Author's Note: As always, feedback is very appreciated. Also please do not post without my explicit permission.
Recap: Joey finds Pacey, and asks for just one night with him, and offers to leave the past out of it if she can have it. Things go a little more smoothly for them after that, except for one small fight.
He had even cursed himself while he slept for letting her do that to him. It wasn't like six years of anger and hatred had been erased with a couple of the right words and a smile, but he had let her get to him too easily. No more. He was going to open his eyes, face the fact that she was gone, and go back to hating her. She had gotten her one night, and he didn't owe her anything else.
He slowly opened his eyes, and there she was, sleeping silently. She looked beautiful, lying on her stomach, her back exposed by the fallen sheet. Her head was resting softly on her hands, her hair spread out around the pillow. He brushed the strands that were covering her face out of the way.
He swallowed hard. No person was supposed to have this much power over another human being. Yet, she did. That had been part of the reason that he left. He sighed. He wasn't exactly sure how much longer she would be on the island. He didn't know how much longer he could handle having her around.
When he looked at the clock, he saw that it was nearly one o'clock. He tore himself from the bed, and began to get dressed. Restlessly rubbing his face, he looked around the room. He poured himself a glass of vodka, thinking it would settle his nerves. He stood, looking out the window, trying to settle his thoughts.
Joey slowly awoke. She found the disappointment Pacey had been expecting, when she saw that he wasn't next to her. As her eyes focused, she saw him staring out the balcony door. She watched him seriously, dressed in his work clothes, a drink in hand already. It was difficult, not really being sure what to say. Slowly, she moved out of the bed, and picked up her clothes off the floor. He acted like he didn't realize that she was up. She quietly stood behind him, searching the ocean with her eyes, as she combed through her hair with her fingers.
"Why'd you stay?" he whispered. It was a mystery he needed an answer to, and as much as he didn't want to talk with her about the past, he desperately needed to know where he stood. The truth was that it felt good to see her still there when he woke up.
She stood quietly, searching for the right words, clearing her throat before she spoke. "I know . . . I know that you said just one night . . . and . . . I didn't want to go. But if you--"
He turned to look at her. "That's not what I meant. I want to know why you stayed."
"I didn't want to go," she said softly. He nodded, and looked back out the glass door. "I'm a little upset with myself," she continued. "I've got a feeling you feel the same way."
"And why are you upset?" he asked.
"I'm supposed to hate you," she said. "I mean, it wasn't supposed to be like this. I was supposed to stay mad at you forever for leaving. I just . . . I look at you, and I can't remember that anymore. You've just . . . made me not care about it anymore."
"Just because I was the one who walked away, it doesn't mean that I'm the one who made the choice." He looked at her seriously, taking another swig of his drink. "I harbor all the same hate you're talking about, but I can't forget so easily."
She sucked in her bottom lip. "I, um, I'd really like to work this out."
"I don't think that's possible," he answered. "I think that things are best left alone. I have to be to work in about forty five minutes anyway."
"So do you want to see me again before I go?"
"Don't make me answer that."
"It's simple. One word."
"Now tell me the truth."
"Don't pretend like you know me," he said coldly. "You don't. You never did."
"I know that you're lying."
"I don't ever want to see you again. It wouldn't hurt my feelings to go another six years without laying eyes on you."
"Well, perhaps it's my turn to do what you do best -- walk away."
He nodded. "Do what you have to do." She began to head for the door. "Jo?" he called after her.
"What?" she asked impatiently.
"Did that hurt you?"
She nodded reluctantly. "That make you happy?"
"Yeah," he said coldly. "Payback's a bitch. So are you."
"Go to hell, Pacey," she said. Pacey laughed, downing the rest of his drink.
Joey pulled part of her hair into a barrette as she looked in the mirror. She stood back, examining herself. Gently, she smoothed out the front of her tan skirt, going past the silver buttons. She grabbed her silver necklace, and put it on top of her white shirt. She pulled a pair of black, leather slides from the floor, put them on her feet, and left the room.
The idea was not so simple. She had been feeling a great deal of emotion about her conversation with Pacey this afternoon. Part of her wanted to make it right, the other part wanted to get even. Either way, she was going to take care of it at the bar.
She gently took a seat at the deserted end of the bar, when she saw Pacey at the other end. He was talking to a petite bleached blonde. She must've had to grease herself to get into that dress, Joey thought. This girl was transparent, and it was clear what she wanted from him.
He walked down to Joey, and looked her directly in the eye. "Gin and tonic?" he asked.
Damn him. "Yeah," she said, not able to think of another drink to ask for quickly enough. He sat the drink in front of her, and gave a half-hearted smile.
He opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted when Brian the drunk called him. Pacey walked over and engaged in idle conversation with him, before taking his money.
Pacey walked back to the blonde. Joey watched as she batted her eyelashes, and pushed her shoulders back to thrust her surgically enhanced breasts forward. Pacey said something, and cracked a small smiled as the girl began to laugh uncontrollably. Pacey gave her a doubtful look as he headed back to Joey. "Another?" he asked.
Joey nodded, and spoke only after he turned his back. "You know she only wants one thing, right?"
"Yeah," he said, in a tone stating it was no surprise to him. He turned again, weeding out near-empty bottles from the shelf.
Carlos walked over, and took a stool near Joey. He looked at her and smiled.
"What's up, Carlos?" Pacey asked.
"Be my savior, and pour me a Tequila, will you?" he said. He turned back to Joey, and offered his hand. "I'm Carlos," he said, smiling.
She shook his hand. "Nice to meet you, Carlos," she said.
Pacey sat the drink in front of Carlos, and hung around to eavesdrop. Carlos took a drink, and smiled at Joey. "Usually, when I tell a woman my name, it's in hopes that she'll tell me hers."
Joey nodded, giving a small smile. "I guess it usually works."
"Usually," he said. "So why won't you tell me yours?"
"You didn't ask," she said, giving a seductive smile.
"Well, miss, may I ask your name?" he said, grinning.
"Melissa," she said. Pacey looked at her and smirked.
"Well, it's nice to meet you, Melissa," Carlos said.
"There's a live one down there," Pacey said, pointing to the blonde. "She's married."
"Thanks," Carlos said, giving Joey the once over with his eyes, before moving to the other end of the bar.
Joey stared back at Pacey, watching him dry a glass. Suddenly, she found herself ready to try something different. "So what's your name?" she asked.
He raised an eyebrow. "What's yours?"
"I'm Melissa," she said, extending her hand.
He gently shook it, interested in playing her game. "Marcus."
"Well, Marcus," she smiled, "it's nice to meet you."
"So what brings you to Puerto Rico, Melissa?" he asked.
"I'm on vacation."
"Life." He nodded. "My job, I guess," she added.
"And what is it that you do?"
She grinned, raising her eyes to the ceiling. "I trade securities on Wall Street."
"Yes. It's a dreadfully stressful job. I just needed a break from the chaos."
"Have you found it?"
"No." She looked at him seriously. "It must be stressful working as a bartender."
"It's not so bad," he said.
"So what's your story, Marcus?"
"Same old one you hear all time," he said. "I'm an undercover cop actually. Posing as a bartender trying to catch drug smugglers."
"Well, Marcus, it's probably a good idea not to tell people that," she said, smirking. "It might blow your cover."
"You're probably right," he said.
"Do you have a girlfriend, Marcus?"
"Yes. A fiancee, in fact," he said.
"Ah," she said, nodding. "She good to you?"
"I guess so," he said. "What about you, Melissa? Do you have a boyfriend?"
"Mmm, husband, actually," she said. He nodded. "You still interested?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Maybe," he said. "What's your husband like?"
"A selfish bastard. At first I thought he was just dedicated to his work. Then I found out that he was sleeping with his secretary."
"It's always the secretary, isn't it?" he asked.
"Of course. They don't have very many muscular men in the secretarial pool. That's for a reason," she said pointedly.
"So what? You looking for payback? Your husband cheats on you, you cheat on him."
"No," she said. "Can I be honest with you, Marcus?"
"Sure, Melissa," he answered.
"I have never been so animalistically attracted to a man in my life as I am to you right now. The truth of the matter is that I hate infidelity, but some things take priority over principles."
"Sex with me is one of those things?"
"Today it is."
"Well, some things take priority over sex, like sleeping with another man's wife."
"I'm not like a car or a house. I'm not his possession." She bit her lip. "I'm just looking for some way to forget all my troubles."
He looked into her eyes. "I'm not a problem solver."
"Would things be different if I hadn't been married?"
"Maybe," he said. "It doesn't really matter at this point."
She nodded, taking this as her cue to exit. "I have to go," she said. "I've got a feeling you know where to find me if you change your mind. 'Night, Marcus."
"'Night," he said softly, watching her walk away.
Joey sat on the bed in her room as she took her shoes off. She looked at them for a moment, and then threw them against the wall. That felt good. She sighed, and rubbed her temples. Two a.m., and what did she have to show for the day? Acting the fool in front of Pacey. Playing mind games with Pacey. A walk on the beach. By far, the walk had been the only productive thing of the day.
Thinking it was somehow rendering her brain dysfunctional, Joey pulled the barrette from her hair, and smoothed out her long, brown locks. She fell backward on the mattress, thinking that position may be more productive, when there was a faint knock on the door.
When she opened the door, she saw Pacey standing there. "Hey," he said softly. He twisted his mouth into a half-smile, while still leaving his expression unreadable.
"Hey," she said, puzzled. "Come, come in."
"Thanks," he said, uneasily entering the room. He saw the confused look on her face, but really didn't know what to say to her. His fingers rubbed over his brow, and settled, pinching the bridge of his nose. "I really need a cigarette," he said.
She nodded, and led him to the balcony. It was dark out there. All the lights from the hotel were off, and the full moon lit the sky. Pacey untucked his shirt, and retrieved his cigarettes from his pocket, lighting one as it hung from his lips. The only sounds were the crashing waves and his own shallow breathing. He watched Joey, a soft breeze was blowing her hair, as she examined the darkness, her arms resting on the railing.
Finally, Pacey sat down on the hard concrete, his back to the French Doors. "I don't know what to say," he whispered. She looked down at him, and their eyes met. "I don't know why I'm here," he added.
She nodded, as she sat down. She pulled her knees to her chest, and wrapped her arms protectively around herself. She swallowed, preparing to speak, but changed her mind at the last second.
He exhaled a cloud of smoke, and focused his gaze on her. "It was nice to be someone else for a little while."
"Well, I guess that I'm in such a sad state, that I'll take you any way that I can get you, whether it's as Pacey, or Mike, or Marcus, or whoever." She looked at him, cutting her eyes. "Why do you do this shit to me?"
He shrugged. "I don't know what you mean."
"God, Pacey, you're playing games with me. I don't like it, and I shouldn't tolerate it."
"I'm not playing games with you," he said. "You just . . . you mess me up."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that you have power over me. You say a certain thing, or look at me a certain way, and I lose myself. I forget who I am, and will do whatever you want me to."
"I must've lost my touch, then. Because you have been a complete asshole to me ever since I got here."
"It can't be all sunshine and smiles after everything that happened," he said. "This is who I am."
"Because of me?" she said hoarsely, inadvertently raising an eyebrow.
"Everything changed," he said, staring blankly at the ocean. "So fast. It's like I woke up one morning, and everything was different; you and Dawson, my family . . . me. I got in too deep." He looked back at her. "Had to get out."
She chewed on her bottom lip, not knowing how to respond. "But getting out doesn't exactly justify living as a drunk bartender in Puerto Rico."
"Have you ever been on a walk, as important as it may have been, and ended up somewhere not exactly sure how you got there?" She nodded. "That's what happened." He breathed deeply, not sure whether to say his next thought. "I've been fine hating you all these years. Never in a million years did I imagine that I'd see you again. You did things that were unforgivable in my eyes, and nothing is going to change them."
Joey began to speak absentmindedly, just letting the words flow. "I had a professor my junior year in college who gave this whole lecture on love. He asked us what the opposite of love was, and we all said hate. Of course, he argued. Love and hate were parallel emotions, he told us. If you took enough energy to love someone, even if things changed so drastically that you began to hate them, it didn't matter because you still cared enough to care about the person." She moved her eyes to meet his. "The opposite of love is indifference."
"You haven't told me anything I didn't already know," he responded. "I'm not indifferent to you, and I guess that's why I'm here."
For the first time since they reunited, the silence between them wasn't awkward, but somewhat reassuring. Pacey snuffed out his cigarette, and looked back at Joey. She was absentmindedly playing with one of her rings. It was a diamond, that sat on her left ring finger. "Tell me about your wedding," he said suddenly.
She followed his stare to her own hands, and suddenly dropped them to her side. "You don't want to--"
"I can take it," he said, raising his voice. "I want to hear about it."
"I'm not so sure I want to talk about it," she said. "I didn't get married."
"You told me he left you at the altar." She gave him a dubious look. "When you were drunk." She nodded, but still didn't say anything. "Go ahead," he said. "I want to hear it."
She rested her hands on her knees, and stared at the moon. "It was at this small little Methodist church. Inside there were these big white bows, and silver tulle on the pews. It was so beautiful on the mahogany wood. There were gardenias inside, and it smelled wonderful. Candles on the sills of the stained glass windows."
"What was your dress like?"
"I wore a plain, white gown. It was sleeveless, and straight. It was this shiny, satiny fabric that sort of glistened," she said with a slight smile. "I didn't get a train or anything. Too fairytale."
"Your hair," he said softly.
She looked at him, and saw he had his eyes squeezed shut, probably trying to imagine the scene. "It had curls on the end, falling down my back," she said. She wanted to give him a clear picture. "Nothing fancy. Everything was simple. Not many people. It was small and quiet."
"So what happened?" he asked.
"The wedding was supposed to be at seven o'clock. At seven thirty, no one knew where he was. So I go charging out into the church in front of everyone to interrogate Mr. and Mrs. Leery. They were sitting in the front of the church, but they gave me this look like they knew. Mrs. Leery said that she had hoped that he would change his mind, and that's why they were there."
"What did you do?"
"I imagine that I had a look on my face like I was a deer caught in the headlights. Then I looked around, and saw all these people staring at me. They might as well have been strangers. I ran out of there as fast as my high heeled feet would take me. Two hours later, I decided not to let a trip to Puerto Rico go to waste."
He nodded, and the silence returned. "I didn't like seeing you talk to that woman earlier," she whispered.
Pacey looked back at her. "Who?"
"The bleached blonde with the fake boobs . . . from the bar earlier. You sent what's-his-name after her?"
Pacey looked at her blankly. "Oh," he said softly. "Carlos."
"Yeah," Joey nodded. "How'd you know she was married?"
Pacey looked seriously at Joey. "You're not engaged anymore, but you're still wearing the ring. She was still married, but she wasn't wearing the ring." He saw the confused look on Joey's face. "Rings leave tan lines," he said.
"Makes sense," she said softly, hoping he wouldn't ask her to explain why she still wore the ring.
"Didn't like her, eh?" Pacey asked with a small smile.
Joey snorted. "I wanted to smack her so hard that her grandchildren would be born dizzy."
He laughed. "Why is that?"
"She was trying to take advantage of you."
"No, she wasn't," he said. "You're upset because you thought that tonight she'd be where you wanted to be."
"I guess so," she said softly.
"And you are."
She moved closer to him, and snaked her arm around the back of his neck. "There's something I want to do," she whispered. He began to speak, but she smothered his words with her mouth.
His mind became a jumble when she kissed him, but one thing remained clear to him: He couldn't just let it happen again. He wasn't going to let himself wake up in the morning, call her a bitch again, and then come back to her at night. Somehow, that wasn't fair to either of them. There were too many unresolved issues.
He pulled away from her, and she looked at him, bewildered. "We can't do this again," he said quietly. She moved away, allowing him his personal space again. "Too much history, too much emotional baggage, whatever. We can't keep doing this."
"What harm would it be? Really, Pacey? Who would it hurt?"
"You said I hurt you this morning," he said. "I'd probably do it tomorrow morning. I have to be at work early anyway." He stood up, offering her his hand. She accepted and pulled herself to her feet.
"So is this it?"
"You're going to be here for a few more days?"
"Yeah. Six more."
"Then, I'll see you around. Tomorrow, probably." They walked into the room in silence, and both stood at the door.
"Was I really that horrible to you back then?" she whispered.
"You were like the sun," he said wistfully. "You were predictable. I needed you. Even if I never realized how important you were until it was too late." He exhaled, and she looked up at him when he rubbed his thumb along her jawline. "But I got too close, and I got burned."
"I'm so sorry," she said softly.
"I'll see you tomorrow," he whispered, walking out the door.
Joey leaned against the door, and slid to the ground. She leaned her head back: She had a lot to think about.
To Be Continued . . .
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