Crossing Paths
by Laura
April 2000

Author's Note : I know the whole Pacey & Joey reunite thing at college thing has been done about a zillion times, but...since I haven't done it yet, why the heck not? Nothing like following the crowd to gain a sense of individuality. Anyway, point is, I hope I can make this story unique. :) Make sure to tell me if it sucks.

The front door shuts with a bang, interrupting Joey Potter's thoughts. "Joey, you will not believe my luck."

"What, did you win the lottery?" Joey muses, not really interested in the latest of her roommate's ramblings as she flips absentmindedly through the pages of her psychology textbook. It wasn't that she didn't like Rana, but sometimes she all but too much lived up to the stereotype of a dumb blonde. In fact, she may have even succeeded all expectations and created a stereotype of her own quite a few times: dumb blonde with a slight case of delusional tendencies. The scenarios that Rana could dream up for herself were so far out there that only a person of her lowered intelligence would believe them. But...they made her happy. Besides, she wasn't a real blonde anyway; Joey stops her runaway train of thought and looks back to Rana.

"The lottery? No. Though winning the lottery would be nice, this is nicer." Joey shuts her book, leaning back in the uncomfortable kitchen chair and trying to give Rana complete attention.

"And what could be nicer than winning the lottery?" Joey inquires. "I know it sure as hell would help me out more than a bit."

"A new, incredibly, incredibly, so-hot-I-can-barely-stand-it lab partner," Rana smiles. "And he seems to be smart too. He got all the answers right on this paper we did today. And it was hard! I only got two."

"Oh, must be an Einstein then," Joey stops herself from rolling her eyes.

"Joey, you have to see this guy. Tall...dark brown hair...the nicest body...and I mean nice as in yeah baby, not as in he's not flabby...and these eyes, Joey...god, his eyes. I practically had an orgasm just looking at him!"

"More than I needed to know, Rana," Joey grimaces, standing up and walking to the refrigerator. She opens it up, grabbing out the container of milk.

"His name is Jay. And I think he wants me too. I could sense it." Rana smiles giddily. "I'm going to ask him out."

"Didn't you just meet the guy?" Joey asks, taking down a glass from the cupboard.

"Joey...I'm not like you. I'm not going to sit around and wait for Mr. Right. I'm going to have fun and that's all there is to it. Maybe you should think about lightening up a little, it could be good for you. Maybe Jay has a friend." Rana winks at her and disappears into her bedroom.

"What's Rana going on about now?" Heather emerges from her own bedroom, wincing as the bright sunlight hits her eyes. Adjusting her long black dress, she stumbles toward the kitchen and grabs ahold of the coffee pot, immediately pouring some into the mug which was kept permanently on the counter.

"Heather, it's two o'clock in the afternoon. Is this a new record for you?"

"Let's see...two o'clock on a Thursday...yes, I think it is. Ususally I wake up way later than this!" Heather plops down, and Joey sits down next to her. "Rana's excited squealings caused me to arise from my black pit of despair and join the ranks of the "normal" people who insist on living their lives on a certain 9 to 5 schedule. Mindless robots."

"Hey! I'm one of those mindless robots," Joey exclaims.

"No, you're not." Heather glances down the hallway as the Backstreet Boys come blasting out of Rana's stereo from her bedroom. "Rana, on the other hand, is an entirely different story." She winces as Rana starts singing along, off-key. "Gotta love her, though."

"If she weren't so happy and nice about everything all the time, I'm sure I'd have to hate her. Plus, she refrained from the cheerleading squad in high school, so she that ups her in my book by about 10."

"10? Try 50. You think I'd ever let her live in my loft if she was a former cheerleader? Over my dead body." Heather laughs, drinking more coffee and then getting up to refill her empty glass. "Another upside to her is that she's a constant reminder of why I make the choices I make. It's like having someone there twenty four hours a day to reinforce your belief system. What is little miss happy so cheerful about today?"

"Some new hot studmuffin in her chem class. Apparently the most drool-worthy one yet."


"I know. I just hope she doesn't bring him here. I'm so sick of dealing with stupid jocks "just happening" to bring a keg over here on a Saturday night." Joey groans. "I don't see why you've never bothered to stop her from having her parties here."

"Oh, come think I'd pass up the chance to see half of the student body of this respectable institution acting like complete moronic fools? It's like getting a week's worth of entertainment for free."


"Who in the world was that *fine* piece of ass that I saw you talking to today?"

Pacey Witter looks up from his textbook and raises his eyebrow, not having the faintest idea about to what, who, or when his roommate is referring.
"You'll have to be a little more specific, cause I don't really remember talking to anyone outstanding, Chris."

"In lab? I passed by and tried to get your attention, but you were engrossed in converstation with a fabulous blonde, you dog you. Why in the world does a guy like you get to have all the girls falling all over him? You don't have the faintest idea what to do with them."

Chris rummages through the refrigerator, searching for some beer. "You really need to go grocery shopping, man." Pacey just shakes his head, annoyed, and tries to concentrate on his studying. Just as he manages to read the first sentence of the chapter, Chris interrupts his thoughts once again. "So? You going to fill me in on all the nasty little details, or leave me hanging?"

"Okay...first, you know, you *are* capable of going grocery shopping on your own. I don't remember any special designation ceremony in which I was declared the only person allowed in the mini-mart from this apartment, and second...there are no dirty details here. That girl is only my new lab partner. She's nobody."

"Everybody's nobody to you, Jay," Chris mutters, twisting off the cap to a bottle of beer. Pacey gives him a questioning look. "Well? That girl was practically drooling over you, she had 'jump me' written all over her face, yet, you barely even remember her."

"Ever think maybe she just didn't do it for me?"

"Ever think that maybe no one does it for you?"

"What are you getting at?"

"I'm getting at..." Chris sits down across from Pacey, frustrated. "The fact that you have been here for almost an entire year now, Jay, and you've never been out on any dates. There have been plenty, plenty, plenty of females offering themselves to you everywhere you turn. I envy you to a point where it hurts, man. And it pisses me off that you are throwing away countless opportunities to score big just because...well...because...hell, who knows?"
"I haven't found anyone who I've really clicked with, Chris, that's all. And if we're done discussing my love life or lack thereof, I have a history test tomorrow which I really have to study for. So while this conversation with you is ever so stimulating, I think I'll just have to put an end to it." Chris rolls his eyes at Pacey.

"You are a young, hotblooded, American male in college, Witter. You are in your sexual prime here, and you have the ultimate privilege of having a large pool of women to choose from. Any other guy in your position, especially me, would certainly partake. I'm telling you man, if you listened to Streisand, everyone here would think you're gay." Chris nods emphatically, thinking his quip to be quite clever. Pacey just sighs, really ready to deck him. Why had he ever moved in with this guy? Because he was the only one renting out a room near Boston College, that's why. He didn't have much choice in the matter. He gets up, heading for his bedroom.

"Chris, I'm just not really interested in having a relationship right now, I think it's a simple, straightforward thing. It's not some big mystery."
"I'm not talking about a relationship, I'm talking about sex!" Chris exclaims, slamming his beer down on the table and spilling some in the process. He half-giggles half-laughs at his own actions. "Man, if you're not going to even give that blonde chick partner of yours a chance, couldn't you at least gimme an intro?"

"Fine, sure, whatever," Pacey mutters, thinking inwardly that it might actually be a good match; neither of them seemed to have much going on upstairs. He closes his bedroom door, letting out a long breath of relief at the quiet and privacy of his own room. It's dark, the shades drawn. He walks over to his bed slowly and lays down, setting his book on the floor.

Truth was, he didn't really know why he hadn't been involved with anyone by now. It wasn't like he didn't have sexual impulses, or that he hadn't been attracted to anyone. But for some reason he just wasn't in the mood. Not in the mood. When had Pacey Witter ever not been in the mood for sex? He couldn't remember a time in high school when he wasn't gunning to get laid.

Well, that wasn't true. *Everything* wasn't about sex; he did after all, care very deeply for Tamara and Andie. Sex was just an incredible benefit from the relationships. He didn't really love Jamie, his girlfriend during the summer between his junior and senior year, but he knew she hadn't really loved him either, so there was no guilt to be felt there.

But Joey. That one, simple time. It had changed everything, and then hadn't changed things at all. It had been a mistake, just something that happened. After they had kissed during junior year, they'd both denied their feelings because they didn't want to hurt Dawson. And they'd gone on that way for months upon months, building a stronger friendship inbetween moments of intense awkwardness when he'd accidentally brush against her or their lips would almost meet when they had suddenly found themselves closer than they cared to admit.

One of those times, they hadn't looked away in awkward embarrassment. One of those times, Pacey had grabbed her, kissed her...and then before he knew it they were in the back seat of the Witter family station wagon, making love as if the world was ending and it was their last chance to be together. It was the most amazing night of his life. And they'd never talked about it. Not once. Life went on. They both knew the reality of what had happened was there, but both knew that acknowledging it was perhaps the most dangerous thing to do.

They'd all parted for college in waves of tears of happiness and sadness, all going their separate ways, as most people do. He was sure that Joey and Dawson still kept in touch, but he personally hadn't talked to any of his Capeside friends in about two years. During freshmen year, they all called each other constantly. But then the calls were less frequent, coming every few weeks instead of every few days, every few months instead of every few weeks...until they all just stopped. It wasn't due to some cataclysmic occurence. No one fought, no one died, no one...did anything. People got busy, people grew apart. Life happened. It wasn't anything highly unusual. How many people actually stayed close friends with their high school clique? Not many. He missed them, especially Dawson and Joey, but the past is the past. He'd gone off to California to study psychology, but then discovered that it wasn't for him. After two years of studying it, he found that out. Typical Pacey Witter. By the time he came back to Boston, he'd decided on delving into elementary eduction at the prodding of Buzz, his surrogate 'little brother.' He stopped by Capeside to visit Doug once in awhile, but mostly stayed in Boston as much as possible. Pacey felt like a different person. In a way, he was. In California, his friends had started calling him by his middle name, and it had stuck. Why not? He was sick of being Pacey anyway. Maybe a different name would help him create a different outlook, a different reputation. Then why did he still feel the exact same way that he did when he was fifteen?

Still, there was only one thing he really wished he could change, one thing he regretted. Never having confronted Joey about what happened. There'd been too many unanswered questions, too many lingering emotions. He didn't think he was still in love with her. He hadn't seen her in two years, how could he be? But still, she was always there, in the back of his mind. Pacey lightly chuckles as he opens his eyes, trying to stop his self-reflection and get back to studying. It was ironic. Joey Potter. He should have known that girl would still be causing him problems.

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