Summary: Sequel to Catlady on the Creek. Christmas break comes and makes for more conflict. Still not together Julie and Portman fight and ignore what's right in front of their faces, and Dawson wonders why exactly he's decided to keep his friendship with Julie from Jen, now his girlfriend. Charlie is put in the awkward middle when Connie finds out about Pacey's relationship with Ms. Jacobs, which becomes more confused by Guy's insistance on gettting Connie back. Julie finds herself thrown off by Abby's new boyfriend, someone we've seen before. And what about poor Joey, who now finds herself competing with Jen and Julie for Dawson's attention? It's a big mess, can it ever work itself out? JuliePortman, PaceyConnie, DawsonJen, DawsonJoey, ScooterOC, slight DawsonJulie.

Author's Note: Sooo, I really hope that this baby is as loved as "Catlady on the Creek" its even more dramatic, and confusing in case you couldn't tell by those millions of pairing at the end there. Haha, yeah, I know I made you wait a while for it, I was trying to get it right, not to mention I've been working on a new story in my series (I mean this is a series too, but my serious 10 story long series) it's called "Bring it On" read it, but read the other nine first, or you'll be confused. Anyway, this chapter is of course the set up of the conflicts.

Disclaimer: Despite the few months that have passed, I still do not own The Ducks, or the Creek Kids. Still really wish I did, especially the guys. That would be amazing, ohh the possibilities...

Secrets and Heartbreak: A Duck/Creek Christmas

Chapter 1: Where are we?

"So what are your Christmas plans?" Dawson asked Julie, late at night as she sat in her dorm room on the phone with him. "Are you going home?"

"Hardly," Julie snorted, she enjoyed these late night talks with Dawson; they were frequent and helpful, on both sides. "Mother and Daddy are already in Europe sunning themselves on the Riviera. They're there until February, isn't that festive?"

"So you're staying at school?" Dawson tried, "Or with Connie?"

"I'm going to Boston actually," she said, "Staying with Abby at her place."

"Just the two of you?" He said, "That's not very Christmasy."

"It beats spending the entire vacation in Maine by myself, or here while Connie pines away because Pacey changed his plans and is now not coming," She sighed. "What's with that by the way?"

"His Dad threw a fit," Dawson said, "I don't really know the specifics, something about not breaking up the family and if Charlie and Casey are so concerned with spending the Holidays with them they can get their asses on the plane. Still, you and Abby shouldn't be alone for Christmas. Come here, two more is nothing, and its not really a bad drive, we'd all be happy to see you."

"It'd be three more," Julie said, "Portman's coming too."

"Seriously?" Dawson said, "Julie, he's like completely dedicated to you, and I know for a fact that you're over Scot, what's the hold up?"

"I like being just friends," she said, "We never really were, I mean, the second time we saw each other we made out, and then, well, you know. And I like it. Also, what if he decides he doesn't want me again?"

"How many times has he asked you out?" Dawson said.

"Six," she sighed, "Seven if you count winter formal, which I went to with him."

"He's been pretty patient," he pointed out.

"How's Joey?" Julie changed the subject.

"Joey's fine," He said, giving up, "The baby's driving her crazy, but other than that, she's good." He was about, for the millionth time to bring up Jen, but couldn't bring himself to. It wouldn't really be an issue, since Jen was spending Christmas with her grandparents. "So, are you in for Christmas?"

"It sounds great," Julie smiled, "I'd have to double check it. But, Christmas in Capeside sounds perfect."

"And give the boy a chance!" Dawson pulled the receiver away and yelled, he heard Julie laugh as he hung up.

"Did you at least have a good time?" Joey asked Portman.

"We had a great time," he said, "I mean, didn't you and Dawson have fun at the homecoming shit that you went to?"

"No," Joey sighed, "Remember, he just went there to try to get Jen."

"We're a pathetic pair," he laughed. "I don't know what else to do Jo, I mean, I'm so totally her bitch, I'm going to Boston for Christmas with her."

"Wow," Joey laughed, "You are her bitch. If you're going to be in Boston, do you think that,"

"I want to come out and meet Alexander," he said, they talked enough that he could tell what she was going to say. "And Julie'll want to hang out with Dawson, and Connie will want us to check up on Pacey."

"Right," Joey said, and then there was a faint cry in the background. "He's awake. I have to go."

"Night Joey," Portman said. "Hang in there OK?"

"Yeah," she said, "You too. Like you said, they can't ignore us forever right?"

"Need some company?" Julie smiled, wandering into the common room, seeing Portman watching TV.

"Dawson?" He asked. She nodded. "How's the director?"

"He's good," she laughed and sat down next to him. "He invited us for Christmas. Do you want to go?"

"I somehow feel that a Capeside Christmas will be incredibly corny," he laughed, "But what the hell right? I can meet the baby." Julie smiled, she knew he meant Joey's new baby nephew, "What do you two talk about all the time?"

"What do you and Joey talk about?" She said defensively. For some reason she liked to keep her relationship with Dawson separate from everything else in her life.

"You mostly," he admitted, quietly, nothing wrong with trying again.

"Oh," she said, "That's what me and Dawson talk about too. You, not me, but, still,"

"Really?" He smirked at her, she looked down quietly. "Am I giving you 'the look?'"

"Yeah," she whispered, "Dean?" He looked over, she hadn't called him Dean since that night in Capeside. "I don't want you to stop looking at me like that." He smiled and put his arms around her and kissed her. They pulled down and lay down on the couch, kissing each other feverishly, "I missed this." She said breathlessly.

"I missed it too babe," he whispered in her ear and then went behind it, flicking his tongue out, she giggled at the tickly feeling that raced through her body. "I see that still works."

"Dean," she mumbled, "Please don't turn me away again."

"Julie," he whispered, "I wouldn't," he kissed her deeply, "I love you." She closed her eyes, "Wait, you mean tonight?"

"Single room remember?" She smiled and kissed him.

"Babe," he murmured, "I don't think,"

"What is it this time?" She asked, pushing herself into a sitting up position. "Honestly, Dean, what about me is so horrible to you? If you love me, why don't you want me?" He could see the tears forming in her eyes. "I don't love him anymore, if that's what you're afraid of."

"I wasn't," he said, "until you brought him up."

"So that's it then," she sighed, "Because I was with him, we can't ever be together?"

"It's not that simple baby," he tried to explain. "How do I know that you're serious this time? That you're not going to bolt, I'm not the only guy in your life Julie."

"I haven't even spoken to Scot since he called me last summer to say good bye," She objected.

"I'm not talking about him!" Portman said, getting angry. "Who were you just on the phone with Julie? Who are you on the phone with until two in the morning, two or three times a week?"

"Dawson?" she said shocked, "You're afraid that I'm going to fall for Dawson? Are you out of your mind? You talk to Joey just as much."

"About how she's in love with Dawson!" He finally said, and then stopped. He closed his eyes realizing that he betrayed the confidence of one of his best friends. He had promised Joey he wouldn't tell any one. "Shit," he mumbled and lay back. "Forget I said that last part OK? She doesn't want anyone to know."

"This is what I was afraid of," she sighed, "This is why I kept saying no, kept saying stay friends. You can't trust me! No matter what I do, it's never enough. I'm going to bed." She stood up and walked away.

"You have to tell her man," Dawson shook his head as he and Pacey walked to school the next morning. He'd been doing this for about a month. "She has a right to know."

"Tell you what," Pacey smiled, "I'll tell Connie about Tamara, when you tell Julie about Jen."

"Julie and I aren't together, Pace," Dawson said, "We never were."

"Then why doesn't she know about Jen? Or for that matter, why doesn't Jen know about Julie?" Pacey asked, "I'm just curious, I'm trying to understand the logic here."

"It never came up," Dawson said, "And I didn't feel like explaining everything to her. As for Jen, she doesn't know because there's nothing to tell."

"Yes, because Julie Gaffney, the queen of the complicated romance would never understand the difficulties facing you and Jen Lindley," Pacey laughed, "You want to know what I think?"

"No," Dawson said, "But I think you're going to tell me anyway."

"I think that you're afraid if you tell them about each other, they'll both freak." Pacey said, "And you'll lose either, the woman you claim to love or the woman who you seem to be using as an emotional crutch, or possibly both."

"What about you?" Dawson said, "Why the lie? Why say you're not going to Minnesota for Christmas? If you're not going to tell her anyway, what's the problem?"

"I know as soon as I see her I will tell her," Pacey said, "And I can't do that."

"Why not?" Dawson said.

"I'm supposed to look into those beautiful brown eyes, which will be all lighted up and happy to see me, and say," he stopped and put his hand out, "'Connie, only a few weeks after you left me, and I promised that we would be together, I began a torrid love affair with a woman in her mid thirties.' And then I have to watch those same beautiful brown eyes, either fill up with tears, which will be horrible, or rage, which will be worse. And I will then suffer beatings galore at the hands of my beloved cousin and a rather protective team of angry hockey players."

"They wouldn't beat you up," Dawson said. "Well, her exboyfriend might, and Fulton maybe, but Charlie definitely wouldn't."

"Did you not hear the story about the guy Portman laid out because he made a pass at Julie and then," Dawson stopped him.

"Sexually assaulted Connie?" Dawson laughed, "This is a little different. They like you, they didn't like that guy. Even Scot hated him."

"Hey," Joey ran up behind them, "What's going on?"

"Julie and Portman are coming over for Christmas," Dawson said.

"Awesome!" Joey smiled, "Does Jen know?"

"Know what?" Jen Lindley, with her blonde hair bouncing walked up. "Hi,"

"Hi," Dawson smiled and kissed her, "Nothing, some friends are coming for Christmas."

"Oh," she said, "What's with you lately?" Joey stared at him, smugly, she knew what was with him. Julie Gaffney was with him.

"Yeah Dawson," Joey said, "you've been distracted. Is everything alright? These friends that are coming for Christmas, it wouldn't have anything to do with them."

"Who are they?" Jen said, trying to follow, "Oh come on, is this another great Capeside secret?"

"They're Connie's friends," Pacey said, covering for Dawson. Jen nodded. "And my cousin Charlie's. They were going to be in Boston for Christmas, and Dawson kindly invited them over."

"Oh," she said, "OK. So does Connie know about Ms. Jacobs yet?"

"Yeah," Joey laughed, "When were you planning on telling her about that?"

"He wasn't," Dawson said. "He figures just avoiding it for the rest of his life was the way to go."

"Good Morning Charlie," Connie smiled as he got into her car for a ride to school. "How are you this fine morning?"

"This mood must be an indicator of something," Charlie laughed, "I take it my idiot cousin decided to pick up a phone last night."

"Early this morning actually, we had a long and wonderful talk," she smiled, "Things are getting better, believe it or not, I mean, I'm still bummed out about Christmas, but Julie and Portman are going out there, so we're going to exchange presents."

"Right," Charlie nodded. He knew things were not actually getting better, that Pacey was lying to Connie and that he was in fact coming to Minnesota for Christmas and just wanted to avoid seeing her. "Listen Connie, I know you two like each other, but maybe you shouldn't be so attached, you did agree you could date other people, but it seems like well, you don't."

"Did he say something to you?" She said, panic rising in her voice, "Is he with someone else?"

"Connie," Charlie said, "Calm down, Pacey's not exactly what you call a chick magnet. I'm just worried about you."

"Is this about Guy?" She said, "I told him I'm not getting back together, I'm perfectly happy with the arrangement I'm in thank you."

"It's not about," he sighed, "Forget it ok?"

"I mean, I know he doesn't call every weekend," she said, "but he has other stuff going on, and friends, I mean Dawson's new girlfriend, and Joey and Dawson."

"Connie, you don't have to defend him to me," Charlie said, "I know how great Pacey is, he's my family remember?"

"I know," She said, "I'm sorry, I'm just disappointed that I'm not going to see him. And I feel like I'm always justifying it to Guy."

"Guy can't help it," Charlie laughed, "It freaks him out that you moved on first, that's all. Listen, what if I told you there is a very good chance that you will see Pacey, after the actual holiday?" He smiled to himself, he had a plan, he was going to get them together.

"What, another all night drive to Capeside?" She asked.

"Something like that," he nodded.

"You have to leave," Abby said. "They're going to be here soon." She giggled as he came behind her and kissed her neck.

"Relax, they won't be here for hours," he whispered, "we have time. Besides, it's not like she doesn't know." Abby stopped. "She doesn't know?"

"Scot," she sighed, "I'm going to tell her, I just, I figured I should do it in person."

"So, let me get this straight," Scot sighed, sitting down on the couch, "Your little sister, my ex girlfriend, has no idea that we're together? Abby, you're the one who insisted that we be serious, because otherwise it would hurt her, and then you didn't even tell her?"

"Baby," she sighed, straddled him, and kissed him, "I want to tell her, I'm going to tell her, this week, I will. But after Christmas OK?" His hands curved around her waist, and he kissed her, "Scot," she mumbled, "You really have to get going."

"Mmm," He nodded, "Unfortunately I can't go anywhere with you on top of me like this. I certainly can't get to my car and drive to New York," he kissed her again. "We're stuck Abby."

"It seems we are," she smiled, and kissed him deeply.

"You did tell her we changed the flight right?" Portman said coldly, carrying his bag up the stairs to Abby's apartment. He had made it clear that the only reason he was still coming was to not let down Joey. Since that night they were on even more awkward terms than before.

"No," Julie shook her head, "I figured we could surprise her."

"Whatever," he shrugged. "This one?" Julie nodded, and pulled the key Abby had sent her out of her pocket and unlocked the door. "Nice," he snorted, seeing Abby in full makeout with a guy, "here's a shock."

"Scot?" Julie said, she felt like someone had just tied a rope around her throat and tightened it. She didn't want to believe what she thought she was seeing.

"Julie," Abby jumped up, "You're um, you're early. What a nice surprise."

"Please tell me that that isn't who I think it is Abby," She breathed out.

"Julie," Scot said, "listen, we, um."

"You're supposed to be at NYU," she stammered. "You're definitely not supposed to be making out with my sister."

"Julie, please," Abby said, "Look we ran into each other, and well,"

"You decided it might be a good plan to screw my exboyfriend?" Julie shouted. Scot looked over at Portman.

"Are you two together now?" He said pointing back and forth between them.

"Dude," Portman laughed, "you are hardly in any position to judge on the whole, who the other one is with thing,"

"We're not together," Julie glared, "why are you?"

"It's complicated," Scot said. "Julie listen, I figured you knew, I mean you two tell each other everything. This has nothing to do with us,"

"No," she said, "No, this isn't happening, I can't stay here. I'm leaving," she turned around and walked out the door.

"Julie," Abby ran after her, "Where are you going?"

"We'll go to Capeside," Portman said to Scot, "Um, tell Abby that. I should," Scot nodded. "OK, well um, yeah, good luck with uh, this. Good to see you."

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