Just between friends
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Eight: The best of enemies

Pacey stayed at the hospital until late that night, as he and Doug continued to catch up after so long. He couldnít believe how well they were getting on, now that there were no secrets and lies between them. Doug was being discharged first thing in the morning, so Pacey was up early again to make sure he was there. Since his brother was planning to go straight to Providence from the hospital, Pacey thought they could make the trip together so they could spend more time with each other. Doug was a little surprised to see him when he arrived at the hospital though, just as he was being discharged.

"Pacey, what are you doing here?" Doug finished signing a few forms, flashing the nurse his best woman-killer smile. What a deceptive grin, Pacey thought, no wonder he hid his predilection from their father for so long.

"I thought Iíd surprise you and see if you want a ride to Providence," he replied cheerily. He grabbed Dougís bag from the floor as they started to walk out of the hospital together. "You know, make it a good old fashioned road trip."

"Thatíd be great, Pace, but Iíve already got a ride." Doug sighed regretfully, hoping Pacey wouldnít take it personally.

"Oh, okay, no problem," he said lightly, hiding the disappointment in his voice. "Iíll see you next weekend when you come to get your stuff from the apartment."

"Okay. Hey, did you bring the clothes and junk I asked for? I gotta get out of these sweats."

"Yeah, hang on, itís all in the truck."

Pacey trotted over to it and started pulling out the boxes. While he doing this, a black jeep pulled up beside them, prompting Doug to smile. A young handsome man got out and return the greeting.

"You all set?" the man asked, pulling off his sunglasses.

"Yep, just about. Um, Adam, this is my brother Pacey. Pacey, my friend Adam."

Pacey put down the box heíd been holding and looked at his brotherís boyfriend, the one giving him a ride to Providence. He put out his hand and shook Adamís, trying his best not to appear too awkward. It was something he was going to have to get used to, thatís all.

"Hey."

"Nice to meet you, Pacey. You want some help loading these up?" The two of them stowed Dougís stuff in the back of the jeep. Once that was done, there was no excuse for them to stay any longer. No one said it, but the thought of John Witter arriving unexpectedly at the hospital was incentive enough to leave immediately.

"Okay, hereís the address and number of Adamís apartment in Providence," Doug said, after Adam said goodbye and withdrew into the driverís side. "If you need anything, you just give me a call, all right? Iíve warned Dad to leave you the hell alone, so if he starts bothering you in anyway weíll do something about it."

"Thanks, Doug."

"And if you need to get away from Capeside for a while, we have a couch ready and waiting."

Pacey was suddenly overcome with sadness that Doug was actually going away so soon after they had mended things between them. He admitted to himself that it wouldíve been nice to have his big brother around for a while.

"So, Iíll see you next weekend?" Doug asked, unable to hide his eagerness to get going.

"Yeah, next weekend. Iíll make sure everythingís packed up."

"No pinching my clothes and CDs!"

"Come on, Dougie, Iím not much of a Streisand fan, and musicals never did much for me. Iíd say your music collectionís pretty safe."

"What can I say, itís not my fault you havenít got taste!" Doug grinned and tousled his hair. Pacey suddenly stepped in and wrapped his arms carefully around his brother and gave him a quick hug. Doug felt a sharp pain in his injured ribs but he didnít care.

"Thank you for everything, Dougie," Pacey whispered.

"Thatís what big brothers are for. It was about time I remembered that." Doug pulled away and slapped Pacey on the arm. "Call me, all right?"

"Sure thing."

Doug opened the jeep door and was half way in before he turned back, looking slyly at Pacey. "And I think itís time we had a little chat about Joey, okay? I have a feeling thereís something youíre not telling me there."

"What, Doug? Where friends, thatís all," Pacey stammered, embarrassed that Doug could see the truth behind his feelings for her.

"Friends, eh? That why she followed you here to Hyannis?" Doug smiled at him and motioned over to the figure approaching the steps of the hospital. Joey spotted them staring at her, and she stopped in her tracks. Doug began to chuckle. "You've got a lot to learn about women, kiddo."

"Like youíd know," Pacey retorted sarcastically. Secretly he was thrilled to see her suddenly appear like that.

Doug continued to laugh as he got in the jeep and shut the door. With a small splattering of stones, the car pulled away. Pacey watched them go, then turned his attention to Joey who had started over the hospital lawn to him.

"Itís Saturday, why arenít you at work?" he asked brightly.

"I took the day off. I figured I deserved it," Joey answered. Then she remembered she was supposed to be annoyed at Pacey. "Where on earth have you been? I havenít seen you since yesterday, and I tried calling all over but I couldnít find you."

"God, Jo, Iím sorry, I didnít think. I was here really late talking to Doug and then came back so early that I didnít think to call. Iím really sorry."

Joey accepted his sincere apology quicker than she meant to. "I was just worried, thatís all. I figured this was where you must be so I got the busÖ Just wanted to make sure that everything was okay."

"Everything is great. In fact, I have a feeling that things are going to be okay from now on." Pacey grinned at her, his old carefree grin that she hadnít seen in a long time. Joey raised an eyebrow curiously, but Pacey just held out his hand to her. "Come on, Iíll explain on the way back to Capeside."

Joey accepted his hand and smiled, relieved to see that something good had happened to Pacey for once. If anyone deserved it, he did.

 

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