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~ "Perfect" By Smashing Pumpkins ~
She was a sweet and caring old lady who had lived alone in the house next door since her husband died ten years ago. In the time Joey had lived next to her she had become a grandmother to her. Every word the lady spoke was out of love and experience and always honest. Numerous times Joey had run to her for advice. She couldn't go wrong when she listened to her. She was old and aging, but life seemed to glow out of her. Her gray hair was up in a bun and she was wearing a simple housedress. Joey slowly approached her front gate.
"Good afternoon, Mrs. Milne," Joey said stepping inside the gate. "How are you?"
"I'm fine, dear," she replied. "And yourself? You're home awfully early."
"I'm…," Joey searched for the words, "tired. I thought I'd come home early and get some rest before Adam came home. I have a big premiere to cover this evening."
"How are you and Adam? You two seem…distant."
"Distant we are. Everything is so…I'm so…confused."
"Would it have anything to do with that Donald fellow?"
"Dawson," she said smiling. "Dawson Leery. He's a very famous director."
"Never heard of him."
"No, I suppose you haven't. I have all his movies on video. We'll have to watch them some time."
"I'd like that," she said nodding her head. "Have you not let go of him? Dawson, that is."
"I don't think I ever will. I've tried all my life to separate myself from him, but look at me. Even now, my job is because of him. I wouldn't be a journalist if it weren't because of him. Everyday I'm reminded that he's made my decisions no matter how hard I try not to let him."
"Is that such a bad thing? I've seen you, Josephine, and you love your job. You enjoy it to the utmost."
"I do, but don't you see it? He rules over me and knows every square inch of me even across thousands of miles."
"And that is why you chose Adam. He does not know you and you do not know him. He is your escape. But, now…"
"I find myself wanting him to know me," she finished. "Wanting the connection. I love him, but there's big hole and we're both walking along the edge pretending it doesn't exist, but soon we're gonna fall."
"Josephine, I love you, and I love Adam, but you must be happy first in your life. If Adam is not making you happy, you're in the wrong relationship."
"How do I know what will make me happy?"
"You can do no wrong if you follow your heart, my dear. If it is Dawson, then let be. If it is not, then find him whoever it may be."
"Has the mail come?" she asked abruptly.
"I don't know. I came out here a couple of hours ago to watch the evening come and enjoy my lemonade. I suppose it has. Are we expecting a letter from a certain young gentleman?"
"We are," she said quietly bending down besides a bush. "These are beautiful roses."
"They are. Took me quite a while to get them just perfect. Would this letter be the key to happiness?"
"No, it's not…romantic. It's friendship I want."
"I suppose you will have to rebuild that first. Then he will come and sweep you off your feet."
"Yellow roses," she stated simply sniffing their scent. "For occasions of despair and sadness."
"Oh, Josephine, whatever it is you are looking for from him, he'd be a fool not to give it to you. Don't be saddened."
"Easier said than done," she said standing up and straightening her suit. "I should be going. Thank you for your words, Mrs. Milne."
"Your always welcome," she replied. "Goodbye, dear."
Joey walked back to the house and stopped at the mailbox. She stood nervously fidgeting. This box was it. What she had been waiting for the past three days would either be there or not. She fished out the mail key from her purse as she held her car keys with her teeth. Just as she opened the mailbox, her cell phone began to ring. Shoving both sets of keys into her purse, she took out her cell phone.
"Josephine Leery," she answered on the third ring. She listened to the person on the other line as she took out the envelopes and various junk mail from the box. "I need this lead. We have no story without it. Get him on the line and beg if you have to."
She walked down the pebble pathway to the front door. She took out her house keys and opened the locks. Adam wouldn't be him till two hours later. The house was quiet as she stepped inside, dropping her purse and briefcase on a nearby table. It was furnished with homely furniture. Everytime she walked in she felt like she had stepped into the wrong house, though. Nothing felt familiar or like home to her.
"I have to go," she said, "but you can say bye-bye without this lead." She hung up the phone and placed it inside her purse. She took the mail and began to flip through it.
"Junk, bill, bill, publisher's clearing house," she read dropping them on the floor behind her leaving a trail. She took off one of her high-heeled stilettos and threw it on the couch aimlessly as she continued to flip through the envelopes. She wobbled into the kitchen and turned on the kettle.
Tea, calming and soothing, she thought. Just what she needed right now. She felt like a bundle of nerves. It was almost like she was back in high school again. All the emotions, hormones, and…Dawson. High school would not be that without Dawson for her. She took off her other shoe and left it on the tiled kitchen floor. He cell phone began to ring as she noticed the last envelope. It was addressed from Dawson Leery.
"Sorry, Joey's not in right now," she said answering the call. "Please leave a message at the beep. Beeeep."
She hung up the phone and looked at the letter closely for a minute. She starred at it like it might come to life. Like a bolt of lightening she ran into the bedroom. She looked at the letter again and then locked the door behind her. She didn't need Adam walking in asking what was she doing with a letter from Dawson Leery of Hollywood fame. He didn't even know about Dawson. He had written to her. He had actually answered her desperate letter. She sat crossed legged on the bed nervously anticipating his answer. This is it, she thought, it's now or never. She ripped the envelope open and began to read.
Have you ever had one of those moments when the world seems to stop, and not because you've suddenly realized you're in love? You're standing frozen and you can feel your feet beneath you making permanent prints in the floor. All your surroundings seem to fade and it's like your middle of an empty white room with nothingness. Then all of a sudden there's a burst of rainbow colors enveloping the room. You smile and think my life is coming together. Everything is fitting right in place like a jigsaw puzzle. Everything will come together in time they say, and it does. And there you are realizing it has in a frozen moment.
That's what it felt like when I got your letter. I thought this could be it. Joey and me again, life will be perfect. The reunion has the world has been waiting for. The last piece of the puzzle, but I'm not so sure I want to include it. Maybe I should just leave a space; a void. So much hurt and wrong has been done. I know feeling lost and confused is no excuse for what I did. I know it's not acceptable just because we were having problems. But in some ways I feel you have hurt me more. When you wouldn't forgive me, give us a chance to start over, it translated into one thing and one thing only in my mind. You didn't care enough for me and us to give it another try. You didn't care enough to take the time and energy to figure out where we went wrong. You just threw everything we had away, even though it had been so precious at one time to the both of us. The relationship obviously meant more to me than you because I wanted to work out our problems. I knew what I did was wrong, and I wanted to work past it. But you, you said goodbye forever.
Everytime a reporter asks me whom I'm dating and I want to say, "Joey Potter. She's a goddess I met in a fantasy land." In some ways it was a fantasyland and you don't really exist. I haven't heard from you in so many years that it's like you have become a figment of my imagination. Something I created in one of my movies. Truly out of fantasy. But I can't and I don't say what my heart feels. And then I remember what you said to me, "It's so ironic to be saying this again, but you know what Dawson, this time I mean it. I never want to know you." I'll never forget those words. They are the hidden forces behind my every scar. I've never had a real relationship since then, but you have obviously gotten over it and what you said to me. Pacey told me whenever Joey Potter says, "I never want to know you," it means I'll see you in a while. I guess he's right because here you are writing to me. And I'm writing to you, answering your call for a friend only because I miss you and I can't say no. I can never say no to you, Joey. It's the worst possible fate.
To be so hurt by somebody and yet not be able to resist them. I hate it, you know. Ever since we were teenagers it's been yes Joey this and I'll comfort that. You could ask me to give you away and I'd probably say yes.
This is sooo "My Best Friend's Wedding." God Jo, I can't believe you're getting married. Who is this guy? My replacement must be top of the notch male quality. If you can't tell him your past, then you're not in the right relationship. Honestly, I don't think what you've done is hidden your history from him because you're ashamed or you are afraid of what he'll say. I know you, Joey, too well. Just like with Jack, you went for somebody you didn't know. And you succeeded because even now you've shared nothing with him and are practically still on the first date getting married. Sharing pasts leads to deeper connections and more chance for hurt. You don't let him get too close to you and you don't let yourself get too close too him. And now you are marrying somebody who you love, but don't know. Basically, an empty relationship fueled by lust mistaken for love. Jo, what are you doing?
In answer to your question if we can be friends, I can only say yes. I'd rather have you as my best friend than nothing at all if I can't have you as my girlfriend. I'll hold your hand. Don't worry about holding mine, as I can see, you are the truly lost one, my poor Joey.
She looked at the letter. There were blotches where her tears had fallen. They were the exact same words Mrs. Milne had spoken to her. How could he know her like that after not seeing her or speaking to her for practically five years? Why did he have to know her so well? More importantly, why did he have to be right? She was lost. I have no clue what the hell I'm doing, she thought. She heard some rattle outside the door. Adam was home and hard at work at something. She heard a pot crash to the floor. Getting up she wiped the tearstains that had dried on her face. She placed the letter in her drawer by the bed. It was her drawer and hers only. The letter would be safe there. She slowly walked to the door and unlocked it to find Adam preparing dinner.
"Hey," he said noticing her standing in the doorway. "I made food, edible food."
"I'm allergic to shrimp," she said sadly looking at the food setup on the dinner plates. Adam didn't say anything. "Plus, I have a premiere tonight. I told you."
"We'll skip the shrimp. I'll make spaghetti and then straight to desert. You'll have pleanty of time left over to get ready for the premiere."
"The dress is at Jen's. I have to leave early to go get it and get set."
"Oh," he stated simply with a hint of despair in his voice. "What's wrong?"
"You just notice that something's wrong?" she said a bit angrily.
"What do you mean? Joey…," he said taking her arm.
"Look at us," she said pulling her arm from him. "You don't even now that I'm allergic to shrimp."
"Is that was this is about? Joey, this is ridiculous," he said laughing.
"Not just that, Adam. Do you know anything about my past? Do you know my friends and family?"
"Of course I do. You grew up in Capeside. Your mother died. Your dad's not around. I met Bessie, Pacey, and Jen."
"My dad is in jail, Adam. You only met Bessie, not because I took you home to meet the family, but because she and Bodie were going on their honeymoon and needed someone to watch Alex. As for Pacey and Jen, when I invite them over for dinner you either stay silent as a mouse or go in the other room to watch television. And as for my past, you couldn't possibly know less."
"Joey, this is ludicrous. What's the point of this?"
"We don't know anything about each other. We're strangers. My past, Adam, there's so much to it that makes me up. My teen years could make an amazing movie of the week."
"What's there to know? You had a first kiss, a couple of boyfriends, crushes, and experimented. Everyone does. Probably somewhere in there you had a high school sweetheart that you went out with for a year or so. Some puppy love romance. That doesn't make you who you are today."
"High school sweetheart who I went out with for a year or so?" she said frustrated. "Puppy love romance?"
"Yes, what's gotten into you?"
"My high school heart, Adam, let me tell you a little story, was my best friend since we were seven. We slept in the same bed for years. Then at fifteen the hormones kicked in. We were quite the will they or won't they couple. We had our share of breakups and make-ups all throughout high school. He forced me to send my father back to jail when he caught him trafficking cocaine, again. Finally in senior year we were steady. My high school sweetheart was also my college sweetheart for four years straight," she said loudly, but now crying. "We were soul mates or so everyone told us. One mistake, one fight ruined that all."
"Okay," he replied almost inaudibly. "So you had an above average romance."
"It wasn't just above average, I still love him, Adam. And the fact that we are about to get married and you don't know that, let alone anything else, seems wrong."
"So we'll get to know each other. It's not some big end-of-the-world-disaster."
"Don't you get it?" she yelled. "You have no idea who you're marrying. You know jack shit about me."
"I know you more than you may know," he replied raising his voice.
"Oh really?" she said amused. "My puppy love romance, Adam, my high school sweetheart was Dawson Leery."
"Dawson Leery," he stated rather than asked. "I'm sorry did I hear you right?"
"You heard me. Dawson Leery, the director. Dawson Leery, the one we watch on Oscar night and I cheer for. We all grew up together. Pacey, Jen, Dawson, and me."
"Dawson Leery was the love of your life?"
Sorry this part took so long to get out. One word: finals and they haven't even begun yet. I've also been working on a very special DC project.
Part 3 will be along soon, hopefully. It won't be quite as long if it goes as I plan. Remember FEEDBACK, and sending feedback more than once is appreciated.
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