Back at the bar, Joey is outlining her job choices. A) Advance academic career or B) Become saucy bar maid making excellent tips? Jen doesn't think it's even a choice. "Joey Potter will always choose the sensible path. The sensible path in this case is working for Professor Crankypants," she says. And, therefore, Professor Flip-Flops becomes Professor Crankypants. In fact, I'm taking that as a preemptive, psychic shout-out. Jack thinks this is nicely put, but Joey is "shocked and appalled." She makes her mouth into a horrified little "o". "Is that what you think of me?" she asks. Jen assures her that they love her for it. No, they don't, but they're too nice to say so. Jen takes a final sip of her soda and announces that she has to bail. "Our Lady of Continuing Education wants to hit the bookstore bright and early, so I need to get some beauty rest," she says. Jack's leaving, too, but Joey says she's going to stick around. Jack and Jen laugh at her knowingly. "What?" she squeaks. "Nothing. I think it's cute," Jen lies kindly.
This cues up the Montage of the Pathetic Girl Waiting for Her Junior High Soulmate to Show Up. After a year and a half of mooning around, Joey leaves the bar, looking blue. I would be nervous about walking back to the dorms alone if I had Joey's history of being mugged, but, then again, I don't have the magical, lethal powers of the Carpenter's Greatest Hits at my disposal. As she's crossing the street, a taxi pulls up behind her and Dawson spills out, calling to her. She whips around, grinning madly. The Twinkly Psychotic Lover Music frenetically twangs in the background.
So, Dawson and Joey are practically the only people in the bar, drinking soda and smiling goofily at each other. "Guess what?" Dawson asks. "What?" Joey chirps. "Guess," Dawson repeats. Oh, shut up! "You're gay," Joey offers. I knew it!. "That, and I was on the phone with Steven Spielberg the other day," Dawson tells her. Blah, blah, blah, I so don't care about Dawson's Hollywood Shenanigans, unless they're of the "I met Michael Vartan and he asked me to tell Jessica that he wants to marry her Saturday" variety. Anyway, apparently the only thing that Dawson said to Le Spielberg was, like, "please hold" or something, and, really, that's how it should be because nothing gets you fired faster than acting like a crazed fan when your boss's Famous Business Associate calls. See, you act all cool on the phone, then, once you're out of earshot, you scream and giggle like a fool. Duh. Dawson tells Joey that he's awfully glad she waited for him. "You had to see me!" he jokes. Joey sarcastically tells him to get over himself, because she was just waiting to hear her song play on the stupid jukebox. Dawson gazes at her moonily. "You look really great," he tells her, explaining that he doesn't say complimentary things nearly enough. "Is this some player routine you workshopped in LA?" Joey asks. Dawson chuckles. "Can a guy not tell a girl she looks great without there being some kind of machination involved?" he asks. "Generally, no," Joey says. Dawson concedes the point. You know, this scene is kind of not totally sucky. I don't want to murder either one of them, nor do I want to turn the gun on myself. Yet. Dawson points out that "general rules do not apply to [them]." Joey smiles and wonders if she can ask him a question. Is it "when is this scene over?" Because I'd like to hear the answer to that one, too. "We didn't talk this summer, at all. Why was that?" she asks. Dawson sighs and tells her that that the quick answer is that he was really, really busy. Which is bullshit. When a boy tells you he was too busy to call, he just didn't want to call. People can always make time to whip out their cell phone for a five minute chat, even if it's just to say, "Hey, I'm swamped. Didn't want you to think I was blowing you off." Joey just looks at him. "That's not really it. Because I thought about you all the time," Dawson continues. "And about what you said. How everything would work out all right between us? It made me feel so good about us. I guess I just didn't want to ruin that feeling." Boys? A word to the wise. Not calling a girl for three months is a really, really good way to ruin whatever good feeling she might have for you. Joey, however, jumps right on board the S.S. Totally Stupid and agrees that "that makes a lot of sense, actually." In Bizarro world, maybe. "You know that that means?" she asks. "Dare I say we might be growing up?" Don't worry about it, sweetpea. You're both still mind-numbingly immature. Dawson mutters something about how sad it is to grow up, blah, blah, blah Peter Pancakes. Mmmmm, pancakes. "Sad but true," Joey agrees. And then they keep talking for like twenty more minutes. She tells Dawson that he's different, now. "A good different. Like living your dream agrees with you," she clarifies. Dawson demurs that he's not exactly living the dream. "You know what I mean," Joey says. "I do," Dawson says. I can't believe I'm saying this, but could they shut up and get to the sex? I just want to get it over with now.
After a long minute of gazing at each other, Dawson asks Joey about her summer. "You meet anyone special?" Joey shrugs. "No one worth mentioning. And you?" she asks. Dawson opens his mouth to say something, but Joey interrupts him with a loud and enthusiastic "finally!" The jukebox is playing her song. She does the tongue-sticky-outy smile at him and almost says something, but thinks better of it at the last minute. "What?" he asks. Joey blushes and explains that…oh, it's really nauseating. She doesn't say that, but believe me, it's true. Long gross story short, this song was playing on the radio the first time Dawson ever held her hand, during the summer between seventh and eighth grade. I'm not going to justify the Soulmates Since Elementary School Theme of this episode by saying any more than that. Also, I'd like the record to reflect that I want to barf. But Dawson gets up and asks her to dance. "Are you crazy?" she asks. "Yeah, but the offer still stands," he tells her. So they slow dance in the basically empty bar as the wait staff huddles in the corner and attempts to psychically will them to leave already. Dawson and Joey look dreamily over the other's shoulder and then pull back to stare into each other's eyes. Ew. Oh, God, ew. And it only gets worse.