Dawson's Creek
Four Stories

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The Scarlet N

New, Andie-free credits, at last. Wow, Katie Holmes looked a lot younger in the first three seasons.

"About Last Night."

As the first title comes up, I realize that I've stumbled unwittingly onto the set of blockbuster game show Who Wants To Pad The Running Time? and boy, I need a lifeline. In the lobby of the ski lodge, Pacey and Joey approach the snack machines. Joey had more of a sit-down breakfast in mind, but Pacey expositions that "bus tickets cost money, woman," and adds that she had him pay for "that call to Gretchen"; the captioning reads, "that impromptu photo session," though, so either they crowded into a novelty photo booth just now, or Joey got her Traci Lords on the night before and insisted that they take pictures of themselves having sex. Ha ha ha! Yeah, right. And then Mr. Peepers flew out of my butt. Anyhow, Pacey says it's "crackers and coffee," and hands Joey a dollar bill. "Lovely," Joey snarks. Awkward pause. Pacey says, "So." A month later, he asks if Joey told Bessie. "Bessie"? I don't think I remember a "Bessie." Ohhh, that Bessie -- didn't she have a boyfriend, too, "Teddy" or someone? Joey, absently: "Tell Bessie what?" Pacey rolls his eyes: "Does the word 'duh' mean anything to you?" Joey looks at him. "About last night," he prompts her. She half-laughs and asks what she's supposed to say, and warns him not to suggest that she say she's "a woman now" or she'll puke on him. Pacey asks, "Well, what about Gretchen?" Joey snorts all "yeah right" and cracks a joke about saying "oh, by the way, your brother deflowered me last night," and she's got a point; you don't discuss that stuff with your boyfriend's sister, especially not when she's dating your obnoxious ex-boyfriend. Joey goes on to say that she's not the kind of person who discusses her boyfriend's "sexual prowess" with his siblings.

As they head over towards the gift shop, Pacey poses a hypothetical: if she were the type of person to discuss that kind of thing, what does she "think she might say"? Joey, mildly befuddled: "About what, about the prowess?" Pacey, a little embarrassed: "Yeah. About the prowess." Joey complains that, just when she thinks he's not a typical guy, there he goes, "dragging [his] knuckles with the rest of the primates," and Pacey tries to play it off by saying that she should never underestimate the desire of the primate to hear good things about "his abilities in the sack." "The sack"? Okay, who set the time machine to 1977? Contrivance? Contrivance, I'm talking to you! I know you hear me, mister! Pacey offers Joey a Pop Tart. Joey gapes. Pacey drags her into the gift shop.

In the gift shop, Joey reads a copy of Movieline. ["That issue is about eight months old, too." -- Wing Chun] Pacey tells her to pick a hand; there's some cute back-and-forth, and then Pacey opens his hand to reveal candy; he knows it's "not the most equal of exchanges, virginity for chocolate hearts, but I thought I should get you something." Joey cracks good-naturedly that, if she'd known "there were prizes involved," she'd have asked for a car, and they joke around in that vein for a minute or two, and he tells her she looks beautiful. Joey tenses up, but tries to downplay it by saying that he's "easy," then, because she hasn't showered. They kiss; Pacey busts on her morning breath, and Joey busts on him back, and Pacey pulls her towards him again and says, "Aw, man, I could do this." Do what? "The back and forth, the sweetness and the sarcasm." Joey looks flattered and uncomfortable at the same time as Pacey adds that he could "do this" for the rest of his life, with her as his "partner in irreverence." Joey looks down, then recovers to say slyly that maybe he's just "the first of many," and he shrugs nonchalantly that in that case, he'll just have to settle for "being the Neil Armstrong of the bunch." Heh. Joey tries valiantly not to smile before following him into the lounge.

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Dawson's Creek




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