What Took You So Long
It was a Sunday night and Joey Potter was sitting on her dock taking in the beautiful sight
of the spectacular Capeside night, a chill ran through her body as the cold air hit her face; It was freezing, one of those
days that her mother used to call ‘crisp’, but beautiful never the less.
She touched her cheeks, they
were cold to the touch and her face was red from the blast of the wind off the creek, but she actually liked it. She gazed
out at the marvelous Capeside night and smiled gently. Even though she prayed Capeside would not be where she spent her future
she still loved it, after all it was her home; wherever she may be it was home and it was where her heart belonged. She looked
out over the creek and saw a faint reflection of the moon on the water. She smiled, remembering the man in the moon. The man
always looking after her whenever times were bad she would think about him and talk to him. However, for once things weren't
that bad, the house was turning into a successful bed and breakfast. It wasn't busy, being out of season and all, but they
did have a few guests who stayed over for a night or two. The restaurant
had been re-opened thanks to the work of Pacey who had worked almost day and night to fix it for them. He really cared about
her and her sister, he always had. And even though they bantered she always loved and respected him. She smiled at the thought
of a lame joke he had told her yesterday, something vulgar about blondes, which she had thought, was particularly funny since
he was dating one.
As she thought of him she found herself sensing his presence behind her. He always did have a way
of making her think about him.
Thinking of him made her realize it was him standing behind her; she smiled faintly at him, relaxed and tired she saw him wink at her cheekily. He always
did that, it never meant anything but he always did it, for as long as she could remember he had done it. His eyes winked
but his face was dark, and he had a bruise on his face; he was always getting into trouble, fights or just being plain clumsy.
That boy was always walking into, tripping over or getting hit by something.
"Hey" he said sadly, kicking an imaginary can on the ground, his eyes were dark and his voice was uncharacteristically
shaky; something was wrong and she knew it. Instead of smiling at her with his usual, 'How's it hangin'?' He just said, "How's
life at planet Potter this fine evening?" He tried to sound characteristic of him and his normal tone but he couldn’t
quite manage it. She could sense something wrong, but didn’t want him to know just how worried she was about him. He
would just make her feel stupid and she knew he would just tell her she was over reacting and tease her again about caring
about him so much.
"What's up your ass tonight?"
"Well hello to you too," he shot angrily, heavily loaded with
sarcasm as he walked away from her, he could tell she was not in the mood, or so he thought.
She was always so cold
to him on the outside. Sure, she was warm at times but she was usually cold. Not cold hearted though, never cold hearted;
he could always sense the warmth in her eyes even when she was cold to him. He decided he couldn't be bothered the normal
charade, he couldn't be bothered with the Josephine Potter attitude and decided to leave her alone before they got into a
fight. He hated fighting with her; he always walked away feeling bad about being so mean to his best friend.
Joey said. Sighing, she grabbed his hand and pulled him down to sit beside her. He wasn't going to walk away tonight, otherwise
if her feelings were founded about something being wrong she would definitely feel guilty. He was her best friend after all. He had been moping for weeks about something, some information he wouldn't disclose
but she intended on getting to the bottom of it.
"You've been moping around for days now and I'm sick of whenever
I ask, you just ignoring me so tell me what's wrong or show me a smile," she said, not with warmth, just frustration. She
meant warmth, she truly did but she had been having this conversation with him on a daily basis for weeks and was sick of
it. "Do you want to talk?" she quizzed him. He was quiet, too quiet. No remarks, no jokes, no conversation. Nothing. Something
was definitely seriously wrong.
"Mind if I just sit here a while?" he asked, his voice was quiet, like a small boy,
but rough too. His words came out jagged and as a large sharp sigh exited his mouth; she needed to talk, she nudged him hoping
it would spark a question, a remark, a joke, hell even a jibe, just something, anything from those full lips of his. They
moved so often usually but tonight; not a twitch, but he was dying to talk she knew it.
She looked at him; she really
looked at him. Hey eyes searched his, trying to find his emotion and some clue as to what was going on; she knew something was going on. They say that eyes are a window to a person's soul,
it was certainly true with Pacey, it's hard not to read his eyes; they give away everything. She inspected him some more,
he didn’t notice, he just looked out over the water with stiff melancholy; just sitting there, staring. There wasn't
just awkwardness in his eyes but there was a hurt and a pain she had never seen before, deeper somehow. There had been a lot
about him she had just started to see; parts of him that had previously been hidden from view
"So what's up?" she asked
softer than before. "Why are you here?" she asked, placing her hands on his face and turning it to her, forcing him to look
at her as her eyes burnt through his skin. He could feel it. That look; that Joey Potter look, her forehead wrinkled as the
question appeared in her eyes and he knew he had to say something before she went to that angry Joey, the one who always demanded answers.
"Honestly?" he asked, looking at her, shrugging
his shoulders. He wanted to answer her questioning eyes but couldn't, he didn't quite know why he had gone there to her dock;
automatic pilot had taken over, he had been there so much of late that he felt like it was his safe haven, a place he could
go where she wouldn’t analyze like Dawson, or ramble like Andie, or joke like Jen. Just pure, pure safety and sanctity.
"I don't know why I'm here," he said thinking out loud. "Just kind of kept walking, had no where to go and just felt
myself drifting here. I guess my feet just seem to want to come here," he said solemnly. He could tell she wanted to know
more. He licked his lips slowly before taking a deep sigh. "My dad threw me out," he said sadly. He had to tell her, he had
no option but to tell her. He had been dying to anyway, plus there were only a certain amount of nights he could sleep in
a car. His back ached, his neck was knotted and his bruised rib was really starting to hurt on the hard seats.
she was taken aback by his revelation, this was something she just wasn't expecting; nothing that serious had even crossed
her mind. She turned to him seriously, even more question in her deep brown eyes. "What happened?" she asked putting her arm
around his waist. "When did he throw you out?"
He jumped when her hand came into contact with his back and she felt
it; a deep and painful groan escaping his mouth. She pulled back suddenly, shocked by his pain, and stared at him with her
mouth open, there was only one kind of pain that could make someone jump like that.
"Well…" he let out a sigh
and turned to her. Thankfully she had removed her hand from his bruised waist, usually he wouldn’t mind but the pain
was killing him and he hadn't taken any pain killers that day. He was all out of them and in a great deal of pain. "We had
“Me and dad,”
“What happened?” she asked still
keeping her distance.
“I was meant to be in by eleven, because he wanted to talk to everybody about something
and he..." Pacey stuttered. He wasn't sure how to say this without it seeming too serious, but it was serious; it had been
since he was eight years old. "My curfew is usually one so I totally forgot and I came in at half past. He was pretty mad
said something about disrespect and then… well then just said he was sick of me."
His mind thought back to that
night. He had really been hurt by his father's cruel words.
"He said that I was loser; a delinquent and that he was
ashamed to call me his son." He felt Joey's hand as she raised it to rub his shoulders, comforting him. That's what he needed,
a shoulder to cry on, and not a shoulder that answered back. "Then I told him I was sick of him always putting me down and then he just threw me out," he said sadly looking at her, her face was full of question.
"When did he do this? Tonight?" she questioned, this guy needed a shoulder right now, and she wasn’t going to
give it to him without the whole story. She needed to know what she was dealing with first, he looked away from her gaze and
that's when she sensed it; this wasn’t a new problem.
“It wasn’t just tonight was it?" she asked
him, he was silent but he shook his head. "Yesterday?" he didn’t answer "Friday?" she asked him again and he stayed
silent. This was ridiculous. "Not tonight, not yesterday, not Friday then when?" she asked. She was curious and a little annoyed he hadn't told her. "[/b]?" she repeated, she heard him whisper
something but didn’t catch the sound. She thought she heard him say a week ago, but that can't have been right. "What?"
she asked. "I didn't catch that".
"A week ago, last Sunday night," he replied, gulping down a huge lump in his throat
as her eyes grew wide and shocked, he took her hand and rubbed her knuckles. "I'm okay really, I'm managing," he reassured
her, she pulled her hands away from him hastily and stood up. 'Uh oh,' he thought; she was not happy.
"A week!" she said, almost shouting. "A week!" she repeated. "You have seen
me every day at school, all Friday night, four study sessions during the week, not to mention yesterday when you came and
fixed the heater, you had plenty time to tell me and you didn’t? You've been homeless for a week… homeless… and you didn’t
tell me. Isn't it the kinda thing you mention?" she rambled. She couldn’t believe this man. She shook her head and put
her hands on her hips. "I can't believe you didn't tell me. I thought we were friends, Pacey. I thought you could have told
me before now." She was angry and she knew she shouldn't be. How could she not pick up on something so awful? She wasn't just
angry at him but at herself too.
"I'm sorry" he said standing up to look at her, he was a little upset that she didn’t
seem to care, she only cared that something was going on little Miss Joey Potter wasn't aware of. That she had missed out
on some juicy gossip another thing to end to the endless lists of disappointments.
“Sorry?” she scoffed.
“You hide something like this from me and all you can say is that you’re sorry?”
"Well what am I supposed to say?" he questioned her loudly; his voice was hinted with sarcasm as
he relayed a conversation he could have had with her. "Oh hey, Jo. How are you? You want sugar in your tea? Would you like
honey? The Florida red wings beat the New York Rangers six to three and oh by the way I'm homeless!" he almost yelled, but
calmed down, dropping his ehad to his chest "I couldn't tell you," he sighed, he had surprised himself with the outburst he
had just made, so surely it had surprised her. "I'm sorry," he sighed, her eyes were getting full and he could almost sense
the heat in them. He hated seeing her like this; he cared too much about her to see her cry. "I just… I didn’t
know how to tell you." He waited for her response, he knew she was upset, but he needed her not to hate him right now. So
he grabbed her hand back again and held it softly, playing with her fingers uneasily.
"You told me you felt like you
could tell me anything" she said sadly. "Why the hell couldn't you tell me? I would have understood," she was calm now, still
hurt, but calmer, trying to understand. She didn’t take her hand away from his, she couldn’t bear to, and she
was enjoying the warmth it was causing. She was being a little harsh and she knew it. He gave him an apologetic look, to make
up for her outburst and he seemed to nod and accept it.
"How could I Jo?" he questioned her, his eyes were hot and
he could feel tears forming, he wiped them stubbornly, he was going to let her see him cry. His father always said that men
never cry. "How could I tell you that my father, the beloved, respected, can't-do-anything-wrong sheriff hates his own son?"
He turned from her, he couldn't look her in the eyes, not like this, he couldn't let her see the pain. He continued, he felt
his voice shaking, trying to hide it, his voice got rough. "That I'm as much a failure as he thought that I let him hit me.
ThatI let him hit me since I was eight years old. That I'm a disappointment and I'm such a terrible person that I can't even keep the love of my own god damned father." He couldn't stop the tears that were falling
down his cheeks and he couldn't stop his lip from trembling or even his heart from breaking. He couldn't stop any of it, and
he had no control anymore.
"You're none of those things, Pacey," Joey said. She couldn’t believe his view of
himself. "I can't even comprehend why you would feel that way." She said walking to him and pulling him to her in a hug, he
responded after a moment and hugged her back. "I'm not even going to tell you how amazing you are because you already know
how I feel," she said seriously.
She couldn't think much; she was numb. She didn’t know what to do; she had
no recollection of ever seeing him cry, not since third grade when he fell out of a tree and broke his leg. He sat down again
pulling her down with him, she was surprised as he smiled weakly and looked at her, his eyes were still full of tears and
her heart broke for him, he was only seventeen and to him his life was worthless. It doesn't matter that she didn’t
think so, because he did and as much as she reassured him he
never quite believed it. But why would he when he had been neglected and put down his whole life?
"I know what you're
thinking," he said falling into an embrace she offered. his tears still steadily falling from his eyes, he couldn't stop them
and didn't want to now that she didn’t seem to care; his crying didn’t bother her. "You think that I'm a wuss;
that I can't stand a little rejection." He shook his head, "I've been just thinking about it Jo, stewing in it for a week.
I sit every night in my truck," he started at the sky wistfully. "I lie awake staring at the rain, or the stars or the moon
or the clouds or, or whatever is there. Y'know… the seats are hard, it's cold and I can't sleep. I went to Andie and
she just shouted at me for letting him throw me out." He paused and looked to Joey, his tears had subsided. "I felt bad; I
lied; I told her that I had gone back the next day and everything was okay. I can't have her disappointed in me, to see that
look in her eyes that said 'I could do better than you,'" he swallowed
a lump in his throat, fearing the tears again.
"I'm sure she doesn't feel that way, Pacey," Joey said taking his face
between her hands. "It's not possible for her to feel that way; she loves you," Joey said, she didn’t actually like
Andie. Never had. She had cheated on him and he had forgiven her but she couldn’t, not really. She couldn’t forgive
her for what she had done to him and how she had broken his heart.
"I never got over it y'know," Pacey said looking
at her, his comment was out the blue but she knew who he was talking about. "I forgave her, but I didn’t forget. If
she loved me she wouldn't have done it and if I was enough for her, or good enough for her or just, even, a tiny bit worth
her love then she wouldn’t have done it." He paused. "And you don't think she thinks that, huh?" he asked her harshly,
tears threatened his eyes as they stung; they stung just like someone had thrown pepper into his eyes. His eyes glistened,
but he held it back, he didn’t like to think about what he was thinking about, the things Andie had said the week before
when they had a huge fight about pizza, nothing but pizza. "Do you know what she told me last week?" he asked her and she
shook her head. "She said 'why do I even date you, you're incapable of making a decision, you get nothing right and sometimes
I wonder why I care the way I do.' I memorized those words Joey. Those words cut me deeper than anything." He swallowed that
familiar lump again, he fought back the sting and he prayed he wouldn’t cry as his voice cracked. "The only person I
thought believed in me told me that. She said she loved me but how could she love me when she says that, Jo?" he asked her,
a genuine question.
"Pacey she's not the only one that believes in you. I believe in you too," she said moving closer
to him and looking to his face, so he could see the words and feel them. "I know that we bicker, quarrel, contend, dispute,
brawl, contest, spar, spat, fight." She ran out of words, they were all the ones in the dictionary. "But you're my friend.
I like to think my best friend. Better than Dawson even. Y'know I can trust you and I know what you are and who you are so
don't even think about telling me you are anything but what you are," she said firmly.
"And what is that, Joey?" he
asked curious. "What exactly am I? Tell me because I don't know. I have no faith anymore." He looked at her, his eyes were
confused; he really didn’t know anymore, he needed someone to tell him.
"Pacey, you are sweet, you are kind,
you are much more intelligent than most people I know, you're interesting and most of all you are who you are and you are
what you are and if you changed you wouldn’t be Pacey anymore. You are not a failure, you are not a disappointment and most
importantly you are not what you have come to think you are."
She smiled at him and he smiled back, touched that someone actually cared about his pathetic existence, but it was not a pathetic
existence and knowing someone thought so gave him a good, warm feeling. "And to end, you are not sleeping in that car tonight."
She said getting up and grabbing his hand. "You're coming with me and I'm going to fix you some dinner, and then you're going
to a bed, a warm, cozy, comfortable bed to sleep without that obvious pain in your ribs and knotted shoulders okay?" she told
him and he nodded. "Good," she said taking one of his large hands between two of hers and walking to the door.
Pacey said softly before they walked in; he leaned down and placed a soft kiss on her, sweet cheek, soft cheek, wet from the
tears she had shed over him and his distress. He took his free hand, the cold one it could be called as the other was being
held in the loving hands of her. He wiped the tears that still hung on her cheek and kissed it again, softly, taking one tear
in his mouth; her salty tears were like sugar to him.
“what’s that for?”
"Thanks for this.
Y'know I needed to unload my frustrations and stuff. I appreciate the bed, but there's only one way I'll accept," he said
seriously, she thought something was wrong. What else could he want? He eyes asked him, they said 'what?' without the need
for words. A look is all it took from her. "You read me a bed time story," he said smiling at her softly. She just chuckled
and pulled him inside. He had lifted her spirits again; he always did, even at tough times.
"Come on, you loveable
rogue," she said, he certainly was loveable, she knew this recently, spending so much time with him had been something she
had been dreading in the beginning but she came to love his company very quickly; He could always be relied on to be there
when he was needed and even when he wasn't.
Part 2 here