Docks. Dawson and Joey walk together in companionable silence, which Dawson ruins by asking her to swear to him that she'll never marry a lawyer. Joey raises a quizzical brow. "Just promise," Dawson says. Joey offers that she might fall in love with a lawyer who uses his power for good, to help children or protect the environment. Dawson groans. "What?" Joey asks. Dawson shakes his head and suggests that they change the subject entirely. Joey walks alongside him for a moment and then reflects that, last year, "saying goodbye at this time was so epic and dramatic. It was like [they] were never going to see each other again." Dawson mildly comments that she couldn't possibly have known he'd arrive at her door merely a few short months later. Joey smiles at him. "Do you ever regret it?" she asks. "Not for a single second," Dawson responds. Except for that whole period of time where he was of the mind that his returning for Joey led directly to his father, you know, dying and all. "Do you?" he asks her. Joey shakes her head and says that seeing him at her dormitory door is something she'll never forget. Apparently, however, she has forgotten that the night before he showed up, she drunk-dialed him and left a soggy "farewell forever, Foolio" message on his machine.
"Why'd you come all the way to Florida?" she asks suddenly. Dawson immediately looks uncomfortable, like she dropped a glass of iced tea down his pants. He doesn't think she wants to hear it, he explains. Joey shakes her head at him. "As long as I live, Dawson, I'll never not want to hear something you want to say," she says. Man, I guess Professor Creepy didn't cover correct grammar in his class. "I went down to Florida to tell you that I love you," he blurts out. Joey just stares at him. "See? It's not what you wanted to hear," he says. Joey asks why he didn't say anything at the time. Dawson shrugs that it was "obvious" that she'd moved on, and he didn't think it would be fair of him to ask her to "drop everything" just because he'd "finally seen the light." Joey doesn't point out that she'd still have to choose to kick him to the curb either way, but simply asks when things "changed" for him. Dawson explains that it all came into focus for him when he opened the book of sketches Joey made for Lily's first birthday. "I just realized that I hate it when you're not around," he sighs. I don't know if that equals love. I mean, I hate it when there aren't any Doritos in the house, but I'm not in love with them. Joey heaves an enormous sigh and asks how he knows that she's not just "a security blanket for [him], something [he comes] back to when the world gets scary." Dawson flares his nostrils and stares out at the water. Push him in! Push him in! Push him -- sorry, got a little distracted there. It's nice to feel the hate again. I adore the hate. I want to roll around in the hate. "It's not the world I'm scared of, Jo," Dawson says seriously. They stare at each other, and Dawson moves in to kiss her. Joey moves her head at the last minute. Sweet denial! "I'm sorry, Dawson, I can't do this," Joey says, and races away. That was simply adorable, don't you think? Dawson tries to make a sad and dismayed face, but instead lands on "Joey Potter, I want to kill you in your sleep."