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  03x10 - First Encounters of the Close Kind
 Posted: 01/01/00 19:24
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First Encounters Of The Close Kind #310

Original Air Date: December 15, 1999

(Leery Residence - Dawson is working on his Witch Island documentary)

Grams: (on screen) And what happened there is proof positive that the good Lord doesn't take lightly to those who dabble in the black arts.

(Joey tosses an overnight bag through the window and climbs in.)

Dawson: Nice entrance.

Joey: (noticing what Dawson is working on) Dawson, isn't there a limit on the number of times a person can watch their own movie?

Dawson: I… I've gotta be prepared. We've got a Q & A session after the screening.

Joey: Ooh, 'The Screening'. How Sundance.

Dawson: Let's not blow this completely out of proportion, shall we?

(Dawson kinda avoids Joey's glance.)

Joey: What's the matter?

Dawson: Nothing.

Joey: Could it be...?

Dawson: What? (he starts packing a bag)

Joey: Dawson Leery, the gifted, young, self-motivated hauteur; Capeside's own Spielberg and wonder, can be nervous?

Dawson: Yeah. Yeah, of course I am. I mean, it's, you know, it's one thing to be a big fish in the small pond that is Capeside…

Joey: But entirely another to swim in the talent pool with hundreds of your egocentric competitors.

Dawson: Exactly. And thank you for that gut-wrenching visual.

Joey: Now I may be a little biased here, because, well, let's face it, I am one of the stars of the movie, but, it's really good. I mean, look at it this way… for better or worse, this experience will only take you one step closer to realizing your dreams. Besides, you don't have to spend an entire weekend with a complete stranger.

Dawson: It is kind of cruel and unusual.

Joey: Yeah, well, I signed up for the College tour, and they pair you off with one of the students. Those are the rules.

Dawson: Are you nervous?

Joey: Yeah. But in a good way. I mean, I know we're just visiting, but this trip kinda gives me hope. Maybe one day I will make it out of here.

Dawson: Hey Joey, it never once crossed my mind that you wouldn't make it outta here.

Joey: It's easy for you to say, Dawson.

Dawson: Come on, Jo, look at the original impulse, look at this weekend as an adventure. Alright, I mean this is… this is our first fore into the real world. You know, this weekend could be a glimpse into the rest of our lives.

Joey: Or, it… it could be the weekend when all of our hopes and dreams just come crashing down around us, I mean, forcing us to withdraw from mainstream society and spend the rest of our days as these cynical embittered shadows of our former selves. It's just a thought.

(Cambridge University - Dawson, Joey, Andie, and Jack are strolling past the buildings.)

Dawson: I feel like Richard Dreyfuss from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. You know, the director's cut where he finally boards the mother ship and meets with the aliens.

Joey: News flash, Dawson. We are the aliens.

Jack: So, what're you thinkin', sis?

Andie: These students enjoy the distinction of attending America's finest college. Founded in 1626, it was named after a British colonist who ended up donating his entire collection of books. And the original faculty teaching here in the colonial wilderness could hardly have imagined that… that over the next three centuries it would become known throughout the world as a premier center for teaching and research.

Dawson: (laughing) You should write for the catalogue.

Jack: Ahh. It is the catalogue, Dawson. I think she sent away for it when she was about nine.

Andie: Class of 2005, baby, early admissions. I'm gonna ace this interview.

Joey: Well, I better go meet my room-mate. (reading from a piece of paper) Uh, A.J. Moller.

Andie: Joey, you are gonna have a blast. I took the junior tour last year.

Joey: As a sophomore?

Andie: Early bird gets into college.

Dawson: What are you doing, Jack?

Jack: Uhh, just hang out, I guess, do the tours thing.

Dawson: (looking at his watch) Well, it is about that time.

Jack: Yep.

Andie: I am so psyched.

Joey: Me too, me too.

Andie: OK, bye.

Joey: Bye.

Dawson: Bye.

(They all go off in different directions. Inside a building - Dawson walks over to an African-American girl who is working behind a desk in the film festival lobby.)

Dawson: L- double E-R-Y.

Nikki: First name?

Dawson: Dawson.

Nikki: (reaching for Dawson's film) Movie please.

(Dawson hands her his film reel.)

Nikki: Which category, comedy or drama?

Dawson: Documentary. Well, actually more of a…

Nikki: Date of birth?

Dawson: Uh, three, fourteen, eighty-three.

Nikki: Uh, favorite director?

Dawson: Spielberg.

Nikki: (looking up at him) You're kidding?

Dawson: No.

(She looks almost embarrassed. She takes Dawson's film reel over to another table as he follows.)

Nikki: Steven Spielberg. Undoubtedly a gifted film maker, but I mean, come on, where's the edge?

Dawson: The edge is… fleeting. Heart lasts forever.

Nikki: Say 'cheese'?

(She takes his picture.)

Nikki: OK, sign here, and here.

(Dawson does so.)

Nikki: This card will get you into the screening. You didn't fill out a synopsis.

Dawson: Not enough room. You see, uh, my film started out as a documentary, chronicling the history of this so-called island which was thought to be haunted, but…

Nikki: Another Blair Witch Project. Gotcha. (walking away) Good luck. Next!

(In the Dorms - Joey approaches a room with the number 381 on the door and knocks. After no one replies, she opens the door and finds a guy sitting on his desk with an iBook in his lap.)

Joey: Excuse me.

A.J.: Shh!

Joey: I'm sorry, I just…

A.J.: Shh, shh, shh, just a second.

(Joey waits impatiently until the guy finally acknowledges her.)

A.J.: Yes, what is it?

Joey: I'm looking for A.J Moller, is this her room?

A.J.: No, this is not HER room.

Joey: She's supposed to be my room-mate for the weekend; junior tour. Do you have any idea where I might find her?

A.J.: Nope.

Joey: OK, well, the number on my information card says 'Room 381'.

A.J.: I'm certain it does.

Joey: And this is Room 381?

A.J.: You betcha!

Joey: And you can't tell me where to find A.J Moller?

A.J.: I didn't say that. What I said was I didn't know where you could find HER. Him, I can point you directly to. I'm A.J Moller. That must make you (reading off a card) Potter comma Joseph. I guess our gender ambiguous names have fostered a precarious situation.

Joey: To say the least.

A.J.: Before you start crying and calling home, I promise to give you one of the beds. And if… if you're really nice, I'll even leave the light on for ya.

Joey: I'm not staying here. I mean, this is not what I signed up for, OK? I'm supposed to be spending the weekend with someone who's going to show me what college is like, tell me what to expect. Someone…

A.J.: With ovaries?

Joey: Yeah.

A.J.: Listen, Jo, Joseph?

Joey: It's Josephine. Joey.

A.J.: Joey, listen. This is what college is like. Guys and girls living together, mostly in harmony. I mean at Columbia, they even have co-ed bathrooms. And if you're not up for that, maybe you should be visiting women's colleges instead.

Joey: (tossing her bag to the floor) Look, maybe you're right. There's really no reason two people of the opposite sex can't spend one night together in the same room.

A.J.: That's my girl. Now, if you don't mind, (with an Indian chief voice) Bigum college boy have important paper to write. Little high school girl take long walk around the campus.

Joey: You're kicking me out?

A.J.: You're kicking yourself out, so I can have two more hours of unadulterated silence.

Joey: That's not…

A.J.: Careful, careful. Say 'fair' and you'll really be showing your age. Oh, and uh, Potter comma Joseph, shut the door on your way out. Otherwise I'm gonna have those idiot Econ majors playing Nerf basketball down the hall.

(Joey grabs her bag and slams the door on her way out. Out on campus - Andie walks over to Jack who is reading a book. When he sees her approach, he hides the cover from her.)

Andie: Hey, what you got?

Jack: Uhh… just uhh, you know, a guidebook to Boston.

Andie: Oh. OK, tell me you are not going off in search of Thoreau's butt-print at Walden Pond?

Jack: No, I hadn't planned on that.

Andie: Hey, you know what you should do? I heard there's a really great art museum around here. You should go check it out.

Jack: OK, maybe I will.

Andie: OK. Well, I gotta go. Bye.

Jack: See ya.

(Once Andie is gone, Jack opens the book back up, reveal it to be "The Pink Pages" - a guide of homosexual entertainment and services. Admission's Office - Andie walks in and over to the Dean's secretary.)

Andie: Hi. I'm Andie McPhee.

Fran: (looking at a list of names on a sheet of paper) Mmm. Spell the last name, please.

Andie: M-C-P-H-E-E.

Fran: It says here that your appointment isn't until March. Either there's something wrong with my calendar, or you've got a very long wait.

Andie: Well, uh, Mrs (looking at name plate on her desk) Boyd…

Fran: Call me Fran.

Andie: Great. OK, well, my dad, Joseph McPhee, is an alumnus, class of '72. And he always said, if you want something badly enough, make sure you're first in line.

Fran: A daddy's girl, huh? Me too, God rest his soul.

Andie: So, you think maybe you could squeeze me in?

Fran: Not a chance.

Andie: But, uh, I just want five minutes with the Dean, that's all.

Fran: The thing is, everyone else here has an appointment. Today.

Andie: Uh-huh. Well, do you think something might open up?

Fran: Would you cancel your university interview at the last minute? You see my point?

(Andie walks off. Film Screen Auditorium - Dawson is sitting amongst all the other film applicants watching his Witch Island documentary. People scoff at it to each other, and criticize it amongst themselves. Dawson sits around awkwardly, realizing it's not going over well. When the film ends, only a couple people clap slowly.)

Student: Been there, seen that. (to her friend) Where do you want to go eat?

(An announcer gets up on stage as people stream out of the auditorium.)

Announcer: Uh, ladies and gentlemen, if anyone has any questions or comments, uh, the film maker will be glad to, uh, answer them for you.

(Dawson sinks down into his seat.)

Announcer: Mr Leery? (some people start to look around as Dawson prays to be swallowed whole by his seat) Dawson Leery, can you step up here please.

(Dawson finally gives in and walks onto the stage.)

Dawson: Hi (he speaks too loud and close to the mic so feedback echos through the auditorium.) Oops.

(Some people laugh as the announcer whispers something in Dawson's ear.)

Dawson: Sorry. Uh, I'm Dawson Leery. Um, does anyone, um, have any questions, or...?

(He searches the faces in the crowd for any sort of reaction.) Girl: Yeah.

Dawson: (relieved) Yes, question!

Girl: Where's the Joey chick? Is she here? She is hot!

(Outside the Auditorium - Dawson is walking off when Nikki stops him.) Nikki: Dawson. Are you all right?

Dawson: (snapping at her) Fine.

Nikki: These screenings, they can get pretty brutal when the lights come up.

Dawson: I can handle that. I mean, so what if my movie's not hip enough to rouse the interest of these pseudo-intellectual art-house snobs.

Nikki: On the bright side. At least no-one threw things.

Dawson: Thank God for small favors. (he starts to leave.)

Nikki: You are upset.

Dawson: Wouldn't you be?

Nikki: I'm sorry about what happened in there, I really am. But in light of The Blair Witch Project, I don't know what you were thinking.

Dawson: What?

Nikki: Riding the coat-tails of some absurdly successful cultural phenomenon is simply not gonna cut it. I mean…

Dawson: Before you eviscerate my work any further, why don't you at least tell me your name?

Nikki: Nikki. Nikki Greene.

Dawson: Nice to meet you, Nikki.

Nikki: Take this Joey character for example. I mean, who is she, and… and what does she mean to you? Are you friends? Lovers? What? Nothing was clear. More troubling was that you didn't seem to understand that that was the most interesting part of your story.

Dawson: Well, aren't you perceptive?

Nikki: Don't patronize me. I'm trying to give you an honest assessment here.

Dawson: Well, excuse me, but it's not every day that I'm subjected to an unsolicited note session from…

Nikki: A volunteer? Paper-pusher? My position and altruism has to validate my opinion? Well next time I'll stick to what I know more carefully.

(She walks off. At a bus stop - A bus pulls up and before Jack can climb aboard, two men holding hands climb aboard. Jack hesitates boarding because of this.)

Driver: Well, are you in or out?

(Jack boards the bus and sits. Cambridge Campus - Joey walks through campus and finds Dawson sitting on a bench. She joins him.)

Joey: Dawson! Hey.

Dawson: Hey.

Joey: How'd the screening go?

(Looks down, obviously upset.)

Joey: Come on, it couldn't have been that bad, could it?

Dawson: It was an unmitigated disaster.

Joey: What do those hipper-than-thou film brats know anyway?

Dawson: Maybe they're right.

Joey: Come on. You don't mean that.

Dawson: You know, maybe the problem with having such a big dream is... you never stop to question whether or not you have the talent to back it up. What if I… I just simply don't have what it takes to be a great filmmaker?

Joey: Dawson, I've been there from the beginning. To most people, movies are just a way of passing time, but I was there that day that… that they became something more to you. The day you decided to pick up your parents camcorder and make a movie of your own. The day that you said for the first time out loud that you were going to be a film maker. I've had the privilege of watching you take this dream and make it a reality. And you know what? I'm really proud of you.

(Joey puts her arm around Dawson. The Admission's Building - Andie sits waiting for Fran.)

Fran: You. How'd you get in here?

Andie: Janitor. Don't worry, I… I didn't touch anything. But, I brought you dessert.

Fran: (laughing) And I thought I'd seen it all.

Andie: Well, I thought I'd be here, you know, in the off chance that Dean Hardgrove got back early, and then I could, well, you know...

Fran: You've got chutzpah, I'll say that much for you.

Andie: So, is he back yet?

Fran: He's a notoriously late luncher.

(Andie looks sad.)

Fran: What's the matter?

Andie: Nothing.

Fran: Do you know how many kids I have? Seven. You know how many went to this university? Zero. Didn't seem to bother them much.

Andie: So you don't think I'm gonna get in?

Fran: Oh, I gave up a long time ago trying to figure out who they're gonna accept.

Andie: So, you had seven kids?

Fran: Two are doctors, um, one's an investment banker, whatever that is. The three girls are married and one didn't go to college. Plays horn in a jazz band downtown. Which do you think is happiest?

Andie: OK, so what you're telling me is avoid medical school and Wall Street, don't get married, and... skip college.

Fran: What I'm saying is whether or not you attend this distinguished university will have little or nothing to do with what kind of person you turn out to be, or whether you find fulfillment in your life.

Andie: Hmm.

Cambridge Lecture Hall - Joey sits among other students with A.J. enters and comes over to her.)

A.J.: Freshman English, huh? A good one to visit.

Joey: Don't tell me you're in this class?

A.J.: Kinda.

Joey: (reaching to move her bag off the seat next to her) You wanna sit?

A.J.: Uh, no, I can't.

Joey: So I, uh, I guess this professor's really late?

A.J.: No, he's not coming. They do that a lot. And then some poor schmuck undergraduate teaching assistant has to come in and try to rally the troops for what's called (to the whole class) discussion session!

(A.J. walks down to the teacher's desk and addresses the class.)

A.J.: Hi, guys. Professor Taylor is at some semiotics conference in Seattle, so you're stuck with me, again. Now we have a lot of visiting high schoolers in our midst today, so I thought we'd take a break from our ongoing 'great books' discussion, and ask some of them what books they consider great. (pointing to Joey) How about you. In the cheap seats. Brown haired girl.

Joey: What's my favorite book?

A.J.: You read, don't you?

Joey: Little Women.

A.J.: Louisa May Allcott. Interesting. Now I haven't read that since I was... ten or so. As far as I remember it's sort of a less successful version of Jane Eyre. Something about a girl with a boy's name?

Joey: The girls name is Jo. She has three sisters, a mother, a father who's usually not around and when he is he's very impractical, and he's not the greatest at providing the material things in life.

A.J.: That's right. They're poor, but they have each other. And there's something to do with a boy next door. Yeah, it's all coming back to me. OK, so Little Women. Perennial American classic, yes, but great book? Worthy of inclusion in the literary canon? What do we think people?

Student 1: No way. This book is completely anti-feminist in spirit.

Student 2: I concur. I mean, the heroine supposedly burns with this artistic genius, but ultimately she gives up all of her dreams, gets married and starts popping out babies.

Student 3: Alcott's a minor writer. Most of what she wrote, she wrote purely for money.

A.J.: And what's the lesson here? That we can't say a book is great simply because we identify with the hero or heroine.

(Joey is walking down the steps when A.J. catches up to her.)

A.J.: Joey, wait.

Joey: Why, so you can sic one of your little over-educated minions on me? Try again.

A.J.: Admittedly we were a little harsh.

Joey: I concur.

A.J.: You said you wanted the college experience.

Joey: Don't be so glib. What you did in there was insensitive. You hardly know me, A.J. Maybe I am just some naïve little high school girl, but I was actually looking forward to getting a… a taste of the fun part of the college experience, not just that mean, bitter part. Do you spend so much time staring at that iBook that you've forgotten that part even existed?

A.J.: Sorry. How about we start over? Give me chance to show you what college is really all about. What do you say?

(Film Auditorium - everyone, including Dawson, is spellbound by the movie playing.)

Guy: (to Dawson) Have you got any idea who shot this? It's on another level, is what I think.

(As the film ends, the entire audience claps and cheers.)

Announcer: Let's get the gifted young filmmaker up here, shall we?

(Everyone stands and cheers as Nikki takes the stage. Dawson is embarrassed and confused.)

(Film Screening Lobby - Dawson walks over to Nikki who is getting candy out of the vending machine.)

Nikki: Dawson!

Dawson: Hey.

Nikki: I need a sugar fix after all stressful experiences. (taking the candy from the vending well) Finally.

Dawson: Stressful? Come on, that was a love-fest.

Nikki: Don't sound so overjoyed.

Dawson: Don't be falsely modest.

Nikki: If it had been the other way around, I would have enjoyed your success.

Dawson: So you're not only a better film maker than I am, you're a better person.

Nikki: Look, can we start over again?

Dawson: Yeah, lets.

Nikki: So, what did you think of my film? Really. Constructive criticism only, please.

Dawson: I, uh, I thought your film was… was technically accomplished.

Nikki: Technically accomplished. That sounds like a nice dismount off the balance beam.

Dawson: Well, it's better than derivative. Or unclear. Or not understanding your own material.

Nikki: OK. Maybe I was a little insensitive in my comments. I'm sorry.

Dawson: Duly noted. Now, you never mentioned, before, that you were entered in this film festival. Why not?

Nikki: I don't lead with my chin, Dawson. You can get hurt that way.

Dawson: That you can. Well, um, you seem to have really knocked them dead. Congratulations.

(Dawson walks off. In an outdoor Patio - Fran and Andie sit drinking coffee.)

Andie: I think I'm gonna write about her.

Fran: For your application essay?

Andie: 'Who's the one person who influenced you most, and why?'

Fran: You should. It might help you organize your thoughts about her.

Andie: I remember one day, it was about six months after the accident, I found her by a creek. She was just sitting in the water, her blouse was soaking wet and... her hair was flustered in strands across her face. It was like she didn't know where to go or what to do. I don't think I'll forget that image as long as I live.

Fran: Do you mind if I lay a dose of truth on you?

Andie: Sure. After I spoke my deepest, darkest secrets, why not?

Fran: One. Always wear sensible shoes. If your feet are killing you, you can't think straight.

Andie: (smiles) OK. And two?

Fran: Let yourself off the hook for things over which you have no control. Just because your mother couldn't get past your brother's death, doesn't mean you have to beat yourself up for making peace with it. I'm sorry, I shouldn't be sticking my big nose in.

Andie: No, no, I was just thinking something. Maybe when your mom starts to lose her mind, you sort of do to, you know, as a way of trying to understand what she's going through. This is so weird, I mean incredible even, that I'm sitting here, in Cambridge with…

Fran: A sixty year old, career secretary? Well, one thing I learned a long time ago… life can surprise you, in a thousand different ways.

(Cambridge Hallway - A.J. and Joey walk along.)

Joey: You know, as much as I appreciate you willingness to spend time with me, I've gotta ask, where are we going?

A.J.: You'll see.

(A.J. takes Joey into some room with a lot of books.)

Joey: OK, what is this place?

A.J.: A rare book and manuscript library.

Joey: Are we supposed to be in here?

A.J.: What's the matter? You afraid the library police are gonna come snatch us up? I wanted to show you something.

(A.J. pulls a box down from a high shelf.)

Joey: What?

A.J.: Have a seat.

(They both sit at the table as A.J. pulls something out of the box.)

A.J.: Look at this.

Joey: Little Women?

A.J.: Not quite. The book we know today as Little Women was originally published in two separate volumes. This is just the first. It's Louisa May Allcott's very own copy. Go ahead, look at it. Carefully. Let's see what this favorite book of yours has to offer.

(Joey looks at the book in awe. She flips through it, stopping at a page.)

Joey: This is the part where Jo and Meg go to Mrs. Gardiner's party. (reading from the book) 'Jo saw a big red-headed youth approach her corner, and fearing he meant to engage her, she slipped into a curtained recess. She found herself face to face with the Lawrence boy'.

A.J.: (reading) "Don't mind me, stay if you like."

Joey: "Shan't I disturb you?"

A.J.: "Not a bit. I only came here because I don't know many people and felt rather strange at first, you know?"

Joey: "So did I. Don't go away please, Sir, unless you'd rather."

A.J.: 'The boy sat down again and looked at his boots. "How's your cat, Miss March?"'

Joey: "Nicely, thank you, Mr. Lawrence. But I ain't Miss March, I'm only Jo."

(Joey closes the book and hands it to him.)

Joey: My mom used to read it to me. That's why she named me Josephine. It was her favorite book.

A.J.: Was?

Joey: She passed away.

A.J.: I'm sorry to hear that.

Joey: I guess that's why I read it. And re-read it. 'Cause when I do, it's… it's like she's with me.

A.J.: So… so it's like a friend, the book?

Joey: Yeah. Exactly.

A.J.: Well, you can never have too many friends, Potter, comma, Joseph.

Joey: Sooo, Miss A.J Moller, what is your favorite book? Some ponderous tone by Heroditis?

A.J.: Are you ready for this? 'The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe'.

Joey: Well that sounds rather infantile.

A.J.: Entirely. But, like all the best things in life, simple, sweet... magical.

(A Gay Bar - Jack walks in hesitantly and sees all these guys dancing together. He notices someone looking at him and heads over to the bar.)

Bartender: Hey, what can I get you?

Jack: Uh, I… I, um, I guess I…

Guy: My guess is he can't handle much more than a beer. Make that two.

Jack: Oh… oh no, you… you don't have to do that…

Guy: It's OK, I wanted to.

Jack: Thanks.

Guy: You're adorable.

(Jack can't make eye contact.)

Guy: You're shy, right? Well let's just start all over, OK? You're not adorable, and I am not attracted to you. Would you like to go somewhere else? I mean, this really probably isn't your scene. We… we could just talk, OK? Maybe, I don't know, get to know each other a little better, and…

(As the guy turns to grab the beers, Jack rushes out of the bar.)

(Film Screening Auditorium - the award ceremony is under way.) Announcer: Our second-place finalist is... Windscape, David Steiner.

(The crowd applauds as David goes up to accept his award. Nikki is smiling, obviously confident that she's won.)

Announcer: And now, in first place, the award goes to... Tommy and Moe, Carl and Michael Biggins.

(The crowd applauds as Carl and Michael go up to accept their award. Nikki looks upset and rushes out of the room. Dawson follows her.)

Dawson: Nikki.

Nikki: What now? Time to rub salt in the wound?

Dawson: You were robbed.

Nikki: Excuse me?

Dawson: I saw every single film at the festival and yours was the best, hand's down.

Nikki: Let's dispense with the mock compassion, shall we?

Dawson: There's nothing mock about it, Nikki. It's a simple fact.

Nikki: If it's OK with you, I'd like to be alone right now.

Dawson: How can you be so upset about this?

Nikki: Like your failure didn't affect you?

Dawson: Point taken. But there's a huge difference between what happened to me and what happened to you.

Nikki: And what's that?

Dawson: Well I learned that I have to dig deeper, and… and reveal more of myself in my work if I'm going to make a film that's worth anything. You learned that film festivals don't necessarily award the meritorious.

Nikki: I wanted to win, Dawson.

Dawson: Nikki. Your film just wasn't technically brilliant, OK? It was inspired. It inspired me. It… it made me remember why I got into film in the first place. Not to win festivals, not for glory, but to reach people. And you did, you made them laugh, you moved them. No matter what happens to me, I'm not gonna give up until I reach that goal.

Nikki: You really liked my movie?

Dawson: Yeah. I really liked your movie.

(Train Station - Andie and Dawson meet up as they walk to the train platform.)

Dawson: Are we the first ones here?

Andie: Yeah, it looks like it.

Dawson: So did you get your interview?

Andie: Yeah, I did. Not the one I expected, but maybe the one I needed.

Dawson: Pray, tell.

Andie: Oh, long story short, I had this chance encounter that yielded a little clarity. How about you? Did you get what you came here for?

Dawson: Yeah. I did. Also in a most unexpected way.

Andie: Hmm. I think that's what screws us up the most.

Dawson: What?

Andie: It's like you get this picture in your head of the way things should be, and… and you end up closing yourself off to some of the wonder and serendipity of the actual experience.

Dawson: Who was this chance encounter with, Deepak Chopra?

Andie: Yeah, something like that.

(On the train - Jack is sitting by himself, but obviously saving the seat next to him and two opposite for Joey, Dawson and Andie. Someone approaches.)

Ethan: Are these seats taken?

Jack: Uh, yeah, I'm kinda saving them for some friends.

Ethan: No problem, say no more. (he continues on, looking for a seat.)

Jack: Actually, you know what? Um, it's cool. I don't even know if they're coming.

Ethan: You sure?

Jack: Yeah, positive.

(Ethan puts his bag in the overhead and sits across from Jack.)

Ethan: Do me a favor? Wake me up when we get to Capeside.

Jack: You're going to Capeside?

Ethan: Yep.

Jack: Me too.

(On the Train - Dawson walks through a compartment when suddenly a voice calls to him.)

Nikki: Hey porter, is that uh, decaf or 'caf?

Dawson: Nikki! Hey. What are you doing here?

Nikki: I'm doing the divorced-kid shuffle. Mom's a techie, she's been transferred to Chicago, so I'm going to co-habitate with my dad.

Dawson: I know that drill. My parents just got divorced.

Nikki: Sucks, doesn't it?

Dawson: Hmm-mm. I mean, I guess, you know, it's for the best and everything, you know, it was just a really long, drawn out long battle that…

Nikki: If it's for the best, then why do I still fell so lousy?

Dawson: Yeah.

Nikki: Yeah.

Dawson: So, um, where does your father live?

Nikki: Um, a place called Capeside.

Dawson: You're kidding?

Nikki: No, he's a- a high school principal there.

Dawson: What? Wait a minute. Your father's Principal Greene?

Nikki: Do not tell me that you go to school there?

(They both laugh.)

Dawson: This is too weird.

Nikki: What are the chances?

Dawson: Wow. Um, so Mr. Jordan, he's the film teacher and his film lab is actually really full. I had to beg, lie, and steal just to get in. But you know, I think I have some pull with him.

Nikki: I'm already in.

Dawson: What?

Nikki: We've been e-mailing each other. He's been giving me this sort of, uh, private tutorial.

Dawson: OK. I wasn't aware that he did that sort of thing.

Nikki: You can handle a little friendly competition, can't you?

(Jack talks with Ethan.)

Jack: Bingham, Breely, and Buckingham?

Ethan: It's a prep school.

Jack: Sounds more like a law firm.

Ethan: Huh. Sometimes it feels like one. But in the main, I'm just happy to be out of claustrophobic Capeside.

Jack: So what brings you back?

Ethan: Heartbreak. I need a little parental TLC, some chicken soup, and the comfort of my childhood bed.

Jack: A long relationship?

Ethan: Two years. It feels like a divorce, I swear. Not to mention that I see him everyday at school.

(Jack stops suddenly.)

Ethan: It's like we've broken up but still living together. What's the matter, I get under the 'gaydar'? That's what everyone says, I'm the straightest gay guy they know. What about you?

Jack: What about me?

Ethan: Can people tell right away?

Jack: How can you tell? I mean, is it… is it that obvious?

Ethan: Actually, yeah. I mean, not in a raging queen way, but more in a...

Jack: More in a what way?

Ethan: A babe in the woods, newbie way.

Jack: Newbie?

Ethan: Any sweet, inexperienced young gay man destined for broken hearts.

Jack: You make it sound so inviting.

Ethan: Well, let's face it, most guys are clueless.

Jack: How do you mean?

Ethan: You'll see… Hey, what's your name, anyway?

Jack: Jack. Jack McPhee.

Ethan: (shaking hands with Jack) Ethan. It's nice to meet you.

(On the Train Platform - A.J. walks Joey out.)

A.J.: I hope I didn't keep you up all night.

Joey: You talked for eight hours about Ulysses.

A.J.: Yeah, I know. Sometimes it's hard to get that teaching assistance stuff out of your head. Especially when you're really passionate about something, you know, 'cause then your inner geek just runs wild. So what about you Joey Potter. What are you passionate about? What do you ache for?

Joey: I don't know. I mean, I wish I did...

A.J.: But?

Joey: Well, for the past couple of years my life has kind of revolved around this boy. How pathetic is that?

A.J.: But, you guys aren't together?

Joey: No.

A.J.: Do you know what a manifold is?

(Joey shakes her head no.)

A.J.: It's a math thing. It's hard to explain. But, imagine yourself shrunk to the size of a pin point sitting on the surface of a doughnut. Look around you and it looks like you're sitting on a- a flat disk, right? But go down one dimension and sit on a curve, and suddenly it looks like a… a straight line.

Joey: You kinda lost me somewhere around the doughnut.

A.J.: In other words, the way something appears from afar might be quite different from the way it appears to your near-sighted eye.

Joey: So in order for me to figure things out, I should get myself some distance?

A.J.: Take your face out of the iBook. Look, would it be alright if I were to, you know, phone you sometime?

Joey: (shrugs) Well, it wouldn't suck.

A.J.: OK.

Joey: You got a pen?

A.J.: (takes one out of his pocket) Oh. Yeah. Do… do… do you have a piece of paper?

Joey: Um (checks pockets), no.

A.J.: (disappointed) Oh.

(Joey takes his hand and rights her number on it. He goes to offer his hand - to shake - but since Joey wrote on his right hand, they use their left instead.)

Joey: Bye.

A.J.: Bye.

(As Joey boards the train, Dawson and Nikki are walking through.)

Dawson: Joey! Hey, this is, uh, Nikki. Nikki, Joey.

Nikki: Hi. Nice to meet you.

Dawson: She's going to our school.

(Joey looks back at A.J they wave at each other. Dawson notices.)

Dawson: Who's that?

Joey: My roommate.

(Joey walks through as Nikki follows. Dawson gives A.J. one last look. Back at Capeside - Joey and Dawson are lying on his bed.)

Dawson: Is it just me, or is the prospect of going to college seem a lot larger?

Joey: I know what you mean. Is it the light at the end of the tunnel, or is it an oncoming semi?

Dawson: Or is it both?

Joey: Well, it's definitely going to take some getting used to.

Dawson: Hmm. Do you ever have one those moments when you kind of just realize that the world has snuck up and completely blind-sided you? I've been thinking about a career in fast food. 'Welcome to Taco Bell, can I take your order?' It kind of just rolls off the tongue.

Joey: Dawson, everything in life is not just about winning. I mean, you have to find joy in the process, you have to love what it is that you do.

Dawson: Good point. Which begs the question, what, uh, life lesson did you stumble upon this weekend?

Joey: Well. Well, college to me has always been about getting the hell out of Capeside, right?

Dawson: Right.

Joey: Well now I'm thinking that it could be more than that. I mean, it's scary, sure, but it's a world full of these deeply passionate people. I mean, people who get excited about books and ideas and theories and... it kind of excited me.

Dawson: (gravely) My suspicions have been confirmed.

Joey: What do you mean?

Dawson: That you are a really... big geek.

Joey: So is it just me, or… or does this room seem a lot smaller all of a sudden?

Dawson: Really? (Joey nods) I was kinda thinking it seemed... safe.

Joey: (getting up to leave) I'll see ya, Dawson.

Dawson: See ya, Jo.

(Joey leaves through the window. The End.)

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