The Eleventh Hour

Part One
By Ariel and Alisha

Pacey Witter nervously paced across the small space he was in. It was dark and dank. It was also surprisingly quiet for a jail cell. He gritted his teeth, resting his hands on the bars and looking around the police station. He didn't like being caged. He didn't like giving up his freedom. Most of all, he didn't like not knowing what would happen next. They were holding him there, and he didn't know how long it would be for. He was already anxious about being there and he didn't like the scenario one bit.

He'd fucked up several times before. In fact, it was expected from him for most of his life. Why, then, was this so different? It was different because he was in jail this time. He was in jail for something the stupid government shouldn't even be allowed to arrest him for. It was a travesty under the guise of justice.

On the other hand, maybe it was justice. He'd done a lot of things he was ashamed of in his life; things that seemed to happen even before he had the chance to think about doing them. Everyday his regrets capitalized, and everyday he grew weary of his own life.

Maybe this was where he belonged. In a cage, like some wild animal that needed to be locked away from the real world, like a man who would hurt everyone else and hurt himself at the same time.

Before he even realized it, two middle-aged cops were dragging some woman in. They removed her handcuffs and tossed her in the cell. He didn't think cops put men and women in cells together, but he supposed now that they did.

She flinched when she was thrust forward, hearing the door slam behind her. Her eyes fixed on the ground, as her dark hair hung softly around her face. He could hear her cursing softly. Pacey raised an eyebrow, but turned away. He was in no mood for conversation.

The woman looked up, startled. Her dark eyes were clouded with a mixture of anger and confusion as she stared at him. She wondered, then, when fate had decided to play her in a way like this, what she'd done to deserve it.

Everyday, her one wish was that she would never have to look into his eyes again. Of course, she'd never believed that wishes actually came true.

"I don't believe this," she said, shaking her head. "Of all the places to see you again..."

When he heard her voice, he knew. There was no way he could even attempt to hide his shock, and, for a moment, he forgot himself and displaced his control. "My god," he said softly. "Joey? What are you doing here?"

Joey rolled her eyes, an attempt at placid indifference that she wasn't sure she could pull off. She flopped down on the bench along the wall and channeled all her energy into her hand, as she grasped the bench tightly.

"Let me guess," he said, swallowing hard in an attempt to get a handle on the moment. "Like father, like daughter?"

The words stung, even though she didn't want them too. "Shut the fuck up, Pacey," she said, looking unamused.

"We're probably going to be here the rest of the night," he said. "Would you like me to shut up until then?"

"Didn't I give you your walking papers a long time ago?" she asked. Her voice was rough and bitter, letting all the anger she'd accumulated toward him over the past few years shine through.

"Let's not go there," he said. "The last thing I want to be doing is digging up ancient history in a jail cell."

Joey shook her head. "Why are you here?" she asked suspiciously.

He knew that she wouldn't give in easily, so just opted for the truth. "Soliciting a prostitute," he said dryly.

She shook her head and laughed. "Well, on occasion I've known you to beg for a good lay, but I'd never expect you to pay for one." She wasn't sure, but she thought she saw anger in his eyes. That pleased her. She wanted him to be as angry at her as she was at him. She wanted to hurt him just as much as he'd hurt her.

"Yeah, well, it's much more simple. I don't ending up playing games like I played with you."

She held her breath as she tried to keep her tears at bay. She wanted to cry, but would not give him the satisfaction. "I wasn't the one who played games," she said.

"No, you're just the one who runs at the first sign of trouble. You've always been such a bitch," he spat.

"And you've always been an asshole," she returned. She was angry now, no longer feeling any empathy for him. And she'd be damned if he would ever find out how much his words could still affect her. "Now that we've become so warmly reacquainted," she began coldly, "do you think that you could possibly stop talking?"

"Gladly," he mumbled. He walked to the bench on the other side of the cell, putting as much space as he possibly could between them. He laid down and flung his arm across his eyes. He was going to go to sleep if it killed him.

* * * * *

She watched him as he slept. It was something she hadn't done in a long time, but something she'd been so comfortable doing so many times in the past. She wished that when he was asleep like that, everything would look the same. But it wasn't. She would never be able to look at him the same way again.

She sighed and shook her head. Of all the places to see him again, she didn't want to see him here. He would have questions and she wouldn't have answers. She didn't know the answers.

Maybe she had been cold, but he hadn't exactly been cordial. She didn't want to see him, and now there was no way around it. There was nothing she could say or do. There was nothing that could change things. There was nothing that could erase the bad memories that she played over and over again in her head, despite her best efforts to rid herself of them.

He sat up gruffly, wiping his eyes. She watched him silently, not sure if she should say anything.

"What?" he snapped, realizing he was being watched.

"Nothing," she mumbled, turning her head away. She hated the fact that he knew she was there and that he knew she had been watching him. He wasn't supposed to know any of it.

He looked back at her for a moment as she fought not to turn her gaze back to him. "What are you here for?" he asked finally. The calmness in his voice surprised her, because it meant that he wasn't shocked to find her there. Joey Potter was not meant to be the woman he saw before him now. She wasn't supposed to end up in a jail cell with a man she'd left, a man she spent years trying to erase her memory of, a man who had left her even before that.

She shrugged. "Let's put it this way, Pacey. If you'd come to the right street corner, you could've solicited me." She grinned wickedly, very much enjoying the upper hand.

"I don't believe you," he said, but his eyes betrayed a fear that surprised her.

She watched him for a long time before saying anything. "Believe what you want."

* * * * *

She sat with her back up against the wall, leaning down with her elbows on her knees and her long hair hanging down, covering her face. When she heard his voice, she looked up, startled, letting a hand drop to the cold stone floor.

"I didn't realize sex held so much appeal for you," he said coldly.

Joey smiled inwardly, thought it was a bitter smile. Perhaps she still had a hold over him, even after everything. She'd obviously gotten to him.

"I thought you didn't believe me," she said lightly, staring at him with wide eyes that seemed too bright in the dark confines of the cell.

Pacey looked away from her, shaking his head. "The old Joey Potter wouldn't even have considered this as an option on her worst day."

"The old Joey Potter had a lot to learn."

She could see the anger in his face, see that she had struck a raw nerve. "Like what?" he whispered fiercely. "Like how to fuck all day until it means nothing any more?"

She was taken aback by his outburst, and she leaned back against the wall, breathing deeply. But she couldn't let him see that. "Sounds like history," she retorted.

She thought he might hit her then. The tension in his jaw, his neck, his shoulders, said too much. His fists that raised slightly at her words. But he would never touch her, not like that anyway. She knew that much. He was silent for a long time before he answered, studying her coldly. Joey felt weakened by his gaze, which seemed to look right through her and not like what it saw. She hated the disgust she could see in his eyes.

"You fuck other people for a living," he said bitterly.

"And you fuck them for nothing."

He was surprised and she could see that. Perhaps it was something she had always known. No doubt the "old Joey Potter" wouldn't have even said the word "fuck." But she'd changed, and he was blind if he couldn't see that. He knew that was part of the reason she had, but he didn't even seem to know.

He shook his head. "So that's it? It's all about money? Or do you get a twisted little kick out of going down on those blue-collar workers?"

"Investment bankers, actually" she said smoothly, smiling a little.

He was angry and even she was surprised at the reaction she'd gotten out of him.

"I don't know how you do it," he said, his voice shallow with confusion, with anger. "I don't know how you manage it, have them fuck you and leave. How you let them use you that way."

She eyed him coldly. "Past experience helps," she said.

She couldn't see him clearly but she could hear his shallow breathing. "It was nothing like that," he replied.

"No," she said. "I didn't get paid."

* * * * *

Joey sighed, breaking the silence. She had leant back against the wall, her head resting against cool plaster, her fingers drumming lightly on her knees. She lifted one leg and rubbed her ankle absentmindedly. She eyed the thin creases in her short black dress and frowned, rubbing her hands over the cloth.

"Don't I just dress the part?" she said dryly.

He was quiet, turned away from her in the other corner of the small cell, but she knew that he had heard her. "Do you think they'll let us out?" he asked, ignoring her question.

She raised an eyebrow. "What, you think they're going to waste state money on a hooker and some pathetic, hard-up man and keep us here forever?"

"Somehow the prospect seems strangely unappealing."

"You think?" she spat. She wished he didn't have the capacity to bring out all these emotions in her. Like he had too many years ago. Anger and hatred. And love, and confusion. She hated him for that.

He sighed. "Maybe I should have paid you."

She shrugged, pretending the words didn't hurt. "Maybe the manipulation was already there."

He was silent for a long time. "It seems hard to believe that you'd do that," he said softly, and she looked for the malice; she wasn't sure where it was.

She tried to stay cool. "What, you want a live demonstration?"

She looked up again, startled, as she saw him rise to his feet. She could see the angry glint in his eyes, the tightness in his jaw as he walked hurriedly towards her.

Her words had been callus, crude, but she hadn't expected this response.

She was silent in false calm as he knelt beside her, reaching out and grabbing her wrist. She tried not to cry out as he forced it backwards and held it tight against the wall. He brought his face close to hers, his breath hot against her cheek.

"Yeah, what do you think, Joey?" He could see her eyes shift. "You wanna do it now?" He reached back his spare hand and pulled a crumpled bill from his back pocket. He held it out to her, waving it in front of her face as he smiled, coldly. " 'A twenty do you, Jo?"

"Stop it, Pacey." Her voice was hurried, breathless.

He shook his head slowly. "How much do you ask for Jo? How much do you think you're worth?"

"More than this," she said bitterly. "More than anything you ever gave me,"

She was angry and her heart was beating too fast. She could feel tears well up behind her eyes. She felt him grasp onto her other wrist as she pushed forward against him, harder than should have been necessary.

He ignored her. "Isn't that what you do, Joey? You fuck men like me?"

"Yeah," she whispered. "Men who don't give a shit."

He shook his head. "So you do guys? Or are you just playing with my mind?"

"No," she whispered fiercely.

"Do you want me to take you now, on the cold stone?"

"Fuck you!" she hissed, her eyes glinting with anger and unshed tears.

"I thought that was the point."

She shook her head, and he could see the beginnings of tears. "No," she whispered, and he loosened his grip. She pulled her arms from his grasp and he leant back onto his feet, studying her, his face blank.

"You couldn't whore yourself if you wanted to," he said finally.

She wasn't sure how to take that remark. "I can do a lot of things that would surprise you," she said, trying to steady her breath, her voice.

Pacey shook his head. "You're obviously a better lay then you were when we were together."

The words brought about a sudden tightness in her chest, that she couldn't shake. "And you're obviously not."

She watched him in silence, watched as the corner of his mouth turned up in a little smile. "I think you're messing with my head," he murmured lightly, as if it didn't bother him. "I doubt you've even been done in a long time."

She studied him, her eyes never leaving his face. "Then why are you trying to persuade yourself it's not the truth?"

She could read the anger in his eyes, see it in the flush of his cheeks. He shrugged. "You wanna prove that it is?" She was defiant but he saw the troubled look flash across her face. "You wanna do it now? To see just how much things have changed?"

Pacey saw her face crumble, and he lifted himself to his feet in newfound ease, a certain grace. He stood above her for a minute, watching her.

"No," she whispered, her face downwards, and he could see her hands shaking.

He shook his head in anger and turned away from her, walking to the bench and easing himself down on it. He turned and lay with his back to her, humming gently in an easy manner that seemed incongruous. He didn't speak to her again; his query had just been answered.

Joey let her head fall forward onto her arms, and she breathed slowly, deeply, trying to muffle the sound of her own crying, and worse, the knowledge that he didn't care.

* * * * *

To Be Continued . . .

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