Disclaimer: I do not own Dawson's Creek. It belongs to the genius Kevin Williamson. I also do not own the song that this chapter is name after, it belongs to Journey. But I do think that it summarizes Pacey and Joey's relationship in this story.
The last few days before the wedding passed in a blur. People were coming out of the woodwork. Joey didn't realize that she knew so many people. She had placed the guest list in Gail's hands and she had been promised that it would be kept simple. The Potter B&B was booked solid so Cora had offered to stay with Gail. Bessie agreed that would be best since the girl's dad would be getting in that afternoon.
Joey was getting ready for the rehearsal dinner while Bessie and Bodie talked to Mike in the living room. Bessie was breaking the news that Cora was in town and that she would be a part of the wedding and if he didn't like it than he would have to pretend to for Joey's sake because it was important to her.
Mike agreed to be civil and that it was time to bury the hatchet. He was a better person than he used to be. He had been living a clean life for over ten years and he had recently gotten remarried to a woman who Joey and Bessie had yet to meet. The three of them agreed that right now wasn't the right time but that at some point in the near future Mike would come back with their step mother.
The wedding rehearsal went off without a hitch and Joey was confident that nothing would go wrong tomorrow as long as the weather held off. They were getting married on the dock in front of the B&B and the guest would be seated in the yard surrounding them. Joey had tried on the dress before leaving the house one last time to make sure that the alterations that Bessie had made were right. She heaved a sigh of relief when both the dress and the lace jacket fit.
Gail had offered to close the restaurant for the night so that the dinner could be held there. Some of the waiters and most of the kitchen staff were getting paid overtime to work the dinner and the wedding. Pacey and Joey sat at the head of the center table with their family and so far Mike and Cora were cordial towards one another. Joey scanned the room seeing people that she hadn't seen in years. Andy had invited Toby as her plus one and she was glad to see him. Other than Doug, Toby had been the only healthy relationship that Jack had been in.
Audrey was at a table in the corner holding the attention of every guy around her. Joey smiled as she shook her head. Some things would never change. Joey was glad that she had been able to take time out of her schedule to be there. They talked on the phone constantly but the two friends hadn't seen each other in almost two years. Audrey had mellowed out once they had finished college. Her parents had cut her off and she was forced to fend for herself. She'd always had the spirit of a traveling gypsy so life on the road suited her.
Pacey held Joey's free hand under the table all through dinner. The gesture was sweet and sentimental, something that a teenage Pacey never would have thought of doing. Joey was thankful every day for the chance to get to know him as he was now. He had changed the most of out of their circle of friends. He was more responsible and more patient. He had always been reliable but now it was refined.
Joey herself had gone through a lot of changes in the five years that they had been apart. Some changes were small some were so major that she'd found herself wondering what she had been thinking when she had tackled the change. Lucky for her Pacey had been smart enough to fight for her and to force her to see that she needed to change her ways.
After three hours people started trickling out of the restaurant. Doug let Pacey know that he and Jack were ready to leave and Pacey asked him for an extra few minutes to say goodbye to Joey. He pushed her hair over her shoulder before bunching it in his hands. He looked down at her lovingly and she stared up at him adoringly.
"You know, I would understand if you decide that you want to elope. It's not too late."
"I like the idea of our friends and family being there," she said with a smile.
"I know," he said running his thumb along the side of her neck.
"You should go."
"I'll see you tomorrow. I'll be the one in the suit down front not holding a bible."
She giggled before leaning up to kiss him lightly. He pulled away, walking backwards until he got to Doug's truck. She raised her hand to tell him goodbye and he raised his before getting into the truck.
Bessie, Bodie, Alexander and Mike came out of the restaurant before Joey could turn to walk back in. They walked back to Bodie's SUV and Joey sat in between Alexander and Bessie while Mike sat up front with Bodie. Alexander talked with Mike but Joey tuned it out as a little flutter ran across her stomach. She knew that having butterflies the night before your wedding was normal. Gail had mentioned that she'd had it all three times that she had been married. Joey hoped that the butterflies wouldn't turn to nerves.
Pacey slept in the morning of the wedding. It was almost ten when he finally rolled out of bed. It wasn't normal for Doug to be quiet long enough to let him sleep this late. He rubbed sleep from his eyes as he made his way to the kitchen in a haze. Amy sat in her highchair while Andy fed her yogurt. He poured himself a cup of coffee in silence.
"Late night Pace?" Andy asked not looking away from the baby.
"Not really, Doug decided to tone the noise down for once," he explained.
"He and Jack left early this morning. They said something about decorating your car for when you and Joey leave."
"Ugh," he groaned in disgust when he sipped his coffee.
He dumped the coffee down the drain with a sigh. He forgot that Jack special ordered organic coffee from somewhere upstate. He would have to go out if he wanted a decent cup of coffee.
"My sentiments exactly, I brought my own," she said as she wiped Amy down.
"You didn't bring any for me?" he asked, hurt.
"Yes, I did. Doug seized it before I could sit it aside for you. Sorry."
"It's alright. I know that Doug keeps some instant coffee around here somewhere. It'll be better than nothing."
Pacey found the instant coffee in the cabinet over the coffee maker then made a cup of coffee before sitting next to Andy at the table. The baby smiled shyly at him holding her arms out to him. He pulled her out of the highchair and situated her in his lap. She played with a napkin once Pacey had pulled it from its napkin ring quietly while Pacey read the paper. It was a nice way to spend his last few hours as a single guy if he did say so himself.
Bessie had woken Joey up at eight that morning. She calm and collected which surprised everyone. She ate breakfast with her family and her grandmother and Gail came over at noon to help her get ready. The wedding was set for four that afternoon and Mike, Dawson, Jack, Doug and Gail's husband were setting up chairs in the yard. Gretchen, Mrs. Witter and Audrey got the tables ready in the back yard for the reception. Bodie readied the food with Alexander and Lilly's help. The Bessie and Cora didn't have to lift a finger other than help Joey get ready.
Bessie set the dress on Joey's bed while she was in the shower. Once Joey was done Bessie did her nails while Cora blow dried her hair. Once her nails were dry Bessie and Cora gave Joey some privacy while she put the dress on. She was smoothing the silk and lace skirt down when Bessie came back into the room.
"You look beautiful," she said with a sentimental smile.
"Thanks," Joey said shyly.
"How did you want to do your hair?"
"Pacey likes it when I wear it up."
"So we'll put it up," Bessie said running a brush through it.
"You don't have to do that," Joey said laughing shakily.
"It's what Mom would have done," she said her eyes meeting Joey's in the mirror.
Bessie was right. Lilly Potter would want to do everything for her daughters on their wedding day. She would leave her stamp on everything, the way that Bessie was doing. Cora came in with a curling iron and set it up on the bureau by the mirror. Joey sat down on the bench gently, pulling at the dress carefully.
Joey reached for the pearl drop earrings that had Pacey had given her before she left to come here along with the bracelet that he had pointed out as her mother's when they had danced at Prom. They would be her something new and something borrowed since the bracelet now belonged to Bessie.
Cora braided the hair around the crown of Joey's head before fastening it with the sapphire jeweled clip that Mike had given Joey that morning. Once she was done Cora placed her hands on Joey's shoulders.
"Do you have everything that you need? Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue?"
"I do," Joey said with a nod.
"I love your hair like that," Bessie said as she came into the room with her makeup case.
"No 'Very Berry' and no eyelash curling," Joey warned.
Bessie gave her an even look before opening the case. She pulled out an eye shadow palette and dabbed the brush in a light shade of brown before brushing the brush over Joey's eyes with smooth strokes. She moved pulled out a bottle of concealer and applied it liberally to Joey's face.
"Living in New York has made you pale," Bessie said disapprovingly.
Joey stuck out her tongue in answer, waiting for what would come next. Foundation was applied with a small sponge. Her eyelashes were curled next without the torture device and finally Bessie slicked some pink lipstick on her lips.
Bessie moved from in front of the mirror so that Joey could finally see the work that she had done. It was simple and other than the smokey eyes that Bessie had given her, her makeup looked natural.
With half an hour until the guests arrived, Gretchen, Dawson, Andy and Audrey came to help with the food so that Bodie and Bessie could get ready. Gail came into Joey's room, dabbing her eyes with a tissue.
"You look beautiful. Your mother would be so proud of you," she sniffed.
"I was going through the trunk in my attic yesterday and I found something that I thought that you might want," she said pulling a picture out of her purse.
Joey took the picture from her, clenching her eyes shut to hold off the tears that she knew would come. Her mother stared down at a baby who Joey guessed was here. She couldn't have been much older than she was. She stared lovingly down at the baby, who had hold of one of her fingers. Lilly Potter had been a teen mother who had made the best out of what God had decided to give her.
"Is this me?" Joey asked with a whisper.
"That is you. She had brought you home from the hospital that day. She asked me to take that picture for her because your dad was too shaken up. You came three months early my dear and had given all of us quiet a scare."
"How old was I?"
"You couldn't have been more than a month old."
"Thank you, for this."
"She loved you and Bessie very much. She wanted you to have everything that you ever wanted. She would be happy with the way that you turned out."
"Thank you for being a mother figure to me when she couldn't be," Joey said feebly.
"Oh, you're welcome Sweetheart," Gail said pulling her in for a hug.
Joey got her breathing under control, not wanting to ruin her makeup. Gail took the picture from her and placed it in the small bible that she was planning to carry with her bouquet. Audrey came in with her camera and announced that it was picture time. Audrey had offered to be the photographer for the wedding since she planned to start her own photography business if her music career didn't pan out.
The Potter family flanked Joey with Bodie and Mike behind her and Cora and Bessie on each side. Audrey took several pictures of Joey with her dad, then her grandmother and finally she took some of Bessie and Joey by themselves.
"Now I have to convince your fiancée that it isn't weird that his ex-girlfriend is taking pictures of him for his wedding," Audrey said with an exaggerated eye roll.
"If he gives you any trouble, come and get me, I'll handle him," Bessie promised.
Bessie and Cora left to give Joey some time along with Mike. Mike sat on the edge of the bed while Joey stayed on the stool. Mike clasped his hands together as he stared down at them. They had lost contact after Joey had moved away from Capeside, seeing each other maybe twice a year.
"I never thought I'd see the day when you had your eye on someone other than Dawson Leery. He was all you wrote about when you did write me while I was in jail. But I'm glad that you made the right decision. You and Pacey even each other out."
"Thanks Dad," she said unsurely.
"I meant that as a complement Jo. I like Pacey, I do. He sure has changed from the loud mouth with a love for trouble from when you were kids."
Joey nodded in agreement knowing that her father meant well. He had never been good at expressing his emotions and putting his thoughts to words. His heart was in the right place and she wasn't going to hold it against him.
The guests were all seated and Pacey was down front patiently for the wedding to start. Doug stood at the end of the dock as his best man and Bessie waited her cue to walk down the aisle after Alexander and Lilly. There would be no other wedding party because Joey and Pacey wanted to keep things simple. True to her word Gail had kept the guest list for the wedding small. But there would be at least a hundred more people arriving for dinner.
Gretchen signaled Bessie to make her way down the aisle and she kept a steady pace until she came to stand next to Doug. Mike came around the corner of the house and a few seconds later Joey emerged. She linked her right arm in Mike's before making her way slowly down the aisle.
Pacey took the time to take Joey in. His breath hitched and his pulse accelerated as Mike stopped at the dock to let Joey go the rest of the way alone. The minister asked who gave her away and Mike announced that he did before going to sit down with Gail and Dawson.
Joey turned towards Pacey and he took her hands in his. The minister started with reading the love chapter from Psalms before moving onto the importance of keeping vows. Pacey and Joey recited their vows and the minister pronounced them husband and wife before Pacey gathered Joey's face in his hands. He kissed her gently, ignoring everyone else.
Joey smiled dreamily up at him as he led her back up the aisle followed by Bessie, Doug, Alexander and Lilly. Audrey took at least a hundred pictures while Gail and the crew from the restaurant set everything up out back.
Pacey pulled Joey into the house while everyone else went around back to find their seats. She held his hand in his, grateful for a few quiet moments alone with him. They had made it, they were married. All of the worry and stress from the last few weeks was over and they could move on.
Jack opened the French doors and Pacey led them out into the backyard. They sat at the head of the center table to the sounds of clapping all around them. Talking resumed after a few moments and Doug stepped up to the DJ's station to take the microphone.
"Pacey, it's time for you to be tortured, because it's time for your first dance as husband and wife."
"Humor me, just this once," Joey whispered in Pacey's ear as they waited for the music to start.
Al Green's 'Let's Stay Together' started and Pacey sighed before spinning Joey around. The music continued and he dipped her dramatically making her laugh. He led her around the floor, never taking his eyes off of her. Once they sat down Doug and Bessie toasted them and then the food was brought out.
The lanterns that were strung throughout the yard were lit once night fell and the stars shined overhead creating a magical scene. When it came time for Pacey and Joey to leave at midnight almost everyone had left. Jack and Doug had loaded all of their presents in Joey's car which Jack would drive back to New York the following weekend.
Pacey and Joey ran hand in hand through the yard as everyone blew bubbles around them. Once in the car Joey fell against the seat with a sigh.
"Any regrets?" Pacey asked as he started the car.
"No," she said with a laugh.
"Good to know, because I don't have any either."
Joey watched the house that she had grown up in grow smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror. She was starting a new chapter in her life and she couldn't wait to see what it had in store.