“Jen. Why are we going shopping again?” I’m sitting on Gram’s porch waiting for Pacey and Joey, the Banter and Bitch brigade, to pick us up. I wonder who’s driving. Either way we’ll be lucky to make it to the mall alive. “Jennnifaah?”
“We’re going to the mall because we’re young, we’re single, and it’s the weekend. We’re going because it’s cold outside and as far as I can tell Joey only owns one sweater. I don’t want her to freeze to death.” Neither do I, but I don’t want to spend all day helping Jen talk her out of backless tanks and into woolen sweaters either. I arch an eyebrow skeptically. “We’re going to check out guys Jack. Okay? Ever since my fog of temporary insanity involving the greasy freshman lifted I’ve been in need of new diversions. New diversions with “Y” chromosomes. And you need a man as much as I do....plus you owe me, “ she finishes in a matter of fact tone.
“I owe you?”
“Someone-Jack-read my journal-Jack- and has mercilessly teased me-Jack, Jack, Jack-ever since.”
“Out of love Jenny, out of love. Is this just your way to get over me and my ‘sweaty, hard chest?’ Isn’t that what you wrote?” I bite my lip, jiggle my head, and scuff my feet on the floor a few times to keep from laughing outright. “Ow!” She wacked me in the head with her bag. “I’m not feeling the love Jen.”
“You’re pushing it. I may revoke your ‘Lonely Hearts Club’ membership for this.” The corner of her lip twists up a little, betraying her stern glare. She’ll forgive me. She laughs a little, pulling at the hem of her blue hooded sweater. Then her expression softens and turns serious. “You need a boyfriend, I need a boyfriend, and....and Pacey needs a boy friend.”
Well I didn’t expect that one. “P-p-p-pacey? You’re setting me up with Pacey? Don’t you think Joey might have a problem with that? Hello, Pacey’s not gay. He might have a problem with that. And he’s not my type.” I add, stuttering a little.
She laughes in my face. Giggling so hard tears stream down her face. “Jack, I meant a friend who’s male. Pacey needs a male friend, not that kind of friend.” I feel the heat rise from my toes up through my brown turtleneck sweater to my cheeks painting them with what I’m sure is a flaming crimson blush.
“I knew that!” I yell defensively.
“You so didn’t! God, I’ve gotta tell Joey!” She laughs, her blue eyes twinkling with mischief. “Wait until she hears you covet her boyfriend! Wait til Pacey hears...”
“Jen don’t you dare, and I don’t covet Pacey. Please.” Honestly, I’ve never thought of Pacey Witter that way. I still don’t understand Joey thinking about Pacey that way. The guy is chihuahua style hyperactive and his Hawaiian shirt collection is just horrendous. I’ve sort of thought Pacey might make a nice brother, though. Not a replacement for Tim, but I miss having a brother. Shaking my head at the thought of Pacey and Tim meeting, I raise my eyes to Jen again. “What’s with this whole ‘Pacey needs a friend’ thing? He has Joey, you, and eventually he’ll genuflect enough to Dawson and he’ll have him too.” Even if he does end up with rug burn from all the begging on his hands and knees he’s gonna have to do to get Dawson back.
Jen fixes me with that “Isn’t it obvious?” look. Oh man, I hate that. I can’t read her mind. I wait with the patented “Explain it to me like I’m Dawson Leery and incapable of getting it” look. Seriously, Dawson Leery can be a fool. A really dumb, mean hearted fool. Side point.
“Jack, Joey is Pacey’s girlfriend. They can talk about a lot of things, but what if Joey pulls something stupid as she is apt to do? Then Pacey needs to talk to someone else. He can’t talk to Joey about Stupid Joey things. And if he talks to me, I’m required to blab to Joey. It’s girlfriend law. He can’t trust me. And Dawson....Pacey and Dawson will never have Joey talks again. Honestly, I think that ‘friendship’ is just an act for Joey’s sake. Especially on Dawson’s part. You can be Pacey’s male friend. It’s perfect.” She twirls her hand to add emphasis to her point.
“There is a flaw to your plan, oh wise one. Say Pacey confides in me. I tell you everything. Then you’ll tell Joey and Pacey is up the not so proverbial creek again.” I fold my arms across my chest, which I puff out a little, smiling smugly. She frowns a little. Heh.
Her eyes light up all “I have an idea Ethel!” on me. “Well I’ll give you a special dispensation. You don’t have to tell me anything Pacey tells you....unless it’s about me.” She sticks out her tongue and smacks me lightly on the shoulder. “C’mon Jack, be a friend....we can make a whole new fabulous foursome. You must be getting sick of listening to Dawson by now.” She’s got a point there. He talks non stop. I’d rather listen to paint dry. Which I actually started doing towards the end of our “house painting summer.” I’m getting to the point where I can auto pilot my one line, “So then what happened?” Bo-ring. Then I pinch my arm to stay awake for the answer.
“He is getting closer to Gretchen so....I guess I could try with Pacey, although he seems pretty content off on Planet Joey....” Jen smiles, satisfied she got her own way. As always. I hear the Witter wagon pull around the corner and watch as Pacey and Joey pull up to Gram’s fence. Pacey honks and waves amiably. I give Jen a sidelong glance and a wink. Sweater shopping, man hunting, and Pacey befriending. It’s going to be one hell of a day.
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