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Joey slowly opened one of her eyes. The bright morning light shun through the curtains. Damn sun, she thought. She had cried most of the lonely night. Pacey had come in to check on her, but she had told him angrily to leave her alone. How could she face him when she felt like the one person in the world she loved didn't want her. Rejected once again, she thought. After shoving Pacey out the door, she had snuggled under the covers, brought her knees up to her chest, hugged her pillow, and cried into it most of the night until sleep over took her. She squinted at the alarm. It read nine forty-three am. She rubbed her eyes and then took the covers off of herself. As she walked to the door she suddenly stopped when she noticed her reflection in the bureau mirror. Her eyes were blood shot and her hair looked like it had been caught in a twister. If only… she thought. Oh well, nothing I can do about it now so I shouldn't beat myself up, but if we had only….
She went to fix herself up and the then suddenly stopped once again. This time it wasn't her reflection that caught her attention. Her eyes followed back to the picture on the nightstand. She picked up the framed photo and grazed her fingers over his face. Don't' cry, she willed herself, you can't cry. It was that night on the beach, that felt like eternities ago, but was only a couple of months into the past. The night that changed it all.
Their life, their close circle of friends, and everything and anything that mattered had changed after that evening. She would have never guessed this was the way things would turn out. This was the beginning of everything else. Joey thought back to the moment the picture was taken.
"Let's get a picture. I wanna remember the way you look right now forever," he said. "It's a Kodak moment.'
From the moment he had picked her up that morning, he couldn't stop thinking how breath taking she looked. She was always beautiful in his eyes, but today at that moment she couldn't have been real. She was wearing a blue, ankle length, spaghetti strap sundress with yellow tulips over it. Her hair was swept back in a loose French braid and she was wearing the most amazing shade of red lipstick he had ever seen. Even more perfect was that it was their anniversary. He couldn't keep his eyes off of her. I must be dreaming, he thought, this has to be a dream. My life is perfect. It was until a couple of days later.
"Well, hurry up before my soft spot for that cheese diminishes," she replied grinning. He got some poor guy walking by to take the picture as they posed on the rocks overlooking the ocean.
"Here you go," he said handing them back the camera. "How long have you two been newlyweds?"
"For fifty years," Dawson answered looking into Joey's eyes. She remembered the wedding. He knew he'd made the right choice.
"Okay then," the man said giving them a funny look. "Must be the miracles of plastic surgery."
Only two and half months ago, she reminded herself. So much had changed since then. Why can't we just be little kids again, she thought. She clueless and naive without a problem in the world. Crime, heartbreak, and any imperfections didn't exist. Everything used to be so sugar coated, but that didn't last because here she was facing the hard, cold truth. All her life the world seemed to be against her. She managed to stand up straight and fight it back with all she had. That was until know. How could she be strong, let alone fight back, when she was fainting at school? Don't be in such a hurry to grow up, she remembered telling Dina. I wish I'd taken my own advice, she thought.
She went into the kitchen and poured herself a cup of orange juice. The house was eerie quiet and she was positive that Dawson had not returned yet. Can I blame him, she thought? He had every right to walk out on me. I kept secrets from him longer than I should have and that were too big to hide, even with the accident. What if he never comes back, she thought wandering? What if doesn't want to keep the baby? What if he doesn't want to try? Give us a try, give our family a try, give remembering a try. Calm down Joey, she told herself. He'll be back, but nothing in life was certain anymore. If it were would she be here pregnant and alone?
She sat down at the kitchen table and drank her juice. Looking around the room she realized that the Leerys' house had become home to her as much as her own bed was home. She'd spent holidays and celebrations here. She played and slept here. This was the first place she went when she found out her mother had died. Straight to the Leerys' and into Dawson's arms.
"Straight to Dawson," she said quietly to herself, "like always. The great wizard of oz." Someone opening the door that lead from the living room to the kitchen snapped her out of her thoughts.
"Morning," Jen said entering. She put some bread into the toaster.
"No, thanks," Joey replied kindly. "What are still doing here?"
"We're your friends. Where else would we possibly be right now?" she answered putting the toast on a plate and sitting down across from Joey. "We all camped out in the living room."
"Pacey told you everything? Oh, well…."
"Yes and we want to help. We want to be there and I think we're all a little saddened that you two kept this a secret from us. That you felt you couldn't confide in us. Plus, I've been there. I can help you if you let me."
"Been there? Don't tell me you have an unlegitimate child somewhere," Joey said smiling.
"I miscarried," she replied solemnly. Joey's face immediately fell.
"Long time ago back in New York, but I know all the feelings your going through right now. I was there. The feeling in the beginning of disbelief and utter disappointment in yourself. Feeling like all your dreams have been tarnished. Then the realization that you're carrying another life and this content joy overcomes you. And just when everything seems to have calmed and you feel like this is just a plus, something happens to test the waters. Is that how you feel?"
"Yes," she said quietly looking down at her cup. "So which feeling wins out?"
"That's your decision to make, but you forget you're not alone in this. I was young and alone and I couldn't go either way. You still have Dawson."
"He doesn't even remember anything, Jen! And where is he right now when I need him?" she exclaimed. "Who knows where he is."
"This is Dawson, Joey. He'll come back. He can never stay away from you too long, not even if he doesn't know you," she said reassuringly. "He's kinda like a stray dog looking for his master. They always lead with their nose, where as Dawson leads with his heart, which will bring him right back here to you."
"I hope you're right," she said. "Thanks. I seem to be saying that a lot lately."
"You're welcome and it's not such an awful thing to say thank you for letting someone help you," she said putting her plate in the sink. "Want me to come with you? To the doctor's appointment, I mean. I've always wanted to see one of those sonograms things."
"Sure," she replied smiling, "but it's not all cracked up to be what it is. Just looks like one of those hurricane watch things."
"Let me just go get my jacket," Jen said walking out, "and Pacey. He's godfather isn't he?" Joey looked at her wide-eyed. How could she possibly know, she thought, unless Pacey…. "Don't worry. I figured it out myself and I won't tell a soul, but we're gonna have a looong talk about this later."
Joey smiled a look of relief. Jen and her hadn't been the closest of friends, but that year they'd all become closer. Even still Joey still felt a gap between Jen and herself even with their close family. But now she felt like maybe Jen could be the one person who understood her and who she could confide in. She needed a girl friend right now. Why not put down her barriers and let her in? Why not tell her everything she was feeling and what had happened in the last couple of months? She couldn't hold it all in any longer, that she knew for sure.
"You might not want to let Andie know where we're going. She might get all maternal," Joey yelled after Jen smiling. "Always the early bird."
"I'll give you a minute alone with your friends, Joey," Dr. Shapiro said. "My husband told me about your fainting. Take care of yourself."
"Your husband?" Joey asked confused from the bed.
"Dr. Friend at the ER," she stated. "That's my husband. Guess you can see now why I kept my maiden name." Joey and Pacey smiled as the doctor left the room.
"Whatever, leave me in the dark," Jen said. She walked over to the monitor, which showed a blurry picture of a baby. The same one that's inside Joey's stomach, Jen thought mesmerized. She looked at it wide-eyed with tears brimming in her eyes. Then she lifted her hand up to where the baby's face was. "Oh, wow."
"And I thought Andie was emotional," Pacey said looking over at Jen.
"What's with her?"
"Umm, Jen, I think your getting more emotional than Dawson did, especially at someone else's baby," Joey said looking over worriedly.
"Oh, I'm sorry, it's just," Jen replied, "well that's inside you. A whole other being."
"Yeah, I kinda figured that when I gained an extra fifteen pounds," said Joey. "Baggy sweaters do just not cut it these days."
"I don't get why you guys had to drag me here anyway," Pacey said looking at some instruments. "This stuff is weird."
"You're being real mature, Pacey," Jen said smirking. "What are you gonna do when she goes into labor?"
"Why would I be there in the first place?" Pacey asked. "She has Dawson for that."
"Can you guy stop talking about me like I'm not here or something," Joey tried to say politely.
"Then why'd you promise her?" Jen asked. "If you're so dependent on the fact that Dawson will return, and that's the only reason you promised, you don't deserve god-father honors."
"How does she know?" Pacey asked Joey. He was worried, very worried. If Andie finds out, he thought, what will she think? He still loved her very much, but things never quite got back to the way they were. They were just waiting for the right time, he told her once, but the right time never seemed to be the same time for both.
"Don't look at me," Joey said defensively. "She figured it our herself."
"I have my sources," Jen replied. "Your secret is safe with me though. Just tell me you didn't just promise because your hoping you won't have to. Despite our past and what you may think, I have Joey's best interest at heart too." She stood sternly expecting an answer.
Joey wiped away a tear that had formed. She hated this. It was like everyone was right there, but she couldn't touch him or her. The yelling, the accusations. It was too much. And the hard, cold truth. What would Pacey say? It felt like hours before he answered. Silence so clear a pen could be heard falling down the hall. The looks of anticipation and fear on all their faces. And then it came out.
"I didn't," Pacey said quietly. "I did it for reasons I can't even explain."
The room was quiet for what seemed like years. Then they were all snapped out of their thoughts.
"Please," someone yelled down the hallway. "Just let me see her."
"Did you guys hear that?" Pacey asked going to the door.
"It sounded like," Jen was interrupted by Joey, "Dawson."
An assistant blocked the doorway as Dawson stood in front of her trying to get inside the room. "Patients only, sir," she said. "You have to go back to the waiting area."
"Look," Dawson said, "would you just ask her. She'll tell you I'm the father." The assistant turned around and looked at Joey. Dawson looked at her eagerly. This was the moment of truth. She could do to him like he did to her. She could let him down or she could let him inside. She answered, "He is."
"Finally," he said as the woman stepped aside and let him in. "Oh, Joey, I'm so sorry."
"Come on, Pacey," Jen said. "Let's leave the lovebirds alone."
"Ah, man," he replied. "I wanted to stay for the show. This is better than Felicity and Melrose Place mixed together. We got over-analyzing, romance, deceit, pregnancy, and amnesia all in one. All that's missing is some action. Blockbuster and sexual." Joey and Dawson exchanged glances.
"Okay, Pacey, I think you've done enough verbalizing for one day," Jen said dragging him out of the room by his arm. "We'll see you at home."
Dawson waited until Jen and Pacey had left the room until he turned around to face Joey. She could see he was as distressed as she was. She couldn't stand to see the pain in his eyes. It was as if a shock of lightening had pierced his eyes. And his heart too. She could feel her own eyes expressing the same pain and hurt. Why did they have to hurt each other so badly? The past months had taught her that they had to be more careful with each other's hearts. They were fragile, emotional, and vulnerable. One could cancel out the other easily. He took her hand gently into his own.
"How'd you find me?" she asked.
"Pacey," he answered simply. "I stopped by early in the morning and we talked. He told me you'd be here and that if I didn't come I was a fool."
"I'm glad you aren't a fool," she said slightly smiling.
"I was though," he replied. "I'm sorry, Joey, for everything. I have a chance at something great here and I almost ruined it."
"I'm sorry, too," she said. "We were both foolish, but don't say that unless you mean it."
"But I do mean it," he replied. "More than I ever thought I would."
"Are you sure because this is a big responsibility? This is commitment. I mean this is big, it so overwhelming there's no words to describe it. I have to stoop to "big" for goodness sakes."
"I'm sure, Jo," he said grasping her hand tighter and leaning toward her.
"Listen to me."
"I don't want you to feel obligated, Dawson," she said shaking her head. "You just lost your memory and now to all of sudden to be given the added pressures of a baby and a live in girlfriend you barely remember…. It's just unfair of me to expect you to welcome us with open arms."
"Listen. Listen closely, Jo. I want this. I want you. I want…," he trailed off.
"Lilly," she stated. "Lilly May Leery. After my mother. Her name was Lillian." She pointed to the monitor. He turned his head in the direction of where she was pointing. Then he saw it. His daughter. He walked over slowly. As he looked at the screen his eyes filled with tears. He could make this work, he knew he could.
"Somehow I feel like I know that already," he said quietly. "That your mother's name is Lillian."
"Maybe you're remembering," Joey said excitedly. He smiled at her enthusiastic face. They were interrupted by a knock at the door.
"How are we doing?" Dr. Shapiro asked coming in. "Hello, Dawson."
"Hi," he replied. "Do you think we could have a few more minutes? I'm trying to make up for lost time."
"Sure," she replied smiling at him. "Just call me when you're done. Try the headphones before you leave."
As the doctor left Dawson looked at Joey. It was like he was asking for permission to have candy before dinner. She nodded and he put the headphones on. He could hear it. It was the purest sound known to man. Almost angelic like the ringing of church bells. The pure beats of a heart of an innocent baby. The room was silent as he listened to the other life on the other end of the headphones. After a couple of minutes he took off the headphones and looked at Joey. He just looked at her with his piercing eyes. She looked back at him anxiously. What, she thought. The suspense was killing her.
"Come to think of it," he said, "maybe Pacey told me and that's why I feel like I know." He grinned and the realization came to her. She broke out into a wide grin. She hadn't smiled like that in weeks. It felt good, almost like it was knew art form.
"You ass," she exclaimed laughing. "Got me all excited for nothing." He let out a big laugh as she threw the pillow at him. He nearly dodged the pillow when he stumbled on a wire and came inches from Joey's face. She could feel his warm breath and smell his scent. She could almost taste his lips.
The torture, she thought, it's inhuman. How long can I go without even a kiss? But it was too late. He rose up and wandered around the room nervously.
"Dawson," she said. "Stop, your making me nervous."
"We can get it back, right?" he asked fidgeting. "Whatever it is we had, we'll get it back."
"Honestly, I don't know," she replied. She followed his movements around the room. "Dawson, if your not sure. If you have the slightest doubt, just tell me because I can't take you walking out again. I need to know now if I'm going to be doing this alone."
"No," he said coming over to her. He took a moment and looked at her face then he kissed her. "Never, I promise."
"Good to hear," she said still shaken form the kiss.
"We'll never be the old Dawson and Joey, but we can be new and improved," he said sitting on a chair besides her holding her hand in his. "I have this strong feeling towards you and whims aren't real reliable, but I just know this feeling won't let me down. I just need you to trust it with me. And there's a whole past I can't remember, but I just know you will somehow trigger it. I want you to remind me. To tell me everything."
"Everything is a lot," she said. "Sure you can take the melodrama 'cause our life together, your life, my life, everyone's life was like some Aaron Spelling show."
"Dynasty isn't that bad," he replied smiling. "And I'll learn to love you and our life despite the soap."
Joey and Dawson walked down the street hand in hand. It was the most beautiful day that matched their spirits. Somewhere a bird was chirping and children were playing. Joey could hear them the sounds coming closer as they walked down the street. As they neared a house with a picket white fence, Joey saw a little girl, three years old at the most, playing in the yard with her mother and father. She thought back to when she was little and her mother would play with her in the yard. Of course her father was never in that picture. Then she thought forward to the future. Dawson noticed her far off distant look in her eyes as they passed the house.
"You okay?" he asked kindly.
"Just thinking that could be us a few years," she replied smiling her famous half smile. Then he heard it. It was back. The voice and it was louder and clearer than ever. He kept walking as if nothing was happening. Joey would probably think I'm crazy anyway, he thought.
"It is in the grasp of your hand," it said. "Soon."
"I know," he whispered to himself looking down at his hand intertwined with Joey's. "I know."
Then something happened. It was like something had gone through him. He felt himself stop in the middle of the crosswalk. He froze as a light flashed before his closed eyelids. He felt Joey's arm grasp his and then her shake him, but he couldn't stop what was happening. An image of a woman appeared in his head. She was wearing a blue dress with some kind of print on it. He couldn't really tell what it was since she was far off into the distance. He recognized the setting as a beach. She lifted the bottom part of her dress and ran through the water freely smiling. She blew him a kiss and then ran out of the water towards him. Joey, he thought. I'm having a vision of my past. But before he could make sense of the scene it was gone.
Coming Soon: What is this voice? What will become of Dawson's vision? Will Dawson and Joey ever get back what they had? Will this baby ever be born?
Author's Note: Thanks to all the people who wrote in after reading this series at Dishthis.com and all the people who have been with me since the beginning. And as selfish as this sounds, I want more feedback!
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