Crossing the Line By: Tessa

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“Hey, did you guys hear about the football team?” Pacey asked

“If what you mean is did we hear that six members of the football team were caught making bets on last Friday’s game and got expelled from school, yes.” Tatum replied as she pulled her music book out of her locker

“Isn’t it great?” Pacey said

“Great?” Tatum repeated “Oh, Pacey. Don’t tell me those dictionaries in Mr. Peterson’s class fell off the shelf and clocked you on the head again. Don’t you think you should move to a different seat?”

“How could you possibly think this is great?” Andie asked “It makes the school look bad, among other things.”

“Maybe,” Pacey agreed “but with six of those guys out of the picture, there’ll be tryouts for replacements.”

“You’re not thinking of trying out, are you?” Tatum asked. Then she grabbed his arm “Oh, wait. Never mind. Yeah, I think you should go for it. Don’t you, Andie?”

Andie stared at Pacey for a moment “Oh, absolutly. He could do it.”

“Thanks for the confidence.” Pacey told them “But how do you guys know this stuff?”

Tatum rolled her eyes “Hello? I am only the head cheerleader.”

“And I am on the squad, too.” Andie added

“Yeah, we hang out with the football team all the time.” Tatum pointed out

“Oh, right.” Pacey said “Hey, wait a minute! Just what do you mean by that?”

* * * *

“So you’re really gonna go out for the football team?” Tatum asked as she and Pacey entered the library after lunch “I think it’s cool. I mean, I’m head cheerleader and all, and if you make the team you’ll have practice at the same time as us, so we’ll get to spend more time together.”

“That’s what I was thinking.” Pacey told her as he wrapped his arms around her and kissed her

“Pacey, stop it!” Tatum giggled, pushing him away “Not in front of everyone! C’mon, reference section. No one ever goes back there!” She pulled him over to reference section, where he pushed her against a bookshelf and kissed her passionately

“Satisfying that unquenchable thirst for knowledge again?” a voice interrupted Tatum turned around “Ok, no one ever goes back here except Andie.”

“What are you two doing back here?” Andie asked “No, wait don’t tell me. But, no, tell me!”

“Shove it!” Tatum giggled “Hey, either of you know what today’s date is?”

“December seventh, why?” Pacey said

Tatum’s smile faded “The seventh. That’s what I thought.”

Andie couldn’t help but notice the look on her friend’s face “What’s wrong with the seventh?”

Tatum put down the book she was looking at “Ok, you guys promise you will never breathe one word of this to anyone?”

“On pain of torture.” Pacey vowed

Andie nodded “Scout’s honor....except I’m not a scout...yeah, I promise.”

“Ok, well, have I told you guys about my cousin Daniel?” Tatum asked

“I think you’ve mentioned him once or twice.” Pacey said “But I don’t remember meeting him in California.”

Tatum nodded “That’s because he died last year.”

“How?” Andie asked

“Well,” Tatum explained “I was going on a hiking trip with my friends. And Daniel, who had always taken it upon himself to be my protective big brother figure, insisted on going with me to make sure I’d stay out of trouble.”

“Why do I not like where this is headed?” Andie said

“Because it’s not headed to a happy place.” Tatum told her “Daniel and I had this monster fight about this guy I liked who Daniel didn’t think was good enough for me. Of course, he never thought anyone was good enough for me. Anyway, after the fight he was so mad he went for a hike by himself to cool off. When he didn’t come back for a really long time, we got worried so a bunch of us split up and went to look for him.” she paused and closed hereyes.

“What happened?” Andie asked

Tatum sighed “I found him at the bottom of a cliff. Dead. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, because we’d had that huge fight, and I was the first one to find him, some people thought I’d killed him.”

“That’s ridiculous!” Pacey scoffed “Isn’t it?”

“Of course!” Tatum said “But, you know, people talk. And rumors get started. I mean, no one who’s opinion mattered ever thought I did it, otherwise I would’ve been arrested or something. But it was still awful. I could tell that Rita and Sarah always blamed me for his death. And all the kids in school would always whisper and point whenever I walked by, all ‘There she is, that’s her’ and blah blah blah. As if I wasn’t upset enough that he was dead and I had never gotten a chance to apologize.”

“That’s horrible.” Pacey said, putting his arm around her “I mean, it’s bad enough that you lost your cousin like that, but to have people whispering about you like that must have been so painful.”

Tatum nodded and wiped her eyes “In some ways I’ve never really gotten over it. Especially now, a year later.” she closed her eyes “You guys have to promise me you’ll never, ever say anything about this to anyone, ok?”

Pacey held her tighter “Never. I promise.”

“I would never do that to you.” Andie vowed “We all have secrets. Come on, let’s get to class.”

As soon as they were gone, Abby came out of her hiding place in the next aisle over “Wow.” she said to herself, smirking “I knew she was too perfect.”

* * * *

“Hey, you three!” Bessie said as Tatum, Pacey and Andie entered the Ice House later that afternoon “How was practice?”

“Exhausting.” Tatum moaned dramatically as she collapsed in a chair “And you’ll never guess what Pacey did.”


“He tried out for the football team!” Tatum said “Isn’t it exciting?”

“It’s not that big a deal.” Pacey said modestly

“Yeah it is.” Andie told him “I had no idea you could run that fast.”

Pacey shrugged “I just pretend I’m running away from a pop quiz.”

Tatum laughed “Well, I think you’ve got a good chance of making the team. I heard what the coach was saying about you.”

Abby walked in and sat down. She shot a strange look at Tatum as she walked by.

“What’s with her?” Andie wondered aloud

“Who knows and who cares?” Tatum giggled * * * *

“Everyone sure is in a weird mood today.” Joey observed

“They’re all looking at us funny.” Tatum whispered

“Correction, they’re looking at you funny.” Joey said

“Well whatever, it’s weird.” Tatum replied “It’s almost like last year in California.” she turned to Andie and Pacey

“No way.” Andie said, backing off “Tate, you know us, we wouldn’t tell anyone!”

“Calm down, McPhee.” Tatum said “I know you guys didn’t, but what if someone did?”

“Who else knows?” Pacey asked

“Just you guys and my sisters. And they didn’t tell anyone.”

“Damn right we didn’t!” Joey told her

“Joey, relax, I know that.” Tatum whispered “And please, all of you lower your voices! I think someone might have overheard us yesterday in thelibrary.”

“Hey, Tatum.”

Everyone turned around “What the hell do you want, Morgan?” Tatum asked

Abby shrugged “Oh, nothing. Just wanted to see if you’re ok. I know this is a really difficult time of the year for you.”

The color drained from Tatum’s face as she realized what Abby was talking about

“You know,” Abby continued “you really should find a better place to have those little meetings of yours.”

Tatum covered her mouth as her eyes filled with tears. She turned and ran down the hall towards the girl’s room. Andie shot Abby a disbelieving, hateful look before following Tatum.

“You bitch...” Joey hissed, gritting her teeth as she took a step toward Abby, her fists clenched tightly

“Don’t.” Pacey said, grabbing Joey’s arm “She’s not worth it.”

“How could you do this to her?” Joey yelled at Abby as Pacey dragged her away

Abby just smirked and walked away.

* * * *

“What are you doing home?” Bessie asked as Tatum ran through the door, sobbing hysterically. Tatum threw herself onto the couch, wailing and screaming

“Tate, what is it?” Bessie said as she sat down “What happened?”

“You don’t want to know.” Andie said as she and Pacey entered.

“Abby Morgan overheard her telling us about her cousin in the library and now the whole school knows.” Pacey explained

“They think I’m a murderer!” Tatum choked, her face buried in a pillow “They all think I killed Daniel!”

“No.” Pacey said softly as he sat down next to her “They don’t think that. They know you better than that.”

“Then why were they all staring at me like that?” Tatum asked

“Because Abby’s probably twisted the truth like the bitch that she is.” Andie muttered

“We’ll get her for this.” Pacey told Tatum “We’re not going to let her do this to you.”

Andie nodded “Oh, yeah, absolutly! We’ll talk to a guidance counselor or something, make sure she gets in all sorts of trouble for this.”

Tatum sat up and wiped her eyes “How does that change what she did to me? I can never go back to school! What happened last year is never going to go away! People are just going to look at me, and they’re going to know right away about everything!”

Pacey stood up and put his arm around her “Tate, no-”

“Yes!” Tatum interrupted as she ran towards the stairs “I can never go back there again! I just wish I was dead!”

Pacey sat down and looked at Bessie and Andie “What are we gonna do about this? Huh? We can’t just let her suffer.”

* * * *

“Tatum?” Pacey called, knocking on the door to her bedroom “Tate, honey, come on. Open the door.” he waited a moment “Tatum, I’m coming in.”

Tatum was sitting on her bed, tears streaming down her face. Her eyes were shut and she had the sharp point of a compass pressed against her wrist “Go away!” she sobbed “I don’t want you to see me like this!”

“Tate, put the compass down.” Pacey said calmly, taking a step forward

“Just leave me alone!” Tatum begged

“Tatum, please, just give me the compass.” Pacey insisted “You don’t really want to hurt yourself. I know you don’t.”

“How do you know?” Tatum wailed “I can’t take any more of this! Everyone was right. What happened to Daniel was my fault! If I hadn’t fought with him he’d still be alive. And I never even got a chance to say I was sorry. I can’t live with that!”

“This isn’t the way out. Do you really want to give Abby the satisfaction? Look at yourself. Two months ago, when you were in that coma, the doctors all said you would die.” Tatum was listening to him now, looking at him “But you pulled through. And what about your family?” Pacey continued “You could’ve grown up to be bitter and miserable like they wanted you to, but you couldn’t give them the satisfaction of turning you into them.”

Tatum closed her eyes for a moment, then opened them. The hand that was holding the compass trembled wildly

“Please, just put the compass down.” Pacey repeated “You don’t want to dothis.”

Tatum hesitated for a moment, then dropped the compass on the floor. She buried her face in her hands and sobbed as her knees buckled and shecollapsed.

Pacey caught her and held her tightly “It’s ok.” he whispered, kissing the top of her head “Everything’s going to be ok.”

“What’s going on?” Bessie asked as she and Andie entered the room

“It’s ok.” Pacey told them “I’ve got it under control.” * * * *

“Abby, we’d like a word with you.” Andie said firmly as she and Pacey pulled Abby into the empty English classroom

“What’s your problem, cuckoo bird?” Abby snapped “Shouldn’t you be at pep squad practice with Lizzie Borden?

“Shut up! Don’t you dare talk about Tatum that way!” Andie yelled as she pushed Abby against the wall “Why’d you do it? Huh? We’re giving you one chance to explain your actions before we go talk to the counselor about what you did.”

“I just did it for the safety of my classmates.” Abby said innocently “If they’re going to school with a psycho killer, they have a right to know. Besides, I knew Miss Pert ‘n’ Pretty was destined to have some small flaw. I just didn’t know it would be so interesting.”

Andie glared at her “What did Tatum ever do to you? It was bad enough when you humiliated me, telling the whole school about my mom and brother at the assembly like that. But what you did to Tatum is unimaginable. She is at home right now, crying her heart out over what you did to her. She almost fucking slit her wrists last night because of you! Do you want that on yourconscience?”

Abby just shrugged “Why should I care?”

Pacey took Andie’s arm “Come on, let’s not waste any more of our time.” he glared at Abby “What kind of cold, heartless bitch are you? How can you do something like this to an innocent girl who never hurt anyone in her life, and not feel the least bit remorseful? You make me ill.”

“It figures!” Abby called after them “ I guess you head cases all stick together. And another thing, it’s not my fault the little ho’s emotionally unbalanced! I hear a lot of murderers are.”

“That’s it!” Andie practically screamed as she turned around “You are dead!” she punched Abby in the face “You are fucking dead!” she punched her again, then again. Abby made an attempt to fight back, but Andie pinned her wrist down and punched her in the nose one more time before Pacey dragged her away.

“Stop it!” he said “She’s not worth it.” Andie stared at Abby, who was sitting on the floor, wiping blood from her nose “I never understood how you could take pleasure from seeing another person in pain.” she said softly “Until now.” she turned and walked away, leaving Abby on the floor

“Where did you learn to punch like that?” Pacey asked as he followed Andie out of the room

* * * *

“So you’re not really in any trouble?” Tatum asked as she and Andie entered the school the next day

“For pummeling Abby? No, not really.” Andie replied “The counselor said that since this is the first time anything like this happened to me, and he agreed Abby kinda had it coming, I don’t get suspended and it doesn’t go on my permanent record.”

“Well, I’m glad.” Tatum said “I mean, I really appreciate that you would risk getting in some serious deep shit for me, but I’m glad you didn’t get in trouble.”

Before Andie could answer, Pacey ran up to Tatum wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed her. A moment later, he released a stunned Tatum and hugged Andie

“Pacey!” Andie yelled “If you kiss me, I’m gonna kick you square in the beanbag! That clear?”

“What has gotten into you?” Tatum giggled as she gasped for air

“I made the football team!” Pacey said, picking Tatum up and spinning heraround

“No way!” Andie shrieked “What position?”

“Ladies, you are looking at the new Capeside High quarterback!”

“No!” Tatum squealed “Pacey, that’s so incredible! I knew you could do it!” “Yeah, congrats!” Andie said. She noticed Abby across the hall “Could you guys wait here just a sec?”

“What do you want?” Abby asked when she saw Andie approaching her

“Well, I realize that my earlier attempt to figure out why you would do something like this wasn’t all that sucessful,” Andie explained “but now I’ve decided that I really don’t want to know. Besides, at least I know that for every person like you in the world, there’s at least ten people like Tatum.”

“Nice bruises, Sweetie.” Tatum said as walked over to them, her voice dripping with sarcasm “Yo, McPhee, we gotta motorvate if we’re gonna make it to first period.”

“Sorry I mangled your face.” Andie muttered in an equally sarcastic tone as they walked away.

* * * *

Part 10 coming pretty soon! Copyright 1999 Femme Fatale Fanfic (FFFF) productions

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