Joey brushed a damp strand of hair from her cheek and twisted it behind her ear. She looked at her watch. It was 6pm. She sighed and put down the tape measure. It had been a long day, one of many. Her back ached from the lifting and pushing. All she wanted to do now was get home, fill up the bathtub with warm water and just soak away her sores.
Joey and Bessie, and a few other hired helping hands, including Mr. Leery, who refused to be paid, had been helping in the rebuilding of the Icehouse which burned a few months prior. The two sisters had waited anxiously for the insurance money to come in, and fortunately it had, sooner than anticipated, which was a blessing.
Joey's eyes lingered across the Icehouse. Things were looking up, finally. It wasn't covered in ashes with a few stray ends standing anymore. The outer exterior was now finished. It was painted a sea blue, and had white borders around the windows. All that was left was setting down the floor, getting tables and chairs, and stocking the inventory. All of which would be done in a few more weeks hopefully.
Joey walked over to the back of the restaurant to the kitchen. She smiled and saw Bessie, dressed in overalls, her hair tied up in a bandana, hammering away. She was putting in the counters for food preparation. Joey was proud of her older sister more than she would let on.
Bessie had overcome incredible odds in the past few years and grew up quickly, started with the death of their mother. And since Bodie left to become a chef on cruise ship the past winter, she was now managing everything from raising her one-year old son, Alexander and her stubborn younger sister Joey, to supervising the Icehouse, and not to mention the cooking and cleaning at the house. She was a wonder.
Bessie insisted at the startup everything at the Icehouse look the same as it had before, with no fancy changes. Fancy changes which she had willingly embraced when their father was released from prison at the beginning of the summer. But that all changed, when he went back to his drug-trafficing ways and the Icehouse was set a blaze by his enemies, putting everyone in danger. She wanted everything they had worked so hard for, and she would work her hardest to get it back.
"Hey, Bessie," Joey raised her voice a bit so she could be overheard by the hammer.
Bessie stopped her work and looked at her sister. "What do you need, kid?"
"I'm beat." Joey rubbed the back of her neck. "I'm heading home okay?"
"Go ahead." Bessie replied with a smile. "I'll be home in another hour. Thanks for the help."
Joey returned with a hug. "You're welcome. See ya."
Joey reached for her jacket and slid it on. She did alot of work that day and was proud of herself. She stood there for a moment and looked at everything that was accomplished. Her heart swelled. Things were going to turn around, she could feel it.
She stuffed her hands in her jean pockets and walked along the bridge to the edge where her rowboat lay bobing up and down with the waves. She smelled the ocean air and sighed with contentment. It was a beautiful night, the stars were out. Joey stepped into her boat and took up the oars.
Finally she reached the inlet and made her way around the docks of different houses on the way to her own. She was growing tired by now....her arms ached from the work today, and it was aggravated by even her simple everyday rowing. This house she usually just rowed by without thought anymore. It made her heart ache to even look at it. But tonight...she wanted to, needed to.
Her lips trembled as her eyes fell on it. It was still the same. She didn't know what she was expecting to see different about the house. White siding...black shudders, the porch still there with the comfortable padded deck chairs...and. Joey's eyes widened slightly...the ladder. The ladder was still there leaning against the side of the house near his window. She thought for sure Dawson would have taken it down...after what happened. She thought that would be the final ending to their relationship.
(Capeside High School, the day after the burning of the icehouse)
Joey fumbled through her locker, cleaning it out. Today was the last day of school, finals were finished. The school was pretty much deserted. All that was left to do, was clean out her locker before she left. She wanted nothing more than to hide from the stares and whispers that she encountered throughout the day. She knew what they were whispering, *Mr. Potter dealing again...how typical*, or *Joey Potter is nothing but poor lonely trash...she'll never be anything better*. She was so tired...practically angry at all of the sympathy she received from Jack, Pacey, and Jen. They meant well and were only showing concern, but she none of it. Her life was public knowledge now and she couldn't do it anymore. She went through it once before years past and that had been enough.
Joey grabbed the useless papers from her locker and dumped them in the waste basket at the end of the hallway. As she walked back, she spotted Dawson. He was at his locker, located a few down from hers. She was grateful he hadn't seen her. She had been successful in hiding herself from him all day...even with the classes they had together, she remained stone cold and avoided him.She began to rip off the stickers and nameless things stuck on the inside of the door. She quickly stuffed the picture of her and Dawson at the homecoming dance into her backpack. She shut the door, picked up her backpack.
Joey turned around and steps were frozen. Dawson stood in front of her.
"Excuse me," she mumbled, walking around him.
"Joey!" he yelled. "What a second! We need to talk."
Joey walked down the stairs speeding up a bit. She didn't want to talk, especially not to Dawson. He was, after all, the reason her life was a mess right now. She could feel the anger blowing up inside her. She wanted to scream. She reached the doorway and opened it and walked outside.
A few seconds later, Dawson pushed open the door. He spotted Joey, walking quickly down past the campus and turning the corner. Slugging his backpack over his shoulder, he ran in the opposite direction.
Joey turned around for a second. She let out a sigh of relief. He wasn't there. Now to just get home as quickly as possible.
She turned back...froze up. There he was again. His eyes intensely boring into hers. He wasn't going to let this up easily.
"Dawson, for god's sakes, leave me alone!" She spat at him.
"No, we are going to talk right now." Dawson answered firmly pointing to a bench a few feet away.
Joey shook her head stubbornly. "I think not, Peter Pan. You may want to somehow analyze what happened yesterday, but I don't. I meant what I said, Dawson. We are finished."
"Fine, we won't sit down." Dawson pointed a finger at her. "But, we aren't finished..not by a long shot, Jo. You know that just as much as I do."
"OOOH yes we are," she said stepping away from him. "I thought I knew you....dammit I trusted you. I trusted you with everything I ever had...all my secrets..all my hopes and dreams, and you smashed them...I can't."
"Joey, what happened to your father was his own doing." Dawson interrupted. "No one was forcing him to traffic drugs again. He knew it was wrong...I..."
"God, you really don't get it, do you, Dawson? I can't believe this," she scoffed, sarcasm dripping from her words. "This isn't about my father. I already hate that you did that to him. This is about us, okay. You and I."
"Fine, then about us, Jo. I want to understand, tell me."
Joey could feel herself losing it, if she didn't get away soon. "We are done...officially. Can you hear me, Dawson?" She yelled spacing each word to intensify the meaning. "I....DON'T...WANT...TO...KNOW...YOU ANYMORE! I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN!"
Joey was immediately blown away by her own words. She was amazed and scared of it. And what was that ache in her heart....regret??? She looked at Dawson, and saw what the full meaning of her words did to him.
His eyes...the one window to his heart...his soul showed it all. Eyes that had once showed such love and tenderness to her, to his movie-making, was gone. Any emotion was masked quickly. His face paled. She could see the change right before her eyes...it sent chills up her spine.
Dawson swallowed hard, this was last of it. It was finally over for them. He felt tired and old beyond his sixteen years.
"Walking away from you is something I promised myself I would never do." He started, his voice wavering. "Despite the way things had been for us, the problems we had, I always believed in us and that things would work out. We were special, we had something that most people never find in their entire lives...their other halves...their match." Dawson stared through her now, eyes like cold steel. "But I see now that you and I can't exist like this anymore. It's not fair to either of us..."
"Dawson...." Joey interrupted. This was scaring her.
"No, let me finish." Dawson stopped her. "You can hate me as long you want...you can banish me from your memory...forget us...forget our friendship. I want to hate you, Jo, but I can't. I've pushed enough and begged enough for you...and I'm done. Good bye."
Joey stood there, speechless....she could offer no words to stop him. She wanted to stop him...but..then what? Nothing.
Joey turned in the other direction and walked away. Both lives changed forever.
Joey's eyes glued to his house, as the little rowboat drifted carelessly past it. Tears fell down her cheeks, her eyes swollen. She rubbed them away. Whimpering softly, she took up the oars again and rowed away.
Okay people, what do you think? I haven't written in ages so I totally apologize :) :) I'm hoping you enjoyed it. Please send feedback to me, if you have a second to e-mail feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks very much for reading it.
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