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When the leeve breaks

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CHAPTER 15

JACKIE

The smell of fresh coffee reached into my sleepy brain. I turned in bed, expecting to find Steven's warm body next to me, but he's not here.

It's been really nice, waking up next to him every weekend, I always sleep better when he's holding me. He always says that I'm like his giant teddy bear.

I opened my eyes and tried to focus on my surroundings, yeah, everything's the same. My picture with my dad's still on my nightstand and Steven's duffel bag is still on the floor next to my closet. I smile to myself, if things stay the way they are, I might empty one of the drawers of my dresser for him.

I can't help but smile when I remember yesterday. Things have been pretty good between us, in fact, Steven's never been so sweet. I was reluctant to believe that he really changed, but he's managing to impress me everyday. For instance, Steven's not afraid of telling me things anymore, this 100% honesty pact is working very well, I'm actually starting to trust him again.

He's telling me he loves me without stuttering, without any hesitation. He actually told me he loved me last week when Donna was in the same room as us. At first, I thought he would be ashamed when he realized that she heard him, and I was already preparing for him to shut down on me again. Instead, when he saw that Donna was in the same room as us, he smiled and greeted her normally, offering her some of our popcorn, and pulling me closer to him.

I was literally screaming on the inside, there was no way in hell I would be able to focus on Logan's Run after that.

And yesterday… yesterday was a pretty weird - yet exciting - day. I mean, c'mon, Mr. Pinciotti and Pam Macy? That is just wrong, Donna must be a mess, I need to offer her a mani later. But I also managed to make a good pie (it was actually good!) and Steven never left my side. So I did what I've been dying to do for a really long time, I kissed him.

It was just a quick peck on the lips, but still. It's been almost 10 hours since I kissed him and I swear to God that my lips are still burning.

My thoughts are interrupted because I've just heard sounds coming from the kitchen. Oh, maybe Steven's cooking! That would be great because I'm actually starving.

I was almost getting out of the bed when Steven cautiously walked into the room, looking surprised to see me awake. He's fully clothed, his hair a bit wet. No sunglasses in sight.

"Morning doll" he said, smiling. He looks like he's in a very good mood "I was coming to wake you, don't move, stay in the bed!" he said quickly before turning around and walking out

I frowned, what the hell is he about to do? I lay down in the bed again, waiting for him, and the smell of coffee became stronger. I looked up and I saw Steven carrying a tray into my direction and oh my God, did he make me breakfast in bed? That is literally the sweetest thing I've ever seen. 

I take a deep breath, I need to control myself, otherwise I will jump into him and we'll make love right here right now. And it's not the time for that yet, but perhaps I could kiss him again later… 

He placed the tray on my bed and sat next to me, kissing my forehead before whispering in my ear "Happy government conspiracy day, doll"

Oh my God today's Valentine's day and Steven actually acknowledged it? Holy crap! Shit, he made me breakfast in bed, maybe he had something else planned for today and I ruined it by offering us to babysit Betsy!

Nah, who the hell am I kidding, Steven hates Valentine's day, he always said so. Making me breakfast in bed must be the only thing he can do without betraying his principles.

It's still very sweet.

I look at the tray in front of me, there's a large plate of pancakes, eggs and bacon, maple syrup and a large cup of coffee. My mom would die if she saw me eating that. Too bad I don't care about her opinion anymore.

"Steven that is so sweet" I say, placing a hand on his cheek and kissing the corner of his mouth "Thank you"

He scratches the back of his neck, he tends to do that when he's uncomfortable, I roll my eyes and snuggle next to him, starting to eat the meal he prepared for me, and he relaxed.

He's not used to doing those types of things, he was never a romantic guy when we were in a relationship, but he's trying because he knows that I love it and if that isn't the sweetest thing in the world then I don't know what is.

He's perfect and I love him so much.

I finish my breakfast and he tells me to take a shower while he does the dishes. So I do. I brushed my teeth and before I headed into the shower I decided to treat myself. Oh yeah, that's right, I'm taking one of those relaxing showers, and that includes a full on body exfoliation, the use of a hair mask and moisturizers. The water is going to be so hot that my skin will melt because damn it, it's Valentine's day and I want to feel relaxed!

I get out of the shower and the whole bathroom is fogged up, I feel like I'm in a sauna and that's exactly what I wanted. I feel so good, the only thing missing is a body massage. Maybe I can ask Steven for one of those? 

No, I can't do that. That would be torture, for both of us.

When I leave the bathroom in a bathrobe and a towel wrapped around my head I get a little chilly, as I said, it was a really hot shower. When the steam clears up I head into my room, I'm not in the mood of being lectured by a hangover Donna about how much water I wasted.

I enter my room and Steven's laying on my bed, reading a book. When he heard me entering he directed his attention to me.

"Damn Jackie, it's been over an hour" He complains

"Well, I kind of lost track of time" I justify myself, and he gives me one of those half smiles. Damn why is he so sexy?

He marks his book and leaves it on the nightstand, then he marches over to me, wrapping his arms around my waist from behind and kissing my cheek afterwards, sending goosebumps all over my body.

"I'll let you get dressed" He said and kissed my cheek one more time before leaving

He's going to be the death of me. I don't even think that he's trying to be sexy, he just is, it's natural, there's nothing he can do about it. It's not his fault if I want to throw him against a wall and kiss him senseless everytime I see him. That's all on me and my dirty urges.

I put on a very simple outfit, a cashmere sweater and a pair of jeans. No need to accessorize or even put on makeup, I'm pretty sure that Steven and I are just going to hang until Michael and Brooke drop little Betsy here, maybe Eric and Donna will join us if they're not too hungover, but they probably have a date or something.

Surprisingly, I don't mind the fact that Steven is not taking me out tonight, he doesn't believe in Valentine's day and if there's something I learned during all this time with him is that you cannot force him to do anything. That only pisses him off. So I just accepted it. Besides, he made me breakfast in bed, that alone already made my week.

Before I go back to the bathroom so I can blow dry my hair, I take a brief glance at Steven's book on my nightstand. Fahrenheit 451. I smile to myself, because of course Steven's reading a book about oppression and censorship.

I hope he keeps me up all night explaining this book to me as well, just like he did when he was reading 1984. He gets really cute whenever he's rambling about the government and his hatred for "The Man".

After my hair is properly dried and styled, I go to the living room and cuddle next to Steven on the couch, he's watching TV but as soon as I laid my head on his shoulder he directed his full attention on me, kissing the top of my head and wrapping his arm around my waist.

"Thank you for the breakfast" I kiss him on the cheek "I loved it"

"Well, you and Donna only have cereal for breakfast and I thought that maybe you would like something different" He tries to explain like it's no big deal, but it is a big deal, to me, at least

I smile and look deeply into his blue eyes "Okay, happy government conspiracy day to you too" 

He laughs and pulls me closer to him, and at this moment I decide that I'm going to kiss him because it finally feels right, y'know? And just when I was about to press my lips against his, Eric Forman announced his presence in the living room by sitting in the chair next to us and turning up the TV volume.

Mood killer much? 

I sigh and lay my head back on Steven's shoulder, and Eric finally noticed we're here.

"Morning" He says, and we glare at him "Is there any cereal left?" He asks

"I made breakfast, it's in the kitchen" Steven answers him, scowling

Eric looks thoughtful for a few seconds, then he just shrugs and directs his attention back to the TV "I'll just wait until Donna gets up so we can all eat together"

"Steven and I already ate" I say, then I look at Steven, silently asking him if he had breakfast yet, he nods and I turn my attention back to Eric and ask "How's Donna?" 

"Asleep" He mumbles, looking very upset "You know, I think that whole Bob and Pam Macy being together thing really disturbed her, she didn't even gave me my special nighttime nookie"

"But you two were furiously making out yesterday" Steven looks questionably at him

"Making everyone uncomfortable by the way" I add

"I don't know what was going on inside her head, man!" Eric looks at us "I mean, we were on bed, clothes off and everything" He says, and I grimace, he better not give any dirty details because I still have war flashbacks from the scene Steven and I saw a month ago "Then, out of nowhere, she starts to cry and says that she can't have sex with me because her father is probably having sex with Pam Macy" 

I can see Steven frowning, and I probably don't look much different. That's disgusting.

"And why would Donna think about this abomination while you two were… you know" I ask

"Man, she was pretty drunk last night, we can never understand what goes on inside a drunk person's mind" Steven says and I nod, accepting his explanation

"Anyways, so now Donna's asleep and I have blue balls" Eric finishes and I glare at him

"Ew!" I say loudly, did he forget I'm here or something? That's gross!

"No one needs to know that, Forman" Steven says

"Sorry" Eric says looking at me, then he asks me "What the hell can I do to make her feel better?"

"I don't think there's anything you can do" I answer him honestly "If I know Bob, not even a foot in the ass by Red will make him dump the whore, and even if it does, just the fact that they were together in first place is worth at least a few nightmares" Eric looks depressed, and I suggest "You can try to take her mind off it, distract her with something else" 

"How?" He asks

"Do I have to draw you a diagram every time you ask me for advice?" I say frustrated and I hear Steven chuckling "It's Valentine's day Eric, don't you have anything planned for tonight?" 

"Yeah, but it's currently 1 o'clock in the afternoon and our reservations are at 7" He says

"Michael mentioned yesterday that before dinner he's taking Brooke to the movies, why don't you do that?" I suggest "A movie would be a good distraction, it would get her mind of Bob for a while"

"That's actually a pretty good idea, thanks Jackie!" Eric smiles

"Man, the only thing you need to do is not mention Bob or Pam Macy, unless she mentions it first, got it?" Steven says looking at Eric "And if she does, do not make stupid comments"

"I bet that's gonna be a challenge" I whispered to Steven and we both laughed

"I'll try my hardest" Eric says and goes to the kitchen "Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I will finally eat my breakfast"

I sigh and laid further onto Steven's chest

"What time is Kelso bringing the kid?" He asks me while running his hands through my hair

"I think it's at 6" I answer "First time babysitting?" I ask him with a playful smile

"Obviously" He answers "But she seems to be a cool kid" 

"She is the sweetest" I say "She's so cute, she's starting to talk and I've been trying to make her say my name, but so far, nothing" I pout

"To be fair, the name Jackie is really hard for a child to pronunciate, especially a child that can't even speak more than a syllable" He contrapoints and I smile

"Whatever, all I know is that she's definitely going to say 'Jackie' tonight, you just wait and see" 

He chuckled "Of course doll"


Steven and I were in the kitchen making ourselves a few sandwiches when Donna and Eric showed up all dressed up. Donna looks slightly better, a few aspirins, Eric's smothering and a quick shower made her hangover disappear in minutes.

"So, we're going" Donna says "Jackie can I talk to you for a second?" 

I look confused at the blonde, why would she want to talk now, is she having second thoughts about Eric? "Yeah, sure" I answer

Donna guides me to the living room, and I see Eric and Steven talking about something too. What the hell is going on?

"Donna, what the hell is going on?" I ask

"Nothing" She shrugs and I let out a breath I didn't even knew I was holding "I just want to know why aren't you and Hyde going out tonight"

"Donna, you know Steven, he doesn't believe in Valentine's day" I say and she just rolls her eyes

"He should've done at least something! You love Valentine's day!" She replies and this time I'm the one shrugging

"Honestly, it's fine, it's not like we can do something now, Brooke and Michael are arriving with Betsy at any minute" I answer nonchalantly and Donna just raises her eyebrow at me "Look, he made me breakfast in bed today Donna" I smile, remembering how sweet he was this morning "And he wished me a 'Happy Government Conspiracy day', that's more than good enough for me"

Donna uncrossed her arms and smiled at me "God, being with Hyde really changes you for the best"

I frown in confusion "What do you mean?" 

"If you were with Kelso, you would've made a tantrum about not going out on Valentine's day, and you would've yelled if he didn't bought you jewelry" She say

"Yeah, Michael and I really brought out the worst of each other, right?" I grimaced, God, I was such a bitch when I was with Michael  "Look Donna, Steven's way more important to me than presents or romantic holidays. Would I have appreciated a gift or a date? Yes, obviously, but it doesn't make a difference, you know? With or without jewelry and expensive dinners, I still love Steven the same"

Donna was still grinning "That was so cute!" 

"You sounded exactly like my cheerleader friends from high school right now" I say, trying to bite back a laugh when I see the horrified expression on my best friend's face

"Oh my God I did!" She placed her hand in her mouth and laughed "Eric is so going to have to explain that episode of Donahue to me"

"Good luck trying to make him remember" I giggled and Donna pulled me for a hug "Enjoy your date" I say

"Enjoy your babysitting" 

Eric and Steven are still talking, but as soon as Eric heard Donna's heels (that's right, Donna is wearing heels!!!) he offered her his arm and they left, leaving Steven and I alone.

We went back into the kitchen and finished our sandwiches, laughing about random things and telling stupid stories to each other. I meant what I said to Donna, this is perfect, I don't need all of these things I claimed I did before. I'm perfectly happy sitting here, on the kitchen counter, with a half eaten PB&J sandwich and with Steven standing in front of me, telling me one of his stories.

Steven was just telling me about the time he and the 3 other morons invaded a dairy farm and tied fireworks to a cow, apparently Michael managed to break his toe in that stunt and the cow almost ran over Eric. 

"He was able to dodge a running cow in the middle of the night but he couldn't avoid stepping on the shards of my belated glass unicorn?" I ask incredulously

"Forman has his days" Steven laughed while taking and opening two bottles of pop for us in the fridge, he handed me one of them

"I will never understand boys and their need to be delinquents" I comment while sipping on my pop 

"Hey, not all boys, just the ones who happened to have befriended me during one point of their lives" He jokes and I laugh "C'mon doll, you never did something bad? Broke the law just for the pleasure of it?" He teases me

I stop to think, have I ever done something slightly bad without Steven by my side? There was the time I bought weed from my housekeeper, trying to prove to Steven that I was not a square, and I have witnessed the boys vandalizing a lot of stuff, but I actually haven't really done anything serious by myself, all the stuff I did was related to the boys somehow, so technically I never really broke the law just for the pleasure of it, or have I?

"Does stealing Casey Kelso's clock radio count?" I ask and he nodded and laughed 

"You stole something?" He asks, his tone showed a mixture of amusement and disbelief

"Oh yeah" I smiled proudly "Donna and I were snooping in his room when he was out of town and she forgot her chemistry book there, so we sneaked back in at night to retrieve it, I just happened to see a nice clock radio and decided that I wanted it" 

He snorted and almost choked on his soda. How dare he laugh at the only act of mischief I've ever performed in my entire life? I slapped his arm and he tried to compose himself

"Sorry doll, but a clock radio? I taught you better than that" He wrapped his arms around my waist and I'm still trying to look pissed at him. It's not working.

"What can I say? I want what I want when I want it" I say with a smile, he smiled back and pulled me closer to him, so close that our noses are touching

"You don't have to tell me that baby" He whispered and oh my God, chills

Screw it, it's been too long and I've been thinking about doing this for a while, we're ready and we're going to be okay, I know that now.

So I do what I've been dying to do, I cupped his face and pressed my lips against his, hard. He moved one of his arms to my head, tangling his fingers on my hair and my body trembled from all the familiar sensations. I've missed this so much.

His lips taste like coca cola, and I'm about to slip my tongue inside his mouth and really taste him for the first time in many months. Then the doorbell rang.

Seriously, what's up with people and their bad timing? 

I sigh and pull away from him, still dazed from our brief kiss. He looks just as dazed as me and he has a dopey smile on his face, I don't even think he realises that, and my heart skips a beat.

"That's probably Michael and Brooke with Betsy" I say while running my thumb against his cheek, I give him one last kiss before hopping off the counter and pulling him with me to the door.

And as I tend to say all the time: I'm always right. Michael and Brooke are standing in our doorway, Michael is holding a very excited Betsy, and Brooke has a very large diaper bag with her.

Brooke smiles sheepishly at us, but Michael is giving us his signature dumb grin. And Betsy is extending her arms to me.

I smiled brightly before taking my goddaughter in my arms, she giggled and clapped her tiny hands before placing them in my cheeks. She's so cute, I would kill for this child.

"Hey Jackie, Hyde" Brooke greeted us

"Hey Brooke" I say and ask "Excited for the big date?" 

"Oh, she should be excited!" Michael laughs and places his arm around Brooke's shoulder "I have everything planned out"

"Good for you, Michael," I say honestly. Michael and Brooke are definitely not a conventional couple, they are complete opposites, but just like me and Steven, they seem to work together really well.

"So, everything she needs it's in the bag" Brooke says, handing the bag to Steven "She started walking and she'll probably wander around the apartment, just stay close to her because she still falls sometimes and I'm afraid she'll get hurt" Brooke instructs us, running her thumb against Betsy's chubby cheeks

"Oh, and don't let her watch Scooby Doo, Brooke doesn't like it" Michael adds and Brooke rolls her eyes at him

"Her food, formula, diapers and her favorite toys are all inside the bag" She points at the the bag Steven's currently holding

Brooke then takes a piece of paper out of her pocket and hands it to Steven "Here's the number of the restaurant we're going, if anything happens please don't hesitate on calling, I couldn't find the number of the movie theater but it's the one in front of your work building so…"

"Okay Brooke" Michael interrupted her, placing both his hands on her shoulders "I think they got it"

"Don't worry Brooke, I would never let anything happen to this little munchkin" I say nudging Betsy's cheeks, the baby giggled loudly in my arms, my heart almost melts everytime she does that

"She's safe with us" Steven says, looking tenderly at me and Betsy, crap, am I blushing?

"Okay then" Brooke breathed and smiled, she kissed her daughter's cheek "Bye bye Betsy Boo, mommy loves you"

"Daddy loves you too!" Michael said to the baby before leaving and dragging Brooke with him

After the couple left, it's just Steven and I with a baby. I'm holding Betsy in my arms but she seems very interested in Steven, she can't stop staring at him.

"Do you also have the impression that Brooke is nuts?" He asks while placing the bag in the couch and the piece of paper near the phone

"She's just a good mother" I say, sitting on the floor near the TV with the baby in my arms. It's funny, I'm moving but Betsy keeps staring at Steven, I don't think he even noticed it yet

"Huh, Edna was never like this. Guess your theory makes sense" He says as he sat down on the couch behind us, I leaned my head into his leg

"If it's any consolation, Pam wasn't either" I say and he chuckled, running his fingers through my hair

"So, this is babysitting?" He asks, looking at us

"No" I get up and place the baby in his arms, then I turn the TV on in one of those children's channels with annoying music and lots of colors, then I turn the volume up " This is babysitting" I laughed at his frown "Oh yeah, you think ABBA is bad? Just wait" 

I sit next to Steven and Betsy on the couch, he placed her on his lap, and she keeps staring at him, he finally noticed and looked at me "Is there something in my face?" He asks, running his hand across his face, and I laugh loudly again. This is going to be a fun day.

"There are chubby little hands on your face now" I say when I see Betsy touching his face, God, why is this so funny? She keeps looking at his face like she's searching for something… 

Oh!

"I think she's wondering where are your precious 'shades', Steven" I say when I see the Betsy lightly tapping his face again, I try really hard not to laugh at the sight in front of me but it's almost impossible, this is by far one of the cutest things I've ever seen in my life

"Really?" He wondered, looking at the baby in front of him "Is that it, Betsy? You want my shades?" Betsy just giggled again on his lap and clapped her tiny hands, he smiled and looked at me "I think they're on your nightstand baby, can you grab them for me please? Let's see if that's it" 

"Sure" I say, and I head into my bedroom. It's still the way I left it this morning, I looked at my nightstand and I easily found his sunglasses, they were between his book and the framed picture of tiny me and my father. 

I couldn't help but notice how Steven's barely wearing his sunglasses these days. At least not when he's near me. I smile to myself, as much as he looks sexy in his trademark 'shades', nothing is better than seeing his eyes. He has the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen, they're so expressive, I can almost see what he's thinking just by looking into his eyes. That's one of the reasons he always wears sunglasses, he doesn't like to show emotions, he feels vulnerable.

But he's not like that with me anymore.

When I go back to the living room, Steven's bouncing Betsy on his lap, and she's having the time of her life because she's laughing loudly. I need to get a hold of myself, this day has everything to be filled with the cutest moments ever, and I need to see them all, because that's a side of Steven I really want to see more times.

I have his sunglasses, but I'm not interrupting this, so I just lean on the wall and drink the scene in front of me with a huge smile on my face, I don't know how long I just stood there, watching Steven playing with Betsy, but it must've been a while, because Steven adjusted Betsy on the couch and started to look for me.

"Jackie?" He asks, while looking at the kitchen door and my bedroom door, probably searching for me

"Behind you" I say with a small grin on my face, still holding his sunglasses. He turns around and smiles when he sees me

"Hey, what took you so long?" He asks while placing Betsy on his lap again

"I was here the entire time, I was just waiting to see if you missed me" I teased him, sitting next to him on the couch and handing him his shades

He promptly placed them back on his face, they didn't stay there long though, because as soon as Betsy saw the infamous sunglasses, she snatched them out of his face with her little chubby hands, laughing while trying to place them on her face.

"Told you" I say and he smiles endearly at the child, lightly caressing the top of her head

"She just wants to look cool" He says, looking back at me "Hey, do they make these on her size?" He asked

I nodded and stifled a laugh "I think they do"

"Then it's your lucky day, child" He says to Betsy, who looked curiously at him, still holding his aviators "You're going to be the coolest kid in daycare"

"I doubt Brooke will let Betsy use sunglasses indoors, Steven"

"Hey, she's my goddaughter, do you honestly think she won't rebel against that?" He joked

"Brooke will so put a foot up your ass" I laugh

"I like Brooke, but I think she's more of a square then you, so that's something" He commented and I gasped indignantly

"Excuse me? I stole something and it was awesome, I'm not a square!" I protest and Steven just smirks at me

"Yes you are baby" He says and I glare at him "The next time you're in Point Place I'll teach you how to be a proper rebel, we're trashing old man Shinsky's yard"

I frown, remembering what happened the last time someone from the gang tried to do that "Do I have to moon the old man? Because I'm not going to!"

Steven laughs "If you moon the guy I'm pretty sure he's going to be happy about it, the whole point of this thing is to annoy him" Oh yeah, I do have a perfect butt, old man Shinsky would probably die of joy if he sees it, I shiver at the thought because ew "So, are you in?" He asks

"Can we bring Eric with us? In case something goes wrong we can just leave him there and run like the wind" I propose

He smiles "Deal, remind me of buying spray paint when you call me on monday" 

"Okay" I peck his lips as a way to 'seal the deal', then I look at the tiny human sitting between us, still struggling to put on Steven's glasses. She's so adorable.

Then I have to intervene when I see her trying to place them in her mouth "No no, Betsy" I say, quickly picking her up and going to retrieve the bag with her favorite toys "You can't just be putting random things on your mouth, you don't want to end up like your Uncle Fez"

I distracted Betsy with her favorite toy, a blue teddy bear I bought her on my first week in Chicago. She drops Steven's glasses on the couch and I motion for Steven to take them. He quickly got them and hooked them on his shirt.

Betsy clutched the teddy bear in her arms and turned her attention to the TV, apparently forgetting that Steven and I are in the room. She got up from the couch (with my help) and stood in front of the TV, trying to imitate the weird dance from the kids show.

She's standing up on her tiny little legs, holding the teddy bear with one hand and supporting herself with her other hand on the TV stand, all while bobbing up and down to the annoying music that's been coming out from the TV.

I wish I had one of those video cameras because this is definitely the cutest thing I've ever seen.

"I guess this giant yellow bird is better company than us" Steven muttered with a small smile on his face

"That yellow bird is called Big Bird" I point out

"How do you know that?" He asks 

"Steven, this is Sesame Street, you haven't watched it when you were a kid?"

"Uh…" He scratches the back of his neck "No, I never stuck around at home when I was a kid because Edna was always there and as soon as I learned how to walk I started to run away from her" He frowned and God, I hate that woman "And even if I did stuck around, Edna pawned our TV for booze" He says, trying to sound nonchalant but I know him better than that

"Well, for what is worth you didn't missed out on anything, when I was a kid I used to have this horrible nightmare about the Cookie Monster" I grab his hand and give him a small smile, I should've known better than to ask anything related about his childhood "I used to wake up screaming and crying, my dad had to take me to see a therapist when I was 5"

"Really? What was the nightmare about?" He asks curiously

"I was in a giant bowl of soup and he was getting ready to eat me" 

Steven started to laugh loudly at me and I playfully slapped his arm "I'm sorry, but in a bowl of soup?" He says, laughing even more, and I roll my eyes

"I was 5 Steven" I say "And stop laughing! That nightmare used to terrify me"

"I can see why" He wraps his arm around my shoulders and looked at the baby standing in front of the television screen "She seems to dig it"

I grin slightly "Yeah" I look at Steven and he seems happy, but I can still see that he's still a little tense, I really shouldn't have reminded him of his childhood "I'm sorry for bringing it up" I say

Steven looks questionably at me "Bringing what up?"

I sigh "I know you're thinking about Edna, and I know that's because of my stupid question about cartoons, so I'm sorry"

"You have nothing to be sorry for" He says, kissing my forehead

I don't like when Steven hides things from me, and I know him very well, I know he's trying to play it cool so I would not worry about him, but I also know how disturbed he gets every time he remembers something about Edna and his childhood in general. It sucks, Edna was way worse than Pam, and that's saying something. While Pam was very mentally abusive and constantly tried to induce me to lose weight, Edna was worse. Not only did she screw with Steven's head, saying that he's worthless, but she sometimes also recurred to physical violence on particularly bad days. He still has some scars.

I'm not exaggerating when I say I hate that woman, the few stories Steven told me were enough to make me know that Edna is spending eternity in hell when she finally dies. The only good thing she ever did in her life was bringing Steven into this world.

I don't want Steven to hide things from me, but sometimes I get that it's hard for him to open up about all the abuse he suffered from Edna during his early years. I want him to feel comfortable to tell me, but I also don't want him to feel forced to because I truly get him. I haven't told him everything about my mother yet.

So I just sigh and lean my head on his shoulder, tightening my grip on his hand and drawing shapes on the back of his hand with my thumb.

I can feel him relaxing and I snuggle closer to him, watching Betsy being entertained by the weird guys in costumes from Sesame Street.

We watch the episode with Betsy and I swear I saw Steven laughing when he saw Bert and Ernie doing one of their stunts.

"They remind me of Kelso and Fez" He justified and I laughed loudly because it's true

When the episode was over, Betsy came tumbling to us, raising her arms at me.

"Ackie! Up!" She said, and oh my God, did she just say my name?

I look at Steven, trying to see if I misheard something or if I'm hallucinating but he looks just as dumbfounded as I do. My thoughts are interrupted when I hear the baby voice again

"Ackie! Up!" Betsy says, more demanding this time, still raising her arms at me. I pick her up and she settles herself in my lap, I look at Steven and he's grinning at me

"Did she just say…?" I say, looking at him for confirmation

He nods "I think she did"

I feel my eyes welling up with tears and I raise Betsy on my lap, so I can see her tiny face. She's smiling and she looks completely oblivious to my shock.

"Ackie!" She wraps her arms around my neck and hugs me, and being spontaneously hugged by a child is one of the best sensations ever, so a few tears of joy escape from my eyes, I just can't control them. I love this child too much.

I look at her cute little face and I can't help but smother her with kisses all over her face, she keeps giggling and that just makes me wanna keep smothering her until Michael and Brooke arrive.

"Huh, never thought I would envy a child" I hear Steven's voice and I pull apart from Betsy to see him grinning playfully at us

"Come here you big baby" I say, pulling his face closer to mine with my free hand and pressing my lips against his. I place a few playful pecks on his lips, and just to tease him a little bit , I lightly bite on his lower lip before pulling away from him. I laugh when I see him looking expectantly at me, I wish I could properly kiss him right now, but I'm not frenching him when I'm holding a baby.

Betsy looks at Steven and laughs, he raises an eyebrow at the child "Are you mocking me, Betsy?" He asks, trying to sound stern but at the same time he's trying to hide his amusement, then he looked at me and joked "I'm just surprised she didn't yelled 'burn' when you teased me and pulled away" 

I give him one last chaste kiss on the lips before getting up the couch "C'mon Pudding pop, I'm not frenching you while I'm holding a baby" I say, motioning for him to follow me to the kitchen, I hand Betsy to him and I head to the fridge, taking a small container of baby food "Can you sit down with her? We don't have a high chair and she needs to eat somehow" I ask Steven and he nods, sitting on one of the chairs near the kitchen table with the baby on his lap.

Betsy got Michael's appetite, I've never seen a kid eat so fast and so enthusiastically before. She also got Brooke's neatness because she didn't even made a mess.

Steven and I spent almost two hours with Betsy, playing with her. I can see that Steven already got attached to her, it's impossible not to, she's the sweetest baby in the world. All she does it's laugh.

When Betsy finally got a bit tired, Steven sat down with her on the couch, delicately running his fingers through her hair, I leaned my head on Steven's shoulder and he wrapped his free arm around me, then I looked at Betsy. She looks very concentrated about something and she's staring at the wall. Oh! I know that look!

Steven apparently does not, I decided to let him figure it out on his own, all I have to do is wait a few seconds and...

"What's this weird smell?" Steven asks, frowning

"That would be poop" I point at the baby that's sitting on his lap, he raises her in the air and takes a sniff, as always, I am right, because as soon as Steven raised the kid I could see his face getting greener and his frown deepening

"But she literally just ate! How is that possible?" He looks at the oblivious baby he's still holding on his arms

"I don't know how baby's intestinal system works, Steven" I say, searching the bag for the diapers. I breathe relieved when I see that Brooke packed the disposable ones, Betsy is wearing a disposable one as well. That will make my job a lot easier.

Steven is holding Betsy away from him, frowning at the putrid odor while Betsy looks curiously at him, sucking on her hand. I think that the only thing that stopped me from having a full on laughing fit was the smell. That is not a pleasant smell.

Since we don't have a changing table and I'm not about to change a dirty diaper on my kitchen, I go to my room and I extend a towel over my bed, Steven placed Betsy on top of if and I opened the windows just for a bit, I don't care if it's cold, my room is not going to smell like poop!

I went to the living room to pick up the bag, because I realized that I brought the diaper but I forgot the baby wipes and that weird white cream.

When I come back I see that Steven already started on the diaper change process, so I just hand him the things he will need. Before I have the chance to help him, I hear the doorbell.

"Go, I got it here" Steven says, and I leave the room to go see who the hell is ringing my doorbell right now.

That can't be Michael and Brooke, they'll be out for at least another hour.

When I open the door I almost faint at the sight in front of me. There's a random guy with a flower shop uniform, holding a giant bouquet of pink roses.

"Delivery for Miss Jackie Burkhart" He announces it

It takes me a couple seconds to regain my power of speech, did Steven do this? Crap, I can feel my eyes watering up again.

"That's me" I say, the guy smiles and hands me the bouquet before wishing me a nice Valentine's day and leaving. 

I closed the door and tried to assimilate today's events. This day is by far going on the list of the best days of my life. I already cried out of joy twice today. I look dumbfounded at the beautiful flowers I'm holding, I never expected that from Steven. Never.

I wipe away a few tears and when Steven leaves my room with Betsy, I smile brightly at him. If he wasn't holding a baby I would've jumped on him and tackled him to the ground, kissing him fiercely the whole time.

He sees me and gives me a sheepish grin, I carefully place the flowers on the couch before hugging him tight. Then I cupped his face and pressed my lips against his.

"Thank you" I whisper against his mouth, kissing him one more time before pulling away to look into his eyes

God, how I love his eyes. They're the most beautiful shade of blue, and they're literally the windows to his soul. I can see everything he's feeling just by looking into his eyes, and right now, all I see is love. 

I feel loved.

He steals one last kiss before pulling away "Hey, I'm pretty sure those flowers come with a card" He says with his signature smirk. I take Betsy from his arms and head to the couch, taking the card that was tied to one of the flowers.

 

Hey doll,

I know you're probably bawling your eyes out right now, I just hope you're able to read this card without making it all wet with your tears, and consequently, unreadable.

I just want you to know that I love you very much, and even though today's a holiday created by the big corporations to steal money from the population, I still want you to enjoy it with me.

I've been planning this for a few weeks, and I hope you're happy, because I'm taking you to dinner in one of the nicest restaurants in Chicago tonight. I want you to know that I'm no longer that boy, the boy with commitment issues who broke your heart. I'm in it for the long haul baby, and I'm not leaving you unless you want me to. If I'm lucky, I'll be with you for the rest of my life.

Thank you for teaching me what love is, and thank you for not giving up on me. I promise I will never give up on you again, because I came to the conclusion that I cannot live without you.

Happy Valentine's day baby.

Love, your Pudding Pop

 

Steven knows me too well, because I am bawling my eyes out right now. I just keep staring at the card, I can't believe he actually did this. He never ceases to surprise me. He takes a few steps and stands in front of me, wiping my tears with his thumb. 

And what was that about him taking me to dinner? Oh.

Crap, I had this feeling that I might have had ruined any Valentine's plans he had, but I ignored it because in my head, Steven would've never made plans for Valentine's day. There's no way we're going out if we're currently babysitting for Michael and Brooke.

"I love you" I say, kissing him again "Sorry for ruining your dinner plans" 

"The day is already perfect as it is, doll" He answers me "What do you say about some pizza? It's not dinner at a five star restaurant but it's decent" He proposes and I nod

He goes to the phone and I adjust Betsy in my arms, she's starting to get heavy. I look at the baby and I see she's already dozing off. She definitely spent a lot of energy today.

I decide it's time to give her her bottle and call it a day. I go to my room and I take the baby bottle and the formula out of the bag Brooke prepared for us, heading to the kitchen to get her bottle ready.

Steven is on the phone ordering the pizza, so I just show him the bottle as a silent explanation of what am I doing.

I prepare the bottle according to Brooke's instructions, I shake it a bit and I head to my room, Steven hangs up the phone and follows me, sitting next to me on my bed while I feed Betsy. I can see him smiling softly at us and I can't help but wonder what exactly did he mean when he said he was in it for the long haul.

Does that include marriage? Kids? We definitely need to talk about that, because I can't imagine my future without kids.

Betsy finishes her bottle and falls asleep quickly, so I lay her on my bed and leave the room with Steven, leaving the door half open in case something happens.

We plopped down on the couch, as much as I love Betsy, taking care of a child can be a little overwhelming, and I'm tired. 

"I asked the pizza guy to knock instead of ringing the doorbell, so Betsy won't be up" He says while I take his hand and play with his fingers

"Good, what kind of pizza did you order?" I ask, suddenly realizing how hungry I am

"Meat lovers" He answers with a small grin "I know you like hawaiian, but I refuse to eat pizza with pineapples in it" 

"I know" I chuckle, remembering the first time Steven and I shared a pizza. It was on our first date, on Veteran's day, when he asked what kind of pizza topping I like and I answered pineapples, he looked indignantly at me that day, and we spent almost half an hour discussing pizza toppings, until we finally agreed on meat lovers pizza.

"That was a good day, didn't end the way I wanted it though" He says, it's like he can read my mind, how did he know I was thinking about Veteran's day?

"And how did you wanted it to end?" I ask

"You and me, naked on the hood of your car" He smiles devilish, and I lightly slapped his chest while he chuckled "I shouldn't have lied to you that day" he says

"You also lied?" I ask curiously, I genuinely thought he didn't felt anything on that date

"Wait, you lied?" He asked confused

"Yeah" I confirm "I mean, I felt everything on that kiss, I was terrified of saying something because I thought you would have rejected me"

"Wait, I only told you I didn't feel anything because you told me you didn't feel anything" He says, looking at me "What made you think I would've rejected you?" 

"Huh, don't you remember your haiku?" I ask, raising my eyebrows

"Oh" He mumbles, realization hitting him "I guess I get that" 

"Sorry" I apologize, and he looked questionably at me

"You literally don't have anything to be sorry for" He says 

"Well, of course I do, I lied when I shouldn't have" 

"You know what I should've done?" He says, grinning slightly at me "I should've just kept kissing you, and kissing you, until you admitted you felt something"

"I'm sure I would've loved that" I smile 

"So would I, doll"

I look at the beautiful man on my side and I remember the amazing day we had, we had so much fun babysitting Betsy today, and I feel like I need to ask…

"Steven, what did you mean when you said you are in it for the long run?" I ask, referring to what he wrote on the card

"That I'm in it for the long run, doll" He answers me and I furrow my eyebrows in confusion

"And what exactly did you mean with that?" I ask, I'm pretty sure I know what he meant, but I need to hear him saying it, I can't keep creating unrealistic expectations in my head anymore

"That I plan on marrying you when we're ready" He says nonchalantly and I smiled at him

"Really?" 

"Really" He confirmed with a smile, placing a gentle kiss on my forehead

I feel like I've been living on a dream, Everything seems too perfect to be real. I hear a faint knock on the door and I know that's the pizza guy, so while Steven pays for the pizza, I go to the fridge and grab a pop for me, and I wonder if I should grab a pop or a beer for Steven.

He placed the pizza box on the kitchen table and asked me to grab him a pop, I smiled. I noticed he hadn't been drinking much since the day he decided he wanted me back, I wonder if that has anything to do with me.

We sat down and started to eat, I looked at Steven and asked curiously "Why aren't you drinking beer?"

"I'm cutting back on the alcohol" He answered "I'm not a very smart person when I'm drunk"

I nod in agreement, you don't need to tell me that "But you cut off completely? You aren't drinking anymore?" I ask

"I have one or two beers every once in a while, but I learned to control myself" He says and I smile, that's good, he's maturing

After we ate the whole pizza (we were hungry!), we sat back on the couch, snuggling with each other, and I decided to get back to our earlier conversation. I just need to know one more thing.

"Steven" I call him hesitantly

"Yeah?"

"Do you want children one day?" I ask apprehensively

He stays silent for a few seconds, thinking about the question, and I hold my breath, preparing for the worst, then he smiled "I want your children" 

Holy crap, now I feel like the world suddenly has stopped spinning "Are you serious?" I ask 

"Yeah, it would be pretty cool, once we're ready" He says and I snuggle further into his chest 

"It would be amazing" I comment and he just tightened his grip on me, I raise my head to look at him and I can see his mouth curving upwards in a small grin

"We would make beautiful children" I smile, already picturing a tiny rugrat with my hair and Steven's eyes

"We will make beautiful children one day, doll" He says, smiling softly at me "I just hope we don't have any girls, if they look half as beautiful as you I'm screwed" 

"Are you kidding me? We are so having a girl, I can't live surrounded with testosterone" I argue

"Then I guess I should buy a gun" He says nonchalantly "I don't want any dirty boys getting near her" 

I giggle "Look at you, already protective of our hypothetical child"

"There will be a day where they won't be hypothetical anymore" He contrapoints

"True" I smile and lean my head on his shoulder "You think we're going to be good parents?" I ask

"Well, we already know what not to do" He says, referring to his parents and my mother "So I guess we won't be that bad" 

Our talk is interrupted by the doorbell, Michael and Brooke must've arrived. I open the door and here they are, Brooke looks relaxed, they look happy. 

"Hey, how was the date?" I ask, motioning for them to get in, Michael smiled at us and patted Steven's back before heading to my room to pick up Betsy

"It was great" Brooke answered with a sheepish smile "So, did my little girl behave?"

"Brooke, she didn't cried once, she behaved like a tiny little angel" I say and Brooke smiled, Michael arrived with a sleeping Betsy on his arms, he handed her to Brooke

"She's a cool kid" Steven added, smiling softly at Betsy, who was fast asleep on her mother's arms

"I think she really liked Steven" I wrap my arm around his waist and he wrapped his arm around my shoulders

"Alright! Free babysitters!" Michael exclaimed and Steven and I chuckled a little when we saw Brooke's face reddening in embarrassment

After a while Brooke cleared her throat and sent a sharp look at Michael before regaining her composure "Anyways, thanks a lot"

Then Steven surprised me "Whenever you need a babysitter just give us a call, this kid got me all wrapped up around her little finger already"

I know Steven is no longer trying to hide his soft side, at least not with me, but sometimes it still surprises me. I handed them the bag with the baby stuff before we said our goodbyes.

Now it's just Steven and me, I smile and wrap my arms around his neck, feeling a little bit anxious to finish what he started yesterday. I've been dying to makeout with him all day, but we were never alone. I kissed him softly, and just when I was about to deepen the kiss he pulled away.

I swear to God, I almost shrieked in indignation. He looked at me and chuckled a little "Wait here doll, I'm just going to grab something" 

I raise my brow in confusion, but don't say anything, instead, I sit on the couch, while he runs to my room to pick up something apparently.

A few seconds had passed and he showed up with a present box. No way. Steven made me breakfast in bed, got me the most beautiful flowers, organized a date (that I accidentally ruined it but that doesn't matter) and bought me a present?

He just hands me the present, sitting next to me on the couch and looking expectantly at me.

I take a better look at the packaging and I'm pretty sure that it's jewelry, because it's a long velvety box with a blue ribbon around it. I take a deep breath before  opening the box.

And my heart almost stops when I see what's inside.

"Steven…" I look in awe at the necklace in front of me, Steven never gave me jewelry before

The necklace is made from white gold, and the pendant features ribbons of white gold and pavé-set diamonds entwined around a stunning round aquamarine rock. The rock is so blue, the exact tone of Steven's eyes, this is the most beautiful necklace I've ever seen. I feel my eyes welling with tears, this is the most beautiful present I've ever received from anyone before.

I lift my head and I look at Steven, he looks apprehensive, and I smile, twiddling the necklace in my fingers and staring at the blue rock in the center.

"So I assume you liked it?" He asks carefully

I nod "It's beautiful, Steven" I stare at the pendant, then I look at the man in front of me, the rock truly is the exact same color of his eyes "Now everytime I look at this, I'll see your eyes" I say, looking deeply into his ocean eyes

He smiles and places his hand on top of mine "Let me put it on you" 

I just nod while a few tears escape, I just can't help it. I shiver when I feel his fingers lightly touching my neck.

The necklace is on, I feel the weight of it, but Steven's fingers are still tracing my neck. I can feel his hands moving lower, he places one of them on my waist, and uses the other one to turn me around. He brushes his thumb against my cheeks, wiping the tears that still insist on falling.

I pull myself closer to him and I wrap my arms around his neck, I look at his eyes again and I feel loved, safe, embraced.

"I love you so much" I whisper against his mouth, running one of my hands through his curls

"I love you too doll, so much" He says it back, and then I kiss him tenderly. This time there's no one here to interrupt us, so I gave him full access when he decided to deepen the kiss.

And when I feel his tongue against mine, I feel more alive than ever. My heart is beating so hard against my chest that I feel like it could stop beating at any moment now.

He pulls me even closer to him, closing all the remaining gaps between our bodies, one of his hands tangled itself on my hair, and the other is on the small of my back, tracing small, concentric circles and melting my insides completely. He lightly tilted my head to the side so he could shove his tongue deeper into my mouth, and I think I accidentally let out a small moan.

I've missed this so much, how could I ever have thought I could live without this? 

We pull away when we're finally out of breath and I silently curse the human race and our need for oxygen. Steven pulled me into a hug, burying his face in my hair, and we stayed like this for a while, just enjoying the other's presence, catching our breaths after what might have been the best kiss of our lives.

He pressed his forehead against mine, giving me a chaste kiss on the lips "So, would you like to be my girlfriend again?" He asks, his lips turning upwards into a playful smirk

"I think I would like that" I answer him and he pulled me in for another earth shattering kiss

I honestly don't know how my facial muscles aren't hurting right now, because I've never smiled so much in my life. I'll probably get wrinkles at my 20s if things keep up this way, and to my surprise I'm completely fine with that, as long as Steven keeps me smiling like he did today.

I hear the noise of someone fiddling with keys and then I hear the door opening, Eric and Donna are probably back from their date. I don't know, I'm not breaking this kiss just so I can look. Steven's probably thinking the same because when he heard the noises he started to gently lower me on the couch along with him, our mouths didn't break the contact once.

I hear Eric and Donna muttering something to us but I don't bother enough to actually listen. Steven slipped his tongue into my mouth again and I wouldn't even notice if the whole building catches on fire right now.

Then it hits me: I haven't thought about our hurtful past once today, all I could think about was the future, our future. Because we have a future, because he wants a future with me. I know that now.

So I smile into the kiss and I allow myself to get lost in all of him.

 

END CHAPTER 15