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"So, is it a go?" Pacey leaned back, resting against the headboard of Jen's bed. Joey, Jack and Jen were sitting each on a corner and looking at each other, still mulling over the details of Pacey's plan.
"Well, you already know my answer. New York or bust." Jo said, with a fake cheery tone. "It's not like there's anything going on here."
Jen had the beginning of a smile on her face. "It's been a while. I would like to see my friends." She looked at Jack, "What do you say?"
Jack looked uncertainly at them all. "I don't know guys. I don't think the parents are gonna go for this."
"What parents?" Pacey scoffed. "Mine won't even know I'm gone. Joey's dad's feeling so guilty, I'm sure he'll let her go and Bessie's cool. Yours are in Providence and hell, we can go visit Jen's. Your grams can't possibly say no to a little parental advisory, can she now Jennifah?" Pacey imitated the high-pitched tone Grams always took on when she was giving one of her "It's good for you" lectures.
They all laughed and Jen smiled, her eyes taking on a mischievious glint as the idea took hold. "I'll call them right now. But forget about a day trip. It's almost 5 hours by bus, we won't have time to see anything. There's plenty of room at my house. We could stay over Saturday and come back Sunday."
"Works for me," Pacey chimed in. "I've got Sunday off anyhow."
"Sure," said Joey shrugging. "I'm all for one less day in Capeside. Jack?" All eyes turned to the last holdout.
He looked at the pleading trio, seeing the excitement in their eyes at the idea of a field trip. He'd been to New York plenty of times before with friends from Providence. But who was he to rain on anyone's parade? Besides, there was an exhibit at the Met he had wanted to check out anyway… "Yeah, count me in." He said, smiling at them all. "Beats going to early morning mass on Sunday anyway."
Plan in motion, the foursome started chattering excitedly, talking about all the things they wanted to see and do once they got to the city. The rest of the week passed quickly, with permissions being secured from the parental units, calls for advice on what to pack, and various other details being taken care of in preparation for the big trip.
At 6:45 a.m. Saturday, a horn honked outside Joey Potter's window. She was tempted to pull her pillow over her head and ignore it but then she remembered they had a 7:30 bus to catch. She headed into the bathroom to wash her face and brush her teeth, then she threw on the clothes she laid out the night before and ran a brush through her hair. Outside, she heard Pacey saying hello to her sister and her dad. "Joey, hurry up, Pacey's here," Bessie yelled. "I'll be there in a minute," she yelled, rifling through her backpack quickly to make sure she had packed everything the night before. She stopped in the kitchen grabbed a mug and poured herself some coffee, in hopes it would wake her up. Grimacing at the bitter taste and wondering how people drink this stuff everyday, she grabbed her bag and trudged outside. She hugged Bessie, Alex and her dad goodbye, ignoring Bessie's shouts to be careful, call in case of an emergency and all those other warnings a trip merited as she opened the door to the Witter family pickup truck and climbed in. She mumbled a greeting to Pacey as they headed out to pick up Jen and Jack.
"Well aren't you Miss Mary Sunshine this morning?" Pacey joked, looking at her scowl. "May I remind you it was your idea that we leave early so we could get to NY by noon?"
She gave a withering glance at her all-too-cheerful travelling companion. "So sue me, I'm not a morning person. No one in their right mind would be up at this hour by choice." Joey moaned, sliding a pair of sunglasses down to block out the bright rays reflecting off the windshield. She let out a huge yawn.
"Whoa, obviously you skipped some key morning rituals in your state of exhaustion." Pacey waved a hand in front of his face. "Like the one involving a toothbrush."
Joey just sipped her coffee and leaned her head back, closing her eyes beneath her sunglasses. "Funny, I thought the odor signified it wasn't the day for your monthly shower. Bite me, Pacey."
"One of these days Josephine Potter, I'm going to take you up on that offer, you big tease." Pacey mocked in a flirting Southern Belle voice, as they pulled up Grams' driveway. Joey sighed, as Jack and Jen filed out and climbed into the back of the truck. It was going to be a long ride…
Actually, she was wrong. They all slept for most of the ride. Groaning appreciatively, once the bus pulled into the Port Authority bus terminal, they spilled out one by one. "Man could there have been any less leg room on that bus? Jack frowned. "I feel like I've been boxed up like a magician's assistant." They rode the escalator up to the first floor and walked out into the bright sunshine.
"Yeah, well just be thankful you didn't have someone drooling all over your shoulder for five hours." Pacey grumbled, looking pointedly at Joey as he brushed at a small wet mark on his upper arm.
"I was not drooling!" Joey exclaimed as they piled into the cab Jen had hailed for them. "Besides you were snoring in my ear for-" her words were cut off as the taxi driver took a turn on two wheels, missing a stopped bus by mere inches. They all looked at Jen in shock. She smiled apologetically, "It's really better if you don't look."
One silent cab ride later, the foursome arrived at Jen's upper east side apartment building unscathed. As she greeted the doorman and caught up on building gossip, Jack, Joey and Pacey stared up into the clouds, straining to see the top of the building. Jen opened the door and turned back to see the trio standing there, wearing identical goofy expressions.
"Um guys, don't look up. It makes you look like tourists." She smiled as they finally filed past her into the building.
"But we are tourists, Jen." Jack said, confused.
"Yeah but you don't need to look like it." She winked at the doorman as she stepped inside and led them into the elevator to her parent's penthouse.
"So there's a pool and Jacuzzi on the 2nd floor and the gym is in the basement," she said as the elevator stopped and let them out in a long hallway paneled in burnished mahogany wood with plush carpeting and tasteful impressionist paintings hung on the walls. "Jack and Pacey you can stay in the guest room. It has two beds. And Joey you can share with me. There's a pull-out couch in my room."
She opened the door and led them into a spacious all-white living room. An upright piano graced one corner of the room. On the opposite side, a bank of windows stretched to fill nearly the whole wall offering an incredible view of upper Manhattan and Central Park. An attractive, well-dressed middle aged couple sat on the couch.
The woman stood up and came forward as they entered the room. "Welcome home Jennifer," she smiled and hugged her daughter. "It's been so quiet here without you."
Joey looked on with just a touch of envy. Jen's mom had very obviously missed her while she was in Capeside. The woman turned and held out a hand. "And these must be your friends. I'm Miriam and this is my husband Peter." She turned to the man on the couch, who had briefly looked up from the business magazine he was reading.
"Hi Daddy," Jen said softly, wondering if she was finally forgiven. "Hello Jennifer. Welcome back." He said rather stiffly, nodding at Joey, Jack and Pacey before he laid the magazine down and walked out of the room. Her mother saw Jen's crestfallen look and hugged her again. "Just give him some time honey. He's trying. Why don't we have brunch tomorrow before you go back and maybe we can talk some of it out okay? Jen nodded, biting her lip and smiling blindly at her mom. "Good, now why don't you show your friends where to put their things down and then go out and have a good time. I'm sure there's tons of things you want to do."
After she had shown Pacey and Jack to the guest room, Jen took Joey into her own room down the hall. Joey's gaze swept over the enormous room with its four-poster canopied bed, couch covered in stuffed animals and an expensive entertainment center. "Gee, Jen, didn't have enough room to fit the Benz in here too?" she said archly, feeling every inch the trashy Potter girl from the wrong side of the creek.
Still smarting from her father's brush-off, Jen turned angrily. "Look, I know we're not exactly the best of friends Joey but it's not my fault that my parents have money and if you're going to hold that against me, we're never going to make it through this weekend." She turned away, sighing wearily. "Besides, it doesn't matter. All the fancy canopied beds in the world won't make my dad forgive me."
Joey softened, thinking maybe it was true that money couldn't buy happiness. She had never really believed the old saying before, thinking the phrase was obviously coined by someone who was blissfully ignorant of the way it felt to scrape by each week by the skin of their teeth. But seeing the cold shoulder Jen had gotten from her own father tempered Joey's envy and loathing.
"You're right Jen. I was unfair." Joey said letting out a small sigh, as Jen looked at her with wary surprise. "It's going to be a long summer and now that Jack's living with you, I'm sure we'll be seeing each other a lot. As much as I seem to thrive on it, it's really not that much fun fighting with you all the time." She looked down at the floor hesitantly. "Dawson's not around to complicate things, so maybe we can, uh, bury the hatchet for a little while?" smiling shyly. "It's been pretty heavy lugging that thing around, anyhow." She stuck her hand out. "Truce?"
Jen smiled, "I think I can handle that. " They shook hands. "Truce."
Jen and Joey finished stashing their stuff, collected the guys and headed out into the hot sun, walking over to their first agreed-upon stop, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Jack and Joey quickly became immersed in the expressionist paintings, while Jen went off to view the Keith Haring exhibit. After an hour, Pacey had already finished examining everything in the gift shop and tagged behind the group, dropping none-too-subtle hints that he was ready to go. Sick of hearing him complain, they finally left and to pacify him they told him he could choose where they'd go for lunch. Chinatown was the destination and 20 minutes and one hot, sweaty subway ride later, they emerged from under a huge department store called Pearl Paint.
"You guys will love this place," Jen turned to Joey and Jack. "It's the best place to buy art supplies in the whole city. But they sell everything. And Jo, they've got the cutest Chinese slippers."
Pacey rolled his eyes and looked at Jack. "Great, women bonding over shoes. We'll never get to lunch, now."
"I heard that, Pacey,' Jen and Joey said in unison, then looked at each other and started laughing.
As she and Joey sauntered off in search of shoes, Jen called over her shoulder "They have a whole department for video games."
Pacey's eyes lit up and he rubbed his hands together eagerly. "Aha, now you're talking. Just point me in the right direction, Ms. Lindley."
She gestured in the general area and pointed out where the art supplies were to Jack and Joey. Let's all meet back here in a half-hour."
They returned 30 minutes later, laden with bags and as they headed out for lunch, Pacey spotted one of those automatic photo machines and insisted they get a keepsake.
"There's no way we're all gonna fit in that tiny booth Pacey," Joey said, eyeing the narrow machine.
"Sure we will Jo, you just gotta have a little imagination."
Joey rolled her eyes. "Yeah, I can just imagine what kind of suggestions you might have Pacey."
Jen walked over to the booth and looked inside, sizing up the space. "You and Jack should go in first," Jen said. "I can do this, I fit eight of my friends in a Honda Hatchback once. This'll be no problem." Jack and Joey exchanged are-they-crazy? looks.
With some squeezing, Pacey and Jack managed to wedge onto the narrow seat. "OK now put the money in and hurry up and climb in."
"Climb in where?" Joey asked incredulously. "There's barely enough room in there for the two of you."
"We can sit on their laps."
Joey was shaking her head, the word "no" perched on her tongue, when Jen pushed past her and climbed into the booth. "Come on Jo, we can fit. Put the money in." A chorus of pleases echoed from the booth.
Looking at their three foolishly grinning faces, Joey's resistance faded. She threw up her hands and smiled "Ah, What the hell?" She fed the quarters into the machine and perched on Jack's knee.
"Wait," Jen cried. "Joey you're too tall. You're blocking Jack. Switch with me"
They scrambled to switch places and only managed to get their various legs tangled as Jen nearly pitched headfirst out of the booth.
"Was that the first picture? Do we get three shots or four? Oh these are gonna look great."
"Ouch, Jack ya think you could get your elbow outta my ribs?"
"Sure Pace, if you'll get your big foot off my ankle."
"How many pictures do we have anyway?"
"We have three. This is the last one."
"Wait now you can't see Pacey. Joey, turn in sideways." Jen and Joey turned at the same time, cracking their knees together and howling in pain.
"Hurry up it's gonna click."
The girls swung their arms behind the guys and everyone moved in smiling.
"Pacey, get your hand off my-
"Somebody put some more money in."
"If you think I'm moving, your crazy"
"Uh, Jo, that… wasn't my hand."
Four sets of eyes blinked in surprise at the flash. "OK, so it was four shots," Jack said. They tumbled out, bruised but laughing as they waited for the strip of photos to develop. "Hey, that works. One for each of us."
"Oh sure, I'm gonna put these suckers right on the mantel," Joey said cynically.
The strip slid into the metal dish and Jen grabbed it eagerly, laughing as they crowded around to see the photos. "See, now these aren't that bad. We'll have to try again later, now that we've got the getting-in part down pat."
"They have tons of these around the city. We should take a strip at every one we pass," said Jen, as she steered them in the direction of a great restaurant she knew right around the corner.
"OK but I'm not sitting on Pacey's lap anymore," Joey glared at him over her shoulder.
"Fine, Miss Buns of Lead, I'm an equal opportunity kind of guy. I'll sit on Jack's lap. At least he treats me with the dignity and respect I deserve."
"Sorry, Pace. You're not my type."
Pacey's eyes widened in mock surprise and he stopped walking, as Jen and Joey giggled uncontrollably, continuing up the street with Jack.
"Is it the hair? You like blondes better?" Pacey called after him, as he jogged to catch up. "Cause I've been told I look pretty sexy as a blonde." He broke into a run as Jen opened the restaurant door and they all went inside.
Forty minutes later, over the remains of dim sum and barbecued spare ribs, the gang discussed plans for the evening. "So Jen, as our friendly cruise director, we'll be expecting you to show us the night life here in the city that never sleeps," Pacey said as he reached over to snag an untouched spare rib off Joey's plate. She absentmindedly smacked his hand for good measure, which didn't deter him in the least. Years of filching food from Jo's uneaten remains had taught him well.
"OK we can go back to my place later and I'll call some of my friends. We'll probably go to a club."
"Club? Uh in case you didn't notice Jen, Capeside isn't exactly brimming with fake-ID shops."
"Yeah. Do you really think they're gonna let a group of 16-year-olds in?" Jack said.
"Guys, this is New York. You don't need ID, you just need connections. And I've got the best. My friend Jimmy works the door at my favorite club. He'll let us in, no problem."
"Um, I didn't bring anything other than jeans and T-shirts," Joey said, a bit nervously, as they all shelled out money for the check.
"You can wear something of mine. Or maybe my mom's. Don't worry about it, you look great in everything. We'll figure it out."
For the first time in a long while, Joey looked at Jen and gave her a real smile. "Thanks, Jen."
"No problem." Jen grinned back at her, realizing that may be the first sincere statement she'd gotten from Joey since she moved to Capeside. Maybe she wasn't doomed to be thought of as the evil boyfriend thief from New York forever.
Walking out Pacey heard their exchange, and looked over to see a brown head and a blond one bent close to each other, whispering conspiratorially. As they walked down the street for their next adventure, he smiled, silently congratulating himself on a well-laid plan.
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