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Never Been Better by Aimee

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~*~

Joey had tried calling him five times Sunday evening. Finally it’d gotten to the point where she’d just given up. Everytime she’d try to get through, she’d get a busy signal or Carrie. She preferred the busy signal, it irritated her less. She’d never been as worried about someone as she had been worried about Pacey today. She’d even called Andie for help, asking her if he’d ever seemed distant after talking with his father...or if he’d ever told her to hang up. She said no, and asked what made her think of those questions. Joey debated on telling her everything, but held back and blamed it on pms.

Her best plan now, was to stop by the house on her way to school...considering they’d never picked a place to meet if they were going to ditch. She slung her backpack over her shoulder, told Bessie not to expect her any earlier than five, and left an hour early for school with no suspicion from anyone except Alex, who probably didn’t know what he was doing anyway.

She took the same route she’d taken with Pacey only a few days before. Wishing he was there with her, to tell everything’s going to be okay. She wasn’t even guaranteed that anymore. The step she’d taken when she told Pacey Witter that she loved him had more than likely been a mistake. She wouldn’t take it back for the world now...but if she had a second chance....

She shook the thoughts away from her head. She loved Pacey. She was in love with Pacey. But the fact that every morning she’d have to worry about his safety bothered her. Another thing that bothered her was how he’d kept his father’s abusiveness a secret for so long. Even after they’d become best friends, he hadn’t told her. It made her mad.

She looked up the road, seeing the Witter house only a few residences down. Her heart flip flopped when she saw no cars in the driveway. Was he by himself, or had they taken him somewhere? Maybe he stole the truck...the answers lay only a hundred or so steps infront of her. She began running. For no reason at all, just to get to him faster, to find out what the hell happened.

She walked up to the door and ran her palm across it. The same door she’d been so afraid to approach two nights ago, made her feel no different today. She had no tears left to cry, which made everything easier. She was afraid of what she might find if she did get in...the stuff people would find in horror movies. God, no...She started pounding on the door, shouting his name, begging him to open the door. She twisted, shook, kicked the knob and when no one came, she collapsed against the door and faced the street. Her plan was to wait until one of them came home and told her where she was. She was sick of this bullshit.

The inside door creaked open, and a muffled voice whispered her name. She didn’t have to turn around, she knew it was him.

"P-Pacey, what’s going on.."

She heard him sigh, and open up the screen door. He walked out and sat down on the porch next to her. Something was wrong, she had no tears. Her expression was cold and she stared only straight ahead, purposely ignoring the purple bruise he had in the middle of his left cheek. He wanted to put his arm around her, pretend like he didn’t know what she was talking about...he wanted to pretend there was nothing to talk about.

He’d been so careless that day, he hadn’t noticed the door was creaked open. His voice could easily be heard just by walking by. He knew better than to say the name Potter around his father...hell he knew better to say anything around his father.

"It was my fault. I wasn’t thinking..."

"You shouldn’t have to worry about your father beating the fuck out of you, Pacey."

"I know, Jo." And he did know, but what was there he could do to stop him?

"Maybe you don’t know, Pace." She paused, taking a deep breath. Times like this she wished she had a cigarette and she didn’t even smoke. Irritated, she thought of what she wanted to say. "You could have told me about this, You could of trusted me Pacey. God, all you had to do was say something and I would have done whatever I could..."

"You know Joey, for once...this isn’t about you. This is about me. These are my family problems. My actions are what I’m responsible for. Not you."

He began to stand up, only to have her pull at his pant leg. "Please..we have more to talk about."

He sat back down, worried to death about losing her over all of this. He swallowed hard and cursed his father for being such an ass. "I’m sorry...I--"

She held up her hand, stopping him in mid-sentence. "Look. I know we’ve both been under enormous amounts of stress lately, and maybe...just maybe... our relationship was caused by that stress."

No...she was wrong.

"Maybe, we were just looking for a way out of all the problems we already had. We figured that if we had each other to rely on...then it’d be easier. Only it began making things worse."

He shook his head, "You’re wrong."

Her eyes widened. "Am I?"

"I was in love with you before all this. You were the one who sudden stumbled across your love for me. Joey I need to know..." His once energetic eyes were now turned to storms of brown. She was actually afraid of them, but after reminding herself of the gentle way he kissed, the tender touches...she knew he wouldn’t hurt her on purpose.

"So..I need to know, Joey Potter..did you love me before? Or was this just a way out?"

She stared at her hand for at least ten minutes before even thinking about the question. Did Josephine Potter truly love Pacey Witter. It was a question she asked herself a lot lately. She took one last look at him, remembering how he was before she said what she was about to say. His innocent dimples, that appeared sometimes even when he wasn’t smiling, his mouth...so perfect in many ways, his sense of humor..it was what she’d miss most.

"Pacey, I loved you before...as a friend. And I admit, when I first came into the relationship I was looking for help. But that wasn’t all. Friday night I did a lot of thinking, I thought about you mostly, and how happy you make the people around you. I wished I could be one of those people. Not realizing I already was. Then I analyzed your relationship with Andie, and how close the two of you seemed to be. I wanted a relationship like that. I wanted a guy like you Pacey, but then I realized that I also wanted your friendship. I couldn’t have both, it had to be either one way or the other. Right now I’m not sure which one I want more..."

He’d expected as much. You give your heart to someone, and they stick their heels right through it. All he could do was nod. Any other comments would have caused him to go all out. Something he really didn’t want her to see. Pent up anger that he had towards his father for causing the events of yesterday, anger he had towards Carrie for telling his father he’d hired a hooker, mad at Joey for pretending to love him. Truth be told, Pacey Witter now had nothing to live for. He rose from his spot on the porch, and pushed in the screen door, stepping through. She sat there, knowing it was all over.

"Bye Jo." He whispered. "I’ll always love you, but I won’t wait forever."

Before she could reply, he shut the door. And Joey Potter was shut out of Pacey Witter’s life.... for now.

This whole damn world could fall apart,
It’ll be okay follow your heart,
You’re in harms way, I’m right behind
Now say you’re mine


~*~

He felt terrible the minute he shut the door on her, but it was an action he couldn’t take back now. She needed to figure out what she wanted, and whether he would be a part of it. How he hoped he’d be a part of it. He wasn’t sure what had happened over the weekend, to change him into a completely different person. His sarcasm had dropped a severe amount, and his usual care-free attitude was restricted to a care-about-her. Joey was his entire life, and he should have left things well enough alone. Maybe if he hadn’t brought it up, the whole issue of love... it fucked things up. A person could stand before you and confess their never-ending love one day, and the next consider you the lowest scum of the earth. If this was how all relationships would end, he wasn’t sure he ever wanted one again. Joey had made him feel special when she told him she loved him. The way she said how important he was, and how he was always there for her. Pacey wondered why that changed so much over the extent of two days. Was it because he wouldn’t tell her about his family problems? Was she really so oblivious to not see that he’d been hurting for a long time, or was she just too afraid to mention it? He’d never know, because if he did eventually hook back up with her, he wouldn’t risk it to ask. If he could get her back, the Joey he had in the beginning...that first night when everything was perfect. Of course this was Pacey Witter they were talking about here, black sheep of his family, forever known to be ...as Matt so kindly put it.. Capeside’s own future gas-n-go pumper. Nothing would ever be perfect. The one shot he had, he blew. The sad part, was he wasn’t sure exactly how did it. He walked up the stairs, and turned left at the top...ended up like always in his bedroom. If one walked straight across from the door leading into his bedroom, you’d reach the bathroom, which was his destination.

He wasn’t sure what had overcome him, to make him even think about doing something he’d told Joey never to consider. It wasn’t something you could undo with the snap of your fingers. It was however, something you could do with the snap of a wrist.

Cutting. It was something Pacey used to do all the time. Stopping the blood only when he felt no more pain. This time, he doubted he’d stop it. He thought of all the possible ways to go; cutting, overdose, stab wound, gun shot...somehow it seemed heartbreak would work just as well. He debated on leaving a note for the family. Maybe a small deposit to hire cleaning guys to clean up the mess he’d make. Did cleaning crews clean up blood anymore? If so, did it cost extra? He thought maybe that whole JonBenet Ramsey case might have made a law against it. He wasn’t sure.

He pulled open a squeaky drawer, which hid inside of it his supplies. Ace Bandages to stop the bleeding...he wouldn’t need those today. Also, hidden under a pile of used and well aged bandages was his masterpiece. A swiss army knife, equipped with a four inch steak knife that was encrusted in blood from past battles he’d had with death and reality.

He grabbed it out from it’s cage, and held it examining it in his hands.

"There’s nothing left to live for, remember Witter? Joey’s gone, she ain’t coming back. So get your sorry ass over it, or cut."

He looked in the mirror. In the upper right hand corner was a school picture of her. Smiling her coy smile, the magic hiding behind her eyes. He sighed, and held the knife to his wrist. With one flick of the wrist it could all be over. It’d be so easy to just end it all, the real challenge would be trying to live through it. But Pacey was never one to try and conquer challenges.

He thought he heard a faint knocking at the downstairs door, but he didn’t care. The only person who came here was the mail man, and he only knocked when he was trying to drop off a package for anyone but him. Pacey never got packages.

No more distractions, this was it. He held the knife up to his wrist and pressed it against his skin. He could feel it penetrate through each layer, until it finally reached bone, which was his destination.

The phone rang. Pacey snapped out of his reverie, and looked at his wrist, no cuts yet. He must of been imagining.

"It felt so real," He mumbled. Heading into his room to answer the phone. The phone could be someone in the family. It’d be ultimately ironic to talk to them only a few seconds after killing himself. He picked up the receiver, and mumbled "What?"

"Pacey Witter...do you realize what you’ve done to me?"

He sighed. "I don’t have time for this, I hate shit to do."

"Hear me out. Do you know what you’ve done to me? Yes or no?"

He shook his head and mumbled, "No."

"You’ve made me fall madly in love with you. In love Pacey. God, I realized it when I was sitting outside after you’d gone in and I tried to get you back out but you must not of heard me knocking. So I ran home, and called you. I’m telling you the truth. I’ve never lied to you either Pacey, so trust me on this."

He dropped the knife onto the bed stand where the phone laid. The silence on his side of the line, made her continue.

"I really want to give our relationship another try. I know we’re more than just people who are they to pull each other out of sticky situations. There’s more to both of us than that. Pacey you’re my best friend, and no matter what happens you always will be. But I truly believe there is something more between us, and if you’re still willing...I’d like to explore it."

He smiled, and waited to see if she’d say more.

"Pacey, are you there?"

"Yeah."

"Did...I call at a bad time?"

He smirked, "Joey, your timing’s never been better."

She laughed, "I’m coming over okay? We’ll ditch together like planned. Then we’ll worry about tomorrow...tomorrow."

"Alright, and Hey...Joey?"

"Yeah?"

"Remember how you wanted to know what was wrong with you, that made everyone else at the thing Friday so jealous?"

"Mm-hmm."

"I know what it is..."

She paused hesitatedly before asking what it was.

"You’re in love."


~ fin


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