The Substitute Witter

Author: Debbie
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not in my wildest dreams could I claim to own anything.
Summary: Dawson reflects after kissing Gretchen. Part 2 of the Witter Series.
Author's Note: Many thanks to Kristin for encouraging me to write these sequels.
Feedback:Yes, please! These are my first DC fics, ever, so I'm still getting a handle on character styles ... Just be polite. :-)

Have you ever had a moment when the most unrelated events and smallest actions suddenly make things clear to you? Things that maybe you thought you had already solved? Or maybe things you just didn't want to see.

For example: If I hadn't stolen Mr. Brooks' boat, he wouldn't have punished me. If he hadn't punished me, I wouldn't have gotten to know him. And talking with Mr. Brooks made me see something in myself, a pattern, if you will. Whenever there was a stumbling block in my quest for a dream, my reaction was to drop the dream entirely and do a complete 180. Take moviemaking when my big project bombed, I gave up movies entirely. I didn't even want to watch them for a while. But hearing the same story from Mr. Brooks made me realize what a mistake that was here he was, 50 years later, a bitter old man because he had given up his true love, directing. How much better would his life have been if he had just forged ahead and stuck with it? Sure, there might have been some bad times, but in the end he probably would have been a lot happier, being true to himself. I think that's why I decided to apply to film school after all.

But I digress. The thing that I really got out of all this was how this pattern applied to my heart. I'm finally willing to own up to my real love, and turn back from the 180 I had previously done as an avoidance measure. I'm saying it out loud. *deep breath* I love Pacey. Wow. I can't believe I finally said it.

I think, deep down, I always knew how I felt about Pacey, but I wouldn't admit it to myself. I didn't want to be *that way*. And besides, what better way to ruin a perfectly good friendship than to start making a move on your buddy? Then, as I got older, I saw how Jack struggled with being gay, the hardship it brought him. I didn't want to deal with any of that, either. So I did my 180 I convinced myself that Joey would make a perfect girlfriend. She and I were buds already, anyway. I told myself I didn't want Pacey, I didn't need him. I focused everything on Joey. And when that backfired, I looked for another diversion and found the perfect Pacey replacement: Gretchen. I didn't realize it at the time, but I see it now. Gretchen was just like Pacey, in almost every way but one. As a woman, she was "safe". I could play it straight with her, if you'll excuse the expression.

So tonight, when Mr. Brooks goaded us into kissing under the mistletoe, it didn't seem like such a bad thing. Until I kissed her.

And then it was perfectly clear how much Gretchen was a substitute for Pacey. Their personalities were so similar that I had felt like I really *was* with Pacey when Gretchen and I hung out. But when I closed my eyes and leaned in for the kiss, the feel was wrong. I expected to feel Pacey's lips under mine, that mouth I had surreptitiously admired so much. I was surprised not to feel short hair under my fingers. Kissing Gretchen was the wake-up call that I had been turning my back on more than one desire not just moviemaking, but Pacey, too. I just wouldn't be happy with the substitute Witter, not anymore.

I didn't say anything to Gretchen, although I think she knew from my body language that the kiss had just been in fun and that our friendship was never going to go anywhere. After we cleaned up the party, I took her home and we said goodnight with a casual hug, that's it.

After she went in, I thought about going around to the back and climbing in through Pacey's window, but it was dark. He must have been out or asleep already. Anyway, I'm not entirely sure what I would have said ... or done. You can't just go barging in on your longtime friend and kiss him, you know?

But I wasn't ready to go home either, so I went for a walk, and now I'm just sitting here out on the dock at the Potter B&B. Seems to be the place I come a lot when I just want to think. It's even a pretty nice night out, not too cold considering the season -- maybe I'll just stay here all night.

It's time to be true to myself. No more substitutes.

I just wish I knew what I was going to say to him.


Continue to Part 3

Return to Part 1

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