***

After a couple minutes of silently watching the two rug rats, in front of me, pawn over my small movie collection, I figured now was a better time than any to get the day's events rolling.

"So what movie did you guys want to see?" I ask, breaking the annoying silence, before mentally adding to myself that if any of the suggestions had anything to do with Speilberg, I'd be forced to shoot myself. Repeatedly.

"Daddy's movie." Mitchell replies, without bothering to look up from where he's organizing my scattered collection. "Grammy said you haven't seen it yet."

After groaning inwardly at the thought of my mother confessing that small tidbit to my smug, yet whiney, older brother, I turn towards Alex, whose eyes I can feel staring at me confused. "What?"

Before opening his mouth, Alex steals a small glance at where Mitchell and Kristina are seated; inwardly telling me his next words will no doubt be anti Dawson Leery. "Dawson made a movie?"

Not bothering to fight back my smile, I shake my head, before whispering: "No. He's IN a movie." Afterwords giving Alex a little wince as if to say the latter is far more worse than the former. At least when my brothers' concerned it is.

"So, have you kids decided where you're going?" I hear my mother call out, before she enters my room; my grinning brother, not surprisingly enough, in tow.

"We're going to see daddy's movie." Kristina says, before anyone else can respond. Afterward's standing up and running towards her father, practically tackling his legs; an action which, in the back of my mind, makes me wonder if my dad was still alive, would I have done the same thing to him when I was around her age?

"So, your actually going to take time out of your busy schedule to see one of your big bro.'s claims to fame?"

Judging by the small grin on Dawson's face, I know he is just kidding, but that still doesn't make the small kick I feel in my stomach feel any softer.

"Yeah, well..it gives me something to tell my girlfriends at school..you know when they are suffering from, what us college students, like to call insomnia."

"Lillian!"

Even though the disapproving tone in my mother's voice tells me that I will have to apologize for my previous statement, the slight chuckle coming from Alex's mouth, and the look of hurt on my brother's face, causes me to inwardly give myself a pat on the back; figuring I have at least taken my brother's ego down a notch. For the moment, anyway.

"Sorry, Dawson." I say, not believing it myself, before turning back around towards Alex; inwardly telling him to get me the hell out of there before I kill someone.

"Well, we better get going. Mom and Sam are probably wondering where we are by now."

"Oh, that reminds me." My mother chimes in, with a look of hope, directed towards me, on her face, "Do you think you have enough room in your car to fit me and the food as well? I don't want to be a bother but I really need to head over to Bessie's now if I want to help her with the turkey."

Just as I begin to open my mouth, to tell my mother that it'd be no bother at all, my always looking for extra brownie points, brother cuts me off, stating that his rental car is much bigger than the small five seater that I drive, and that he has nothing better to do than drop our mother off at Bessie's--seeing as it'll give him a chance to catch up with Joey; who, from what Alex told me, arrived a few hours ago.

"Oh honey, that's okay, I don't want to impose on you, you just flew all the way from California. Besides, with the kids gone, you and Jen can get some much needed rest and relaxation, lord knows with another baby on the way, you'll be getting less of that."

"Don't remind me." Dawson jokingly mumbles; causing me to smile slightly--just because I can remember the pure torture that my brother had to go through a few years back when Kristina and Mitch were first born. I hope Jen takes loads of pictures.

"Well, we better get to moving. Alexander, could you help me get the food out of the oven?"

"Will do, Mrs. Leery." Alexander states, before following my mother out of my room; absentmindedly leaving me alone with my brother and his two children from hell.

"Daddy, why doesn't Aunt Lilly pad like you?"

After inwardly groaning at my nieces question and at the slight look of amusement on Dawson's face as he tells his daughter that I do like him, and that I just am suffering from what 'grown ups' like to call PMS, I can't help but think to myself:

This is going to be a very long day.

~*~

(An hour and a half later)

"So, how about you take the kid's into the theater while I go order us some grub."

After shooting Alexander a look that I know could freeze ice, I quickly reply, "Not even in your dreams," before signaling to Sam, Alex's eleven year old sister, that her and I will go get the snacks while Alex takes Kristina and Mitchell to their seats.

"No offense, but does your brother really think I trust him enough not to steal my car and leave me here with you and the double mint twins from hell?"

"None taken." Sam says, as we approach the movie theater's concession stand, "Knowing my brother, I wouldn't put it past him to leave us here. I can't tell you how many times before he's 'accidentally' done it to me."

As the memory of Bessie calling my cell phone last year, only to yell at Alex--who was with me at the time--for forgetting to pick up his little sister at school, enters my head, I can't help but laugh slightly before telling the slightly older man behind the concession stand that I'd like three large popcorn's, two bottles of water, and three small cokes.

"That'll be twenty-fifty."

While reaching into my wallet to take out three nickels and two ten dollar bills, I can't help but think to myself: Somebody's parents better be paying for this week's gas.

"Whose that with Alexander?"

Waiting until after I handed the older man his money to look in the direction where Sam is staring in, I can't help but slightly tense up as I notice just who Alex is with. "That's Jennifer. She used to hang out with your brother."

Turning back around, I pretend to watch the man in front of me fix our drinks as I wonder what my best friend and Miss. Jennifer Sanders are talking about.

I hope nothing important...for Alex's sake.

Jennifer Sanders was the head varsity cheerleader of Capeside High's Minute men, back when I was a junior in high school and Alex was a freshman in community college. And right after the perky blond was asked to go steady by, Randy Tompskin, the Captain of the Minute men's football team, she decided to dump the supposed geeky college freshman she was dating. Which just happened to be little ole Alexander Potter.

And the reason why if that monkey even thinks about giving her the time of day, I will slap him into next week.

"Here's your food, ma'am. You have a nice day now."

After smirking slightly at the man in front of us, Sam and I grab our snacks off the concession stand and reluctantly make our way towards theater number eight; where Alex and the kids are now heading towards as well.

"Have a nice chat?" I ask Alex, as soon as Mitchell and Kristina are in their seats; a large bag of popcorn in between the two.

"Actually, I did." Alexander replies, with a sly grin on his face; before taking a seat next to me and Sam in the row behind the terrible twosome. "Seems Jenn might be moving to Boston and was hoping to bump into me before we went back on Thursday."

"You should be so proud." I quip, sarcastically, before moving down in my seat; telling Alexander without words just how much the fact that Jennifer was looking for him pissed me off. "I'm sure it's not every day that little Miss. highlights goes out of her way to get in touch with her ex-boyfriend; the one she no doubt cheated on for a month or two."

"Touche" Alexander says, with a slight icy tone in his voice, "But she had a right to get in touch with me, she sort of needs my help."

"Let me guess, she finally got a brain and now needs help trying to figure out how to use it." I say, innocently; causing Alex to roll his eyes and Sam, who had been silently eaves dropping on the conversation, to giggle slightly.

"Ha, ha. Very funny, Goldie." Alexander says, before putting a mouthful of popcorn in his mouth and continuing to speak as if he hadn't been interrupted, "But all jokes aside, Jenn just found out her grandmother has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and since no one else in her immediate family can get away from work, for the amount of time her grandmother will be in radiation, Jenn--deciding to do what any caring grandchild would do--is planning to move to Boston to help out around her grandmother's house."

Dumbass thy name is Lillian.

Given the circumstances, I start to feel slightly bad about my previous comments. And after letting the small chatter of the people around us grow louder, I turn back towards Alexander and reply, "If Jennifer has her plan all worked out, why does she need your help?"

After taking a small sip from his water bottle, Alexander shrugs his shoulders before replying. "I'm guessing for two reasons. First off, before she gets to Boston, she's going to need to know where all the cheap stores and hospitals are and with my sense of direction almost always being on point, she knows I'll be able to get her there without any hassle."

As the lights in the theater start to go down, I nod slightly in understanding; before realizing that Alex said two reasons and he only gave me one. "What's the other reason?"

Even though it was pitch black in the movie theater, I can still tell Alex has his famous sly grin on his face; which only means one thing when it comes to him.

"That's easy...for the same reason you always hang out with me."

Without even bothering to appear interested, I say, "And that is?"

"You both want me."


B&B (Five O'clock)

"Mom! We're home."

After smirking slightly at Sam's unusually loud greeting, I hang my leather jacket up on one of the empty coat hangers, beside my mothers, and make my way towards the kitchen; where I know my favorite, non related, sister is hiding.

"Joey..."

While turning away from the cranberry sauce--that I know she's trying hard not to burn--Joey lets out a sigh of relief before closing the distance between us and pulling me into a slight hug. "Thank God, you're back. I thought I was going to have to call the fire department in a couple of seconds."

Knowing that she is only half kidding, I laugh slightly before pulling the white apron, that Joey hands me, over my head; telling my mom and Bessie--who are also with us in the kitchen--that I'm almost ready for, what Joey and I like to call, our family tradition. "Yeah, sorry about that. After the movies, we had to go back to the house and pick up 'ET'. It seems that Mitchell and Kristina just cannot eat dinner without watching it beforehand."

Shaking her head in amusement, Joey mumbles, "Sounds like something my God children would say," before reluctantly turning her attention back to the matter at hand. "Okay, I've got the cranberries, sugar, and water in here, but for some reason nothing seems to be happening to them."

After studying the pan for a second, and looking up to see what temperature Joey has the stove set to, I quickly realize what the problem is. "Well, I hate to break it you, Jo. But these babies wont be able to do anything...that is, unless you turn the stove on."

Adverting her eyes away from the silver sauce pan, Joey slightly blushes as she notices that the stove top is indeed set to off. "Oops."

After smirking slightly, I turn the stove to medium heat, before following Joey out of the kitchen--towards the back porch; where I know, like every year, Bessie is going to send us, in a few minutes, so her and my mother can have more room in the kitchen to work with.

"You have a lighter?" I ask, as soon as the screen door closes behind me.

"Nope, sorry." Joey says, without a small bit of hesitation; causing me to know that she does have one, she just doesn't want me to smoke right now.

"I almost forgot, you'll never guess who Alex and I ran into at the movies." I say, after a few seconds of silence; causing Joey to raise a slight eyebrow in questioning.

"Who?"

"Jennifer Sanders."

Without even bothering to hide the disgust that is written across her face at the moment, Joey asks, "What pre tell did you and Alexander do to deserve her company?"

"Nothing." I say, before taking a seat on one of the B&B's lawn chairs and moving my hands up my arms; trying to keep myself warm. "But get this, her grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer and, being the caring granddaughter that she is--as Alex calls her--Jennifer has decided to move to Boston to be near her."

"Well, that's...sweet." Joey responds, hesitantly, after registering what I just told her. "Very uncharacteristic of her, but sweet, nonetheless."

While nodding my head in agreement, I can't help but think to myself:

That is true, which is the very reason I don't trust her.

~*~

After another couple of minutes of talking on and off about Jennifer and what we'd both do if Alexander ever tried to get back with her, the screen door slides open once again and Alex sticks his head out; telling us that dinner is almost on the table.

"Thanks. But hey, come out here and sit with us for a while." Joey says, before Alex can get a chance to close the door.

"All right, hold on." Alex replies. Afterwords, coming back with both his coat and mine. "Thought you might want this."

Off of Joey's slightly raised eyebrow, I blush slightly before saying, "That's very gentleman of you. What did you do to it?"

After smirking at my comment, Alex winks at me before saying, "Wouldn't you like to know?" Causing both Joey and me to roll our eyes; me in disgust and her in amusement.

"So, what are you two out here gossiping about, anyway? My guess is Dawson's receding hair line, but I could be wrong."

After smirking slightly, I say, "We were actually talking about you. I just finished filling your aunt in on who we ran into this afternoon."

The slight glare that Alex gives me tells me he's going to make me pay for that later, but at the moment, I really don't care. I'm just looking out for his best interest.

"Before you say anything, Aunt Joey, I just want to make it clear that Jenn and I are not getting back together and that this is simply just a case of a friend trying to help out another friend."

"Friend my ass." I mumble to myself; unfortunately not as quiet as I thought I had been as Alex glares at me once more before opening his mouth to say something. Fortunately enough, not being able to get it out, as Joey intervenes.

"You know what this reminds me of?"

While adverting my eyes from Alex's hard ones, I shoot Joey a thank you look before saying, "No, what?"

"This reminds me of the day that you graduated high school." Joey says; meeting Alex's eyes before continuing, "You and Bess had an agreement that if you graduated with at least three B's on your report card, she'd throw you a huge party and invite everyone in town..."

"And when she did, instead of you actually participating in your own shindig, you spent the entire night out here with us; celebrating your graduation over Chinese food." I say; afterward's smiling slightly at the memory. "I never did understand why you did that."

"That's an easy one." Alex says, meeting my eyes. "It was because no one at that party, besides you two, really cared. I mean, you guys not only put your studies and work schedule on hold for three entire months to help me bust my ass and get those B's. But you also made sure I never doubted myself when the going got a little too rough. And, for that, I figured you guys deserved my attention way more than anybody else at that lame party did. It was the least I could do to thank you."

While looking down at my hands, I can't help but think to myself, that when Alex really wants to be, he can be very sweet.

And if I don't stop complimenting him in my head, I'm going to be like all those other girls at college that I hate.

"Did you tell Aunt Jo who we ran into last night?" Alexander asks, after a second; breaking me out of my thoughts.

"No, I guess I forgot." I say; while mentally telling Alex to shut up.

It wasn't really a secret but Alex's aunt Joey used to date my brother's best friend, Pacey, on and off. And after Pacey decided to follow in his dad's footsteps and become a police officer, Joey decided that maybe it was time for her and him to call it quits--even more so after Pacey was shot in the stomach by an armed robbery the night of their two year anniversary.

You'd think with all the times we walked in on her crying, Alex would remember that.

"We were at Warren's bar and we ran into Pacey."

After inwardly wincing, I cast a small glance at Joey and am not surprised to see on her face the neutral expression she gets when she doesn't want anyone to know what she's thinking. Or better yet, what she's feeling.

"Really? I didn't know he still lived in Capeside. How's he doing?"

"Good." I say; knowing that if Alex kept talking he'd probably say something else that I'd make him pay for later. "He had just gotten out of work and was telling us how he finally got the recommendation he wanted to transfer from beat cop to desk cop."

"So, he wont be out on the streets anymore?" Joey asks, a slight disbelieving tone in her voice, "I find it hard to believe that he's happy about that."

After shrugging slightly, Alex replies, "You can't really blame him, Aunt Jo. You can only be shot at so many times before it stops being fun."

Rolling my eyes at Alex's statement, I mentally tell him to shut up once again before saying, "Well, you have to look at it from his point of view. Pacey loves his job and probably wouldn't give it up for the world. But he also loves something more than that and that's himself."

"You got that right." Joey quips, sarcastically; causing me to roll my eyes before continuing.

"Like I was saying, he loves his job but he also loves himself. So what he's doing, from what I can tell, is refusing to give up something just because the people around him call it dangerous, and instead, he's compromising his lifestyle, so he can keep the job he wants but also make it less dangerous."

"Like a relationship?"

Meeting Alex's knowing eyes, I nod slightly before saying, "Right, just like a relationship. Because in order to be in a good relationship, you need to communicate and compromise with your partner or else you'll just end up running away from the best thing you possibly ever had. And we all know, no one wants that to happen."

After a brief pause of silence, where Alex--who knew what I was doing--took the time to give me a slight 'good job' wink in--Joey finally moves her eyes from the grass in front of me and says: "When did you two get to be so smart?"

Unfortunately though, before I can tell her that we've always been that way, Bessie comes outside telling us that dinner is ready.

Which causes Alex to perk up, before yelling, "Good, cause' I'm starved!"

***