Here In My Arms
Part 2
by: WitterWoman

Setting: Right after “The Anti-Prom” (#322)

“I am everything you want, I am everything you need, I am everything inside of you that you wish you could be, I say all the right things, at exactly the right times, but I mean nothing to you and I don’t know why.”

“You have to tell her that you love her…because if you don’t – I promise you you’ll regret it.”

Pacey could still hear Andie’s heartfelt advice as he watched her meet Jack on the steps of their house.  He waited until after they entered arm and arm and closed the door behind them before he pulled out of the McPhee driveway.

He knew Andie was right, and the absurdity of his ex-girlfriend giving him such honest wisdom for his pursuit of another girl was not lost on him.  Andie McPhee was one amazing woman and he had treated her to a really lousy night.  At least she understood why he had asked her and why he needed to see Joey, to have an excuse to be near her.  The fact that she understood it, and still forgave him was nothing short of incredible.  If only Dawson could be so forgiving.

Dawson.  Just thinking of his supposed best friend these days made him completely angry and utterly distraught at the same time.  Dawson had behaved like the spoiled brat that he was all night long.  Throwing his weight around the restaurant because his parents owned it, acting like he was such a generous friend to Jack when really it was obvious to everyone there that his only interest in attending was to display Joey like she was his prize.

Pacey headed out along the dark roads and tried not to think about Joey.  Tried not to remember how beautiful she looked tonight – like a goddess who had stepped down among their ordinary mortal selves.  It had killed him to see her dancing with Dawson all night, being held in his arms their bodies close together, but he couldn’t look away - he was transfixed by her.  Jen had reached over and supportively squeezed his hand more than once and Andie had tried to keep him distracted with chatter but his misery had been so obvious there wasn’t much anyone could do.

Anyone except Joey.

He didn’t know why she had asked him to dance but he knew why he wanted her to.  If the night had passed without even being able to touch her he didn’t know how he would make it.  As she’d moved around him out of his reach he could practically feel her soft skin under his fingers, her warm breath against his ear.  It was all exquisite torture – knowing what it felt like to be with her, and knowing that he couldn’t have it.

And then she had come over to him and changed everything.  Just hearing her voice saying his name had made him jump slightly in surprise and he had sighed deeply as he gratefully followed her out to the floor.  Once she turned to face him they slipped together like they had never been apart.  They were a perfect fit.

Nothing he had said to her was planned but every word came straight from his heart and he knew from the way she responded to him that she understood that.  Her body relaxed against his and she looked at him with eyes that were filled with emotion.  He had recognized her mother’s bracelet the moment she’d arrived and knew how much it meant to her.  In his pathetic state it almost felt like some sort of secret message she was sending him because only he knew its history.

Remembering every moment with Joey Potter was both a blessing and a curse.  Her friendship particularly in the last year had been one of the most valuable connections in his life and the apparent loss of that tore him apart.  He remembered every laugh, every lopsided grin, each kiss because he had replayed them all endlessly in his head, savoring each image as the only part of her he could ever expect to have.

But then he did have her. The short time that they had actually given in to their feelings for one another was one of the most exhilarating times in his life and the sudden demise of it was an epic nightmare he was doomed to relive until he escaped from Capeside.  Being with her tonight had only confirmed what he always knew would be true – he could love her and want her and even know she longed for him, but in the end she would always love Dawson more, always return to the comfort of Dawson’s affections.  No matter what scenario was cast, Joey Potter would always leave him behind.

This sorry train of thought was getting him nowhere fast.  He caught himself passing by Dawson’s road and he gripped the steering wheel angrily as he imagined the scenes that could very well be taking place just a little ways away – Dawson and Joey united again in their unshakeable devotion to their supposed soulmate status.  Dawson’s ruffled ego soothed by Joey’s constant reassurances of her deep and abiding love for him.  Dawson and Joey curled up in their assigned positions on his bed, cuddled together watching some goddamn Spielberg flick for the millionth time.  Dawson and Joey without a movie, lying closer together, her hair softly falling around her shoulders…

Enough.  He was making himself crazy.  He turned around and headed back into town.  There was only one place he could handle being right now and he floored the gas pedal in his anxiousness to get there as soon as possible.

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