I think about what happened that night every day. I can't stop myself. It haunts me. Controls me, almost. After two years the pain is still as fresh and raw as it ever was.
I was eighteen. We were all going to the prom in a group - me, Dawson, Pacey, Jen, Jack and Andie. We were just going to have some fun.
We all squeezed into Pacey's new car, and off we went. I looked pretty good, I must admit. My hair was up and I wore a red velvety dress.
We were all in a pretty good mood that night. Andie was chatty and Pacey was cracking jokes and we were having a great time.
And then, we arrived at the prom. It was kinda weird to see all the people we saw every day at school in casual clothes now dressed up.
We had a great time. Pacey and I danced a few times - putting what we'd learnt at those classes to good use. I danced with Dawson a couple of times too. So did Jen. There was no pressure, no big deal made out of it. We were just a group of friends having a good time.
It was Pacey who started us drinking. I wasn't sure about it at first, but everyone else was doing it - even Dawson and Andie. You see my point, right? But I only sipped at my beer.
Everyone else was totally wasted by the time it ended, or close enough.
"Pacey, give me the keys," I ordered him.
"Because I intend on getting home alive. I'm driving," I said.
He handed them over.
I helped them all into the car. Andie was singing, and Dawson joined in. They had their arms around each other. I wished I had a camera. Beside them in the back seat, Jen was telling Jack exactly what a great friend he was.
Pacey, sitting in the passenger seat beside me, was telling me exactly how fantastic my breasts were.
"Nice to hear, Pace," I muttered as I tried to keep my eyes on the road ahead. It was dark out and I was starting to feel very, very tired.
"Watch out!" Andie suddenly screamed.
I screamed and swerved wildly to avoid the truck that was speeding towards us. Then everything went black . . .
My eyes slowly opened. "Where am I?" I asked groggily. My head was throbbing.
"Joey," Bessie said, hugging me. "Oh my God, you're awake!" She looked like she'd been crying.
"What happened?" I asked her, trying to remember. The prom . . . driving back . . . the truck . . .
"You and your friends were in a car crash," Bessie confirmed my thoughts. "That was two days ago. You were in a coma. We didn't know whether you'd ever come out of it."
"Is everyone else OK?" I asked.
Bessie looked down at the ground.
"Bessie, what is it?" I demanded, starting to panic.
Dawson appeared, looking exhausted and upset. "Joey, you're up," he grinned. He turned to Bessie, his grin fading. "Does she know . . . "
"I was just about to tell her," Bessie said quietly.
I was really starting to get worried now. My heart was pounding.
"It's Pacey . . . " Bessie began. "He's dead."
I started shaking uncontrollably. "No, no, no, it's not true, it can't be, oh God, oh God, Pacey . . . "
I was released from the hospital later that day, once they had checked that I didn't have anything seriously wrong with me.
Bessie suggested that I go see Dawson. It might help, to talk about things.
When I got to his house, I found that Jen, Andie and Jack were also there.
"Hey, Joey," Dawson said.
"Hi, guys," I said shakily. All the gang. All the gang except Pacey.
Andie hugged me tearfully. "I'm so glad you're OK," she sobbed.
"So, how are all you guys?" I asked.
"OK, considering," Jen answered. She looked incredibly tired.
"Bessie said you came in to see me," I said to them all. "Sorry about being such a bad host, but I was kinda unconscious."
They smiled. Bessie had told me that they'd been in to see me as often as the hospital would let them.
There was silence, and then Andie said, tentatively, "I miss him."
"Me too," I said quietly.
"Yeah," Jen agreed.
"It just doesn't seem fair that we're never going to see him again," Dawson said.
"Life isn't fair, Dawson," Jen said. Wisely, but sadly.
The next morning was the funeral. It was hell. Absolute hell. It was so awful. It reminded me of my mother's funeral. But this was worse. This had been so unexpected . . . and I had been driving the car. Maybe if I hadn't been driving, the crash wouldn't have happened, and Pacey would still be alive. Maybe it was my fault. All my fault.
I'm sorry, Pacey, I thought. I love you.
I loved you, I corrected myself. I did, Pacey, you know that? All those years of swapping insults? You knew there was something more to it. I loved you, damn it!
I was sitting beside Bessie. Beside us sat Jack and Andie, Jen and her grandmother, and Dawson and his parents. In front of us, the Witter family sat, looking stunned the whole time.
And the burial . . . oh God. The sight of the coffin being lowered into the ground upset me so much. I broke down in tears. Bessie tried to soothe me. It didn't help. Nothing would help.
That evening, we all found ourselves together again, this time at Jen's house.
I wondered had any of us stopped crying since that morning. I know I hadn't, and the others looked the same.
Jen's grandmother, Jen informed us, was praying for Pacey's soul at the moment. Jen said this as a moan about her over-religious grandmother, but it made me want to cry.
Was his soul out there somewhere? Did he know how much I loved him? How much I missed him?
After a few months, things got back to normal. Everyone else seemed to be adjusting to life fine.
Soon we all went off to college and met new people, made new friends. Amazingly enough, we all ended up at Columbia.
I was even sharing a room with Jen.
Last year, at his anniversary, we all got a little upset. We went back to Capeside for the day and visited his grave.
That night, Andie came to our room. Her roommate was out of town and she needed some company.
"I miss him," she started crying. "I miss him so much. I loved him."
"Me too," I added quietly.
"Me too," Jen whispered.
We all loved him. See, Pacey, you had the three of us hot for you and you had no idea, did you?
We all cried a lot that night. Even after I had cried myself all out, I still didn't feel any better.
This year, it's worse. More time has passed. Jen and I get the train back to Capeside. Dawson, Andie and Jack are driving back. We arrive and go straight to the grave. I can't even cry. The pain is just too much. Jen is sobbing like crazy, though, and I hug her.
Later we meet up with our friends and we hang around together for a while. For a while it almost feels like normal and then I realise, Pacey isn't here. And I realise, Pacey hasn't been here for two whole years, and never will be again. And I wonder whether I will ever be able to enjoy life again.
That night it's a repeat of last year. Andie comes over and we all cry. Andie and Jen decide to go and see Jack and Dawson in case they want to talk. I say that I just want to sleep. They nod understandingly and leave.
Once they're gone I put into action the plan that has been at the back of my mind for a long time now. I take the sleeping pills out of the back of my drawer and pour them out into my hand. I get a glass of water and swallow as many as I can. I'm getting sleepy. It'll all be over soon.
He holds out his hand to me. On his face is that grin that I love. I take his hand and I am filled with such a sense of peace. This is the way it's meant to be. We belong together.
Hand-in-hand, Pacey and I walk through the clouds together.