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Joey and Pacey stood like that for a long time before coming up for air. When they did, Joey noticed that the music had stopped and there was no one in the room. All at once the truth of Joey's life came flooding back to her and she knew that she couldn't let this go any farther. Joey tried to break away from Pacey's embrace, but he wouldn't let her. There were no words spoken in that moment and Pacey looked into her eyes, pleading for an answer, for a sign, for her love. And Joey was entranced, dancing on the thin line that separated her world and what that meant from the passion she felt for Pacey. The spell was only broken when the telephone rang and Mrs. Leery answered. A moment later, she came into the living room.
"Joey, there's someone named Mr. Scarpetti on the line, you can take the phone in the kitchen."
Joey became very quiet and Pacey looked concerned, "what's wrong? Who's Mr. Scarpetti?"
Joey was hesitant, "Chris, my ex-fiancé."
"He's your fiancé?"
"Ex-fiancé," Joey corrected.
"Excuse me for a moment," Joey headed towards the kitchen where Gail was sitting at the table. Joey picked up the receiver and took it outside to the porch.
The night was dark and very cold. But Joey didn't notice because her anger was enough to keep her warm.
"What do want?" She asked, extremely pissed.
"Oh," he began with a hurt voice, "I just wanted to know how you two were doing."
But Joey was livid, "like you care."
She was conjuring up a mental image of him, a tall man with an olive complexion and startling green eyes that contrasted with his mass of dark hair. He was extremely handsome, but under the circumstances he was a first-class jerk.
Chris finally spoke, "what are you doing there?"
"Whatever I please, you lost all say in my life when the ring came off my finger. And now after all that you said, you have had a change of heart? No, I don't think so."
"I still have a say-"
"You have no say, you have no rights to me..........or anything in my life," Joey spoke as she cut him off.
Joey sat down where she had been earlier that night while Chris spoke, "it didn't have to be this way."
"Yes it did." Joey spoke defiantly, "you wanted me to do something that goes against what I believe in...................something that would have killed me inside. This never would have worked because there wasn't enough love, this was just a catalyst."
"There was no catalyst, we could have been happy, but you didn't want to give ‘it' up." Chris' voice rose and filled with disgust, "and I will hold no responsibility."
Joey stood up and spoke with an icy tone. Yet there were tears in her eyes. "Don't worry, I want nothing from you."
She was about to disconnect him when she started again, "just one thing. Why did you call me?"
"I thought that maybe you had changed your mind and we could have another chance. I guess I thought wrong."
Joey smiled ruefully into the phone, "I wonder how I ever fell in love with you?" And she hung up on him and walked inside, slamming the door behind her.
Jen, Pacey, and the Leery's gathered in the kitchen after Joey had taken the phone on the porch. Gail turned to Jen, who had asked the question.
"That was Joey's fiancé, or so he said."
"No," Dawson shook his head, "her ex-fiancé."
"What do you know about him Dawson?" Pacey asked suspiciously.
Before Dawson could answer, they heard the front door slam and Joey come inside. Then a few moments later she appeared in the kitchen. Everyone looked at her expectantly, yet she spoke to Dawson in a low voice.
"Could I talk to you for a moment?"
He nodded and slowly rose to his feet, but not without wincing and again Joey had the feeling that Dawson wasn't as alright as he told them. They sat down on the couch and there was a moment of quiet before anyone spoke.
"Chris called," she started, "he thought that I might have changed my mind."
Joey paused, "how could he think that I had changed my mind? How could he imagine that I would do something like that? Then he said....................then he said that he wouldn't take any responsibility." She began to cry, "I don't love him anymore, but how could he be this cruel?"
Her mind raced with thoughts of Chris and Pacey. *Pacey..............................,* She pushed thoughts of him and the kiss out of her mind. It had been a mistake and she knew it.
Dawson looked into Joey's eyes which showed the innocence of a child and the wisdom of a woman who had seen too much. The sight alone nearly broke his heart because he loved his best friend so much. And he never wanted to see her hurt, especially someone who was closer than a sister.
So he hugged her and they sat there like that for a while. It was Joey who pulled away from Dawson and tried to compose herself.
"I'm sorry, that was a momentary lapse in sanity." "Don't worry, I won't tell," he said, smiling weakly.
Joey smiled warmly at him and stood up, her expression changing to concern. "How are you feeling?"
"Oh," Dawson said nonchalantly, "alright."
The thing was that he didn't look alright. So Joey left him on the couch and proceeded to find his parents so they could take him home. When they all returned, Dawson's eyes were closed and he looked exceptionally tired.
He opened his eyes to find his mom peering at him. "We should go."
Dawson nodded his head and began to get up, his face showing the considerable effort it was taking him. His father led him to the door where there were hugs all around as the door opened.
Joey drew him close for a hug. "I love you Dawson, God knows what I would do without you."
"Someday you may have to." He kissed her on the cheek and looked as if he were going to say more, but then all of a sudden his eyes rolled to the back of his head and he fell to a heap at the door.
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