Joey hurried across the parking lot at the Yacht Club, pulling her hair loose from where it was clipped up on the back of her head. She could see Pacey leaning against his truck in the distance and slowed to a walk when she noticed he was talking to Drue. While they didn’t have any definite plans, she and Pacey would usually end up hanging out together whenever he offered her a ride back to the B&B after one of her shifts. Joey figured Drue was most likely talking Pacey into joining him for the evening now, and she was caught off guard by the sinking sense of disappointment she suddenly felt.
“Hey.” She greeted them both quietly as she approached.
Pacey turned to see her and smiled but before he had a chance to say anything, Drue cut in.
“Joey! Just the person I need to help me out here. Will you try to talk some sense into my friend?” He reached out his hand to clasp Pacey on the shoulder. “Tell him how great it is going to be to live in Boston.”
Joey’s mouth fell open slightly as she looked back and forth between them, her gaze finally landing on Pacey. “You’re moving to Boston?”
Pacey shrugged his shoulders and shifted uncomfortably but Drue interrupted again before he had a chance to answer her.
“He hasn’t even mentioned this to you? My father, obviously driven by guilt brought on by his years of neglect and emotional vacuity, has attempted to purge his conscience by buying his only son a very nice, very expensive condo to live in when he goes off to college in the fall. Because nothing conveys the deep, abiding love a parent feels for a child more than real estate.” He smiled at Joey. “And I have been trying to convince young Mr. Witter here to get his ass out of this poor excuse for a town and be my roommate.”
Joey looked at Pacey again. “Pace, that’s great.” She could feel her heart start to beat a little faster. “Are you going to do it?”
“I don’t know.” Pacey mumbled uncertainly. “I, ah…”
Drue held up his hand to silence him. “Don’t say another word. All I’m asking is you come check it out with me before you make any decisions. Jen is expecting us, I told her we would pick her up and go somewhere for dinner while we’re up there looking at it.” He turned to Joey. “Why don’t you come too, Potter? We’ll make it a foursome. It will be the same as in golf, ladies tee off first and we’ll putt around until someone gets a ball in the hole.” He laughed as Pacey and Joey both rolled their eyes. “Besides, you look like you’re ready to hit the town.” He raised an eyebrow as his gaze swept over her.
Joey glanced down at her short sundress and strappy sandals and unsuccessfully tried to fight the blush starting to rise up in her cheeks. She’d been taking a change of clothes with her every time she worked a shift lately, and she had to admit she was beginning to take special care in what she chose to wear. She looked up uncertainly, avoiding Pacey’s eyes, which she knew were fixed on her now.
She might have been able to explain away the kiss on the beach as being alcohol-induced, but she was still waiting for him to ask her why she had almost kissed him again at his house that night. Because that one she had no explanation for. Thankfully, Pacey seemed to be mercifully unaware of what had almost transpired.
“I’d actually love to see Jen.” Joey responded finally.
“The lady says she wants to go and see Jen.” Drue threw his arms in the air and turned back to Pacey. “Are you going to deny her that?”
Pacey looked at Drue and sighed tiredly. “Fine.” He muttered. “We’ll go.”
Drue grinned widely. “That’s my boy. Okay, let’s blow this clambake.” He pulled his keys out of his pocket and started towards his car, glancing up at the covered tent on the lawn of the Yacht Club where the restaurant staff was tending to lobster pots and placing out trays of fresh steamers and corn-on-the-cob for the guests. “And I mean that literally.”
Pacey gave Joey a small smile as they followed Drue to his car. He opened the passenger door and Joey quickly went to push the seat forward.
“I’ll sit in back, thanks.” She whispered to him as she slid past him into the car.
“Yeah. I don’t blame you.” Pacey chuckled.
Drue revved the engine as he waited for Pacey to get in and adjust his seatbelt and glanced up at Joey in the rearview mirror. “What did you kids have planned to do tonight before I came along?”
Joey shrugged her shoulders. “Nothing really.”
Drue shook his head as he threw the car into gear. “Joey, for some reason I find it very hard to believe my friend here did not have some kind of plans in store for you, especially judging by the look he had on his face when he saw you in that dress.”
They both turned to scowl at Drue, but he just laughed as he screeched out of the Yacht Club parking lot in a cloud of smoke.
Drue pushed open the door and held his arm out for everyone to enter. Pacey passed by him without a word, glancing around the expansive living room as he chewed on the inside of his lower lip. Jen and Joey followed slowly behind, their mouths falling open.
“Wow.” Jen gasped as she spun around slowly. “This place is huge.”
“It sure is.” Joey agreed. “And, look at that view.” She pointed in the direction of the windows that looked out over the other brownstones on the street. The Charles River was visible in the distance, and as Joey gazed out at the boats gliding along the water she noticed the familiar towers of Worthington off towards the left. She turned to look at Drue. “You could walk to campus from here.”
Drue raised an eyebrow. “Well, maybe you could, but why would I? They make cars for a reason, toots.”
Joey shook her head at him before her gaze fell on Pacey wandering off into one of the other rooms.
“Miss Lindley...” Drue draped his arm around her shoulders, turning her to guide her in the opposite direction. “Why don’t you come check out my room? You can tell me where you’d prefer I put the bed. We’ll see if a little Feng Shui can change your attitude.”
Jen rolled her eyes but let Drue lead her away.
Joey strolled over to peer into the room Pacey had disappeared into and saw him just standing there. Folding her arms across her chest, she walked up to stand next to him. “This really is an unbelievable place.” She offered quietly.
“Yeah. No argument there.” He agreed with a small sigh. “And there’s a T stop right on the corner that would bring me straight to UMass.” Joey knew that Pacey had been considering the business program at UMass/Boston for a while. She remembered the few times Andie had grilled him about his college plans in front of everyone, however, and his obvious discomfort at discussing that particular subject, so she had tried to avoid asking him about it ever since. He turned to look at her. “I pre-registered for their part time program, did I tell you that?”
Joey smiled, her face brightening. “No, you didn’t. That’s great, Pace.”
“Yeah, well…” He chuckled in self-deprecation. “It’s really not too hard to fill out an application.” He dropped his head a little. “They need their money by next week if I’m really going to do it, though. But I don’t know how I’m supposed to swing school and rent on a place like this.”
“But I thought Drue’s father bought this place for him?” Joey frowned, furrowing her brow in confusion.
Pacey glanced at her quickly. “I’m not going to sponge off Drue, Joey.” He said sharply. “If I live here I’m going to pay half of the monthly rent or mortgage or whatever it is.”
“I figured your sense of honor would come into this, Witter.” Drue’s booming voice cut into their conversation as he walked up behind them. “But it would only be a third. This is a three bedroom place and McPhee is already in.”
Pacey raised an eyebrow and looked at Jen for confirmation as she followed Drue into the room. “Jack is moving in here, too? Really?”
“So he tells me.” Jen nodded with a smile.
“And a third of what this place costs my father month, after what I’m sure was a sizeable down payment, is going to be a hell of a lot less that what it would cost you to live on your own. It would even be less than what you would have to pay for the beach house once Gretchen leaves you high and dry.” Drue watched Pacey, speaking seriously now.
Pacey bit his lower lip again as he placed his hands on his hips. “The guy that has that 60 foot schooner that was in the marina last week owns some big Irish bar in Boston. He was just asking me the other day if I was interested in a job.” He almost sounded as if he were talking to himself.
Joey smiled at him. “I think you should do it, Pace.”
He looked at her, holding her gaze for just a moment. “Yeah?”
She nodded her head. “It will work out great for you. And we will all be here in Boston then.”
Pacey raised his eyebrows, looking around one last time. “I guess we will, huh?”
Jen sat back in her chair, pushing her desert plate away. “Okay. That’s it. I’m done. I’ve officially made myself sick.”
“Me, too.” Joey agreed, dropping the spoon in her hand onto the table. “I’ll have to tell Bodie about this place.” She glanced around the restaurant.
“So, where to now?” Drue leaned forward, placing his elbows on the table.
Pacey was tilting back in his seat, his hand resting on the back of Joey’s chair where she sat beside him. “I think we should probably just hit the road, huh?” He brushed his thumb against the bare skin of her shoulder as he glanced at her.
“Um, yeah. We should start for home.” Joey agreed, raising her hands to rub her arms as if she were cold in an attempt to disguise the shiver he sent down her spine with that one simple touch.
“God, you people are boring.” Drue shook his head.
Pacey jumped up. “I’ve got to hit the head first.”
Jen pushed her chair back to stand up as well. “And, I’m going to find our waitress and order one of those desserts to go for Grams.”
Joey narrowed her eyes playfully at Drue once they were alone at the table. “So, this was what you have been after Pacey about all summer? I was imagining it to be something much more sordid.”
“I have to tell you that it is heartening for me to know that you still think the worst of me, Potter.” Drue grinned. “I was starting to think I might be losing my edge, that maybe I was spending too much of my time with upstanding young men like Pacey Witter and it might be rubbing off.”
“You really like him, don’t you?” Joey smiled, crossing her arms and sitting back in her chair.
“I don’t want to date him, if that’s what you mean.” Drue grinned and was quiet for a moment before he spoke again. “Growing up like I did, moving around with my parents, I’ve been enough places in my life to pretty much size up the situation as soon as I arrive. People are the same wherever you go, and for the most part…they genuinely suck.” He let out a small, hollow laugh and then shrugged his shoulders. “Pacey accepts people for who they are, no questions asked. He doesn’t pass judgment on anyone. That’s not a quality in a person that I happen to take lightly. He’s a good man. And I have a feeling my year in Capeside would have turned out a lot differently for me if I didn’t have him around.”
Drue paused again, looking down at the table, and Joey watched him, waiting for him to continue. “I know a lot of people would never put us together as friends. Life dealt the guy a couple of bad hands and he just cut his losses and moved on. Did what he had to do to survive. I guess maybe we recognized that in each other.” Drue glanced up at Joey. “People like that tend to understand each other.”
She smiled slowly as she looked across the restaurant at Pacey, who had stopped to talk to Jen on his way back to the table, before she returned her gaze to Drue. “You’re a good friend to him, too, you know…to care enough to want to try to help him out like this.”
“Hey, I just wanted the kid as a roommate because the girls seem to like him.” Drue laughed as he raised his hands. “Don’t read too much into it.”
“Well, you do need all the help you can get.”
“Oh yeah? And when’s the last time you got any?”
“Shut up, Drue.”
“I take it our little moment here is over.”
Drue pulled into the Yacht Club parking lot and slowed to a stop next to Pacey’s truck. “So, I’ll have my lawyers draw up the papers next week, roomie.” He turned to grin at Pacey.
Pacey shook his head with a chuckle. “Whatever, Drue.” He opened the door to get out of the car, holding the seat forward for Joey to climb out as well. “I’ll talk to you later.”
“All right.” Drue nodded and then lowered his head to smile at Joey before Pacey shut the car door. “Now, I hope you crazy kids are headed straight home. It’s getting late and I happen to know that you have to work in the morning. Besides, all the good make-out spots around town are already taken by now.”
“Bye, Drue.” Joey replied in a flat voice, ignoring his teasing.
He laughed as sped away, loudly screeching his tires again on the asphalt.
“He just does that to drive his mother crazy.” Joey shook her head and glanced up at the lights of the Yacht Club as they walked to Pacey’s truck.
“I don’t think it would be that long of a drive, if you know what I mean.” Pacey replied as he held open the truck door and helped her up into her seat.
As they pulled into the driveway of the B&B, Joey turned to smile at him. “I’m really happy you’re going to be in Boston, Pacey.”
He smiled as well as he threw the truck into park. “Yeah, I’m starting to think it might actually all work out. Even if the bar job doesn’t come through, I know some guys in town who were telling me they could set me up with something down at Fisherman’s Wharf by the North End. It would just be manual labor, but they pay those guys pretty well so I think it would take care of classes and rent for me. And I find it oddly comforting to know Jack will be living there, too. At least I’ll have someone around to offset Drue’s insanity.” He chuckled.
“And, I’ll be just around the corner.” Joey offered with a grin.
Pacey narrowed his eyes as he looked over at her. “Oh yeah? I didn’t really think about that.” He shrugged his shoulders noncommittally but Joey could see just the hint of a smile playing around the corners of his mouth.
“You didn’t, huh?” She played along. “Well, we probably wouldn’t see each other that much anyway. I’m sure I’ll be busy with school and such.”
Pacey nodded his head. “Yeah, it’s not like we would have any reason to see each other once we leave the confines of Capeside.”
“Yeah...”Joey agreed, her smile fading and her voice trailing off as their eyes met. “Why would we want to do that?” She swallowed nervously, feeling her body heat up as his gaze drifted over her. Pacey slowly brought his eyes back to her face, and she lost herself in the ocean of dark blue, feeling like he could look right into her thoughts.
She lowered her voice. “I have to tell you something.”
Pacey just watched her and waited for her to continue.
“I wasn’t being completely truthful when I told you that I didn’t remember that kiss.” She paused, looking down and then back up to meet his eyes, her voice barely a whisper. “I clearly remember kissing you, Pacey. What I can’t really remember is…if you were kissing me back.”
Pacey held her gaze for moment longer before he slowly reached his hand up to touch her face. He leaned towards her as he glided his fingers along her cheek and then gently tilted her chin up with his thumb, his blue eyes fixed on her mouth. Joey felt like an eternity passed before his lips finally met hers in a soft kiss. He started to pull away, but Joey quickly pressed her lips back to his, not willing to lose contact after waiting so long to feel him. Pacey kissed her again with more confidence. He held her face in his hands and let the tip of his tongue glide along her lower lip before he gently sucked on it, seeking entrance. She opened her mouth up to him with a sigh and he slid his tongue in along hers, taking his time as he tasted and explored with soft, tantalizingly slow strokes. Joey moaned into mouth as the stomach flips she had been experiencing intensified to the point where her insides were trembling and quivering.
Pacey lowered his hands as he continued the kiss, smoothing them over her hair and down her neck and then gently cupping her breasts before he just grazed his palms over them, the nipples hardening under the light fabric of her sundress. Joey leaned back for support against the seat, almost light-headed, as the intoxicating feelings of his kisses and his touch ran through her whole body. Dragging his lips from her mouth to assault the soft skin on her neck, he reached up to bury his hand in the back of her hair, grasping it in his fist. The sensation of his moist lips along her pulse points caused Joey’s head to loll back she arched her neck for him. Traveling over to the hollow of her throat, he snaked his tongue out along her heated skin, causing her to softly gasp out his name and dig her fingernails into his back.
At the sound of her voice, Pacey quickly moved back up to her mouth, thrusting his tongue in to meet hers in a fevered kiss as his hands began to travel all over her body. A soft moan escaped her lips as she felt the escalating heat and passion behind his every movement, his every touch. She could feel herself getting wet, beginning to soak through the flimsy material of her panties, as his hand that had been stroking the soft skin behind her knee began to travel slowly up the inside of her tanned thigh, finally disappearing under the cotton material of her sundress. She was on the verge of finding out everything she had always wondered about Pacey and the reality of the situation suddenly came crashing down around her.
“No…” She cried out quietly as she pulled away from the kiss, lowering her hand to grasp his arm and still his movements.
“I know, I know.” Pacey muttered, out of breath, as he closed his eyes shut tightly and shook his head. He sat back in his seat, discreetly adjusting the crotch of his jeans with a slight grimace. He dropped his head and rubbed his eye with the palm of his hand. “Sorry.” He mumbled in a strained voice.
Joey ran her hands through her tousled hair and pulled down the hem of her sundress, glancing warily over at the dark B&B and then back at Pacey. “I guess there are a lot of reasons why that shouldn’t have happened, huh?” She asked him quietly, her heart still pounding in her chest.
“Ya think?” Pacey tried unsuccessfully to laugh, avoiding her gaze as he rested his hands on the steering wheel.
She smiled, looking down. “I can’t seem to come up with any right now, however.” She looked back over to watch him. “I, ah…just got a little freaked there, Pacey.” Her voice softened as she reached out to rest her hand on his arm. “It doesn’t mean I didn’t want it to happen…that I don’t want it to happen.”
Pacey looked over to meet her eyes finally and was surprised to find that the desire he saw there matched his own. “You have to tell me what to do here, Jo.” He sighed helplessly.
She held his gaze and then looked down at her hand resting on his arm. She gently tugged at his arm, pulling him back towards her, unable to find the words.
Pacey leaned over and, as his lips found hers again, Joey sighed at the already familiar taste of him.
“You want me to go slower?” He whispered the question he already knew the answer to against her lips and she nodded her head in response. He raised his hands to tenderly hold her face, taking her bottom lip gently between his before just tracing the tip of his tongue along her tongue. “You just need to tell me when, okay?” He briefly pulled back to look at her before moving in to deepen the kiss.
Joey closed her eyes and kissed him back, falling into the unhurried rhythm he set. Pacey pulled his mouth away after a long while to slowly travel down to her neck. She bit down on her lower lip, stifling a soft gasp as the partial stubble from his beard brushed against the delicate skin along her collarbone and his lips sought out and found the most sensitive spots on her neck, causing the nerve endings in her skin to tingle in anticipation. She wrapped her arms around him to pull him in closer, running her hands over the muscles in his back and then threading her fingers through his short hair.
“Not yet…” She thought with a sigh as their lips met again in a heated kiss.
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