Rating: PG-13 (some innuendos)
Spoilers/References: None. This is my version of season two, episode one. I SWEAR I wrote it before the season premiere and had NO IDEA Joey & Dawson were going to have that conversation about French Kissing in the park ... I promise!! :)
Classification: Dawson/Joey romance
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This is my interpretation of the beginning of the second season. I decided Joey would be foolish not to go to France (in my universe, she went for a summer semester), but what happens when she returns? This episode's title, "French Kiss," is taken from the movie starring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline. I think the title is fairly self-explanatory ...
Dawson's bedroom. It is late at night, and all the lights are off except for the small lamp on his bedside table. The radio is softly playing "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls. Joey and Dawson are lying on his bed, facing each other, legs entwined. They are wearing the same clothes as in the last scene of the season finale, except both their sweaters are off, and their shirts are completely untucked from their pants. One of Joey's hands is underneath the back of Dawson’s shirt, and the other in his hair, while he is gently holding her head in his hands and stroking the side of her face. They smile into each other's eyes, saying nothing for a long moment. Dawson cups Joey's chin with his hand and pulls her towards him ...
The shrill sound of his alarm clock wakes Dawson. Groaning, he extends an arm to swat it off, then fidgets around, trying hard to recapture the dream. After a few moments of tossing and turning, he realizes it is futile, and sighs deeply. Dawson rubs his eyes and stifles a yawn as he looks at the clock. 6:46 am. Slowly, a smile spreads across his face.
Dawn. The Witter family truck pulls into Dawson's driveway with a soft tap on the horn. Dawson bounds out of the porch energetically and sprints across the lawn. He opens the passenger door.
Dawson: (brightly) Pacey, my man! Good morning!
Pacey glances over at Dawson, unimpressed, and yawns loudly.
Pacey: (flatly) Morning.
Dawson: Thanks for doing this, dude.
Pacey grunts in reply and backs up the truck, driving off down the road.
Dawson: Seriously, man, I appreciate it. And I know Bessie and Bodie appreciate it.
Pacey: Right. (pause) Tell me again why I'm playing chauffeur, at the crack of dawn, on the first day of reprieve I've had from the video store in two weeks?
Dawson: Because Bessie called my mom last night and asked if we could pick up Joey from the airport, because Alexander's got colic and Bodie has to be at the Icehouse.
Pacey: Right. (pause) And your parents didn't volunteer for this role because ...?
Dawson: Because my mom is covering the county fair for the station and has to be on location by 8 a.m., so she needs the car.
Pacey: Right. (he rolls his eyes)
Dawson: (impatiently) Can't this thing go any faster?
Pacey: (chuckling) Oh, now that's a switch -- you telling me to drive faster.
Dawson: Sorry. I guess I'm just ... anxious.
Pacey: Anxious? That's the extent of your emotional repertoire this morning?
Dawson: No, Pacey. I'm anxious and excited and exuberant and scared and --
Pacey: Anxious and excited and exuberant, I can understand. But scared? Dude, this is *Joey.*
Dawson: Yeah, I know, that's the thing. It's *Joey.* (pause) I guess ... I guess I don't know what to anticipate.
Pacey: What to anticipate?! Dawson, you know this girl better than you know yourself!
Dawson: Yeah, but it's different now, Pace. Things changed between us before she left. We ... we crossed a line.
Pacey: Uh, Dawson? Considering who we're talking about here, that's a bit of an understatement. That line you crossed might as well have been the equator.
Dawson: See? That's it exactly. We took a huge step, and then ... nothing. She left, like, the next day. We never really had the opportunity to assess things.
Pacey: What's to assess? She wants you, you finally admit that you want her ... just jump each other's bones and get on with it! It seems pretty cut and dried to me.
Dawson: Yeah, well, it *would* seem pretty cut and dried to someone with your mentality. This is not about sex, Pacey. Not even close. (he sighs, throwing his head back against the seat) What if things have changed while we were apart? What if it's all different now? (pause) That night she came over, and everything happened ... it was great, amazing even. Totally and utterly incredible. I mean we connected on a level I didn't even know existed. We --
Pacey: (uncomfortably) Uh, thanks, Dawson. I think I get the picture.
Dawson: Anyway, it was so ... intense ... maybe it was too intense. Considering our platonic, sibling-like history, we agreed to take the summer to figure out if this whole thing would be a good idea. Just to make sure it wasn't too ... incestuous.
Pacey: (in disbelief) Dawson! Do you hear yourself? You've got this intelligent, funny and beautiful girl, who also happens to be your best friend ... you've got this huge ball of untapped potential with her, and you're questioning if it will work? For once, will you stop analyzing things to death and just go with it?
Dawson: (after letting Pacey's rant sink in for a moment or two) You're right. Of course you're right. (he laughs nervously) There's nothing to be scared of. (softly) This is Joey. (he smiles and leans back in his seat)
Pacey: (looking over at him, after a moment or two of silence) Then again, you have no idea what she's been thinking for the past few months, either. (Dawson stares at him, slightly concerned) You could have to vie for her affections with the memory of some tryst with a Jean-Claude or a Pierre or some other French dude she hooked up with over the summer. (Dawson frowns) And you know what they say about the French being the world's best lovers ... (Dawson's frown deepens)
Dawson: (dryly) Thanks for the vote of confidence, Pace.
* * * OPENING THEME & CREDITS * * *
Interior, Boston International Airport. Dawson and Pacey are waiting at the end of a crowd of people, watching passengers pass through the gates with their luggage.
Dawson: (agitated) Where is she? The plane from Paris landed about an hour ago!
Pacey: Well, let's see, there's customs ... baggage claim ... or maybe she changed her mind and decided to stay. Maybe sipping champagne on the Champs-Elysses with Jacques L’Amour held more appeal than drinking Coke at the Icehouse with the likes of you.
Dawson: Funny ... very amusing, Pace. You know, you really ought to take that little comedy act of yours on the road. You could --
Dawson's voice trails off as he stares at a figure in the distance. Joey has just come through the gates. She looks around, carrying a duffel bag and slinging a knapsack over her left shoulder. She spots Dawson, and her eyes widen in surprise. She makes her way through the crowd and over to him.
Dawson: (smiling) Hey, Jo.
There is an uncomfortable silence for a moment, as both are unsure what to do next. Joey laughs uneasily. Dawson hesitates, as if he is about to kiss her, then gives her an awkward hug instead.
Joey: What are you doing here? Where's Bessie?
Dawson: Alex is sick and Bodie's working. How ... how are you?
Joey: Great ... a little tired, but otherwise just fine. (she smiles at him shyly)
Dawson: (staring at Joey affectionately) Well, you look great. Really.
Joey: (blushing) Thanks.
Pacey: (a little louder) Ahem!
Dawson: So ... how was it? Good? Bad? Different?
Joey: Very different, but in a good way. It's, it's ... beautiful and cultured and very ... expensive. (she laughs)
Pacey: (louder) What am I, the invisible man?
Joey and Dawson turn in unison to look at him.
Joey: (dryly) We should be so lucky. (she smiles) Hello, Pacey.
Pacey: (equally dryly) Hi, Joey. A pleasure to see you again.
Joey: (making a face) Really.
Pacey: (smiling) No. It's just the polite thing to say.
Joey: Ah, I see that personality transplant you were waiting for didn't come through.
Pacey: (laughs sarcastically) And I see that a whole summer surrounded by refined Parisians obviously didn't polish your social skills any. (Joey makes a face and smiles mockingly)
Dawson: Okay, then! Shall we? (he takes the duffel bag from Joey and gestures towards the exit. Pacey and Joey look at each other grudgingly for a moment, then dissolve into laughter)
Pacey: It's good to have you back, Jo. (he gives her a brief hug)
Joey: (smiles) Thanks. (They head towards the exit, Dawson and Joey side-by-side with Pacey bringing up the rear)
Pacey: So, Jo ... did you stock up on any of that fancy French lingerie while you were there?
Joey & Dawson: (in unison) Pacey!
Pacey: What? Just a question. (They exit through the automatic doors and out to the parking lot.)
The Leery family's porch, later the same day. Dawson and Joey are rocking slowly back and forth on a porch swing. They are not sitting close together, but share a blanket wrapped over their legs.
Joey: ... So anyway, I used to go to the same little store every morning to buy juice and a croissant before school, and no matter how many times I tried to speak to the lady behind the counter in French, she kept answering me in English!
Dawson: Not terribly hospitable of her.
Joey: No kidding! I felt like I had a giant neon sign over my head that screamed out the fact that I was a foreigner. I mean, I know my French isn't the greatest, but it didn't exactly make me feel welcome, you know?
Dawson: Well ... in a strange sort of way, I'm glad.
Joey: You're ... glad ... I felt miserable?
Dawson: No ... I'm glad you didn't feel welcome there. Otherwise, you may have never come back. (he smiles)
Joey: (sighs) To tell you the truth, there were times I didn't want to come back. I mean, France is so beautiful. The Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe ... I got to see things I've only ever dreamed of. The whole country is so amazing compared to this dreary little town (Dawson looks sad as she says this) ... there's so much history, and culture there. (she sighs again) I can't believe how quickly it all went by.
Dawson: (softly) Well, I guess that depended on which side of the Atlantic you were on. Cause over here, time didn't exactly fly by. (he stares at her intensely)
Joey: (She returns his gaze, but is unsure of how to respond. After a moment of silence, she nods in the direction of Jen's house) How's Jen doing?
Dawson: (shrugs) Somewhat better. I haven't really seen her very much. (Just then, Jen walks out of the Ryans' house, holding a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, which Dawson and Joey can't see from his house.) Actually, why don't you ask her yourself? (Jen takes a cigarette out of the pack, and is just about to light up when Dawson yells) Jen! Jen!
Jen looks around in confusion when she hears her name. Dawson waves his arms at her to catch her attention. Joey gives him a look of contempt, which he doesn't see. Jen smiles broadly when she realizes it is Dawson who called her. She tosses her cigarettes and lighter on the floor of the porch and walks quickly across the lawn.
Jen: (happily, as she approaches the house) Hey, Dawson! (she spots Joey next to him, and her tone changes noticeably) Joey! ... hi ... uh, when did you get back?
Joey: This morning.
Jen: Wow ... uh , how was it?
Joey: It was great, very ... French. (she smiles) Actually, it was beautiful. I was just telling Dawson, there were days the thought of coming back here actually depressed me.
Jen: I can relate to that. (she smiles sadly) After my grandfather ... well, Grams and I went to New York to stay with my parents for a while. I never realized how much I missed it. You know how it is (she looks at Dawson) ... you never really know how much something means to you until you don't have it anymore. (a strange look crosses Joey's face, but she doesn't say anything)
Dawson: (oblivious) Well I, for one, am glad you're both back. It's been a long, lonely summer for me, especially considering my number one activity over the past few months has been keeping Pacey on the straight and narrow. And let me tell you, that's a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week job.
Joey: And obviously one you didn't very well, because he's still as repugnant and irritating as I remember. (Dawson reaches out and ruffles her hair, and she laughs, swatting away his hand)
Jen: (watching them closely) Actually, I'm not really going to be here a whole lot ... I, uh, I'm going to be going back to New York pretty regularly.
Jen: Yeah. Weekends, holidays, that sort of thing. You know, just for a, uh, ... change of scenery.
Joey: (puzzled) I thought that was why you moved here in the first place.
Jen: It was. But this way there's more ... balance. (quickly) Anyway, I should go, Grams will be home from her prayer group soon, and I've got to start dinner. See ya. (she turns and quickly walks across the lawn to her house)
Dawson: (frowning) What do you suppose all that was about?
Joey: (flatly, staring after Jen) I haven't a clue.
Dawson: (after a couple of seconds of silence) So, tell me what else you did in France.
Joey: Um ... well, we took a class trip to Cannes. The whole city was just winding down from the film festival. (she smiles) It reminded me of you.
Joey: Definitely. I could see you there, schmoozing with the rich and famous, debuting your new blockbuster, some gangly, nubile young starlet hanging off your arm.
Dawson: Joey! If ever I make it that far, it'll only be because I've had you on my arm. (softly) No one else.
He looks up at her and smiles as their eyes meet. She blushes and looks away, then meets his gaze again. As he starts to lean in slowly to kiss her, the screen door bangs open.
Mitch: (shouting out towards the dock) Dawson, dinner's ready! (he sees them break apart suddenly) Oh! (flustered) I ... um ... you're welcome to stay, Joey.
Joey: (embarrassed) Uh ... thanks, Mr. Leery, but I ... I probably shouldn't. Bodie's been slaving away at this welcome home dinner for me, Bessie would kill me if I missed it.
Mitch: Oh, sure. Another time, then. (Joey nods and looks down, still embarrassed) It's good to see you again.
Joey: Thanks, you too. (to Dawson) Well, I should get going ... I was only at home about half an hour before I left to come here, so ...
She stands up, followed by Dawson, who stares at his father expectantly. Mitch smiles back, oblivious.
Joey: I should go.
Dawson: Yeah ... (he glances over at his father, who is still smiling cluelessly) ... I'll, uh, I'll call you later.
Dawson: (stalling) Uh, maybe you could come over for a movie later tonight ... I mean, if you're up to it.
Joey: Sure ... (she thinks for a second) actually, I should probably stay home tonight. Bessie might be prone to histrionics if I bail on my first night back. Maybe tomorrow, though? (Mitch is propped up against the screen door, taking in their conversation obliviously)
Dawson: Okay, well ... uh, see you, Jo. Call me.
She smiles and nods, then walks down to the dock. Dawson watches her until she is out of earshot, then turns to his father, who is still smiling.
Dawson: (in frustration) Thanks, dad. (He sighs in exasperation and pushes past his father into the house)
Mitch: (looking after him, perplexed) For what? (he blinks a couple of times, a confused expression on his face) What'd I do?
The next evening. Dawson is slouching on his bed, changing channels with the remote. The movement of the curtains catches his eye, as Joey climbs through the window. Dawson sits up on the bed and smiles.
Dawson: Bonjour, mademoiselle!
Joey: (smiling) Whatcha watching?
Dawson: Well, in honour of your sojourn abroad, I've rented "Forget Paris" and, uh ... (he blushes a little) "French Kiss."
Joey: (nods, slightly embarrassed) Oh. (she sits next to him on the bed)
Dawson: But, uh, we don't have ... to watch them, I mean, if you're too tired with the whole jet-lag thing ...
Joey: No, it's fine. I slept most of it off last night. I can't guarantee I'll stay awake for both, but I'll give it a shot.
Dawson: Okay ... which one do you want to watch first?
Joey: Oh ... um ... "Forget Paris." Definitely.
Dawson nods and puts the movie on. After a few moments, he looks over at Joey, who is watching the movie intently. He wriggles over a little closer to her. Aware of the movement, she turns to look at him. He smiles at her. Joey smiles back, and lowers her head. Dawson wriggles a little bit closer, pushing his shoulder towards Joey's head. She smiles and wriggles a little bit closer to him, then hesitantly rests her head on his shoulder.
Joey: Um ... yeah. (She smiles up at him. He looks at her for a moment, then smiles back)
After watching the screen for a few minutes, Dawson looks down at Joey and realizes she has fallen asleep. He hesitates, then slips an arm around her waist and continues to watch the movie.
The end credits of "Forget Paris" roll across the screen. Dawson clicks the remote to rewind the movie, and bends to whisper in Joey's ear.
Dawson: (softly) Jo?
Joey: (half asleep) Hmmm?
Dawson: You awake?
Joey: Mmmm ... sorry, I guess I was more tired than I thought. How was the movie?
Dawson: Utterly forgettable.
Joey: Glad I didn't miss anything then. (she stretches)
Dawson: (looking at her, smiling) Did you ... miss ... anything ... when you were gone?
Joey: (wrinkling her nose, fully awake now) What?
Dawson: Well ... you were talking about missing things, and I was just wondering ... if ... you ... missed ... anything ... while you were in France.
Joey: (realizing what he is trying to do) Oh! ... sure, lots of things.
Dawson: (prompting her) Like?
Joey: Well, Bessie and Bodie, for sure. Alexander, except for his incessant crying. (she takes a deep breath and exhales) Let's see ... (she counts on her fingers) Ben & Jerry's, cable TV ... oh! Your mom's banana bread, definitely ... even Pacey in a twisted, masochistic sort of way --
Dawson: What ... wh- what about ... me?
Joey: (teasing) You? Oh, well ... sure, I guess --
Dawson: (the joke goes over his head) You guess?!
Joey: (countering) Well, did you miss me?
Dawson: (wounded) Joey! Are you kidding? It's been like ... like ... part of me has ceased to exist for the past few months. (quietly) Of course I ... missed you. (he looks down)
Joey: (smiling) I missed you, too, Dawson. (pause) Lots.
Dawson: (almost shyly) Yeah?
Joey: (softly) Yeah.
Dawson reaches over and hugs Joey for a long moment. When they pull apart from their embrace, each looks into the other's eyes, their arms still loosely entwined. Dawson's gaze drops to Joey's lips, then returns to her eyes. He leans in to kiss her. Their lips are almost touching when a noise from outside causes them to break apart. Simultaneously, Pacey sticks his head through the window.
Pacey: Hey, Dawson, you in? (At the sound of his voice, Dawson and Joey quickly jump apart)
Dawson: (muttering under his breath) I've got to remember to close that thing.
Pacey: Well, well ... my mouth drops. (he sighs, pleased with himself) Just call me cupid.
Joey: I can think of several things to call you right now, and believe me, that isn't one of them. Pacey responds by climbing through the window and breaking into a huge Cheshire cat grin.
Joey: (extremely irritated) What? What's that idiotic smile for? (he smiles even broader) Pacey, you better wipe that grin off your face, and fast, before I come over there and do it for you.
Pacey: (mock-angry) Jeez, how's that for gratitude? You know, a simple thank-you would have sufficed, Joey. (to Dawson) May I suggest you teach your *girlfriend* here some of the finer points of social etiquette and decorum?
Dawson: (he gives him a treading-on-thin-ice look) Pacey ...
Joey: (flustered and embarrassed) A simple thank you? For what? For ruining an extremely private moment? You don't deserve a thank-you for that, Pacey, you deserve a --
Pacey: (he holds up a hand) Joey, Joey, Joey. For playing matchmaker. Without my expert guidance and tutelage, you two probably wouldn't be sitting here right now having an extremely private moment for me to ruin in the first place.
Joey: Mordez-moi, Pacey. That's French for "bite me." (she folds her arms across her chest and glares at him)
Pacey: Oh, very nice, Jo ... glad to see some French linguistic skills rubbed off on you. Were you about to teach ole Dawson here another French linguistic skill ... say, oh, a certain kissing technique that nation is famous for perfecting? Huh? Cause if you were, and you need a more experienced pupil, (he sighs) I suppose I could volunteer for a demonstration ... just so long as you ask nicely.
Joey: (extremely pissed) The French are also famous for perfecting the guillotine, Pacey, would you like to volunteer for a demonstration of that?
Pacey: Ah, viva la wench! (Joey exhales, shakes her head and rolls her eyes)
Dawson: (stands up, exasperated) Pacey ... what are you ... doing here, anyway?
Pacey: (shrugs) The usual drill ... Life at the Witter family funny farm got too hot, I couldn't stand the heat ...
Dawson: ... so you got out of the kitchen.
Pacey: It was either that or burn the whole house down. So, I thought I'd come hang out with my favorite future Oscar-winning film maker, but I see that he's busy this evening, auditioning his favorite actress on his own personal casting couch. Huh? (Dawson and Joey look at each other, sheepishly) Uh-huh, I thought so. (he smiles) S'okay ... I'll just go wander the streets of Capeside, hoping someone will take pity on me and take me in for the night. (he sits on the windowsill and gets ready to climb out when Joey speaks)
Joey: The only thing that's liable to take you in for the night is Animal Control.
Pacey: Speaking of which, that reminds me ... Dawson, when are you going to have her declawed?
Dawson: Guys, guys! Come on, cut it out. You have the whole school year to make up for a summer's worth of missed insult opportunities, no need to cram it all into one night. (to Pacey) We were just about to start the second movie, you want to hang out and watch it with us?
Pacey: Nah, I don't want to intrude ...
Joey: You all ready have. (she sighs exasperated) What's another couple of hours?
Pacey: You sure? (she half-smiles, rolls her eyes, then nods) Cool. (he picks up the video from Dawson's desk) So, which Spielberg masterpiece do we have on tap for tonight? "French Kiss." (he nods approvingly) Well well, very ap-pro-po. Hey, is that the one with the guy and three girls on top of the Eiffel Tower? Dawson, you dog! And Joey! I didn't think you two were into kinky stuff, but I guess you never can tell what goes on behind closed doors --
Joey: You know, your very existence proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Darwin's Theory of Evolution was a complete fallacy.
Dawson: (rolls his eyes and snatches the movie from him) It's not a porno, Pacey, it's a romantic comedy.
Dawson puts the video on, then settles on the bed next to Joey. He sits as close as he possibly can to Joey, who looks at him a little surprised and moves away from him slightly. Pacey, meanwhile, has pulled up a chair adjacent to them and watches this with interest. Dawson drapes his arm across the headboard. Joey leans back against it, bumps into his arm and jumps forward. Dawson looks over at her with a slight frown.
Pacey: You know, you two don't have to stop your amorous activities on my account. (he chuckles) Consider it payback for when you captured a certain, uh, intimate moment of *mine* in vivid Technicolor. (beat) Heck, I may even be able to offer pointers. (he wiggles his eyebrows at them)
Joey: (stands up suddenly and turns to Dawson) You know what? I'm gonna go, actually, I'm kinda --
Dawson: (disappointed) Aww no, Joey, stay ... please. He's kidding ... aren't you, Pacey. (Dawson glares at him)
Pacey: Okay, okay ... I'll retract my offer. You two obviously aren't ready for public displays of affection just yet. (he turns his attention towards the television)
Joey: Honestly, Dawson, it's got nothing to do with his (she pauses, looking towards Pacey) sick little voyeuristic fantasies, I'm just ... I'm really ... bagged. That whole jet-lag thing. (she smiles apologetically)
Dawson: (holding on to her arm) Joooo ... come on, stay. (hopeful) You can crash here, if you want.
Joey: (quickly) Uh, no ... no, really Dawson, thanks, but I'm, uh, actually pretty drained. I'll, uh, I'll call you tomorrow, okay? (she heads towards the window, then turns around) Actually, Bessie and Bodie asked me to watch Alex tomorrow night, they have to go to this tax seminar thing for restaurant owners. (awkwardly) You could come over ... if you want ... I mean, if you're not busy ...
Dawson: Um, yeah ... sure .... sounds good.
Joey: (nodding) Around seven, then?
Dawson: It's a date. (Joey looks at him with raised eyebrows) I mean ... I'll ... see you then.
Joey smiles briefly and exits through the window. After she leaves, Dawson hurls a pillow at Pacey and misses.
Pacey: (in mock surprise) What? (Dawson glares at him in frustration)
The next evening. Dawson knocks on Joey's front door. There is no answer. He waits a minute, frowns and knocks again. There is still no answer. He is about to knock a third time, when the door swings open. Joey stands in the door with Alexander perched on her hip, crying.
Joey: Sorry ... (Dawson enters and follows Joey to the living room) He's a little cranky, for a change. (she sits on the couch and tries to comfort the baby) Where's "The English Patient" when you need it?
Dawson: Poor little guy. (he sits next to her) Here, want me to try?
Joey: (wearily) Knock yourself out. (she passes Alexander over to Dawson)
Dawson: (holding Alexander over his shoulder) Shh ... shh shh ... hey there ... come on now, be a good boy for your uncle Dawson ... there we go ... shh ... (as he pats Alexander on the back, the baby's crying subsides to soft whimpering noises)
Joey: I'm impressed, Dawson. You have the touch.
Dawson: (he laughs, shrugging) Oh, I don't know. I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. (Alexander makes quiet cooing noises) Okay, little guy ... there we go ... you want to go back to your Auntie Joey? Okay ... shh ... (he passes the baby back to Joey, who cradles him in her arms, as Dawson watches with a smile)
Dawson: (softly) It looks good on you.
Joey: (defensively) What, are you kidding? (she gets up and puts the baby down in his crib)
Dawson: No ... I mean ... well ... don't you ever ... think ... about ... stuff like that ... sometimes? Don't you ever think about ... the future?
Joey: I have a hard enough time thinking about tomorrow.
Dawson: Well then, what about the immediate present, then? About you and me and ... us.
Joey: (after an awkward pause) Actually, I thought about you a lot in France. I ... I had a lot of time to think about ... stuff.
Dawson: You didn't write ...
Joey: I know. I wanted to ... I thought about it. But I needed to totally distance myself from you and the whole situation. To ... to think about things independently, without being contaminated by any contact.
Dawson: And? (softly) What did you come up with, Jo?
Joey: I don't know. (she runs her hands through her hair) I'm confused, Dawson ...
Dawson: You know, it's ironic. (pause) I thought it would be so unbelievably difficult for me to make this crossover and think of you in a romantic context. But it wasn't. In fact, once I admitted the truth to myself about how I felt, it was the easiest, most natural thing in the world. (in disbelief) And now you're having second thoughts.
Joey: No. Not second thoughts. This is what I want ... I'm just a little scared.
Dawson: Of what?
Joey: Of ... of us. First I was worried about us being honest. Now that we're being honest, the truth scares me. (pause) Dawson, you're like family to me. You're like my twin. You're also my best friend. Hell, sometimes I think you're my only friend. (pause) And now you're my (embarrassed) ... boy ... friend, too? I don't know ... that's a lot of roles for just one person. (quietly) Are you sure you're up to the job?
Dawson: (softly) Jo, that's exactly why I'm up to the job. (he smiles) I want to do this. I want to give us a chance, but only if you do too. So tell me ... what do we do now?
Joey: What do you mean?
Dawson: We've come this far, but where do we go from here? Are we going to give this a try ... or not? Because ever since you've come back, I'm not sure that you want to anymore.
Joey: It's not that I don't want to, Dawson, but what happens if it doesn't work out? If we can't make it? I mean, no offence, but between your parents and my parents, it isn't exactly like we have any great role models on how to maintain a successful relationship.
Dawson: Joey, that's not true. Look at Bessie and Bodie ... they have an incredible relationship. If they aren't the poster couple for love conquering all in the face of tremendous adversities, then I don't know who is. (pause) I know it's frightening and uncharted territory, but we'll never know until we try.
Joey: (she sighs) I think what scares me more than the idea of us being together is the idea of losing you if we fall apart.
Dawson: Jo, that will never happen. No matter what, we'll always be there for each other. That's a given ... it's non-negotiable.
Dawson: I swear, on my entire collection of Spielberg paraphernalia. (he smiles) Besides, you're making a huge assumption.
Joey: What's that?
Dawson: You're assuming it won't last. I happen to know better. He smiles at her and slowly, she smiles back. Dawson leans towards her, pushing a piece of hair away from Joey's face. As she takes a deep breath and leans towards him, a key turns in the lock and voices are heard from the hall. Dawson and Joey jump apart.
Bessie: I can't believe you got the date wrong! Did you even look at the information package they sent?
Bodie: It was an honest mistake!
Bessie: Yeah? Well, it was also an honest waste of time and money. (she walks into the living room and spots Dawson and Joey, red-faced, but is too angry to think twice about it) Hi.
Bodie: (following her into the room) Will you lighten up? Why are you making such a big deal of this?
Bessie: Why are you so nonchalant about this? If you just took two seconds to look at the stupid package, then we wouldn't have had to drive for a whole hour, and we could have worked tonight instead! I mean, it isn't like we don't need the money!
Bodie: Look, it's done now, I can't change it. I'm sorry, okay? Why didn't you check the date, if it was so important?
Bessie: Oh no you don't! Don't try to pin this on me! It was your responsibility! (she sighs) God, Bodie! Sometimes, you really make me wonder, you know that? (turning to Dawson & Joey) May I suggest you two think long and hard before choosing a life partner one day? Because sometimes being in a relationship isn't all it is cracked up to be! (she turns and stalks off down the hall)
Bodie: Bessie! (he follows her down the hall) Bessie! Joey and Dawson look at each other, their eyebrows raised. A door slams in the background.
Joey: Uh ... what was that you were just saying? (Dawson sighs and throws his head back against the couch)
Afternoon, Screen Play Video. Dawson is preparing to restock shelves while Pacey sits behind the counter, watching a kung-fu movie on the television.
Pacey: (fast-forwarding with the remote) Oh man, this movie sucks. That's the thing about sequels, you know. Never as good as the original.
Dawson: (lost in thought as he finishes loading up a cart with videos) Mmmm.
Pacey: This isn't even the same actor as the guy in the first part. I mean, how dumb do they think the audience is that we wouldn't even notice that the hero is about six inches shorter and fifty pounds heavier than he was the first time around?
Dawson: (he pushes the cart of videos along the aisle) Mmmm.
Pacey: (realizing Dawson is completely ignoring him) And considering *Spielberg* directed it, you'd expect it to be of a little higher calibre than this, right?
Dawson: (checks the titles of a couple of videos on the cart, then puts them on the shelves as Pacey is speaking) Right ... wait, what did you say?
Pacey: Nothing. (he laughs) Dawson, where are you?
Dawson: (blinks, as if he doesn't understand the question) Right here. Pacey: In body, maybe, but where's your mind at ... or do I even need to ask?
Dawson: (sighs) Sorry Pace, that obvious?
Pacey: What's wrong, you and Joey have your first fight? As a couple, I mean. God knows I've had to listen to you two bicker enough times as friends over the years. You're practically an old married couple as it is.
Dawson: No, no, we didn't have a fight or anything like that. It's just ... I don't know. (he exhales deeply) It's complicated.
Pacey: (dryly) Isn't everything? (when Dawson doesn't respond, Pacey sighs in exasperation) Come on, tell Dr. Witter ... what seems to be the problem?
Dawson: (shrugs) I thought when Joey and I started going out, it was supposed to uncomplicate things between us. But instead, there's all this ... tension. It's like we don't know the right protocol for how to act around each other any more.
Pacey: (shakes his head) Oh, Dawson ... my naive little comrade. That "tension" you refer to is a lifetime of repressed sexual desire that's suddenly manifesting itself. (Dawson looks a little flustered as Pacey continues) Hey, I envy you, man. Cause when you finally give in to it, it's gonna be like Mount St. Helens erupting --
Dawson: Pacey! Your mind would have to pole vault to reach the gutter, you know that? (he sighs) As I've told you before, this isn't about sex. It's about how Joey and I relate to each other.
Pacey: Okay, well try looking at it from Joey's point of view, then. The whole situation is probably just a little overwhelming for her. I mean, for years now, you've thought of her almost as a sister, and now all of a sudden, she's, like, the polar opposite. It's an enormous transition to make, for both of you. Just give her time. She'll come round.
Dawson: Yeah, well, she also said she was afraid our friendship wouldn't survive the aftermath if our relationship didn't work out.
Pacey: That's absurd. Your great-grandchildren will be visiting you two in a retirement home some day. (pause) Look, Dawson, all you've got to do is reassure her that you two still have that ... connection that you had as best friends, and that it didn't get lost in the shuffle now that you're dating. (Dawson nods, deep in thought) No one ever said it was going to be a picnic, but trust me, you'll both be fine.
Dawson: (suddenly getting an idea) Cover for me, okay? (he takes his uniform vest off, throws it on the countertop and heads towards the door)
Pacey: What ... Dawson, where are you going?
Dawson: (over his shoulder) Grocery store. I've gotta pick up a few things.
Pacey: You're gonna cook for her? Oh no, no way. Even Joey doesn't deserve that torture imposed on her. (Dawson turns around and gives him a dirty look) Need I remind you of the ghost of cooking fiascos past? Two words, dude: Exploding eggs.
Dawson: I didn't say I was cooking, Pace. I said I was picking up groceries. (he heads out the door in a hurry just as Jen comes in, holding a plastic video box in her hand)
Jen: Hey Daw--
Dawson: (he rushes past her without stopping) Hi, Jen! Bye, Jen!
Jen: (walking over to Pacey) What's with him? Where's the fire?
Pacey: It hasn't started, he's not in the kitchen ... yet. (she gives him a strange look) Dawson's not exactly what you'd call proficient in the cooking department. Long story. (he dismisses the subject with a wave of his hand) Anyway, what can I do for you today, Miss Lindley?
Jen: (giving him the video and a five dollar bill) This is due back. (Pacey scans the video's bar code, then rings in the transaction on the cash register) So ... who's he cooking for?
Pacey: Hmm? (he looks up) Oh. Joey, who else? (he hands Jen her change, then goes in the back and files the plastic box on a shelf. At the counter, Jen gets a miserable look on her face and goes to look for another video) He's going to woo her with food. (he shakes his head and laughs) Although, the only way he actually stands a chance of pulling it off is if he orders in.
Jen: (almost sarcastically, with a tight smile) Well, you know what they say ... they way to the heart is through the stomach, or something like that. (she picks up a video and reads the back)
Pacey: (chuckling) Yeah, but somehow, I don't think they were talking about food poisoning. (he notices Jen isn't laughing at his observation) Tell me something, Jen... you don't have a *problem* with Joey and Dawson's recent, uh, collaboration, do you?
Jen: (places a video on the counter top) Of course not. (he raises his eyebrows at her) I'm fine with it. (defensively) Why wouldn't I be fine with it?
Pacey: Well, let's see. You returned "Reality Bites" and rented (picks up the video) "Some Kind of Wonderful." (he smirks at her knowingly)
Jen: (looks up at the ceiling, then down at him) Your point being?
Pacey: Come on, Jen. (he goes into the back with the video and returns with a plastic video box, which he scans) They're classic interloper-tries-to-get-in-the-way- of-two-best-friends-of-the-opposite-sex-getting- together-but-they-do-regardless flicks.
Jen: (she shakes her head) That's completely asinine.
Pacey: (passes her the video) Is it? Or is it a little life imitating art, perhaps? Huh?
Jen: (after a moment of silence) To borrow a line from Joey herself ... bite me, Pacey. (she turns and stalks out of the store, as Pacey watches her go with an amused look on his face)
Sunset. The sky is dotted with storm clouds. Dawson, wearing a backpack, rides his bike along the beach. Joey lags behind on hers. She stops after a short distance.
Joey: (exasperated) Dawson, where are we going? My legs are about to fall off.
Dawson: Actually, we're here.
Joey: Here? What are we doing ... here?
Dawson: (triumphantly) We ... are having a picnic. (he puts his bike down and unzips the backpack)
Joey: A picnic? Did you overdose on Martha Stewart while I was gone or something?
Dawson: Ha ha. (a little wounded) I just thought it would be ... nice.
Joey: I'm sorry ... it is nice. (she puts down her bike and walks over to him) Just please tell me you didn't cook.
Dawson: And just what is wrong with my culinary expertise? (he pulls out a blanket from the backpack and unfolds it)
Joey: (peeking over his shoulder) Oh, nothing ... unless you count that time I was over for dinner, when you made that salad and forgot to wash the lettuce? Remember? Your mom almost ate that beetle that was hidden in one of the leaves --
Dawson: (calmly) A minor oversight. (he removes a few Tupperware containers from the backpack)
Joey: And what about the time Jen's grandmother called the fire department because she thought your house was up in flames from all that smoke when you burned the garlic bread?
Dawson: (a little defensively) Okay, she completely over-reacted --
Joey: (giggling) Oh, and let's not forget when you boiled those eggs in the microwave --
Dawson: (mock-annoyed) All right, that's it! He lunges for Joey, who is shrieking with laughter at the memory. He grabs her by both wrists and pins her down on the sand. As Joey looks up at Dawson, her giggling subsides. He, too, stops laughing and gazes down at her, smiling. She smiles back in nervous anticipation as he lowers his face towards hers. Just then, the sky erupts in a loud burst of thunder and a light rain begins to fall.
Dawson: (sighs) This is sooooo not working out.
Joey: (laughs nervously) No, you know what? It's fine, Dawson, really. We can just do this ... some other time (she sits up, embarrassed)
Dawson: No. No way. I've waited all summer for you to come home, I don't want to wait a minute longer. (more thunder, with lightning) I have an idea. (he stands up, and holds out a hand to her) Come on. (more thunder, as he pulls her up off the ground)
Dawson and Joey climb through his bedroom window, not drenched but definitely wet. He closes the window behind them, as Joey puts the backpack down on his bed and shivers.
Joey: Okay ... now what?
Dawson: Wait one sec.
Dawson leaves the room, returning with two large, white towels, one of which he passes to Joey. He unfolds the other towel and vigorously begins to dry his hair. He removes his damp shirt, revealing a drier T-shirt underneath. As Joey is toweling her hair, Dawson opens up the backpack and spreads a blanket on the floor. He starts to unpack the food containers, as Joey looks on with interest.
Dawson: Be right back.
He disappears again, as Joey runs her fingers through her hair. A moment later, he comes back holding two candlesticks and a pack of matches. Joey sits on the edge of the bed, watching curiously as Dawson places one candlestick on his bed side table, and one on his desk. He strikes a match to light them.
Joey: (puzzled) What are you doing?
Dawson: (smiling, as he lights the candles) Bringing the picnic inside.
Joey smiles. She takes off her wet jean jacket and lays it on the bed, while Dawson turns on the radio. The Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" is playing. He sits down on the floor and reaches up for Joey's hand, pulling her down off the bed so she is sitting beside him. The lightning and thunder continue outside.
Dawson: Better? (he eats a strawberry out of one of the containers)
Joey: Much. (she smiles at him a little nervously, and shyly tilts her head to one side)
Dawson gently strokes the side of Joey's face with his hand. He cups her chin in his hand and lifts her face towards his. He leans in slowly, hesitates, and pulls back to look at her. She looks at him and smiles, as if silently giving her consent. He smiles back, leans in slowly and finally kisses her. After a couple of kisses, they break apart, cuddling each other. Neither speaks for a long moment.
Dawson: (softly) Jo?
Dawson: (smiling) Welcome home.
Joey lowers her head, resting her forehead against Dawson's cheek for a moment. She looks up at him and smiles a lopsided grin, then leans in to kiss him, as the song continues on the radio.
Sigh ... I'm *such* a sucker for romance. Hated it? Liked it? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks! :)
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