The bell above the store door chimed as Pacey walked through it, a rush of warm air hitting him. He glanced around the small clothing boutique until he spotted Jen’s blond curls behind the counter.
“Hey.” He hopped up to sit on the counter, and she jumped a little from where she had been bent over unpacking boxes.
“God, Pacey.” She put her hand to her throat. “You scared the shit out of me.” She swatted at him and went back to her work. Lifting a beaded silk scarf from the box she held it up. “I just got these in today. What do you think?”
Pacey furrowed his brow, tilting his head slightly. “What is it? Are you supposed to wear that?”
“Never mind…” Jen muttered, sifting through the rest of the contents of the box. “You ask a stupid question…” She continued to herself.
“So, do you want to grab some lunch with me?” Pacey asked, taking a glass paperweight that was sitting on the counter on top of a stack of receipts and tossing it in the air like a ball.
Jen straightened up and took it from his hand, placing it firmly back in its place on the counter. “I have to get all this stuff put away. I’m getting in all the spring lines from the designers this week.” Jen had been running the small clothing and accessories store in downtown Capeside for the past two years, ever since Doug had purchased the property for her to start a business. She now was making monthly buying trips to New York and the female residents of Capeside had been lining up to purchase the newest trends and fashions she brought back from the city. She stopped what she was doing to look at Pacey. “And, isn’t it a little late for lunch?”
“All right.” Pacey shrugged. “Let’s go get dinner then. I’ll take you out. My treat.”
Jen smirked. “Since when do you need me to be your dinner date, Pacey? Where’s what’s her name? Crystal or Kristen or…”
“Kirsten?” Pacey interjected, raising an eyebrow. “I haven’t seen her in a while, since before the holidays.”
“Oh…that’s right. I’m sorry.” Jen nodded. “It’s Amy now, right? The girl you met in Newport at that boat show?”
Pacey shook his head and coughed. “No, I decided that was better left as a one-time kind of a thing.”
“Well, what about the one with the…?”
Pacey just made a face and shook his head.
Jen looked at him in confusion. “Well, who was that at your house a couple of weeks ago when I called to see if you wanted to go out and meet Jack with me?”
Pacey looked down, lowering his voice and scratching his head. “Umm…I think that might have been Sarah.”
“Oh.” Jen made a surprised face, and her voice took on an edge of annoyance, barely concealing her distaste. “You are back with Sarah?”
Pacey shrugged. “Not back with her, so much as…you know…”
Jen rolled her eyes, turning back to her boxes and shaking her head. “Yeah, yeah. I get it.” She continued to sort through her merchandise as Pacey sat there chewing on his bottom lip.
“So…” He said finally, jumping off the counter to walk around the store. “Have you seen anyone lately? You know, Andie or Jack or…?” He tried on a pair of sunglasses and then threw them back into the box he found them in.
Jen didn’t look up. “Yeah. I saw Jack two weeks ago. Remember – you blew us off?”
“Oh yeah.” Pacey fidgeted slightly, twirling around a circular rack of hats that sat in the middle of the store.
Jen stood up with a huff, “All right. That’s it.” She stomped over to Pacey, grabbing his arms in her small hands and holding them securely against his body. “Pacey. Just stop it. You are driving me insane.” She drew out her words, emphasizing her irritation. Then, softening her grip on him just a little, she sighed. “I have not seen Joey yet and I have not talked to Joey yet. You know I will call you as soon as I do.” She glared at him, but then reached her hand up to gently pat his cheek. “Now go. Before I kill you.” She finished sweetly.
Pacey gave her a small, sheepish grin. “Okay, then. I’ll see ya.”
Pacey stepped back out onto the sidewalk, surprised to find that it was still light out. The days were getting longer, a sure sign that spring was finally on its way. He stuffed his hands into his coat pockets, worrying his bottom lip again as he made his way down the sidewalk. Crossing the street on his way back to his office, he glanced up at the red brick wall before him. He knew by heart the exact spots on the wall that you could still see some faint traces of paint, and he let his eyes drift over it as he slowed his pace at bit. Turning with a sigh to head back down towards the harbor, he almost smacked right into the person standing behind him.
“Joey…?” He felt the color drain from his face and he stood there, frozen to the spot.
“Hi, Pacey.” She said shyly, nervously tucking a piece of hair behind her ear.
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