Title: Capeside's True Love
Rated: PG-13
Author's Note: Okay...so I'm sure we all agree this is one of those really sappy stories that probably would never happen. But it was my first fanfic, so I've kept it posted even though it has a bit of that 'beginner's touch'. Pacey Witter is my favourite character, and even though this fic isn't my favourite, I'll cherish it because it was my first.

Say goodnight not good-bye
You will never leave my heart behind
Like the path of a star
I'll be anywhere you are
In the spark that lies beneath the coals
In the secret place inside your soul
Keep my light in your eyes
Say goodnight not good-bye
Don't you fear when you dream
Waking up is never what it seems
Like a jewel buried deep
Like a promise meant to keep
You are everything you want to be
So just let your heart reach out to me
I'll be right by your side
Say goodnight not good-bye
You are everything you want to be
So just let your heart reach out to me
Keep my light in your eyes
Say goodnight not good-bye

Say Goodnight - Beth Nielson Chapman

The rippling effect of the breezing waters had always kept him interested in his what seemed to be pointless existence. He had come here, on this boat for the summer after graduation when he could’ve been spending it with his most treasured friends. What if he truly did strike out on his last chance to just hang out with them like he had in high school? Their lives had constantly changed leading up to this point, but the thought of everyone leaving on their own paths for college surprisingly scared him. He would be alone. He couldn’t cruise on a boat all his life, as much as he considered it a tropical paradise that hardly fell under the category of work. Sure he had accepted this job, and had truly grown to love it, but it wasn’t the same as being with them. It wasn’t the same as being with her. Josephine Potter. He missed her sarcasm, her wit, and the way she would always tuck back her hair when she was nervous.

“Pacey, get a load of yourself. You should be the happiest man on this planet. You have nothing ahead of you, and everything behind you,” he mumbled in protest to his own thoughts.

His lifeless limbs dangled loosely over the edge of the yacht, the atmosphere so serene. He had everything at his feet. Birds were singing through the air, the water glistening below him, and a highly expensive boat to call his home. What more could he want? He could want her, and he did. He couldn’t help but let his memory stray back to last summer, sailing the open ocean with only one thing. The brunette goddess he had the privilege of calling his own. Somehow they had managed to make each other undeniably happy that summer and everything went downhill once they got back. Maybe if they had never returned to the cursed Capeside, things would’ve ended differently. But it wasn’t about that. There was no point. She deserved to be happy, and she deserved to be a queen. She had worked all her life to make it into Worthington and marry some haughty millionaire. That’s all he wanted for her. Worthington was where Joey Potter belonged, and he belonged here on a boat that was sailing to nowhere.

“Pacey,” the familiar tone of the Dean of Admissions sounded.

“Well, well. And to what do I owe this great pleasure?” he playfully retorted, easing himself to the same elevation as the Dean.

“I just wanted to tell my deckhand that we’re going to be docking back at Capeside in a few days,” he chorused, inclining a brawny hand to rest upon his shoulder.

“What?” he questioned, completely stricken at the thought of returning to what he ran away from in the first place.

“Pacey, you didn’t think this job was going to go past the summer did you? As I promised, we’re ready to return,” his generous smile intruded.

“You’re really serious about this, aren’t you Dean?” he inquired once again, not quite past the fact that this was not something that had crossed his mind. Of course he knew they had to go back sometime, but it had come so soon and unexpectedly.

“Yes, Pacey. Now I suggest you get your luggage packed up soon or else we’ll be throwing you off this yacht without it when we dock,” he chuckled lowly, wheeling quietly to return to the interior.

He was returning to Capeside. He was returning to everything he pointedly left behind. He was returning to her once again, and for some reason the idea of that didn’t seem so scary. Actually, it was quite intriguing.

“Woah there, boys! Pacey Witter coming through!” he skidded out the open frame of his room, making a brisk lope towards the docking area with his backpack clutched tightly against his side. Finally catching up to the others he resided anxiously beside his fellow comrade, a southern misfit his age that went by the name of Jeremy. They had met early on in the voyage, and clicked. They didn’t care about the nitty-gritty for an emotional friendship; they were just two unknowns hanging out for a little excitement.

“Jeremy,” he flashed his devious smirk to the opposing male, resting his backpack at his feet while they waited for the others to get their luggage off.

“Hey, Witter!” he playfully bumped fists with him before running calloused fingertips through his sandy wisps.

“Capeside,” he exhaled deeply, uncertain gaze passing over the familiar regions. He had waited those three days to come back to what he didn’t need, but in some alien way he actually had missed.

“So this is where you had your crib, eh? Good old home for you. I bet you missed it,” a faint simper was aroused, his gaze passing over the unfamiliar terrain.

“You can’t miss pebble in your shoes, Jeremy,” he countered, recalling what made him leave in the first place.

“Come on, Witter. Loosen up. At least you had a hometown. I don’t have anything to speak for. This here is what I call the good life,” he subtly tilted his mantle to gesture at the beautiful landscape.

“You docking here?” he absent mindedly responded.

“For awhile. You planning on staying, Witter?”

“Until something better comes along, or I find something that gives me a reason to stay,” he replied flatly, swiftly retrieving his pack before lumbering down the ramp.

“You’ll find it,” he winked gently, before slowly trailing down the declined ramp.

“Pacey Witter. Here’s a few things, and your last paycheck I might add,” the Dean handed over the envelope with a sincere smile of gratitude.

“And I’ll just be heading off to the nearest pub to blow the last of this,” he waggishly retorted, accepting the envelope with ease.

“Hah! Don’t you always get in the last word, Witter? The devil himself could not have put up with you for an entire summer.”

“Likewise. My session here is so thankfully coming to an end and I can finally get a regular cheeseburger instead of having acrid tasting fish for all three gruesome meals of the day,” his boyish features drew up into sarcastic happiness.

“Eh, Witter. I’ll miss you all the same,” the husky male responded with glee, offering him a firm handshake.

“Nice sailing with you, Dean,” sincerely stated with a warmly expressed smile as he brought his hand to his forehead before making a playful salute. Then he began his trek off into the old, yet new town of Capeside.

“I’m going to miss that Witter kid,” he chuckled dryly to himself, wiping absently at the beaded sweat accumulating on his forehead.

His gaze surpassed the quietly toned creek, so many days ago having sailed across it with his childhood gang. His life seemed to pass all before him in one big clumped mass of good and bad, easy and hard, memorable and forgotten. He made the familiar route by the perfectly shaped houses, Capeside High, the once so intriguing cinema, and where he ended up didn’t surprise him. There he was, standing in front of Joey Potter’s. There was the Bed and Breakfast just like he had left it. He was aware of Dawson’s early acceptance into USC, and therefore he knew that Joey, Jen, and Jack probably spent a large sum of their summer days together. It would be their last summer days together before college.

He seemed to linger near the steps leading up to her front door, but maybe it wouldn’t be right. Would it truly be fair for him to reappear in her life? Distort her life after he already destroyed it? No, it wasn’t right. Without any more hesitation he reluctantly swiveled and began in the opposite cardinal.

“Pacey?” the voice was surprisingly familiar to him, and the inquiry led him to believe only one thing. He swallowed heavily before gently craning back to peer as the beloved brunette swiveled open the screen door with a rather surprised expression.

“That’s me, Potter,” his masculine voice quavered with his unrevealed insecurities as casual as he tried to sound. His expression softened as he shifted to fully face her, observing the radiant smile that proceeded from her. God, she was beautiful. He had forgotten about what once breathed life into him. She surprisingly bolted down the steps towards him, finally meeting him with an explosion of physical contact as their bodies collided in a sensual embrace. He missed her, this, everything. He wanted it all back in a heartbeat. He wanted her and him to forget everything and board his deceased True Love so they could sail into bliss. But that was impossible. That only happened in Dawson’s movie masterpieces, where Disney delights make your dreams come true! This was reality, and reality hurt.

“I can’t believe you’re back! Does anyone else know? Why didn’t you call, or write, or say a word?” her flurry of excitement erupted, beaming expression upon her olive toned features.

“Did I ever tell you that you have a largely expanded yap, Potter? Shut your zip and I might be able to tell you,” he playfully responded, allowing his brawny hands to rest lightly against her sides. When she looked at him like that, like everything was just like it should be and the world wasn’t spinning, he could see deep enough in her to know exactly what he was missing. She simply offered a stunning smile in return that caught him off guard, like she was too beautiful to even look at. It was scary.

“C’mon, then,” she anxiously led him to the dock where he had once paddled to her simply to tell her that even without Dawson, she wasn’t alone in the world. She tugged him down to a seated positioning aside her, dangling her limbs loosely over the edge. The sky was only dimly lit now, night edging its way onto them.

“Joey Potter, Joey Potter,” he repeated, as if it was unbelievable to be in her presence again.

“So Pace, tell me what happened! What was the whole Worthington experience like?” she teased, gently bumping his side with her elbow. A subtle simper elapsed from him, fondling over the raven creek as he spoke.

“It wasn’t what I would call a Worthington experience, Jo. I hauled around carts, gassed up the mighty girl, and learned how to speak in a bunch of sailor language only Sinbad would understand, but it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” he chuckled lazily to himself. Her dark spheres rested on him, tucking brunette strands behind her lobes instinctively.

“Well, it sounds like you had what I would call a Popeye the sailor man adventure,” she returned in their everlasting games of cat and mouse.

“I didn’t have my Olive though,” a faint smile proceeded as he slung a burly arm around her like he had so many times before.

“Alone at sea. Tough break, Pace,” she grinned fondly.

“How are you, Jo? Honestly,” he inquired quietly.

“Great. I’ve been helping Bessie keep the Bed and Breakfast in shape, babysitting Alexander of course, and Jen and Jack have kept me more than a little occupied. Other than that I’ve been spending my excess moments dreaming of Worthington.”

“That’s right. They’ll probably call you Ms. Josephine. I bet the first prissy, emasculated male that slips you his homework you’ll end up marrying. Then, he’ll wrestle you to live with him in his four story mansion where you will pop out ten children and live a happily ever after life eating caviar,” he flashed her his sheepish grin, idly staring at her.

“Oh, and let me guess. You’ll end up wallowing in despair after you divorce your gorgeous bimbo wife, go find the nearest bar in town and follow the regular routine of a deadly depressed weasel before committing suicide by shooting yourself in the head,” flatly.

“Wow. Looks like you’ve got the odds stacked against me now, Potter,” playing along with the sequence. Observes her fondly, her angelic appearance graced with a content mood at their devious humor.

“I know I never really got a chance to tell you this, but I’m proud of you, Jo. More than you could ever begin to understand,” utterly sincere, insecure features shifting to face her.

“I know, Pace. I know,” she proffered her delicately affable smile in return. What seemed like an extended silence between the two was at last broken as the brunette dissolved in soft laughter.

“Hey, Pace. Look at this,” she eagerly placed a bypassing snail in his open palm. He studied it blankly before chuckling to himself.

“You remember when we went out in the rain together, looking for snails for our science project, Pace? We got all wet and then you ended up putting our specimens in with the carnivore snails. I was ready to put you into that aquarium,” she recalled the memory, smile never ceasing.

“You remember that?” his brows quirked curiously, astounded at her memory.

“Of course, Pace. I remember everything,” her smile erupted, restating his past comment from the memorable prom night they shared, the single dance that lasted a mere lifetime.

Time passed, and night finally imprisoned them in darkness, yet they found sanctuary in the conversation that resumed as they made up for lost time. Something about their voices bouncing off one another felt so comforting, like coming home to a forgotten dream.

He escorted her towards her house, halting at the foot of the porch steps as she slowly made her way up them.

“Goodnight, Jo,” he stated solemnly, tucking his hands within the warmth and security of his coat pockets. She twiddled her fingertips gently in response, ceasing her opening of the door briefly.

“Goodnight, Pace,” she responded absently. He swiveled slowly, beginning to draw away from her once again. It didn’t feel right to him, and it wasn’t the storybook ending he had imagined but he refused to dwell on it.

“Oh, and Pace?” the female’s voice suddenly interrupted, gazing at him from the short distance between them.

“Yes, Jo?” he questioned her edging inquiry, once again shifting to face her. His features showed the faintest lingering of hope. The current of the river between them had once met a fork, but maybe it was time for their separate paths to meet up once again.

“I’m proud of you,” her gracious presence showed she was truthful, and it wasn’t baloney. This was the high and above him Josephine Potter, and she was proud of him. She was proud of the no good Pacey Witter who had struggled just to be enough like her, to be with her. A damper that always had existed over him, the conclusion that he was never good enough to be the biggest man in her life was praised with relief. He needed to know that she thought more of him than just a wriggling worm trying to free himself from her hook, and this satisfied that need in the best way possible. He tilted his head gently in a nod, a rare smile frolicking across his features before once again moving off in a direction that was opposite her, but one that would still have her at the end of its road.

Making his way into the homely ambience he used to call his own was what he thought would be welcoming, but it seemed as if he didn’t belong anymore. Like he was just a cast member in the long line of drama that once occurred here. It was an abyss of darkness, and as he checked the overhanging clock he knew why. It was late and Doug was preferably sleeping, if not out and about. He tossed his stuffed backpack onto the sofa, moaning deeply as he flopped to it lazily. He memorized the ceiling, fatigue setting in swiftly.

“What the hell?” a well known voice boomed as the room exploded into light, and being startled at the sudden change of events he abruptly launched himself off the sofa, squinting irritably as he made out the hazy person.

“Deputy Doug!” his oculus visibly widened as he anxiously made himself over to the elder male, greeting him with a brotherly embrace with a few pats on the back.

“You’re back? And I was hoping you’d become man overboard during your vacation,” he smirked, blindly ruffling a towel over his wet features after having just escaped from the shower.

“It’s called work, Dougie. And need I say how much I missed you? You know, all your sarcastic comments that are constantly a reminder of what a low down significant role I play in your rather disoriented life that has become such a daily routine that I actually in the slightest portions missed you?” he rambled on casually, an overly toothy grin becoming glued to his childish features.

“I missed you too, Pace,” a brawny hand was slapped playfully over the younger male’s cheek before moving past him to sit in the easy chair. They talked for what seemed the rest of the night, and it was the first time in his life that he had truly realized that perhaps the loathed brotherly figure wasn’t so bad after all. Absence did make the heart grow stronger, but actually having the thought of missing Doug would have made him feel ill before he left. Yet, somehow he found it comforting to come home to something he had always known, and something that would never abandon him.

He leaped up to the porch of the blonde companion, Jennifer Lindley. He was making it a goal to visit each of his treasured friends after his departure before the summer. His fist rattled against the door incessantly before the familiar grams greeted him.

“Oh! The Lord has brought you back to us,” her delicately wrinkled features grew excited, offering him a brief embrace.

“Yeah, I guess he was getting sick of watching over me,” he chuckled dryly, accepting the affection from the elder woman whom he also instinctively looked upon as his grandmother.

“I’ll get Jennifer for you. You just stay right here. It just so happens that Jack came over earlier for breakfast, so he’s still around here somewhere as well. Just wait here. Jennifer!” she shambled off, calling out to the others. He strolled in uninvited, heaping himself into one of the kitchen chairs as he resumed to waiting patiently. After a brief period the adorable blonde came catapulting down the staircase with a rather eager Jack McPhee trailing. It didn’t surprise him that they were together; after all they had always been attached at the hip.

“Jen, Jack,” he greeted them casually, elevating to meet the blonde with a gentle embrace as his features became buried in her heavenly scented blonde coils. Jack stared over her shoulder, ecstatic smile becoming visible as he extended his hand from behind the female to give the male friend a welcoming back shake.

“Nice to see you again, Witter,” he supplied, resting a lone hand over the blonde’s shoulder protectively.

“So you finally decided to return to the not so perfect Capeside, Pacey?” a simper was aroused from the blonde.

“In the flesh. As long as Drue exists, Capeside will always be less than perfection, Lindley. Didn’t I teach you anything that wasn’t worth knowing?” he replied with a smirk.

“Everything you taught me wasn’t worth knowing, Pace. As for Captain A-Hole, he is still out and about but he isn’t here to feed off of our misery today, fortunately. And as grams would say, thank the Lord,” she countered playfully. Jack joined in the mockery with a bemused chuckle. Coming back to them was in no way surprising, alarming, or startling. It was simply casual as if he had never left. He supposed that was probably the best thing about having a couple of friends that you had never been close enough to hurt, or fall in love with. They were just there, and that was the best thing they could be.

“So Lindley and McPhee, why don’t you two inform me on the latest Capeside gossip and love triangles? I’d love to hear how boring they have been without me,” he suggested before slinging an arm around each of his beloved companions while they made their way up to the female’s room to once again take on a traditional talking fest. Indeed it was captivating to learn about what odds and ends he had missed out on, but the greatest relief was being back in their presence once again and not being questioned about why he left in the first place.

A few days had passed since his return, and therefore he was alarmed when the brunette came knocking at his door. He hastily rubbed at his crusted oculus after just recently awakening, popping a handful of Captain Crunch in his gaping mouth before lazily ambling towards the door.

“Joey,” he exclaimed in a surprised tone, oculus visibly widening as he scratched aimlessly at his bare chest.

“I like your boxers,” she smirked mockingly, pointing at the plaid designed material through the screen door.

“Oh, right. I’m into the Scottish tradition now. Didn’t I mention I play the bagpipes?” he casually stated, bracing against the door panel.

“No, you conveniently left that part out. Do I have permission to enter the sacred Witter lair, or do I need a special pass?” a brow was quirked quizzically.

“Oh, sorry. Permission granted,” he fumbled slowly with the door, swiveling it open for her as she forced a playful glare upon him. She entered hesitantly, flipping her thumbs into the back pockets of her denim jeans before exposing a hint of a smile at the sight of the Captain Crunch box.

“As I should’ve expected, still eating your kiddy cereal,” she proceeded into light laughter, picking up the half empty box as she rattled it in a rather dumbfounded manner.

“Hey! No insulting Captain Crunch. He is the king of breakfast cereal,” he argued, snagging the box from her grasp before resetting it upon the kitchen counter.

“Pacey, the only reason you like it is because the cereal is made into dimensional character shapes that happens to supply you with enough entertainment to enjoy them,” she met him with her stubbornly resistant grin.

“Jo, did I ever mention to you how much I missed these joyous arguments of ours over my summer voyage? You know, the ones you constantly end up winning through means of insulting?”

“No, but your welcome, Pace,” she offered a generous smile, completely satisfied with the fact that she had once again beat the legendary Witter.

“So tell me, Potter. Is there a reason for your visit or did you simply come to satisfy your longing need to bully me in verbal arguments once again?” a toothy grin of sarcasm elapsed before plopping himself in a depleted manner to the sofa, retrieving the controller to turn the television off at her presence.

“So now I need visitation rights?” she questioned the male, yet still quite playful in her manner.

“Of course not, Jo. I just figured with a greeting like that, there must be a reason for you coming to visit. Either that or you’re too scared to admit that you missed me,” rather blunt, hopeful that she will confess to the question that has been aching him all summer. Did Josephine Potter truly miss him?

“One thing you haven’t learned is to keep your mouth shut while you’re still ahead,” her words rolled off her tongue in a non-offensive manner, yet they stung him like the queen bee. All it brought was lost memories that he didn’t need to be reminded of. He didn’t bother to reply, simply shifting in discomfort.

“So I was thinking, Pacey. What do you say we make a quick stop over at Leery’s Fresh Fish? You know, for old times sake?” her invitation was quite intriguing, and the subtle innocence located in her voice was too tempting to deny.

“I’d love to, Jo. I’ll get cleaned up,” and with his acceptance of her offering, he prepared for what could be a pleasant time, but more likely a total catastrophe.

“Brats first,” he pressured the brunette into entering the familiar ambience before him. Without a countering insult, she made her ingression into the Leery’s homely built restaurant. It was early, and therefore there were few occupants. She led the way to a corner booth, settling in opposite him. He began surveying the menu in boredom, scratching irritably at the back of his neck.

“Itchy?” the female grinned broadly at his uncanny antics.

“No. I’m just demonstrating a chimpanzee’s natural behaviors,” his intended humor managed to squeeze a brief chuckle from her.

“And they say they’re the closest to man. I’d say paranormal beings from outer space by the way you improvise. You're giving the poor things a bad name,” she chuckled lazily.

“Hey, you ready to watch when Wild Animals Attack Innocent Brunettes?” a crooked grin intruded.

“No, I believe I’ve had my share of watching you monkey around,” she responded before fidgeting with the silverware, tilting it in different directions as the delicate shine bounced off the walls.

“Were you wanting anything, Jo? Or am I dining alone?” he questioned at her seemingly disinterested manner.

“I don’t want anything, thanks.”

“Then why did you ask me to come to a restaurant?” he inquired curiously.

“I just like it here. It’s quiet. I figured we could talk,” she responded, and one could think she was rather insecure with it.

“About?” his eyes slowly lifted over the top of the menu, staring at her blankly.

“Listen, if you don’t want to be around me, then that’s just fine. I’ll leave,” her bullheaded manner erupted, edgy to the slightest prick. She promptly grabbed her belongings, sliding out of the booth eagerly.

“Hold it, Jo. Just hold up now. You know I didn’t mean it like that,” his sensitive nature elapsed, gently tugging her back down to her seated positioning. Her flickering gaze lowered to him before obediently seating herself once again.

“Potter, you’ve really got to stop doing that. Now, what is it that you wanted to talk about? I mean excuse me for questioning you but as usual I was pretty much out to lunch with it.”

“Us, Pacey. Us is what I wanted to talk about,” her voice had a firm tone, and he clued into her instantly. Swallowing, he crumbled inside at that simple term of them being one. She didn’t refer to him and her anymore, she distinctly said us. He was unsure what that meant, and he could not understand the way she planned to define it. His hands reluctantly grasped hers, their fingertips entwining as their eyes collided from across the table. He was zoomed in on her lips, waiting for her words to be revealed. He could sense the little girl trapped inside, and she was beckoning to him in a way he didn’t comprehend. He needed to know what she wanted from him, and he needed to know why she wanted it.

“Pacey,” she hesitated her words, sighing deeply as her mantle tilted away from him in hopes to lose their steady gaze.

“What, Jo?” his words were urgent sounding, desperate to be in her wrath.

“Nothing,” and so suddenly every tingle of hope within him vanished at the very moment she responded with such an empty word. A meaningless word that he had defined himself by. Nothing. He was nothing in his own world, and now his worst fear had perhaps been confirmed now more than ever. He was nothing to Josephine Potter, because if he were something in her life she would not turn him away like this. He exhaled deeply, allowing their hands to part morosely.

“What do you say we get out of here?” he managed to force out, his tone varied with disappointment and utter despair. She nodded gently in agreement as they evacuated into the breathless afternoon.

They ended up at the Potter residence and he was going to watch her walk up those steps without a goodnight this time, a goodbye. It was a word that could be twisted into many meanings, but to him goodbye made it a closed pact. That meant no more chances for Josephine Potter and Pacey Witter. That meant that their new beginning was now an old ending. But most of all, that meant that he no longer would allow himself to be in love with her so much that his world would always exist to revolve around her.

He pulled to a halt before the steps, placid orbs standing upon her. She was strangely quiet, and she was unfolding as was he.

“Well, I guess I’ll see you around. Bessie needs me to baby-sit for Alexander this afternoon. You should come in and say hello. Alexander has missed you,” she attempted to soothe the discomfort that had been created.

“No, you go. I’ll talk to you later, Jo,” he responded softly, moving away from her without even the simplest of smiles. He didn’t look back, and he knew she hadn’t either as he heard the sound of her door swarming shut on their chapter.

“Goodbye, Jo,” his words escaped in a barely audible tone, struggling to control his everlasting desire to be held by her.

Once again catastrophe had struck him as he had imagined, and for some reason he was glad. Maybe bad events made him weaker, but they also made him stronger. Maybe he lost everything that was important to him, but he gained new beginnings in the end. And maybe it hurt him so severely that he would not allow his manly instincts to stop him from crying, but that was salvation to his soul. Life was always an exchange between good and bad, and unfortunately in his life the bad happened to rule out the good. That was just something he had to learn to live with.

“She doesn’t need me anymore, Jen,” he grumbled, pelting an irregular shaped stone dancing across the creek’s surface.

“Sure. Tell me that again when I see Drue transform into a pig and fly,” a sweet smile was directed at him, intent on making him see a different side of the situation. He simply faced her with a rather dumbfounded expression.

“In case you haven’t noticed Jen, she didn’t miss me. She is so built up on going to Worthington, and she has all these great experiences and great people who are awaiting her there. She doesn’t need a useless pet begging for her love anymore. She doesn’t need me like she used to. I used to be able to save her from all her fears, but now she doesn’t have any. She’s this newly developed woman who is growing in every way possible for the better. I’m not going to interfere with that.”

“How do you know she didn’t miss you, Pace? Did she tell you that? She still needs you to save her. She’s going to a new city, with unfamiliar people, and a giant heap of snobby know-it-alls. What is she going to do without you? The worst thing you could do is end up abandoning her again, Pacey. Don’t leave her shipwrecked like you did before. If you do she’ll drown in her own pit of fear and hate for you. That’s when she’ll stop loving you, is when you show her that you don’t need her anymore,” the blonde offered her advice, stunning the male in thought. Every word she said made sense, but still there was this little part of him that was drained of being the lower being.

“She didn’t miss me, Jen. I shouldn’t have to ask her. She should’ve been able to look me right in the eyes and tell me that she missed me, and that’s all it took. That’s all I needed to hear,” he stated rather flatly, becoming annoyed at the fact that he was once again letting Josephine Potter get to him.

“Maybe she did, Pace. Maybe she did and you didn’t recognize it but maybe, just maybe she already has told you without words that she missed you.”

“How am I supposed to know for sure, then?” he turned to her in a baffled manner, in need of her compassion and understanding.

“Simple. You wait for her. You be patient. You don’t stop loving her,” she supplied in response.

“But I already said goodbye. How am I supposed to do that?” he questioned her blankly.

“You do what you’ve been doing since you walked out of her life. I’ll see you around, Pace,” the blonde offered her cheerful smile; arms tightly adhered to her chest before strolling off the deck.

A few days had passed, and there she was sitting by the creek. She looked so lonely, like she was lost in a world that didn’t belong to her. The liquid depths crinkled evenly as his vigilance undertook her from a distance. The light breeze caused her dark strands to squirm like tentacles around her features and she didn’t notice him. He could leave her in her peaceful thoughts, or he could go to her. There was no decision to be made; he was already at her side within a moment.

“Josephine, my flying machine,” he squatted down behind her, grinning warmly. She exhaled sharply at his sudden appearance before calming at his familiar tone.

“What are you doing here, Pacey?” she questioned quietly.

“Hush, Jo. Just trust me,” his whispered tone invaded her tender lobe and he felt her react, coiling tightly. Then, as the moment drew so serene and an almost attempted intimacy, his brawny arms sent her plummeting into the water’s shallow depths with hysteric chuckles of amusement. It was the only way Pacey Witter knew how to help the overwhelming discomfort between them dissolve.

“Pacey!” she shrieked indignantly, fluttering back to the surface as she struggled to stand once again. She stood like a wet rat before him, water streaming down her bare arms and face. A visible scowl was plastered on, standing knee deep in the creek waters.

“I like that look for you, Jo. It’s somewhere between a dirty dog and a wet cat,” he snorted with irregular laughter, swiftly launching himself away from the danger zone of the creek edge before she could make a counter attack.

“Never do I trust Pacey Witter again,” she fumed, stomping out with her soggy clothing before pouting at her condition.

“Here comes Godzilla! Everyone run for your lives!” playfully he put on an act for her, nervously nibbling at his fingertips before moving into a slow motion run. She glowered at him and swiftly caught up, stumbling as her arms orbited his brawny physique, bringing him down to the ground with her. They were both caught in a fit of giggles and playful squeals.

“I hate you Pacey Witter,” she pinned him with a devious grin; her wet mass heaved atop him in a brief wrestling match. Slowly they ceased, and the gentle rays of sunlight were swaying, alighting her. Her deeply toned features were so content and unmistakably beautiful, small beads dribbling along her cheeks. Her dark strings dangled loosely by her face, dripping from the watery depths he forced her into. He swallowed as they grew silent, and nothing could match this moment. His calloused fingertips hesitantly inclined, their gazes mingling cautiously as he removed the damp strands that clung to her radiant features in his uncovered affections. Lightly he traced them in a downwards spiral, brushing them against her moist cheeks.

“That’s too bad, because I don’t hate you, Potter. Funny thing is, I’m still in love with you,” his statement was completely breathy, now lost in her. She peered down upon him in utter silence, distraught with his words yet in no way did she seem to object to them. Something overpowered him, and he wished to himself that his instinct to touch her would simply fizzle, but it didn’t. It only grew stronger and more furious with him. As he caressed her features adoringly, he drew himself upwards to her hovering frame slowly. His warm breath lingered over her seductive lips and he watched as her lids drew over her eyes. In that moment, she needed him as much as he needed her and he was willing to satisfy that desire. His lips brushed against hers before he made a distinct collision, tilting his mantle to the side so he could gain full access to her tender mouth. They moved together with such intimacy, their longing passion for one another suddenly sparking as their lips melted together in a flurry of affection. Every moment was so long and overbearing, and every subtle caress that they shared made him want more of her. God, he had missed this. Just when he felt her warm up to the affections, she broke in his securing grasp. She pulled away so promptly, parting their perfectly matched lips.

“I should go,” her quavering tone was exposed, pushing off of him as she fled back to where he could never follow her. He didn’t chase her; he just remained stationary in a nightmare of painful thoughts. He imagined himself on a busy highway, and everyone kept passing him, lying on the side of the road. Nobody stopped and though he screamed for anyone, he had no true existence. He was just…there.

“I’m telling you, Jen. She doesn’t need me! I put my own bloody self on the line and she turned away,” he muffled to the blonde on the other end of the receiver, chewing on a stale roll of bread.

“You kissed her, Pace. That’s going to shock her. What did you expect? She was going to run into your arms again, have a roll in the sack, and then confess your undying love for one another?” she responded bluntly.

“Well, that would’ve been a better ending then her hanging me out cold to dry, yes. I’m giving up on her, Jen. I’m sick of trying so hard. I’m sick of always feeling hurt. And I’m sick of her not loving me,” his voice trailed, sighing deeply in depletion as his fingertips were licked dry of crumbs.

“Pacey, just do what’s in your heart. That’s all you can do. She isn’t going to just go away, and she’s never going to stop loving you.”

“Perhaps…but she will stop needing me.”

“I’m sorry, Pace. There’s not a whole lot I can do. Why do you come to me with your countless love life problems, anyways?” she quizzed him curiously.

“Because you’re the most experienced, nonobjective friend I have,” he complimented, yet heard the blonde’s dubious laughter on the other side.

“Yeah, right. I had engaged in sexual relationships before I even reached sexual maturity, have only had one serious relationship in my entire life that didn’t involve sex, and my best friend happens to be a homosexual. I’m just dandy in the love department, Pace. Why don’t you check aisle five? I hear they have a better selection,” she rambled on in protest. He knew as emotionally strong as she had grown, she had truly imprisoned herself inside and was screaming for love. A love that Jack could not supply her with, and perhaps that is why she clung to him the way she did. She felt safe because he offered her a secure relationship that would never put intimacy ahead of devotion. It was a friendship that could even overpower the legendary Dawson and Joey soul mate novel.

“Thank you, Jen. I’ll talk to you later,” he murmured, clicking down the receiver as he pointedly ignored the way she incessantly tore herself into shreds. Thoughts disfigured his mind, and then nothing else mattered but relieving himself and starting over once again. He would stay in Capeside until he knew what he wanted, but he needed to get away until the only significant memory of his life left. That memory was Josephine Potter. There was nothing here to give him a reason to stay, nothing at all.

He slowly heaped a couple of his overly stuffed bags upon the base of the rented boat, it reminding him very much of his once beloved True Love. He was concentrated, and prompt. He would be leaving the next morning, and it felt like his life just kept revolving in the same pattern. Guy falls for girl, girl rejects guy, guy leaves girl. It was so simple that he actually wished his life were more complex so he had more to root for, more to speak for. This was the life of Pacey Witter though.

“Pacey?” the female’s voice stunned him into an inert manner, not expecting that he would run into her at the docking areas. He didn’t want her to know what he was up to for the simple fact that it would mean there would have to be those unwanted goodbyes.

“Joey,” he greeted her dully, placid gaze briefly passing her before continuing to pack in his belongings.

“What are you doing?” she questioned him firmly, brows furrowing in uncertainty.

“What does it look like, Jo? I’m taking her out to sea. I figured it’s about time I get back into the habit of sailing,” bluntly in return, never bothering to focus upon the brunette in fears that he would surrender and change his mind for her.

“What it looks like is that you’re planning to be gone for awhile,” her voice was unusually stern and disobedient sounding, not pleased with his apparent decision to run away from his problems like usual. He swiveled to face her one-on-one, dark spheres bleeding down upon her.

“Listen, Jo. I’m not going to lie to you, and I’m not going to tell you I’m okay because I’m not. I’m leaving Capeside, at least until you’re gone.”

“Oh, thanks! It’s nice to know your true colours,” her tone was stubborn and cold, her easily stricken temper aroused.

“The reason I’m leaving you is because I can’t live without you, Jo! I love you too god damned much to even think straight when I’m around you because all I can think about is being with you!” his voice boomed from his pits, visibly beginning to get in her face.

“Fine! Then leave just like you do with everything else, Pace. Tell you what. I’ll walk out of your life just to make it easier on you,” her lips tightened, wheeling and moving away from him in choppy strides. He stood there in complete awe at her departure, exhaling sharply as regrets of being so hard on her pulsated from within.

“Well, boys. Josephine Potter has now left the building,” he mumbled.

Everything was ready, and he had waited until Doug had left for work before preparing himself for yet another escape voyage. He shifted the curtains from the obstructed window, gazing out silently at the only thing that seemed familiar to him anymore, Capeside. This was it. This was the only thing he knew the root of anymore, and even it seemed to be growing deeper. He scanned over his half naked body, realizing he should soon get dressed if he planned to leave on schedule. Just as he was making his way to the carpeted staircase, something caught the corner of his eye. He turned to face the familiar Joey Potter. She simply stood at his front door in utter silence, shifting in a nervous habit. He turned away momentarily as if she was some unwanted vision, before allowing himself to do what he truly wanted. He wanted to open that door for her.

“God, Joey. What are you doing here? I thought I told you…”

“Shut up, Pace,” she interrupted, guiding herself through the screen door to him. He swallowed unsurely, staring upon her in disbelief.

“But you shouldn’t be…”

“Here?” she once again interrupted him in the middle of his statement.

“Yes,” he confirmed softly.

“I want to be here, with you. The truth is that every day you were out on that yacht, I was back here in Capeside wishing I was with you,” she advanced towards him, so close that he could feel her breath upon him. It was amazing how confident she could be when she really wanted something, and in a small portion it did frighten him. He backed instinctively away while she still proceeded forward, nearly stumbling backwards over a nearby chair. She ceased her movement once she sensed his discomfort.

“Pacey, I don’t even know why I’m here. I want more than anything else to walk out of here like I never loved you, but that would be lying and I can’t face more of that then I already have. I don’t want you to walk out of my life, because every time you do I miss you more than the time before,” her words were so delicately put, simply standing before him so innocently. His brows furrowed, not believing that this woman that he loved so unconditionally truly did miss him. A startled silence followed, both unstable in a situation that required heavy-duty emotions neither could truly label. Once they both tried to make sense of what exactly was revolving, he realized he didn’t care. His burly arms slowly secured around her, bringing her into him closer as their warm bodies bumped against one another. His features became buried in the sweetly scented brunette strands that cascaded around her shoulders, the feeling of her locked in his grasp again like a belonging so true to his every wish. He was born to love this woman.

“Pace, I’m sorry,” she pressured.

“Hush, Potter,” his voice was deeply masculine, gently brushing the mass of hair from her neck. It was something he could feel within him that she wanted, so he didn’t need any permission. His mouth devoured her sensitive flesh, preying upon her as he felt her fingertips gently rake over the bare flesh of his back. He mouthed delicately at the groove in her lower neck region, the sight of the quaint strap slipping from her shoulder reminding him of the many nights they had past spent together. Her deeply hued flesh was scattered with various cinnamon specks, and every tiny detail of her magnetizing body was noted. His fingertips were gingerly touching her in any way he could, fearful in the least that she would somehow be lost once again. The warmth of her against him was so demanding, and he allowed his lips to massage her neckline in a way that made her feel so safe, like he would always be there to take care of her. Like he would never stop loving her, and he wouldn’t. He would always love Josephine Potter.

His vigilance was idle through the foggy window, streams of the heavenly rains making disfigured paths down the glass. It was dark, but in some way perfectly peaceful. The water pelted down in a stormy wave of vengeance, imprisoning many within the barrier of their homes. His fingertips stroked the raspy curtain material before allowing it to drift to its stationary positioning, gliding in utter silence to the brunette who slumbered so angelically on his sofa. As he kneeled before her, he begged for her mercy. She was all he would ever need, but to his dismay, she needed more. She needed success to prove she wasn’t the white trash from the wrong side of the creek, that she wasn’t the daughter of a drug dealing nobody, and that she wasn’t just some robotic belonging of the forever-loving Dawson Leery. She was Josephine Potter, the one and only. That’s what she needed to show the world. That’s what she needed to show herself.

After the brief intimacy they shared the last afternoon, they had spent the entire night digging up every ounce of change in their lives. They had tried desperately to reflect on the past in a way that was bearable for both, but it was impossible. They kept drowning in the memories that they wished they hadn’t lived, which led him to believe that the decision he was making without her permission was the only one he had to make. They had rekindled their love in such a subtle session of caressing, and it was undeniable that they both had needed it. They both needed to feel loved after the havoc they had been through that summer without one another. But now, there was something more overpowering to the male than love, and that was sacrifice.

The dark strands that framed her features possessed him, and he didn’t disturb them like he normally would. He allowed them to burden her, the soft falling and rising of her creamy chest so longing. Every moment he was part of her; he wanted to be more like her. It was too unique to describe, like some absconded fairytale.

His ardent eyes grew upon her form, shifting the wooly mass of blanket over her more fully. His chaffed lips descended upon hers in a brief introduction, before willingly settling on her forehead. Inhaling her rich scent, he would preserve her in his memory to the longest extension that he could. He was relieved that she had mistakenly fallen asleep here the last nightfall, for it gave him a chance to truly experience her at this new level before leaving her.

How would she truly react to being without him? There was always Dawson, and funny that would bounce into his head now for the simple fact that not once did the opposing male come up. Not once. Unusual perhaps, but in a way it was so refreshing, like she didn’t need him in her life for every decision she made. Almost like her love for Dawson had grown so strong that they no longer had to linger on it, but simply keep the closely knitted friendship that they had weaved from their childhood. Either way, Dawson would take care of her and so he had a permanent reassurance that she would always be okay, with or without him in her life. She would always have Dawson, and in some undefined way she would always have him, Pacey Witter.

There were no doubts that he would eventually cross her path once again, but now, at this exact moment in time it wasn’t the right time. Maybe it would never be the right time, but this was no longer up for questioning. It was time to stop pretending that everything was just all right, because it wasn’t. So much had changed. It was too much to understand. There were no more predictions to be made.

“Pace?” the female’s heavily lashed lids fluttered open, squirming from her sculpted positioning. He was startled at her sudden arousal, having hoped she wouldn’t have awoken so soon.

“Morning, Miss Potter. I see the Sandman had his visit with you,” he brushed the dry sleep from the creases of her eyes, remaining seated against the sofa. Her lazy smile pulled through, inclining to brush her lips affably against his, and he was so bewildered and centered at the same point in time.

“And the king of bad breath,” he whispered as their lips parted, benighted expression upon features. She didn’t take his mockery to offense, and their constant bickering seemed to absurdly impassion them even more.

“It’s raining,” she clued out, blinking at the overcast outdoors.

“Indeed it is Potter, and I thought you were stupid,” he exclaimed while inclining, contorting his back into a curl to stretch his aching muscles.

“Why are so many questions going through my head at the same time that this overwhelming dismay is wilting inside of me, not knowing why I can’t get you out of my head?” a concerned appearance struck her, and he knew there was no rightful way to answer that question.

“Trust me once again, Jo. Stop shredding every ounce of what we have apart until there’s nothing left to build on.”

“How can I? Last time I trusted you I ended up head first in the creek,” a playful irritation surfaced.

“All you have to do is trust me, and let me make you feel alive again,” his hands swiftly located hers, draping the blanket over her head as it engulfed her petite physique.

“May I ask where we’re going? Because the last thing I want to do is end up in the alternate universe you call home sweet home,” she dully inquired, unsure about his plans.

“Just shut up, Potter. Oh, and remember I warned you just so you can’t say afterwards that I didn’t warn you.”

“Why do I get the feeling that I’m not going to perceive this as the greatest Witter moment?” she whined before being dragged off into no man’s land.

The flighty liquids pounded across their flesh, and he forced her into following his descent down the porch steps. He loved the way she looked so young and unaware of her surroundings, bundled in a heap of blanket.

“Pace, you realize I have no shoes on, right?” she inquired cautiously. He didn’t care about her useless protests, snaking her onto the damp turf, scattered with growing puddles. He felt the muddy loam cringe beneath their bare footing, but became soothed by the laughter that was arisen from the female as he allowed his tongue to form a spoon for the falling drops.

She had such a simple attraction, as she huddled beneath the protective barrier of the blanket. Her chestnut strands grew deeper as they were battered with the drowning liquids, her stepping so aimless in its geometrical pattern.

They danced in the heavenly rainfall for what seemed like hours, but perhaps it was only moments that were distorted into longer sessions because of his unbelievable surge of happiness. This was his last day with her, the last time until everything between them would expire. She wouldn’t know until he was gone though, and then it would be too late for their history to expand after its closure before the summer.

Something about the thought of bliss ending caused him to become frail, as if he would no longer have anything to fight for. Everything in his life that actually required a sense of determination was only met if he had something to fight for. If he didn’t have Joey Potter, then who and what would he fight for? He had no sense of education to work towards, seeing as he barely graduated. That was a lucky enough break to keep him satisfied without going to college. He had no real place in anyone’s life to actually weigh on. And now, though he didn’t desire to leave his one source of happiness, he was somehow going to. Now he was going to feel what sacrifice was. It was going to feel like hell, maybe even worse.

Awakening from his thoughts, a sinister rumble of thunder rolled over the expanse, and so he swiftly escorted the female back into the protection of his home, away from the dreary storms. They both exhaled deeply in the midst of their smiles to one another, soaked from head to toe.

“Look at you now, Pace. That’s what I would call a drowned rat, except for the fact that you’re missing the tail. But the ugly look is definitely there,” she insulted him deviously; features brimmed with happiness. He smeared his large palm across her face, smothering her delighted features. She erupted in laughter, her enjoyment of being with him once again such a compliment.

“Oh, great. Pace, I’ve got to get back home or else Bessie will send a search party out for me. Or even worse, she’ll come looking herself,” she exhaled deeply as she took notice of the clock, slipping the damp blanket from her form as she returned it to him. He nodded in agreement, tossing it over the top of the sofa.

“Alright, then let me take you back,” he ordered more than questioned. She tightened her lip, giving a brief nod as her fingertips eagerly slipped into her jean pockets.

Their walk didn’t last long, and it was very hard for him to understand why he was going to say goodbye to her. The entire walk to her house was filled with silence, and nothing more or less.

Approaching her house, he felt so burdened by their once again ignited passion, knowing that just as it began it was going to end once again. He watched her begin her ascent up her porch steps, and without another thought his hand shot out to refold around hers.

“Jo,” his voice was raspy, and so uncertain. She swiveled to meet his gaze, falling another step to lower back to his level. She didn’t question him, just awaited what he was about to say. He forced a genuine smile for her, soft gaze lingering in thought. The moment being so rarely serene, the female moved in on him swiftly, her mouth devouring him in a heated sensation. She wasn’t making this easy, and every moment her warm saliva melted against his flesh, he was making a silent note of excuses not to leave like he knew he had to. He attempted to put a resistance up against her kiss, but it made no difference. They moved in some rhythmical pattern that could only match each other.

Their lips parted in haste, and he cleared his throat but no words were able to be distinguished. A warm, inviting smile coiled upon the brunette’s dainty features, while he dwelled on the moment until at last he managed words.

“Can you hear that, Jo?” his voice tilted, becoming barely audible.

“Hear what, Pace?” her brows furrowed curiously, the silence too strong to hear anything else.

“My heart pounding,” a toothy grin erupted as he noticed the faint spark alighting her deeply hued orbs. Her fingertips trailed along the side of his cheek, and his entire body moved into shut down mode. His lids seeped over his vision for he couldn’t breathe when she was so near and so desirable. He felt her warm exhale upon his flushed skin, so zoned out that he could even feel one of her silken strands brush past his face. If he didn’t have a reminder soon of why he was leaving her, he would never get his butt on that boat.

“I’m coming to see you again tomorrow, Pace. I’m going to spend the entire day with you and not regret one second of it, because you have absolutely no idea how much I have missed being with you,” her voice was hushed and her fingertips were gently removed from his features. She slowly drew away from him up the steps, and he swallowed harshly before sentencing his word out to her.

“Goodbye, Jo,” his tone was solemn, yet at ease. He hardly ever used goodbye with her, and he had hoped he would never of had to. And though he already had said it a few days earlier, it made no difference because this time it was for real. This time there was no last minute turning back, and there were no more predilections to stay with her. This was the reality he had created.

Then she eroded into her dark household without another word spoken, and like some figment of his imagination she was banished away.

The familiar blonde gaped her front door open for him after hearing his tapping, casually smiling in accolade.

“To what do I owe the displeasure of Pacey Witter paying a visit?” she teased him waggishly.

“Trust me, the displeasure is mine,” his retort was downhearted, his disfigured fingernail itching at the crease of his lobe adroitly. Her finely shaped brows arced in visible concern, slipping out onto the porch with him.

“The kind of displeasure that says you want to talk, or the kind of displeasure that says you rather just use me for a punching bag?”

“Neither. It’s the kind of displeasure that says in the very honorable Witter manner, goodbye Jen Lindley. Nice you being in my life and all, but now as usual I am going to run away and hide. Would you like to have a roll in the sack before I leave, just to make it traditional and all?” he rambled on, browbeating the conversation before crumbling to one of the nearby wooden chairs.

“How kind, a going away present. Then after our teenage indulges are over, we can efface each other from our lives. I believe that is explicable,” her appendages folded across her chest, a softened smile becoming visible as she braced her weight against the post residing aside her. His calloused fingers paved a tunnel through his tight brunette coils, massaging his temples to try and tune himself back in. Everything inside of him was only preliminary to the big picture.

“I’m leaving Capeside again, until you are all off to college and then I can return without being reminded of how incapable I am of being somebody.”

“You mean you’re leaving Capeside again, until Joey Potter is off to college and then you can return without being reminded of how much you love her,” she reversed his theme, looking down upon him with a known compassion.

“You know, I love the whole effect that you always manage to create by basting me in something that I have mauled with until the living end,” he snaked at her, growing aggressive in temper.

“And I in turn love the way you focus on denial as your way of pity. If you were looking for a fray to soothe your obvious anger, than you should’ve knocked on Roger Rabbit’s door,” she snapped back, sighing heavily at his tempered demeanor. He suddenly tugged his attention back to her, forsaking any more arguments.

“I have to leave,” he stated in a wailful tone, allowing his vision to be absorbed in the abyss his palms created.

“I know you do,” she responded, in no way seeming to be appalled by his decision. It was unbelievable how she always formed a security for him, never truly questioning him. She just let him be and at the same time attended to everything he needed her for.

He felt her sidle against him after a brief intrusion of silence, her frail hands guiding his mantle to rest against the comfort of her sinuous chest. Her subtle embrace was a cue for his gathered emotions to simply be laid to rest. This was what he needed, just to know that in the smallest proportion his decision to run away for once wasn’t the wrong one, and that he was not the evil demon set out to kill. There were points in your life where you just had this desire to fall so far, that it would take all your powers to get back up and start on a fresh page. He had reached that point and he wasn’t going to be practical like he had tried so hard to be for Joey Potter, he was going to simply be fatuous. That’s what he had to be to leave her.

He agilely parted the affection, for his manly drive kicked in to remind him that he was looking too weak before her, and perhaps that would cause her to be aghast at his overly developed insecurities.

“So, do you think we have time for a quickie?” he managed to contain his playful edge.

“For you? Always. I’ll see you, Pace,” she jutted him a contagious simper of pure radiance before swinging back within the house in her naturally baffling manner.

“I’ll see you, Jen,” he offered to himself as a means of closure, hoping that it would free him from a lifetime of being trapped in a kennel of regrets.

This would be one of his most altering moments in time, and he felt the bind of uncertainty dawn upon him. Maybe in the end the way it all would play out would be contrary to what he would have expected.

He eased himself over the siding of the boat’s structure, the darkness an enemy as he attempted to make his way over the sloppy flooring. The ebony sky was painted with glittering specks that almost dazzled him. In a way it seemed rearranged, a spectacle for his final breath of Capeside’s familiar air. As he inhaled, it felt so icy once it inhabited him, a suffocating feeling sickly making its way in.

“Pace! Pace! Pacey!” the overwhelming calls of the one he wished most not to hear from sounded almost pleading as he caught sight of the one and only Joey Potter, her briskly swept strides eating up the distance between them.

“Oh Lord, give me mercy,” he mumbled, his brawny hand concealing his features in an annoyed fashion. As she drew closer, he could already sense her heated temper. Fury was bubbling from within her, her dark embers flickering within the dimly lit night.

“What the hell do you think you are doing, Pace?” she challenged him dominantly, advancing towards the rented sea craft indignantly.

“Good evening to you too, Jo,” he smiled sweetly, attempting to put his patience to the test.

“You’re leaving,” her conclusion was easily drawn, her lips tight with argument.

“Yes, yes I am,” he verified, hauling his last piece of baggage onto the boat.

“So you let me think that tomorrow when I went to see you, you were going to be there waiting with open arms?” her words kept growing sharper and colder.

“Jo, why are you here?” without bothering to respond to her quizzical questioning, he wheeled to face her. A sarcastic outburst of laughter erupted from her at his casual temperament to such a sensitive subject.

“You know why, Pace? Because all of a sudden it hit me that Pacey Witter doesn’t say goodbye, only goodnight. You on the other hand said goodbye to me this morning when you dropped me off, and so many thoughts raced through my head,” her tone softened in minimal proportions, edging closer to his boat. How did she know? How could she have known him well enough to remember that unnoticeable detail of his personality?

“Like what?” he swallowed, awaiting a hypercritical reasoning.

“Like why the only guy in this world that I actually believed I had a chance with would desert me without even a saddened goodbye,” her voice became decayed, saline unwillingly flooding her dark eyes. Why did she have to do that to him? Make him feel like they were the matching pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and nobody in this world could ever conquer their tinfoil romance?

“Jo, you don’t understand,” his tone became wilted, having underestimated her power to cause him to surrender.

“Then please humor me and help me understand here, Pace,” she begged uncontrollably, the tears accumulating beginning to brim her lids.

“Look at the sky, Jo. Look how limitless and full of possibilities it is,” he gestured skyward, squatting so he was eye level with her from the boat.

“I never thought you’d leave me for a chance to obsess over scenery, Pace,” her mixed humor was output by her apparent depression.

“No, Joey. That’s you. Outside of Capeside, even outside of Worthington there are so many possibilities awaiting you. So many they are limitless. You have the world at your feet, and you have the chance to take it. Everything you’ve ever wanted, everything you’ve ever desired you can have, Joey. All of it.”

“Why are you doing this to me?” her quiet phrasing cracked into muffled sobs as salted beads began to cascade down her flushed cheeks steadily.

“I’m not doing anything to you, Jo. I’m bad for you,” he literally clutched to the side rims of the boat, just so he would not have the urge to aid her with her failing emotions.

“Then you’re the best kind of bad for me, Pace, because you make me feel so good,” her fingertips trudged over her moistened flesh, concealing her features within her jacket sleeve. He wished that he could save her, cup her into his homemade safety net and promise her the world but he couldn’t. There was this inert feeling within him that wasn’t admissible to him helping her, as much as he tried to battle it. It devoured him inside out, clawing passionately at his insides. It would not give him the chance to become dubious, only to be woeful.

“I’ve watched you develop Joey, starting out as this ignorant tomboy, becoming this beautiful, intelligent girl who caused heads to turn. And now…you,” he hesitated, trying to signalize anything.

“I’m what, Pace?” she quieted unsurely.

“You’re so high and above me, Jo. So high and above me I can’t even see you anymore,” he explained, awaiting another protest.

“I’m not going to chase after you this time, Pacey. I can’t go with you,” her breathing grew raspy, and an uncanny smile locked onto his features.

“I know, Jo. You’ve changed. Do you know what wish I would have if I had someone hand me my life on a plate? My wish would be to spend my last day with you. Just one more day with you would be worth the effort. Could you say the same?” his heavy brows furrowed, and he saw that mere glimpse from her that declined to answer. That was all he needed to see, and nothing else was comparable to the pensive way she was telling him goodbye.

He gradually heaped the line of thick roping over his burly shoulder, bundling it up hurtfully.

“Nobody will ever take your place, Jo,” his masculine voice began to tremor uneasily as he turned his back to her and prepared to ready for take off.

“Pacey, no,” she whimpered, her mantle vigorously rattled while powerless to stop him. Her fingertips clasped onto the ridge of the boat arduously, making any weak attempts she could to halt his escape voyage but it was no use. The boat slipped from her grasp and eagerly sidetracked into the depths of the ravenous waters.

He felt strangled, parting his lips simply to breathe as the stingy substance huddled within his captive eyes. He couldn’t control it any longer, racing to the back of the moving structure as he received front row seats to her dramatic display. She became so distant, and he could barely make out her form in the night, but he heard her. He heard her painfully shrill screaming as she faced a downward spiral of hysterics. He heard his disoriented name becoming fainter, fainter, fainter, and then hushed. The silencer had overpowered her, and now would his life even be livable?

“I’m never too far away, Jo,” his barely audible tone was based at a murmur, the boat lightly rocking in the quiet waves as they lapped up against the sidewalls. Slinking to the water coated barrier, he huddled into a secure world where he was sheltered, solaced from everything in his ultimate solitude.