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CHAPTER FOUR - At the Pool

Early that same Friday morning, Jen was waiting outside her house. She was waiting for Pacey. The two teenagers had decided to walk to the lifeguarding class together each morning.

When Pacey arrived, he had brought Jen a cup of coffee again.

Jen had not lived in Capeside for very long. Until now, she had only met Pacey with Dawson. Jen was seeing Pacey alone now. She was pleased about that. She wanted to know him better. She needed real friends.

For a few weeks, Jen had been Dawson’s girlfriend. Then their short relationship had ended. Dawson hadn’t found it easy to be her friend after that. And Joey still didn’t really like Jen, because Joey loved Dawson. Joey had been jealous about Dawson’s relationship with Jen.

As Pacey and Jen walked to the pool, Pacey made her laugh. He told jokes and he imitated the instructor’s way of speaking.

“If anyone here cannot be strong and angry, he or she can leave the class now! Anyone who is afraid to get wet, leave now!” Pacey shouted.

Jen laughed.

“Maybe Tim was in the army before he became a lifeguard instructor,” she said.

They arrived at the pool a few seconds before the class began. That was lucky, because Tim started to behave in the way that made them laugh.

Jen and Pacey tried not to laugh. Pacey did not succeed.

Tim looked at him angrily.

“If you have come here to laugh, you can leave the class now, Witter!” he shouted. “A lifeguard must be serious at all times!”

After that, Tim told them more about the course.

“When you’ve been in this class for a few weeks, you’ll take another course,” the instructor said. “That will be a course in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation - CPR. You’ll learn resuscitation. You’ll learn how to start someone’s heart and their breathing if they have stopped. If you pass that course, and if you pass all the tests in this course, you’ll get your lifeguarding certificates.”

He looked at Pacey.

“If you pass the tests!” Tim repeated.

“But the summer will be almost finished by that time,” Pacey said.

“Yes, that’s right,” said Tim. “For the rest of this summer, each of you will help one of the lifeguards who is already trained. Then next summer, you’ll be fully-trained lifeguards yourselves.”

Pacey was angry. His thoughts about giving mouth-to- mouth resuscitation to very beautiful girls in very small swimsuits disappeared.

But then he looked around the class at the other students. He looked at the pretty blond twins. He looked at the girl with lovely red hair.

“Well, perhaps this class is OK,” he told himself.

When the lessons stopped at lunchtime, Jen wanted to ask Pacey to share some lunch with her. But she saw him leave the pool with the blond twins.

“My motorcycle is being repaired,” he was telling the girls. “I usually go around on that. Two of my friends are film stars. They work in Hollywood and they have fast sports cars. But when my friends come here, we all ride motorcycles.”

“Pacey doesn’t have a motorcycle,” Jen thought. “He’s a fool. He thinks, ‘These girls will only like me for the things that I own and the people who I know.’ That’s so stupid! People will like Pacey if he’s happy to be himself. But Pacey doesn’t understand that. He tries too hard to make people like him - especially girls.”

That morning, the class had been tested on the first chapter of the lifeguarding manual. Pacey had done badly on the test. Jen hadn’t understood why. The chapter had only taken twenty minutes to read and the test had been easy.

“Perhaps Pacey has only come to the class to meet girls,” she thought.

That afternoon, Joey felt happy as she worked at The Ice House. She smiled at all the customers in the cafe. She was really excited about her evening with Jeremy.

“I can’t take care of Alexander tonight,” she’d told her sister when she arrived at the cafe. “I’m going on a date. I’m going to a movie with a boy who I met at the beach.”

She’d been worried about telling her sister about the date. But Bessie wasn’t angry. She was happy for Joey and so was Bodie.

“He’s a lucky boy,” Bessie said. “What’s his name?”

“His name’s Jeremy,” Joey told her. “And he’s cute. You’ll meet him tonight. He’s going to meet me here when I finish work.”

That evening, Dawson visited Sheila Billingsley again at the Barclays’ house. This time, they watched some of the short movies that Dawson had made. Sheila was really interested in Dawson’s ideas about movies and he enjoyed talking to her. And soon, he wanted to kiss her. But he didn’t. There was a reason for this.

“I mustn’t be like Pacey,” he thought. “I must think before I do anything. I’ll wait until she’s ready to be kissed. I can’t do the wrong thing now.”

And there was another reason. As Dawson looked at

Sheila, he thought of Joey Potter. Did he want to kiss Sheila? Or did he really want to kiss Joey - the girl who had been his best friend all his life? A few months before, he had kissed Joey for the first time. It had been good then. But later Dawson felt unhappy about it. It had seemed wrong.

“I can’t do the wrong thing again,” he thought.

So he went on talking about his movies. Everything was OK until Sheila started talking about Joey. Joey was in all Dawson’s films, and Sheila was interested in the female star of his movies!

“She’s very pretty,” Sheila said.

“Well, she looks OK,” Dawson replied.

“Is she your girlfriend?” she asked.

“No, she’s a girl who I’ve known for a long time,” he said. He didn’t feel good when he said this. “But why are you asking me about Joey?”

“She looks at the camera in a special way in your films,” Sheila said. “Maybe she loves the man who’s holding the camera! Show me how you hold the camera, Dawson.”

Dawson was happy to show Sheila his camera. And he was happy to change the subject. He didn’t want to talk about Joey. He showed Sheila how to hold the camera. The two teenagers filmed each other and they laughed a lot. Then Dawson had an idea.

“I’d like to make a film about you,” he told Sheila. “A film about a day in the life of a nanny will be interesting. It will help me to learn about making that kind of film - a documentary film. I’ve never made a film about a real person. It will be good practice for me. Will you let me spend a day with you? I can do it any day.”

Sheila didn’t answer for a few moments. She looked a little worried. “OK,” she said at last. “But you can’t show the film to anyone else. It will only be practice for you.”

“OK,” said Dawson.

“Good. We’ll do it on Sunday,” Sheila told him. Then she smiled. “I feel relaxed with you, Dawson,” she said. “I only met you this week, but you’re already like a good friend.”

“I’m like a good friend to her,” Dawson thought. “But she doesn’t want me to be her boyfriend. That’s how I feel about Joey.”

He felt a little sad when he left the Barclays’ house and started to walk home.

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