Secrets and Lies by: Cat

Distribution: Just ask me first

Background Information: Dawson, Joey, and Pacey are attending Boston U. Andie is still in a mental institution. Jack and Jen are non-existent in this story (sorry!!).


Dawson raised the remote and turned of the television as Joey sat up and stretched. "You'd think that by the age of twenty we'd have reached the point where we could stop watching ET," she said, slightly agitated.

"C'mon, Jo. Even you can't deny that it's one of the best movies of all time--and besides, it's Spielberg." He grinned, trying to placate her.

"You can bash the poor little alien all you want but you can't denounce Spielberg. Just the thought is sin." He sat back, smiling, feeling that everything had been explained perfectly.

Joey sighed, looking unimpressed. "Whatever, Dawson. I've got togo, anyway. David's waiting." With that, she stood.

David had been Joey's boyfriend almost from the moment she, Dawson, and Pacey had arrived at Boston University. Dawson hated him, Pacey hated him, but Joey seemed to see something they didn't. What that something was was a mystery to the two, but Joey insisted she could take care of herself.

As he watched Joey walk out the door, Dawson raked his fingers through his hair--his usual sign of frustration. Just then Pacey, his roommate and best friend, walked in and flopped down beside him.

"Joey was just here?" he asked, making it more of a statement than a question.

"Yeah," Dawson replied bitterly. "Typical movie night, that's all. But she left because she had to go see David." He grimaced at the name.

"She's still going out with that scum?!" Pacey exclaimed.

"That's how I feel," Dawson told him, exasperated. "You'd think she'd drop him after all the times he's cheated on her, but she won't believe it. Amanda was trying to tell her the other night, but she just won't listen. She almost bit my head off when I brought it up. I just don't understand her."

Pacey frowned. Dawson's hair was nearly standing on end. "Calm down, man. Jo can hold her own. You remember when that Warren guy told everyone that he slept with her, right? She took care of that pretty well--then she punched that jock when he gave her trouble. She's a fighter.She'll be fine," he said uneasily, reassuring himself as much as Dawson.

"You're right. She'll be fine." Ever the optimist, Dawson convinced himself with a nod.

The next day...

Joey walked into class with David's arm possessively around hershoulders. She was laughing at something he had said when she waved toPacey and Dawson, sitting on the other side of the room.

She started to go and sit with them when David caught her hand. "We'll sit here," he said gruffly.

Joey shrugged passively. "Whatever. By the way, where were you last night?"

David frowned, a shadow of annoyance passing over his face. "I had to work. I left a message with Amanda."

Joey smiled, relieved. "I didn't see her last night. She must have forgotten to write it down or something." A hopeful look came into her eyes. "Are we still on for tonight?"

David nodded. Across the room, Pacey winced as he watched him check out a tall blonde.

Class soon began and Pacey couldn't help but stare at the back of Joey's head throughout. He tried to resist the magnetic attraction, knowing his cause was hopeless, but it was too late. Pacey was in love.

As the professor droned on, Dawson sat lost in thought. He recalled all the years Joey had climbed through his window, eager to see him, or fallen asleep in his bed. Wasted years, he thought, annoyed with his younger self. Why hadn't he made a move when he had had a chance? Now Joey would never be his. He would have to accept that.

Class soon ended. As Joey and David walked out the door, Amanda approached Joey and dragged her off to the side. "We need to talk," she said, concern showing in her big brown eyes.

Joey frowned, waving goodbye to David, then turned to her friend. "Shoot."

"Look, Jo, I know you don't want to hear this," she said, gripping her friend's arm as she tried to turn away, "but I saw David with anothergirl at The Lounge last night."

"What are you talking about? He said that he was working and that he left a message with you," Joey said, trying to make light of the situation.

"Honey, David never called me. He was at The Lounge with a brunette wearing an eight-inch red mini, and as far as I could tell they were pretty intimate."

"Amanda, I don't want to hear this! I love David…there's nothing you can say that--" Joey's voice trailed off as she turned to locate her boyfriend in the crowd. What she saw was David letting the leggy blonde haveall over him, and grinning.

"Joey…" Amanda said, trying to comfort her friend.

Tears ran down Joey's beautiful face. She turned to run back to thedorm but was stopped by Dawson. Having watched the proceedings from the side, he immediately wrapped her in his arms. She remained there for a second, then pushed him away and ran.

Amanda sent David a look that could kill as she walked after Joey.She smiled faintly at Dawson and Pacey, who were standing side by side and wearing identical furious expressions. "I'll see what I can do," she told them.

As she walked, she reflected on all the times she had warned Joey of David's infidelity. Each time, Joey's strong will and blind trust had won out, and Amanda had learned little more for her pains than a few days of strained silence.

She reached the dorms. Knocking, she called out, "Jo, it's me."

The door swung open to reveal a tearful Joey. "All those times you said things about David--they were true, weren't they?" she said hesitantly.

"Yeah," Amanda sighed, closing the door behind her and enfolding her friend in a hug. "But remember that you learned the truth for yourself and you didn't listen to rumors." She tactfully omitted the fact that she had been the one telling Joey those 'rumors.' "Besides, David's the kind of guy who won't be tied to one person, and now you know that's not the kind of guy for you. There are other fish in the sea. After all, I know at least two guys who would go out with you in a second."

"Who?" Joey questioned half heartedly.

"I'm not at liberty to say," Amanda said vaguely, "but you know them both very well." Dawson's devotion had been obvious to her from thestart, but she had only realized the true object of Pacey's affection after a month of going out with him. She wisely kept this to herself, however.

The wheels in Joey's mind instantly began turning furiously. Dawson and…Pacey? They were the only guys besides David whom she knew really well.She gave Amanda a confused look. "You don't mean Pacey, do you?"

"I'm not at liberty to say," Amanda repeated, trying not to smile.

"Oh my God!" Joey exclaimed, her hand going to her mouth. She had never considered dating Pacey--well, maybe once or twice in high school, but he had been seeing Andie then, and then Amanda had come into the picture in college.


"How do you think Joey's taking this?" Dawson asked Pacey, concerned.

"I think she'll survive," Pacey responded. "She's got Amanda looking after her."

Dawson nodded, frowning. He turned to Pacey. "Can I ask yousomething?"

"Sure, man. Go ahead."

"Do you love her?"

There was an uncomfortable pause as Pacey turned pale. He struggled to find his voice. "Yeah, man, you could say that I do." He looked his friend in the eye. "You?"

Dawson just nodded.

Later that day…

Dawson and Pacey were hanging out Joey suddenly burst in the door.

"Hey," she said meekly, "I'm sorry I didn't listen to you two from the beginning. I mean, you guys are my best friends and I guess I just wanted something different from what I already had. It seems that in wanting something different, though, I lost what I had had all along."

"Jo, you would never have lost either of us. Nothing will change our friendship."

"Yes it can, Dawson. It already has," she said quietly, avoiding their eyes by gazing at the picture on the wall. It was a picture she had drawn, actually pretty awful, but they had kept it anyway. She felt momentarily sick.

Pacey and Dawson exchanged a glance. Suddenly the atmosphere changed.

"I'm leaving," Joey said, louder than she had expected. "I found an admission letter from an art school in New York. I called them, and they'rewilling to let me transfer. I'm moving down at the end of this week. "The room was filled with a shocked silence. "That's what I stopped by to tell you guys," she said quickly. "I'll see you before then.

With that, she was gone.

"Shoot!" Pacey shouted, punching the couch. Dawson ran his fingers through his hair. "What are we going to do now?"

"Let her go, I guess. It's the only thing we can do," Pacey said with a miserable shrug.

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