Done Wrong
by Pilar


I thought he might be the one great love of my life, but I must have been wrong. It all started out so beautifully and so purely, he kissed me and I pushed him off. But inside, I was so taken by his honesty to himself and his feelings, I must have let that cloud my judgement. It wasn't hard.

At the beginning, the whole thing was screwed up. I thought it was because I couldn't get my own priorities straight, I didn't know what was more important, a friendship that had already lasted a lifetime, or the butterflies in my stomach when we kissed. It was so different when he kissed me, there was so much power. His eyes told the deepest story of love and my loneliness took those words as truth.

I never regretted running from Gale and Mitch's wedding; from Dawson, to Pacey. I wanted to be with him because of the way that he made me feel. I felt the pain in his face every time we were near each other and we couldn't touch. And I knew that I wasn't being honest to myself when I tried not to touch him. But the ramifications were too much to deal with.

Dawson told me to go to Pacey, he released me from his blanket ultimatums and told me to follow my heart. And I did. I just didn't know that it would be broken into trillions of pieces when I got there.

Oh, sure, when we were alone together those first few months, everything was absolutely perfect. We held hands in strange towns neither of us had ever been to and he kissed me on the forehead before we went to bed at night. And he never once pressured me to sleep with him, he said he only wanted me to be happy.

And all of that was a lie.

He told me that he loved me so many times that I actually believe him. Believed him. The first time that we made love, I stared into his eyes and thought that he meant it, I thought he meant every single word. Fucking cocksucker bastard, I should have listened to my first instincts and never let him lead us to this point. The point where it hurts. God, it hurts.

The spot where my heart used to be is a rotted-out, black cliched pit. And it's all his fault.

Nope. It has nothing to do with the fact that I let him walk all over me, or the fact that Pacey Witter is exactly the person that I really never thought he was. The person I honestly never thought he was capable of being. What a kick.

Was it my fault that I let myself love him after everything that we went through to stay away from each other, after I let him convince me that not only was I worthy of his love, but that I was the reason love existed for him at all? He told me that. He made me believe it. I'm a bigger asshole than he is.

Was it all just a game to him? Was it some kind of backhanded revenge aimed towards Dawson and I because he'd spent so many years entrenched in jealousy? I don't know. I'm making all of this up as I go along.

Even after we returned to Capeside everything was still perfect for us. I thought that we were more in love than ever, the days spent together had strengthened the bond between us and I questioned everything I thought I knew about destiny and the mistaken concept of soulmates. Dawson had never made me feel the way that he did when he touched me, and that feeling is addictive. Once you've felt that sizzling aliveness in the center of your bones, you're not going to want to ever lose that.

The really fucked up thing is that he still makes me feel that way, and I still want it. I still want him.

What is it about me that's so screwed up that a man can do this to me and I just let him do it over and over? Dawson and I should have stayed friends and we'd still be friends, more than this untrusting thing that we have now where we lie to each other and pretend that everything is still the same. Nothing is the same, when he looks at me, he sees me with Pacey. And when I look at him, Pacey is written all over my face.

I'm not even sure when everything fell apart, but now I'm completely alone in this. My sister is too wrapped up in everything else to even notice what's going on with me. Dawson sees me as a stranger, even if he tries to make me believe otherwise. And here I sit, without a friend to lean on because I never really had any anyway. All I had were men in my life with ulterior motives.

Oh, wait, I still have those. And what good does it do me? Nada. None.


When there's a knock on the door, she knows exactly who it's going to be, it's always the same person these days. Bessie goes to the door and lets him in, she can hear their friendly conversation floating from the dining room through the vents.

"Where's Jo? Is she in her room?"

"Yeah, want me to go get her for you?"

She's trembling because she knows that she's going to let him play her again, just the sound of his voice allows her to give in to everything that she knows is wrong between them. Wrong for her and wrong for everything that should be right.

His footsteps echo through the house, nearing her bedroom. A knock on the door before it opens without invitation.


"Hey..." She can't even look at him without feeling that tension in her entire body, the one that forces her off the bed to meet him at the door. He closes it behind him with a barely audible click. He turns the lock on the knob and they're alone. Leaning against the jamb, he drops his bag on the floor and motions her toward him.

She goes, she always does.

"I've missed you, Jo. Come here." And he takes her into his arms and holds her close to his body. When she looks up into his eyes, she sees the same things that brought her to him in the first place. But she knows they're lies. When his hands graze the small of her back and he presses against her, she just doesn't care.

It's this part that she believes in, this part that he made her believe. She knows that she should fight, knows that the best thing she could ever do for herself would be to hit him and scream bloody murder and end things between them in as ugly a way as he makes her feel when he's not there. But she can't. The minute he is in front of her and his lying eyes profess their bullshit love, she melts into his arms.

His lips cover hers and she still can't talk, can't speak the words that blast through her ears. As his tongue enters her mouth and slips between her teeth, she backs them towards the bed, eager to feel his weight on top of her and his hands trail over her body. It's all her fault. It's all her fault. It's all her fault.

He pulls away from her and pulls his shirt off over his head, unbuckles his pants and drops them to the floor.

She opens her mouth to speak as he lifts her tank top from her skin, the wrong words come out.

"I missed you too..." It's nowhere near what she wanted to say, what she needs to say, but it's still the truth. She lies to him just as much as he does to her; her lies are in the omissions, the words that she never does say.

He removes her clothes reverently, it's a ritual. His tongue wisps the salt from her skin and he watches her face. She knows that the power he has over her is massive; as wide as the ocean and as deep. And she knows that he knows, maybe that's their problem. Maybe.

But it doesn't matter. When he slides inside of her and he covers her mouth to soften her gasp, she loves him. She loves him more than she could have ever thought possible. She loves him more than she ever wanted to, ever wants to. He fucks her with his eyes open, speaking softly and continuously in filthy whispered veneration as he watches her eyes darken with passion. She's his whore.

Slowly, slowly, slowly he eases in and out of her heat and she wraps her legs around his waist, pulling him deeper inside her, wishing she could take him in completely and never let him out. His deft fingers work at her clitoris, he's aware of every movement it takes to make her near her brink. She swears that he tells her he loves her between descriptive breaths.

He covers her mouth with his as she closes on the shudder, he brings her over the edge and keeps the room near silence. He does love her, he must love her to make her feel like this over and over again. He never fails her. He couldn't ever fail her. His hand lilts over her sweat-covered breast and he lifts one to his lips, licking at its tense peak before closing his teeth over it until she squeaks and bites his hand. He slams into her and she spreads her legs wider for him, she wants whatever he wants.

He grits his teeth when he comes. I love you.

When it's over, he lays beside her and strokes her hair gently. He still has that tenderness that he brought to her the first time, every time. His fingers tangle in the damp hair between her legs and she arches toward him, he never moves nearer to her.

"Pacey?" Words. Words. What are the words?

"Yeah, baby?"

"Why do I believe you when you tell me you love me?" Words. Her entire body shivers.

"Because it's the truth."

"Are you sure?"

He snakes his finger inside her and pulls her closer to him. She forgets what she was about to say.

She allows her eyes to close as his hands move inside her and he brings her to another orgasm. It's slower than the last, a tremor that begins in her toes less urgently, it moves through her legs and settles in the pit of her stomach, centered in every nerve ending she possesses. This time she cries out into the pillow and he says nothing.

They lie for a few moments, her head resting on his shoulder and his hand on the swell of her hip. He touches his fingers to her lips before he sits up and bends towards his pants on the floor.

"You're leaving?"

"I've gotta go, Potter. I've got errands to run." He dresses quickly without pretense.


"Yeah. Things to do. I'll be back."

"When?" She knows how desperate she sounds and does nothing to hide it.

"I don't know, babe. Later? Tomorrow? I'm not sure." He picks up his bag from in front of the door and makes to unlock it. She traverses the room in one step. "It's okay, Potter. I'll see you in a little while, all right?" He scrapes his nails up her still wet thigh and traces the cleft between her swollen lips. It's all all right.

"All right." She doesn't tell him that she loves him, but he already knows.


II. Blameless

Maybe it's all right that I've allowed this to happen, I mean, who could blame me? There was this one time, this one time that I thought that everything would turn out good. Better than good, perfect. I thought it would be like Paris. I already knew that things weren't what I had thought they were and I already knew that he was bad. But I held out for the goodness, what I thought was already there for us.

It used to be great. I keep going back to the moment that I realized that I needed him, before I even knew that it was love. But how could love be this desperate and this plaintive? Love was supposed to be like Paris.

So love was supposed to be this all-encompassing, flawless thing, right? This feeling that washes through your heart to the tips of your fingers and out through your eardrums. Love was supposed to feel like a warm wind through your hair on an otherwise stormy day. Love wasn't supposed to be the storm.

"I think I'm in love with you." My words. Noncommittal, at first. But not my last words. Should've kept my mouth shut.

They made me like this. I swear it had to be them.

All of them, really. From the first man I ever knew, to the one I know now. My father knew about love; love was something you exploited when you knew the other person would take it. Love was the thing you held against them. And Dawson knew about love, too, but love for him was something that you sucked dry until it was lifeless and half-dead. Love was this one-sided, romantic notion of Clark Gable and some dark-haired princess. Love was really only attainable if it felt like celluloid. Film burns in the projector under the heat of the lamp.

Pacey's taught me about real love. True Love. It's almost funny, come to think of it. Here was this man who epitomized everything I had ever thought about being the opposite of love, and then he was the opposite of everything I had ever thought. It must have been an act, but I swear he'd never been a good actor. Maybe I was blinded by the footlights.

And maybe I wanted it that way, maybe. What else could explain this moment we're at right now? This moment where I've been left again, waiting, hungry, sated, burning. Left.

Conjugate the verbs. I love. She loves. It stops there. You leave. He leaves. That never stops.

I never stop.

"Joey, is Pacey still with you?" Was Pacey ever with me? I feel him still with me. Still feel the heat left behind where his hands touched me.

"No... He left." What else is new? She should have known better than to even ask.

Oh, to have a voice again. When I speak at all, it cracks and shifts tone. And I hardly ever speak anymore anyway. And I hardly notice.

There was a time that, despite all of my insecurities, I held my head up as a strong woman. I knew that nothing anyone could do could break me, break my spirit. I was one person against most of the world, and no matter what happened, I would be okay. Nothing could change that.

So when did that change? Was it when I fell in love the first time, with Dawson? Was it when I realized that I needed to step away from Dawson to re-figure out who I was? I don't think so. It had to take that strong woman to back away from that, for the sheer reason that I completely believed that we were in love. And I still love Dawson, it's just not what I had thought it was. Dawson wasn't idyllic love, Dawson was a layover on the way to that place.

I suppose that I never really loved him the way that I thought I did. No doubts that I did love him, it just wasn't the raging tempest that I know it should have been. Dawson was comfort and security, and love shouldn't be either of those things. I do wish it had been, though. It might have set me up better to deal with this.

No other man before or after him was anything near love. Not even close. I've never felt this way and this is love. There's no question in my mind.

They say that you'll always love your first love and it will never be as strong. Dawson wasn't that and Pacey is, and no matter what happens between us, I know that I will always love him with as frenetic a heart as I do right now. It's so strong, it feels like hatred.

I heard Andie scream, "She'll never love you the way that she loves him. He was her first love, Pacey, her first love...."

There was more, but I missed it, too busy catching the demands thrown at me and misunderstanding my own feelings. Her words wafted past me and I wasn't even listening. Maybe if I had changed direction and run back downstairs, to where I knew he was staring at the door closing behind me, things would be different now. I wonder sometimes how long he stood there.

"No, Andie. He wasn't. I swear, Pacey. He wasn't. Not like this."

I wish I could say that Dawson was my first love, because had he been, we wouldn't be going through this now. I wish. I wish. I wish, but what does it mean?

I don't know why I always go back in my mind to Dawson, whatever we had together facilitates my rationalizations , and allows me to recognize what there could have been. Dawson made me say it, Dawson made me realize, Dawson forced my hand. I wish that it could have been. It would have been better.

So then there's Pacey.

Pacey, whose eyes read me and know my deepest secrets. Pacey, whose body understands mine more than anyone else's ever could. Pacey, whose heart is so cold it freezes mine.

Can your heart decide one day to unlove? His can, maybe his can teach mine?

When I'm all by myself, my strength surprises me. I try to muster up the same courage that I have when I look at my face in the mirror and tell myself to go fuck myself. Unfortunately, he's not on the other side of my reflection. Glass and wall.


Sitting on the edge of her dock, the misty rain leaving concentric circles on the surface of the creek, she doesn't hear the sound of soft footsteps in the melting grass and mud. The hand on her shoulder catches her off guard.

"You scared me."

"I'm sorry."

He sits beside her on the wet dock, his hair sticking to his face in dark slabs. She pulls together the fake smile that she's been sporting for weeks. "So what are you doing out in the rain?"

"I walked over here. Joey? I'm worried about you, why are you letting him do this to you?" She looks at him with disbelieving eyes, but he ain't buying it for a second. "Maybe that works for other people, but I know. I saw him. And I think I know you, and this isn't you."

"I don't know what you're talking about, Jack." Of course she knows, she's known for weeks. Months. A lifetime.

But she's going to cry, she feels her eyes begin to burn and hopes that the rain will mask the tears. She will not speak it; giving it a name will make it real. Her jaw tightens and she clenches her teeth.

When they're together, the face that she puts on is a mask of sublimity and perfect spirit. And maybe she means it, maybe they both do. He still holds her hand, still touches her lightly when he thinks no one is looking. He still loves her. She knows because of the way that he puts his hand on her face and throws fire into her eyes.

"Everything is fine." She does her best to convince herself. "Everything is totally fine. I don't know what you think you saw, but you've obviously misconstrued it. You should probably mind your own business, don't you have enough problems of your own?" Her hands twist in her lap and she picks at her skin with her nails.

"What a crock of shit. Look at you, you've got to able to see yourself. Fuck, Jo. Don't make me do this..." He stands up and over her, his finger pointing down at her. She winces at his anger. She wishes it was hers. Sometimes it is.

"Then don't." She hasn't meant two words more in a long while. Please.

"You need to hear it..." She's already heard it too many times. She tells herself every night, every morning, every time she sees herself in the mirror.

He sits back down next to her and the rain gets harder, but neither of them notice.

"Last weekend I was heading out of the house and I saw Pacey leave the neighbor's house. He didn't see me, Joey, but I stood and watched him. He kissed her and she leaned half dressed in the side doorway. Last night, I saw his truck parked in front of The Blue Note and I went in to say hey and I saw him at the bar with his tongue down some redhead's throat and his hand up her skirt. I don't know what the two of you are doing, but that's not what someone in love does..."

"You don't know! You don't know anything about love!" Over the soft patter of the rain, an engine nears and cuts, she perks at the sound and lowers her voice. "You should leave, Jack."

"Why? Because he's here? Should I be afraid of him like you are, Joey?" Jack holds her face in his hands when he yells at her, waiting on reaction. He doesn't get any. She pulls from his grasp and walks towards her back porch.

"Leave us alone, Jack, and mind your own business." Strong words, said in almost a hushed whisper. She's surprised by the flaccidity of them, had expected a strength that doesn't exist.

Pacey rounds the side of the house, pulling up his collar against the rain. His usual smile as he moves towards her, waving at Jack still sitting on the edge of the dock, his feet hanging just inches from the water's surface. He takes her into his arms and holds her to him, kissing the side of her face as she presses into him and feels content in his embrace. "Hey, Jack! What's up?"

She stares him down, hoping that he'll disappear into the creek and leave the two of them alone. Jack stands to leave and she's relieved. "See you later." Jack doesn't look at Pacey as he walks away down the wooded drive.

"What's up with him?"

"Nothing, just more drama. You know Jack..." She lies. She lies a lot. She lies without looking at him.

They both stand in the rain staring at the empty driveway he disappeared down. "Come on, you're soaked. Let's go inside and get you dried off." Sometimes, his words are so tender that she forgets that there's anything wrong between them at all. She remembers back to when everyday felt this safe and this perfect and leaves her memory there.

Following him inside, she goes over Jack's words while staring at the back of Pacey's head. He doesn't look back at her until the door is shut behind the rain. By then, the words are forgotten.

"Where's Bessie, et al?" The house is quiet, more quiet than it ever is. She watches him look around at its emptiness. She thinks it's strange that she doesn't find that same emptiness in his eyes.

When they're alone, he is almost the same person that he used to be. She supposes that he has always been this person, that maybe the beginning was just a brief sojourn to another place in his psyche. Who knows? Maybe that was the lie? Maybe this is? She doesn't care. As long as it feels good.

"They went to Providence for a restaurant conference. They'll be back tomorrow. You can stay here all night." There is so much riding on the look she gives him, and in the pause in her speech. "If you want."

He kisses her on the forehead and rests his chin on her head, his arms wrapped over her shoulders. "Yeah, that would be nice, Jo, we haven't spent the night together in so long." He means it, she knows that he does. Where is that reflection in the mirror when she needs it most?


He sleeps soundly in the moonlight streaming through the open window and caressing his face, golden moonlight like a halo around his head. She moves to the window, unable to sleep herself.

Their time together has been near perfection, she lifts a hand to her lips still tasting the mingled salt from both their bodies on her fingertips. His breath is nothing but a soft, white noise in the silent room.

"I love you."

She says it out loud and he rolls toward her at the sound. "Hey."

"I didn't mean to wake you."

"It's all right. I was just dreaming about you." You lying bastard.

"You were?"

"Yeah. Come back to bed and let me touch you." Her naked silhouette in the golden moonlight, a glow around her entire body. She doesn't give in that easily. She wants him to come to her for a change, make her remember the way that it used to be.

"What did you dream about?"

"You and I. You and I on the boat. The look on your face the first time we slept together, the way that I made you feel. The first time I really knew that you loved me."

The string of words at once seems beautiful, but on closer examination, she sees their meaning. It's all about him. Everything is all about him. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe there is no problem.

But she can't resist him when he looks at her. She feels his eyes like hands on her body, tastes him in her throat. He used to say made love.

"Did it really take that for you to know?"

"Yeah. It did. Come here, you look beautiful."

"Then you come here." Yes, you come to me, Pacey. I can't be the one to always come to you. The imbalance is killing me. You are killing me. I might be already dead.

He does come to her. Slowly moving from the bed to the window sill, he turns her around to him and kisses her hard on her lips, pulls her into his strong arms. When they're twisted around her like that, she can feel the beat of his heart beneath his ribcage and she forgets all words. Love is never about words.

He guides himself inside her with his hands, her mouth forms an open O and her head lolls back. The moon reflects in the still creek. The rain has stopped.

He lifts her into those arms and brings her back to her bed, sitting on it, her legs clasped behind his back, her hands on his thighs supporting her gently moving weight. She feels herself warm around him. His mouth forms words she can't hear. She used to listen, but she's afraid now that he speaks them to all of them, and then they'll mean nothing. They used to mean everything. But love is never about words.

Her body responds to him even when she tries her hardest to separate herself from his motions. Once, just once, she would like to not want this. His fingers tease her, her back curves and her head throws back. He pushes deeper inside her, she matches his rhythm with violent force. She leads him. He buries himself in her hair and laps at her earlobe; she cries out, drowns out his words. No more words.

It's always in the brief moments afterwards that she feels she has the right to verbalize the things that plague her mind. She feels that she's given enough to allow herself that freedom. Mostly, she says nothing.

"I know you love me. I know you do." She lays facing him on the bed, their bodies wet with each other, his hands weaving over her skin. He always touches her.

"But?" He's only honest in these same moments.


"Why what? Why do I love you? I love you because of everything you are, Potter. I love you because you give me all of yourself without holding back. I just love you, who's to say there has to be a reason." It wasn't the why she was looking for.

His hands are strong and weathered, chipped nails and rough skin. They play on her breasts and over her stomach. She falls asleep under them and dreams that he answers her questions. She makes it all up as she goes along.


III. Worthy

I hate him. I spend hours picturing him with the others, speaking softly into their anonymous hair and touching them with his soft, callused hands. I see him sinking into them and stopping all syrupy motion before slamming deep inside them and making them cry out his name. If they even know his name.

Even when he's lying next to me, his chest rising in breath and his eyelids fluttering in dream, I know that he's not really with me. He's with them. He's always with them.

He touches them and I feel it singe my skin. He touches them and I hear his voice in my head lulling me to sleep. Towards nightmare. I hear their voices too, it's like a scream in my ears. Might be my own screams.

Are they any better than me? I give him everything I know how to give and it's never enough. I don't know how to give him anything else. He's taken everything I have. It never will be enough. And I want to know their names, even if he doesn't.

I wonder if they're anything like me. Do they love him like I do, with every millimeter of their hearts? I doubt it. No one will ever love him like I do and he's fucked up to believe that anyone ever will. It's impossible. Even after all of this, I still love him more than I should, with everything inside me.

Cocksucker. Liar. Bastard. Worthless piece of shit. Who was I talking about?

And I wonder how many there are. Is he ever where he tells me he is? Does he go where he says he does when he leaves me? Or, does he just lie continuously like it's second nature? Does he know that I know it's all a lie?

My lies aren't as painful, but they hurt me just as much. More, maybe.

The pain in my chest when I can't look into his eyes as he talks to me. The guilty rush of heat across my face that makes my hands shake when I tell him everything is fine even though I know nothing is.

Then, sometimes, everything is fine.

But, I can't do it anymore. I don't know what I'm going to do, but I have to do something. Maybe it's a matter of self-respect and maybe it's just that we deserve better than half-truths and dishonesty. Certainly, he does. I don't know what I deserve, because sometimes I think that this might be all my fault. But then, maybe not.

It's only like this when I'm alone.

No. That's a lie. It's like this when I'm alone after he's left. Sometimes when I'm alone, it's not like this at all. Sometimes, I'm angry. I should be angry. I'm getting angry now.

I trace the events from the first time he kissed me the second time. Hour through hour, minute through minute, second through second. We did everything wrong.

Maybe if it didn't start with deception, it wouldn't end with it too. My head hurts.

The bed is still warm beside me as if he's just left, but he's been gone for hours. Even when he still lay here, he was gone. I should have made him go rather than let him leave. Sometimes, something should be my decision. I think.

I outline the wrinkles in the sheets where he laid and the hardly still-damp spot where we had lain together.

He kisses them as deeply as he does me, but can he feel their passion like he does mine? They open their legs for him and he moves between them, it's not hard to find love making love. Doesn't make it real.

What we could have could be real.

I know it is.

Can't you feel it too? Can't you see in my eyes the world I've built around us? Don't you feel safe in my arms and warm in my embrace? Do you think of me at all? Do we even exist? Are we just a figment of my imagination? Are you not even with me when I think you are? Do you love me?


She's found new resolve as she waits outside his job. She watches him inside as he flirts with a customer and the woman leaves alone. She's still smiling as she exits the store with a heavy, pink blush across her face. She probably feels it all the way down to her thighs. He knows how to do that to a woman, even when he's not trying.

She watches him take off his yellow vest and disappear into the back to hang it, emerging seconds later and making a phone call. She wonders if he's looking for her and leaving a sweet message on the answering machine, or if it's plans to meet someone else later.

He waves to his co-worker and starts for the door.

She stands and watches his face for recognition, she doesn't cross the street.

When their eyes finally meet, she breaks the gaze and her eyes hit the floor. He comes to her, seeming to pay no attention to the oncoming traffic between them. He does love her. He loves her more than he loves himself. Resolve vanishes.

"Baby... what are you doing here?" His arms around her waist, she melts into his embrace.

"I knew you were getting off work, and I wanted to see you." What happened to the woman who was so ready to end it all just moments before? She died in her lover's arms. "Are you happy to see me?"

"I'm always happy to see you, always." His lips on her face, his tongue on her teeth.

"Do you have time? Can we take a walk together?" She's so timid when she speaks, not half the woman she used to be. She questions every word that comes from her lips. He rests his chin on the top of her head and seems to think for a moment, staring out over her head. "Are you waiting for someone?"

"Come on, we'll walk." He unwraps himself from her and takes her hand in his. So insincere.

Their feet move, but they go nowhere. Their mouths move, but they say nothing.

"There's something wrong, right?" His voice is as soft as his hands when he touches her.

"Yeah..." She wants the anger to come, but it won't. It has to.

"I do love you." He reads her mind, she thinks. She looks down at their interlocked fingers and remembers a time when her hand in his made her feel strong. Back when she was the victor and he was her prize, won with the power of decision.

"I know. I love you too."


"Then what?" She stops walking and turns to him, her voice a little louder than she had thought possible. It's hard to look into his eyes. She knows that if she does, the words won't allow themselves to come. She'll fall in love all over again. It happens every time. The cracks in the sidewalk are like comfortable cobwebs.

She's glad that they're not in her room, the bed would be too much of a challenge to overcome. The bed is always a challenge. She may never be able to sleep in it again.

"Why am I not enough?" That whisper again, the one that she thought would be louder than bombs.

The tears threaten and, sinking to the cool asphalt, she stifles them back, stuffing them deep inside her where no one will ever be able to find them again. She tucks her head between her knees waiting for him to say something. Anything. Explanation, an offer of ongoing fidelity, a lie. Anything. His hands on her back and his hot breath on her neck.

"You are enough, Joey. You've always been enough." She almost believes him. But not really.

"Do you have to always lie to me? You never lied to me before." But that was before. She finally raises her dry eyes to meet his. "Stop lying, Pacey." She wriggles from his arms and moves further away, wishing she could disappear into the brick behind her. They've been this far apart for a long time already.

She had prepared a speech for when this moment finally came, when she could finally open her mouth and hear actual words come out, but now the only words that want to present themselves are, "Baby, you know I still love you..." and "Nevermind." She says nothing and stares blankly into his eyes.

They used to tell the whole story, those eyes. She could look into them and see the hope that he had for them, the love he had for her, the smolder of the heat they created when they were near each other. But now, in this frozen moment where the conversation hangs leaden in the air between them, his eyes are as empty as her own. And that scares her.

He inches closer, sitting beside her, his clothed leg touching her bare skin. It still brings prickles to her skin when he touches her even inadvertantly. The silence is so thick, but she can hear the buzz of their electricity as loud as a foghorn. When his hands move to hers, she lets him hold them.

She loves him. And she always will. With a passion that's so painful that it rips the skin from her body and sears her bones.

They remain silently, without moving, for what seems like an eternity. When he stands, he holds his hand out for her and pulls her to her shaky legs. Her arms encircle his waist instinctively and whatever she had wanted to say has fled from her brain.

She loves him. And she always will. The skin tears from her scorched bones.

She follows him to her house and back into her bedroom where they can forget all about everything that's ever been wrong between them. The discordant harmony of their denial, the synchronicity of their bodies as they take to the bed. For once, he is silent.

His lips cover her as he pushes her back into the sheets; his hands travel topography only he knows. When her clothes are just a bundle on the floor, he kneels at her feet and sucks the life from her as she holds tightly to his hair and screams his name in breathy whispers. He falls asleep later in her arms, they've not said a word.


When I woke, later that day, early the next morning, when the sky was still a silky, softened, deep blue, it didn't take more than a second to know that he wasn't there. I didn't need to look over at the empty pillow or feel the chill of the sheets beside me and I didn't need to call his name out over the cricketed silence. He wasn't there. There was no one to hear me.

But I stare at the quiet spot where his body had been and I note the creases and indentations in the bed and I pass my hand over them anyway. It's almost as if he is there. But not really.

I had my chance to say everything I needed to to him, and I know that he knew what words were coming. Fear quashed them in my throat. I do know that, you know. It's not that I'm so blind that I can't see what he does to me. What I do to myself.

Then his arms were around me and the weight of his body reminded me of all the good things we do still have, no matter what. When I'm in his arms, the only thing I can think of is how happy I am to still be there, glad that he still wants me when he can have everyone he wants. He still wants me. And he loves me. I know that. I feel it in the marrow of my bones.

And that's enough. I think. I hope. But I don't know.


IV. Falling Is Like This

She lies next to me and my side of the bed is already cold. It's gotten so I can only sleep in one bed these days. When I lie in my own, I count the cobwebs on the ceiling and end up someplace like this.

There's no sleep. There's no sleep for the wicked and no sleep for me. Could be the same thing, of course. I don't even know when it got this difficult, but I've made every effort short of drugging myself. But then, that could be what this is. I hope this is something more than the wanderings of a new insomniac.

I hardly remember her face and don't know if I ever knew her name. I'm sure she's lovely, they usually are. My heart slams in my chest and I'm surprised she doesn't wake from the awful racket.

I take off before she even stirs, dressing silently in the pitch black room and hoping I can find my way to the door of her anonymous apartment. I remember no landmarks other than the bed. Kathy? Julie? Celia? Whatever.

It's a cool night, the autumn has been good to us. Rain is warm when it comes and the evenings are wrought with fireflies. They shake their lit tails at me and I follow. I glance quickly back at the house before I gun the engine and flee, it's all very sad.

It's sad that I'm doing this to them and it's sad that I'm doing this to myself. There isn't even a word to describe what I'm doing to Joey.

Beautiful Joey. When her chocolate brown eyes stare up at me, I still feel the same way I always have. Desperate. Weak.

I never set out to hurt her.

I loved her.

I still love her. With no stutter in my voice or confusion in my head, I love her.

No rhyme, no reason, no excuse. Why bother? In the end, excuses mean nothing and the only tangible thing is the pain I'm putting us both through. I should let her go, but I can't. She should let me go, but she doesn't. So here we are.

Here we are. There we go. Where were we?

I slip into my parents' house as if I've never been gone and sit on the edge of my bed staring into my reflection in the mirror. Nothing different, nothing changed. I keep expecting to see the guilt written all over it, but there's nothing. I should be branded by my abuse, but I'm not. Still, I know she sees it.

She wants my answers, but she never asks the questions.

Not that I know what I would say to her if she did. I don't know if I'm even capable of lying to her. But, then, everything I don't say is more of lie than anything that could ever come out of my mouth. Poor Jo.

It's still dark in my bedroom, and I still can't sleep.

I remember the day that this all started. We were just about to pull into port in Capeside, after months of perfection away. She stood on the edge of the boat and stared off towards the Marina, the most horribly worried look on her face. I admit, I was worried too.

Everything can seem so complete and flawless when you're isolated from the rest of the world. Sometimes your world and the real world just don't jibe. That was us, the time we spent alone was this great adventure that only we were allowed to journey and when the promise of others came into the mix, the look on her face was truly priceless.

There was a fear that I had only witnessed a few times before. The first time was when I kissed her. In that second before she slammed me, the fear was blatant. It scared me too. Then I saw that same look the day Dawson found out. And it scared me then too.

But this has nothing to do with Dawson, he doesn't even cross my mind these days.

This has everything to do with Joey. At its most base, you could even say it's her fault. But I won't place blame, that would be too selfish for even me.

You can't ignore what you're feeling, and you can't pretend the reasons aren't the reasons. And I can't verbalize them. Not yet, anyway.

It's just that... I don't know how to say the words.

When she's not around me, she makes me angry. It's not the distance that gets me going, it's not a jealousy issue. It's just that... I don't know. Sometimes, I hate her. And I know that's wrong. And that's what makes me mad.

It's not her fault. It's her fault. It's not her fault. It's our fault.


Bessie answers the door and they make polite conversation. He wonders what she thinks of them together and if it's obvious to everyone around them how screwed everything is and what they're doing behind closed doors.

When he enters her bedroom, all thought disappears and the only thing he can think of is being near her, being inside her; the only thing that makes him forget. His hand on the doorknob and a moment of hesitation. The sound of her voice saying "hey" and the click of the door as he closes it behind him and leans against the jamb. She really is that beautiful. She really is that pained.

When he calls her to him, she comes. That's almost what makes him the most angry. Still, he calls her, it's like instigation.

"I've missed you, Jo. Come here."

Then she's in his arms and there's a jolt of fire between his legs. She really is that beautiful. Smooth skin and silken hair, her lips softly part to allow for his tongue's exploration. He forgets. He forgets all about himself, all about them, all about everything except being with her, making the two of them one.

He means every motion, he means every word.

She guides them to the bed and he removes her clothes slowly, he traces his hands over every inch of her skin as it's bared and licks at the sweat of her pores. She opens to him, he stares into her eyes. He studies her face. He watches their combined power.

He holds her hands as he enters her. He tells her everything.

In these moments, their bodies so close that he could almost sink inside her and never find his way out again, their connection is unbroken. It's always like the first time and it's always astounding. He watches her eyes close and he plants kisses on her lids, does she even know how much he loves her? Especially in these moments?

The honest moments.

She keeps her eyes closed and he hope that she listens to his words, they're the only ones that really say everything.

When she comes, his lips are over hers and he steals the breath from her body. He loves her in the silence. She loves it slow and deep, his hands between their bodies.

As she lies beneath him, her breath becoming regular and the shake subsiding in her bones, he lifts her perfectly taut nipple to his lips and brings it to a tense teased peak. He bites at it, his teeth closing over it until she gasps. He needs to hear her voice. He needs to hear her. He needs.

Then it's like lightening, like thunder. He pushes into her violently, and she opens herself wider to him, taking him into her, allowing him access to her very soul. His own orgasm builds around him and she raises herself to meet him with the same strength their hips grind, their bodies meet like rain clouds thunder in his ears. He grits his teeth and breathes in sharply as he pours into her, her leg over his shoulder.

When she speaks, her voice surprises him.

She asks him about their love and he can't lie. he loves her desperately. Too desperately. That's the problem.

One day she's going to hurt him. Unless he gets her first. Someday he's going to hurt her. He's probably hurting her now. He's hurting himself. He always hurts himself. You always hurt the ones you love. He loves her. Desperately.

Words don't come to his throat anymore, he's afraid to speak. He slides his finger between her legs and brings her body closer to his. He inhales the silent air around them perfumed with their musk and works her flesh in his hands. The only sound around them, the hush of her breathing and the slow moan from her lips lost somewhere in the downy feathers of her pillow.

You always hurt the ones you love. He wants to get out of there before it happens.

But not yet. First he wants to hold her in his arms and feel her soft hair against his shoulder. Pretend for a minute that their whole relationship could feel like that one second. But just for a moment. Or two.

"You're leaving?" He dresses quickly so he doesn't have to look at her face.

"I've gotta go, Potter. I've got errands to run." Errands. Like sitting on the edge of the dock five houses away and staring towards her house. Errands. Like running off to the next town to stave away his demons in a cool pint of beer and allowing some cheap hoe to suck him off in the bathroom. Errands. You know the ones.


"Yeah. Things to do. I'll be back." He cringes at the sound of his own voice but she doesn't see it, he's already making his way to the door.

Joey chases after him, it kills him. "It's okay, Potter. I'll see you in a little while, all right?" All right? Not all right at all. Not one fucking bit. Kick me out, Potter. I love you.

He touches her one last time before he leaves, he can't help himself. Her moist, naked body is too close, her eyes too needy, her legs too parted. He does love her.

When the door is shut behind him, he reaches his hand out to it. He touches it the way he wishes he could touch her. Honestly.


V. I Didn't Understand

I'm so tired.

It's late, the sun has gone down around me and the air is cold on my skin. The wind rips through her hair and it lashes against my thighs, icy chrome burns the back of my legs. I should have brought her into the car.

I've made love to Joey on those seats, and I try to keep them pure. I won't fuck them on my bed and I won't fuck them in my car. I won't fuck them anywhere I've been with her. Jesus Christ, my reasoning is so ludicrous. Does it really matter where I do this shit? Not likely, it only matters that I do it at all. Do I think that she can suck the guilt from my bones with her hot pink, wet lips wrapped around my cock? Wouldn't that just make everything so fucking easy?

I twist my fingers through her yellow hair and pull it tense. Pavlovian, she sucks harder, looking up at me as if she knows me when we both know she doesn't and we both know she never will. Yeah, you fucking bitch, suck my dick. Tomorrow you'll hate me as much as I do.

Maybe that's the point? There's got to be a point. Please let there be a fucking point.

I hold her head tight to me as I expire between her lips and I don't let go until I'm finished. Then I'm finished. I shove myself back into my pants and zip up. I should probably say thank you, it's not like it wasn't good. She stands up to kiss me and I turn my head just slightly, staring off at the dumpster behind the bar. How friggin' poetic.

"Wanna go back to my place, it's nearby?" Her voice is so shrill, so high pitched; how did I not notice that inside?

"Can't. I've gotta be somewhere in the morning. Gimme your number, I'll call you sometime." Famous last words. I've got a collection of random numbers in the drawer next to my bed beside the condoms. I've never used a one, but I feel like I have to keep them all, bound up in a rubber band like the baseball cards I used to collect when we were kids. I'd trade them all to have my life back.

I'm the worst human being on the planet. I have no care for anyone but myself, and that not even so much. I'm selfish, and cold, and heartless. I'm everything I thought I'd never be. And why? Because I have a woman whose love is too strong? Because everything I thought I wanted from her was too much?

I waited through her hedging and indecision and tried to be all right with it. I know in the end that I wasn't and there were things that I should have done differently, but none of that really matters now, does it? In the end, she chose me. Why do I hate her for it? Why did I feel differently when she didn't know how to choose?

Then, she was so strong in my eyes and now I see her as nothing but weak. As weak as I see myself. But I've always been this ineffective.

I drive off, leaving blondie standing in the dusty parking lot. Whatever. It's not really her fault that I don't give a shit about anyone. What can I say, I'm a prick.

Damnit, I wish I really was the prick that I keep trying to be. It would make all of this easier, I wouldn't feel the crush in my chest knowing how wrong I am all of the time and I wouldn't feel bad for her. For Joey. She'd be just a piece of ass like the rest of them. I can't even think of her like that though. She's too perfect and too mine.

Jesus, Joey. What happened to us?

I pull over on the side of the road near her house and park in a clearing between the trees. I won't go see her now, not this soon after... not while I'm still like this. I probably smell like old cigarettes and beer and whatever her name was, her lipstick is probably still all over me. I'd never let her see me like this, although I wish I could. It would probably change everything. It would force her to see.

I'm so tired.

My tires screech as I pull away, I can almost hear her voice on the wind behind me.

I'm so tired.

There's not a hell of a lot I can do for myself these days. I move from situation to situation on auto-pilot, half-hearted whims guiding my direction. I keep trying to fill my time with anything I can, idle hands being the devil's playthings and all that. A walk around the docks, some work on the boat, anything to keep me from ruining her life more than I already am.

Eventually though, I end up back where I always want to be, standing on her porch, inviting myself into her bedroom, needing her more than I need anything else in the world. And hating myself for it. Can't she hate me for it?

I hate her for it.

And I fucking hate myself with an unending passion that sends me reeling into a fucking abyss. The hottest shower can't burn any of this off me. No matter how hard I scrub my skin, I can still smell the vile scent of every woman I've let touch me. My only achievement is a pink rawness that seems to never go away.

I'm so sorry, Joey. You'll never be able to forgive me. And I do love you, I swear I do.


When he pulls over near her house and kills the engine, that instinctual feeling of dread washes over him again. Just like it always does. The rain pitter patters on the windshield like a tom.

He watches Jack pass the truck without seeing him, Jack's eyes are cast down to hide from the rain, or something. Just the previous weekend, he had felt Jack's eyes on the back of his head as he kissed goodbye the night's conquest in her doorway, his hand cupping her breast and his fingers laced through her hair. It was the only time that he'd ever spent the night with one of them. He knew that one of them would see and he knew that one of them would tell.

Took the fucker long enough.

He wants someone to verbalize it to Joey, to make her face the fact that they've got nothing worth saving between them, to make her just end it. Get the hurting him over with. She's going to hurt him eventually, better sooner than later. Please sooner. Please.

He waits, preparing his half-assed denial and the words he will say when she finally severs their relationship. He's prepared so many types of arguments; the one where he breaks down and tells her how much he loves her and how she can't do this to them, and what about their love? The one where he finally gets angry and there is no denial just blame. He blames her. He screams and yells and tells her it's all her fault, that if she'd only wanted him the way he's always wanted her then there never would have been a need for all of the others.

And the one where he cries crocodile tears and leaves silently after touching her just that one last time.

That one's his favorite. In that one he gets to touch her.

When he creates it in his mind, he reaches his hand out to her face and runs his fingertips gently over her cheek and under her chin, then receding to light them on her lips as if to kiss her without his own. He drops his eyes before leaving her forever. In his mind.

His hand goes instinctively to the ignition and he guns the engine.

It's only minutes to her house, but he takes it slow. Give Jack enough time to drop the bomb and let it sink in. By the time he gets there, he figures she'll be angry enough to finally do it. This time.

The rain is like razors in his eyes, but they're already burning anyway.

He fakes it with the best of them, turning his collar up against the wind and the driving rain, smiling as wholeheartedly as he can muster. This is it, the shoe falls now. He waves to Jack, his mind saying, "Thanks, buddy... you've made it so much easier for all of us."

Then she is beside him, same as it ever was, she leans into him and his heart falls. He kisses the side of her face and tightens his grasp around her. He needs her as much as she does him, and it kills him. Again.

He calls out to Jack who ignores him and leaves without looking him in the eyes. He did tell her and she doesn't care. Or she doesn't mind. Or both. Or neither. It's almost worse.

"Come on, you're soaked. Let's go inside and get you dried off."

The tenderness that he'd forgotten existed is back in his voice, he holds her to him and brushes his lips against her wet face. They walk towards her house. It's so quiet inside, the only sounds are their breathing and the pounding of the rain on the roof. No one is home.

"Where's Bessie, et al?"

"They went to Providence for a restaurant conference. They'll be back tomorrow. You can stay here all night." The look she gives him is so fucking desperate part of him wishes that he could plow his fist through her face and end the whole thing. He hates her. He hates that she loves him. He hates that he hates her. "If you want."

But then, he loves her so much more.

"Yeah, that would be nice, Jo, we haven't spent the night together in so long." He means every word. And he knows that for once he'll be able to sleep. In her arms, he sleeps. In her bed, he sleeps.


When he wakes and she is glowing naked in the moonlight around her, perched on the windowsill like a gift, it's like she's an angel come to save him. He watches her for a moment through the corner of his eye and hears her voice pierce the silence with a whisper.

"I love you."

And his question is: why?

"Hey..." The only word he can think of, even though he wants to tell her he loves her too.

She apologizes for waking him and he studies her in the soft light, he tells her about his dream of them. His dream of the time when everything was gentle between them, before all of this and before everything. The first time they made love, the perfection of their lovemaking then. Then.

Not now.


"Come back to bed and let me touch you." He loves her when he can touch her. He pictures his hands on her body when he's lying in his bed alone, and sometimes it's almost good enough. Almost.

There's more talk, but it's back on auto-pilot. He's thinking of her body, he's thinking about her arms wrapped around his waist and being buried inside her, he's thinking about her.

"Then you come here."

He does as he's told. Like a good boy. Oh, to be a good boy.

His kiss is passionate, hard, he sucks the breath from her chest hoping that it can cleanse his own. Maybe she can take the taste of the others from his mouth? Maybe she can taste it herself?

He pulls her onto him and lifts her to the bed keeping her glued to the impalement. Inside her, he feels her warmth envelop him and for a moment wishes it could always be this good. It's that good. He loves her so fucking much it hurts. He hurts.

When it's over, and they lay face to face on her blankets she tells him that she knows that he loves her and asks him why. He can hear the but in her voice. He won't answer the question he knows she's really asking.

She's asking about the others, the nameless faceless. He pretends he misunderstands and answers why he does love her. And he tells the truth.


"Why what? Why do I love you? I love you because of everything you are, Potter. I love you because you give me all of yourself without holding back. I just love you, who's to say there has to be a reason."

There is no reason. There are far more reasons why sometimes he doesn't. And he doesn't know the answer to her real question.

He runs his fingers over her skin and feels her breathing steady as she falls asleep under his ministrations. Kissing her neck, he joins her in dream.

Their dreams are so similar sometimes. They both want what they can't have anymore. What they might have never had. What they'll never have again.


VI. Dodge

She made me feel weak, like less of a man because of the power that she had over my heart. I resent her for it now that her love is as strong as mine. I liked it better when she made me wait and tortured me. When it was her who had all the others.

Not all, but one when one was enough.

One should be enough.

It is enough, but that's not the point. That's the whole thing, really. It's not that I need any of them, it's never been a sex thing. If it was only about sex, we wouldn't have any of these problems. The sex is just the byproduct.

It's about power.

What's wrong with me?

But there it is, the realization (rationalization?) that I have no power and I never have. My weakness is the glue that keeps us together, her weakness is what tears us apart. She was supposed to be better than me.

She was supposed to be the strong one.

Last night I almost forgot how awful everything is. Last night, when I stayed with her and I held her in my arms so tightly and we lay together with our bodies almost not touching, I could almost pretend that we were both perfect and both satisfied. We were the only two people who breathed in a motionless world.

And this morning, when she fed me and we made love on the living room couch where I had watched her sleep so long ago that it's almost as if it were another lifetime, I didn't have to pretend. Her face over mine behind a blanket of hair, her eyes boring into me through the strands; those eyes were different. Those eyes pretended too, and those eyes made everything better.

My hands on her soft hips, her back arched away from me as she pulsed around me. I loved her so much.

Like it used to be, we laughed together as we made love. She listened to me speak to her in slow whispers and rested her hands on my face. I licked at her palms and told her that I loved her in our own secret language. Her smiling laughter filled me. When I brought her back to the bedroom, carrying her in my arms, she lapped at the lobe of my ear and told me she loved me too.

It felt so real.

I almost believed myself. I almost believed us both.

Do I still make her feel alive like I did before? Sure, she still needs me, but is that alive? Alive is every nerve in your body tingling, an announcement saying, "You have to be near that, you have to touch it and feel it and wrap yourself around it; you have to or it hurts." What was it that I said to her? Something about proximity?

But sometimes that proximity is so fucking painful. Like when she looks at me with pleading eyes and hollow smile and makes me feel like a murderer.

I've killed something. I've killed myself and I've killed her and surely I've killed us. Why are we still here? Why am I not there? Why are we, still? Because. Because. Because. Because. Fuck it.

I don't know who you are and I don't know who I am, and I'm not sure that it makes a shit of a difference anymore. Except when I touch you. I still can't help but touch you.

And I want so badly to be able to lie. Teach me to lie, you do it so well to yourself.

I lie in silence, we lie in silence. We lay in silence.

And then sometimes, when your hand touches mine and my entire heart explodes into tiny pieces and the only thing left is a huge ball of flames, we rise from the fire like a fucking phoenix, arms outstretched like wings and face turned towards the sky. I feel the warmth of your sun on my skin and I wonder what even allowed me to be this ungrateful.

So goddamn ungrateful.

And so mixed up. I'd never had anything sorted out until you. And it took so much to get there, my mind so steadfastly sure that I knew what I was doing. I knew at the time, but if I had ever been able to foresee this future, I would have let it go. Nothing is worth this pain. Mine or yours.

But then, the person who made me feel clear and steady and sure is not the person that she is now. The person that I fell in love with fought me at every step, kicked me in the teeth until I bled, forced me to love and hate her in the same moment. And that woman is so fucking gone, I wouldn't recognize her if she punched me in the face. I miss her.

I should have let it go.

But she doesn't let me, and that's our biggest problem. She has to let me go. I can't do it myself. I wish I could, but the idea of not being with her sends my mind into a desperate dizziness. The minute she sets me free I know that I'll beg her to be with me again. I love her that much, and I'm afraid that if we're not together, I might not be able to breathe.

Can she breathe?

The tinkle of the bell above Screenplay's glass door wakes me from my personal berating, I'm on immediately. Hey there, darlin'. You looking for something specific? Emphasis on specific, cue flashy smile. I shouldn't be this good at this.

By the time she's left the store, I've made her blush several times and she's slipped me her card with a small but distinct wink. Yeah, maybe later, baby. Maybe later. She swooshes her hips on her way out more than she did on the way in, not bad. Not bad at all.

Joey's not home when I call her. Maybe she's gotten a life. Maybe I can get on with mine.


As he slips from the door, he sees her. She almost resembles the old Joey, the strong one, her arms crossed over her chest and an indignant look on her face. Then she vanishes as their eyes meet and hers dip to the ground. He goes to her anyway.

"Baby... what are you doing here?" The smile in his voice. His hands reach for that spot of bare skin on her back. Her body limp against him, her arms around his shoulders.

"I knew you were getting off work, and I wanted to see you." A small loaded pause. "Are you happy to see me?" There's that tone of desperation in her voice again, the one that makes him want to kill them both. But mostly her. Where the fuck are you, Joey? Where the fuck did you go? And why?

"I'm always happy to see you, always." In so many ways, he means every word. He just wishes she was different. Less desperate, less needy, less pathetic. Less in love.

"Do you have time? Can we take a walk together?"

Oh, it's finally time. The timidity in her voice is only to mask her anger before she drops the bomb. He takes her hand gently into his, lacing his fingers through hers and feeling the sweat of her palms. She's afraid, he thinks, or nervous.

The first few moments are almost silent, as if she's weighing every word as it rolls through her mind. He can't wait any longer, the silence is blasting his ears. With a quiet breath, he breaks it. "There's something wrong, right?"

Do it, Joey. Say the fucking words, cut me loose, tell me how much you hate what we've become.


"I do love you."

"I know. I love you too."

"Then--" He wonders why he has to do all the work, why he has to pressure her and push her words along. They both know it's coming, but she doesn't let it.

"Then what?" She drops his hand, she turns to him; her voice loud and shrill. She can't look into his eyes. If she did turn her face up to his, she would see the surprised excitement held there. He recognizes this woman and he hasn't seen her in eons. There she is! I love you, stay here; stay with me! "Why am I not enough?"

And then she's gone. Fuck. The other one is back, sunk to the sidewalk with her head protectively between her knees. He loves this one too, but it's not the same. He touches her gently, desperately wanting her to jerk away in another flash of the woman he fell in love with.


"You are enough, Joey. You've always been enough." He puts the stress on the pronouns hoping that she'll remember who she was. The woman who brought them together in the first place. His arms slide around her.

"Do you have to always lie to me? You never lied to me before." And she finally pulls away from him and looks into his eyes. Is it anger that he sees there? He can't tell anymore. "Stop lying, Pacey." When she pushes herself further away, the air between them is cold, it ices the back of his neck and all he wants is to close the space between them again.

This is the woman who takes his breath away and forces him to fall in love all over again. This is Joey. If it could always be her, it would only be her.

A passion that he hasn't felt in so long rises inside of him and he has to be near her; their silence kills him, everything not said lies as large as the hole that he wishes would swallow the terrible between them. Slowly he moves closer and closer until his leg touches hers and he can feel their meshed heat. She doesn't pull away. Both of his hands find hers.

If it could always be her, it would only be her.

Stay angry. Just stay angry. Make me stay with you.

As wrong as it is, he wants to make love to her. Now. He loves her. And he always will. This time it's about love. No, it's always about love. He could never deny loving her. They sit together without sound or movement for what feels like hours, the concrete beneath them gets colder. The air between them fills with their electric heat.

Can she hear him tell her how much he loves her over her own quiet anger?

He pulls her up to him when he stands. He leads her home to her bed, to their bed.

The fire remains in her eyes, but he's not sure if he's putting it there himself or if it really exists. Her fists clench and unclench, she opens her mouth about to speak more than once. He loves her. He knows her.

Entering her room, he removes her clothes carefully and ardently and runs his fingers slowly over her warm skin. He loves her. He recognizes her. It's been a long time.

If she's still angry, she doesn't say. He doesn't ask.

When he kneels at her feet and prays to her silently, her back pressed into the comforter and his hands parting her slick folds, she moans deeply breaking the dead silence between them. It is the only human sound, the only noise that breaks the thick thick stillness. Her fingers twist tight in his dark hair.

In her arms, later, he sleeps. It is still dead silent.


I don't know why I left. I should have stayed.

The sky was just about to change towards morning and I woke in her arms. I was cold. Her eyes were closed. The fire was gone. She was gone, I could feel it.

Maybe she was never there in the first place.

Maybe I made her up.

I kissed her lightly on her still moist and parted lips, I raked my nails slowly over her still soft skin and tangled my fingers in her still slick folds. And I left. I picked up my clothes and dressed in the soft light of the window and slipped out the room and out of the house.

If it was the last time I touch her, I tried to do it right. I tried to take her with me. She wouldn't go.

But I should have stayed.

VII. Come On

My broken heart. My breaking heart. My feet facing the door, my face turned towards you.

While the moon and the sun shared the sky, you left me. Alone, still asleep, still swollen from your hands' invasions, still hoping that I would wake up and you would still be there.

But that was hours ago and I've been over and over this in my mind already thousands of times. The moon chases the sun from the sky turning pink then orange then a husky blue like your eyes sometimes look.

When I get angry, my heart counters itself with the thought of his eyes staring into mine and memories of the way I feel when I can feel his heartbeat against my chest. When I start to remind myself that that heart beats for other people, I remember the first time it beat for me. Part of me wants that to be enough.

I'll stop kidding myself the moment that I stop believing that we have something that can be fixed, that should be fixed.

What was it that I did that caused all of this shit? It must have been something, because sometimes, when he doesn't know that I'm looking, I see him staring at me with this look on his face that can only be described as disdain tinged with confusion. And I have to know what that means.


I always end up back here, not that I know where here is. It's this place in the back of my mind that I get off to when the thoughts twirling around in my brain start to get too loud and make too much sense. When the pain in my chest gets so hot that I can hardly breathe. When I think about her and I and me and everything else.


No more.

One last time for all of this; for you, for me, for this innocuous blonde with her hands down the back of my pants, for this pint of beer and this shot of cheap whiskey. One more time.

And then it's over. All of it. No more of us together and hurting each other. I won't let you hurt me. I can't take it. And you've taken enough of everything I've got for you.

So just this one last time.

I twist out from beneath this one that one's palms and slug back the last of the fluids in front of me and I leave without looking behind. She'll forgive me or not, she doesn't matter. She never did. I'm coming back for you. Just this one last time.



"I came back."

"You're drunk."

"Not really, just buzzed."

"Why did you come back?"

"I loved you."


"Jo..." He closes his eyes when he leans his back against her door closed behind him. The pounding in his head starts again. She moves close and takes his hands into hers. They're damp with sweat.

"I still love you."


She presses herself against him and can feel his body stiffen against hers. It's not right. Nothing is right. He's not right. She is used to him responding to her the way she always responds to him, even when there are no words between them and the tension is as thick as his cock in her hands. This time, there's nothing except the wrong kind of stiffness.

"Don't, Jo. I came here to talk... I know we need to talk." The slur in his voice is subtle, but apparent to both of them.

She retreats backwards to the bed, still mussed from earlier. He can smell the scent of their mingled bodies in the still air. Her face is twisted and he can see that she might cry. He doesn't want to see her cry, not this time, not now. No more tears, goddamnit. There's no more time.

She catches herself and takes a long breath deep into her lungs. "I won't cry. Stop looking at me like that." Her voice is unsettled and taut. It shakes him.

"I'm sorry."

"No. You're not. You're here... why don't you just talk? What was it that you wanted to say?" The words rush from her lips as fast as a racecar and just as dangerously uncontrollable.

"Jo... Please. No more of this shit. Aren't you angry? All these weeks, months? Don't you care about any of this?" His voice drops and she watches his face for the change. "You used to be so different... what happened? What changed, Joey?" He doesn't edge towards her seated on the bed, afraid that if he gets too close the familiar need will rise in his heart and he will have to reach out and smooth his hand over her cheek.

If he touched her, he might die. They'd fall into the same routine same trap same fuckup. And it would all be over. Not even this one last time.

She holds her hands out to him, mentally begging him to move closer to sit beside her to touch her with the palms of his hands flat against her stomach. To please touch her. Just this one last time.

She knows he's there to finally cut her loose, the epitome of all anti-climaxes. She thinks that he must not care what it will do to her. And she knows that she should be the one to do it, to somehow reclaim what tiny bit is left of her dignity. But that would mean proving them both right, and she's so sure that they're wrong.

"I've been angry."


"When you're not here."

He knows what she means, knows probably better than she does. When he's not with her, all he is is angry. He nods slowly. He waits for her to speak, his mouth can't form the right words.

"So?" Her voice too soft, too slow. Her hands folded on her lap, her eyes glued to them.

"We have nothing left anymore, Joey, and we both know it. Let me go." His voice stuttering, too clear in the thick silence. The lump in his chest, the bile in his throat.

"Let you go? Let you go? Fuck you, Pacey..." She allows her tears to cover her cheeks never lifting a hand to her face to brush them away or relieve the stinging in her eyes. He can't help but near her, his hands reach out to her. He takes her into his arms.

She pushes him away. For the first time, she pushes him away. It only brings his heart closer.

"Let me go." Small flames flicker behind her eyes, then die just as quickly as they had sparked.

"I can't. I've never been able to. I love you too much."

"You don't love me at all."

His hand on the side of her face, she turns into it and presses her lips to his palm slick with her tears.

"Love has never been our problem, Potter." He regrets using the familiar pet name now, when he should be pulling further away from familiarity. But it's the truth, the only truth he can decipher from everything else right now.

She stands and crosses the floor, creating a small sense of space between them in the tiny room. Has it always been this small? Has the bed ever felt anything but huge? She tries hard not to look at him but knows she has to speak soon before he does it for her. She's tired of him putting words in her mouth even though she can't bring herself to put them there.

"No, it hasn't has it." Maybe they can talk it to death, she thinks. Maybe if they dredge up the details of all the things right and wrong in their relationship and heap it into a growing pile between them until their insides are the only thing left in each other's hands, maybe then they can get back what they once had.

An interesting thought, but not likely.

"When did it change? What did I do to make you turn away from me, what did I do wrong?" Her voice lowers with her eyes. "I never did deserve you..."

He's angry now, he's always been angry.

"We've never deserved each other, Jo. The only thing we've ever done right is love each other, but we're different people. You're not the same the woman that I fell in love with, and I was never the person that you fell in love with. We hardly exist outside of these walls." Does he even make sense?

Her knuckles are white from stress, he watches her clench and unclench them feeling his heart between her fingers. Bleeding.

"I've never changed, I've always loved you. From the moment we sailed away from here, you've been the only person that mattered to me." And that is the essence of their problem, the very thing that causes him not to sleep.

"Exactly. The moment you stopped mattering to yourself is the moment that it all changed." He closes in on her with each word, pushing her backward into the corner. His voice is loud, bellowing. He recedes and returns to the edge of the bed. "I'm sorry."

"No. You're not sorry, you're telling the truth." It's the first truth either of them has allowed themselves to hear. "But, Pacey, how do we get it back?" She thinks for a moment; her hands in front of her face so he can't see her eyes, her feet firmly planted in the spot where he left her. Her hands move away slowly as if she's never seen them before; he watches her in momentary disbelief and remains silent, hoping that she'll be the one to say the things that he doesn't want to.

"I can't let you leave here and think that you'll never be back, and I can't pretend anymore that when you leave here you're not out there fucking everything that moves, and I can't pretend that I don't care, or that I don't know, or that everything that happens in this room isn't the most important thing in the world. Because if it's truth we're after, all of that is it. And more. And the only thing I get back to is how much I love you, but for the life of me, I don't know why!" She's screaming now, the dynamic between them swapped.

"I'm sorry." There are those two words again. What are words for, neither of them listen.


She rushes him. Before he even feels her fists against his chest he succumbs to her, his body limp without resistance as they fall backward on the bed. His face red with shame. Her knuckles connect and he winces from the blow but does nothing to stave her advances.

They're the first ones that have meant this much in so long. The pain never grips.

With her body so close, the pounding in his ribcage only strengthens with the warm iron acid taste of his blood on his tongue. His growing erection, his need for her. The ache in his chest. This woman. This strong woman. She uses action when she can't find the words. One of them has to find the words.

She eases the fight; still pushing at him, still angry and still urging back her tears. For a second, the shock registers as she feels him hard against her.

But only for a second. Anger. Fear. Confusion.

Her hands go to his face though, and she brushes her thumb across his bruised lips, rocks her body slowly over him, tests her power.

He's embarrassed to want her like this, when he should be letting her win. And she wants him back; all the wrong reactions. One leading into the next and getting farther and farther from where they should be. This can only last a minute, it's all make-believe. This can't save them.

She reaches between them and moves for the tie of his pants. Closing her pained eyes slowly, she shakes through the storm of conflicting emotions wanting only to reclaim what precious little they have left and knowing how damn wrong it is.

Her fingers find him weak in their embrace. Frightened fingers that wrap around the wrong things and illicit responses that shouldn't have begun in the first place. They both know the potency, they both know the fragility, they both know.


"Jo...," he says weakly, finally grabbing her wrists and turning over onto her.

She nods too slowly, and there are no words for him. And she does know. She's known for so long. And that pain is real and tangible and icy cold. She can hold it in her hands and squeeze it tight in her fist and taste it in the back of her throat. Knowing doesn't make anything easier.

"So, what are we supposed to do? Love isn't going to fix this, Jo, love caused this." When he finally moves off of her, leaving nothing between them but space, she wants so badly to have an answer that would make none of his words matter.

"We can't move past this? We can't try to go back?" One last ditch attempt to bring it back around. One last attempt that even she knows is beyond futile.

As much as he loves her, he can't lie anymore. Not to her and not to himself. And he can't allow her to do it either. The one thing that he can do for both of them is to just go and let this be the last time he does.

"It's got to stop, Jo. Both of us have to stop."

Again she nods and again she stands, adjusting her clothes as she steps away from him, embarrassed by her own weakness and pathetic need.

Her mirror catches the reflection of them both and she watches the ugly scene from the corner of her eye. He lay crumpled on his back in the messed bed, face turned away and his hands at his throat. She stands in the center of the room, hands wringing and hair disheveled. She doesn't recognize either of the players.

"Yeah. You're right. It has to stop." She says quietly to the reflection instead of the man. "So, it's over. It's stopped. Nothing left. Nothing to say and nothing to do. We simply step from each other's lives and move on. We let each other go. Fine."

She moves in front of the mirror blocking him with her own face.

"I'm sorry."

"Don't say that anymore."

They still don't know anything and there's a damn good chance that they never will. Climax. Anti-climax.

"I don't know what to say anymore."

"Then don't say anything at all."

There should be more to say, a regurgitation of the past months, weeks, days. His confessions of betrayal, disloyalty, infidelity, unkindness. And she should have to listen. And he should have to say.

But, then, there's no point. Is there?

And she should have to face his reasonings and poor choices of words and rationalizations. And she should have to admit that he broke her.

But, then, there's no point.

Maybe there was never a point.

Maybe the only things that ever matter are the beginnings and the ends and the shit in between there is just shit.

"I'm going to go."

"You're as weak as I am. Never forget that."

"I'm weaker than you." He moves towards the door touching her face lightly with just the tips of his fingers, brushing them over her cheek and across her lips. Then his hand goes for the door.

"Yeah." She finally turns her face toward him, still numb from where his fingers rested.

He exits without flourish or subtext or words, pulling the door closed behind him and finally allowing himself to exhale. She watches the closed door, afraid to move, especially afraid to cry.

Two hands touching opposite sides of a door and it's over.


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