Pacey flopped back onto his bed from where he had been sitting on the end of it and just stared up at the ceiling, holding the phone to his ear.
“I’m such an idiot…I was wearing your shirt.” Joey groaned softly, resting her forehead in the palm of her hand.
“You were?” Pacey sighed, cringing. “I’m sorry, Jo. I didn’t even notice…”
“It’s okay. It’s not your fault.” Joey dropped her head and lowered her voice. “None of this is your fault.”
“Well, you certainly aren’t in this by yourself.” Pacey shook his head, rubbing his eye with the palm of his hand. I’m just as guilty as…” His voice trailed off as he bit his lip, not wanting to finish his sentence. “What did Audrey have to say?”
“I think it would probably be an understatement to say that she wasn’t too happy with me.” Joey looked over at Audrey’s bed. “She didn’t even come home last night.” She looked back down at her comforter, absently drawing patterns on it with her finger. “I’m sorry I let her find out like that, Pacey. I’m sorry I did that to you.”
“What did you do to me?” Pacey furrowed his brow.
“Just that…I mean, you two had…a relationship, and I know you two were close and I just feel bad that I might have…she was your girlfriend, after all, and if you… ”
“Jo…I wasn’t in love with Audrey.” Pacey cut in quietly. “You know that.”
Joey didn’t say anything, just closed her eyes and held the phone a little closer to her ear. Finally she spoke, her voice catching a bit on her words. “So, about this thing Jen wants us to do this weekend…”
“I just won’t go.” Pacey said, shrugging his shoulders a bit, still looking up at the ceiling. “I don’t want to make things any harder on you.”
“Well, Audrey isn’t even going to be there. She already has plans with that guy I told you about – the one Jack and Jen introduced her to.” Joey bit her lip, her voice lowering to a whisper. “And…the hard part is not seeing you, Pace.” She hesitated a moment. “Please come?”
He closed his eyes, sighing, “Okay.”
Pacey sat on the counter in the radio station, flipping through the CD’s that Jen had piled up next to her, while Jack absently twirled himself around in a chair.
Jen sat back and pulled her headphones off. “I’m sorry guys, I thought I would be out of here by now. You two don’t have to wait for me. You can just take your tickets and go.”
“Now…who is playing at this concert again?” Pacey asked.
Jen leaned forward in her seat to point to a couple of the CD cases in his hand. “These guys are opening…and those guys will be there, too.”
“And who are you playing right now?” He indicated with his hand to the music coming from the speakers.
Pacey just rolled his eyes, nodding to himself.
“Really…just go.” Jen sighed. “To tell you the truth, I’m starting to think it would look a little bit better if we all arrived separately to this party anyway, seeing as we all are still under-aged. It will draw less attention to us this way, if we are not in a group.” She shrugged. “I don’t think that – technically – I was supposed to pass these party invitations out to all my friends. They were intended to be for the radio staff.”
Pacey raised an eyebrow at Jack, before looking back to Jen. “So, basically you are starting to get nervous now that you could get in trouble for this, so you want Jack and I to go in on our own because the likelihood is high that they will take one look at the two of us and know we shouldn’t be there, and then you can just say that you have no idea who we are.”
Jen considered this, nodding. “Umm…exactly.”
“Well what about Dawson and Joey?” Jack asked as Pacey dropped his head a little.
“Like anyone is going to think Dawson is under 21.” Jen laughed. “And Joey is a girl, and this is a party for the bands, so she would get let in regardless. I’ll just meet them like we planned and I’ll catch up with you two there.”
“Okay. Don’t have to tell us twice.” Jack jumped up to grab the tickets she was holding out to him and Pacey hopped off the counter to follow him out.
“Just in case anyone asks…” Jen called after them.
“We never heard of you.” They replied in unison.
They stepped out onto the sidewalk in front of the radio station and Jack turned to look at Pacey. “So, I don’t know how much you care about going to the actual concert, but some friends of mine who have off-campus housing are having a bash tonight. We can hit that for a while and then just meet everyone else at the party later.”
Pacey just smiled and patted him on the back. “Now, see - there’s a reason why I like you best, Jack.”
Jack laughed as they started down the street together. “So, how’s work going? Can I tell my dad to expect to not have to wait an hour for the launches this summer?”
Pacey smiled and shrugged. “Yeah…there’s a possibility that I might not be at the marina this summer after all.”
Jack raised an eyebrow. “Why? What’s going on?”
“My landlord is on the sailing crew at the Yacht Club. He has had me working on a boat that a friend of his is racing. So, this friend has been staying in my building in the other apartment while he’s been in town - he’s here to do the Halifax race in May - and we’ve been hanging out once in a while. He heads a professional sail crew. As it turns out, he just lost one of his guys to another boat. So, while I was having one of my more foolishly over-confident moments the other day, I actually asked him if he would consider giving me a shot to try out for the spot on his boat and – much to my surprise – he took me up on it. If it works out, he wants me to go back with him to start training with his crew.” Pacey looked to the ground and shrugged again.
“Well, how cool is that?” Jack patted Pacey on the back. “I mean – this could be an unbelievable opportunity for you, right? A chance to sail competitively?”
Pacey raised his eyebrows and nodded. “Yeah. It is pretty unbelievable.” He said softly.
“So, where is his crew? Off the Islands? Down in Newport?” Jack asked.
“Sydney.” Pacey smiled a little, bowing his head. Jack stopped short. “As in…Australia?”
Pacey nodded. “Yeah.”
Jack absorbed this. “Wow.” He looked at Pacey. “That is pretty amazing, Pacey. And…I guess this is the time in your life to do it. I mean, you really have nothing holding you here, right?”
Pacey looked up. “Right. Um…listen, do you mind just kind of keeping this between you and me for right now?”
Jack shrugged his shoulders. “Sure.”
Pacey nodded. “Thanks.” He glanced up at the dark night sky as they continued on down the street.
Joey sighed, her eyes scanning the crowd. Suddenly she felt Dawson’s hand snaking around her waist from behind pulling her back against him.
“Dawson…” She huffed a bit, muttering to him under her breath. “Jen is going to be right back.”
He raised an eyebrow, leaning to kiss her. “So?”
“So…” She backed her head away from the kiss. “This is awkward enough – the three of us being here together like this. I don’t want to make her feel uncomfortable to be around us.”
Dawson snorted. “We’ve all been together plenty of times since you and I have been going out, Joey. Jen has been just fine with it.”
“Maybe she acts fine with it…but it doesn’t mean it might not bother her.” Joey sighed again, almost to herself.
Suddenly Jen was there next to them. “Well…no sign of them at the door either. We might as well make our way over to the bar.” She shrugged. “I’m sure they will show up eventually. They know there is free booze here, after all.” She laughed.
“And I’m sure it has crossed Pacey’s mind that there could potentially be some cast-off groupies hanging around needing to be consoled.” Dawson snorted.
Joey stopped short, glaring at him, but he just passed by her following Jen towards the bar. They pushed their way through the crowd and Joey fell back a few feet when she saw Dawson and Jen finally reach a spot at the bar. She looked around again, raising herself up on her toes to try and look over the sea of people.
“Come here often?”
The smile spread across her face as she heard his voice in her ear, low and soft, and felt his warm breath tickle her neck, causing small goose-bumps to appear on her skin. She slowly turned to face him.
“Where have you been all night?” She asked him, sighing in relief. Her eyes scanned his face and narrowed slightly. “You’re drunk, aren’t you?” She grinned a little.
“Yes.” Pacey nodded. “Yes, I am.”
There was a group pushing their way through the crowd behind Joey now, sending her lurching forward a bit so that she was pressed up against him. She lightly rested her hands on his sides, closing her eyes and just breathing him in. Pacey lowered his head to just barely brush a kiss across her lips. She stepped back, slowly opening her eyes to look at him, unconsciously raising her hand to touch her fingers to the spot he kissed. “Pace…” She said softly.
“Sorry…I know.” He chuckled softly, shaking his head as he dropped his eyes to the ground. He lifted his head to hold her gaze and then everyone was around them, ending the moment.
“Well…finally!” Jen exclaimed, appearing from behind Joey. “Where have you two been all night? Did you even make it to any of the concert?”
Jack was next to Pacey now. “Um…we got a little side-tracked.”
Jen rolled her eyes, looking at them both. “Yeah. Obviously by a keg of beer.”
They both chuckled a little at this and then Dawson was there as well. “Jack.” He nodded his greeting. “Pacey.”
“Dawson.” Pacey replied, slightly mimicking his tone. Joey glanced up at him quickly, her mouth falling open, before looking back to the floor.
Dawson just stared at Pacey blankly, blinking his eyes, before looking over at Joey. “Why don’t we go check out the view of the city from here.’ He nodded his head, taking her hand to lead her away. Pacey just laughed to himself, discreetly rolling his eyes and shaking his head.
“Well, I think we are going to hit the bar.” Jack shrugged. “Why don’t you lead the way, Jen?” The three of them started off in the opposite direction as Joey glanced over her shoulder to watch them go.
“What was that?” She scowled at Dawson as they emerged from the crowd on the other side of the room and found a spot to stand by the windows.
“What?” Dawson looked at her, lowering his eyebrows.
“Why did you just drag me away like that?” Joey raised her arms.
“Maybe I just want to spend a little time alone with you, Joey.” He shrugged. “This is the first weekend you have been willing to stay in Boston, and we end up doing this group thing with everyone. Why is it that you never stay when I ask you to do something with me?” He looked at her pointedly.
“You are working on your film projects every weekend, Dawson. What do you want me to do – just sit around and be there for you when you have time for me?” She shook her head in irritation.
“It never seemed to bother you before.” He said quietly.
Joey just scowled at the floor, folding her arms across her chest. Dawson leaned into her, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her against him. “I don’t want to fight with you, Joey. Especially tonight...this is the first time in a long while that you don’t have a paper to write or an exam to study for. You can stay over tonight and we have no classes to get up for in the morning.” He lowered his head to kiss her. “I’ve missed you. It’s been a while, Joey.” His voice took on a slightly whiny edge.
She dropped her head a little, trying not to cringe as she felt his lips meet the exact spot where she could still feel Pacey’s kiss.
At the bar, Pacey cringed as well, and downed the shot that Jack had just passed him. He tried not to look over at Dawson and Joey, to see him touching her and then kissing her. He lowered his head, his stormy blue eyes darkening a bit as he watched them. His hand slowly curled into a fist at his side as he saw her start to pull away from Dawson’s grasp, only to have him pull her back. He bit down on the inside of his lip, closing his eyes and shaking his head in disgust as he noticed Dawson’s hand wrap around her wrist and hold her there.
He turned away now to look around the party. Suddenly there was someone sliding in next to him at the bar.
“Hello there.” The pretty blond smiled up at him as she waved to get the bartender’s attention. Pacey just glanced down at her, raising an eyebrow slightly at the view of her ample cleavage that he had from his angle.
“Well, hello there, yourself.” He replied with his most charming smile.
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