It was another day of hand holding for Jen. I’m a little tired of being the comforting friend. I spent the morning coddling Joey during her massive sweater exodus. Honestly, I thought the saleswoman was going to kill us. This sweet woman in her twenties who had to spend all morning following us around folding sweaters. Sarah Janet. That’s what her name tag read. Her face told a different story. Her face said “Please let these girls fall into a deep, dark hole where they will be unable to keep messing with my goddamn sweater display.” And I don’t blame her. To top it off, when Jack finally released Pacey he ran into the poor woman in his fervor to get to Joey. Sarah Janet literally fell backwards, Pacey smashed firmly on top of her. Then when he tried to get up he made the mistake of resting his hand on her breast. God. The poor woman was crimson with anger. She stood, brushed off her clothes and hurriedly excused herself muttering Shakespearean obscenities under her breath. Don’t ask me why they were Shakespearean, but they were. I guess Pacey inspires a whole new kind of cursing. He blushed, shamefaced and called out an apology after her. “I’m sorry Miss, forgive me?” He flashed a charming grin at her departing back. When she managed a small smile at him as she rang up Joey’s purchases he told her happily, “You’re beautiful.” Joey dragged him out of the store laughing. That was hand holding moment number one and two for me. One for coddling Joey and two for pulling Sarah Janet aside and explaining that Pacey’s self esteem would be forever damaged if she didn’t forgive him. Score’s Jen 2, Silly Ass Friends zippo.
Then came hand holding incidents three, four, and five. Well, it was only one incident, but it took all afternoon, so I’m counting it as three. The first part was convincing Jack not to throw out George’s phone number. I sat by the trash can for an hour as Jack tried to rid himself of his first good date prospect this year.
Then incident number four. Jack finding a box of matches. He tried to torch the slip of paper. At first I missed it, that’s how the ends got a little scorched. By the next few matches I was ready and simply blew them out as they were lit. I’m feeling a little like one of those vaudevillian comedy duos. Then Jack thought if he ran from me while flaming the paper that might work. Twenty minutes of watching Jack try to keep the match alight whilst running is comedy gold.
Finally, the phone call. The phone call that took an hour. An hour. If I could have killed him without going to jail, I might have. But it’s not like I have a life or anything. No, that’s not sarcastic. It’s the truth. I’m a dead subplot. But, hey I’m winning regardless. Jen 5, Silly Ass Friends zilch.
And then hand holding attempt number six. I was doing so well, but this one went badly. This one required some sort of counselor. Preferably one wacked out of her mind on speed. Dawson. Leery. I saw him on Grams’ porch as I came home this afternoon and I almost turned around and headed back the way I’d come. He was greasier than usual, eyes jumpy, mouth pursed in anger. What now?
“Gretchen dumped me,” he admitted mournfully. He wore sorrow like a borrowed coat, it was a bad fit on the golden child. Made him more pathetic still to see his inability to cry successfully. Instead of falling like rain, the tears clung to his nose stubbornly, appearing to be merely beads of sweat. His face was contorted and scrunched up in such an unpleasant manner that my mother’s warnings to me as a small child came rushing back. “If you’re not careful, that face will stick.” Looking back at Dawson, I shuddered in spite of myself.
“I’m sorry. What happened?” I asked even though I didn’t want to hear the answer.
“I don’t know. I was talking about film and how she inspired me. How I believed we were destined to be.”
“Oh Dawson, you didn’t.” He couldn’t have said it. He wouldn’t.
“I said she was my new soulmate.”
Oh, but he would. “Dawson, you really shouldn’t use that word anymore. It’s liable to get you thrown in the creek.” Yeah, I know, I’m not hand holding very well, but this is more than I can handle.
As I get picture Mr. and Mrs. Leery playing an unfortunate game of catch with Baby Dawson causing the intense stupidity her now suffers from, Dawson whines about Gretchen and his dreams and hopes and then he mentions Pacey and Joey. “What?”
“I need to be with Joey.” Is he kidding? Forcing my eyes to refocus on him I see Dawson, nostrils flaring, eyebrows fused, ears crimson. He’s deadly serious. And he vaguely resembles an overstuffed scarecrow.
“Dawson I’m pretty sure that ship has sailed.” Please let me be somewhere else now.
“And sunk,” Dawson says, smiling smugly. Prick.
“Huh?” Play dumb Jen. Just play dumb and he’ll go away.
“’True Love’ is gone,” he says followed by another smile. This one is plain evil.
I smile a little and try for levity. Picking up an imaginary phone I “listen” for a bit and hold the pretend phone out to Dawson, “Boris, it’s Natasha. She has a beat on ‘ze squirrel and ze moose’ and wants you home pronto.” Not even a chuckle from the peanut gallery. Releasing a sigh, I try again, “Dawson, please. You know the True Love’s just gonna wash up on some shore at Pacey and Joey’s feet one day. I can picture it now. They’ll be in the midst of a huge fight and just as they’re ready to cast aside their love, up comes the True Love plaque at their sandy toes. Next thing you know they’re frolicking down the beach, bits o’ True Love in hand, ready to rebuild their boat.” Nothing from Mr. Dead Weight.
“Joey and I belong together.” Smug smile number three.
I bite my tongue for a minute and consider the deluded soul in front of me. I feel for him. He’s absolutely useless. Absolutely expendable. The people that used to need him the most have moved on. And he was just dumped. He’s still crying a little, too. And I know what I have to say, “Dawson, if that were true, I’d kill Joey myself as an act of friendship.” Belong together, my ass.
As I watched him get up from the porch and stride away I sighed a little and headed inside. Jen 6, Silly Ass Friends Zipparooni.
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