Pacey pulled into the first available parking spot he could find on the street, throwing his truck into park. He shut the motor off, glancing at the mail he had picked up from Doug’s and tossed onto the seat next to him. He looked at the note lying on top of the pile again, the message that she had called in Doug’s block letter handwriting. He sat there a moment before opening the door and hopping out to make his way up the sidewalk to his apartment.
He turned around to see Gail Leery coming out off the muffin shop on the corner, holding a coffee in one hand and using her other hand to block out the glare of the sun as she squinted her eyes in his direction.
“Hey Gail.” He smiled, dropping his head to walk over to her. “How are you?”
“I’m great, thanks.” She leaned up to give him a light hug. “How have you been?”
“Good.” He nodded. “How’s Lily?”
“Oh…she’s getting so big you wouldn’t even recognize her. You should stop by sometime. She’d love to see her Uncle Pacey.” He just smiled a little at this, looking at the ground as Gail continued. “So, have you talked to Dawson lately? He’s so busy with his film projects that I can never seem to get in touch with him. I have to call over to Joey’s sometime just to see how he is doing.”
Pacey nodded, still looking at the ground. “No…I, ah...haven’t made it up to Boston in a while, so…” He looked up at her quickly and shrugged his shoulders, not finishing his sentence.
“Well, how about Joey?” Gail looked at him and Pacey squirmed a little. “Dawson was telling me that she has been coming home on the weekends to help Bessie out or something? I told him she hasn’t stopped by and I have yet to see her around town…do you ever see her?”
Pacey furrowed his brow as if he were thinking about this. “Umm…I’ve bumped into her a couple of times here and there, I think…yeah.”
Gail just shook her head. “It’s nice that she is close enough to help out her sister like that, but I just feel so bad that she may be missing out on so much of her college experience. I keep telling Bodie at the restaurant that I am always available if Bessie needs any help or needs anyone to watch Alex. Joey should be focusing on her own life now…she worked so hard for this I feel bad to think that she might be putting this burden on herself to come home all the time.” Gail looked out across the street, almost as if she were lost in thought a moment. “I should just call Bessie myself and offer to help her out if she needs me to. I keep thinking of poor Joey taking that train back and forth to Capeside every weekend, when she had been so excited to get out there and start her life in Boston.”
Pacey had raised his head to listen, biting the inside of his lower lip thoughtfully. He finally spoke. “I’m sure Bessie would appreciate that, Gail. Maybe you should give her a call.” He said quietly.
“Yeah, I think I will.” She smiled at him and nodded. “Well, it was good to see you, Pacey. You should stop by the house when you get a chance.” She gave him a little wave as she started down the street.
“Okay. Bye.” Pacey nodded, looking down at the ground for a moment before turning back to continue on his way.
The phone was ringing from where it was sitting on top of a pile of boxes as Pacey walked through the door of his apartment. He just looked at it, sighing to himself, before walking over to pick it up.
He brought his hand to his forehead, rubbing his eye tiredly with the palm of his hand, the sound of her voice instantly bringing him back to the moment she had kissed him. “Hey, Joey.” He said softly.
“I didn’t realize you were already at your new place…” She said quietly. “I left you a message at Doug’s yesterday. I just called back now and he gave me your new number.” She hesitated. “So…are you all moved in?” Her voice sounded strained.
“Ah, yeah…” He replied. “Pretty much.” He looked around him at his surroundings. “Actually…probably as much as I’ll ever be.”
“Well…I was going to be coming down right after classes on Friday and I was wondering what you were doing...”
Pacey frowned, biting his lip, before rushing to speak. “You know…does Bessie really need you to come home every weekend, Jo? Because I’m sure there are other people around who could help her out. She could probably make do without you once in a while…and you could probably use a break yourself. You should just stay up there this weekend – have a little fun.”
She was quiet on the other end of the line for a minute. “Pacey…if this is about the other day, I’d really like to see you to talk about it and…”
“There’s nothing to talk about.” He cut in quickly. “It’s no big deal. It’s forgotten.”
“Oh…okay.” She responded in a shaky voice.
Pacey closed his eyes tightly shut, shaking his head and trying to not to hear the hurt in her tone. “Besides…I kind of have plans already for Friday night so I wouldn’t be around anyway.” He said in a low voice.
There was another stretch of silence before she responded. “Okay…well, I guess I’ll just see you later, then?” This time he heard her voice catch a bit on her words and he had to sit down, dropping his head in his hand.
“Yeah. Okay. See ya, Jo.” He managed to get out.
“See ya, Pace.” She said, her voice barely a whisper now, before there was a click and then just the dial tone in his ear.
Joey threw open the door, smiling tightly at Dawson. “I’m not ready yet. Come on in…” She quickly disappeared into her bathroom.
“Hello to you, too.” He laughed to himself, raising his eyebrows as he shut the door behind him and came into the room to sit at the end of her bed. He leaned forward and tilted his head to look over at the bathroom door. “I did tell you that we are meeting everyone at 7:00, right?”
Joey stuck her head out the door to look at him as she pulled a sweater on. “Everyone? Who’s everyone?”
“The people from my class...you know, Robert and Emily and Daron?” He tilted his head to smile at her. “We just had dinner with them last week, remember?”
“Exactly.” Joey came out, throwing her hands in the air a bit. “We just went out with these people last week…now we have to spend our Friday night with them, too?”
Dawson just looked at her, bringing his eyebrows together in confusion. “I thought you had fun last time…?”
“No. You had fun.” Joey muttered under her breath, turning to her bureau to pick up her brush.
“Wait a minute.” Dawson shook his head, perplexed. “What are you saying? Do you not like my friends from school now, Joey?”
She sighed then, her shoulders slumping. “It’s just…they just come off as…a bit too pretentious for me.” She looked at him, her head lowered. “The whole night is spent listening to them argue about obscure art house films that I don’t think any of them have really even seen …” She sighed, throwing her brush back onto her bureau. “And, you’re the one who has been telling me you wanted us to spend more time together…now here I am like you wanted and…”
Dawson stood up now, his nostrils flaring slightly. “Like I wanted?” He repeated her words in disbelief. “Maybe it would be nice once in a while for you to act like you want to be here, too, Joey – and not that you’re obligated to be or something.” He flapped his arms at her.
She ran her hand through her hair in exasperation. “That’s not what I meant.” She said flatly, avoiding his gaze.
“Well...what would you like to do tonight, Joey? Please, enlighten me. Because, for the life of me, I have no idea what you want from me anymore. You have been trying to pick a fight with me all week and you know what? I’m not going to do it.” He walked over to the door, stopping to look at her as he reached it. “Just call me when you know what you want to do.” He said quietly as he left the room.
Joey just sighed, going over to sit on her bed and drop her head in her hands. After a while she raised her head and, brushing the hair out of her face, she saw the corner of her duffel bag sticking out of her closet door. Biting her lower lip, she jumped up to throw it over her shoulder and, grabbing her coat and her keys from her desk, she ran out the door.
Joey looked up as the cab pulled into the driveway of the B&B. She pulled the strap of her bag over her shoulder and reached into her coat pocket to pull out some crumpled bills.
“This is it. Here you go.” She handed the driver the money and she slid out of her seat. “Thank you.”
She walked across the dark yard to the front porch, smiling as she opened the door and saw Alex in his pajamas sprawled on the living room floor with his toy trucks.
“Aunt Joey is here!” He exclaimed as she walked in, jumping up to run over to her and sliding across the hardwood floor.
“Hi Alex.” She laughed as he collided with her legs. She ruffled her hand through his hair, looking over the room. “Where is everybody?”
“Daddy is at work.” Alex replied in a sing-song voice as he bounced around her in circles.
“And where’s Mommy?” She asked, walking into the kitchen and glancing around. She heard the sound of running water and started down the hall towards the bathroom. “Bes? Bessie?’ She reached the partially open door and knocked softly on it. When she got no answer, she peeked her head around the corner. “Are you…?
Joey stared in horror at the sight before her. The water from the sink faucet was running, overflowing the basin, and Bessie was sprawled, motionless, on the bathroom floor.
“It’s smart that you brought in…she was severely dehydrated and that is never a good thing for the mother or the baby…” Joey sat and listened to the nurse behind the desk in front of her as she worried her bottom lip with her teeth, holding Alex tightly on her lap. Suddenly she heard Bodie’s voice and looked up to see him running down the hall. She jumped up to meet him.
“Hey…I got here as fast as I could…” He was out of breath and rested his hand on her shoulder a minute to lean on her.
“She’s fine. The baby’s fine. Everyone is fine.” Joey quickly assured him. “She must have passed out or fainted or something. They were telling me it can be a common complication of pregnancy. But…I guess she must have hit her head on the sink or the tub when she fell.” Joey shrugged her shoulders. “I just…I was just so scared when I saw her that I immediately called 911. She had come to before they even got there, but they still wanted to take her in to be safe.” Joey motioned to the door behind her. “She’s right in here. They’re giving her fluids now because I guess she was really dehydrated, too.”
Bodie followed her, picking up Alex and shaking his head. “Dehydrated? I should have known…she has been so nauseous lately…” He sighed.
Joey stayed in the doorway of the examining room, smiling as she watched Bodie go over to Bessie with Alex still in his arms and her reaching up to hug them both. She quietly ducked out to give them a moment alone. Standing in the hallway of the hospital now, she let out a deep breath as she ran her hands through her hair. The fear she had been experiencing for the past hour was starting to subside, and now all she could feel was exhaustion. She leaned back against the wall behind her, dropping her head in her hands, too tired now to fight the tears that had been threatening to fall.
She glanced up, her mouth falling open slightly as she saw Pacey coming towards her down the hall. He stopped in front of her, biting the inside of his lower lip. “Are you okay? Is everyone all right?” He asked softly, furrowing his brow. “Doug told me that there was a call to the B&B tonight and…”
“Yeah…everyone is okay…” Joey whispered before she dropped her head again, not able to say any more as she felt the tears stream down her face. Pacey’s arms were around her in an instant and she buried her face in his neck as she cried. He just gently rubbed her back, whispering words of comfort. She finally gained her composure enough to pull back and meet his eyes again. He just gave her a little smile of encouragement, reaching up to just briefly touch her face.
Bodie emerged from the room next to them, a sleepy Alex resting on his hip. “Hey Pacey.” He nodded at him before looking to Joey. “They want to keep her overnight on the monitors and because of that bump to her head – just to watch her, you know. I’m going to stay, but do you think you could get Alex home for me?”
“I can take them home.” Pacey offered quietly.
“Okay. Thanks.” Bodie smiled and sighed, handing off the little boy to Joey. “I’ll just talk to you in the morning.” He gave them a little wave as he went to go back in the room.
“Okay. Call us if you need anything.” Joey sniffed, wrapping her arms around Alex and letting Pacey guide her down the hall towards the doors that led to the parking lot outside.
Alex was sound asleep by the time they reached the B&B and Joey held the front door open for Pacey to carry him into the house. She followed them down the hall, stopping off in her own room as Pacey went on to put Alex down in his. She pulled off her coat, just throwing it onto the floor as she ran her hands through her hair and then covered her face. She turned around and Pacey was standing in the doorway of her room, leaning his shoulder against the door with his hands stuffed in his pockets of his jeans.
“Are you going to be okay?” He asked, watching her.
Joey nodded, smiling a little as she dropped her hands to her sides again. “Yeah. Thank you, Pacey.”
He just smiled, regarding her with his warm blue eyes.
“It was just so scary, you know…” Joey continued, shrugging her shoulders. “Coming home and finding her like that. I thought something was seriously wrong. About a hundred horrible thoughts went through my head.” She looked at him, tilting her head. “I had no idea it could be a common thing for pregnant women to faint like that, did you?”
Pacey chuckled, dropping his head a bit. “I think you’re asking the wrong person here, Jo. All I remember about my sister’s pregnancies was that it was always a good idea to stay far, far away from her at all times.”
Joey smirked at this, then her face softened as she seemed to become lost in thought a minute. “I heard the baby’s heartbeat when they put the monitor on her. I don’t think it had really dawned on me until then that she has a little person growing in there.” She looked at him now, holding his gaze a long moment. “I though I might be pregnant once, you know.”
Pacey just looked back at her, his mouth dropping open slightly before he cringed a bit, looking at the floor. “Really?” He said in a low voice, avoiding her eyes.
Joey nodded, watching him. “It was towards the end of our senior year, right after I got my acceptance to Worthington, actually.”
Pacey looked up slowly, his face blank.
“I wasn’t – obviously – but I remember a few days there when I was starting to get a little nervous.”
He narrowed his eyes. “You never told…” His voice changed as a light of realization crossed his face. “You thought you couldn’t tell me.” He said, more of a statement to himself than a question to her, as he dropped his gaze back to the floor.
Joey shrugged her shoulders. “Well, you were away with Doug that weekend and by the time you got back it just seemed silly – I mean, I was actually getting all worried for no reason. I think I was like two days late or something.” She smiled. “I just got into typical panic mode there for a while, letting my imagination get the better of me – thinking how young we were, still in high school, what it would mean for our futures, what we would have to do…” She smiled at him again. “So, you know, of course it was this huge relief when it turned out to be nothing, and it goes without saying that it all worked out for the best, but…” Her voice drifted off as she looked away.
“But what?” Pacey asked quietly after a moment.
She looked back at him, her eyes shining. “I have to admit that there was still some tiny part of me that felt disappointed.” She whispered, her voice catching in her throat.
They just looked at each other for a long while without saying anything. Joey swallowed back the lump in her throat, taking a couple of tentative steps towards him until she was right in front of him. Pacey just watched her, his hands still in his pockets, as she leaned up to kiss him. She barely touched her lips to his once, then twice. She kissed him again, this time with more confidence, and she heard him sigh softly as he finally kissed her back, taking her lower lip gently between his. She opened her mouth to him, sighing herself as she sought out and found the familiar, delicious warmth, the soft strokes of his tongue sliding against hers now as he finally raised his arms to bring his hands to her face.
The kiss deepened as Pacey glided his hands down her neck, and then even lower to place his arms around her body, pulling her into him. Joey wrapped her arms around his neck, pressing up against him, needing to be even closer, needing to feel him. He dragged his lips from her mouth, moving his soft kisses to her neck as she let out a quiet moan. She ran her hands down his back, then reached up again to push his coat off his shoulders. He released her for just a second to let it drop to the floor, and then he came back to pick her up around the waist and turn around to press her up against her bedroom door. His hand moved down from her waist now to glide over her hip, running along her thigh as she raised her leg to wrap it around him and pull him in flush against her. He groaned now as his hardening erection met her body, soft and warm and achingly familiar, and he heard her whisper his name. He groaned again, biting down gently on her neck as she reached her hand between them to stroke his length.
Joey raised her hands to his chest now, gently pushing him back as she held his gaze, the hunger in her eyes meeting his own. She moved forward with him, reaching behind her for the doorknob to close the door. He just watched her, his eyes dark with passion now, as she took his hand and led him over to her bed. They kissed again, slowly dropping down onto the comforter, their hands roaming over each other with abandon now. Joey went for the buttons on his shirt, her fingers fumbling as she undid them, and then sighed as she reached her hands inside to feel his warm skin. His hand was under her sweater now, his thumb brushing gently against the skin of her stomach before he moved his hand up to just run his palm slowly over her breast. She moaned, pushing at his chest to roll him over as she sat up to straddle him and pull the sweater off and over her head and toss it aside. He just looked up at her, running his hands along her sides. She lifted herself up a little higher on her knees then, watching his eyes follow her movements as she started to slowly and deliberately unzip her jeans.
“Jo…” He said softly, but she dropped down to kiss him again before he could finish his thought, crushing her breasts against his bare chest and rocking her pelvis against him as she lay on top of him. He just wrapped his arms around her, moving his large hands down to pull her in even harder against him. Joey bit down softly on his neck and he rolled her over in one swift movement, thrusting against her as she groaned in his ear. His hands were at her jeans now, pushing them down over her hips and then pulling them off her along with her panties. He moved down lower and she gasped as she felt his tongue glide along her and then inside her, arching her neck back onto the bed and gripping the comforter in her fists as the sensation rocked through her whole body.
“Pacey…” She cried out softly. He sat up and moved back from her now, and she watched as he reached into his wallet for a condom. She took it from him, sitting up a little to help him push his pants down, then pulling him back on top of her. She reached down to stroke him again, and then rolled the condom over his length, her hips instinctively arching up off the bed at the same time. He pushed her back down gently with his body, just reaching up with his hand now to brush the hair out of her eyes. She tried to hold his gaze, moaning as she felt him slowly slide inside her, pushing them both past the point of no return.
Joey opened one eye, squinting against the sunlight pouring through her bedroom window, to see Alex standing by her bed. She hugged the pillow to her, smiling to find that it still smelled like Pacey, remembering his kisses from when he had finally left her just before dawn. “
What is it Alex…?” She muttered sleepily, briefly closing her eyes again. “You want some breakfast?”
“No. Someone is at the door.” He said, pointing out to the living room.
Joey lifted her head off the pillow, frowning at the time on the alarm clock on her nightstand but then remembering Bessie. She quickly sat up, still only in the big t-shirt she had pulled on after Pacey had left, taking his warmth from the bed with him. She went over to her closet, pulling out an old bathrobe and wrapping it around her.
“Okay…let’s go.” She rested her hand on Alex’s head, yawning and following him out to the front door. Pulling the sash on her robe a little tighter, she opened it, her face falling.
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