Bodie stepped into the darkness of the bar, blinking his eyes to adjust his vision from the glare of the sun that had been shining outside in the late afternoon sky. He stomped some of the winter slush off of his boots, scanning the room until he found who he was looking for. Smiling a little to himself, he walked over to his friend and nodded his greeting to the bartender.
“Hey, Pacey. What’s the score?” Bodie glanced up at the television above their heads, pulling off his gloves as the bartender slid him a draft beer.
Pacey didn’t even take his eyes off the screen. “Ah. You don’t even want to know.” He shook his head in disgust. On the barstool beside him, a youngish-looking man in baseball hat leaned forward to look over at Bodie. “Four zip bottom of the third period.”
Bodie cringed and shook his head as well as he picked up his beer. The three of them were silent for a moment, watching the hockey game, until Pacey looked over at Bodie. “So, are you out for a while?” He asked hopefully.
“I’m out for about the length of time it takes me to finish this beer.” Bodie held up his glass with a grin and Pacey chuckled. “Why – what are you up to?”
Pacey shrugged. “You’re looking at it.” He nodded his head towards his other friend. “But Murph here is my date for the evening, so I am hoping for a little dinner and dancing later.” The young man next to him tipped his baseball hat graciously but kept his eyes glued to the TV.
“I always thought you two were a match made in heaven.” Bodie smirked.
Pacey grinned as well, but then his smile faded a little. He glanced over at Bodie uncertainly, biting his lower lip. Clearing his throat, he finally spoke. “So…” he began slowly, his voice taking on an edge of forced cheerfulness, “Speaking of matches made in heaven, I hear that congratulations are in order…”
Bodie raised an eyebrow, watching the game. “For what?” He asked, taking a drink from his glass.
“On the new member of the family. I hear that Dawson Leery is…ah, going to be your brother-in-law.” Pacey chuckled a little as he said the words, but they still came out sounding slightly more bitter than he had intended.
Bodie still kept his focus on the TV. “Who told you that?” He asked.
“Jen.” Pacey said simply, taking a small swig of his beer. “She talked to Dawson over Christmas and he told her he had the ring and was popping the big question on New Year’s Eve. Had it all planned out. So, I would imagine that he and Joey are picking out china patterns by now, right?”
Bodie finished the last of his beer, setting it down on the bar and shaking his head at the bartender who was holding up another glass to him with a questioning glance. “Well, that story is half right.” Bodie drawled, pulling his gloves back on and zipping his coat. “Dawson did ask Joey to marry him, yes. But she said no.”
Pacey had been raising his beer back to his lips and seemed to freeze in position. Coughing, he put the bottle down slowly and turned to face Bodie completely, his mouth slightly open. “Wait a minute…what? She said no? Why?” He asked incredulously.
Bodie shrugged, a small smile playing around the corners of his lips. “I don’t really know what to tell you, Pacey. Maybe you can just ask her yourself. She’s moving home in two weeks. She has already shipped some of her stuff out.” With that, Bodie patted him on the shoulder and tossed some money on the bar. “All right – I’ve got to get back before Bessie kills me. I’ll just see you guys around.”
Murph’s total attention was still on the game. “See ya, Bodie.” He said absently, chin in his hand and elbow resting on the bar.
Pacey just sat there, staring at the space Bodie had just vacated with his mouth hanging open.
Jen sat at the kitchen table, still slightly rumpled in her flannel pajamas, sitting cross-legged on her chair reading the Sunday paper with her coffee mug in hand. She looked up to see Pacey coming in the back door, looking agitated and much too awake for her liking this early in the morning.
“Hey.” Was all he said, as he opened the refrigerator and seemed to just stare blankly at its contents.
“Hey yourself.” She yawned, and then squinted her eyes at him. “If you are looking for breakfast you have come to the wrong place, you know.”
Pacey shook his head, turning and letting the refrigerator door close behind him. “Is there coffee?”
Jen looked at him, raising her eyebrows. “What do you think?” She watched him curiously as he paced around the kitchen, stopping to pour himself a cup from the coffeemaker. He stared again into his mug and sighed, and then came to sit across from her at the table. “So…” He let out a deep breath. “I ran into Bodie yesterday….”
“Ooh.” Jen sat up a little straighter in her chair, her face brightening up. “We had the most amazing dinner at his restaurant the other night. It was this grilled salmon thing - and you know I don’t even like fish but this…” She looked over at Pacey who was staring at her as if she was slightly deranged. “Oh.” She said quietly. “Sorry. Go on.”
“So, as I was saying…” Pacey shook his head in exasperation, scowling at her. “I ran into Bodie and went to pass on my congratulations for Joey and Dawson. I told him that I heard they had gotten engaged. And….” Pacey drew out the words for dramatic effect, “According to Bodie, Dawson did ask her…but she shot him down.”
“No!” Jen exclaimed in a hushed voice, leaning forward. “Get. Out.”
Before Pacey could respond they were interrupted by a deep voice from behind them. “Well, well, well. I thought I heard your voice down here, little brother.” Pacey turned to see Doug Witter walking into the kitchen, tucking in the blue shirt of his police uniform and pulling his belt on. “Although since when are you up on a Sunday before noon? Isn’t it more your style to show up here around dinner time?”
“Dougie, Dougie.” Pacey sighed. “If you are intimidated by me being around your wife - believe me, I completely understand. After all, the more time she spends with me, the more she might realize that she needs a real man such as myself who is worthy of all her feminine charms.” He smiled sweetly at his older brother.
Doug just shook his head as he reached into the coat closet for his winter jacket. “There is no man who could ever be considered ‘worthy’ of Jen – just guys like me who thank their lucky stars she even gives us the time of day.”
“Aww.” Jen looked at him over her coffee mug, her eyes shining as he winked at her. Pacey watched the exchange and rolled his eyes up at the ceiling, shaking his head.
Doug came over to the table and leaned down to kiss Jen on the forehead, turning and pulling his coat on as he headed out the back door. “I’ll just see you later.”
“Okay, hon.” Jen smiled sleepily, watching him leave. She turned back to Pacey, who was still shaking his head sadly.
“It was drugs, wasn’t it, Jen? You can tell me.” He sighed dramatically. “He got you on a possessions charge and made you agree to all this to save you from doing the time, didn’t he – made you marry him as some elaborate under-the-table plea bargain arrangement?”
Jen just rolled her eyes at the familiar teasing, wrapping both hands around her coffee mug as she took a sip. She put the coffee back down, thoughtfully gazing at the newspaper laid out before her. “So – besides the obvious - what do you think made her say no?” She asked softly, raising her eyes to meet Pacey.
Pacey just shrugged and shook his head as he looked away, his voice getting a far away sound to it. “Bodie also told me she is coming back. Here, I mean. To Capeside.” He hastily added the last part, looking back at Jen and chuckling, though his voice cracked slightly as he continued. “But I’m sure this is just another one of those minor set-backs in the star-crossed lovers eternal quest for the happily-ever –after. I’m sure they’ll give it yet another chance after the dust settles on this one.”
Jen watched his face, nodding and smiling sadly. “Yeah. I guess we’ll just have to see.”
Pacey just bit his lip and nodded as well as he stared into his coffee cup.
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