California Dreamin' By Tessa

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Tatum stared suspiciously at her friends “Ok, what the hell is going onhere?”

“What do you mean?” Jen asked, feigning innocence. “Tate, stay behind us!”she said as she pushed in front of Tatum.

“What do I mean?” Tatum repeated. “You guys won’t even let me walk faster than you. Why is it so all fire important that you get to the cafeteria before me?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Joey insisted

“Ok, then let me walk in front of you.” Tatum said with a shrug

“No way.” Pacey said, grabbing her around the waist. He turned to the others “Go ahead, I’ll keep her busy.”

“Pacey!” Tatum giggled “Let me go! What are you doing?”

“What?” Pacey said, kissing the tip of her nose “I just like you. Can’t a guy give his girl a kiss?”

Tatum laughed and blushed “Ok. But I still say you’re all acting strange.” She giggled as he kissed her on the lips.

“Well.” Dawson said, observing their behavior “It’s about time.”

“Come on!” Joey whispered, pulling him through the door to the cafeteria. “Hey, everyone shut up, she’s coming!” she hissed at everyone else.

Back in the hall, Tatum pulled away from Pacey “Ok, we really should get to lunch.”

As Tatum pushed open the door to the cafeteria, the entire sophomore class jumped out from behind the tables and yelled “SURPRISE!”

Tatum dropped her back pack “What in the...” “Welcome back, Tatum!” Andie said

“You guys...” Tatum sighed

“It was Andie’s idea.” Pacey explained “Everyone missed you, so Andie suggested we have a little welcome back party.”

“A little welcome back party?” Tatum repeated “It looks like people I don’t even know missed me.”

“What, you don’t like it?” Joey asked

“I didn’t say that.” Tatum corrected “This is just about the sweetest thing anyone’s ever done for me.”

“Well, we’re all just glad to have you back.” Dawson said

* * * *

“So, you guys are officially a couple?” Andie asked that afternoon while she,Tatum and Pacey were watching movies at Tatum’s house.

Tatum and Pacey smiled at each other “Well, yeah.” Tatum said “I guess weare.”

“Gee, and it only took you two months.” Andie observed

“Oh, give us a break!” Tatum giggled “I was comatose for two fucking weeks!”

Andie laughed “Seriously, though, how did this happen?”

“Well,” Tatum explained “you want to tell it, Pacey?”

Pacey shook his head “Why don’t you tell it?”

“Ok, well, last week, Pacey stopped by the house drop off my homework, and I was feeling pretty down, so he stuck around to cheer me up, and then we went to his house to watch some movies, and that’s about it.” she turned to Pacey “Did I forget anything?”

Pacey shrugged “Just the part about the two of us making out like animals on the couch.”Tatum slapped him playfully on the arm “Pervert!” she giggled

“Well,” Andie said “all I can say is it’s about time you two hooked up.”

“Oh, shush.” Tatum told them, pointing to the TV “I love this part! It always makes me cry.”

“Why is it that women love movies that make them cry?” Pacey asked “I mean,you don’t see guys getting together and going ‘Hey, let’s rent ‘Terminator 2’that movie always makes me cry!’”

“Yeah right.” Andie giggled “Hey, tell Tatum about how you cried when you watched ‘Dumbo’!”

“Andie!” Pacey whispered “Knock it off!”

“What?” Andie said “I think it’s so cute.”

“You cried during ‘Dumbo’?” Tatum asked “Join the club.” the phone in the kitchen rang “Bessie? Could you get that?”

“Yeah, sure.” Bessie replied. A moment later she walked into the room and handed the phone to Tatum “It’s for you, someone named Sarah Elizabeth Berkley.”

“Oh, my God.” Tatum said “My cousin.” she took the phone “Sarah, hi! Yes, you tracked me down. Oh, don’t worry about it, life here is totally sweet. Would you believe it? I have two half sisters and a nephew. I know! Yeah, and a boyfriend. Yeah, I’ve made a lot of girlfriends, too. Why do you ask? Really? Wow, that’s great. Could you hold on a second?” she put her hand over the receiver and whispered to the others “It’s my cousin from California.” she turned her attention back to the phone “Yeah, Sarah, that’s wonderful. What’s that? You need bridesmaids. Well, ok, let me get back to you. Uh-huh, yuh-huh, uh-huh. Ok, bye now!” she hung up the phone and turned around “Andie, wanna go to California?” she asked

* * * *

“So, explain the situation to me again.” Joey said

“Well,” Tatum said “my cousin Sarah is getting married, and four of her friends who were supposed to be bridesmaids are laid up with some infections from plastic surgery or something, and she needs four bridesmaids and she’s absolutly desperate and we get a free trip to California out of it.”

“Well, it sounds good.” Jen said, “but are you sure you want to spend a week with your relatives?”

“Are you kidding?’ Tatum giggled “This is the perfect opportunity for revenge. My aunt doesn’t really want me at this wedding, but it’s Sarah’s wedding so there’s nothing she can do about it, and just think how much it’ll irk her to have me there with a bunch of my friends? Sarah said that Dawson and Pacey could come, too.”

“Well, I’m in,” Andie said “I mean, come on, free trip to California, I’m there!”

“I’m in.” Joey agreed

Jen shrugged “Beats hanging out around here.”

* * * *

“Tatum,” Pacey sad “it’s a four hour flight to L.A, so if you plan on fidgeting like this the whole time, let me know now so I can take a sedative....or slip you you one.”

“Pacey,” Tatum said, breathing heavily, “I’ve never told anyone this, but I really hate flying.”

“You’re not going to puke, are you?” Jack asked

“Gee, your compassion is so heartwarming.” Tatum muttered.

“Pacey, was it absolutly necessary to bring him along?”

“’Fraid so.” pacey whispered “Back when Andie and I were dating, he took some, uh, incriminating Polaroids of us, ‘nuff said.”

“Wow.” Tatum said.

“Sucks to be you guys.”

“You have no idea.” Pacey told her

Tatum turned around to face Jack. Jack just smiled at her and pulled some Polaroid pictures out his pocket.

“Put those things away!” Pacey demanded without turning around.

* * * *

“I thought we’d never get off that stupid plane.” Andie moaned as they arrived at the airport in L.A “Was it me, or was that flight longer than we thought?”

“No.” Joey replied “It just seemed longer because of Tatum.”

“Well excuse me!” Tatum snapped “I’m afraid of flying, is that a crime? Omigod, there she is!”

“Who?” Pacey asked

“Sarah.” Tatum said, pointing “You know, to tell you the truth, I don’t think she really wants me at this wedding all that much, either. But here I am with six of my screwy friends. And I’m just gonna walk over there and meet her head on. She’s not gonna intimidate me!”

“Good for you.” Joey said

Tatum hesitated “You know, I think I left my in flight magazine on the plane.”

“Well, we better go get it.” Pacey said “Tatum? Oh my God, Tatum!”

“Too late, we’ve been spotted.” Tatum forced a half smile “Hi, Sarah. How are you?”

“Oh, Tate, thank you so much for coming on such short notice!” Sarah exclaimed as she embraced her cousin “I was just so desperate. Oh, and this must be Jenny.”

“Joey, actually.” Joey corrected

“Uh-huh, whatever.” Sarah said “So, Tatum, did you get your bags yet?”

“Actually, we were just going to the baggage claim now.” Tatum explained

“Wonderful.” Sarah said “Oh, look how skinny you are! Are you feeding her, Jessie?

“It’s Joey!”

As Sarah pulled her away, chattering inanely, Tatum grabbed Pacey’s arm “Please, just kill me now!” she whispered desperately

* * * *

That night, Tatum was awakened by Pacey yelling at the top of his lungs.

“Ugh.” she moaned as she sat up “Pacey, it’s 2:30 in the morning. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?”

“Sorry, babe.” Pacey whispered “I just had this really awful dream that we were all trapped in a house full of your screwy relatives.”

“Oh.” Tatum said “Uh, Pacey, darling? We are trapped in a house full of my screwy relatives.”

“Oh, yeah.” Pacey said. Then he started hollering again.

Tatum shook her head “And how did I know that would happen?”

“Shh!” Joey hissed suddenly “I thought I heard something.”

“Ouch!” Jack yelped “Andie, what the hell did you pinch me for?”

“Sorry, Jack.” Andie said “Just wanted to make sure I’m not dreaming.”

“Ow!” Jack yelled again

“Sorry.” Joey whispered “I wanted to make sure I’m not dreaming, too.”

“Well you’re not dreaming.” Jack snapped “Cut it out!”

“Everyone shut up!” Tatum whispered “Now I know I heard something. Overthere.”

Suddenly, someone turned on the light. Tatum screamed, then stopped “Aunt Amy? Jennifer?”

The tall, thin redhaired woman and teenage girl stared at her “Tatum? What are you doing here?”

“I’m here for Sarah’s wedding. What are you doing here?” Tatum replied “Oh,guys, this is my aunt Amy, my mom’s sister, and my cousin Jennifer. The other black sheep of this family. What are you doing sneaking in through that window?”

“Well,” Jennifer said “when we heard about the wedding, we figured there had to be some way we could screw it up.”

“That’s what I figured, too.” Tatum said “So when Sarah said to bring a few friends, I brought six of ‘em. This is my half sister Joey, her boyfriend Dawson, my boyfriend Pacey, my friend Jen, my friend Andie and her brother Jack.”

“Nice to meet you.” Amy said “Listen, don’t tell your aunt Rita we’re here just yet. I want to surprise her when she’s in a really foul mood.”

“Gee, um, you’re going to have to be more specific than that.” Tatum said

* * * *

Joey struggled to keep her eyes open. “What time is it?” she moaned

“I don’t know.” Dawson muttered “I don’t have the strength to put my watch on, and even if I did, I couldn’t focus my eyes enough to read it.”

“It’s seven o’clock!” Tatum’s aunt Rita said loudly “We’re getting an early start because todays’s the family croquet tournament.”

“You guys.” Pacey said “It’s seven o’clock on a Saturday, and we’re awake.”

“Soon,” Andie winced “the wooden balls will be clacking. Clack, clack,clack.”

“We have got to get out of here!” Tatum said desperately

“Oh, Tatum!” Sarah giggled “You have to meet Carl!”

“Sarah, it’s seven o’clock in the morning. Why the hell are you so friggin’chipper?” Tatum moaned

Sarah giggled “See?” she said to the tall, handsome young man standing next to her “I told you she’s a joker!.” she turned to Tatum “Carl works for the government. Intelligence.”

“Sarah!” Carl whispered

“I know, I’m not supposed to say anything. But isn’t it exciting?”

Carl chuckled “Whenever there’s a threat to our national security, you can bet there’s a woman at the bottom of it.”

“What is it you do?” Pacey asked “I thought I heard intelligence, but that can’t be right.” Tatum tried and failed to stifle a giggle.

* * * *

By lunchtime, the entire Berkley family had arrived at the house, and Tatum’s aunts Rita and Marie were one martini away from scratching each other’s eyesout.

“You always were such a spoiled little bitch.” Marie said pointedly, shoving her younger sister “Why couldn’t you ever be more like Amy or Sharon?”

“Oh, of course you have to bring the little angels into this.” Rita snapped

“What about me and our dearly departed little sister?” Amy asked

Rita and Marie gasped “Amy?” Marie gasped “What are you doing here?”

“I suppose you brought that little strumpet of a daughter of yours.” Rita said “Why can’t I be more like Amy and Sharon, you ask? Look at this Godless little beatnik. And what about Sharon? Oh, Sharon was always so sweet and clever. And who went off to college when she was 18 and came back with a bastard little daughter? Clever little Sharon.”

Tatum couldn’t take any more of this “Don’t you talk about me or my mother like that!” she snapped, storming up to her aunt “She was a good person,unlike the rest of this family!”

Rita slapped her niece across the face “Shut up, you little bastard! You’re lucky your grandmother isn’t here, she’d teach you some respect!”

“Oh, don’t worry about Grandma missing the wedding.” Tatum snapped “She’ll get to live it all vicariously when she gets the bills!”

Rita slapped Tatum again and grabbed her wrist, twisting it “I broke your arm once Tatum and I can break it again.”

Tatum shook off her aunt’s hand “I am not 7 years old anymore, Rita!”

“You know what? You’re just as bad as your mother. But at least your mother had the decency to end it all before her cancer made her a burden to the rest of us!” Joey gasped. Tatum turned around “Not one word! I’ll explain later!”

“Mother! Do you have to air our family’s dirty laundry now?” Sarah wailed

“Please, ladies, no catfights!” Carl chuckled

“Oh shut, you Neanderthal freak!” Rita screamed

“I’m going to take this moment to slip away.” Tatum said

“I second that.” Amy agreed her as she followed her “What say we get Jen and your friends and go find a place that serves cheese fries? You kids eat, and I’ll watch.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Tatum said. “And judging by the looks of shock on my friends’ faces, I’ve got some explaining to do.”

* * * *

“So, your mom killed herself?” Pacey asked

Tatum nodded as they got out of the cab at the airport later that afternoon “As soon as she figured out there was no way she was going to make it, she wrote her will and killed herself.”

Pacey winced “And that part about your aunt breaking your arm?”

“Yeah. She told my mom I fell down the stairs.” Tatum said “I could tell my mom didn’t believe it, but she didn’t know what to do.”

“That must have been so rough for you.” Pacey said, putting his arm around her.

As they approached the gate, they saw Carl standing there

“I don’t care whosent you.” he muttered “I’m not going back there.”

“Does he look familiar?” Tatum asked

“I think I saw him on ‘America’s Least Wanted’” Andie replied

“Tatum, I gotta ask you something.” Pacey said “How did you do it?”

“Do what?” Tatum asked as she handed her suitcase to the courier

“Turn out a normal, decent human being.” Pacey asked

Tatum shrugged “I guess I did it to spite them They expected me to turn into them. I just couldn’t give them the satisfaction.”

Pacey wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed her “Well, I gotta say I’m glad you didn’t.”

Tatum giggled as she wrapped her arms loosely around his neck “So am I.”

* * * *

Part 8 coming soon!

Copyright 1999 Femme Fatale Fanfic productions

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