would be?" She pulls herself to the edge of his bed and crosses her legs slowly, almost jokingly, and Dawson grins.
"Not that kind of act, Andie," he laughs. "Although I might take a raincheck on that one." He pulls the videotape out of his bag. "You want to watch the first rough shots for my next movie? Your opinion would really mean a lot to me." Andie, feeling honored, nods. He hands her the script, then goes to the VCR. "There's the rough draft of the script. You can read that if you want to."
"I'd love to, Dawson," Andie says, her voice soft. She knew quite well that Joey Potter was the only girl who ever got to see Dawson's work before it was shaped and polished beyond oblivion. Ever since her move to Capeside, the fact that Joey was Dawson's closest friend was evident. Pacey got a glimpse once in a while, but Joey's word was sacred. The fact that Dawson was asking her for her opinion is beyond meaningful. Dawson takes the video out of the case, and the picture of Pacey and Joey, along with the piece of paper that Abby had slipped inside, falls to the floor. Dawson stoops to pick them both up.
"Oh, Joey must've just stuck this in there," he shows it to Andie. "I found it the other night and I couldn't wait to torture her with it." Andie takes it from him, and looks at it with a smile. "To think, those two once got along." Dawson doesn't look at the paper, assuming it's a note from Joey and that it could wait until later. He puts the tape into the VCR, and takes Andie's hand, leading her back to the bed and taking seats on the end of it. Grasping the remote in his right hand, Dawson presses play.
There is a second of static, then slowly the picture starts to come into focus. They are both completely silent for a moment before Dawson realizes what is on the screen.
"What the..." His jaw drops as he watches the two people on the television, their bodies pressed together tightly as they grope and kiss one another. Andie looks at him, stunned.
"Dawson?" She asks, glancing back at the screen. Dawson blinks once or twice. "You're making a porn movie?" she giggles a little.
"No...I am most definitely not. This...well, this isn't...I have no idea what this is. What *is* this?" He picks up the box, looking for some kind of answer.
"Well, Dawson, if I have to explain to you what those two people are doing...oh my god..." her own jaw drops now as different scenes fly before their eyes, each bringing another shocking image to the screen. In almost every shot, it was too dark to see the couple's faces. The TV now has both of the teenagers' attention, both staring wide-eyed.
"God...I...I don't understand...I gave the tape to Joey, and then..."
"Do you think this is Joey's? She gave it to you by mistake?"
"Joey? Accidentally giving me a porno? I doubt she's ever even seen one." Suddenly the loud groans and noises echoing from the TV are interrupted by a low moan. "Besides, you can't call this a pornographic film...it's just a montage of shots, of the same people doing it in practically every place there is to do it." Confused, he picks up the case again, this time opening up the folded piece of paper.
"Joey....." the deep, raspy, male voice catches Andie and Dawson's attention again. Andie squints at the television screen, not able to believe what she just heard. Then she gets a clear glimpse at the woman's face, and gasps.
"Dawson...I think...forget Joey never seeing one..." The color drains from Dawson's face. He looks from the film to the paper he has in his hand, and quietly reads the message that is written there.
"What does that mean?" Andie asks, bewildered. "What does a quote from Shakespeare have to do with *anything*?" Her voice almost squeaks; she is frustrated by this strange twist of events.
"Oh....Pacey....Pacey...oh my god..." Joey's lust-filled voice reveals the answer to Andie's question. Now Andie's face turns pale. They look at one another, wondering if they had heard right.
"Dawson, turn it up," Andie demands. He does. They move closer to the screen, straining to get a closer look. Images fly by their eyes, but it isn't until a shot of the pair kissing, sitting together in what is obviously the Ruins, that the truth hits home. "It couldn't be..." Andie backs away, watching in horror as Joey sits in Pacey's lap. They are kissing each other deeply, completely lost to the rest of the world. Pacey was kissing Joey the way he used to kiss her. Kissing her as if she were the only person in the world that mattered. Tears begin to swell behind her eyes, spilling down her cheeks.
"I...I can't believe it..." his voice cracks. The TV screen goes black, and they both sit there motionless. Speechless. Dawson makes no move to console Andie, leaving her to wipe her own tears away. He can't move. He can't think. It simply couldn't be true.
Joey flips through her English book until she reaches Medea, and opens to the third page of the play. Finding the place where they had left off in class that day, she quietly begins to read, settling back against Pacey's headboard. Her cheeks were still rosy and her body was cold, having just come in from the December cold. Pacey gazes up at her from his place on the floor, wondering why she just *had* to study today. Her long brown hair cascades over her shoulders as she pulls it out of its ponytail, setting the rubber band on her nightstand. She feels his eyes on her and looks at him, giving him a small smile. He moves up and sits next to her on the bed, admiring her sleek, shapely legs. She'd chosen to wear a skirt that day, something she normally never did. Inwardly, he knew she had worn it precisely for the purpose of teasing him mercilessly. He makes a move to touch her, but Joey hands him his copy of the play. He drops it carelessly to the floor.
"We have a test tomorrow, Pacey. We should go over this." She looks at him warningly as he takes her shoes off of her feet and lays them on the floor.
"Can't we do that later?" he asks, running his hand up the inside of her leg. Joey watches his fingers as they slip underneath her skirt, a wave of heat rushing over her body. He finds the top of her pantyhose and starts peeling them down her legs, and at first she doesn't object. As they slip over the ends of her toes and he lets them fall to the floor, she moves away from his touch.
"We have to study now, Pacey. The test on Medea counts for a third of our grade, you know."
"But the test on all of it isn't for a couple of weeks."
"We still have a quiz tomorrow." Joey is determined. Pacey sighs and reluctantly picks up the packet from the floor. "Page three." He flips to it, shaking his head.
"Okay. Where are we supposed to start reading?"
"Down by the Nurse and the Tutor. Bottom of the page." Joey leans forward and points it out to him. He is distracted by the sweet smell of her perfume, and inhales the scent. Everything about her seems more appealing than ever. "The bottom of the page, Pace." Her voice calls him out of his daydreams.
"Right. Okay...you start."
"Okay...here we go. 'You are lucky, Old watchdog of Jason's boys.'" Joey pauses for a moment, realizing that Pacey's hand is again creeping up her leg. His strong fingers caress the softness of her inner thigh, stroking her gently. He slowly inches her skirt up around her waist; he smiles at her, trying to get away with it. Not wanting to let him win, but enjoying it too much to stop him, she just continues. "'I envy you, You do not see...see her...'" Joey stumbles over her words a little, losing focus as Pacey runs his fingers along the edge of her panties, slipping underneath the elastic to touch her. "'This evil is not declining, it is just at dawn. I dread the lion-eyed glare of its noon...'" The end of her sentence trails off, but she manages to glance at Pacey to signal it's his turn to speak. Pacey glances at his line quickly.
"Is she so wrought? Yet neither you nor Medea Knows the latest and worst," he says slowly, watching Joey's face as his fingers touch her intimately. She gasps a little, her breathing growing heavy. Struggling to keep her eyes open, she reads her next line.
"'What, what?'" Joey lets out a long, deep, sigh, and weakly pleads with Pacey to stop. "Pacey...we should study..."
"We are studying," he murmurs as she writhes under his touch. "My line, right?" He finds the Tutor's next line. 'I shouldn't have spoken.'" Pacey speaks, Joey becoming more and more aroused with every passing second.
Joey tries to read her line before the play slips out of her limp hand and onto the carpet. Pacey half-smiles, but his own desire for her has his body so tight and pounding that he can't really do anything except pull her to him.
"'Tell me the truth....you and I are two slaves, we can trust each other, We can keep secrets...'" Joey whispers, and Pacey roughly pulls her onto his lap, removing his hand from her body. His hands run up her sides and pull her shirt directly over her head. "You and I are two slaves...we can keep secrets..." Joey repeats, breathing hard as she feels his hardness pressing between her legs, under the restraint of his khakis. He begins to kiss her, and Joey feels her body jolt. Taking off his shirt and locking her legs around his back, all thoughts of ancient Greek plays and English tests fly from her mind as if they had never existed in the first place. All that she can see is his finely toned body and his searching lips, seeking to become one with her own body yet again.
Neither of them hear the footsteps of two people entering Pacey's otherwise empty house, completely uninvited. Without warning, his bedroom door swings open and Andie steps in, followed by Dawson. She had run off from Dawson's, practically in hysterics, determined to find Pacey and have him tell her what she saw was a lie. Dawson had run off after her...and now, before their very own eyes, they see Pacey on his bed with Joey wrapped in his lap, both half naked and kissing each other as if there were no tomorrow.
Andie almost screams.
Instead she turns away. Pacey and Joey break away from one another quickly at the intrusion, both of them turning white as sheets when they saw who was in Pacey's bedroom. Joey's eyes meet Dawson's immediately, her brown eyes wide with horror. Andie buries her face in his shoulder and he wraps an arm around her protectively. Joey and Pacey don't move, paralyzed. Joey's breasts heave against Pacey's chest as they stare at Dawson and Andie; if only to make matters worse, their sudden entrance has not sucked away either of Pacey or Joey's arousal. They didn't know what to do, where to look, what to say. Pacey's mouth had suddenly gone dry.
After what seems like an eternity, Joey climbs off of Pacey's lap, hurriedly putting her shirt on and handing Pacey his. Pacey stands slowly.
"Don't say that this isn't what it looks like, Pacey. Don't even insult us by saying such a stupid thing. This is *exactly* what it looks like." Joey opens her mouth to say something, but Andie turns around to face them. Her face is tear-streaked, her eyes red and her expression full of pain and torment.
"How could you?" Andie whispers hoarsely, her voice almost lost. "How *could* you?"
Neither Pacey or Joey know what to say.
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