By Funnygrrl

Joey couldn't sleep. The warm New York night was killing her. No matter how long she lived in this city she would still, in spite of herself long for cool nights on the creek.

She remembered them well. Bessie would make some putrid lemonade that she and Bodie would pretend to like and Alexander would wander barefoot in the grass, mumbling nonsense to himself.

How a part of her wished she were still that young, innocent girl in Capeside. If you spent enough time covering the Metro desk of the New York Times you begin to forget that there was a time you weren't so jaded. New York was truly Gotham. It represented all that was dark and horrific to her. It was drug dealers, OD's, crack babies, dead babies, rapes in the park and other unspeakable acts. New York was also culture and life. A way to make a name for herself. Little Josephine Potter at age 26 had quickly become one of the hottest reporters in New York. Jo always managed to get the edge on the competition and work an angle on the story no one else had thought of. That wasn't bad for a young woman who almost two years ago was selling ad space for the major publication.

Jo got up from her bed and went to the kitchen. She pulled a bottle of Evian out of the fridge and took a long cool sip from it. Then she sat at her dining room table which had become her home office. Sliding the mouse she quickly exited off her screen saver. The saver was a bunch of movie stills from Dawson's latest film project. Signing herself onto the net she heard her one of her most favorite sounds. The creepy little AOL man told her she had mail. A smile crept across her lips as she quickly deleted all the porn ads, mortgage help offers and a chain letter from Jack. She clicked onto a message from Bessie. It was a picture of Alexander eating ice cream on the front porch with Bodie. Beneath the letter it said, "Come visit Aunt Jo! If you think this is cute you should see all the other stuff I can do."

Joey made a mental note to call Bess and thank her for the guilt trip. Her next message was from her online pen pal, BlueBoy. She'd met BlueBoy when she first decided to check out a chat room. They had a lot in common including it was one of the first times they had ever been in a chat room. Joey really liked talking to this guy. He was smart and witty, he had a real handle on life. From what it sounded like he led a very quiet life. Part of Jo craved a quiet, normal life. No stress, no hurry...keep dreaming, she thought.

Happily she read her letter,

"Hey PaperGirl,

I just read your last letter. I'm glad to hear that you had some time to squeeze reading a book into your life. Things as simple as reading a book are little victories in a busy life.

Well Biff is feeling better. I was really worried I'd lose my best friend. I'll never give him any toys that involved rope or strings again. People at work thought I was crazy, I took a whole week off because my dog had intestinal problems. They all have children. Biff is the closest think I have to a child. Do you still have the cat from hell or did what's his face come for it?

Notice how our ex's always end up taking things you really liked? Mine got my Bruce Springsteen cd's and my collection of Salinger books. She left me with a mortgage on this house and a bunch of plants I hate watering. As for you, you got the cat from hell and as you put it, "the crappy laptop." Ok I know, enough. We've both had enough of feeling sorry for ourselves.

I guess I should go check on Biff and go to bed now. It's 11pm and I'm going to bed. When did I get so old? Hope to hear from you. BlueBoy"

A huge smile crossed her lips. She didn't know this man, he didn't want anything from her. They could just talk. Who else would understand how Jonas, her ex-fiance took the IMAC laptop, the cashmere throw blankets they'd got for Christmas and left her with Sadie, the cat from hell. She hated cats, she hated this cat more. It was pure evil yet she couldn't get rid of it. Jonas constantly promised to come for it but never followed through. That was Jonas.

Pacey woke up in the middle of the night. He'd almost forgotten that he ended up at Jen's last night. This was becoming a habit between the two of them. Go out for drinks after work and then end up in bed together. It was not what he had planned and it wasn't even what he really wanted but it took away some of the loneliness, some of the need to be close to someone.

After his ex-girlfriend, Elise left him there was a hole in his life. Elise had filled a void that he was left with after Joey Potter walked out of his life without so much as a one backward glance. It wasn't that he was head over heels in love with her but he was used to her, he cared for her genuinely.

As for Joey he thought about her every time he drove by the Bed and Breakfast or when he saw Alexander and Bessie out. Mostly Pacey concentrated on his life here in Capeside and tried to keep the ultra successful, too cool for this town Ms. Potter out of mind.

Pacey had returned to Capeside nearly two years ago after an impressive stint with the FBI. After years of resenting his father and brother for their ties to law enforcement he became an officer also. After college at Virginia Military Institute he was accepted into FBI training. He was a field agent for nearly two years. Being a part of one of the most organized and sophisticated law enforcement agencies in the world was not all it was cracked up to be.

When Pacey thought back to his FBI days a bit of fear and regret crept into his bones. His last assignment had been a particularly nasty serial killer. He prayed on women, women who were single, who were educated and who reminded him of his mother. This guy liked to kill them and then get intimate, he believed they were more pure this way. Things like drinking, smoking or premarital sex freaked him out, he believed good women didn't do that.

Pacey could specifically remember getting a location on this guy after his attempt to murder a college professor went wrong. He followed him into an old building. The silence of the place was deafening. All he could hear was his own heart beating as he carefully rounded each corner of the building, gun drawn and ready. Suddenly a body crashed down on top of him. The man had been hanging onto a series of exposed pipes from the ceiling. He was easily able to attack the single agent who decided against waiting for backup. The large knife he carried quickly and effortlessly cut through Pacey. He tried hard to fight the man off. As they struggled the sounds of sirens became louder and louder.

The perp ran off and got away. Pacey never even got a good look at the bastards face as he was attacked from behind. He could feel the warmth of his own blood rushing onto his cool skin. Then all went black. That was Agent Pacey Michael Witter's last FBI assignment. His father John Witter retired as the Sheriff of Capeside and Pacey easily slid in to replace him. Doug was living in Boston now with his wife and two sons and was not interested in the least by the offer of Sheriff in sleepy little Capeside.

Pacey sat up and pulled his pants and button down shirt on. Quietly he crept out of the bedroom, down the long hallway and out the front door. He wanted to avoid waking Jen's daughter, Chloe. She did not need to see "Uncle Pacey" sneaking out half dressed in the middle of the night. There would be enough in her life to traumatize her, she certainly didn't need this.

Morning came much to quickly for Joey. By the time she was able to fall asleep soundly her alarm was blaring some AM radio news obnoxiously loud. Swiftly she gave it a smack and put one foot down on the floor.

"I'm up, I'm up," She said to herself aloud. It was then the killer cat came in to insist on being fed. Joey grudgingly headed to the kitchen to open one of those nasty cans of Fancy Feast. "Here, I hope you choke on it." Jo muttered only half meaning it. She actually wished Jonas would choke on it. Actually she wanted Jonas to be dining at Le Cirque 2000 with some important clients and then choke. That served him right for breaking off their engagement.

She couldn't help but think back to they day he left their apartment. "I'm in selfish phase right now. I need my career and everything that goes with it to come first. There just isn't any room for us Jo or for marriage. You'd end up hating me." Jonas said with a sympathetic tone doing what he did best, being the victim.

It was then Joey realized what he was really about. It was his ambition that first attracted her to him. He was an up and coming lawyer, he knew all the right people and could play with the best of them. When it came to Jo he lacked the passion he had with his depositions and legal papers but she overlooked it. At that moment she realized just how much she was willing to overlook to create some semblance of love and happiness around her. It was when Jonas left her that she decided she would never settle again.

Joey had only found true love once. It was with hometown boy, Pacey Witter. Imagine that? They were seniors in high school. It was the best year of her life. That was until she realized she and Pace were on different paths. Jo was the only one with enough guts to do the right thing and break it off. After all they were only seventeen, there was no way they were destined to be together forever or any of that other pop music, wishy washy, lovey dovey crap. Often though she found herself asking Bessie about him. He was on her mind lately.

The phone rang. Joey was headed to go take a shower. She hit the answer button on the speaker phone on her bathroom vanity top. "Hello." She answered.

"Potter, it's Jacobs." Her boss, Ross Jacobs greeted her. "You need to hightail your a** to City Hall for 9am. The mayor and police commissioner are going to address the recent rash of murders."

Jo finished washing her face. "Sounds like they're going to finally admit they have a link between the victims. I'll be there. What prompted this though?"

"Another murder. I had Walsh go and cover it. He got pictures and whatever story was thrown at him by NYPD but they are getting more and more tight lipped." Jacobs sighed. She could hear him guzzle some Pepto Bismol. "This whole thing is giving me anxiety. Anyway, I expect a full report on the press conference and all the dirt you can dig up. Talk to you then."

Jo hung up. She now had a ton on her mind. The bathroom clock read, 7:30. If she didn't get ready now she'd never make it to City Hall. "Just another day..." Jo muttered under her breath.

"Good morning Sheriff," Deputy Keach greeted him.

"Morning Keach. There are donuts here." He said placing a bakery box down next to the coffee pot. He then proceeded to pour himself a cup of black coffee and made his way to his office. It was there he lit up a cigarette. Smoking was the one bad habit he had left. Although he started living a clean lifestyle, exercising and eating well he could not part with smoking.

Pacey flipped on the small black and white television that had been sitting on this very desk since his dad was Sheriff. The anchor droned on. Suddenly news from New York City caught his ear.

"In a press conference held just moments ago Mayor Giuliani and Commissioner of Police, Howard Safir addressed throngs of reporters. This mornings topic was four murders of young, New York women. After much speculation as to whether there are any connections between the four murders the Mayor and Commissioner divulged indeed there were. The two figures were vague on giving any information or the way the victims were linked. Mayor Guiliani did admit to having no suspects while Commissioner Safir assured New Yorkers that they would catch this criminal along with the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigations. We'll have more on this story and our other top stories of the morning on our news at noon."

Now Pacey was curious as to what was happening in New York. People were murdered there all the time. The idea that four women were murdered isn't all that uncommon but to have all four linked, that was definitely something. Someone had to know something more. Pacey walked out of his office and found a copy of the New York Times. He never made a habit of reading the Times. Bessie had happily informed Pacey a while ago that Jo now wrote for the Times. In the beginning he would read her words, that being his only link to her anymore but then it became a painful reminder of something else he'd screwed up in his life.

He opened the paper and searched the articles. A story about an early morning murder was prominently displayed on page two. The byline was some guy named Walsh. Quickly he read trying to absorb any detail. The article simply stated that a yet to be identified woman was murdered in her apartment. The cause of death seemed to be asphyxiation. The article also went on to discuss the possible links to the other three homicides in New York over the last month. Not much evidence was given but there was enough speculation to generate such a belief. And now City Hall was mum on details all except that the murders were linked.

Pacey could smell trouble for New York this summer. It sounded like a serial killer. For a moment he felt his adrenaline rush, sometimes he missed the excitement of a high profile case. At the same time he loved the normalcy of Capeside and his quiet life.

"Give us the dirt Potter," Jacobs said as he bit into a meatball hero. Jacobs was about fifty, thick glasses, a protruding belly and thinning hair. He was constantly sweating through his short sleeved button down shirts and guzzling Pepto. Ross Jacobs could be a real jerk but Jo loved him. Something about being here with him as her boss made her feel a little Mary Tyler Moore.

"The dirt, let me tell you there is not much of it. I got what you all heard on the television at the press conference. Then I talked to my inside guy, Det. Harris. He says that some of the local police are going to be fazed out of this case, the FBI has major interest in it. He hasn't been involved up until this point but he's going to be briefed later this afternoon because of this whole Brooklyn murder."

"And he's just going to hand over some information to you?" Walsh asked with a skeptical look. Brandon Walsh had been with the Times for three years. His background was impressive and included being Chief Editor of a Beverly Hills news publication. When Jo first started here she thought he was handsome and smart and had a bit of a crush on him. He was both of those things but he was also cunning and highly competitive. He did keep her on her toes though.

"You have so little faith in me Walsh. I'll get the goods. We're meeting for dinner later tonight." She flashed a smug look.

"May I suggest you take the hair down and lose the attitude. A macho police Det. will undoubtedly want a soft and subtle woman who is not any smarter than he is."

"Thanks for the suggestion. Next time I need tips from a barbarian I'll come to you." She sighed.

"He's right Potter. Play this one right. That means go home and change out of that before you go out for dinner. They all want Meg Ryan, not Leona Helmsley." Ross sighed. "And I want hard copy on that story the minute you get it. I refused to be scooped by anyone."

Jo nodded and then took off to grab some lunch. This day was being to stress her. She knew that Walsh and Jacobs were right when they said she had to play it soft and sweet. It had been a long time since she'd done that though. Joey caught a reflection of herself as she walked by a storefront. She wore a sensible black pants suit, a sleeveless grey shell and flat black Gucci loafers. Instead of contacts she'd been wearing her stylish black framed glasses. She had been wearing her long brown hair in it's naturally curly state but pinned up away from her face. It was always getting in her way or stuck in the strap of her messenger bag.

It was while looking at herself and thinking of all the things she had to do that she lit up a cigarette. Jo cursed herself for doing so. This was a habit she was constantly trying to kick. The smoking seemed to get worse when her stress level was up.

After her long relaxing smoke she made her way into a boutique. "Can I help you?" The trendy sales girl asked.

"I need to look young, sophisticated and feminine for dinner tonight. Carry any of those clothes?" She asked not thrilled by doing this.

"You've come to the right place." The sales girl gave a smile. She could see all the potential of her customer under the drab suit. It would take a little help to get that wonderful body into something more original.

"Your mind is a million miles away. Anything you want to share?" Jen asked Pacey as she poured him another scotch. She had been tending bar at Leery's Bar and Grill for a few years now.

"Just thinking, nothing too much." He said shrugging off his curiosity about the New York murders.

"You left without goodbye this morning." She said as she turned to replace the scotch on the shelf.

"Sorry about that. I didn't want to wake you." He said feeling guilt.

"That's okay." As if reading his mind Jen said, "I'm not trying to give you the guilt trip or anything but it is standard procedure to say goodbye to someone."

He nodded. "So how's Chloe? I haven't seen the little princess around lately."

"She doing okay. Her day camp is putting on a production of Little Red Riding Hood. She's very excited, she's going to be Little Red Riding Hood herself." Jen gave a proud smile.

"That's great. I want to know when that show is, I'll be there with my camcorder." Pacey gave a smile. His cell phone let out an obnoxious ring. He picked it up from the bar. "Sorry, just a minute," He mouthed to Jen. "Sheriff Witter here."

"Sheriff I thought you'd like to be notified that there was an accident out on 62. It was the Potter woman and her husband Bodie. There son was with them. They've all been rushed to Capeside Memorial." Deputy Keach said matter of factly.

"How is it looking for them?" Pacey asked with concern and panic. Bessie and Bodie had always been good to him, like family at times.

"I'm not real sure Sheriff, I wasn't able to get an update on their medical status'. Will you be going out to the hospital or shall I?"

"I'm going out there. Call their next of kin, Josephine Potter in New York City, get a number on her. I'll call you from the hospital." Pacey abruptly hung up.

"What is going on?" Jen asked with concern.

"Bessie, Bodie and Alexander were in a wreck. Do me a favor?"

"Anything, name it."

"Jack and Jo still pal around in New York, right?" Jen gave a nod. "Get a hold of Jack and tell him what happened. Jo might need a friend to come home with." With that having been said Pacey ran out of the bar and directly to his car. He felt like he was in the middle of a nightmare.

"You're kidding me right? That has to be one of the stupidest criminals I've ever heard of," Jo gave a laugh as Det. Christopher Harris told her a story.

"Yeah well I'm glad you liked the story but I have a feeling you didn't come here for cheap red wine and police humor. Even though you have certainly dressed for a date I know this isn't one." Harris caught on to Joey very quickly.

"Am I that transparent?" She asked.

"Not at all, I'm just a good cop."

"A good cop who will spill the beans and give me some details on our killer?" She asked leaning in closer to him.

"I can't give you everything and I am positive they didn't give us all the details either. This case is big. I'm giving you one clue, Mama's Boy from DC area."

Jo's eyes were wide now. That was the same killer who'd attacked and nearly killed Pacey a few years back. He had escaped the FBI and the killings stopped after that instance. Could he have possibly relocated to New York? Det. Harris had given her a lot.

"Do you have this on good authority?"

"It's either the same guy or some sort of copycat." He said.

"My God, that man is a monster. He killed nine women that they know of. God help New York." She said more to herself than to him. Then she looked at Harris. "Now what exactly can I do for you Det. Harris? I have a feeling this information isn't exactly free."

"I haven't decided what this info is worth yet so perhaps I can call in a favor when the time is right?" He questioned.

"You have my number."

"How about this as one favor, stay and have drinks with me?" Harris asked. Jo nodded and finished her chicken. He couldn't help but stare at her "new" look. She looked wonderful dressed in a knee length black skirt, a red halter and sexy open toed shoes. Her curly hair was down and wild and she even had makeup on.

Jo felt like she was playing dress up. She longed to go home, have a glass of wine, a cigarette, get out of the clothes and makeup and write her story.

Pacey got to the hospital as quickly as his Explorer could go without causing any accidents. Once in Capeside Memorial he wanted the latest on Bessie, Bodie and Alexander.

It turned out that Bessie had some internal bleeding. Surgery was required to stop it. Bodie had trauma to the head from the crash and second degree burns on his legs. Alexander was left with a broken arm, cuts, bruises and a concussion. The doctors allowed Pacey into to see him.

There laid a fragile looking Alexander beneath some blankets in the dark room. Someone had put a teddy bear next to him. The kid was scratched up and his bruises were dark purple. Pacey sat in a chair beside him. "Hey kiddo. You're gonna be okay. Your Aunt Joey should be on her way to see you, she'll be here to take care of you real soon." Pacey whispered as he took the little guys hand.

Alexander heard a familiar voice talking to him. His eyes fluttered and finally opened. His throat was sore as he tried to speak. "Mommy," He finally choked out. The surroundings were not his house and he hurt. Alex was terrified until he looked into the eyes of Pacey.

"Buddy, the doctors are taking care of Mommy. You'll see her real soon. Just relax ok? You and Mom and Dad were in a little accident. I'm going to stay right here with you until one of them can come and see you." Pacey assured the little boy. Alexander gripped Pacey's hand. He didn't speak again but only stared at Pacey until he fell back asleep.

Jo ignored everything. She didn't even check to see if BlueBoy wrote to her. She had some information on the Mama's Boy murders printed up and she began to feverently write. The story was just coming to her. In an hour and a half she had a well edited masterpiece and emailed and faxed it to Jacobs who anxiously waited for it.

Now she was exhausted. Too exhausted for any emails and she didn't even bother to check her voice mail. Jo was in her bathrobe when she laid back on the couch, flipped on MSNBC and began to drift off. Her sleep was short lived. A pounding came at her door. It startled her. Who would be pounding at her door at three a.m. It made her a bit nervous. Cautiously she looked out the peephole. There stood Jack. Jo opened the door for him.

"This better be good McPhee." She growled while she rubbed the sleep from her eyes.

"This isn't good Jo. Haven't you checked your messages? Jen just got a hold of me." He said frantic.

"What's going on? Why would Jen want to talk to me?" She asked confused.

"Stay calm Jo. Jen called me because Bess, Bodie and Alexander were in a crash today. All three are at Capeside Memorial. We're not really sure what condition they are in."

Joey thought she might fall over. She put her hand over her mouth to stifle a cry. "Oh my God. I have to get there Jack. I have to go."

"I know. There is a four a.m. flight. We can be to Capeside by early morning. Let's just get a move on it."

Joey was flying around her apartment before Jack could even finish what he was saying. She threw on blue jeans, a sweater and Nikes. Without much thought or care she flung things into a bag, grabbed her laptop and cell phone and was off with Jack. He refused to leave her alone, they would go home to Capeside together.

It was eight a.m. and Pacey was still sitting by Alexander's bed. He'd only left the room once while a nurse took his vitals. That was when he'd gotten the chance to talk to Deputy Keach. The accident had been caused a couple of teenagers joy riding in a stolen car. They were fighting over what cd to play, when the driver looked back up they were on a collision course with Bodie. It was apparently too late to swerve out of the way. The teenagers were all treated for cuts and bruises and now in the county jail.

Pacey looked at Alexander and felt it was unfair that the kids who caused the whole damned situation walked away and the innocent people were left here to pay for their mistakes. Alexander stirred and awoke. "Good morning." Pacey gave him a small smile.

"Where are my Mommy and Daddy, Sheriff Pacey?" Alex asked as soon as he opened his eyes.

"They are still with the doctors, in another room. The doctors are helping them to get all better, like they are helping you. Your mom and dad will come to see you just as soon as they can."

"And you're gonna stay here with me, right?"

"Wild horses couldn't drag me away." Pacey said as he ruffled Alexander's thick hair back. It was then the nurse came in.

"Good morning Alexander. I'm Nurse Hathaway, how are you feeling?" She asked with a smile.

"I feel like I have boo boos all over, they kinda smart." He sighed.

"You did get quite a few boo boos. They might smart for a little while. Do you think I can take a look at you? Then we can have some breakfast." Alexander nodded his agreement. Nurse Hathaway then looked to Pacey. "Sheriff Witter, Dr. Greene is waiting to talk to you out in the hallway."

"Alex buddy, do you think I could go out and talk to the doctor? I'll be right out in the hall and Nurse Hathaway will stay with you." Pacey asked him.

"Sure, I'm not a baby." He said bravely.

Pacey flashed him a smile and promised to be right back. "Doctor Greene, I'm Sheriff Witter." He introduced himself to the serious looking man.

"Sheriff Witter, Bodie Davis died about an hour ago. I'm sorry I was told he was a friend of yours. He had extensive trauma to the head. His brain was swelling. He flat lined about an hour ago and we were not successful in our attempts to resuscitate him." Dr. Greene said solemnly.

"Oh man." Pacey sighed feeling defeated. He wanted to protect all of them but he recognized some things were beyond his reach. "Does his wife know? Bessie Potter-Davis."

"She is still under sedation after her surgery. All went well with her though. The internal bleeding was stopped, they removed her spleen and she should make a full recovery."

"Thank god for small miracles. As for Alexander?"

"From what I understand he'll be fine. Dr. Ross our pediatrics attending will be to see you shortly and to check on Alex. If you need anything or if the next of kin should arrive please give me a call, I'll be around."

Pacey shook Dr. Greene's hand. "Thank you for everything." Greene nodded as the walked back toward the admitting desk. As Pacey went to go back into Alex's room he saw Jack and a frantic looking Joey come barreling up the corridor.

"Pacey, Pace" Jack called waving to him. Jo and Jack were suddenly directly in front of him. "Tell us, where are they? How are they?"

"Maybe you guys should sit down a second." Pacey wanted to break the news gently.

"I don't have time to sit. Please just tell me how they are," Jo snapped. She had no time for pleasantries or to feel awkward her family was in trouble and she needed to be there for them.

"Bessie had some internal bleeding. They had to perform a surgery but it was successful. The doctor was just here telling me how he fully expected her to make a full recovery. She's still sedated from the surgery though. Alexander is in the room directly behind us with the nurse. He's bumped, scraped and bruised and had a slight concussion. He's okay now and his doctor, a guy named Ross should be right in to see him." Pacey explained.

"And Bodie? Is Bodie in with Alex?" Jo asked needing to know before she could let out a sigh of relief.

"Bodie had severe head trauma. He also had second degree burns on his legs. He was a mess. He flat lined this morning and they were unable to save him. I'm sorry Joey but he didn't make it." Pacey said feeling a lump form in his throat as he watched her double over in pain.

Joey was an awful sight. She had one hand over her mouth and the other held on to the wall to support her weight. She trembled violently yet no sound came from her. Jack tried to put an arm around her but she shrugged him off.

"Please don't touch me, I'm okay, I'm okay." She looked up and both Jack and Pacey could see how broken and fragile she was at that moment. "I need to go see Alex." Pacey opened the door for her and she walked in. The door closed behind her.

"My God, this is an absolute nightmare." Jack sighed.

"No this is reality. I wish it were a nightmare because then we could all wake up." Pacey said.

"You've been here all night?" Jack asked. Pacey nodded. "Come on let's go get us all some coffee out of that machine and you can tell me the story." The two walked a couple of feet and began to fight the malfunctioning coffee machine.

"Aunt Jo," Alex gave a smile.

"Hey kid. How are you? You feeling okay?" She asked as she sat beside him. The nurse was taking his blood pressure.

"I've got boo boos but they'll be okay." Alex said.

"He doesn't have anything that won't heal and his concussion is all gone," Nurse Hathaway said trying to comfort Jo. Joey attempted to give her a half smile. "If you need anything press that button I showed you Alex. Breakfast will be here any minute." Hathaway made her exit.

"Mommy and Daddy got hurt too. Sheriff Pacey says that the doctors are working real hard to keep them okay like they did with me."

"Pacey was right. The doctors are working real hard to keep mom and dad okay." Joey bit her lip. It was hard to not break down now. She knew she could not be the one to tell Alex that his father was gone. It would have to be Bessie. As soon as Bess was told she would find a way to explain it to Alex.

A knock came at the door. It then opened. Jack walked in carrying two cups of coffee. Pacey followed him carrying a tray of food for Alex.

"It's not going to be as good as pancakes at the Bed and Breakfast but here it is, get it while it's hot," Pacey tried to smile for Alex's sake. It was hard for him to look in the direction of Joey. She was affecting him so fully, one moment she was taking his breath away and the next her sadness was tearing his heart out. Pacey put the tray down in front of Alex.

"Thank you," Alex looked up at him. "Hi Uncle Jack." Jack leaned down and gave Alex a hug.

"Look at you buddy, I'm glad you're feeling okay." Jack said sincerely.

"I'm okay. I sleeped for a real long time. And when I woked up Sheriff Pacey was here and he even held my hand." Alex smiled as he dug into his pancakes. Joey looked to Pacey. He was staring at Alex. It was as though Pacey was taking a mental inventory making everything was okay with the little boy. A warmness filled her heart. After everything they had been through he still cared for her family and was there when they really needed someone.

"That was nice of Pacey, wasn't it?" Jack said. Alex shook his head.

"Will you stay with me some more? No one can hurt us if the police are with us." Alex said matter of factly.

"Who's going to hurt you Alex?" Jo asked concerned.

"Anyone. You can't have accidents if the police are here."

"The police are good and we like to help Al but we can't prevent everything. But of course I'll stick around for a while longer."

The three adults sat tight in Alex's room for quite a while. He drifted off to sleep a while later. Pacey went to go make a few calls and check in with his office. When he finished he went out front and pulled out a pack of cigarettes.

"Don't happen to have a light do ya?" A voice asked from behind him. When he turned he saw Jo sitting on a picnic table. He nodded and pulled out his silver lighter. He lit hers and then his.

"When did you start smoking?" He asked.

"A long time ago and you?"

"Ditto." Pacey said as he took a refreshing drag. "So, you ok?"

"I have to tell my sister when she wakes up from having a painful surgery that her husband, the one love of her life is dead. She in turn has to get up and explain to her son, the light of her life that his daddy is dead, so Sheriff Witter I'm really not okay." She sighed.

"I'm sorry. I think I'm going to take off for a while. Please tell Alex I'll be back a little later." Pacey walked out toward the parking lot.

Jo felt guilty immediately. He just wanted to help and she just wanted to shut down. It was hard enough do deal with her family tragedy she did not want the drama of "Pacey and Joey" on top of all of it.

Pacey made his way back to the hospital later that night. It was around ten when he arrived. He caught sight of Nurse Hathaway. "Have you seen Josephine Potter or her friend, Jack around?" He asked.

"Ms. Potter just went to talk to her sister. Bessie has been awake for about two hours now." She said. "Down the hall, room 212."

Pacey headed in that direction. Bessie was still being observed. A large observation window was present. He caught a glimpse of Jo holding Bess' hand. The two were talking. Then suddenly it looked as if Bessie were a deer in headlights. The tears rolled and Pacey knew that she knew Bodie was gone. He let a silent tear roll down his own face. Joey grabbed her sister tight and just held on. Bessie gripped tightly at the cotton of Jo's sweater. They looked as though they were drowning, the only thing keeping them afloat was their grip on each other. Time stood still as he watched the Potter women doing what they did best, leaning on each other to survive.

Pray God you can cope. I stand outside this woman's work,

This woman's world.

Ooh, it's hard on the man,

Now his part is over.

Now starts the craft of the father.

I know you have a little life in you yet.

I know you have a lot of strength left.

I know you have a little life in you yet.

I know you have a lot of strength left.

I should be crying, but I just can't let it show.

I should be hoping, but I can't stop thinking

Of all the things I should've said,

That I never said.

All the things we should've done,

That we never did.

All the things I should've given,

But I didn't.

Oh, darling, make it go,

Make it go away.

Give me these moments back.

Give them back to me.

Give me that little kiss.

Give me your hand.

(I know you have a little life in you yet.

I know you have a lot of strength left.

I know you have a little life in you yet.

I know you have a lot of strength left.)

I should be crying, but I just can't let it show.

I should be hoping, but I can't stop thinking

Of all the things we should've said,

That were never said.

All the things we should've done,

That we never did.

All the things that you needed from me.

All the things that you wanted for me.

All the things that I should've given,

But I didn't.

Oh, darling, make it go away.

Just make it go away now.

(This Woman's Work by Kate Bush)

Nearly five days after the crash a memorial service was being held for Bodie. Bessie had been released from Capeside Memorial two days prior. Alexander had been discharged after 48 hours of observation. During the time that he was home Jo split her time between the house and the hospital. Jen, Jack, and Mrs. Ryan all helped plan the service and take care of Bess and Alex. Pacey stopped by regularly on Alexander and he appreciated it.

Things were hard for the little guy now. The morning after she'd learned of her husband's death she had to go and tell Alexander. There were not any words to comfort him, his father was dead. All she could do was hold her baby and tell him that, "Daddy was in heaven with the angels watching over them." Understandably though, Alex wanted his father here on earth. Seeing Alexander in such pain reminded both Bess and Jo how painful it had been to lose their mother.

Jo finished getting dressed for the service. She wore a simple black sheath dress, bare legs and sensible heels with an open toe. Her hair was pinned back off her face. Jack had offered to help Alexander get into his dress pants and polo shirt. It was still hard to get his shirts on over his cast. Jo made her way into Bess' room.

"How are things coming along? Need a hand?" Jo asked trying to be helpful. Bessie's surgery had slowed her down. She looked up into Joey's eyes and it was then Jo could see just how broken and lost her sister was.

"I can't find anything. I don't remember where I left my pot of lip gloss or the last place I took off my black heels. He always remembered those things Jo. How do I go on with half of me missing?" Bessie let tears run down her face.

"Because there is a little boy out there who loves you and needs you. Because life isn't fair and God knows Bess we are shining examples of that, you have no choice but to go on. Because last but not least Bodie would not tolerate you laying down and dying beside him, he was a fighter and he'd want you to give life all the fight you had in you." Jo cried along side of her. "When did you get so wise?" Bess asked as she started to wipe the tears off of her face.

"I've always been this wise, I just let you pretend you were older and wiser." Jo gave a laugh as she wiped her own face. She reached down by the bed and pulled out Bess' shoes. "Here ya go. Put these on. There are people waiting on us."

Bessie slid into the heels and took one last look at herself. She dressed simply in a grey blouse and a long black skirt. The two of went out into the kitchen. Both were surprised to see Alex sitting in a counter letting Pacey sign his cast. Jo and Bess stood in the doorway watching them.

"So can I ride in your police car someday?" Alex was asking him.

"Sure, as long as it's okay with your mom."

"I'll ask her. But not now. Mom is sad. Did you know that my Daddy went to heaven?"

"Yeah, I'm sorry about that buddy." Pacey said getting solemn. "Are you doing okay?"

Alex gave a nod. "I miss him. He was gonna teach me about baseball. Uncle Jack said he didn't know baseball but would teach me football. My mommy is sad all the time now, she and Aunt Jo cry about Daddy. I wish he'd come back."

Pacey could feel the lump rising in his throat. "I wish I could give your Dad back to you. Maybe if you're not busy one day we could go out and play some baseball though. I bet your Dad was better than I am at it."

"Really? You'd want to play with me?" Alex's eyes lit up.

"I can't imagine wanting to play with anyone else."

"Are we almost ready to go?" Jack asked walking in the backdoor and startling all of them. Pacey turned to look at Jack and noticed Bess and Jo standing in the doorway. He let Alex down from the counter top.

"I'm as ready as I'll ever be," Bessie said. "Is the car here?"

"It is." Jack answered.

"Come on Alex. We've got to go. Say goodbye to Sheriff Pacey." Bess said as she took his hand and led him out the door.

"Goodbye Sheriff Pacey. Aren't you gonna come with us to say goodbye to my Daddy?" Alex asked.

"I'll be there. I'm going to drive over with Jack though." Pacey waved goodbye as Jo and Bess left with him.

"You okay?" Jack asked Pacey.

"It's these Potter's man, they always get to my heart." He sighed and tried to shrug off any tears that were threatening. "We'd better get going." Jack and Pacey left in his SUV.

When Pacey and Jack arrived at the church Jack went up and joined Jo at the front. Pacey found a seat somewhere in the middle with Jen and Mrs. Ryan. Pacey could see Dawson sitting with his parents in the second pew directly behind Jo. He was glad Dawson had made it. Up and coming hot Hollywood director Dawson Leery was still as down to earth and hometown as could be. He even kept touch with Jen and Pacey. Jen had talked to Dawson two days prior about the possibility of coming home for the memorial. He agreed immediately putting everything on hold for his friends.

Pacey hated himself for the twinge of jealousy he felt. Here he was at a funeral and he was jealous because Dawson was in closer proximity to Joey than he was. It was at this moment he knew he had to stop himself. Joey Potter had an affect on him, she made him crazy, forget all of his senses. Or at least she used to have that affect on him. They were no longer in high school and she no longer loved him the way she had the day she impetuously jumped on his boat, True Love and sailed to Key West with him. For now Pacey pushed all of those thoughts from his mind as he focused on Bodie and the celebration of his life.

A young vocalist took center stage on the altar. She performed an appropriate hymn. Directly after that the minister spoke. It was a short service but it served its purpose. Following the service they would all head to Leery's. Out in front of the First Presbyterian Church Dawson caught sight of Pacey. He stood next to Jen and chatted softly.

"Hey guys," Dawson said in a hushed tone.

"Hey you, it's so good to see you." Jen gave him a hug.

"Yeah well I wish it were under different circumstances." He sighed.

Pacey shook Dawson's hand and then pulled him in for a hug. "Don't we all man, don't we all."

"So do you have enough room in that rig for an old friend?" Dawson asked Pacey.


"I guess I'll meet the two of you there. I've got to go pick up Chloe then I'll be by." Jen said. Pacey gave her a kiss on the cheek and Dawson waved. She was off.

"Do you have to wait for Jack? He mentioned he drove in with you."

"No, he's going to take the ride over there with Bess and Jo." The two men walked to the SUV and got in. Pacey reached into the glove compartment. "Do you mind?" He pulled out a pack of cigarettes.

Dawson shook his head. "So Sheriff Witter what's been going on with you?"

"I'm sure nothing as exciting as your life in Hollywood."

"Don't be so sure of it. I have nothing to do with the party scene in L.A. I'm really involved in this new film project so I don't have time for much else." Dawson gave a sigh. "Do you ever hear from Elise?"

"The dreaded E word. No, she's gone man. She's living in Boston now and dating some college Professor from what I hear. And I'm here in Capeside paying for a house I never wanted. If you want I'll sell you the rights to my life, it would make for a great bedtime movie. You know something you want to watch when you have a hard time falling asleep."

"Mr. Witter your pity party for one is ready." He shot Pacey a smile. "I'd love to buy the rights to the story of the Mama's Boy murders. It could be the next Silence of the Lambs."

"Only it never ends. In Silence of the Lambs, Clarice gets the bad guy albeit that Hannibal gets away but the sequel will neatly wrap that up. This is real life. The FBI agent screwed up royally, nearly got killed and let a maniac go free."

"What if it gets an ending Pace? Haven't you read the paper or seen the news in the last couple of days?" Dawson couldn't help but ask.

"No, what about it?"

"Pace, Jo broke the story in the Times, it's everywhere. The killer in New York, it's the Mama's Boy or a very good copycat."He blurted out.

Pacey was in shock. "You're kidding right? This can't be true." "I don't know what's true but Joey quotes a reliable source and you know Jo."

"I did," He mumbled beneath his breath.

"She'd never use a source she didn't trust."

Pacey knew Dawson was right. When things calmed down he needed to talk to her about the information she got and just where she got it. If this guy was back out there Pacey needed to know. What could he do about it? He'd have to face that question when the time came.

Joey made a small plate of food for Alexander. Bessie sat with Gale. She tried to get Bess to eat something but all she could do was push around the food on her plate, she had no appetite. Jo could understand, she had hardly eaten anything since she had first heard about the crash. Her digestive system was a mess, she didn't think she could handle any real food.

She sat beside Alexander as he struggled with the one hand to eat. The arm in the cast was pretty much useless. As she held the plate steady and listened to him chatter on her eyes scanned the room. There were a ton of people here. Some who years before wouldn't have even given Bodie and Bess a passing glance. Now they had the Bed and Breakfast and were considered, "respectable." Their true friends were also all around them. That made her feel somewhat secure and safe.

"How are things going over here you two?" Mrs. Ryan asked as she sat beside Alexander.

"Okay Grams. When I'm done can you sign my cast?" Alexander asked as he produced a magic marker.

"When you've finished your lunch I would be proud to put my John Hancock on your cast." She replied.

"You don't have to put that on it, just your name." He said looking confused by the saying.

Joey looked to Mrs. Ryan. The women shared a giggle. "Mrs. Ryan would you mind sitting with Alex a minute while I went and got some fresh air?" She asked.

"Take all the time you need. Alexander and I will sit here and have a little chat."

Jo gave her a nod and then walked out onto the deck. There were a few smokers enjoying a cigarette together. Pacey and Dawson stood on the opposite side of the deck. They were engrossed in some kind of conversation, she was glad they didn't notice her. She needed a minute to think, to breathe. Jo lit up a smoke and deeply inhaled. She stared out at the water and fell in love with Capeside all over again.

The quiet tone of the dock changed when a girl's voice sang out, "Uncle Pacey!" Joey turned expecting to see one of his niece's. Instead it was Jen's daughter Chloe. Jo knew the little girl from the pictures in Jack's apartment.

Pacey immediately scooped the small blonde child up into his arms. She wrapped her arms around his neck. Jo smiled in spite of herself. Pacey was going to be a wonderful Dad to some child someday.

Dawson caught her eye. He was motioning for her to come over and join them. Jo stubbed out the cigarette in a tray. Chloe comfortably laid her head on Pacey's shoulder. Jen stood next to them smiling adoringly. Jo wondered if anything was going on between the two of them. Not that it was really any of her business.

"Chloe, do you remember our old friend Dawson?" Jen said to the little girl. She shook her head indicating that she didn't remember him.

"That's ok," Dawson gave a warm smile. "It's been a long time since I've seen you. Last time I was in Capeside you were just a tiny little baby, I could fit you in the crook of my arm."

"Imagine that, you were that small," Pacey said to her. "Now look at ya, you old lady." He poked a finger in her tummy to tickle her. "Dawson lives in California where they make all the movies."

"Do you know Miss Piggy?" She asked suddenly serious.

"I don't but if I ever meet her I could tell her you say hello."


"This is another friend who lives in New York with Uncle Jack. This is Joey Potter." Jen introduced them, "And Jo, this is my daughter Chloe."

"Nice to meet you Chloe."

"You have a boys name." Chloe said with a roll of her eyes.

"Chloe Ann," Her mother scolded.

"It's okay."

"Joey is Alexander's aunt." Pacey said to the little girl.

Chloe suddenly got quiet. "Alex's dad went away, so did my dad. But Alex's dad died, that's sad."

Joey nodded her agreement. "It's very sad sweetie. Have you said hi to Alexander yet? I bet he'd love to see a friend."

"We're right on top of that, let's go Princess," Pacey said to her as he whisked her to the table where Alex sat.

"Was that just Pacey Witter or Captain Kangaroo? Since when is he so good with kids?" Dawson asked suddenly.

"He's always been good with kids." Jo said silently remembering how they used to babysit for Alex years ago.

"How are you holding up?" Jen asked.

"I'm okay. I'm concerned for Bess and Alex but we'll get through this."

"Of course you will. You guys are survivors. I've longed believed the Potter girls can deal with almost anything." Dawson tried to pep her up.

"I just wish we didn't have to. A person can only muster so much strength in one lifetime." They were all silent a moment and then turned to see Alex and Chloe laughing at Pacey who was making funny faces and playing with the condiments and utensils on the table.

"What do you mean you're temporarily handing the story over to Walsh? Walsh doesn't have contacts like I do." Jo fumed at Jacobs.

"Potter I love ya like my own daughter and I realize you just had a major tragedy in your life. Take some time off but we can't just stop the publication of this paper because you're not here. I'd appreciate it if you'd give us permission to call your source and see if he has anymore news."

"No way Ross. Do you want to scare this guy off? He only talks to me." Now Joey felt desperate for a story. "I may have a human interest piece on this whole Mama's Boy thing. I'll send you anything I get and I repeat do not call my source and screw us out of a story. Got me?"

"Loud and clear. So when can we expect you back here on the island?"

"Hopefully by the end of the week. I just want a little time to get my sister and nephew settled." She exhaled a cloud of smoke. Jo had been going over everything she could find on the serial killer. She was sitting on the front porch with her lap top, chain smoking and drinking mass quantities of coffee. Sleep? What was sleep, no one in the Potter house knew what it was. Alexander woke up screaming with nightmares and Bessie paced the floors. Jo pretended to be pulling all nighters for work so she could have some appearance of normalcy but she wasn't fooling Bess or Jack.

"Listen kid, I'm real sorry about your brother-in-law. Take all the time you need. Goodnight."

"Night Jacobs." She hung up. Sitting here staring at all her printouts that detailed some gruesome, horrific crime committed by a gruesome, horrific individual were giving her a headache. Joey thought this must be what going crazy was like. She had read that insomniacs live in states of neither really being asleep or awake. Perhaps this lack of sleep was causing her whole world to go fuzzy. At this moment though nothing sounded better than getting the hell out of this house.

She unplugged her laptop and shoved it in its case. Looking down at herself she realized she had to change. Quickly she threw on a pair of jeans and a simple black tank. Jo let her hair down and wild. She grabbed her purse and was ready to go.

"Where ya headed?" Bess asked surprised to see Jo on the way out.

"I'm just gonna go for a walk and see what's going on around here." With a wave she was out the door.

What could possibly be going on in Capeside on a Tuesday night? Dawson headed back to L.A. that morning so he was out of the question. Jen had Chloe to take care of and she was probably at Leery's. Joey had no desire to go where everyone knew her name. As she walked a little further through town she remembered a little bar by the pump station. Sure enough it was still there. The pink neon lights were nearly out the sign read, "CKS." Nick's was the name of the place in actuality. Once inside she found a corner barstool.

"Can I get you something sweetheart?" The surly bartender with all of three teeth asked.

"Bourbon, make it a double and leave out the ice, it just gets in the way." She sighed. He looked surprised by her words. The man put the glass in front of her and poured a double. Quickly she downed it feeling its effect all at once. "Just leave it." She handed him two twenties.

"One thristy little lady," He laughed.

Jo was ignoring everything around her except for her beloved bottle of bourbon. The jukebox was playing a steady mix of Aerosmith, Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix and The Doors. The only other thing beside the jukebox she could hear was the slam of the balls on the pool table.

The bartender looked up suddenly. "Sheriff there's no trouble here." He gave a quick but nervous smile.

"Good to hear Nick but you can calm down. I'm here for a drink and a little pool." Pacey sat at the bar. "I'll have a whatevers on tap." Every once in a while Pacey liked to come down here to blow off steam. None of his friends or co-workers ever ventured into Nick's. The people here basically kept to themselves. As his eyes scanned the room he passed a striking brunette. He took a second look, upon inspection he realized it was Joey. Nick put his beer down and he laid out two bucks. Beer in hand Pacey went to the end of the bar where she sat. "Seat taken?"


"Bourbon," He whistled amazed at her choice of drink. Pacey watched her pour another from the bottle. "A whole bottle of bourbon. So do you always drink this much?"

"Do you always ask these many questions?"

"Not ordinarily but I don't usually see well put together individuals trying to kill themselves with a bottle of bourbon."

"I am not killing myself. Am I under arrest here Sheriff Witter or can I have my damn drinks in peace?" She barked.

"I haven't decided. Tell me this much, what are you planning on accomplishing by getting that drunk?"

"Numbness, complete and utter numbness. I want to crawl inside of this bottle for tonight so I don't have to listen to Alex scream or Bessie cry, I want to drink until I don't know my name or this town or the fact that I lost something so incredibly important that I can't even articulate it. Is that okay? Is that what you wanted to hear? Why don't you go save someone else's soul Pace because I'm a lost cause tonight."

"I've wanted to be numb before Jo and it doesn't work. Dealing with the pain, living with the pain, that's the only way to work through it."

"What could have hurt you so bad?" She asked now squinting trying to see him.

"Let's not do this now."

"Oh I should wear my heart on my sleeve for you but I ask one simple question... Was it when you were attacked?"

"Almost dying I could've dealt with that but letting a murderer run free...I live with that everyday knowing I can't rectify it." Pacey lit himself a cigarette and took a drag. Jo plucked it from his lips and put it between her own.

"Thanks for this little heart to heart but I really must get home." Jo hopped of her barstool and went to walk. Pacey caught her with one arm as she was about to fall.

"I think you better let me take you home." Pacey said firmly.

"I've heard that one before Witter." She said staring daggers at him.

"Get over yourself Potter." They made it out to Pacey's SUV. As Pacey got in he looked in her eyes.

"You have to sneak me in. Alex gets up in the night and I don't want them to see me like this." She whispered stifling a yawn. Pacey nodded at her. It felt just like old times. He couldn't help but think of the first time Joey had ever gotten drunk and he had to bring her home. A small smile formed on his lips as he pulled the car out of the parking lot.

When Jo woke up she felt like she had been run over with a Mack truck. She had a splitting headache. Slowly she opened her eyes and it was then she realized she wasn't in the Bed and Breakfast. Squinting she tried to figure out where she was by her surroundings. Still in her jeans and tank top she got up from the bed. Holding her head she walked out of the bedroom and found Pacey asleep on the couch with the television on CNN.

Staring to heaven she sighed, "Very funny. Guess I deserved this."

Pacey heard her voice and he thought he was dreaming. Slowly his eyes opened and he looked up at her. "Jo, you okay?"

"Not in particular. My head is pounding and it tastes as though something has died in my mouth. Beside that I have no idea where I am."

"You're at my place. I called Bess and told her you were here. Can I get you a glass of water and an ibuprofen?"

"That would be great."

Pacey got up as Jo sat down in a chair. He went out to the kitchen, let his dog out and then poured her a glass of water and grabbed the white tablets. The dog was already begging to get back in and Pacey obliged.

Jo sat back in the chair and closed her eyes hoping to feel a little better. Suddenly she felt a cold wet nose on her arm. When she looked down there was a magnificent golden retriever. He wanted to be petted. Jo scratched his ears and rubbed his head. When she ceased from doing so he put his front paws on her legs and begged.

"Biff, get down. Sorry he's just excited to have some company. He was kind of sick and he hasn't been able to go out to the park." Pacey explained as he handed her the water and ibuprofen.

Jo nodded when something dawned on her. Her eyes opened wide and she jumped up. "Where's your bathroom?"

"Down the hall, second door on the left."

Jo took off without a word. When she got inside of the roomy bathroom she shut the door and looked into the mirror. "This is not happening, this is not happening." She repeated. "I am living in hell and there is no way out. A dog named Biff who's been sick? What are the chances?" All of this was making Jo's headache a hundred times worse. She wanted out of this house and out of this town quick.

Pacey poured himself a cup of coffee and lit a cigarette. He sat at the breakfast bar in the kitchen. Joey appeared with her shoes and purse in hand. "Do you think I can snag a ride back to Bessie's?"

"Sure but can I talk to you a minute?" He asked seriously. Jo felt a little panic stricken but she nodded and took a seat. "You wrote an article a couple of days ago about the killer in New York. Your article quotes a source saying that this is the work of the Mama's Boy killer or a very good copycat. How reliable is that source?"


"I thought so. Do you have any other information you can share with me on this?"

"I wish I did. As you can see I've been out of commission for the last couple of days. What about you? Do you have any information for me? Anything I should know about this guy?"

"He's sick, he's highly dangerous." Pacey sighed putting his head down.

"What are you thinking?"

"That if I had waited for backup, if I had done a lot of things differently this guy would be behind bars instead of running free in a new city killing more innocent women. Off the record?" Jo nodded. "He rapes their corpses and then he cuts off their heads and douses them in holy water to purify them. He's not going to stop until someone kills him or catches him. Most women think they are dating this nice stable guy, he buys them some gifts, the gifts are always important." Pacey shook his head trying get the image of the nine dead women out of his head.

"They'll get him Pace. The FBI are on it now. What do you think about helping me with my end of this, being my consultant." She wanted the edge over the competition. Having Pacey helping her would blow them away.

"Sorry Jo but I can't see how I can help you."

"Pacey you know everything about this guy, I have a great connection in the NYPD. Together we could really get to the bottom of this case."

"You mean sell newspapers Jo. I don't care about that I just want this guy found."

Jo nodded. She wasn't about to beg him. "Ok. Well can we get going anyway?"


"So you spent the night at Pacey's?" Bessie said with a grin. Jo was soaking in the tub and Bessie brought her in some juice and sat on the counter.

"It wasn't like that Bess. It hasn't been like that for years." Jo sighed.

"Whatever. He does look pretty hot lately though. It would be worth doing it just for old times sake."

Jo could never just have a one night with Pacey. Their history would never allow for that. Bess was right though, Pacey's hot factor had gone up since high school if that was at all possible. She couldn't help but remember what a sight he was this morning. He had on a wife beater, pajama pants, and bare feet. His muscles seemed more toned and defined. Jo tried to shrug off the vision. After figuring out that Pacey had to be her online pen pal she knew she had to hightail it out of Capeside. She didn't want him or anyone else to find out about that, some well meaning person would take that as a sign that they were each other's destinies or some crap.

"Jo, earth to Jo." Bess snapped her fingers at her. Jo snapped out of her thoughts. "So when are you leaving to go back to New York?"

"I'm planning on leaving Friday afternoon. Unless you still need me Bess because you and Alex are my first priority."

"Thanks Jo but you can't put your life on hold any longer. And I need to find some sort of a normal routine for myself and for Alex. I can't stand still like this anymore."

Jo got out of the tub and put her terry cloth robe on. She looked to Bess and gave her a hug. "I love you Bess."

"I love you too little sis."

"Max," Pacey said.

"Witter is that you?" Max Wilder one of Pacey's friends from his FBI days said.

"It is."

"I haven't heard from you since last summer when you came up and went golfing with me. What's up?"

"Do you have to ask, it's about what's happening there in New York."

"Witter you should just leave this one alone." Max sighed. He knew that Pacey blamed himself for the escape of the murderer. It truly wasn't his fault though, it was a situation any Agent could have gotten in.

"Sorry Wilder but if this is my guy there is no way I'm leaving it alone." Pacey said sternly. "Be straight with me, is it really him?"

"We're almost 100% positive that it is. If this is a copycat then he would have to know details that are classified to this office." Wilder said.

"I want in Wilder." Pacey said suddenly even surprising himself.

"Witter you left the FBI."

"With an open invitation to come back from Marcus Day."

"Come to New York, let's talk, we'll see what we can do." Wilder gave in.

"Give me a few days. I have to settle things here with the office and my Deputy. I'll give you a call before I get there. Thanks buddy, this means a lot."

"Yeah well you owe me Witter. Talk to you soon."

The two men hung up. Pacey would temporarily be back with the FBI and staying in New York. He had a lot to do before he could leave.

Joey had been working on her story from Capeside, doing research. She read the great pieces that Walsh wrote and hated him for it. All had been quiet in New York since she'd been in Capeside. She had one more day here and then it was back to the smoldering heat and nonstop parade of warm bodies of the city.

This afternoon Jo wanted to enjoy herself and give Bess some time alone. She took Alexander out for ice cream and to the park. They ended up looking at the boats down by the docks. She loved the view of the water, it made her feel at peace.

"Look it's Sheriff Pacey." Alexander said with a smile as he waved to Pacey. Jo looked up to see Pacey down the dock on a boat. He waved at the both of them and then made his way up the dock. She couldn't help but to stare. His toned and tanned muscles were fully on display as he had no t- shirt on and wore only a pair of khaki cargo shorts and sandals.

"Hey you two. What's going on?" Pacey greeted them.

"We're spending the afternoon together." Jo answered giving him a smile.

"Sounds like fun."

"Aunt Jo brought me to the park and we had ice cream. Is that your boat?" Alex asked.

"It certainly is."

"The True Love?" Jo couldn't help but ask. She remembered some of the best times in her life were experienced on that boat.

"Of course." Their eyes locked for a moment. "Do you want to come aboard?" "Can we see the boat?" Alex asked with his eyes wide with excitement.

"Sure," Jo had to give in to Alex. Pacey swept Alex up onto his shoulders and walked with her down the docks to the boat.

"Here it is buddy. It's not much but it's mine." Pacey said as he let Alex down on the deck. The little boy looked around. Pacey watched as Jo looked at the boat though as in a trance. Fondly she remembered the summer they spent in Key West.

"This is cool." Alex said. "Can we look inside of it?"

"Sure." Pacey went into the cabin with Alex. Joey walked around the deck.

Looking down where she used to sun herself she caught sight of it. Carved into the wood was Pacey and Joey Summer '00. She smiled remembering the night he carved that. There it still stood like an homage to their once passionate romance. The memories were becoming too strong. Jo needed to get off the boat.

Pacey and Alex reappeared. Jo looked to her watch. "Alex thank Pacey for letting us look at his boat. We have to get going because mom will have dinner waiting for us."

"Thank you Sheriff Pacey." Alex gave him a smile.

"Anytime buddy, anytime."

Joey gave Pacey a wave goodbye. She took Alex's hand and led him up the docks. Pacey watched them go and his heart dropped a bit. Everytime he had stepped onto this boat it was a reminder of the summer they spent in Key West. He had loved those days, he had loved her. It made him long for the nights they shared talking and kissing and eventually making love.

Reliving those memories in his mind were dangerous because they always led to the following summer before they left for college. In the weeks before Jo left for Columbia and he left for VMI they'd grown apart. It felt as Jo wanted to put distance between them. All Pacey wanted to do was spend all the time he could with her before they were seperated.

Pacey sat down near where he had carved their names and stared at his handywork. He couldn't help but to recall the night she'd say goodbye to him.

"Hey," Jo gave a weak smile as she climbed aboard the True Love. Pacey was sitting and staring out at the water. "What are we looking at?"

"Capeside. I'm thinking about how I might actually miss it when I leave. Hard to believe, huh?"

"Not totally. There are things that I will miss about this place." She sighed looking to him.

"What's going on with us Jo. You don't call me anymore, we barely see each other and when we do I feel like things are so strained. If I did something I need to know what it is so I can fix it."

"You didn't do anything Pace. I've had a lot on my mind lately."

"Feel like sharing?"

Jo looked out at the ocean and then back into Pacey's big blue eyes. "I've been thinking about us lately. I've been thinking about the fact that when we leave for school, for the first time in our lives we will be free of this small town and all the things that come along with it. We're going to be miles away from home and miles away from each other."

"Jo we've survived so much, a couple miles between us is nothing." He said taking her hand. They were both silent a moment, the only sound that could be heard was Pacey's small radio he'd left on low.

"Maybe we shouldn't have to deal with the distance Pace. Maybe I should be starting with a clean slate in New York and you should have one in Virginia."

"What are you saying, that you want to break up with me because we'll be in different states?"

"No Pace, I'm saying that maybe for each others sakes we should break this off so we can grow as individuals." Jo said softly.

"I wasn't aware that I was keeping you from growing Jo. I thought we could grow together." He said feeling panicked at the idea of losing her.

"If we stay together in some desperate attempt to keep a piece of this place or a piece of our childhood with us then we're holding each other back. Pacey, you helped me grow this year but high school is over."

"And you can leave me that easily? You can look at me Jo and honestly say that you won't miss me. God, we've spent nearly every waking moment together since last June when you hopped in my boat sailed to the Keys with me. Do you know that the only time I get a good nights rest is when you're in my arms and I can hear you breathe? You're willing to give up our love?"

They were both on the verge of crying. "We're eighteen years old Pace and we have so much living to do. I love you but we can't give up our futures for one another."

"What are you talking about? I'm not giving up anything for you but I would in a minute. I love you Jo and you can't ask me to give up on you this easily."

"Please don't make this harder. I love you Pacey and I'll always remember you as this beautiful boy I loved but we can't hold each other to all of these promises while living so far apart." Jo let the first tear spill. "I have to go." She said suddenly and went to get up.

Pacey grabbed her into his arms. He could feel her shaking. Quickly he kissed her. Both of them were crying and the kisses they shared were salty and passionate. A sappy Bon Jovi tune was on the radio and Pacey wanted to hold Jo forever. He wasn't letting her go without a fight.

I should have seen it coming when the roses died

Should have seen the end of summer in your eyes

I should have listened when you said goodnightYou really meant goodbye

Baby, ain't it funny, how you never ever really learn to fall

You're really on your knees, when you think you're standing tall

But only fools are know it alls and I played the fool for you

I cried and I cried

There were nights that I died for you baby

I tried and I tried to deny that your love drove me crazy, baby

Baby, I thought you and me would stand the test of time

Like we got away with the perfect crime but,

we were just a legend in my mind

I guess that I was blind

Remember those nights dancing at the masquerade ,

the clowns wore smiles that wouldn't fade

You and I were the renegades, some things never change

It made me so mad because I wanted it bad for us baby

Now it's so sad that whatever we had ain't worth saving

If the love that I got for you is gone,

If the river I cried ain't that long,

Then I'm wrong, yes I'm wrong, this ain't a love song

That night Pacey tried to hold onto her but he failed in his attempt. They shared one last kiss and then he had to watch the girl that was everything to him run from him. He'd tried to get a hold of her at school but he was unsuccessful. He couldn't make her love him or want to be with him, he was resigned to being without Joey.

The memory of that night brought tears to his eyes. Seeing her made it hard on him. There was a part of him so deeply in love with Joesephine Potter that it was hard for him to breathe. Yet again he resigned himself to the fact that she was off limits, now more than ever.

Jo had said her goodbyes in Capeside. She had been in her apartment for exactly one night and she was almost ready to pack her bags and go back to Capeside for an extended vacation. The guilt of leaving Bess and Alex only one week after Bodie died was eating her up. Her insomnia followed her here to the city and she made a mental note to get in touch with a doctor, she was in desperate need of a sleep aid.

Quickly Joey dressed for the day ahead of her. Simple beige pants, a sleeveless knit mockneck top in white and beige mules seemed comfy enough for the day. Jo knew she had a lot of work to do. She absolutely had to get the lead in this serial killer stuff before Walsh stole the whole story.

She was in the office by eight a.m. Jacobs was already in and Jo made her way into his office. She plopped herself down in the chair in front of his desk. No sooner did she sit down then was Walsh in the office also.

"Welcome back Potter," Jacobs said nearly smiling.

"Thanks Ross, it's nice to be back. Walsh, running in to greet me?" She asked knowing that he had run in here to keep her from getting the story.

"Partly. It is good to have you back."

"Let me say what I have to say. I know that I haven't been here for a week but I broke the serial killer story and I want in on it. In fact I want the lead on it."

"Potter you've been out of the loop for a week. I'm working hard on this thing. I'm sorry for your loss but you can't just swoop in here and expect me to hand this over to you," Walsh sighed aggravated.

"He's right Potter. Walsh has spoken to some psychologists who profile serial killers. Although this guy has been keeping quiet for the last week or so Walsh has kept the story alive. I'm afraid the two of you will have to work on this together." Jacobs said to their surprise.

"Jacobs you're kidding me right? Us working together, that's crazy talk," Walsh said.

"Get used to the idea, both of you. She broke the story and Potter does have the connections at the NYPD. So kiddies I say you learn to play nice, get the story on this or you'll both be covering the lifestyle page for the Oshkosh Wisconsin Times. Are we clear?" Jacobs made himself understood. Both of them nodded.

"Crystal." Joey sighed feeling a nicotine craving coming on. She and Walsh were dismissed from Jacobs office.

"What do you say, a working lunch?" Walsh proposed.

"Sure, just make it someplace I can smoke." She said and began to busy herself at her desk.

Pacey walked into Leery's. Jen was getting ready for the lunch crowd. "Hey there blondie," He gave her a smile.

"Hey Pace. What can I do for ya?" She asked wiping her hands on a towel.

"Say goodbye. I'm taking a little trip." He said. Pacey wanted to tell Jen he was leaving, she seemed to be his only friend around these parts lately. Joey had been gone one night and even though she really didn't say goodbye to him he felt her absence. Now he was headed to New York and they would no longer be separated by miles but by millions of people.

"What? Where are you going?" Jen asked surprised at the news.

"New York. I'm going to see my old friend from the Bureau, Max Wilder."

Jen nodded. "Is that the only friend you'll be seeing in New York?"

"If she has her way it will." Pacey said knowing Jen meant Jo.

"Pace I don't want you to think I'm being jealous or anything here. Don't get me wrong I am a little jealous, who wouldn't be? The way you have always loved her, I'd kill for a man to love me that way. Actually I'd kill for you to love me that way." She said looking down.

Pacey was at a loss for words. He had no idea Jen saw him as anything more than a friend, a friend with benefits. "I do love you Jen, you're one of my oldest and closest friends."

"I know and I thank you for that. You need some happiness Pacey, you deserve some. When you get there tell her how you feel, make her understand it because if you don't you'll both regret it."

"Jen, what Jo and I had was a long time ago."He said trying to convince himself more than her.

"So you both say but every time you two are in the same room together there is this energy and I can feel the longing between the two of you. God Pace you and I have spent some passion filled nights together but they don't even come close to the passion you share with Joey just by looking in her eyes."

Pacey pulled Jen into a hug and kissed her forehead. "I love you Lindley. Thanks for being such a great friend. I'll call you soon, kiss Chloe for me." Pacey began to head out the door.

"Don't forget what I said. And Pace, take care of yourself."

After Pacey said goodbye to Alex and promised to come back and play baseball with him soon. Bessie gave him Joey's address and phone number in New York. By noon hour Pacey was on a plane to New York.

"So you've interviewed anyone you could find who was involved in the case two to three years back?" Jo asked Walsh.

"We've gone over this a hundred times Potter. What I've just shown you here and what you've read in the paper is all that I have. Unless this guy makes a move or we can get into the investigation deeper we don't have much of a story." Walsh sighed.

Jo lit up a cigarette and dragged deeply. "Great, just what I need more time to sit around and think."

"Writing about someone else's drama seems to distract you from your own personal dramas."

"What?" Joey asked shooting him a look.

"Sorry. I was just thinking out loud. When things are going wrong with me I need to throw myself into work. The juicier the story the less time I have to think about all stuff that's actually going on with me."

"You're right. It's kind of hard to be here so far away from my sister and my nephew right now. I just thought if I could slip back into workaholic mode I wouldn't be so racked with guilt." She realized that she was opening up to Brandon Walsh, her top competitor, hence her sworn enemy. Immediately Jo began to clam up.

"We're all human Potter. You don't have to be frightened to speak your mind. Just because you think I'm heartless doesn't mean I am, I would never use your personal situation against you. I understand your life right now. My best friend, he was my brother in every sense of the word, dated my sister, practically lived in my house, my parents loved him. His wife was murdered two days after they were married. It was a hard time in all of our lives." Brandon said as he flinched remembering the pain of that time.

"I'm sorry." Jo put a hand on his arm. "So how long before I start feeling better?"

"I don't know. Give it time, you'll figure it out. Just don't push away your friends or people who want to help, that's a big mistake."

She nodded. "I'm not so great at saying that I need someone."

"You don't have to. If you ever want to talk Potter, you know my number. I'm not judging you or plotting against you, I can just be an objective friend. That's if you need one." He gave her a small smile.

"We can all use a friend Walsh." Reluctantly Jo smiled as they clinked their water glasses.

"Look at you Wilder. Don't they ever let you get from behind that desk?" Pacey gave a laugh as he poked his friend's gut.

"Listen here Witter not all of us can spend our afternoons on our fishing boats or going for a run. Some of us are stuck inside head quarters solving crime."

"You mock my new position in law enforcement but just before I got here I cracked the case of three stolen bicycles from the high school all on my own." Pacey said shrugging his shoulders.

Max shook his head slowly. "Pace, you're kidding me right? Why don't you come back here to the Bureau?"

"Not now Wilder. I like my job. I know people, not case numbers. I'm not always looking at some awful murder or kidnaping and I love where I live. I think about coming back sometimes but something always stops me. But I'm here now so please tell me you have something for me."

"Well I talked to Day. You have FBI privileges and jurisdiction on this case. Marcus is really excited that you want to be a part of this. "

"I'm glad someone is. I'm not really sure how I feel about this yet. I just know that it's something I have to do."

"Yeah well we'll get him this time." Max said hopeful. "Are you hungry? Wanna go grab some dinner? There is a great Chinese place not too far from here."

"I'd love to."

The two were off. Pacey wanted to pump Max for all the information he could get. At the rate this case was going Pacey knew that his stay in New York would not be a short one.

Jo put her feet up and clicked on the television. Friends was on. It was the first time she would actually get a chance to see the show. Tonight was Jo's "mental health" night. She had poured herself a glass of wine, made a plate of cheese and crackers, put on a mud mask and vegged. It was like heaven.

Much to her annoyance the phone rang. "You are kidding me." She yelled aloud. "Ughh." Jo hit the talk button on her cordless. "Potter."

"You have ten minutes Potter. There was a body found in Brooklyn. I've got a car and I'm coming for you. You're not ready and I leave you." Walsh's voice said. She could tell he was on a cell phone.

"I'll be ready and downstairs waiting." Jo hung up. She quickly washed off her face, threw on black pants, a fitted white t-shirt and black slides. Jo grabbed her cell phone and her messenger bag. She was downstairs long before Walsh pulled up in a Times Tercel. She got in the passenger side and they were off. "What took you so long?"

"Funny Potter, very funny." Walsh sighed.

"So how did you find out about this?"

"I was having a reuben at Jerry's Deli. As you know if you want to talk to a cop go to Jerry's. Anyway this detective guy jumps up and tells his partner that there was a murder that might be linked to the one he had worked on. I put two and two together. Called the Metro desk and presto, here we are."

"Impressive Walsh."

"Thanks Potter, I do everything to impress you."

"Anyway. How about some details, get any?"

"None. Only address." He said.

Jo sighed in frustration. This was not going to be fun. It was going to be one long night in the city. She was going to spend the better part of the night digging up details that no one seemed willing to give. Once to the block Brandon parked the car. They got out and stood amongst the throngs of reporters and television cameras. Jo stood off to the side with her notebook and mini recorder out. Brandon held out a recorder of his own.

A hand was on Joey's shoulder suddenly. She turned to see who it was. "Pacey? What are you doing here?"

"Heard that there was a murder. I wanted to get a look, see if I could get some details." He said.

"I mean what are you doing in New York?"

"I came to see about the case."

"Did you come to help me? Because God knows you have more pull than I do with the suits. This will be great. Do you realize I will be the only reporter with an ex-FBI agent as her consultant." Jo could picture the awards and accolades that would be bestowed upon her.

Pacey shook his head. "I needed to see this for myself Jo. I have no interest in helping the Times exploit these victims."

"Pace do you read the Times? I don't exploit anyone." She said angrily. She could feel Brandon watching them.

"I've got to go Jo, I'm sure I'll see you around." Pacey started to go beneath the police line.

"Where are you going?" She asked confused. "You don't even have a press pass or anything."

"I don't need one Jo, I have FBI credentials on this case. I'm back with them to help get this guy. Now if you'll excuse me." He walked into the house.

Now Joey knew she needed Pacey on her side. She needed him to help her with her story. She wasn't out to exploit, only to report. Walsh looked to her. "You know a fed?"

"That wasn't just any fed Walsh. That was Agent Pacey Witter." Jo said lighting a cigarette.

"Witter? Witter...hmm." Walsh said searching his mind. "You mean the agent who nearly got killed trying to stop this guy in DC?"

"The very same."

"And how well do you know Agent Witter?"

"Intimately," She sighed exhaling a cloud of smoke. "Don't even think it, that will not help us with this story one bit."

Pacey looked over the gruesome scene. This poor, beautiful young woman. She was barely twenty five. There was her body and sitting above it detached was her head. The girl who was identified as Shauna Taylor was dressed in a spangled sweater and leggings. It reminded him of the things his own mother wore. Her hair was done perfectly as though it was just taken from rollers. Her clothing was soaking wet from being drenched in holy water.

The whole scene made him feel physically ill. He felt as though this evenings Chinese food might make a reappearance. He looked around the apartment some more. Nothing else was out of place. He sighed feeling useless. Pacey went out back to smoke a cigarette.

They closed the crime scene nearly three hours later. Pacey went to Jack's. That was where he'd be staying. Jack was leaving in two days for a month long vacation with his partner, Will Truman.

"Hey Pacey," Will gave him a smile as he finished loading the dishwasher.

"Hey Will."

Jack came out and sat at the counter. "So how did it go down at headquarters?"

"Good. They gave me FBI jurisdiction on this case and they want my help on this case. But there was another murder."

"We heard it on the news. Poor woman." Will said. "Want a beer or something?"

"Definitely." Pacey accepted. Will tossed Jack and Pacey a Sam Adams. Pace opened the bottle, placed it to his lips and let the cool liquid slide down his throat. It felt magnificent.

The three men were sitting in the kitchen and chatting about the events of the day. Pacey was getting to know Will better. The guy seemed very down to earth, very witty. Jack and Will were giving Pacey the lowdown on their upcoming trip when the front door to the penthouse opened.

"Jackers, Jack." Joey's voice called as she began to storm through the rooms. "You will never believe who showed up today. What a jerk, I have FBI credentials so screw you," She was saying in a mocking tone. "He said I was exploiting..." Jo walked into the kitchen only to find Jack, Will and Pacey. She stopped dead in her tracks.

"You were saying," Pacey said raising his eyebrows.

"You!" She breathed deeply feeling annoyed and embarrassed.

"Jo, take a breath." Jack said thinking she might explode.

"I'm sorry I didn't realize Mr. FBI was bunking here with you. I used my key and let myself in. I will now be exiting faster than I arrived. I've had enough of our fine FBI agent for one night." Jo grabbed her bag and began to leave in a huff.

Pacey placed his beer on the table and went out after her.

"Poor bastard, he doesn't stand a chance," Jack sighed.

"She's going to kill him, isn't she? That or she's going to sleep with him. They have to do something with all of that energy." Will said still staring at the door they both left through.

"Potter," Pacey called down the hall.

"Evaporate Witter."

Pacey suddenly grabbed her arm and turned her to face him. "What exactly is your problem here Jo?"

"I wonder Pace. I could really use you on this one and what do you do? You tell me you jurisdiction is basically in my face yet you won't give me an inch."

"I'm sorry. I didn't realize this was all about you. Since when did getting the story at all costs become so important? That's not the Joey Potter I know."

"Because you don't know me at all. I'm not the same girl I used to be."

"Maybe you're right. The girl I used to know, she used to care about other people. That girl she would have respected the fact that this was something I had to do and she'd let me do it. She wouldn't use me to get a front page story and her name on some goddamned byline. Who are you? And what have you done with the real Josephine Potter?"

"You're so clever Pacey. Don't walk into my life after eight years and assume you have any right to b*tch about the way in which I live it." She yelled in his face.

Pacey backed her against the wall. His body was nearly touching hers. He looked into her eyes. "I could say the same. I don't owe you anything Jo. You walked out on me eight years ago, remember that? Because I'll never forget it."

Jo felt tears threatening. She thought he might kiss her at first. When he spoke his lips nearly touched hers. A voice came from behind them. "If you two keep this up I'm calling the police on you." An older woman shouted at them.

"Already here ma'am." He pulled out the FBI badge. "FBI, I'm just questioning this suspect."

The old woman hurried back into her apartment. Pacey looked back at Jo with a smug smile.

"Go to hell Pacey." She sighed and pushed him away from her. Jo got on the elevator and went home.

Whatever time it was it was entirely too early for the cat from hell to be bugging Jo. When she looked up it was sitting beside her in bed looking directly into her face.

"Good morning to you too psycho." She sighed. "There is a serial killer loose in this city and I find you to be scarier. Nice, huh?"

The cat jumped down from where it was on the bed. Jo went into the bathroom. When she came out her hair was up and her teeth were brushed. She felt somewhat better. The timer on the coffee machine went off and began to make coffee instantly. Jo opened a can of gross cat food while cursing Jonas for leaving this cat here.

The phone rang while someone knocked on the door at the same time. "All of this before seven a.m. How can one girl get so lucky?" Jo picked up the cordless. "Potter." She then opened the door just an inch to see who it was. To her surprise it was Pacey. She motioned him in unhappily.

"Potter since we have this mornings story wrapped up I thought I might go do some fishing at the NYPD. You feel up to it?" Walsh asked.

"Why don't you start without me. I think I'm going to make a few calls on this. Listen, I'm kind of in the middle of something, let me call you back." With that Jo hung up the phone. "If you're here to brighten my morning or something you should turn around and leave."

Pacey gestured to the bag of bagels. "He was obviously molested. The molestation occurred for years and it was by his mother." He began to babble. "Do you want blueberry? Or does this Joey prefer something else?"

"Blueberry is good. So what exactly is this about Pace? We didn't leave things off so great last night." Jo sat in a chair and Pacey took a seat on the couch.

"I'm willing to help you with this Jo because I may need your help. Got it? You may have contacts on the street that I'm not aware of. I'm investigating my own leads on this one. The only thing I ask is when I say it's off the record, it really is. And my name can not be involved in this."

"She nodded. Anything."

"Anything? I like that, that has definite possibilities," Pacey gave a small laugh.

"Watch it Witter." Joey got up to grab her notepad and files. She remembered she had coffee on. "Want a cup of coffee?" She offered.

"That'd be great." Pacey sat back and took in his surroundings. This was Jo's apartment. The walls were filled with pictures of her family, prints from the Metropolitan and a couple of framed front pages with Jo's name on the byline of the leading article. The furniture was comfy yet sophisticated, a page from the Pottery Barn catalog. Suddenly a grey cat jumped up on the arm of the couch. "Hey kitty." The cat looked at Pacey for a moment then hissed and walked off. "Nice cat you have here."

"I hate that cat but of course not as much as she hates me. We tolerate each other. I fear that someday Sadie will be the only one who will listen to me." Jo babbled as she fixed two mugs of hot coffee.

Now it was Pacey's turn to be in shock. Sadie, the killer cat. Could it be? No way. Jo sat back down in the same chair and offered Pacey the coffee cup. "You're Papergirl, right?"

Jo's eyes were wide. "What did you just say?"

"You and I have talked online before. We constantly compare and contrast city life to small town life. You're the woman I clicked with and share a lot of personal garbage with."

"How do you know?"

"It doesn't exactly take a genius. It's our pets that gave us away. Did you figure it out the morning you met Biff? Because Sadie gave you away."

"I knew that damn cat would cause nothing but trouble in my life." She gave a sigh. "Can we just forget about this?"

"Is that what you want?"

"More than anything."

"What if we just table it until after we've worked on this case some." Pacey put his hand out ready to shake on the deal. Jo put her hand in his. After the awkwardness of realizing their online relationship the two got down to business on the case.

"We're in business boys. Look at that story. I can guarantee you no one will have that." Joey said to Ross and Brandon as she handed over the story. It was sprinkled with small details that Pacey had given her. She'd learned so much this afternoon but not all of it was on the record. She had to trust Pacey enough to not divulge any excess information.

"Where did you get this?" Jacobs asked as he quickly looked over the story.

"A reliable source." She smiled. She looked to Walsh he said nothing. He looked at little pissed that this story was all hers.

"You're a goddess Potter. Keep up the work." Ross nearly smiled. Jo nodded and walked out of the office.

"Good work Potter. I wish I had thought of sleeping with a fed." Walsh sighed angrily.

"Wow, I thought we were past this petty stuff. I don't have to sleep with anyone, I'm a damn good reporter Walsh. You know it."

He nodded. "Yeah Potter, you're right, you're the best." Brandon stormed off.

Men were giving her more trouble than they were worth lately. Joey went back to her office.

"Tell me we have something, anything from all the samples collected last night?" Pacey sighed looking over the report on Shauna Taylor.

"Nothing. This guy is so clean, so thorough. No one saw anyone go in nor anyone leave. Her friends didn't even know she was really seeing someone." Wilder said sitting back in his chair.

"So how do we catch this guy, Wilder? He has left nothing behind, no one has any idea he's seeing these women. What is our link? Beside the fact that he dresses them up like what his mother might look like. Other than the fact that he left a note behind about three years ago that talks about how special she was, just like his mother. Then I get a location on him from a potential victim. And then I lose him."

"So are we going to sit around and feel sorry for you or are we going to find us a murderer?" Wilder asked him.

"You're right. We'll do this, he can't go on like this forever. He'll slip up eventually but can we wait that long?" Pacey looked out the window and out onto the busy streets.

Jo heard the rustle of plastic at her office door. When she looked up a hand holding a bunch of wild flowers wrapped in clear cellophane was before her. Walsh then peaked his head in. "I couldn't find an olive branch. Thought I'd try with these." He gave a smile.

"Am I supposed to forgive you for being such a bastard now?"

"That's the general idea. I'm sorry for saying what I did. I was pissed Potter. We're supposed to be working on this together and I got cut out of one of the most important stories we've run on this whole thing."

Jo looked into his face and she knew that Walsh was sincere. "Apology accepted. But you have to understand that my source doesn't want anyone else on this."

Brandon nodded. "I can accept that. As long as you throw me a bone every once in a while here." He sighed.

"I can probably handle that. How about I take you out for some dinner? Show you what a wonderful gal I can be."

"Hmm, not sure. Where would we go for dinner?" He asked with a smile.

"How about Carmine's? I'm in the mood for Italian."


"Why don't you let me finish up here and I'll be ready in like thirty minutes."

Brandon gave her a wave. "I'll be back then."

"I'll have the pesto chicken over penne and a glass of white please." Jo ordered her meal.

"I'll take the veal and a sparkling water." Brandon then ordered. The waitress left them.

"Aren't you a good boy Walsh, sparkling water?" She asked.

"Beside the fact that I'm trying to do this new health kick thing, liquor and I don't mix. I had an incident when I was sixteen. I wrapped my car around a telephone pole."

"I see. At least you know your limits though." Jo said. Their dinner conversation varied. At one point they were talking about their hot story and the next they were discussing the ways in which they grew up and about their families. Brandon told her about his twin sister and caring father and mother. It all seemed very nice. He also told her about the strain moving to Beverly Hills put on all of them at first.

Brandon's cell phone rang. "Excuse me a minute." Jo nodded. "Yeah. I see. You okay? I'll be right there." He looked up to see Jo. "I'm sorry but I have something going on, personal matter, I have to go."

"That's okay. Is everything alright?" She asked.

"It should be. I just have to go. Can I give you a lift home or something?"

"No, thanks. I'll be okay."

"Thanks for dinner Potter. I'll have to remember you're not all bad." He gave a smile. As Brandon got up to leave Jo noticed a very interesting sight at the bar. She smiled at Brandon and he left.

Jo motioned for the waiter. "Please use this on my bill. I'll be at the bar to sign for it." She handed him her gold card.

"Very well Ms. I'll bring it right over to you."

"No rush." Jo made her way to the bar. Sitting alone having a scotch was Pacey. He looked good in dark pants and a button down shirt. "So stranger is this seat taken?" She asked.

He looked to her. Then he nodded in the direction of the stool. "It is now."

"So, what are you doing here all by yourself, having dinner?"

"A drink. This seems to be the halfway point between headquarters and Jack's." He sighed.

"I take it you didn't get any earth shattering news about the case today."

"Nope, nothing. I'm not very good at sitting on my hands and waiting Jo. I don't want to wait for someone else to die."

She could see the pain and fear in his eyes. Jo wished she could make him feel better but what could she say. Without a word she softly put her hand on his cheek. He pressed it harder against him with his other hand. Pacey melted her with that gesture.

"So are you alone?" He asked.

"Now I am. I was having dinner with a co-worker but he had to cut out early."

"I see. Can I walk you home?" He asked.

"I'd love that." Jo signed her dinner bill and Pacey put down some money for his drink. He led her out of the restaurant. They walked to her apartment building without carrying much of a conversation. The silence wasn't uncomfortable or award, just relaxing. "Here we are. Home sweet home. Care to come up for a drink?"

"Sure." They took the elevator to her floor. Once inside the door Jo turned on a small table lamp. It was very dim and the air was cool in the apartment.

"What can I get you? Another scotch, brandy, a beer?" She offered standing so close to him that she could smell his aftershave.

"I'll have a scotch." Pacey said. Jo quickly walked into the kitchen and poured them both one. When she came back into the living room Pacey was looking at some of the articles on the wall. She handed him the drink. They both sipped it slowly and looked from the wall to each other awkwardly. Pacey put his down on the coffee table.

"We're being awfully quiet, this is new for us." Jo said suddenly wanting to break the silence.

"No it's not. There were times we could communicate without words. Remember that? And it's not your words that I need right now Jo." With that being said Pacey grabbed her around he waist and let his lips dance across hers. When he pulled away Jo could feel the fire burning inside of her. Every part of her body screamed for him to touch her, kiss her. It was her head that screamed for her to stop this before it went too far.

"I think you'd better go," She whispered hoarsely as she broke the embrace.

"Was that too real for you Jo? How exactly do you feel about the fact that we've wasted eight years pretending not to care? I never stopped and you can't tell me you have. How did that kiss make you feel?" He asked.

"You should go Pacey, I don't want to hurt you." She said.

"How would you hurt me? How did that kiss make you feel?" He stared at her waiting for an answer. One never came. Pacey walked toward the door. He was about to walk out when he heard her voice.

"Like I was home. Like I was on the True Love staring up at the stars tangled in your arms. You were my home Pacey and that's what you feel like to me even now. Damn it, is that what you wanted to hear?" She let a tear roll. He shut the door and went to her. Pacey took her into his arms. The kiss they shared now was hotter than the one before.

One moment they were kissing, then next they were making love in her bed. Joey had not felt this alive since the last time she'd made love with him so long ago. Later on that night she fell asleep safely in his arms.

There was a phone ringing somewhere in the distance. Pacey stirred and then opened his eyes. Laying next to him as peaceful as can be was Jo. She looked so beautiful it took his breath away.

Jo suddenly opened her eyes. "That's the phone." She said tiredly. Jo picked it up. "Potter."

Pacey let a finger run up her back as she listened to the caller intently. "Can I get an address on that?"

Pacey heard his own pager going off. He reached down to find his pants. Once he located his pager he found that it read 911 and Wilder's cell number.

Jo put the phone back down on the cradle. "I have the distinct feeling your page has to do with my phone call." She sighed getting up from the bed. Pacey let his eyes scan her beautiful body before she robed.

"Why? What's going on?" He asked.

"Another homicide. Only this time it's close to home for me. Ross Jacobs, he's my boss. It was a woman he was seeing. She's been working for the Times legal department for maybe a year."

"Her name?"

"Jill O'Malley." Jo said as she pulled a pair of navy trousers and a sleeveless shell from her closet.

"You say she was dating this Jacobs guy?" Pacey asked immediately suspicious of Jacobs.

"Yeah. They weren't totally serious or anything. No one in the office really knew about it, I found out on accident." She rambled as she tried to dress so Pacey couldn't catch a glimpse of bare skin. Their eyes met and in an instant Jo knew what Pacey was thinking, Jacobs was a possible suspect. "No Pace, no way. It isn't even a possibility."

"Let it go Jo. We can't discuss this right now." Pacey picked up the phone and dialed Wilder. Pace declined a car and instead opted to catch a cab to the scene.

"So can we split a cab or can you not be seen with me?" Jo asked.

Pacey buckled his belt and ran his fingers through his hair. "What do you mean by that?"

"I mean I know you're not supposed to be fraternizing with the press. And you have been collaborating with me."

Pacey pulled Jo into his arms. He looked into her face, I'm with you Josephine Potter and I don't care who knows it."

Jo didn't quite know how to react. A part of her wanted to turn to absolute mush under the stare of Pacey Witter. Another part of her wanted to run. Run before they could hurt each other. Run before the mistakes of their past caught up with them.

"We'd better get moving." She said breaking the embrace and grabbing her messenger bag. Pacey followed her out.

Walsh stood at the scene. He waited for Potter. It was then she got out of a cab with Agent Witter. The two parted ways after Witter gave her a friendly squeeze on her arm.

Brandon waved Joey over. "Glad to see you finally made it Potter."

She rolled her eyes. "Heard anything about Jill?"

"Nothing except for it's our guy who did it. Definitely the work of Mama's Boy."

Jo let out a sigh and then lit up a cigarette. "No idea on who found the body?"

"A girl named Maxine, says she's her best friend."

"Normally you cover a story and these people are strangers. You never think this can happen to someone you know."

"Shows how vulnerable we all are." Brandon said. "So do I get to know what is up with you and Agent Witter?"

"What do you mean?"

"I saw the two of you arrive together. Working on another big story?"

"Walsh when there is something important you need to know, I'll tell you." Jo said on the defensive. There was nothing more she hated than for people to be in her business.

Pacey had looked at the crime scene. It was not unlike the last. "So I hear she was dating a guy named Jacobs. I think we ought to haul this guy in."

Wilder nodded. "The best friend never mentioned that. Where'd you hear it?"

"I have a friend at the Times. She knew about it, found out on accident."

"Then by all means let's call this Jacobs down." Wilder said. "So where were you calling me from? My caller i.d. came up with an unfamiliar number."

"I was with a friend."

"A friend, huh? Like a female friend?" Max laughed.

"Wilder, you're starting to sound like a jealous girlfriend."

"Ok, I'm butting right now." He took his cue. "Come on, we'll ride over to headquarters and talk to this Jacobs first thing in the a.m."

Pacey nodded. The last thing on his mind was headquarters. Last night while with Jo he thought he'd be waking up with her in his arms. Instead he'd be questioning a possible suspect. What a turn the night had taken.

There wasn't much of a story. Jo had Walsh write on what little information they had gotten. When she got back home she tried and tried to get a hold of Jacobs. He was nowhere to be found.

Jo couldn't wait to hear from Pacey. She desperately wanted the scoop on this story. Instead of hearing from Ross or Pacey. She sat in the quiet of her dark apartment. Jo reflected on life and just how abruptly it could end for the second time in two and half weeks.

"So Ross, we hear you were dating this Jill O'Malley." Pacey threw the information out there. He and Wilder had been questioning him for about fifteen minutes.

"Kind of," Jacobs said a bit nervously.

"Kind of? What's kind of?" Wilder prodded.

"We went on some dates. She was a bit younger and we weren't so compatible. But we liked each other and still hung out."

"What do you mean, you weren't compatible? Like how?" Pacey asked.

"Like I said, she was young. She and her girlfriends were very into going out, partying and I'm a little old for that."

"So can I ask where you were last night between 11:30 and 12:45?" Wilder asked.

"Home, asleep."

"Can anyone vouch for you?" Pacey questioned.

"My mother. She and I watched some news then both went to bed."

Pacey couldn't believe all of this. The guy seemed to fit the profile and his answers were sketchy but the physical profile was all off.

"Ever work in DC?" Wilder said suddenly.

"No." Jacobs answered.

The questioning lasted for what seemed like an eternity. It left both parties uneasy.

Jo was in her office by 8:00 a.m. She had talked to Jack and said her goodbyes. He and Will left for their month long vacation. Jack mentioned that Pace hadn't gone home to the penthouse last night.

A knock came at her office door. Darla, Ross' assistant was standing before her. "Jacobs wants to see you in his office when you get a minute."

"I'll be right there." Darla disappeared. Jo flipped on her voice mail and made her way to Jacobs' office. She knocked on the door.

"Come in," He called.

Jo walked in and stood before Ross. He gestured for her to take a seat. "Is everything okay?"

"Honestly Potter, everything is not okay. I know you've heard about Jill."


"She and I were more than friends, we had dated." Ross said now blushing.

"I know. I'm sorry Ross." Jo put her head down.

"How did you know?" He asked suddenly surprised.

"I was in Jill's office and I was checking my e-mail's when an interoffice instant message came up, it was you. When I asked her about it she admitted that the two of you were dating. Then she swore me to secrecy and told me you wanted to keep it a secret."

"Because I didn't think it was appropriate to date within the company. Beyond that I looked like a man trying to recapture my youth by dating a thirty year old." He sighed.

"I wouldn't worry about it Ross. Did you know of anyone else she could have been seeing?"

"No. I mean that's probably not something she would want to tell me. And I didn't even really know any of her friends." Ross looked to her seriously. "The FBI called me in for questioning early this morning. I didn't like how things were going Potter. I think they think I'm involved in this."

"That's impossible. If you say you had nothing to do with it then I believe you. Maybe I can help. I know someone who is involved with this case. He's a fair man and I know he wants to get the right guy on this. Tell me the name of the agent who interviewed you, I'll try to make sure they ease up on you." Jo said.

"Agent Wilder and the guy in your article, Witter." Jacobs let out a long sigh.

"Witter? Ross let me talk to him. But first you have to give me any information that you think can help, tell me anything."

"It's all there Potter. I was home last night, I have an alibi. There is no way I could've done this and I would never do anything so horrible."

"Like I said Ross, I believe you and I will get to the bottom of this." Jo got up from the chair. "I'm going to A) track down this story and then B) make sure that Agent Witter knows you had nothing to do with any of this."

"Thank you for trusting me Potter." Ross nearly smiled.

Jo only nodded and headed out the door. Pacey Witter had a lot of explaining to do.

"So are we liking this guy for the murders?" Marcus Day, their superior asked.

"Not only does this guy sound like our guy but he says he never worked in DC. Well his mother lived in DC until last year. He was an editor for a publishing company in Alexandria, VA that produces those true crime novels. Those paperback pieces of garbage that you get in the airport. Alexandria is only an hour outside of D.C." Wilder sighed.

"What about you Witter? Are you liking this guy?"

"He seems the obvious choice. And he does fit our description all except for the fact that he's not between 29-35 or fit at all. That confuses me."

"Maybe you've read too many of these paperback true crime things Witter. This time perhaps the obvious choice is the right choice." Day said.

"You're probably right Marcus. I just thought finally catching this guy would feel different, be different. I thought it would be more difficult than stumbling upon him."

"This is going to be difficult. All the evidence we have is circumstantial, we have nothing concrete."

"And we won't get anything if he thinks we want to make a collar on this." Wilder said.

"Max is right. We have a tail on him now. Let's see what he can produce for us in the next forty eight hours and then we move in." Pacey said.

"Agreed. Good luck on this one guys. Bring us the killer and the evidence." Day said. Both Wilder and Pacey nodded hoping to get more.

"Where are you headed?" Brandon asked Jo as he saw her getting onto the elevator.

"Tracking down a story, wanna come?" She asked.

"Do you have to ask?" Walsh hurriedly jumped into the elevator car as it made it's way down the twenty three floors. "So what's the story?"

"It's the same story Walsh. But we're overlooking something. You and I have to start sifting through some of this."

"I can handle that. Where should we go?"

"My place. I'm all set up for research. Beside I just want to chain smoke and get out of these hot clothes. Is that cool?"

"Fine with me." The two were off in the direction of her place.

Pacey grabbed himself a cup of coffee and lit a cigarette. He sat on the patio of a SoHo café near Jo's apartment. Pacey needed to talk to her about Ross and anything that she knew about him. The fact that she worked so closely on a daily basis with the man he was now considering a homicidal maniac scared him.

He couldn't sit still any longer. Pacey wanted to talk to her now. Dialing her office number on his cell phone he got a receptionist. "This is Agent Pacey Witter calling for Josephine Potter, metro."

"Ms. Potter is not working from her office today. Can I connect you to her voice mail or in case of an emergency I could link you to her cell phone." The perky receptionist answered.

"That's okay. I'll talk to her later." Pacey sighed. Then he dialed another number on his phone.

"Leery's Bar and Grill." Jen answered the phone.

"How I wish I was having lunch there with you." Pacey said closing his eyes a moment.

"Pacey? I'm so glad you called. What's going on?"

"I think we may have gotten our guy. That's between us of course. He's Joey's boss."

"Really? So you've seen her since you've been there?"

"Yeah. Not all pleasant meetings though but..." Pacey trailed off not wanting to hurt Jen's feelings.

"But what?" Jen paused and then proceeded, "You made love to her, didn't you?" Her voice got quiet so she wouldn't be announcing it to the customers.

"We did. Last night." He sighed.

"Pacey how can you not be so happy. You and Jo are back together."

"No Jen, she and I are confused now more than ever. I don't know where we stand, we never even got a chance to discuss it."

"I think you two use way too many words. Not everything has to be discussed. Why don't you play this one by heart?"

"Because when it comes to Joey Potter it always seems as though it's my heart that gets trampled on. I don't know if I want to go through it again."

"Be strong Witter. Stand your ground with Joey and don't back down an inch."

"Okay Doctor Lindley." He gave a small laugh. "So I really called to hear how the princess is."

"She's doing well. Practicing for her stint as Little Red Riding Hood."

"I can't wait to see it. And how about Biff? Is he doing okay?"

"He misses you but loves playing with Chloe. He's taken to sleeping in her bed."

"Uh oh. I'm going to have one spoiled mutt on my hands when I get back. Well Jen I miss you guys like crazy and I'll be home soon."

"You better. Take care of yourself Pace. Remember what I said." With that they both hung up.

It was then Pacey decided to see if there was any chance of catching Joey at her apartment. He bounded up the stairs and then onto the elevator.

"I have no idea what we're looking for." Walsh sighed as he fiddled on the internet with articles on the killer.

Jo stared hard at a legal pad. "I think we'll know when we find it." Then she sighed loudly and threw the pad across the room. It was then she noticed that her cleaning woman must have brought in her packages from Neiman Marcus. Jo decided to take a break and look through her order.

"Think the missing clues will be delivered here from Neiman's, eh?" Brandon asked with a joking tone.

"If only. I thought I'd take a break. See if they got my order right." She sighed. Brandon turned back around and keep plugging away at the thousands of articles that appeared. He also searched for each of the previous victims names.

Jo looked through the three pairs of plain trousers she'd bought. There were also denim shorts and a simple sun dress. Missing from this box were the underwear and pantyhose she'd ordered. Maybe they were in the other box though. When Jo opened this box she knew immediately Neiman's dot com had made a mistake. A dark purple, beaded mandarin tunic suit sat before her. Matching Chinese slippers of the same shade sat before her. Jo cringed at the outfit. A light summer sweater with jeweled sail boats and matching red leggings were also there. Keds accompanied that. Yet there were no underwear or pantyhose. Now she really wanted to scream. Nothing seemed to be going her way.

"Okay over there?" Walsh asked as he looked at her scowl.

"Just peachy. Remind me to never order from an online site again."

"Good ole Neiman's get your order wrong?"

"How'd you guess?"

"I'm a five star reporter Potter and don't you forget it. I figured it out all on my own." The two shared a smile. It was then a knock came at the door. Jo got up to answer it.

When she looked in the peep hole there was standing Pacey. He was making her knees weak and her face red with anger all at the same time. She opened the door. "Just the man I needed to talk to." She growled.

"Oh this sounds promising," Pacey rolled his eyes.

"Actually it sounds as though you two are primed for a fight. Jo do you need me or can I go get lost for a little while?" Brandon said as he grabbed his things.

"Thanks for everything Walsh. I'll talk to you later." Jo gave him a quick smile as he made his exit. She shut the door behind him. "I hear you had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine."

"And who would that be?"

"That's rich, throw me a smile and pretend as if you have no idea what I'm talking about. You and your friend Wilder grilled Ross Jacobs this morning. After talking to him have you realized that, that man couldn't have had anything to do with those murders?"

"Jo, after talking to that man I am more suspicious than ever. You don't realize everything that is going on and I want you to stay away from him." Pacey said becoming protective.

"Always the caveman. Who do you think you are Witter? Ross is my friend and I believe he's innocent. There is nothing you can tell me that will change my mind. As for me staying away from him, whom I associate with is none of your business. And if you thought last night entitled you to some kind of say in my life let us just remember we shared a bed, I didn't hand over my independence or my life."

"Of course not, how silly I thought that meant something." He put his head down a moment and winced from the pain of that statement. "Listen Jo let me tell you about our conversation with your boss." She sat down ready to listen. "He lives with his mother, she's his so called alibi for like every night that one of those women were murdered. During the time that those women in DC were killed he lived in Alexandria, VA. His mother was living in DC at the time. The relationship between he and O'Malley was totally secret. Doesn't any of this sound fishy to you?"

Jo focused on everything that Pacey said. It all sounded like it made sense. She had no idea that Ross had lived so close to DC though. "Is the Alexandria thing true?"

"Yes. You know he never mentioned it to us."

"Gee, I wonder why. Probably because you'd jump on that one fact and judge him guilty."

"I don't know Jo but none of it sounds right to me. I just want you to be careful, okay?"

She nodded trying to let all that he'd told her sink in. It sounded plausible but even Pacey had to admit there were some flaws in the profile. Ross wasn't of the right age or physical ability. And why of all things would he live with his mother if she had ever sexually abused him? There were so many questions.

"Well thanks for the information Agent Witter. I guess you should be on your way now." She sighed.

"Yeah I thought you might see it that way." Pacey felt as though his heart had been ripped out. Yet again Joey Potter knew right where to hit where it hurt.

Joey was angry with Pacey. He came to town and destroyed her own little world away from Capeside. First he accuses her boss and friend of a heinous crime. Then had her thinking thoughts she hadn't had since she was eighteen. He also had her feelings things that she hadn't felt in at least that long. If Joey didn't escape him soon she was afraid she'd lose control of everything around her.

"Goodnight." He said softly and walked out the door. Jo flopped down on the couch and let out a small cry of frustration. She lit a cigarette and turned the lights down low. Quietly she looked over the research Walsh was pouring over.

Pacey walked the streets of New York. He wanted to hit something hard. The anger and confusion he felt was slowly crushing him. Pacey knew he had to find this killer and get the hell out of this city. There was something about being in New York with all of these people, especially Joey that left him lonely.

I saw you with your new friends

You wear them so well

Broken shoes and loose ends

Gee you look swell

Me I'm drinking too much coffee

And I'm smoking cigarettes

I'm a deputy of habit

I just can't forget

I'm only lonely driving in my car

I'm only lonely after dark

I'm only lonely when I'm watching my TVI'm only lonely occasionally

I saw you with your envoy

A consenting adult

Technique in moderation

But vogue to the cult

Me I've got my strangers

To exile in the night

I guess I'm just addicted

To the pain of delight

I'm only lonely driving in my car

I'm only lonely after dark

I'm only lonely when I'm watching my tv

I'm only lonely occasionally

(Occasionally by Melissa Etheridge)

Jo had no desire to go to the office. In fact she had no desire to get out of bed. Fighting with Pacey last night took a lot out of her. Jo just wanted to go home and play with Alex in the park and eat ice cream. That sounded like heaven to her. New York, suffocating heat, and a homicidal maniac, those things she could do without.

Sadie sat on the end of her bed staring at her. Jo could only look back at the cat. "You'll just have to wait until I'm good and ready to get up monster," She sighed aloud. It was then a knock came at the door. She was sure Sadie gave her a look of victory. Jo was forced to put on a robe and get out of bed. If it was Pacey she was sure she'd kill him.

The cat pranced around before her as she took each step to the door. Finally she gave it a shove with her foot across the hardwood floor. "Score one for Potter," She sighed. When she got to the door and looked through the peep hole she saw it was Dawson. Shock came over her. Dawson had never mentioned he was coming to New York. She opened the door. "Dawson, what are you doing here?"

"I had to come and talk to some of the investors in our picture. Thought I'd stop by and see you. Looks like I got here not a moment too soon." Dawson said as he looked to Jo with her bed head and bitter scowl. He opened his arms and she allowed herself to be enveloped in them.

"You always know when I need a friend." Dawson came in and Jo closed the door behind him.

"So do you want to tell me what's going on?"

She nodded and proceeded to tell the tale of the Mama's Boy and Pacey's involvement. Quietly she got around to mentioning she slept with Pacey. "It was a mistake, a moment of weakness." She said after a while.

"Keep telling yourself that Joey and maybe someday you'll believe it. You and Pacey were never an accident. There is some sort of a plan for you two and it's beyond all of us."

"Make me barf Dawson. Pacey has been sent her to annoy me, drive me crazy. He and I were high school he's not my future. The sooner he can figure this murder thing out and go back to Capeside the happier I will be."

Dawson shook his head. "Ok Jo, okay. I think you just need to step back from all of this. You've rushed yourself back into work so soon after losing Bodie. Maybe this is all too much for you."

"The one thing I'm good at is my job. Now that my friend Ross is involved I need to be a part of this, there is no way I can leave it."

"Alright then. So after all this is finished, consider this offer. Leave New York, leave the Times, write me a screenplay on this whole serial killer thing and make a ton of money. Then you, Bess and Alex can go do what you want with no worries."

"You shark." She smiled. Dawson was partly here to wheel and deal with her on a screenplay for the next, Silence of the Lambs type movie. Jo shook her head. "Maybe someday. Why don't I get dressed though and you can take me out for an extremely expensive lunch."

"I'm up for that." He smiled. Jo got up and headed to her bedroom. Dawson was just what the doctor ordered.

"I want to bring in Ross Jacobs." Max said seriously to Pacey. Pacey was sipping black coffee and smoking a cigarette. His partner looked as though he'd had a rough night with his bloodshot eyes and rumpled clothes.

"Do we have enough evidence for that?" Pacey stifled a yawn.

"Day seems to think so. We're going to question him some more and then we may charge him. But I want him off the streets for a while. His tails are going to pick him up."

"Shouldn't we be doing that?"

"You my friend, shouldn't be doing anything. I want you to go up to the bunks and grab some sleep and a fresh suit. You're not going to be any help like this."

"I'm fine Wilder."

"You're not fine Witter. Listen I'm not asking you to do this, I'm telling you. I'll call for you when Jacobs gets here."

Pacey let out a sigh and headed upstairs. He laid down on a cot and closed his eyes. Joey was the first thing that came to him. Sleep was so hard to come by with her on his mind. Instead of focusing on all the garbage between them he pretended he could hear her breathing. In his mind Jo was laying next to him, willing him to be at peace. He couldn't fight sleep much longer.

Dawson and Joey were lunching at the newly opened Celadon on Madison Avenue. They sat on the second floor and quietly marveled at the interior. "I think New York beats L.A. when it comes to fine dining. Everything there is more laid back, New York seems to revel in sophistication and beauty."

"You're starting to sound like one of the restaurant critics from the Times." Jo rolled her eyes at Dawson. "It's a restaurant, not a museum or an opera house. If you ask me dining out has become just another way of dividing the classes in New York, showing social stature. Besides everyone has become too involved with what chef is where and who is being seen there, who designed it, what table are they sitting at. It's garbage for a bunch of self-involved, self-important asses who have no control over their lives except for at dinner."

"Well Amen Sister Potter. Tell us what you really think now." Dawson said waving his hand in the air. "Are you sure you're okay? You only rant about unimportant things when you're upset."

"I'm fine, I guess I'm just wound kind of tightly today." Jo looked over the table for an ashtray. "Perfect, I would assume that it's non- smoking?" She asked looking over to their waiter, Ono.

"Smoking is only permitted in the bar on the first level madam. Could I escort you down there?" He asked.

"No, that's okay."

"Can I take your order now?"

Dawson nodded. "I'll have the pappardelle with roasted duck slices."

Jo was so preoccupied thinking of work and even Pacey that she hadn't made up her mind. Quickly she chose. "The poached lobster with avocado and wasabi vinaigrette." She rolled her eyes at how pretentious all of that sounded but shrugged it off realizing how hungry she was.

"Very well." The waiter said.

"And we'll have a bottle of Pinot Grigio also." With that the waiter was off. Lunch was a quiet event until Jo's cell phone rang. She grudgingly reached into her bag and pulled it out.

"Potter, this better be good." She sighed noticing it was a Times office number.

"Good? Sorry Potter you're not that fortunate." Walsh said. He continued, "The FBI are swarming this place. Jacobs has evaded them, slipped their tail and everything."

"What? Why would he do that?"

"Who knows? Maybe he really is guilty."

"Bite your tongue. Maybe it's all a big mistake.

"And maybe ignorance is truly bliss for you." Walsh retorted.

"Piss off Walsh."

"With pleasure." He sighed and hung up.

Now Jo was a bit annoyed with herself. She didn't get any other details. Jo had to cut lunch short and get to the paper. "I'm sorry Dawson but shit is going down at the paper. That friend of mine may be hauled in for these murders."

"Really? Let me bring you over." He said.

"No way. Stay and enjoy that pistachio desert thing that had Ono creaming himself, I wouldn't want to deprive you of the pleasure. I'm just gonna go grab a cab and I'll call you at the SoHo Grand later, okay?" She gave a small smile.

"I'll be there." Dawson stood and took her hands. Then he leaned in and gave her a small kiss on the cheek. "And Jo, take care of yourself, okay?"

She only nodded and made her way onto the street and into a cab

Pacey woke up to the quiet of the bunk room at headquarters. Wilder hadn't come back for him yet so he decided to get fresh clothes from his locker and shower. After his fight with Jo he'd drank too many cocktails and gotten no sleep. He felt rather good now except for the kink in his back from the cot.

Less than a half hour later Pacey was clean shaven and dressed in light colored pants, a white shirt with the sleeves rolled and the collar open. He looked in the mirror. Staring back at him was a man who he hardly recognized. Three weeks ago he was living a sensible life, in sensible Capeside. Now he was with the FBI hunting down a killer, fighting with Joey like no time had passed and making love to her like a drowning man trying to hold onto land. Life was too hard to figure and Joey was even harder. He figured she had no need for him in her well put together life. It was too bad though because he could really use her in his. Pacey would be damned if he ever admitted it though.

"Witter," Max said storming in suddenly. Pacey was startled and looked to him. "He's gone. We can't get a hold on where he is."

"Jacobs?" Max nodded. "Damn it." Pacey was feeling the same anxiety he felt when chasing the perp into that building where he was ultimately stabbed. "We'll find him. I won't rest until we do."

"We should get a start then." Wilder said. Pacey put on his holster, grabbed a bulletproof vest and they were off.

The Times office was buzzing with gossip and straight out lies. No one actually knew what was going on. Joey had tried in vein to get a hold of Pacey. His voice mail was on his cell and the woman at FBI headquarters took a message. She figured he didn't want to hear from her after last night. In actuality Jo had no desire to talk to Pacey but this was necessary. She had to know what was going on with Ross.

Official word had it that somehow he was tipped off that he was being taken in for more questioning. His lawyer mentioned the fact that they may attempt to put him under arrest at that time. Ross gave the FBI the slip late morning sometime. Jo knew that he was making this much worse on himself. She prayed he would call her and she could coax him to turn himself in before he ran into a trigger happy FBI Agent. No such luck yet.

Jo went back to her apartment. She called Dawson at his hotel and they chatted for a bit. Jo was tired. She poured herself a nightcap, turned on the television and fell asleep above her covers. When she woke up the television was off and so were the lights on the streets below. It looked as though she were in the middle of a brown out. A few blocks in the SoHo/Tribecca area were dark.

The heat of the apartment was crazy. Sweat beads formed on her forehead and the back of her neck. Jo reached for the lighter on the night stand. She found it and it flicked it on. With that she would be able to make her way to the kitchen for the flashlight.

Carefully she made her way not to trip on any stray shoes or that damn cat. Jo let her hand run across the walls and took her steps cautiously.

The flame of the lighter was getting lower and lower. "This is like a bad joke." She whispered to herself. Now the light was nearly gone. Jo was more than halfway to the kitchen when she felt something soft quickly slide against her ankles nearly tripping her. She let out a soft shriek as she nearly fell because of Sadie. Before she knew what was happening she had dropped the lighter and was reaching out so she wouldn't fall.

It was then that she felt a warm body in the darkness beside her. A hand reached for her. It tried to keep her from falling. Instead she brought the body down on top of her. Jo screamed loud. The hand was struggling to find its way over her mouth.

"It's me Potter, don't be scared," The ragged voice of Ross Jacobs whispered in her ear. She fought hard underneath him. "I need you."

Jo bit his hand. "Get off of me, leave me alone," She yelled. Without much luck she tried to squirm out from underneath his girth. Jo let her legs kick and fists pound.

"Potter," He was saying trying to keep her still. She couldn't see him only hear his breathy voice and feel his sweat and weight above her. Jo had no idea what he was doing but he kept groping her. He was trying to restrain her arms.

Jo got out one more scream before a loud thud was heard. Light poured into the room and men were yelling. The weight of Jacobs was pulled off of her and Jo scrambled across the floor to the other side of the room. She was out of breath and shaking violently. When she could see Jacobs she saw he was drenched in sweat and pale. She had no idea why he would show up here but she knew it scared her.

"Are you okay Miss?" An agent asked.

She could only nod. "How did you know?"

"A lead ma'am. He was spotted earlier in the evening on your fire escape. The NYPD never responded to the call." The agent said shaking his head.

"How long has he been here?" She asked feeling suddenly more terrified than before.

"The call came in at five p.m."

Jo was stunned. It was now three a.m. Jacobs had been in her apartment all that time without her knowing. It sent a shiver up her spine. She had to know if he was planning on attacking her or was this some sort of misunderstanding? The idea he was a murderer was incomprehensible to her.

The men in suits quickly escorted Ross out of the apartment. An agent helped Jo off the floor. She had no desire to be alone in the dark yet she refused to be questioned at FBI Headquarters. "I want to put clothes on. You can question me at the SoHo Grand." Jo went to her room and called Dawson. He said that the generators were on there and she should be brought over immediately.

Dawson had received a call near 3:30 a.m. It was Jo and she was frantic. She said that someone had broken in and the FBI were bringing her to his place. None of it made sense. The FBI would not be involved unless it was something major.

A knock came at the door of his suite. Dawson quickly answered. There stood Jo and behind her was a man dressed in a suit. He figured that was her FBI escort. Dawson took her hand and led her in.

"What happened?" He asked immediately looking from Jo to the agent.

"My boss, Ross showed up unannounced in my apartment. I have no idea how or why but he was there." She fought back tears. Jo so rarely cried. Beside why cry? She was scared not sad.

"Did he hurt you?" Dawson asked.

"No," She shook her head.

"Where is he?"

"In our custody. I'm Agent Mulroney...Mr..." The agent searched for Dawson's name.

"Leery, Dawson Leery." Dawson fumbled for words. The Agent looked impressed as he recognized the name from some of his favorite movies.

An urgent pounding came at the door. Joey jumped at the loud sound. Dawson only swung the door open without reservation. After all if someone was there to rob him or kill him it was definitely the wrong time with the FBI there and all. As the door opened Pacey barged in with Max Wilder behind him.

Pacey never said a word. He looked into Joey's eyes and then grabbed her. Everyone in the room could hear him take a deep breath. Dawson watched the scene before him. He knew these two needed a moment alone as he motioned for the Agents to follow him into a sitting room for a drink.

Jo allowed herself to be held. Pacey was holding onto her for dear life. It made her feel safe. In fact she felt so safe that she allowed herself to cry for the first time that night. He pulled her back by her shoulders and looked her up and down.

"What did he do to you? Are you okay?" He asked seriously.

"I'm okay, I'm okay Pace. He didn't hurt me. I was just so scared." She let the tears roll. Jo couldn't be bothered to hold back with Pacey now.

"I know, I know." He brought her back into his warm arms. Pacey had heard about what happened to Jo on the radio while cruising with Wilder. He was frantic with worry. Pacey had never needed to see her or hold her more in his entire life. "I was scared too. I was so afraid he hurt you."

"I'm here, I'm okay," She said assuring not only Pacey but herself. Jo took a deep breath and tried to get some self control.

Pacey of course ruined that attempt by taking her by the shoulders and looking her over again. Finally his eyes met hers. "I don't know what I would've done if something happened to you Jo. I have loved you longer than I can remember and I need you to know that. I need to say it to you now and I don't care what you say back."

Jo pulled out of his arms and stared at him in shock. "You jerk, how can you do this to me now?" She cried harder. "I hate you so much, I really hate you Pacey Witter. Scrap that, I hate that I love you." No more words were spoken as the two embraced gain and shared a kiss.

Dawson had called down to the front desk and arranged a room for Jo. The power had come on close to five a.m. Pacey escorted her to her room and never left. When Jo woke up her body was pressed firmly against Pacey's. She didn't want to move a muscle in fear that it would wake him and he would have to get up and go.

Last night or early this morning to be technical had started off as a bad dream. If this was the mushy ending though she'd take it happily. Pacey turned out to be her Prince last night. They couldn't force themselves to turn off their feelings any longer. Having her life put in immediate danger and seeing Pacey's reaction to it made her incapable of bullshit. There was no choice but to confess she loved him.

This big lovefest was bound to turn into a lot of questions and problems. Jo knew that. For this moment though she chose to ignore that fact and just enjoy what she and Pacey were sharing. She felt Pacey stir and then open his eyes. He looked at her for a moment. Jo gave him a half smile. He pushed a strand of hair out of her face and without a word gently kissed her lips.

"All mornings should start like this one," Pacey whispered as he pulled her closer to him.

"As long as all nights don't start like last." She offered.

"I hate to bring this up now but I have to question you eventually."

"I hate to bring this up but I want to see Ross."

Pacey leaned on his elbow and looked in her face. At first he looked as though he might protest but then stopped. "I assumed you would. Now that we have the business portion of this morning over would you care for some room service?"

"I never could resist $30.00 waffles." Jo gave a smile.

They ordered up a peaceful breakfast. While eating Jo read the Times. Walsh had written an article about her attack last night. He quoted some Agents and NYPD detectives and used Jacobs' name. Jo prayed Ross was innocent and that last night was a big misunderstanding.

"I'm gonna go take a shower..." They both said at nearly the same time.

"Do you want to go first?" Pacey asked.

"What if I'm nice enough to share it with you?" Jo asked with a seductive grin. She figured she didn't have that many great mornings, might as well not let this one go to waste. Jo ran into the bathroom with Pacey hot on her heels.

"Witter, earth to Witter," Wilder snapped in Pacey's face.

He was daydreaming. Remembering how wonderful this morning with Jo had been put a smile on his face and a little bounce in his walk. "What were you saying," Pacey said snapping back to attention.

"Jacobs is in interview one. Think we should go talk to him?" Wilder said.

"I'm right behind you." The two Agents walked into interview one. Ross Jacobs was changed into uniform sweats and tee. He had perspiration on his brow and looked quite tired. "Well I hope you enjoyed your last night of freedom." Pacey sighed as he rolled up his sleeves.

"This is all a misunderstanding." Ross began.

"Yeah, oops. I'm sure you didn't mean to kill thirteen women. You actually were going for fourteen with Joey Potter last night, correct?"

"No, I would never hurt Potter. I was scared. I went to her for help." He tried to explain.

"Why is it that you waited until three a.m. to show yourself if you had been there since five o'clock in the afternoon?" Wilder asked.

"Because when I first got there I was exhausted. I hadn't slept since I found out Jill had died. I went in the guest bedroom. I had remembered it from a party I went to at her apartment. I fell asleep. When I woke up I left the room to find her. Suddenly everything around me went dark. I realized that I shouldn't have been there and I didn't want to scare her. I was trying to make my way to the door when she got up and started to move around. I wanted to stay in the shadows and sneak out." Ross tried to explain as he wiped beads of sweat off his head with the back of his hand.

"So how exactly did you end up on top of her, hands all over her?" Pacey asked ready to pounce on this guy.

"Somehow we fell. I was trying to get her to calm down. I wanted her to know I wasn't going to hurt her." Ross sighed.

"Bang up job you did of that." Wilder glared at him. "At the moment you're going to jail for breaking and entering. Next it's going to be for murder."

"You can't, I didn't murder anyone. Let me talk to Potter. She'll tell you I'm innocent. She has to know that I wasn't there to hurt her."

"She wants to talk to you too. But I wouldn't get my hopes up, you were in her apartment for hours and then you laid your hands on her. You didn't see her last night Jacobs, I doubt you get any mercy." Pacey growled. Ross' eyes were open wide. He got in his face. "Just know that you fucked with the wrong woman. When you talk to her you better play it nice and restrained or you'll have me to deal with."

"Are you threatening me Agent Witter? Did you hear that? Aren't you going to say anything?" Ross asked looking to Wilder.

"I didn't hear anything except for you being uncooperative." Wilder opened the door of the room. An officer stood outside. "Will you escort Mr. Jacobs back to his cell?" The man nodded and led Jacobs out. "You okay?"

"I'll be better when he's off the streets for good. He could have killed her last night man." Pacey rubbed his temples feeling a headache come on.

"But he didn't and he'll never get a chance to."

Joey smiled as she sat back in the cab on the way to FBI Headquarters in the Federal Plaza on Broadway. She was thinking about the morning she spent with Pacey. First she had woke up in his warm, safe arms. Next they made love in the shower until they nearly passed out from the heat and steam. Afterwards they fed each other breakfast, read the paper and fought over watching CNN or MSNBC. Jo won only because she guilted Pacey with the events of the previous night.

Eventually Pacey had to go to work. He had to question Ross about last night. She made him promise that she could speak with him. Jo had a strong feeling that Ross wasn't there to do her harm. She still needed to know why he was there and force him to tell her anything that could help her with this case.

The cab came to a stop and the driver requested 10.17 for the fare. She handed him 13.00 and got out. Once up to the seventeenth floor she was directed to Max Wilder's office. Max and Pacey were sitting and talking. It looked serious. Jo lightly tapped on the door. Both men looked up at her.

"Am I interrupting?" She asked.

"Not at all." Pacey gave her a small smile. "Oh you two haven't really been introduced. Max Wilder this is Joey Potter. Jo this is my old friend Max."

Joey shook his hand. Max stood to greet her. She noticed he was handsome. Although he was losing a little hair and had a bit of a pot belly she could see the remnants of a frat boy. His office had pennants from VMI and some sports awards next to his degree and awards for service in the FBI. She also found a picture of Pacey and Max standing together at their FBI graduation. Pacey didn't look much different. He still had all of his hair, tan as ever with a lean and more muscled body.

"Nice to meet you." He gave her a smile.

"Same here. " Jo flashed one in return.

"Can I get you a cup of coffee or something?" Max asked.

"No thanks. I thought that I could just go and see Jacobs."

"Yeah, he's expecting you. We just finished questioning him about a half hour ago." Pacey said. "You sure you want to do this Jo?"

"Are you sure you want to go parental on me?" She flashed a warning look at him. Max could feel the tension suddenly. Pacey threw up his hands in surrender. "Just asking, don't have to bite my head off. If you follow me, I'll take you to him."

"Thank you." Pacey began to walk down a long hallway. Then they boarded a private elevator where Jo noticed he punched in a security code. "You're holding him here in this building? I thought he'd be at Riker's or something."

"He's a special offender."

"An alleged special offender," Jo corrected him.

"A mere technicality. Anyway, we keep some of the special offenders here until a trial date is set or if they are just being held temporarily. We only have Jacobs right now charged with breaking and entering into your apartment. But he's high risk in another holding situation from other prisoners."

"Forget other prisoners. Living in New York you have to be frightened of the NYPD. Look at that Diallo thing and the other guy they sexually assaulted in the bathroom until he nearly died."

"Thanks for cheering me up Jo. Of all days to bring that up. Any stories about abused children, murdered elderly or tortured animals you'd like to tell me about? Because let me tell you that would just be like sprinkling fairy dust and sunshine on my life," He rolled his eyes.

"You're not allowed to be depressed or upset, didn't you know that?"

"I wasn't aware of that rule. Why am I not allowed to be depressed or upset?"

"Because you have me, because of last night and tonight." She said in a low voice. Pacey looked at her with intense passion. He looped his pinky around hers for a moment. Then the elevator door opened.

"What can I get for you Agent?" A guard asked.

"Prisoner 0678. Ross Jacobs. We're going to his cell." Pacey said. The man gestured to a computer screen type thing. Pacey signed his name and typed in some numbers. "Ready?"

"As I'll ever be."

The guard led them down the narrow corridor. Behind plexi-glass and iron bar barriers were prisoners in a small cell by themselves. They all looked Joey up and down as Pacey led her with his hand on her lower back. She could feel a nicotine attack coming on. This was all too "Silence of the Lambs" suddenly. She could almost hear Hannibal Lecter sucking his chops at the idea of human flesh and it gave her a chill. Dawson would appreciate this type of moment so he could use it in one of his films.

"Oh sh*t." The guard sighed as he punched in some numbers. Pacey went next to him as the barrier opened and the bars slid back.

"Jo stay there," Pacey yelled suddenly. She couldn't though. Joey needed to know what was going on. She ran to the entrance of the cell. That was where she saw Ross hanging from a bed sheet. His face blue, eyes bulging, tongue out. She was able to let out one shriek as she cowered against the back wall.

Despite the way the day had started for Pacey, it was a bad day. Ross Jacobs hung himself five minutes before he had brought Jo to see him. Jacobs had left a note for her. After spending the afternoon listening to excuses on how this could have happened Pacey was finally able to go to Jo's and see if she was okay.

He gave the door of her apartment a few swift knocks. When the door opened there stood Dawson. "Hey," Pacey said. Dawson stepped aside and let him in.

"Hey. Jo is in the kitchen." Dawson said. He was sure something was going on between Joey and Pacey. As usual it was complicated, they were quiet about it but their body language spoke volumes.

"Who is it?" Jo asked wiping her hands on a dishtowel coming into the living room. She saw Pacey and stopped. Jo hadn't really said anything to him after finding Jacobs hanging today.

"It's me. You doing okay?" He asked.

"I'm okay. I spent part of the afternoon with my co-workers who are of course shocked. And then I talked to Ross' mother. That was heartbreaking. Finally her sister showed up while we were on the phone." Jo put the dishtowel down. "So how did that happen? I thought he was under close watch."

Pacey looked to Dawson who was trying to busy himself setting the dining room table. He was putting an extra place down. "I don't know. I've been asking the same questions all day with no real answers Jo. I'm sorry though."

She nodded. "He killed himself Pace. You didn't do it. I just feel a little guilty."

"Don't," Dawson offered finally speaking up. "How could you have known? He broke in here Jo and scared you to death. Was the FBI supposed to ignore that? Most of all none of us really know if he was the killer."

"What are they going to do with the investigation Pace?" Jo asked.

"Nothing yet. We're not sure whether we should close shop on it or not." He sighed. Pacey thought of the letter in his pocket for Jo. She didn't need it now. He would give it to her later or early tomorrow.

"Why don't we put discussion of all of this on hold until after we've eaten dinner," Jo suggested. "Will you stay?" She looked to Pace.

"Definitely, I'm starved."

"Good," Dawson gave a laugh. "I think Jo was expecting the Army to swing by when she put that much pasta on."

"I didn't mean to buy so much. If I don't cook it all now it will go to waste. I went crazy at Balducci's this afternoon. I got the freshest pasta, bread and even one of those great caesar salads that they do."

Within minutes the three were sitting and chatting. It felt like old times. That was exactly what both Pacey and Joey needed. After dinner they all pitched in on the dishes. Dawson had to go back to his hotel as he was leaving early the next morning. Goodbyes were said.

Dawson had been gone for nearly a half hour when Pacey settled down on Jo's couch. She was in the bathroom brushing her teeth and washing her face. He flipped the station on the tv until he found an old musical. The film starred Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly and was called "High Society." He had remembered his mother taking him to see it once at the Rialto on a Sunday afternoon. He left it on.

"So what did you decide on?" Jo asked as she padded out of the bedroom clad in boxers and a baggy t-shirt as she pulled her hair into a ponytail.

Pacey couldn't help but to take a deep breath. She looked so young, like no time had passed. He felt dry mouthed and nervous like he was on a first date with her. "Fluff, pure fluff. No serious storyline. A musical with the wonderful Grace Kelly."

"Who knew you were such a softie?" She smiled. "This is more like something Jack and Will would force me to watch."

"Not up for it?"

Jo took a seat beside him. "No I could use some fluff today." She put her head on his shoulder and allowed her body to curl up next to his. Pacey put his arms around her and they got engrossed in the film.

The story line was simple. High Society unfolds in the aristocratic Newport, Rhode Island, at Jazz Festival time. Tracy Lord, the daughter of a wealthy family, is about to marry the faultless but dull George Kittredge when her ex-husband arrives, accompanied with a magazine's scandal reporters. Tracy tries to confuse the inquisitive journalists but seems to grow more unsure of herself as her wedding approaches.

It wasn't until Grace Kelly a.k.a Tracy Lord and her ex-husband played by Bing Crosby has a memory of being on their boat together that Pacey and Joey got really interested. Surprisingly the boat was called the True Love. They couple had spent their honeymoon on the boat. Kelly and Crosby then sang a duet of a song called True Love.

"You've got to be kidding me," Jo shook her head.

"This must have made quite the impression on me subconsciously. I saw this movie when I was like six. I didn't even remember there was a boat in it." Pacey shook his head thinking of the coincidence that he too had named his boat the True Love. Jo and Pace sat back and listened to the harmonious strains of "True Love."

Suntanned, windblown

Honeymooners at last alone

Feeling far above par

Oh, how lucky we are

While I give to you and you give to me

True love, true love

So on and on it will always be

True love, true love

For you and I have a guardian angel

On high, with nothing to do

But to give to you as you give to me

Love forever, true

Love forever, true

True love, true love

True love, true love

Eventually all ended well. Grace Kelly remarried Bing Crosby after years of apprehension. Content with the happy ending of the picture Joey and Pacey laid side by side and fell sound asleep.

"So how are they?" Jen asked Dawson as she stared out at the water from her front porch. Dawson had called her to talk about Pacey and Jo. Jen and Dawson were keeping in better contact since Bodie's funeral.

"They seem to be doing okay. After Jo got attacked things between them seem almost comfortable dare I say."

"I hope you're right Dawson. Those two need each other, even if they don't know it yet."

"What about you Lindley, what do you need?" He asked sensing some loneliness in her voice.

"Hmm, that's a good question. I need to finish up school so I can get my bachelor's in PR. I need a ton of money to pay off school, assorted bills. I need a night off. And with Pacey gone I need another adult to talk to. Don't get me wrong Chloe's the best but sometimes I need someone else on the same wavelength. If you run into my fairy godmother would you mention the above mentioned to her." Jen sighed.

"Certainly." Dawson smiled to himself. He knew a trip to Capeside was in order and soon.

Pacey and Jo sat at her kitchen counter sipping coffee. Last night had been so great. Pacey didn't want to do anything to ruin it. He knew that he had to give Jo a copy of the letter Jacobs wrote to her. He took the envelope out of his pocket and placed it on the table in front of her.

"What is this?" She asked as she picked it up. The envelope was official FBI stationary.

"We found that. Jacobs wrote it for you. It's only a copy though, we have to keep the original for a while." He said.

Jo nodded. Slowly she opened it and unfolded the letter. Carefully she read through the neatly printed words.


I'm sorry that I went this way. I took the cowardly way out of all of this. We both know though no matter how they find me, guilty or innocent that I will never be looked at the same again. My job is in danger now. What other reputable paper would hire me? None. Basically life would be dark and I'd be wishing it was over.

I will miss my mother. I am positive she will make it through this though. I will also miss you. Of every person I have ever worked with you were my favorite. Potter, you are smart and beautiful. Expect to go far in life. You deserve every story and award that comes your way.

And that is the reason for this letter. I want you to please tell my story. I also want you to have some personal affects I have left in a storage locker (Midtown Storage/Locker 3412B/Password Estella). It's some old books I helped edit. A couple short stories on disk. And embarrassingly enough lots of the articles you wrote and original copy.

Please remember me as you knew me. I hope you won't let what happened last night or things that will be said about me change your mind. Good luck with your life.


Jo fought tears. Ross killed himself because he was afraid how people would look at him in the future. She knew that these charges had to be wrong. When they were proved wrong everyone would see what a tragedy losing a man like Ross Jacobs was.

"I want to go to his storage locker." Jo said as she put the letter down.

Pacey nodded. "I knew you would. Wilder and I are going in this morning. It's standard procedure. We will dust for prints on things, sweep the place for any weapons or explosives. If you want to get finger printed you can come in earlier to look around."

"Okay. I'll do that. When are you going over there?"

"I should be at Midtown Storage in like an hour. So ten a.m."

"I'll go over with you."

Jo and Pace both got up and started their day by showering and getting dressed. Forty five minutes they were in a cab and on the way to the Storage Co.

It was lunchtime before any of the boxes could be sorted through. The whole locker was dusted for prints. The boxes were slowly being dusted for prints and samples of any hairs or fibers were being taken. The process was slow but necessary.

Joey, Max, and Pacey sat in a large evidence room and began to sift through the stuff. The only things they found so far were some boxes of the true crime books that Ross had edited and file folders with clippings on the murders from those books. Eventually they got to the box that contained the articles Jo had written. She smiled as she looked them over and let her gloved fingers brush over them.

"You okay?" Pacey asked her.

"Yeah. It's kind of touching that he cared so much." Jo replied never taking her eyes off of the articles.

"Witter is that laptop all hooked up? This box is full of disks." Wilder shook his head and let out a sigh. "They're labeled but we still have to go through them. This is gonna take forever. We may need some help."

"Good idea." Pacey said as he went for another storage box. Inside were more file folders.

"Wanna split that one up with me?" Jo asked gesturing at the box. He gave her a nod. The two were sitting comfortably sipping coffee next to one another. Every once in a while Pacey would catch a look on Jo's face and let his hand wander over to her back and give her a small pat.

Joey's eyes hungrily scanned the pages between the manilla folders. She needed to know the truth. A part of Joey desperately wanted to prove Ross' innocence. Another part of her was afraid if she could prove he was innocent then the guilt of his death would be doubled. Because she became lost in thought she had to re-read the document before her twice.

"Pace, what is this?" She asked him handing him the pages. Jo couldn't even read it anymore. She put the disk that was beside it in the laptop.

"It looks like Ross was working on a book about the Mama's Boy murders. I can't even imagine where he got all this information. Isn't most of this classified?" Pacey looked to Wilder. Max stood over his shoulder and took a look at the page of notes/outline in Ross' handwriting.

"There are details here that have been sealed, never in public, never. Either he had a really good source or he knows firsthand." Max said.

"You think if he was the killer that he would write a book about it?" Pacey asked.

"I've heard of crazier stuff than that man."

Jo was reading through the manuscript on disk. "Here's the book. Twenty five chapters." Pacey and Wilder went over to her.

A few moments later another agent walked in with some more of the boxes. "You won't believe what's in here. You have to take a look."

Wilder was the first to open up the box. Inside were pictures of the crime scene. Letters from the victims to him and letters he'd written. An old Whitman's Sampler box was sitting on top. Pacey grabbed for it. Jo opened up the folder from the crime lab that had a detailed listing of what the box contained.

"Holy sh*t." Pacey muttered. When Jo looked at him he was in a near trance staring at a large knife. It had a very small amount of dried blood on it. In a crime lab bag in the box was a piece of blue cotton material.

"What is it Pace?" She asked. Wilder stepped back from him.

Pacey inhaled sharply. "It can't be."

"Can't be what?"

"What is the blood type on this knife? What is it?" He yelled a bit impatiently.

Wilder quickly grabbed the file from Joey. He searched for the item number on it. "O negative."

Pacey shut his eyes for a moment. In the background he could hear Jo and Wilder talking. In his mind though he could hear his own labored breathing, all he could see was darkness. Suddenly he was on the floor with the knife easily cutting into his flesh, making him holler in pain.

Joey could see the lost look in Pacey's eyes. She put her hand on his shoulder. It startled him and he jumped. She looked him in the eyes and took his hand. "You can tell me."

"I think, I know that this is the knife he used on me. That is a piece of my favorite Brooks Brothers chambray blue shirt. That bastard kept this. He must have been so proud to have nearly killed an agent." Pacey dropped the knife on the table before them.

Without a word Joey pulled him to her. His head rested on her middle as she ruffled his hair back. Wilder took that as his cue to step out a moment. Pacey was lost and found all at the same time. They'd found the killer, there should be closure. He was conflicted though, he had never gotten a chance to truly confront that man. On the bright side though, Ross Jacobs would be incapable of hurting another living soul again.

Pacey allowed himself to be held tight by Joey. A silent tear rolled from his eye as he tried to let all the anger, frustration and fear drain from his body. He just wanted to feel her, feel love and forget all else.

Joey longed to make him forget the night he nearly died by the hands of someone she considered a friend. In her heart she couldn't feel sorry for Ross anymore. It was Pacey who had suffered. He'd watched innocent women die and nearly died himself. Life was precious, this is one thing that this summer was teaching her. Joey knew in her heart that she would rather die than let anyone hurt this fragile soul again.

There's an old saying that love is blind,

Still were often told, "seek and you shall find"

So I'm going to seek a certain girl I've had in mind

Looking everywhere, haven't found her yet

She's the big affair I cannot forget

Only girl I ever think of with regret

I'd like to add her initial to my monogram

Tell me, where is the shepherdess for this lost lamb?

There's a somebody I'm longing to see

I hope that she turns out to be

Someone who'll watch over me

I'm a little lamb who's lost in the wood

I know I could always be good

To one who'll watch over me

Although I may not be the man some girls think of as handsome

To her heart I carry the key

Won't you tell her please to put on some speed, follow my lead Oh, how I need someone who'll watch over me

There's a somebody I'm longing to see I hope that she turns out to be

Someone to watch over me

I'm a little lamb who's lost in the wood

I know I could always be good

To one who'll watch over me

Although I may not be the man some girls think of as handsome

To her heart I carry the key

Won't you tell her please to put on some speed, follow my lead

Oh, how I need someone to watch over me

Song Credit: "Someone to Watch Over Me" George Gershwin

As Performed by Sting (Sting At the Movies)

"So they're going to close the investigation. The FBI feels they have all that they need." Joey explained to Bessie over the phone.

"What about this Jacobs guy though? I want to know if he was really molested by his mother why would he still be living with her?" Bess asked.

"The FBI psychologist was talking about his dependence on his mothers opinion. She had fully controlled him his whole life from what we can tell."

"Now that's sick." There was a small pause. "How's Pacey doing after all of this?"

"He's kind of distant. This has been the moment he's waiting for. He's wanted to catch the killer so badly. I think he thought it would feel different than it does."

"Give him some time, he'll snap out of it."

"You're probably right." Jo thought back to last night after they had come home from the station. Pacey went back to her place with her. Neither of them were in the mood for much talking. Instead they both had a drink, sat back on the couch and flipped between MSNBC and CNN. Pacey had fallen asleep on the couch and Jo went in to sleep on her bed.

When she got up in the morning Pacey was gone. He left her a short note explaining he had to go to Jack's and get changed, then go over to headquarters. Promises of a call later and dinner were left before his signature. Now Jo was at work. She tried hard to get anything accomplished.

"So what about all these brown outs in the city? You haven't had to deal with any since, well you know." Bess sighed. She didn't even want to say the word attack. It petrified her that she could have lost Jo so soon after losing Bodie.

"No. It's just crazy because of the heat wave we've been having. Everyone is running their air conditioning. It caused a big strain on power supply. We were promised that things should keep running smoothly. But we'll see. It's hotter than hell here again today so that means more of the same."

"Sorry to hear that sis. You just be careful, alright?"

"Of course."

She and Bessie finished their conversation. Joey looked around the office she was once so comfortable in. Walsh had been writing some of the articles lately. Joey was the first reporter to have the full story that Ross Jacobs was indeed the murderer. She was even asked to include a special editorial section.

After writing her articles and having them published Jo thought she would feel better. She didn't though. Jo was still sitting in this office, staring at the walls. After talking to Bess it made her feel as though she wanted to take a vacation, go to Capeside and stay for a while. She'd have to see what was in store for her. Maybe she'd talk to Pacey about it.

"So did we find anything more from the storage locker contents?" Pacey asked Wilder.

"An unidentified print. We're not all that excited about it or anything though. It could be just some random person but the prints were on an important box."

"Are we processing it through anyway?"

"Of course. I'll let you know if we get anything." Max looked at his friend with concern. He thought once Witter was able to put this guy away everything would be easier on him. Jacobs never even gave them the chance. Pacey was left with questions and no answers. "You okay Witter?"

Pacey nodded. "A little tired, a little homesick." He replied.

"Well it's over buddy. I can wrap this up if you really want to get home."

He thought about what Wilder had said. Pacey did want to go home. He wanted to lay in the backyard with Biff, hang out at Leery's with Jen, and watch Chloe play Little Red Riding Hood. Pacey didn't want to go alone though. He wanted to be back in Capeside with Joey by his side. He just wasn't sure how she'd feel about that.

"How do you feel about good old political corruption?" Walsh asked from the doorway of her office.

"Love it. Isn't that what America was founded on." She asked dryly.

"I believe so. I'm pretty close to proving the sanitation director and some city council leaders have taken bribes for the new sanitation contracts in the city."

"Walsh it's an unspoken rule that the New Jersey mafia runs sanitation in New York. I don't know how you'd ever prove it." Jo shook her head.

"Trust me on this Potter. I've talked to some City Hall insiders. We've got to do a little leg work. Think of the payoff if we get this story."

"So why me Walsh? Why would you let me in on such a big story?"

"Jacobs used to help me out with some of the phone calls on a big story. You know how he was, really cool about that stuff." Brandon breathed in deeply as if it pained him to discuss Ross. "Well with him gone I thought that maybe you'd like to give a friend a hand."

"So do a ton of work for none of the glory." She gave a smile.

Brandon returned it. "Pretty much."

"Dinner is on you."


"Witter you've got a phone call." A secretary called into him.

He saw that one of his lines was lit up. Pacey picked up the phone. "Agent Witter here."

"Hey Witter." Jo said.

"Potter, what's going on?" He asked.

"A late night here at the paper. I'm working on a big story."

"Is this your way of blowing me off?"

"Sounds like it. Do you think we can have breakfast tomorrow?"

"I'd love to." He said and then suddenly letting his voice get low and serious. "We should probably talk."

Joey dreaded hearing those words. "Okay. Give me a call in the a.m. We'll meet for breakfast."

"Okay. Until tomorrow." Pacey said at a loss for words. He nearly blurted out, "I love you." Instead he opted for the "safe" response.

"'Til Tomorrow." They hung up.

Jo was still making phone calls and trying to gain some sort of access to bank records for the city council people. She tried spouses and lovers. Then she began to sift through the personal holdings, assets and credit reports for them. A few of the purchases seemed lavish for public servants.

"Find anything?" Walsh asked as he placed their Chinese food in front of them.

"A little but certainly not enough to prove anything." Jo said as she pulled an egg roll out. She and Walsh had been working for hours. It was now 10:30 and nearly everyone had left. They sprawled out on the large conference table while working.

"Want to take a little break while we eat?"

Jo nodded. "Let's before I go blind from all this fine print."

The two were silent for a few moments while they divided up the Chinese food on paper plates. "You know I never got to ask how you were taking all of this."

She looked deep in thought for a moment. "I don't really know how I'm taking it yet. I'm having a hard time getting the fact that Ross wasn't the person I thought he was through my head."

"I know, it's kind of weird. I always thought he was stand up and cool. I could have never fathomed he had that in him." Brandon sighed biting into a piece of broccoli.

"Goes to show that sometime you really don't know people at all. " Jo added. The conversation went a quiet after that as they busied themselves with eating and reading over research for the article.

Pacey was tired. He couldn't stand to be stuck in the office anymore. He had taken off around nine p.m. One of his first stops was at Carmine's for a bourbon and something to eat. Next he had picked up eclairs for Joey. He knew she'd enjoy them after work. Besides the two had serious talking to do about the future. Pacey thought that the pastries might help ease some of the tension.

Who was he kidding? There was nothing in this world, nothing especially at any bakery that could make this discussion any easier. Pacey needed answers from Jo, now more than ever. He had to leave the city and return home. Before that he had to know, were they a couple? Did she love him? Because Pacey was clueless as to what Jo felt. She mastered in keeping her feelings a secret. Pacey could be the exact same way when it came to Joey though. Together they were a giant mystery.

After getting the eclairs he hopped back into the FBI issued car. He headed in the direction of Jo's apartment. The traffic on this particular night was killer. Maybe everyone was out driving around to avoid the heat of their cramped apartments. Pacey turned the cool air up all the way. His cell phone on the seat beside him rang out.

"Witter here."

"Wilder over here. Got a minute?" Max said seriously.

"Sounds serious. Talk to me buddy."

"I think you knew Ross." Brandon said suddenly to Jo.

"I did?"

"You knew a good side of him. He was really your friend. It was obvious how much he cared about you."

"Maybe you're right. But there are so many things about him I don't understand. And the fact that he could kill those women, nearly kill my friend and then just live with himself."

Walsh was looking through some paperwork. Distracted, he said,"You read what he wrote, the killer was misunderstood, only looking for love." As the words escaped Brandon's lips he stopped suddenly and looked to Jo.

Confusion washed over Joey. "Wh, what did you just say?" She asked as she lost her grip on two manilla folders. They crashed to the ground, documents spilling everywhere.

Brandon closed his eyes for a moment and collected his thoughts. "His book, Potter. I'm talking about his book."

"How do you know about that?" She asked edging away from him. Brandon rushed over to the door of the conference room and locked it. Jo stood behind the conference table trying to hold her ground.

"So you want the whole truth now? That's the least you deserve Potter, the least." He said becoming agitated. "I found his true crime book. I didn't know how true it was until I did some digging into Ross' past. He really killed those women in D.C. you know. What a sick bastard."

"Why didn't you tell anyone if you knew?" Jo asked trying to grasp what he was saying.

"Because how would that help me advance myself in my career. I thought of all the ways I could use this information. And I knew what I had was true. I found out who his shrink was. Broke in the office and found his file. Ross came clean to this guy. The shrink of course was under no obligation to say anything because he didn't feel anymore women were in danger. It just took some therapy for the misunderstood serial killer to start to change his ways. Who knew?"

"So how did you use what you knew to advance your career?" She asked suddenly.

"You are my main competition. I needed a story that I had the inside track on. Conjuring up the Mama's Boy killer was brilliant, or so I thought. So I began to pick my victims."

"You what? What do you mean you picked your victims?" Now Jo was plain scared.

Walsh moved in on her. "I mean Jacobs killed those women in DC but I took care of the sluts in New York."

Jo could feel his breath on her face. She was shaking. A smile crossed his lips. A thought crossed her mind, I'm alone here, alone. It was then that the lights blinked out. Another New York blackout. It would serve to help Jo though as she pushed Walsh out of the way and scrambled to unlock the door. As she tumbled out the door he was right behind her. The emergency lights went on quickly.

She made her way to a cubicle to try the phone. No luck. They weren't working. Of all the times to be without her cell phone this was not one of them. She could hear Walsh loudly talking to her.

"It was a genius plan Potter. I just didn't count on you. I couldn't give away details to the crimes. I mean after a while I would be a suspect if I knew that much. So of course you ended up with the Agent and the story. I was at square one."

Jo grabbed for the stapler off the desk. It wasn't the best weapon but maybe it would have to do. Then she slid under the desk to the next cubicle. There she found a letter opener. She could hear Walsh's footsteps going farther away. If she could make it to the stairs she would be okay, she could get out. He was being quiet so he could hear her moves. Jo sat absolutely still.

"Remember when Neiman's got your order wrong? They were from me. The night he was in your apartment, in the dark, just like this night. That night was supposed to be your last. He was sound asleep in your guest room. When he woke up you were going to be dead, gone. And your blood would have been on his hands. I'd have both of you gone. I guess I didn't count on your boyfriends buddies coming to the rescue."

She was listening so intently to every word that she didn't even notice that Walsh was standing in front of the desk she cowered under. Jo saw his shoes. It was then he grabbed her by the hair and pulled her out from under the desk. A scream escaped her. In the struggle she dropped the letter opener.

"Not looking so smart anymore Potter." He gave a laugh. Easily he tied her hands with a phone cord behind her back. "You're ruining my career. You just keep getting all the great stories. Not for long, not for long. When you wrote your article yesterday, you wrote your last brilliant story. The next front page article for the Times will be the one I write on your tragic death."

"And how will you explain that?"

His mouth was practically against her ear when he whispered. "Nothing is more common than a rape and a murder in the park. Just imagine it. Joesephine Potter, successful writer for the Times found sexually assaulted and murdered in Central Park. All I have to say is she went out to get some air, think."

"You won't get away with this." She said. Fear was taking over her body. She fought to stay calm and think clear.

"Sweet Josephine, no worries, I'll make sure it's over quick, quick." He said and then kissed her face softly.

"You did this all to further your career? You have real talent Walsh. None of this was necessary."

"Now I'll have the spotlight Potter. You'll be gone and I'll have no worries." He let his hands roam her body. Jo tried in vain to move away from him. He was behind her and it was then Jo saw the phone cord in his hands. Lightly he let it sit around her throat. "It's not so hard to strangle someone. I had to work hard in the gym, build up some muscles. With little effort and this cord it will take me moments to choke the life out of you. If I put some muscle in it I can break your neck."

Pacey wanted answers. Why were this Brandon Walsh's prints on the storage locker? His prints took forever to match because he'd only committed a misdemeanor in his life. It was a drunk driving charge from when he was in high school.

This Walsh had better have some good answers to his questions. It was as Pacey drove in the direction of Jack's penthouse that the lights went out. New York was in the midst of another blackout. At that moment Pacey decided he would not try to make it all the way to the Times building in the dark without any traffic signals. He pulled the car over and parallel parked.

He tried to call Jo's cell phone. There was no response. Pacey then tried her apartment. Her voice mail switched on. He decided against leaving a message. Where could she be at eleven p.m. He thought he could surprise her tonight with eclairs and chatter but it looked as though he wouldn't be.

Pacey remembered that she was working late on a story. He hoped that she wasn't stuck going home all alone in the darkness from the Times building. Pacey decided to walk to the Times building. It only happened to be three blocks away. In the trunk of the car was a flashlight. The streets were filled with people and police. He made his way carefully but swiftly through the dark streets of Manhattan..

Jo was paralyzed with fear. Brandon Walsh held her life in his hands. Who would be here to save her? She had to rely on herself. Yet her hands were tied behind her. She knew that in moments he would have her in a car and they would be two blocks from here in Central Park. That would be where the NYPD would find her body. It would be poor Pacey who would be left to identify her, call Bessie.

"Stop thinking like you're already dead, Potter." She thought to herself. It was then she tried to free her hands from the plastic phone cord.

"You know I wasn't raised to act out like this. I was always very passive aggressive I guess. Things started going downhill for me lately. Moving to New York, getting this job was great. Having you for a rival hasn't helped though. Ross obviously had a thing for you. Why else would you get all of those great assignments?" Brandon had his back turned. He was looking through his bag.

"I got those assignments because I was a good reporter."

"Yeah, the same way that Tori Spelling chick is a good actress." He spat. "It seems as though you women have always been making trouble in my life. The one I thought I loved, she's running off to marry my best friend. That guy who was like my brother. Ever do anything like that?"

If he only knew, Jo thought. She had once broken up Dawson and Pacey by being the object of both of their affections. It was Pacey who won out though. Eventually he and Dawson were able to put it all behind them.

"So what is Agent Witter to you? Will he cry when they find you?" He asked as he pulled her up out of the chair by the arm.

"He's my friend. Don't worry if he's crying Walsh. He'll figure this out and catch you." Jo could feel the phone cords loosening.

Quickly he grabbed her by the face. Walsh let her go harshly and she crashed into the wall. A small shriek escaped her lips. Jo could feel the pain shoot through her back and her head. "Keep talking Potter and this can be harder than it has to be."

Amazingly enough throwing her against the wall helped her hands come loose. Still she held them behind herself. Brandon pulled her up by the hair. "Start walking Potter, we've got a lot to do tonight." Slowly she made her way toward the stairway. Jo knew this was her chance to get free. She turned on her captor and caught him between the legs with a knee. Before he could compose himself she let her fists come down on his shoulders as he dropped to the ground. Jo began to get away from him quick. He caught her by the ankle and she went down hard on her stomach.

"Let go of me," She screamed as she wriggled and tried to get free of his grasp. When Jo finally got loose of him she was scrambling on her hands and knees towards the stairway. It was there that Walsh jumped on her from behind.

"Come on Potter, cooperate." He was saying as he pinned her arms behind her. Jo was kicking with all of her might. With his free hand Walsh produced a gun. Joey's breath caught in her throat. Her body went limp. "I'm not playing anymore b*tch. This was funny five minutes ago but now that I can see you won't go without a fight." He let the barrel of the gun graze her lips, travel down her neck, the valley between her breasts. It was there that it rested. Brandon allowed himself to leave a few small kisses on her neck. It made her skin crawl.

The kisses also gave her an idea. She let herself sexily writhe against him. A few moans escaped her lips. When he looked her in the face he saw pleasure. Walsh then kissed her lips hard, plunging his tongue into her mouth. Jo bit down hard on the tongue. She could taste the blood and it made her gag. He screamed in pain. The grip on her arms became loose and she was able to knock the gun away. She tried to go for it.

Before Jo and Brandon knew what was happening a figure was standing above him. It broke Jo's concentration and Walsh got to the gun. She was his captive once more.

The security guard at the Times was helpful in directing Pacey up the stairs to Jo's office. The guard didn't remember her leaving. After flashing his FBI badge and promising to sweep that floor for any people he was allowed entry.

The darkness of the stairwell was creepy. The only light was provided by the security lights and a flashlight Pacey had on him. He wondered how long this blackout could last. It took him quite a while to reach the twenty third floor. The whole time he climbed all those flights of stairs he cursed himself for smoking and vowed to quit. The thought of he and Jo, devout smokers making it down all of these stairs together huffing and puffing caused him to laugh out loud.

Once to the door of her floor he heard muffled yells. Pacey pulled the door open only to find a struggle between a man he couldn't identify and Jo. He saw the glint of light that the gun cast. The man now had Jo around the neck and the gun to her temple. Pacey felt his heart drop.

"Hold it, FBI." He yelled with authority. As he did that he flashed the light in Walsh's face immediately recognizing him. Walsh scrambled behind a partition with Jo.

"Agent Witter, you're messing up the works here." Walsh yelled wildly. "And just think you would've been fine had you just left this b*tch to me."

"What do you want Walsh? Why are you doing this?" Pacey thought of possible motivation. "Does it have to do with why we found your fingerprints in Jacobs' storage locker?"

"Give the man a gold star. Boy Agent, you're a smart guy." Brandon mocked him. "Must be why you caught Ross Jacobs on his reign of terror in DC. Oh, that's right you didn't."

"Listen I have no idea what you want. Let Joey go though and the two of us can talk it out."

"Pacey go..."Jo yelled suddenly. A slap was heard.

Pacey was poised in the darkness his gun in one hand, the flashlight in the other. "Tell me what you want Walsh."

"I want the both of you dead of course." He gave a laugh. The laughter turned into a yell as Jo bit his arm. She was able to wiggle away from him. He was hot on her heels. As Pacey took aim at Walsh he dropped the flashlight. Everything was dim, almost impossible to see.

Jo was totally disoriented when she heard the first gunshot. She had no idea where it came from. She fell as a body came down on her hard. Pushing herself up she was relieved to see Walsh falling off of her onto the floor. There was a bullet hole in his forehead. Blood rushed from it and it instantly made Jo want to vomit. Now on her rear-end she slid away from the body.

"Pacey," She called out. "Where are you? It's dark, I can't see." Jo grabbed for the flashlight.

"Right here Jo." He said quietly. Jo flashed the light in the direction of his voice. She was horrified to see Pacey's white shirt covered in blood. He'd been shot in his shoulder.

"Oh my God, you're shot." She shrieked.

"Potter you always had a way of overstating the obvious." He tried to laugh but ended up coughing in pain. Jo reached into his pants pocket and grabbed the cell phone.

"There's an emergency in the New York Times Building, 229 West 43rd Street, Twenty third floor. An FBI agent has been shot in the shoulder. Please come quickly." Jo put the phone down. "Are you okay?"

Pacey nodded. "Are you? Did he hurt you bad?"

"Nothing I couldn't handle." She shrugged it off. In fact Jo couldn't think of a place on her body that wasn't slammed or slapped. She was positive she was covered in black and blues and scrapes. None of that mattered now. Pacey was laying here in a puddle of his own blood during a NY blackout. Panic spread over her. She used her cardigan to apply pressure on his wound.

"My very own Florence Nightingale. Why Jo? Why was Walsh doing this?"

Jo put her finger to his lips to hush him. "Not now. Let's just get you to the hospital."

"Don't leave me, okay? When I was stabbed a few years back I pretended you were with me. If I died the last image I wanted in my mind was you. At least if anything happens now, you're with me."

She wanted so much to cry. "You're not leaving me Witter, you hear me? You have so many years ahead to drive me insane. Got it?" He nodded.

It only took five minutes for a response to her 911 call. Pacey was rushed to the hospital. Brandon Walsh was pronounced DOA.

Pacey had been right. It was going to be a long summer in New York.

"Are you going to stop being such a schmuck and take the damn deal or not? Write your book, publish, become a bestseller and then I can make the movie." Dawson sighed exasperated by his friend of a "million" years.

"You're not going to let this go, are you?" Jo said fighting the urge to light up a cigarette.

"Fat chance. Beside you write this book and you can get out of New York for a while."

"Who said I want to leave New York. I like it here, this is where my place is, my friends, my job." Jo said unconvincingly.

Dawson sighed. He wasn't going to fight with Jo about any of this tonight, he was too tired. "I really want you to do this. I mean I could do the story but then it wouldn't be from your point of view."

Jo relented. "Okay Dawson, okay. I'm signing the contract tonight. You should have it in your hot little hands tomorrow."

"Good. So what about the end? Do I get a happy ending?"

"I thought it was happy. The murderer gets caught, the women of New York are safe."

"Our heroes live and then they, what do they do now Jo?" Dawson couldn't resist asking about her and Pacey.

"Live their own lives. I truly care about Pacey but I can't throw away everything I have here to run back to Capeside. And I never heard him offer to stay in New York. You do know that the FBI offered him a great job." Jo thought back to the events of the previous month.

Pacey had been shot. Thankfully they removed the bullet and he recovered in record time. After that though he was antsy to get home. He missed Capeside and Capeside missed him. The two of them had finally had the "big talk" about where they were going, where they had been. No answers or resolutions came about.

Joey wanted to give in to loving Pacey but she couldn't end up writing for the Capeside Banner. Her life was in New York. Maybe someday she and Pacey would meet up again. She knew he couldn't and shouldn't wait forever though.

When Pacey left for home things were strained. Jo said her goodbyes before he boarded the plane. "I'm going to come and see Bess and Alexander soon. Can I give you a call?"

Pacey looked sad. "I don't know Jo. What will you be calling me for?" She'd hurt him by barely acknowledging the fact that he loved her. Now his defenses were up full force. Pacey Witter was always being hurt by Josephine Potter. It was time for him to put a stop to it.

"Is that the way you want it Pace?" She asked seriously.

He nodded. "I can't put my life on hold for you anymore. You know that is exactly what I did for eight years. I haven't loved anyone the way they deserved to be loved. Hell I haven't allowed myself to be...forget it." He was going to say "allowed myself to be loved the way I deserved."

Both of them stood there, heads bowed, tears in their eyes. The last boarding call came for Pacey's plane. Jo was careful of his arm in the sling as she leaned in and let her lips brush across his.

"Goodbye Pacey."

"Goodbye Jo."

He walked down the ramp to the plane, never looking back once. In an instant Jo was lonely and Pacey's heart was turning to stone once again.

Jo finished up her conversation with Dawson and then went to bed. She flipped the television on MSNBC. The dark wasn't suiting her anymore, since the incident with Walsh during the blackout. Her sleep was cut short by a nightmare. When she woke up she turned on the bedside lamp. Jo was honestly frightened. She knew she had to take action, she reached for the phone.

"You're sure you don't want me to go with you?" Jack asked as he helped Jo pack a suitcase.

"You stay here with Will. I've got to go home and see Bess. Most of all I just have to get out of this city. Everywhere I turn I feel like I'm going to run into Walsh or Jacobs. I need some time." She said folding a sweater.

"You deserve all the time you need. Will you see Pacey while you're home?"

"I doubt he wants to see me." She gave a sigh.

"That can't be true. Pacey Witter has been head over heels for you since the eleventh grade, maybe even before."

"We let each other go Jack, it was time."

"Then the both of you are a**holes." He shot her a look.

"Gee thanks. Remind me why I called you again."

The two continued packing. Jo was back in Capeside later that same afternoon.

Bessie and Alexander picked her up from the airport in their new Volvo wagon. Jo was rather quiet, Bess noticed. That was okay though because Alex's chatter made up for the sisters' Potter lack of talk.

"And so Chloe and I both go to day camp. I'm gonna be in Little Red Riding Hood." He rambled on excitedly. "Sheriff Pacey is gonna tape it. When his arm gets all better we're gonna play baseball too."

"Isn't that nice of him?" Bess asked looking to Jo with a smile.

She forced herself to look happy. "It certainly is."

Bessie knew from Pacey that things had not gone well between he and Jo. Not that he had confided in her but she knew. Otherwise they would still be together, here or in New York. Jo hadn't mentioned his name at all lately. She was now talking about the fact that she was writing a book on what happened in New York with the killers.

The two women unloaded Jo's things and go her settled in. Bess sat on the bed while Jo began to unpack. "So want to talk about it?"

"About what?"

"Pacey. What happened?"

"I definitely don't want to talk about that. I'm so talked out." She sighed.

Bess looked down for a minute. "Yeah well too bad. Spill it little sister."

"Things are complicated between us Bess. I think we both realized that we can't make it work."

"Things are complicated because my dear, you make them that way. Can't make it work? Well you better. You're twenty six years old Jo and you're alone and you're miserable. The only time I've heard you remotely happy in the last couple years was while Pacey was with you in New York. I say you better do whatever you can to keep him Jo."

"We broke it off Bess. I'm not going to go running back like some silly schoolgirl. I do have my pride."

"Pride? That's worth giving up Pacey for? Pride won't keep you warm at night or read you poetry by the creek. Pride won't make you a bride or father your children. Someday when you're old and gray Jo, pride won't sit beside you on the porch, holding your hand, still seeing a vibrant seventeen year old girl in your eyes. Little sister, stubborn pride like you have will eventually leave you empty and full of regret. So someday when that's all you have and you say, 'At least I've got my pride' it'll be a hollow victory."

Jo looked down at her hands. "So you're telling me love has no pride."

"That's exactly what I'm telling you."

"I don't think we have a chance Bess. Pacey and I are truly over, I don't think we can go back."

"You don't get it, do you? God is giving the two of you a second chance. One or the both of you could have been killed by that madman. Instead here you are. Now you're squandering a chance most people would give anything for." Jo saw the pain flash in Bessie's eyes. "Take the chance Jo because you might not get anymore."

In a small voice Jo said, "What if he says no."

"So what if he does? Then you'll have to try again until he says yes. Go make a fool of yourself for love kiddo."

"I don't know Bess. I have to think about this."

Bess stood and gave Jo a hug. "Time is flying by, don't spend too much time thinking." Quietly Bess made her exit.

It was sometime after three a.m. when Joey fell asleep. Although it had taken forever for her to fall asleep it had been the most peaceful sleep she'd had since the whole thing with Walsh.

Jo woke up just after noon hour. She felt refreshed and ready to start the day. When she got out to the kitchen she poured herself a cup of coffee. It was by the coffee pot that she found a note.


Alex and I are at Mitch and Gale's picnic. (I know I told you about this yesterday!) Well get yourself dressed and meet us out on the Leery's lawn for food and fun. The whole gang is going to be here (including a special friend of yours).

See ya soon, Bessie

Jo felt some panic creep into her bones. She didn't want to deal with Pacey. The idea of being around him made her nervous. Bessie's voice echoed in her ears though, "Time is flying by, don't spend too much time thinking."

"Be aggressive." Jo looked around for the source of that inspirational phrase. She realized that it came from her own mouth. "You're going to turn your life upside down." Jo sighed as she poured the coffee out and placed the cup in the sink. "And you're going to do it today."

With that Jo marched off to her room.

"Can I make you a plate?" Mrs Ryan asked Pacey.

"Thanks Mrs. Ryan but that's not necessary." He gave an appreciative smile.

"Come on Pace, let us baby you a little." Jen said as she looked to his arm. He now had some motion in it and it was out of the sling.

"What will I do with the two of you?"

"Enjoy this while it lasts. I'll be right back with your food." Mrs. Ryan was off.

Jen and Pacey were talking when he noticed Alexander. The little boy ran fast in his direction.

"Hey buddy," Pacey said happy to see him.

"Hi Sheriff Pacey. Is your dog here?" Chloe and Alex had become very good friends with Biff while Pacey was away.

"Sorry guy, he's at home. I think old Biff is kind of tired."

"So is Aunt Jo. She's home in bed."

"She is?" Pacey asked. He had no idea Jo had come home.

"Yup." He nodded.

Bessie approached them. "Alex why don't you go find Chloe and play."

"Ok. Bye." He waved at Jen and Pacey.

"So Joey's home?" Jen asked.

"Yeah, New York was driving her a little insane."

"Oh really. Last I heard she loved New York, refused to leave." Pacey said with more bitterness than he intended.

"Hang in there Pace. Promise me you'll give my baby sister a chance?"

"We've used up all of our chances. Jo's done with me."

"Keep the faith Sheriff Witter, keep the faith." Bessie said.

"I'll try. If you ladies' will excuse me I believe Mitch has a brew over there with my name on it." Pacey began to make his way over to Mitch by the coolers.

"PACEY WITTER, ATTENTION PACEY WITTER," A voice boomed from the direction of the creek.

Pacey looked around. Suddenly Alex pointed and yelled, "It's Aunt Jo."

When Pacey looked out to the creek he saw her. Jo was standing in the row boat near shallow water. She held an oar up in one hand looking like some sort of warrior. In the other hand she held a bull horn.

"Pacey Witter, I'm not leaving until you hear me out."

"What are you doing?" he shouted back at her.

"I'm being a fool for love!" She smiled wide. Jo was going to sit so she could paddle closer. Instead she lost her footing and ended up in the water. Jo left the boat and began to swim toward shore.

He was stunned for a moment. Before he knew it he was running into the water fully clothed. A soaking wet Joey emerged in the thigh high water. The two stood staring at each other.

"Are you going to explain that grand gesture?" He asked.

"Do you really need me to spell it out for you Witter?" She asked. He nodded afraid this was a dream or a misunderstanding. "I love you, you big jerk. I love everything about you. I don't want to be alone anymore."

Pacey pulled her close to him. "Do you know how long I've been waiting to hear you say that?"

"Too long." They kissed. Applause rang out from family and friends.

Later that night Pacey held Jo close. They let soft music play on the stereo as they danced in the moonlight. Neither of them realized dancing under the moon, what great things life had in store for them. The two would spend the rest of the summer/early fall on a small yacht. The yacht was a gift from Dawson. Joey and Pacey sailed the True Love II to many different ports. On the boat Pacey helped Jo write her best seller.

That spring when the book was published and a screenplay was developed, the two had other things on the brain. The True Love II sailed again but this time with family and friends aboard. The Florida Keys was their destination. At sunset on the water, the two lovers became one, Mr and Mrs. Pacey Witter.

Love and happiness were in the air. Jen and Chloe moved with Dawson to California. He and Jen had rekindled their romance. Things were well for them.

The summer of their twenty sixth year was both horrible and wonderful. The book and the film captivated the world. The story intrigued their children and later their grandchildren.

It amazed Pacey and Joey how the dance that had begun in the moonlight on Pacey's deck that night would stretch across their lives. It seemed from that moment on they never let go. It was in each other's arms that they made home.

I had a good life

Before you came

I had my friends and my freedom

I had my name

Still there was sorrow and emptiness

'Til you made me blessed

Oh and this love

I've found strength I never knew I had

And this love

Is like nothing I have ever known

Take my hand, love

I'm taking you home

Taking you home

There were days, lonely days

When the world wouldn't throw me a crumb But I kept on believin'

That this day would come

And this love

Is like nothing I have ever known

Take my hand, love

I'm taking you home

Taking you home

I'm taking you home

Where we can be with the ones who really care

Home, where we can grow together

Keep you in my heart forever

And this love

Is like nothing I have ever known

Take my hand, love

I'm taking you home

Taking you home

Yes I am

Taking you home, baby

"Taking You Home" Don Henley (from, Inside Job)