"I still say this is the cheesiest ending in motion picture history. It's so completely unrealistic and it ruins a great movie." Joey complained as John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John climbed into a souped-up T-bird and drove off into the clouds on Dawson's TV screen. It had been nearly a month since Dawson and Andie had returned, a month of tense lunchtable conversations and after-school socializing. For the most part, everyone had buried their various hatchets, although there were still some weird moments now and then. Tonight, all six of them had convened at Dawson's for the resurrection of movie night. Jen and Jack were practically inseparable as were Joey and Pacey, so Dawson had also invited Andie. He figured at least that way he wouldn't be a fifth wheel in his own room.
Pacey, who was sitting on the floor with his head resting against Joey's hip reached up and grabbed a handful of popcorn from the bowl in her lap, shoving it into his mouth as he scoffed at Joey's analysis. "So? The whole thing is unrealistic. I mean come on, when was the last time you busted into song in the lunchroom or Dawson broke out with a choreographed routine at the high school dance."
On the other side of Joey on the bed, Dawson objected as he muted the TV. "Movie musicals are a staple of cinematic history. They're supposed to reflect the lighter, happier sides of our personalities."
"Well, I'm with Pacey. Even in my admittedly infrequent 'light and happy' moments, I've never felt the need to break into a power ballad bemoaning my pathetic love life." Jen said from the end of the bed where she was lounging.
"Scream in horror maybe, but sing a little '50s doo-wop? No."
They all laughed and Andie, who was curled up in a chair on the other side of Dawson, spoke up. "Well I agree with Dawson. This is one of my all-time favorite movies. I used to pretend I was Sandy all the time."
Jack snorted and started laughing. "Yeah I used to catch her singing into her hairbrush all the time." His voice cracking left and right as he warbled "Hopelessly Devoted To You" in a high falsetto and ruffled Andie's hair as everyone laughed and she blushed and muttered, "I wasn't that bad."
"Well Sandy always kind of bugged me. She was such a wimp. I wanted to be Rizzo," Joey shrugged. "She got the best lines anyway." Jen nodded in agreement.
"Now honey, tell the truth," Pacey said with a grin, as he perched on the edge of the bed next to her and slid an arm around her waist. "You know you just wanted to be Rizzo because she and Kenickie end up in the love machine," he leered at her. Joey sighed, planted a hand firmly against his chest and shoved. Pacey tumbled backwards and landed with a plop on his butt. As everyone laughed at his less-than-graceful fall, he reached up and pulled Joey down into his lap and began tickling her mercilessly. Dawson and Andie exchanged uneasy nauseated looks as Joey surrendered and kissed her boyfriend.
Jack launched a pillow at them and grinned goodnaturedly. "Hey, have some concern for the single people here. Get a room!" They grinned sheepishly and Joey reclined against Pacey's chest. "Anyway back to the American classic here. Don't tell me you guys, especially you Dawson, missed the opportunity to make a movie corollary to our little circle here."
Seeing their blank looks, he elaborated. "Well, let's see, we have the sharp-tongued, window-exiting Rizzo" he looked pointedly at Joey, "who used to have a thing with earnest well-meaning Danny" he nodded at Dawson "then she moves on to his best friend, the never-serious casanova Kenickie who has a serious attachment to his heap-of-junk car," he gestured in Pacey's general direction who was mugging a mock-hurt expression. "Then comes innocent blonde Sandy, who captures the attention of our hero and is forever doomed to be the new girl in town" he pointed at his housemate, "aka Jen, minus a little of the innocence and plus a little of Rizzo's sex drive." He dodged a playful punch from Jen. "Sandy and Rizzo start out hating each other but by the end of the movie they've made up." He paused then nodded. "Face it guys, we could be them-except we have better hair."
His audience was quiet, unnerved by the fact that their life was like a movie musical from the 50s.
"Okay, okay I can concede that there are some similarities here. But what about the ending? Jen and I aren't about to go flying off into the clouds in my car. I don't even have a car!"
"Forget the ending, like Joey said it's unrealistic anyway."
"And what about you and Andie? Where do you two fit in?" Dawson asked, not sure he liked the fact that in Jack's scenario he got the wrong girl.
"Yeah Jack, tell us, would you rather be Lorenzo Lamas or Eugene?" Joey cracked, shooting an eyebrow up quizzically.
He frowned, not particularly liking either of those options.
Pacey chimed in. "Jack's pretty good at giving advice, maybe he should be the Teen Angel."
Jack grimaced. "The fake bake and blinding white outfits might be too much for me. I'll have to go with good ole' Lorenzo, despite the blond helmet hair, I get to be a football player and later in life, I can drive a cool motorcycle."
Everyone laughed imagining Jack playing football.
"Hey, you also get to have a fling with me, the cheerleader who sexes herself up to land her man and sets the women's movement back about 25 years."
Jen rolled her eyes in disgust. "Why do I have to be Sandy? Can we do a recount?"
Everyone ignored her, while Andie fretted. "Great, so I bet that means I have to be Frenchy, but I don't think I'm anything like her, because she drops out of school and I would never do that. And I know how to dye my hair-" Pacey grinned "Don't get your shorts in a wad, McPhee. You're not Frenchy."
"But if Jen's Sandy and Joey's Rizzo, who am I?"
The five of them looked at each other. Grinning conspiratorily, they chorused in perfect unison. "Patty Simcox."
Andie rolled her eyes. "I should have known." Jack ruffled his sister's hair affectionately and she smiled. Dawson turned the conversation back to their cinematic example.
"Seriously though guys, Jack's right in a way. I mean this film was made in 1978, five years before we were all even born, and now here we are 21 years later watching and loving it."
"It's not because of the John Travolta comeback?" Jen questioned. "Because he's pretty sexy for an older man."
"Nah, His comeback's over. Have you seen some of the crap he's been in lately? A Civil Action? The General's Daughter?" Pacey sneered.
"No," Dawson said a bit impatiently, "it's because everyone can relate to a story about friends coming of age. Especially us, since we're in high school and we want to think our relationships will last forever, whether they're romantic ones or just friendships. We want reassurance that things will always stay this innocent and carefree. That no matter how much some things change, some things will always stay the same." He couldn't help his eyes from straying to Joey.
"Thanks for that final thought, Jerry." Pacey chuckled, but it was without true cynicism. A lull fell and they were silent for a few minutes, contemplating the separate directions all of their lives would take just a few years from now. Then Pacey spoke up again, more serious this time. "I'm sure we'll always keep in touch."
"And how do you know that, Einstein?" Joey slid off his lap and twisted to look at him skeptically.
"Because," he stood up and struck a Travolta-esque pose then started singing off-key. "We go togetherŠlike ramma lamma lamma da dingety ding da dong."
He was hit by cushions and popcorn from all directions and collapsed back onto the bed, still laughing.
"Oh no! I didn't realize how late it was." Jen said to Jack as she looked at her watch. "Grams'll be sending out the national guard for us if we don't get home soon." Jack nodded. Although his dad and Andie were home and living in their old house again, Jack had opted to stay at Grams, until his relationship with his dad improved. They were working on it but it was slow going.
Joey looked at Pacey. "I'd better go too. Bessie will have a cow if I come home late again and wake up Alex."
He stood up and pulled out the keys to the truck. "You need a ride home Andie?"
She hesitated and Dawson could tell she did, but was uncomfortable about riding with Pacey and Jo. "Uh, I've got my dad's car. I've gotta take the videos back anyway, and I'll go right by your house, if you don't mind waiting till it rewinds," Dawson offered. She sent him a grateful smile.
"Thanks Dawson. You guys go ahead."
Everyone said their goodbyes and within a few minutes, it was quiet again as only Andie and Dawson remained, waiting for the whirring VCR to stop. Dawson was thinking about how strange it was to be here with Andie of all people. Joey should have been the one here with him. Of course, Andie was no doubt thinking the same thing and gladly wishing she could take Joey's place in the Witter family truck about now. He looked over and caught her eye, smiling at the weirdness of the situation.
"So do you think it'll ever get any easier Dawson?" she sighed, leaning her head back against the chair and looking over at him.
"I don't know, Andie." His eyes looked a little glassy and she knew he was probably daydreaming or maybe reminiscing about Joey. "I really hope so though."
"Me too." She answered tonelessly and shut her eyes, trying in vain to block out the images of her and Pacey when they were together and happy. All was silent for a few minutes as they each struggled with their own thoughts and memories. Then the VCR stopped with a loud click.
"I guess, no matter how much we may not want them to, it is inevitable. Things change." Dawson sighed. "God knows, enough people like to tell me that anyway."
Andie nodded, getting to her feet as Dawson picked up the movies. "I guess the only thing we can do is move on."
Dawson looked pensive. "Yup." They shuffled over to the light switch and he flicked it off.
She looked at him hopefully. "That doesn't mean I have to be mature and refrain from whining to you about it all the way home, does it?"
He gave a short chuckle. "Are you kidding? Come on Andie, you know the words." He struck an air-guitar pose and in a twangy drawl, crooned, "Some daysŠyou were born to loseŠ" and they headed downstairs, smiling in spite of themselves.
Twenty minutes later, a boxer-clad Jack knocked on the door to Jen's room. "Hey you still up?"
Jen tucked her bookmark between the pages of the book she was reading and set it down on the bed next to her. "After the first official resurrected movie night?" Her eyes twinkled with merriment. "Come on how could I sleep?" "Now, now, as much as we may mock Dawson and his revered traditions in private, I actually had fun tonight. It was nice to be hanging with everyone again, without all that tension." Jack walked in, sat down next to Jen on the bed and sighed, leaning back against the pillows. "For a while there, I felt like I was in some daytime soap opera, 'As the Creek Flows.' Will our star-crossed lovers ever reunite? Tune in tomorrow." He mugged a face.
Jen chuckled softly. "Yeah well, I think Dawson and Andie might disagree with you about the "nice" part. I thought they were gonna be sick when Pacey and Joey kissed in front of them."
"Ah, they'll be all right. They're just dealing with the after-effects of this crazy summer." He paused, shaking his head slightly, "Really, who would've thought 3 short months ago that by the time we went back to school that everyone's relationships would change so much? I thought Dawson and Jo would be attached at the hip forevermore and Andie and Pacey were indestructible."
"Well Jack, guess it just goes to show you everything changes."
Jack shook his head stubbornly, "It's all those rampant emotions running wild." He put his arm around Jen and sighed contentedly. "I don't know about you, Ms. Lindley but I'm feeling pretty glad about now that we're the Will & Grace of this network." He clucked his tongue. "All this angst can't be good for your complexion."
Grinning, Jen nudged him with her elbow and settled back, resting her head against his shoulder .
"So, Rizzo" Pacey grinned, trying out Joey's new nickname as he drove down the road they had broken down on on the Fourth of July. After they were rescued, they'd found out that it really was a handy shortcut. "What'd ya think of the first official resurrection of movie night?"
"Better than my wildest expectations. Except I wasn't so thrilled to be compared to the slut of the film." Joey groused, but she was smiling. "But other than that, I think it went okay. Was it weird for you?"
"A little at first, but I think we're all mature enough to handle it. We've all come a long way." he looked over at her and smirked, "Especially you. From repressed prude to oversexed drain-pipe shinnying vixen. So'd ya get any inspiration from the movie? I don't know about you but I kind of liked that scene where Kenickie and Rizzo go to makeout point." He leered at her and pulled the truck over to the area where they had gotten stuck over a month ago.
She crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes suspiciously as Pacey cut the engine. "And you're stopping because you felt like losing a limb tonight?"
"I told you Joey, I was inspired by the movie. Besides this is a romantic spot for us, we had our first kiss here," he frowned, then shrugged, "well our first two-sided kiss anyway. Come on, shouldn't we follow our cinematic alter egos' examples?" He reached over and slid his hands around her waist.
"Uh, I don't think so, Pace," she gently removed his hands and slid back against the door crossing her arms in front of her. "A pregnancy scare isn't exactly my idea of a rip-roaring good time. One unwed mother in the Potter household is more than enough thanks."
Pacey shook his head in disbelief. "okay, Jo, but I gotta tell ya. If we had a kid, I think he'd be pretty incredible. Cute, smart, strong-yet-sensitive, and charming, of course." He flashed her a wicked grin. "Oh yeah and whatever genes he gets from you."
Joey rolled her eyes, but couldn't help smiling just a little. She unfolded her arms and crooked a finger at her boyfriend. She raised an eyebrow and conjured up her most seductive look.
He looked at her and felt his temperature rise a few degrees. He cleared his throat, and said huskily, "uh yeah?"
She broke into a big grin. "Bite me."
And he did.
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