A novel based on Channel 4's teen sitcom DAWSON'S CREEK. Set in a New England coastal town the series follows the antics of four high-school children discovering that the world is a fun place to be and especially in Dawson's Creek.
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Jennifer Baker is the author of over thirty novels for young readers and a creator of Web-based entertainment and dramas. She lives in New York City with her husband and son.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Outside the window of the big rambling white house, the water shimmered silver in the hazy moonlight. Inside, the TV cast its own glow in Dawson Leery's bedroom.
"I'll be ri-ight he-ere," E.T. promised on the large television screen.
Joey Potter stared at the TV, stretched out on her stomach on the big bed next to Dawson amid the sea of pillows and half-empty bags of Doritos and Oreo Double Stufs.
"I love this movie," Joey gushed. "This won the Oscar, didn't it?" She'd watched it a bunch of times, but she still hated to see it end.
"Gandhi won," Dawson corrected her. "Spielberg was robbed," he added with absolute conviction. "This was before he outgrew his Peter Pan syndrome." As the credits rolled, Dawson leveled the remote at the screen and hit the rewind. The local news anchors appeared on the screen, a his-and-hers set of pearly whites and lots of perfectly coiffed hair.
"But Gandhi?" Joey said. "Why give an Oscar to a movie you can't even sit through?" She didn't wait for Dawson to answer. She knew he agreed with her. "New do?" she asked, checking out the anchorwoman. It was weird, seeing her on TV every night. After all these years, Joey still hadn't quite gotten over it.
"Yeah. She likes big hair," Dawson said.
Joey turned her gaze away from the TV and foraged for her sneakers. The woman wore a Colgate smile. "Back to you, Bob," she told her co-anchor.
"Her hair must weigh a lot." Joey located one sneaker. Then the other. "How does she walk upright?"
Dawson laughed. Joey stuffed her feet into the sneakers and stood up.
"Where ya going?" Dawson asked.
"Spend the night," Dawson said matter-of-factly.
"Can't," Joey answered, hoping she sounded just as matter-of-fact. She turned her face away from Dawson, not quite able to look at him.
"You always spend the night." Dawson's words had an edge of surprise.
Joey moved toward the open window. She could feel the warm late-summer breeze that toyed with the parted blue-and-gray curtains. Didn't Dawson get it? Didn't he see?
She whirled back around to face him -- his strong face, his thick, wavy blond hair, his full mouth and deep-set, intelligent hazel eyes -- intelligent about movies and stories and drama, at least. But this was real life. Dawson had always been able to read her like a script. And she him. So why did she have to spell this one out for him?
"I just don't think it's a good idea for me to sleep over anymore, you know?"
Dawson's solid, square jaw tightened. "No, I don't know! You've been sleeping over since we were seven. It's Saturday night, come on!"
"Things change, Dawson -- evolve." Joey stressed this last word, hoping to make her point. "Go with it."
"What are you talking about?"
He was hopeless.
"Sleeping in the same bed was fine when we were kids," Joey began. "But we're fifteen now."
Dawson arched an eyebrow. "Yeah."
"We start high school on Monday."
Okay, she was going to have to cut to the chase. There just wasn't any other choice. "And I have breasts."
Joey's words hung in the humid air for a second. "What?" Dawson gave a startled laugh.
"And you have genitalia," Joey went on.
"I've always had genitalia." Dawson didn't miss a beat this time.
"But there's more of it now," Joey insisted.
She saw Dawson swallow. Okay. Maybe he was hearing her now.
"How do you know?" he asked.
In too deep. It was time for this little conversation to end. "Long fingers," Joey tossed out as she grabbed the window frame and slid one leg out the window. If Dawson didn't get it, she did. And it was time for her to leave.
"Whoa, Joe. Don't hit and run. Explain yourself," Dawson insisted.
Did she have to hit him over the head? Joey reeled herself back inside but stayed near the window. "I just think our emerging hormones are destined to alter our relationship and I'm trying to limit the fallout."
Joey watched her message finally get through. Dawson's eyes opened just a little. He pressed his lips together, but he recovered fast. "Your 'emerging hormones' aren't starting to get a thang for me, are they?"
Well, no. Couldn't be. It was just that she lived in the real world -- unlike some people. And she could admit it -- she noticed the cut of his jaw in a way she never had before. Noticed his...well, his long fingers. Noticed that she noticed. Even though this was Dawson. Same old same old from time immemorial. Or at least from second grade.
"A 'thang'?" Joey volleyed back. "Oh, so typical. No, I'm not getting a thang for you, Dawson. I've known you too long. I've seen you burp, barf, pick your nose, scratch your butt. I'm not getting a thang for you."
"Then what's the problem?"
Joey felt an electric trill of annoyance. "We're changing, and we have to adjust or the male-female thing will get in the way."
Dawson's irritation mirrored hers. "What is with the When Harry Met the Eighties crap? It doesn't apply to us. We transcend it."
"And how do we do that?"
"By going to sleep. I'm tired," Dawson said.
Right. Close your eyes to it, and it will go away. "That's avoidance," Joey told him, turning back to the window.
"No, it's proof. Proof that we can still remain friends despite any mounting sexual theoretics," Dawson said.
Go to sleep. Lie down together and go right to sleep. Nothing more. In the same bed, but separate. Proof. Well, maybe that was one way of showing they were friends and friends only. Maybe Dawson actually had a point there. Or maybe Joey just didn't really want to go home all that awfully. Things were better at Dawson's house than at hers. Better with Dawson. Had been ever since...
"I don't think it works that way Dawson," Joey said uncertainly. She felt the breeze blowing off the creek and through the window.
Dawson did an exaggerated back-flop onto his bed. "C'mon, don't get female on me, Joey. I don't wanna have to start calling you Josephine."
The sound of that name on Dawson's lips -- it went straight to Joey's gut. Do not process through the brain. Do not pass go. "Josephine this," she said, taking a flying dive at Dawson. She landed smack on top of him and slugged him in the shoulder.
"Hey!" He seized her arms, his hands circling her slender forearms.
Joey shook them off.
Dawson moved in again, grabbing her in a bear hug and rolling her underneath him.
Joey struggled, her laugh slightly breathless. Dawson had her pinned down. His face was inches away from hers. Joey stopped struggling and looked up at him. "Okay, I give." Dawson grew suddenly still as well.
He flopped back down next to her. "We're friends, okay? No matter how much body hair we acquire. Deal?"
"Deal," Joey agreed. Of course they were friends. This was Dawson. She pushed her sneakers off and heard them fall to the floor with a soft thud.
"And we don't talk about this again, deal?" Dawson said.
"You got it," Joey said, staring up at the white ceiling. She certainly didn't want to do this one over again.
"Cool," Dawson said.
"Cool," Joey echoed with a note of uncertainty. She turned onto her side, away from Dawson, but she wasn't comfortable. She curled up, then stretched out again. Dawson was also squirming around next to her. She felt him moving around, pulling at the sheet.
"Good night, Joey," he said. He hit the light switch. The room went shadowy, but the moonlight filtering in through the curtains seemed to grow brighter.
"Night, Dawson," Joey answered.
She still couldn't get comfortable, but she willed herself to lie still. As her body finally started to relax, Dawson broke the silence.
"Why did you have to bring this up, anyway?" he asked.
Copyright © 1998 by Columbia TriStar Television, Inc.
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