The Way It Should Be by: Rachael

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Joey just stood there as Pacey finished what he was saying, oblivious to the rain pounding outside. She was stunned that he actually thought she was going to run, but then again, why shouldnít he think that? She had done it so many times before. Not exactly knowing what to say, she still just stood there, tears rolling down her face.

Pacey wondered what was going on insider her head. She wasnít saying anything, just crying. He didnít know what to do, so he moved closer to her, took her in his arms and held her tightly. "Jo, please donít cry, I just wanted you to know how I felt about all this."

"Pace, I need to tell you something..... When we were in the kitchen earlier I was trying to tell you something important." Paceyís eyes widened with anticipation as she spoke. "I am not going to run, I am not going to hide and I donít want to be let off the hook. I am through running, Pace. I have been running for 10 years, there has to be a stopping point, a point where I am not afraid anymore," she started to cry even harder, not exactly knowing why. "I donít even really know why I am afraid. Donít you understand? I am the same as you. No matter what has happened over all these years, no matter where I was, who I was with or anything else, none of that mattered. I was still always thinking of you, Pace." This time Pacey was the one who started crying. She held on to his hands as she went on, "Yes, me and Dawson are soulmates, but that is such a different thing. I donít think I was really ever in love with him. I think that was just another way for me to run. Dawson may be my soulmate, but he isnít my true love." She was crying so hard now that she could hardly see. Pacey was too, but he was anxiously waiting for her to continue. "I love you more than you will ever understand and to this day I still donít even know why I was so scared. But, I promise you, I am through running. I want to be with you. I want to be with you forever. I love you so very much, Pacey, and I promise to never screw up again if you are willing to give us another chance."

Pacey was so shocked he had to sit down. Joey almost couldnít handle waiting for his response. Then, he looked up at her and said, "Potter, donít you know that your screwing up is part of what makes me love you so much."

She practically leaped into his arms. "Oh my gosh, Pace, I love you!"

"I love you, too, Potter."

The were holding each other so tightly, they were practically choking each other. Suddenly, Joey pulled away and was looking him square in the eye. "One more thing......" she started to say. Pacey looked on with curiosity. "I was never able to this, and I think that it would have helped if I could have."

"Whatís that, Jo?", he said staring at her.

"STAY," she said simply. Pacey started crying again. "I am asking you to stay, Pace, stay with me, move in with me. I am asking you to stay, forever." Pacey jumped up and enveloped her in his arms and gave her the most passionate kiss that he had ever felt in his life, even from Joey. They both pulled away and gazed in each others eyes.

"You know that I will stay, Jo. All you ever had to do was ask."


A few weeks later......

Pacey had been still working at the restaurant, but he was also flying back and forth to New York to be with Joey. He had decided to sell the Ice House to Jack and Doug and was going to open one in New York. He was going to be a chain with Jack and Doug as his partners. He was moving in with Joey. Yeah, it was a little soon, but it had been 10 years since they first fell in love.

He couldnít believe things had turned out the way they did. He loved her so much. He was so happy. She had changed in so many ways. She stopped running, they didnít fight as much and what got him the most, she asked him to stay. He let all these things wander around in his head while he was packing up some things. All of a sudden, the phone rang and brought him out of his trance.

"Hello?" he said into the receiver.

"Hey, Pacey." It was Dawson.

"Hey, man, whatís up?"

"Just calling to see how things were going. Arenít you leaving for New York today?"

"Yep, letís just hope Jo doesnít change her mind before I board that flight in a few hours," Pacey joked.

"She wonít. I know this might sound strange coming from me, but I really do think you guys are going to be very happy. I know that you love her and always have. I donít really know what kept me from seeing that all these years. My own stupidity, I guess?" Dawson admitted quietly.

"I am just glad things turned out the way they did. I am so happy that everything is back to normal. You have grown so much over the past few years, Dawson. We can now say that we have truly gained our friendship back," he said proudly. "Which reminds me, I wanted to ask you something very important, if you didnít mind?"

"Of course not, shoot, Pace."

"I know it seems a little soon, but how long do you think I should wait before I ask Joey to marry me?"

"Well, Pace, that is really up to you. It would be so wonderful if that happened and yeah, it is a little soon, but just look at it this way: even though you havenít been together the whole time, you have been in love for a decade. Joey loves you very much. Even if she wants to wait, it will happen. I know it will."

"Thanks, I knew you would say the right thing."

"No, problem."

Just then the call-waiting started beeping. "Well, D, that is probably Jo, so I better answer it. Promise to call again soon?"

"Sure thing."

Pacey waited a few more seconds before clicking over. "Hello?"

"All packed and ready to go, Witter, or do I have to come and do it for you?" Sure enough, it was her.

"Now listen, Potter, I am perfectly capable of packing my own belongings, that is, of course, if you aren't changing your mind?"

"Why on earth would I do that? Then I wouldnít be able to torture you every day for the rest of our lives!"

"You would be able to do that no matter what, seeing as even when you arenít around, you are still what clouds my mind and makes my heart beat."

"So, I will pick you up at the airport at 3?"

"Yep."

"One more thing? Promise that you will stay, Pace."

"I promise. I love you, Jo."

"I love you too, Pace."

Pacey hung up the phone and went back to packing. In just a few hours, he thought to himself, things will be the way they should be, the way they should have been a long time ago.

Back in New York, Joey sat at her desk at work. She couldnít work, she was so excited. She almost couldnít stop herself from standing up and screaming happily at the top of her lungs. In just a few hours, Pacey, her true love, would be living in her home, well, "their" home. She decided she needed to call someone. She thought about it for a minute and decided to call Andie. After Jenís funeral, they had a long talk and decided to move past all their differences. Now they were actually becoming good friends. She flipped threw her rolodex and found the number.

"Andie McPhee here," she said in her usually up beat voice.

"Andie, can you believe it, in a few hours Pacey and I are going to be living under the same roof! I canít hardly stand it. I canít even work, I am so exited about it!" Joey practically screamed into the phone.

"Hey, Jo," Andie said laughing.

"Letís talk about something, just to get my mind off this for a little while, please," Joey pleaded.

"Well, actually there is some good news I have."

"Great, spill."

"Well, after a lot of saving and a few loans, I am going to open up my own practice," she waited a few seconds before she finished, "in California."

"Andie! Thatís great. I know that is what you have always wanted. Another good thing about it is you will be closer to Dawson, I think he needs some company over there anyway."

"I am really glad you feel that way about it Joey, because I actually wanted to talk to you about HIM," Andie said carefully.

A grin spread across Joeyís face on the other end of the phone as she had a pretty good idea where she was headed with this. "Okay," Joey replied.

"Well, Dawson and I talked a lot over the short period of time that I was in Capeside. But, I have noticed so many changes in him, Jo. He is not the same jealous, dream filled mind that lived on the other side of the creek. I also wanted you to know he is truly happy about you and Pacey, we talked about that, too. Anyway, back to the point, I just wanted to make sure it would be all right with you maybe, if I asked him out once I get to California?"

"Of course it is. You really didnít even have to ask. I know he is not the same, we had a very long talk back in Capeside. I think it would be a good thing. He really needs someone. You are such a good person, McPhee, I think that you guys would be perfect. Now, on to another subject. You said that Dawson was truly happy about me and Pacey, how do you feel about it?" Joey asked.

"Oh, Jo, I think it is really great. What happened with me and Pacey was a long time ago. I screwed up our relationship. But, I donít think it would have mattered if I did or not. I donít think that we were ever meant to be together. It has always been you. Now that it is finally happening forever, I am so glad. I think of you both as dear friends and I am very happy for you," Andie said, close to tears.

"You are such a good friend to me now, especially since Jen is gone and I just wanted to make sure I had your blessing," Joey was now crying into the phone.

"You definitely have that and anything else you need. Remember that I am always here for you no matter what."

"Thanks, Andie, it means so much to me. Well, it is almost time for me to pick Pacey up at the airport. Promise to call me soon."

"I promise. Remember, Jo, I love you and now things are the way they should be."

"I love you, too." As Joey put the phone back on the receiver, she sat and thought about how much they had all grown. She was so happy to have Andie in her life. She didnít think of her as a replacement for Jen, but someone else who was one of her dear friends from Capeside. She really hoped that things would work out for Andie and Dawson. They both deserved it. Just as she deserved to have Pacey, finally after all these years of running away and heartache. She started getting her things together to leave and something Andie said just kept sticking in her mind. Now things are the way they should be. She smiled as she walked out of her office.

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