Love & Basketball
Part 3
by Laura
August 2001

"Face it, Dawson, you don't stand a chance," Pacey mutters as Dawson tries to out manuver him without any success. They've been playing basketball for over half an hour though, and the sight in itself was pathetic. Dawson just grunts in response to Pacey's taunt and tries once more to escape his careful guard, but only ends up having the ball easily swiped from him mid-dribble. Pacey grins as Dawson groans in exasperation, taking a moment to wipe the sweat from his brow. "I'm already up by five points."

"You know, Pacey, one thing I've always hated about you is your immense cockiness. You have nothing to be so proud of, if you ask me, yet I've never met anyone so arrogant."

"Come on, Dawson, Chris Wolfe is far more arrogant than I am," Pacey chuckles and shrugs off Dawson's insult, putting the ball up. It bounces off of the rim and Dawson smirks.

"And also a better basketball player, I'm sure."

"You're the one who has only made two baskets so far, you're hardly the next NBA MVP, Dawson," Pacey watches as Dawson takes it back behind the line and prepares to block him again.

"I have higher aspirations, I'm afraid to tell you. Whereas you have any besides your goal to ruin Joey's life?"

Without warning Pacey shoves Dawson, sending him crashing to the gym floor. Jack hurriedly runs over and comes between the two of them as Dawson stands up.

"Guys, don't!" Jack exclaims. "Dawson, that was out of line, and Pacey, that goes for you too. Work your agression out on the basketball, not on each other. And stop with the insults." Dawson and Pacey are glaring at each other so harshly that Jack considers just giving up on his idea and sending them their separate ways before real physical violence breaks out, but Pacey turns away before Jack can make a decision.

"Fine. Your ball, Dawson." He throws the ball with extreme force at Dawson, who catches with a small gasp of pain.

"Good," Jack nods, returning to the sidelines, praying to god that Dawson and Pacey would make it through the game without killing one another. He had forced them to stay here and play in hopes of getting some of their frustration out, maybe to get them to talk to one another as they played. When he and Dawson had played together over the summer, they had had their best conversations. Somehow Dawson opened up more when he had something else to occupy his thoughts, to keep him from over-analyzing his own words. But as far as him getting to talk with Pacey, it's not working in the slightest bit. And if he continued to grate on Pacey, Jack knew it wouldn't be pretty. Dawson didn't stand a chance against Pacey if it came to fighting. It'd be about two seconds before Dawson would be laid out flat on the floor.

Before Pacey can even return his attentions to the game, Dawson rushes past him and manages to sink the ball through the hoop.

"Ha," Dawson snorts and Pacey rolls his eyes.

"Yeah, Dawson, really nice work there," Pacey mumbles, thinking at how immature Dawson can be when he wants to. "I wasn't even ready to start playing again."

"Well then you shouldn't have gotten back on the court and given me the ball," Dawson retorts. "All is fair in love and war, right?"

"Of course. That's why you're being such an idiot about mine and Joey's relationship, right?" Pacey points out Dawson's hypocrisy and Dawson doesn't reply. "God, Dawson, why are you like this?"

"What am I like?" He asks breathlessly as Pacey once again gets past his weak defense.

"8-3. What are you like? Dawson, all last year you pushed Joey away time and time again, telling her it wasn't the right time. In fact, you even pushed me toward her!"

"To be her friend! Not her...her..." He wavers, not able to say it.

"Her boyfriend? Her lover?" Pacey supplies, shaking his head. "Dawson, you have to be a fool to think that any guy who hangs around Joey long enough won't develop feelings for her. In fact, wasn't it *me* who realized how attractive Joey was back in tenth grade, before you even realized you liked her?"

"So? Pacey, you were extremely hormonal. You would've found any thing with breasts attractive," Dawson replies. “The fact that you had the hots for Joey for like, one day, doesn’t say much for you.”

“You can read it however you want to, Dawson, but the fact of the matter is that you continually only want Joey when you can’t have her. It’s like a game to you. Whenever she moves away from you, that’s exactly when you want her back. It’s a sick and twisted way to treat someone who is supposed to be your best friend.”

“That is not true.”

“Oh, it’s not? So if I were to stop dating Joey right now, you’d still want to be with her next week? How long would your relationship last before you broke up with her again?”

“Are you forgetting that both times we dated, Joey was the one who broke up with me?” Dawson exclaims, astonished. “She dumped me, Pacey! It wasn’t my choice.”

“Yeah, but it was your fault. The only reason she ever broke up with you is because of your behavior. And then when you came back from Philly and she was willing to put the past behind her and start again, you turned her down. You didn’t want her. But the second you realized your best friend and supposed soul mate was closer to me than she was to you, you started pursuing her again. It’s a load of shit, Dawson, and you know it. If you were really Joey’s best friend, you’d want her to be happy. And she’s happy with me.” Another basket. “9-3.”

“Pacey, you really have no idea how deep Joey and I go. She wouldn’t have even gone after you last May if I hadn’t told her to.”

Pacey stops in his tracks, not caring as Dawson scores.

“Excuse me? And you think *I'm* arrogant?"

“She didn’t go because she suddenly woke up to the fact she wanted you more than me, Pacey. She only went because I told her she should. She was going to stay with me all summer,” Dawson tells Pacey snidely, sneering at his former friend.

“That’s not true,” Pacey denies it angrily. “And you know it.”

“I take it she didn’t tell you about our conversation at my parents’ reception?”

“Yeah, Dawson, as a matter of fact she did,” Pacey says tightly. “We had a long talk about it, actually. She said she was ashamed of the fact she had to wait for you to urge her. She said she should’ve gone on her own.”

“But she didn’t. What does that say?”

“Back up a second, Dawson. She may have ran after me because you told her to, but the second she made that choice to get on my boat rather than ask me to stay, she started thinking on her own. We didn’t just sail away from Capeside, from you. We sailed away from our old selves.” Pacey pauses, holding the basketball to his hip. “We’re different people now than we were three months ago. I’m no longer your trusted buddy who will gladly step out of the way in the name of your delusions of true love. Joey’s not the girl down the creek who needs you to survive. We’ve grown up, Dawson. Maybe you should too.”


“Dawson, I would give almost anything in the world to have your friendship back. To have you become the person you used to be rather than this bitter fool you are now. Almost anything. But I’m not giving up Joey. When it comes to choosing between the two of you, I choose her without a second thought.” Pacey lets the basketball fall to the ground and roll away. “If you want either of us in your lives, Dawson, you’re going to have to accept us being together. Otherwise...”

Dawson just stares at Pacey, not sure what to say. Pacey turns and heads for the exit slowly. Jack stands up, wondering what’s going on.

“Pacey, where are you going? You still have six more points-“

“Jack, it's nice of you to try and get Dawson and I to work this out, but this isn’t going to happen. Not today.” He stops, feeling bad when he sees the pained look on Jack’s face. “But…thank you. I appreciate you trying,” Pacey says honestly, smiling at Jack faintly. Jack glances at Dawson, sighing.

“You’re welcome, Pacey…” he replies quietly, watching as Pacey walks away. At the doorway, Pacey turns back around, taking a long hard look at Dawson. He’s still standing there, not moving.

“God…I…I wish things were different, D. I miss you so much, Dawson, I really do. I miss being able to crash at your house when my parents are fighting. I miss movie nights and working at Screenplay. All summer long there were so many times when I wished I could call you and talk to you, to tell you how things were going and how happy I was. But I couldn’t. Losing your friendship is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I wish there was a way that we could work this out, but I don’t think there is. You’re throwing everything away with both hands and there’s not any way I can catch all the pieces on my own. I can’t glue things back together if you’re determined to keep breaking it apart.” Pacey waits a moment, hoping Dawson will say something, but he doesn’t. “I’ll see you around.”

The door shuts with a loud clang, startling Dawson. He jumps, blinking quickly and trying to keep a tear from escaping his eye. Jack approaches his friend slowly, eyeing him and trying to figure out what he’s thinking.

“Dawson…?” Jack asks. Dawson turns to him, a small chuckle escaping his lips.

“I really suck, don’t I?”

“Dawson, you don’t suck,” Jack reassures him, unsure what else to do to make Dawson feel any better. He had exhausted his supply of ideas.

“Yeah, I do. I only scored four points,” Dawson laughs out loud. “And three were because Pacey wasn’t even paying attention. Cheap shots.”

“You’re talking about the game,” Jack says, realizing with dismay that Dawson isn’t even referring to what Pacey had just said.

“Yeah, I am talking about the game. And then I’m not.” Dawson says, his voice low and wavering. Without saying another word, Dawson leaves the gymnasium.


“Joey? Someone is here to see you.”

Joey jumps up off of her bed upon hearing her sister’s voice, racing out of her room and toward the front of the house, expecting to see Pacey standing in the living room. She halts, shocked to find Dawson there instead. Joey almost feels dizzy for a moment, thinking maybe she’s hallucinating. Or maybe even hoping she’s hallucinating.

“Dawson,” she says breathlessly. Her face must’ve shown her shock and confusion. Dawson laughs lightly to relieve the tension, stepping toward her.

“I know, you were expecting Pacey,” he remarks, with more humor than he thought he could muster. He barely sounded bitter at all. It surprises Joey. “Sorry to disappoint. I’m sure he’ll be over later, telling you what an ass I was earlier today.”

“Oh, he called me and told me about your meeting at your house already.”

“Not that. There’s been another instance of my own bad behavior since then.”

“Already? Dawson, you sure work fast,” Joey quips, amused by the fact Dawson is being so flippant about things. From how Pacey sounded on the phone earlier, Dawson was in no mood to joke or be self-deprecating.

“I’m gifted,” he murmurs, shrugging. “You think we could go to your room and talk for a few minutes?” He eyes Bessie, who is standing in the kitchen, not even bothering to hide the fact that she’s trying to eavesdrop. Joey nods, gesturing for Dawson to follow her.

“So, how are you doing? We haven’t talked since I’ve been back, though so much has already happened,” Her voice cracks slightly as she speaks, averting her gaze from Dawson as if suddenly remembering that Dawson had gotten more than an eyeful of her and Pacey earlier that morning. Dawson watches her, feeling sorry that she’s obviously so embarrassed.

“I take it Jen told you about…”

“Yes, she did,” Joey replies, blushing a deep shade of red and fidgeting. Dawson sits down next to her on the bed, sighing. He feels terrible.

“I didn’t really see anything, Joey,” he lies through his teeth. “It was just a glance, I turned away. You don’t have to worry about…well, about that.”

“I’m sorry you had to find out this way, Dawson. I was going to tell you on my own eventually, after things got a little better. I didn’t want to…I know that you and I always said we were going to be one another’s firsts. And I know it had to hurt to…to discover that Pacey and I…” Joey drifts off, shrugging. “I’m not sorry that we did it, Dawson, but I am sorry that you were hurt by it.” Dawson is silent for a moment, pulling at the corner of his shirt and being very careful to keep his gaze focused on the task.

“I’m glad that I know, Joey,” He finally says softly. “It just makes it more final. I have to admit that all summer long, I kind of had this fantasy that you would come home and realize that you wanted to be with me, that the summer trip with Pacey was a mistake. But now…I mean, now I know. This? This is closure. I can just let go of the idea of…of you, and try to get over it. I can stop holding out hope.” Tears well up in Joey’s eyes, the torment evident in her best friend’s countenance just too much to bear.

“Dawson, there will always be a part of me that loves you, you have to know that.”

“But not the way you love Pacey.”

“No, not in that way.”

“He loves you too, Jo. So much…” Dawson chokes out, standing up quickly and moving away from her and going to the window. It’s evident that he’s trying not to cry as he stares out at the creek. The room is deathly silent for a few moments before Dawson is able to continue. “I went to meet Jack to play some basketball tonight. It’s something we’ve been doing together over the summer. But Pacey was there.”

“Jack set you two up?” Joey asks.

“Yeah, apparently Jack and Jen haven’t given up their positions in the middle quite yet,” Dawson mumbles, smiling faintly. ‘I suppose I should be grateful I have two friends who care so much…”

“We are lucky,” Joey agrees, pausing and glancing at Dawson. “So what happened…” She prods him on gently. “You and Pacey talked?”

“Not by choice…Jack forced us to talk to one another…” Dawson moves away from the window, turning his attention to some bric-a-brac on Joey’s bookshelves.

“And you fought?” Joey inquires meekly, fearing the worst. Dawson runs his fingers along the bindings of her extensive book collection, frowning deeply. “Dawson?”

“You could say that. I said a lot of things that I wished I hadn’t said.”

“Like what, exactly?”

“Just things about how he’s ruining your life. How he’s sex-crazed…how you never would’ve gone with him if I hadn’t given you permission. You know…the usual jack ass things that tend to slip from my mouth wherever the two of you are concerned.”

“If you know that you’re being a jerk, Dawson, why do you say things like that? You know they’re not true.” Dawson doesn’t reply so Joey continues. “We talked about you a lot while we were on the boat, do you know that?”

“You did?”

“Yeah, we did.”

“What did you say?”

“Pacey and I went over everything, we discussed everything…it felt so good to just get it all out and not have him judge me. When I was with you, Dawson, there was this pressure…I felt like we had this…like I had this image to live up to. This end of the deal to hold up. With Pacey…he sees me for who I really am and he loves every bit of me, even the bad parts. I’m able to see myself through his eyes and he makes me feel beautiful because of it.”

Joey takes a deep breath and Dawson knows she’s about to hit him with something hard.

“But Pacey, as hard as I try to make him love himself as much as I do…” Dawson stares at Joey as she speaks, stunned at how near tears she is as she speaks. “He doesn’t, Dawson. Ninety percent of the time he can’t stand being him. His whole life people have been treating him horribly…you were the only person to ever believe in him until Andie came along. And in the end, Andie hurt him. Until last year, even I treated him like he didn’t deserve the light of day. Can you imagine how that must have made him feel?

“When Pacey and I got together and you started…saying those horrible things to him that you said…It hurt him more than he's ever been hurt before in his life. Forget Doug, Dawson. You've always been his brother, you're his family. Your opinion and your approval matters *so* much to him, more than you know. And having you accuse him of...what was that...only going for girls he could either save or screw? Or was it save and screw...?" Joey crosses her arms in front of her chest and glares at him, waiting for him to offer a defense.

"Jo, I was really angry when I said those things. He knows I didn't really mean them."

"I beg to differ, Dawson. It's not as if you've ever given him reason to believe you didn't mean *exactly* what you said."

"He said things to me too, it wasn't like he didn't fight back. He's not innocent, Joey."

"I never said he was. None of us are innocent here. We just differ in our opinions regarding what we're guilty of. See, in your case, you think that Pacey is guilty stealing me away from you, being a backstabber. But he didn't steal me away from anyone. I fell in love with him completely of my own voalition and to tell you the truth, you thinking that he somehow managed to *make* me love him against my will really makes me wonder what kind of person you think I am."

"Joey, I don't think that-"

"Whereas I look at what happened and I see that I should have come to you the instant I knew I felt something more than friendship for Pacey and told you. I should have defused the bomb before it had a chance to go off. Pacey and I shouldn't have hid our relationship from you, we should've have gone behind your back. I truly regret that and I sometimes think that this whole mess could've been avoided if Pacey or I had just told you first."

"It definitely would've made things a lot better if I had heard it from you instead of finding out from Jen," Dawson replies honestly. "But to tell you the truth, I really thought about how you and Pacey must've felt while I was alone this summer. I understand why it was so hard for you to tell me...I mean, there I was, going on and on about the possibility of us getting back together, especially after going to Aunt Gwen's. But of course there were also times when I just thought, you know, why didn't you just say it? Just get it over with? I've been playing my own version of Choose Your Own Adventure in my mind for the past three months, exploring all the what ifs and might-have-beens. It's been making me crazy."

"Me too," Joey murmurs, standing up. She walks over to him slowly, cautiously setting her hand on his shoulder and turning him toward her. "But there came a point when I just made the decision to let it go. Because there's no use in sitting here and wondering what could have happened or what should have happened. We're here now, and the past can't be changed. The only thing we can do is learn from the mistakes we made and hopefully not repeat them."

"What do you think we all learned from this?" Dawson asks, not sure what she wants him to divine from her statement.

"I think that we learned that we shouldn't just...*not* do something because it's hard or because it's scary. We shouldn't put something off until it's too late and we lose the people we love. That's what we learned."

"I think I may need some more time to process this information."

"Well, time is something that you haven't got."

"Joey, I would think in this situation it'd be better not to rush things."

"I think you're wrong, and that this isn't rushing. This is making a decision. You have to choose, Dawson, just like I had to. You can choose to be Pacey's friend or you can choose not to be. But whatever you do, you have to do it wholeheartedly."

"If I choose to not be Pacey's friend...does that also mean I'm choosing to not be your friend as well?" Dawson asks softly, his eyes searching Joey's for response. Joey falters noticably, casting her gaze downward for a moment before looking back at him.

"It won't be easy, Dawson, but..." She musters a smile. "But no matter what happens with you and Pacey, we can still be friends. Though I'd have to say that my opinion of you would be lowered."


"I'm not trying to pass judgement, I'm not. I just...that's not who you are. I know it's not really my place to say, but that's how I feel. The Dawson that I grew up with would never let anything split him apart from his best friend. Certainly not something as clichéd as a love triangle. But that's the Dawson I knew. We've been apart for three months, I suppose I don't have any right to suppose that I know who you are."

"That's don't." Dawson replies quietly. Joey bites her lip nervously, out of things to say. "A lot has changed over the summer. Up until this morning I thought that I would be able to tell you and Pacey how much I had matured over the past few months and how I had truly come to terms with myself and with the two of you. Then I saw you and Pacey..." He trails off, blushing once again at the memory, as does Joey. "That was pretty much out the window."

"So now you're back to square one, just because you know that Pacey and I are sexually active?"

"No...square two maybe. There's been a large amount of destruction, but I'm not all the way back to where I was when I found out the two of you were sailing away into the sunset. Very fairy tale of you, by the way. I had to laugh at the utter written-for-a-Cinderella-remake-Pretty-Woman of it all." He doesn't sund harsh, even though the sentence seems a little bitter.

"Well, at least you were laughing," Joey replies. "They say laughter is the best medicine."

"I'd like to be able to laugh about all of this, say how silly we're all being. Say how our lives have turned into the whole Brenda-Dylan-Kelly saga of 90210, but that would involve me leaving in a huge huff and never returning."

"And also getting a horrible reputation in Hollywood that's almost rival to Val Kilmer's."

"We can't have that," Dawson smiles, and Joey nudges him gently.

"See, we're joking around. It almost feels normal. That has to be a good sign, right?"

"It could be interpreted that way, I suppose," he says, reluctant to give Joey hope that he isn't quite sure he has to hand out. "But our ability to banter is second nature. You do it almost as naturally as you breathe."

"True enough," Joey concedes. "But I want it to be a beacon of hope, okay? Give me something to cling to."

"Cling away, I will not disillusion you."

"You could always make my 'delusions' reality, you know," Joey suggests. "You could pick up the know. Maybe ask for a rematch."

"Oh, hell no," Dawson scoffs. Joey looks startled and hurt. "There's no way I'm getting back on the court with him. Perhaps we can play a game of chess or something, but no more basketball."

"I don't know...he really needs the practice. He's playing on the Capeside P.D. Team in the annual civil service game and don't tell him I said this, but he's not exactly very good at the game."

"Jack can give him some pointers then. But you're not going to find me on the court again any time soon unless I'm dragged there."

"So no basketball. But you will talk to him?"

"I've already talked to him twice today and both times all I've managed to do is be a prick. It's getting late and I really don't think that I'm in the mood to do it again. At this point, I'd like to just go home and go to sleep. Perhaps I'll wake up and find this was all a dream."

"I don't know...third time *is* supposed to be a charm," Joey says. "And Pacey's supposed to be coming over tonight, so when he gets here, you should, perhaps, maybe, apologize for how you acted today?"

"I don't know, Joey, I don't think that-"

Joey's bedroom door opens and Pacey walks in. He stops, obviously stunned to find Dawson Leery in Joey's bedroom.

"Perfect timing!" she tells him, grinning. She walks up to him, gives him a short kiss on the lips and then walks right past him. "You and Dawson have something to discuss. I'll wait outside." She shuts the door, leaving both the guys totally speechless. Pacey stares at Dawson, searching for an explanation. When he doesn't get one, he immediately goes on the attack.

"What is it with you? Do you have to be everywhere I go today?" He demands. "If you're looking for another round, Dawson, save it. I'm not in the mood to be further insulted by you."

"I'm not here to insult you, Pace," Dawson's voice stops Pacey before he even gets a chance to open the door. "In fact, it's just the opposite. I'm here to apologize for earlier today."

"Pardon, what?" Pacey's mouth falls open. He doesn't even bother to try to conceal his astoundment.

"I'm sorry for the things I said today. When you came to see me and when we were playing basketball. I was really out of line and I just wanted you to know that. I'm just really angry right now. About everything. I thought I could handle the two of you coming back but it turns out that I couldn't. I was just fooling myself and I didn't realize it until it was too late."

"Dawson, what exactly are you saying?" Pacey is still dumbfounded. This was quite possibly the last thing he ever expected to happen tonight, barring the sky falling as pigs were flying upside down and backwards.

"I don't really know what I'm saying," Dawson mumbles, turning away. He walks toward the window again, trying to decide what he's going to say or do and just hoping he doesn't lose his temper. His eyes fall on something on Joey's desk, a stack of photographs that evidently they had taken on their trip. The one on top and in plain sight is of Pacey and Joey in each other's arms, sitting on the edge of the True Love, their feet dangling off the side. They looked so happy, so at home in each other's embrace. He picks up the pictures and thumbs through them silently. He turns back around and faces Pacey, holding up the pictures and then setting them back down. "You guys look so perfect together, has anyone ever told you that?"

"No, not really," Pacey says cautiously, wondering where Dawson is going with this. Any second he was expecting the other shoe to drop.

"She looks happy, Pace. The happiest I've seen her since...god, since before her mom died," Dawson murmurs, sighing. "And're responsible for that. You're the one who has put the joy back in her beautiful eyes. I could never do that, no matter how hard I tried. I can't make her happy. But you can. And I hate you for it. I envy you for it." Dawson looks Pacey straight in the eyes, pausing for a second. "And I love you for it. You belong with Joey, not me. You balance one another bring out the best in one another. You have that special something that Joey and I once so desperately tried to manufacture, but we couldn't pretend it anymore than the two of you couldn't pretend not to love one another back in May. You're a lucky guy, Pacey."

"I know I am," Pacey replies softly.

"And Joey's a lucky girl. I mean that. She's lucky to have you."

"Thanks, D." Pacey still hasn't fully registered what is happening, too stunned to process it.

"Joey told me that her one regret about all of this was not telling the truth from the beginning. She regrets waiting until it was too late. I don't want to make the same mistake. I don't want to push you so far away from me that you're too far out of reach when I realize I need you back in my life. I do need you, even though I've given you every reason to think that I don't. You and Joey are my best friends in the entire world and I'm not about to throw it away just because you and Joey finally got it right."

"Do you really mean that, Dawson?"

"I do."

"Am I forgiven...? I mean, I don't know how to react. Are we friends again?" Pacey voices his questions openly, still full of doubt that this is actually occurring. Wasn't it about an hour ago that Dawson was in his face, telling him how he was ruining Joey's life by going out with her?

"We're trying to be friends again," Dawson clarifies. "And you're forgiven if you can forgive me."

"Of course you're forgiven, man," Pacey replies, extending his hand. Dawson grips it and then lets it go after a moment. "I just...I'm really surprised. did you...what made you change your mind?"

"Joey." Dawson tells him simply with a shrug. "Who else."

"She is the only one who could ever talk sense into you."

"No, that's you, Pacey," Dawson retorts. "I have to have a whole army of people working to keep me rational."

"Takes a whole army, does it?"

"Yep. Jack, Jen, Andie, my parents, Bessie, Joey...the list is long but distinguished. And now you're back in the ranks."

"Back on emotional patrol," Pacey jokes and they both faintly chuckle, then fall into silence. Pacey doesn't know what do, if he should hug Dawson or just let things be. Thankfully Joey chooses that moment to open the door, poking her head inside. Bessie tries to pull her back, telling her to leave them alone.

"Hey, it's really quiet in here - everyone still alive?" She asks, glancing between the two of them.

"Yes, we're all still in one piece," Pacey informs her. "Sorry, were you hoping for a dismemberment?"

"Nope, that'd stain my carpet," she quips. "I'd rather not have to mess with getting blood out of the rug, if you don't mind."

"We'll take that under advisement."

"Joey, get back out here and let them talk. You barely even gave them a chance to-"

"No, it's okay," Dawson stops Bessie's plea for Joey to leave them be. "Things are cool."

"Really?" Joey asks in disbelief, looking to Pacey for confirmation.

"They're cool."


"Not great just yet. Just cool. Don't get too overzealous," Pacey warns her.

"Things will be back to great eventually, have a little faith," Joey remarks. "I won't let it be otherwise."

"I guess we don't have a choice then," Dawson replies, moving toward the door. "Once Joey sets her mind to something, she's not going to stop until she makes it happen."

"Damn straight."

"So I'll make things a little easier. I'm having the final movie night of the summer on Friday. Do you guys want to come?"

Joey and Pacey exchange looks and nod.

"We'll be there."

"Okay, good," Dawson says, then gestures to the door. "I'm gonna head out now...I'm sure you two still have a lot to do and a lot of people to tell about your trip, things to unpack. I will see you on Friday. Seven o'clock."

"Seven o'clock," Joey repeats with a grin. Dawson gives them both an awkward wave good-bye and nearly knocks Bessie over on his way to the front door, but he makes it outside without losing the smile he had on his face. Once out of distance of the porch lights of the Potter B&B, Dawson lets out a long breath and his smile falls. He had just made up with Pacey and given his relationship with Joey his "blessing." He was supposed to feel better. But he just felt lonely.

"Dawson!" Joey's voice rings out through the night air. She comes running out of the house after him and before he has time to ask her what's the matter, she has her arms flung around him. "Thank you." She whispers and kisses his cheek before turning and bolting back toward the house where Pacey awaited her. Dawson watches her go.

"You're welcome, Jo," he whispers to no one, and then heads toward home.

The End


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