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Part 5 of ?
Classification: P/J (although you can't really tell!)
Author's Note: Man, these are getting repetitive! Once again, thanks to Kilby!
[Summary of parts 1- 4] - Last summer at a graduation party, Joey (who was dating Pacey) and Dawson (who was dating Jen) slept together after getting drunk. Joey ends up getting pregnant and the two of them hightail it to NYC to get an abortion. They return and tell their soon-to-be-ex-significant others that they slept together, but leave out the pregnancy/abortion deal. The fab four abandon their pre-incident college plans, so Dawson's in California, Joey's in Virginia, and Jen and Pacey work blue-collar jobs in Capeside. Flash forward eight months to the future, when the first year of college is complete. Dawson returns to Capeside with a friend, Karen, that everyone assumes is his girlfriend. He spills the whole Joey story to Karen and gets into a nasty fight with Pacey at a restaurant. Jen still isn't over Dawson and is doing everything in her power to win him back, leading Pacey to call her a spineless wimp. If that wasn't enough, Dawson returns home to find a letter in his mailbox saying "I Know What You Did Last Summer" - spooky, eh? Joey got the same letter, although neither of them knows the other one got one. Feelings-wise, Jen pines for Dawson and pursues him relentlessly, Pacey still loves Joey but refuses to admit it for fear of getting his heart broken again, Dawson isn't sure what the heck is going on with his love life, and we have not idea about Joey (yet) - Whew! Get it? Good!
The First Murder
Dawson leaped out of the boat and instantly ran towards Joey's home. Jen hurriedly tied up the boat and followed him as fast as she could. She reached the wooden door while Dawson was still pounding on it.
"Joey! Bessie! Bodie! Anyone! It's Dawson, open the door!" he cried. He grew more and more frantic with each passing moment. A recurring image of a bloody Joey lying in the kitchen was all that he could think of. Leery, you have definitely seen way too many of these teen horror flicks. Jen gazed at him in confusion.
"Dawson, calm down! I've never seen anyone get so worked up over a simple letter," she chided him. Dawson stopped banging on the door for a moment and turned towards Jen.
"Jen, this isn't a simple letter." He resumed his frenzied calling.
"What is it then?" she inquired. Dawson didn't answer.
"Will one of you please open the door?!" he screamed at the top of his lungs.
"I'm coming!" a shrill female voice shrieked from the opposite end of the house. "Jesus Christ, Dawson."
"Thank you," he muttered, relieved that someone in the house was alive. "It's about time."
"Dawson, what's in the letter?" Jen demanded.
"Did it ever occur to you that someone in this house might be trying to take a shower in some peace and quiet?" Bessie asked as she flung open the door. She was clad in a threadbare towel that was once white; it was a dingy gray now. She stood barefoot in the doorway and glared at Dawson and Jen. "Maybe the fact that I didn't answer for ten minutes should have been a clue."
"Sorry, Bessie, but it's important. Where's Joey? I need to talk to her."
"Joey's still at college, Dawson. Check next time before you interrupt my shower, which I am now returning to," she responded, beginning to slam the door.
"Bessie! Wait!" he cried, placing his foot in the doorway.
"When will Joey come back? Please, it's important." Bessie sighed.
"I don't know, I don't keep tabs on her. Tomorrow or the next day, I think. I'll tell her you stopped by. See you later, Dawson," she said pointedly. She smiled slightly at Jen. "And I'll see you tomorrow at work." Jen nodded and Bessie slammed the door. Dawson heard her mutter "stupid kids" as she returned to the bathroom.
"Well, that was productive. What now?"
"I don't know, Jen," he said. "I guess we just have to wait."
* * *
Around six p.m. the next evening, the time of part one
Joey picked up the letter. It was a basic white envelope, with her name and address neatly printed on the front. She shrugged and tore it open. Probably one of those mass mailings from Capeside High School, begging for money, she thought cynically. She ripped it open. What she saw stopped her heart. In the same neat printing, in black ink, were seven words:
She felt her chest tighten; she could barely get any air into her lungs at all. It's not possible, it's not possible, she repeated over and over again. She stood up, her legs shaking violently. A sudden revelation hit her - this must have been what Dawson wanted to see her about.
"Bessie? I'm going to go see what Dawson wanted," she said, her voice trembling with fear. Bessie nodded absentmindedly while she tried to avoid Bodie. Joey grabbed her jacket and headed out into the cool evening, still clutching the letter.
* * *
"…the pirates don't eat the tourists!" Ian Malcolm said. Dawson, sitting on his bed, grinned after hearing his favorite line from Jurassic Park. He hit the rewind button and adjusted the cold compress covering one of the nasty bruises on his face, set on hearing the line for the eighteenth time that night. "But when the--"
"Dawson!" he heard a frantic voice call from outside. He reluctantly hit the pause button and walked slowly over to the window sill of his bedroom. He was knocked to the floor by a panicked figure.
"What the--" he mumbled in confusion. He stood up and turned to see who it was and his jaw dropped. "Joey!?" he said in shock. He couldn't believe she was standing in his room. They hadn't spoken in eight months and yet, there Joey was, as if nothing had ever changed.
"Yep, Dawson, it's me in the flesh. Woohoo, great to see you, long time, no see," she said quickly, giving him a tight smile and ignore the multitude of bruises on his face. "Moving on, what is this?" she inquired, shoving the note in his face.
"I haven't the slightes--" he said, annoyed, trying to read the piece of paper. He stopped short when he saw what was written on it. "You too?" he whispered.
"What do you mean, 'me too'?" she demanded, her eyes wide.
"I got one of those notes last night. That's what I came over to see you about," he said, walking over to his night stand. He reached in and pulled out the same white envelope Joey clutched in her hand. She grabbed it and read it.
"Who did this?" she whispered. "Who else knows?"
"No one knows the whole story. Jen and Pacey are the only ones that know anything at all, and even they don't know…everything," he told her as he collapsed on his bed, frustrated. He used to love horror movies-- that is, until he began living one. "No one except for you and me knows."
"Wow, your mom is showering pretty early tonight," Joey said as she heard the water in the bathroom stop running and the shower door open. Dawson paled as the revelation hit him like a ton of bricks. Somebody else did know the whole story. Joey immediately knew something was up.
"What is it, Dawson? Spit it out," she demanded.
"You can't hide it from me, Dawson. You're not telling me something," Joey said. She paced the room, pondering. "That's not really your mom in the shower, is it?" she said a few moments later. Dawson shook his head.
"That's my friend Karen from school. She's spending the week here."
"There's something else. You wouldn't get all weird on me if it was only a friend in the shower. What aren't you telling me?"
"Just that, um, I kind of told Karen the whole story. She knows…um…everything," he murmured, turning his back to Joey.
"You WHAT?!" she screeched. She absolutely could not believe that he had done that. "You had better be joking, Dawson," she threatened, holding his upper arm in a vise-like grip.
"Joey, I've been keeping this inside for all this time, and it's killed me to the point where I don't even recognize myself anymore. Karen convinced me that it was more healthy to talk about it, and being so confused and vulnerable, some free therapy from a psychology major sounded like a good idea at the time," he tried to explain.
"We swore we wouldn't tell anyone!" she said furiously.
"I know, I know. But you know how it is," he shrugged.
"No I don't!! I kept it inside since the day it happened! I didn't spill my guts to some moronic psych student who wouldn't know my needs if I spelled them out for her in plain English!" she objected. "This Karen girl is probably some psychopath intent on ruining your life!"
"I am not! You don't know anything about me!" a voice called from the other side of the door; it was undeniably Karen. Joey stared at Dawson.
"Let me guess, that's the little skank now." She rolled her eyes as Dawson put a finger to his mouth and opened the door.
"Karen, meet Joey Potter. Joey, Karen Douglass," he said. The two girls stared at each other warily.
"So, anyone up for a movie? I've got Jurassic Park in the VCR," Dawson said, attempting to break the tension.
"Shut up, Dawson!" they cried simultaneously.
"So, you're Joey," Karen began.
"In the flesh. And you must be the conniving psychology student Dawson mentioned," she returned. Karen narrowed her eyes.
"What it is with you people here in Capeside? I don't even know you or that blonde girl and you both try to rip off my head. Geez, Dawson, you could have warned me," she said.
"Wait a second. 'That blonde girl'? Do you mean Jen?"
"If that's her name. Kind of short, nasty personality, hanging out with that Pacey guy that beat up Dawson."
"Pacey beat you up?" she asked, whirling around to face Dawson.
"Why do you think I've got this cold compress on my cheek? Do you think these bruises are figments of my imagination?" Joey stared at his face, noticing them for the first time.
"Oh my God! What happened?" she replied in shock. She couldn't believe that her formerly sweet and sensitive Pacey was capable of such brutality. Well, you should have known that after you and Dawson told Pacey and Jen. Talk about your unbridled savagery. This isn't the same Pacey that you fell in love with, Joey, remember that.
"We went to some little café for dinner because I was starving after the flight and we ran into those two. Pacey and Jen, real friendly people. With absolutely no provocation, Pacey comes over and pummels Dawson a few times. The guys at the café threw Pacey and Jen out, but Jen came back in a few minutes later and tried to do the whole concerned girlfriend thing. I really don't like that girl. Anyhow, she was with us when Dawson found that note in his mailbox. Oops, was I not supposed to mention that?" she said sheepishly, looking at Dawson.
"No, it's okay. Joey got the same one," he said, shaking his head.
"What did it say?" she asked. "You never did tell me."
"I Know What You Did Last Summer," Dawson replied ominously, looking out the window. "Someone knows."
* * *
Around six forty-five p.m. that night
"Normal: Hey, Kristen. Dignified: Hello, Kristen. Friendly: Hi, Kris. Continental: Bonjour, ma belle Kristen," Pacey said, looking in the mirror in his bedroom and practicing his opening line. He had finally made the decision to ask Kristen of the card shop on a date. It didn't matter if Jen was right about her being a replacement in both looks and personality for Joey, he needed to start dating again. He picked up the phone. We'll go for 'normal' this time; don't want to frighten her away. Pacey dialed the number and let it ring. On the fifth ring, her answering machine picked up. After listening to her greeting, he left his message:
"Hey, Kristen, it's Pacey from the marina. I was just calling to see how you were feeling and hoping that your hay fever isn't getting you down. I was hoping we could get together for a movie or something later this week to lift your spirits. Give me a call back when you feel up to it at 555-5349." He smiled and turned on the television. He channel surfed for a bit and, after realizing nothing of value was on, left it tuned to Mrs. Leery's news report. While puttering around the kitchen and fixing himself some spaghetti for dinner, he listened to the stock market report and a thrilling interview with a local fisherman about the bumper crop of cod they were expecting this year. He had just thrown the spaghetti in the pot when Mrs. Leery's next words made his blood run cold.
"This just in: Kristen McGill, an eighteen-year-old Capeside resident, was found stabbed to death outside of her apartment near the marina. She was found clutching a bag from the Capeside Pharmacy containing a box of tissues and Advil, presumably for allergies or a cold. Her body was found at six twenty-six p.m. and the coroner established the time of death as between five-thirty and six-fifteen p.m. No suspects have been named in the murder and the Capeside police have no leads." The screen flashed to show Kristen's senior picture while the voice-over was that of Police Chief Witter, reiterating the fact that there were no leads yet in the case. Pacey slumped to the floor in shock.
* * *
The same time, at Dawson's house
"What are we going to do? Who could have done this?" Joey repeated for the tenth time in as many minutes.
"Again, I will say, I have no idea what to do, Jo," Dawson replied. Karen sighed.
"You guys are so indecisive! Can't you make a decision about anything?"
"Pardon me, little miss cheerleader, but this is a little more important than deciding what clothes to wear to the mall," Joey shot back. Karen made a face.
"I know that. But two letters that don't even make a threat aren't really something to get this worked up over. Wow, whoopee, someone knows something. Big deal. Make a decision, move on. It's that easy."
"And what do you propose we do?" Joey challenged.
"Well, it's obvious who your number one suspect is."
"Who?" Dawson and Joey said simultaneously. Karen looked at them in disbelief.
"Duh, Pacey. He beats you up for no reason, he's still bitter over this whole incident, and he's looking for revenge. He's trying to make you nervous and feel like you're no longer in control of your life, like he did when you told him about the incident. It's a sick and twisted way to get even, but it's all too common in those textbooks that I read. Believe me, it's got to be Pacey. Call him up and get him over here and tell him that you're sick of it," Karen said with such assurance that Dawson couldn't help but believe her.
"Now that I think about it, you're right. It does make sense. Pacey wants to regain control over us, Jo!" Dawson cried excitedly. Joey smiled convincingly, but inside she wasn't sure if Pacey really was behind this.
"Do it, Dawson," Karen commanded. Dawson picked up the phone and dialed Pacey's number.
* * *
At Dawson's house, about fifteen minutes after the phone call
"Where is he?" Joey said in exasperation as she paced the floor of Dawson's room. "You'd think in a town as small as this, he would have been here ten minutes ago even if he walked backwards on his hands."
"Patience, Jo," Dawson chided from beside the window. "Pacey's slow. Besides, wouldn't this fit in with Karen's little psychoanalysis of him? If he's really behind these notes, then he probably realizes that I suspect something. He's taking his sweet time."
"Or gathering the guns and shovels to kill and bury us all with," Karen piped up from Dawson's bed.
"You've seen one too many horror flicks, blondie. Pacey isn't the type to kill us, anyway. He probably just wants to have a little fun, make our lives miserable for a week or so and then laugh his butt off. It's kind of amusing, in a twisted way. He probably sees this as a joke," Joey said.
"Spoken like a true love-sick puppy," Karen muttered.
"What was that?" Joey challenged.
"Oh, nothing," Karen said innocently.
"You insinuated that I still love that cretin!" Joey cried, bringing back her defense mechanisms. She was trying to hold back the fact that she still loved Pacey in part because of her extreme dislike for Karen, and in part because of the knowledge that Karen would hold over her head if she admitted to it. Deep down, she knew that Pacey wouldn't have written the notes. But in order to figure out the truth behind them, she would have to play along with Karen's faulty reasoning.
"So what if I did?"
"How could I love someone that's trying to do this to us?"
"Don't ask me, ask yourself." Joey shot Karen a look.
Ding-dong. The tension of the moment was broken by the sound of the doorbell. The three of them raced down the stairs to confront Pacey.
"Shh, get back, in case he has a gun," Karen ordered. Joey rolled her eyes.
"Like I said before, someone has seen way too many of those cheesy horror films," Joey said. Dawson hushed her and dragged her behind the wall while Karen crept to the front door.
Ding-dong. She flung open the door. Pacey stood on the front stoop, tears streaming down his face. He was pale and unsteady on his feet.
"What the--" Karen said in confusion. Joey and Dawson quickly stepped out from behind the wall and walked over to Pacey and Karen. Joey could tell instantly that something horrible had happened. It took all of her willpower not to run right to Pacey and envelope him in a hug.
"What happened to you, get into another cat fight with Doug?" Dawson joked.
"Or have a run-in with that blonde chick with the peroxide-damaged brain?" Karen replied. Pacey's eyes fell even more. Joey ached to tell them to stop, but that would ruin her ruse. She practically had to hold her hands over her mouth.
"Get beat up by someone this time instead of the other way around?" Dawson challenged, removing the cold compress long enough so that Pacey could see all of this bruises.
"Or finally realize that you're a washed-up jerk that--" Karen began.
"Shut up!" Joey cried, not able to hold back any longer. Everyone looked at her, stunned. "Something's happened, hasn't it, Pacey?" Even after eight months apart, they still had that connection. She could still read all of his emotions. Karen and Dawson were silent.
"It's…it's…Kristen," he managed to choke out between sobs.
"Kristen who?" Karen asked in confusion. "Who's that, another one of Dawson's friendly female buddies?"
"Shut up, Karen," Joey ordered. Pacey wiped the tears from the corners of his eyes.
"She was a friend of mine. And now she's dead. Someone…stabbed her a little while ago," he said, his voice wavering. "Dawson's mom announced it on the news."
"Oh my God!" Joey cried, her hand flying to her mouth. "She was murdered?" Pacey nodded sadly.
"Jesus," Dawson whispered, sinking to the ground. Pacey stepped inside and closed the door behind him.
"I just saw her yesterday. She had hay fever and was going home to rest up. And now she's dead," he said, still in shock. "I can't believe it."
"Pacey," Joey said softly. "I'm so sorry." She walked over to him and gave him an awkward hug. Her desire to comfort her friend won out over her desire to have one over Karen. It lasted only a brief moment, but Joey could have sworn that she saw a flash of forgiveness in Pacey's eyes when she embraced him. She, however, dismissed it as merely a result of the pain he was feeling over Kristen's murder; he simply didn't have the strength to hate her right now.
"Where did it happen?" Dawson inquired. Joey and Pacey broke apart.
"Outside of her apartment, near the marina where I work."
"And where were you at the time of the murder?" Karen questioned. Pacey grabbed a tissue and blew his nose before answering.
"Well, the coroner said that it happened between 5:30 and 6:15, so I was finishing up after work and talking with a few of my co-workers."
"It took you that long to talk to your co-workers and clean up?" she asked.
"I got home at 6:30, so I was talking to them for nearly an hour. It took a while to clean all the brushes and Mike, Tony, and I had a lot to catch up on," he explained. He sat down on one of the stools in the Leery kitchen. Joey sat down next to him and grabbed his hand. They smiled at each other and it appeared as if nothing had changed between them.
"You work at the marina, don't you? Isn't that pretty close to where you said Kristen was killed?" Karen prodded.
"Yeah, her apartment is right near the…wait a minute. Are you implying that I killed Kristen?" he demanded, suddenly realizing where her line of questioning was headed.
"I'm not implying anything here, buddy, I'm just asking a few innocent questions. Now, if you weren't 'held up' with your co-workers, how long would it take you to get home?"
"Five minutes, usually," he answered warily.
"So where did this extra time go?"
"I already told you, I was talking to Mike and Tony."
"Fifty-five minutes is a pretty long time. More than enough time, I'd say, to mosey on over to an apartment building, stab someone, and come back in time to say a few words to your buddies, wouldn't you agree?"
"I didn't kill Kristen. And who are you to accuse me of murdering one of my friends?" he said angrily.
"It seems kind of suspicious to me, this extra fifty-five minutes that you just can't explain."
"I did explain it!"
"Not to my satisfaction."
"Who do you think you are, Ally McBeal? Perry Mason? You don't have the right to harass him like this!" Joey intervened. "He said he didn't do it, so he didn't do it."
"Joey, Joey, Joey," Karen said, shaking her head. "He's got you brainwashed, too. I can see this, because I'm an outsider. You're biased towards him. This is so obvious that it's ridiculous. Are you ready to hear the truth?" She didn't wait for a response before continuing. "Now, Pacey here is so upset after realizing that his girlfriend didn't ever love him that--"
"Where do you get off saying that?" Joey protested immediately. "You know absolutely nothing about me or my relationship with Pacey! Who are you to say I didn't--"
"It's rude to interrupt, Joey," Karen said, cutting Joey off. "I'm going to disregard your obvious lack of manners and continue. Anyhow, Pacey is so upset that he goes ballistic and beats up his friend Dawson. Dawson runs away to California, meets me, and comes back to Capeside eight months later. This has given Pacey plenty of time to plot revenge. He convinces Jen, who still loves Dawson, to be an accomplice to this plan so that she can win back her man. Enter Dawson and Karen. They arrive and decide to eat. They go to the only restaurant open and coincidence of all coincidences, Pacey and Jen are there. Pacey wallops Dawson, gives him a couple of nice bruises, and Jen gets to spends some quality time with her ex-boyfriend. Pacey finds out Joey's coming home soon, decides to get a little revenge, and writes the notes. He hands them out, then waits for a reaction. However, he's worried that they might not take the notes seriously. He's insecure and he doesn't want them to think he's clowning around again. So, he spots this Kristen girl walking down the road and hacks her to pieces. It seems like the perfect plot-- Dawson and Joey got the notes, there's a body so they know the author of the notes is serious, everything's on target. He's getting ready to kill them both and pin the blame on lovesick Jen, when something goes wrong. He didn't realize Dawson would bring Karen along. Karen figures out his whole plot and convinces Dawson to get Pacey over here. So now Pacey has to run over to Dawson's house and pretend to be all upset about this Kristen girl's death to throw off suspicion. If he's crying over a dead friend, we won't have the guts to confront him. But he forgot the most important part of any crime: the alibi. Tsk, tsk. Good thing Karen was here to catch it. The truth is out; this case it cut-and-dried," Karen said proudly. The three of them looked at her in shock.
"What drugs is she on?" Joey scoffed under her breath. Dawson rolled his eyes.
"Well, Karen, it seems like you certainly have put quite a bit of thought into this. Flawed thought, but thought nonetheless. Many of your claims would be believable, except for the fact that we're talking about me and not Jeffrey Dahmer. But there's one little thing you didn't consider that tears apart your whole argument," Pacey said.
"And what's that? The gun you have under your shirt? Or, even better, proof that it was Joey that killed Kristen? Now that would be classic!" she teased.
"The fact that I'm on videotape in the marina all day. My alibi will stand up." Karen's jaw dropped.
"Last month, there was a rash of minor burglaries in the area. Turned out to be a couple of bored high school kids, but my boss didn't want to risk a real criminal coming and stealing our stuff. So he installed top-of-the-line video surveillance equipment that covered every inch of the marina property. And two hundred bucks says that I'm on those tapes from 8:00 in the morning until around 6:25 p.m., well past the established time frame of the murder," he said smugly. Karen grimaced, defeated.
"Well, if you didn't do it, who did?"
"Karen, where were you between 5:30 and 6:15 p.m. today?" Pacey asked.
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