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When the leeve breaks

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Chapter one:

JACKIE

Oh my God, he married someone else. He married a whore. Those 3 weeks were the worst weeks of my life, the time I didn't spend crying, I spent calling pretty much all the hospitals in the midwest, asking if they had any John Doe's that matched Steven's description, I was worried sick about him, then he just showed up, like nothing happened. The son of a bitch was in Vegas this whole time, and he didn't even bother to pick up a phone and let at least the Formans know that he was alive. I've spent three whole weeks crying myself to sleep, and the bastard was in Las Vegas, getting high and fucking whores. 

Yet, the minute I saw him, I was relieved, and all I wanted to do was to apologize and explain exactly what happened in Chicago. And we were so close to work things out, then she showed up. And part of me died at that moment. He married someone else, he married someone else. He wouldn't even tell me he loved me and we were together for more than two years, yet he married someone else, someone he knew for a total of three weeks.

And I've never felt so worthless in my entire life. Again, I was replaced by a blonde whore with a nice rack. Pam Macy, Laurie, Annette, Raquel, and now Sam. There's obviously something wrong with me, they obviously have something I don't. 

And here I am, crying my eyes out. Screw this, I need Donna. I know she's in pain because Eric left, but I need someone to comfort me right now, or I swear to God, I will end up jumping off a bridge. I can barely see anything, because the tears simply won't stop coming, and as I opened the door to Donna's room, I see my lumberjack friend curled up in a ball, holding a piece of paper and crying like I've never seen her crying before. She looked at me and was startled when she saw that I'm probably just as miserable as she is, if not more. She doesn't say anything, she doesn't need to, we can talk later. She just sits on her bed and opens her arms, and I just throw myself at her. I can't believe this is happening. I've never felt so shitty in my entire life, this is worse than when my dad went to prison, worse than when my mother abandoned me, this is by far the most painful experience of my life.  And there's nothing I can do about it.

We spend minutes in a tight embrace, both of us crying way too much to say something, so we just stay in each other's arms, until we both can breathe properly again.

"Steven came back" I start, and suddenly I'm sobbing again "He was in Las Vegas this whole time, and he came back married to a stripper, Donna!" 

My voice is trembling, and I'm shaking so much, I don't even know if Donna is understanding what I'm saying. Apparently she does, because she suddenly stopped crying and had a murderous flame in her eyes.

"He what?" She asked calmly, but I could see how angry she was

"We were talking, trying to sort things out, and then she just rang the doorbell, announced herself as his wife, and I just had to get the hell out of there"

Donna knew everything that happened in Chicago, she knew that nothing happened between Michael and I, and nothing was going to happen, and to my surprise, she supported me, consoled me, and told me everything was going to be fine.

Except everything was not going to be fine, because the love of my life is married to someone else.

"I'm killing him" she announces as she lifts herself out of bed, and in that moment, I know she wasn't kidding.

"Can we kill him later?" I ask softly, still sniffing "Right now I just need a hug and a giant tub of ice cream" 

She snickers and patted my head "Sure thing midget, let's go"               


DONNA

Jackie and I are currently spending the whole day on the couch, watching romantic movies, eating ice cream and crying. Misery does love company.

We are watching Gone With the Wind, and the sadness I'm feeling is slowly starting to turn into anger.

"See" I point to the TV " This is love! Rhett loves Scarlett, so he just tells her and marries her, he doesn't marry a stripper or runs off to Africa and breaks up with her!" I spat angrily, stuffing my mouth with more ice cream. 

"I'm sorry, what?!" I hear Jackie calling me "He broke up with you? When?"

"Oh yeah, I was so pissed at Hyde that I forgot to tell you" I remove a crumpled paper out of my sweatpants pocket "This came this morning" I give her the letter and observe her reaction as she reads it. Her eyes went wide and she looked incredulous.

"What the hell is wrong with him?!" She yelled in frustration "I told him after the wedding that I would break him like a twig if he screwed up again!"

Seriously? Jackie Burkhart threatened to beat up my boyfriend after he ditched me on our wedding day? I smiled, grateful for having the tiny brunette in my life, despite all the bitchiness, she really is a good friend. 

"I mean, it wasn't enough that he left you for Africa, no no no no" she was rambling "He just had to break up with you in a stupid letter! After everything! Steven and Eric might not be blood related but they do share the same stupidity gene, because I swear to God, out of all the crap they ever pulled on us…" 

"Jackie!" I interrupted her "You know what we need? We need a circle" I suggest, and she frowned at my idea

"A circle would be nice, but there's no way I'm ready to see Steven yet, Donna!" She cries

"Relax, I'll go steal some of his stash, you stay here and finish our depression ice cream, I'll be back in a few minutes" 

"Okay, please don't take too long!" I hear as I walk out the door. I quickly checked my reflection on the window before I left. I look like a mess, my face is all red and my eyes are swollen from all the tears I've shed today. But screw this, I open the basement door and find that Hyde, Kelso and Fez are already there, some skanky blonde was parked into Hyde's lap. He's holding a beer can, and for the love of God, it's not even noon yet. I feel the sudden urge to throw up. So Jackie wasn't lying or exaggerating, Hyde really married some random skank from Vegas.

"Hey big D!" I hear him calling me, he's looking completely unaffected by the whole situation, in fact, he had a smug smirk on his face, and it takes all of my inner strength to not to punch him right now.

"Hey, I'm Sam, Hyde's wife!" The perky blonde approached me, and tried to hug me, I lightly pushed her, there's no way I'm hugging this whore, not after the state I saw Jackie in earlier. 

"Donna" I 'introduce' myself and stare at her, waiting for her to realise that I'm not her friend, nor am I willing to accept her as a part of the group. She's apparently as stupid as she looks, because she's still standing in front of me with a dumb grin on her face. Hyde must have realised that I was not happy, so he intervened.

"Sam, why don't you go grab me another beer upstairs?" He asks the blonde, and she pecks his lips and goes upstairs. Then he looks at me with a deviant expression "Is there a problem here, Donna?" 

"You are actually staying with her?" Is all I manage to ask at the time.

"Yeah" he smirks slyly "I traded up, huh?"

Is he actually implying to me that Sam is better than Jackie? I am completely enraged at this point, so I just storm out to his room and grab his stash

"What the hell are you doing?!" I hear him ask as I step out of his room, holding a brown paper bag in my hands "Is that my stash?" 

"Yes, and I'm stealing it, but relax, I'm sure you can borrow some one dollar bills from your wife and replace it later"

"BURN!" I hear Kelso's voice for the first time today

"Donna, are you out of your mind?" Hyde snarled at me

"Are you?" I answered his question with another question, and went to the basement door to leave. My hand was in the doorknob already and I decide to say something else before I leave "You have no idea how much you are going to regret this in the future, Hyde" and without waiting for his answer, I leave with his stash in my sweats pocket, right next to Eric's letter. 

Huh, I just left my house wearing sweatpants, if Jackie wasn't so depressed right now she would definitely have a heart attack.

Jackie was still on the couch when I arrived, but the ice cream was gone and she was now holding a big bag of chips, her face was tear stained and her eyes were swollen from all the crying. This must be fucking killing her, and she doesn't even know that Hyde decided to stay married to the stripper. I ask her to follow me into my room, there's no way we're smoking pot in my father's living room, we still have some brain cells left. 

I roll us two joints. One for each of us. After the events from today, we need to get as high as humanly possible. We're halfway through our joints already, and I feel so much better. I really needed this, and I guess the midget needed it too, because for the first time in weeks, she's actually laughing at something stupid I said. 

Now we are laying down on my bed, munching on some potato chips and waiting for the high to wear off. Jackie's sleeping over today, we both need a sleepover after the day we had. I decided that now is the time I should break the news to her. She's about to know it anyways, so she might as well hear from me first.

"Hyde is staying married to her" I say, and I wait patiently for the frantic sobs, but they never come. Instead, she's just laying by my side, staring at the ceiling.

"I don't think I have any more tears left to cry, Donna" she mumbles, then she turns her head in my direction and looks deeply into my eyes "He's actually staying with her?" She asks, her tone was small and she sounded broken, and right in that moment, I swear to myself that I'll punch Hyde the next time I see him. I nod and she directs her gaze at the ceiling again. I've never seen her like this, and I feel completely helpless. So I grab her hand and stare at the ceiling as well, and all I can think about is how sad this whole situation is. How did we manage to get to this point?

I chuckled at the irony of the situation. Hyde and Eric are the ones that screwed up badly, yet, Jackie and I are the ones paying for their mistakes. Eric is in Africa, busy with his own stuff, Hyde was probably enjoying his new wife (ew), meanwhile, Jackie and I are completely miserable, laying on my bed, crying for people that obviously don't give a single shit about us. Jackie gave up her dream job just for the chance of being with Hyde again, even after everything he's done. I gave up so much for Eric, and he left me without thinking twice.

Suddenly I remembered about a letter I've received weeks ago, I was so busy pining over Eric that I completely forgot about the letter. Without even leaving the bed, I open the drawer at my bedside table, and I grab the envelope with the University of Chicago symbol. Now I'm just full on laughing, I'm laughing so much that I feel tears coming out of my eyes.

"Donna?" I hear Jackie calling me "Why are you laughing?" She asks, genuine confusion reflected in her face.

I stopped laughing and asked her "Do you still have the number from the producers at Chicago?" She nods "Good, you're calling them right now and asking for your job back" I say, and she stares at me like I've gone crazy

"Donna, I resigned three weeks ago, I don't think they'll be willing to hire me again after last time" 

I stand up and stare at her "You are Jackie Burkhart, you are incredibly persuasive, so you are going to call them now and ask them for another chance, and you are not taking no for an answer, lady!" I try to order her, but she just stares at me like I've gone insane

"Why the sudden need to make me move to Chicago, Donna?" She asks 

"Because if everything works out the way I hope it does, we are moving to Chicago together" Jackie's still confused, so I just hand her the envelope I've been holding for the last few minutes

"I got into the University of Chicago, I applied when Eric told me he was leaving for Africa, and the acceptance letter came a week before he left. I completely forgot about it, until now" I say "I was going to wait for Eric to come back from Africa so we could start at UW together, but he broke up with me, so I have nothing holding me back anymore" Jackie is still staring at me, her mouth open on shock "The journalism program in Chicago is so much better than the one in Madison, Jackie, and I know that classes won't start for a few weeks, but I thought we can move in together, get settled, then I can take my time, explore the campus..."

"Oh my God, Donna, congratulations" She says, hugging me "Why haven't you told anyone? It's not easy to get into UC! We would've baked you a cake or something"

I laugh "I wasn't planning on going, and thank you, midget" I paused and looked expectantly at her "So, what do you say? Are you calling them?" I ask

"Well" she shifts uncomfortably in my bed "Fine, I will call them, but if I get rejected for the second time today, heads are gonna roll, Donna!" She stands up and I stare at her "What, you want me to call them now?" She asks and I smile and nod excitedly, like a child "Fine! Give me the damn phone" she takes the phone on my bedside table and starts to dial.

"Oh my God we're really doing this!" I smile and I'm suddenly very excited. "I'm going to go tell my dad!"

Jackie smiles at me and starts talking on the phone, I gave her an encouraging nod and went to talk to my dad, time to let him know I'm moving to Chicago.                


The talk with my dad was better than I expected, he cried, of course, but he understood my decision and said he was glad that I finally decided to stop waiting for Eric and do something with my life. So, it's final, I'm moving to Chicago, hopefully with Jackie, if she manages to get her job back. I open the door to my room, and I find a very excited Jackie sitting on my bed.

"Oh my God Donna you were right, I am persuasive!" She giggled "I even managed to make them give me a raise, and I haven't even started yet!!" She squealed with joy, and we started to jump together in excitement. I feel like a ten year old girl, yet, I still can't stop grinning. 

"Oh my God, we are so doing this! I just talked to my dad and I have his approval, we are getting the hell out of Point Place!" I hugged the midget

"There's only one thing Donna…" she starts apprehensively, and I hold my breath, waiting for some bad news "They want me to start on monday" 

"But today is friday…" I start "Oh my God, we have only two days to prepare everything?!"

"Now, calm down Donna, I can stay at a motel until you figure everything out, because I know that two days is not much considering all the stuff we have to pack and…"

I interrupt her "Hey, I'm going with you, you're not getting rid of me that easily!" I protest, then I smirk "Besides, after everything we've been through, we have the right to make impulsive decisions!"

She smiles back at me "Hell yeah we do, so, where do we start?" 

"I'll go get some boxes and we can start packing now, don't you need to go talk to your mom?" I ask confused

"My mom left to Brazil two months ago" she shrugs "Hey, at least she is sending me money this time, I'll just leave a note for her in the kitchen, if she comes back she'll know where I am. I'm better off without her, believe me" 

I should've known that Pam wasn't going to stick around this time, God, she's a whore, what kind of mother abandons her own child twice

"Hey, Jackie" I call her "Let's head over to your place, I'll help you pack, you have too many clothes, you'll need another set of hands" I smile, and out of nowhere, she hugs me

"Thank you" her voice is muffled by my hair, but I'm pretty sure she's not thanking me just for offering to help her pack her stuff.

"No Jackie, thank you" I say "We are going to kick so much ass in Chicago" I joke

"Obviously" She answers with a smile                         


JACKIE

It's been almost eight full hours since Donna and I decided that we are getting the hell out of Point Place, and so far, I'm still pretty excited. It's almost 3AM and we are at my house. I am currently sorting through my collection of stuffed animals, deciding if I should take them or not.

"You should at least take Fluffycakes" I hear Donna saying behind me

"Nah, Fluffycakes is tainted, remember?" I say to her, referring the situation that made Michael give me the stupid unicorn, getting their phones cleaned my ass.

"What about this giant pink elephant?" She asks, lifting it so I could see it, and I felt a sudden urge to cry.

"Steven gave me this elephant" I say, and Donna nods in understanding

"So, should we set it on fire?" She asks and I laugh along with her

"No, just leave it there" I smile sadly

"Did Hyde seriously give you a giant pink stuffed animal?" Donna asked in disbelief

"Steven wasn't the bad boy he claimed to be, at least not with me" I shrug, and I head into my wardrobe, taking the rest of my clothes and placing them in a box besides me "He gave me this elephant the summer we started hooking up, I came to the basement one day, and he was waiting for me, he just took me to his car, saying we were going to Six Flags because he was bored. We spent the whole day at the park, it was the first time we were going out as a couple" I smile, remembering the day "We held hands the whole time, he took me to the rides and when the day was almost over he won me this elephant at one of those carnival games, he said I shouldn't make a big deal out of it, but when he dropped me home that day he made sure I was taking the elephant with me, then we said our goodbyes and he smiled, and I knew he had enjoyed the day as much as I did" Suddenly, I remember everything that happened today, and I frowned, the Steven that took me to Six Flags that summer is not the same Steven that came home married to a stripper, I refuse to believe that.

"Wow" I hear Donna saying, but she doesn't say anything else after that, and I silently thanked her, I just don't have the energy to talk about Steven now, I am literally exhausted.

"Hey, I'm almost done, why don't we finish this in the morning and go to sleep now?" I suggested my lumberjack friend, and she just nodded, as she went to the bathroom to change into her pajamas, I noticed a familiar t-shirt in my closet.

That's Steven's shirt, his favorite one, that he gave me for my birthday two years ago. I smiled to myself, and remembered all those nights I've spent alone at this house, and how sleeping in his shirt made me feel safe. It's been two freaking years and the shirt still smells like him, and as much as I should hate Steven right now, I couldn't leave this shirt here, so I place it in the box.

I changed into my flannel pajamas and went to the kitchen to grab myself a cup of water. When I head back into my room, Donna's already sleeping on one side of my bed. I smile to myself at the sight, I am really lucky to have Donna in my life, I don't know what I would've done today if it wasn't for her.

In less than 48 hours, we are going to be living in Chicago, by ourselves, no basement, no Bob, no Formans, just us. Well, one of us is going to have to learn how to cook, because I'm too pretty to starve. And I'm not going to lie, I'm scared, this is big, but I deserve it, dammit. I gave up everything for a guy that obviously doesn't care about me, Donna gave up college for a guy that didn't care enough about her to stay with her, so yeah, we deserve this. We deserve a fresh start, a new beginning, and nobody is going to make me feel guilty about that.     


So, it's Saturday night, the day passed pretty quickly. After Donna and I finished packing at my house, we went to her place, and Bob helped us pack her stuff. We finished everything about an hour ago, so now we are getting everything into my car, we are planning on leaving tomorrow in the morning. We haven't told anyone about us moving yet, except Bob, but we plan on saying goodbye to the Formans tomorrow. I'm really going to miss Mr. and Mrs. Forman. Steven tends to wake up pretty late on the weekends, so we are dropping by in the morning to avoid seeing him, the brief interaction I had with him today was enough to know that I'm definitely doing the right thing.

I was going to ask Mrs. Forman for one of her scissors this afternoon when I saw him at the driveway, shooting hoops with Fez and Michael, his wife was leaning at the Cruiser, observing the game. As soon as Steven saw me, his lips curved upwards in an evil grin, and he grabbed the whore and made out with her, right in front of me. At that moment, he killed another part of me. I just took the scissors and went back to Donna's, trying to ignore the abomination happening in the driveway. The minute I arrived at Donna's I just broke down in tears, when I told her what happened, she was fuming. I told her not to do anything, but apparently she didn't listen to me, because she left, and returned half an hour later, a bag of frozen peas in her right hand.

She told me she went to the basement to grab some of her records, and Hyde was being a jerk, so she punched him, right in the face. And I laughed, I laughed a lot. Donna is the best, seriously. I asked why she was doing this, because she knew Steven for a really long time. I always thought she was going to take his side on our fights. And she said what I've been thinking for a while, that she doesn't recognize him anymore. She said that this wasn't the Hyde she grew up with, this Hyde, the one that just came back from Vegas, was just a younger version of his parents. If he heard this... that would kill him, he always said he never wanted to be like Bud and Edna, but I shouldn't be worried about him now, he definitely isn't worried about me.

Donna and I talked after that, and we decided that we are not telling him we are moving, simply because I can not be a victim of his burns again. We decided that we also weren't going to say goodbye to Michael, I'm still pretty upset about what happened in Chicago, and apparently, he didn't even bother telling Steven the truth about that night. But I just can't leave Fez without saying goodbye, the little pervert always worshipped me, and he actually has a really special place in my heart. So I decided I'm heading over to his place tonight. Michael left this afternoon for a family event, he's coming back in the morning, so right now, Fez is alone. Donna wanted to go to Fez's with me, but her dad wanted to take her out to dinner one last time before we moved to Chicago, so it was just Fez and me tonight. 

On the way to his apartment, I stopped by the candy store and bought one of the biggest bags of candy I could find. If I know Fez, he's going to need it. I knock at his apartment door, and I silently pray that he isn't doing anything pervy right now, he opens the door and gives me a big smile and a hug. I can see that he's surprised by my sudden visit, yet he still looks happy that I'm here. He gestures for me to come in.

"Oh, my beautiful goddess, I missed you" he says as he hugs me again

"Really?" I chuckle "At least someone does…"

Fez suddenly frowns "Hyde is an idiot, I cannot say this in his face because he will hit me, but it is the truth"

"Can't argue with that" I agreed

I sit on the couch and he goes to the fridge "Beer?" He offers, and I take it, why the hell not?

"So, Fezzy…" I started trying to think of a way to break the news to him, but he noticed the big paper bag next to my purse. He took it and looked inside.

"Why have you brought me a bag of candy?" He asks suspiciously "People only bring me candy when they are about to give me bad news" 

"Fez…"

"Have you killed Hyde?" He asks suspiciously, and I burst into laughter. Fez is still staring at me, but I'm still laughing my ass off. After a while I calmed down.

"No Fez, I haven't killed Steven" I chuckled again "Even though he definitely deserves it"

"Obviously" he agrees with me "But giant bags of candy from my friends equals bad news, so just get it over with" he pouts

"So, Fez…" I start and take a deep breath, my face is suddenly serious, and I place a hand on his knee "I'm leaving Point Place"

Fez just stares at me for a few seconds "For how long?" He asks.

He must think that I'm only taking a vacation, crap, this is going to be harder than I thought it would be.

"Fez, I think you're misunderstanding, I'm moving out of Point Place, for good"

"Is this because of Hyde? Because Donna already punched him earlier"

"No… I'm leaving for me, Fez. I came back from Chicago hoping I could sort things out with Steven, but that obviously didn't worked out" I grimaced at the thought of him with that skank "So I have nothing to hold me back anymore, I got my job back and I'm leaving for Chicago in the morning"

"What about me, and Donna? You still have us, Jacqueline" he said tenderly 

"Fez, Donna is moving to Chicago with me. She got into college there, she's leaving with me in the morning, the only reason she's not here right now is because Bob is trying to spend as much time as possible with her, they're having dinner right now" 

"But…" he stuttered "How? First, Eric leaves, then Hyde marries a stranger, now you and Donna are leaving as well… Now who's boobs am I going to admire?" 

"Well, you can admire the stripper boobs" I say, frowning

"Oh please" he scoffed "Those are fake boobs, real boobs are nicer to stare at" 

"I will take that as a compliment" I smile "Fezzie, I couldn't leave without saying goodbye to you. You're the only one of the group who's receiving a goodbye, by the way, so you should feel special" I take his hand in mine "You are special Fez, and you will always have a place in my heart, I mean, you're the only one with a decent fashion sense" I try to joke "I'm going to miss you the most, Fez" 

His brown eyes are now filled with tears, and he starts to eat some of the candies in the bag I gave him.

"This is all Hyde's fault" I hear him mumbling 

"Look, Fez, Steven is a jerk, and he broke my heart in a way I never thought he would, but it's not 100% his fault" I start, and I wonder if I should tell him this "Donna received a letter from Eric today, he broke up with her. We literally spent the day crying and trash talking the boys. Donna was the one that convinced me to go back to Chicago in the first place, she decided that she has nothing to lose too, now that Eric broke up with her, she has no reason to postpone college anymore, and she doesn't need to limit herself to UW, so, I got my job back, and she got into college there. We are going to be roommates, like you and Michael"

"Is Eric stupid?" He asks, dumbfounded with the new information 

"That's what I said! Seriously, what the hell is wrong with him?" 

"So, Eric dumps Donna, Hyde marries a stripper, and now Fez is left alone!" He snaps

"Fezzie, don't say that, we are leaving Point Place, we are not leaving you! As soon as Donna and I find a place, we are going to call you, and you are going to visit us at least once a month! I need a decent shopping partner Fez!"

"Jacqueline, I want you to call me every week, so we can arrange our shopping dates" he pouts, and I nod 

"I'm really going to miss you, Fez" I hug him

"Me too" 

"I think I should get going right now, Donna and I are leaving in the morning and you know how much I need my beauty rest"

"You should've killed Hyde, I would be less sad" he lamented 

"You don't mean that, Fez, but I understand where this comes from" 

"Shouldn't you be angrier? I thought you would've destroyed his car by now"

"You know, I thought I would be angry too, but all I feel is sadness. Fezzie, I feel worthless, he's acting like I never meant anything to him, shoving the whore down my throat everytime he sees me, I can't take it anymore" Now I'm crying again, I thought I was done with the tears by now "Everytime I see him with her, a part of me dies, I'm leaving for me Fez, because if I stay I seriously think that I'll end up doing something stupid" 

Fez is looking at me with those big brown eyes of his, and he just pulls me in for another hug, I can't help it, I start to sob. Damn it, I really thought I was done crying.

"I still wanna kill Hyde" he mumbles and I pull away from him, to look him in the eyes again

"Fez, look, I know that you're probably really mad at Steven right now, but please, don't be, okay? Yes he did something stupid, and yes, he broke me, but he needs his friends. He just lost Eric, so please Fez, don't leave him, no matter how much you blame him for everything that happened, promise me that you won't abandon him, he was abandoned enough for a lifetime"

Fez was looking at me with a weird expression on his face "You know, Jackie, letting you go was probably the dumbest decision of his life. Right now, even after everything, you still care about him, you asked me not to leave him, even if he totally deserves it" then he smiled "You have a big heart, Jacqueline, people don't give you enough credit for it" 

"Yeah, just don't tell anyone" I chuckle and went to the door

"I would like to state that I, Fez, am available for revenge sex" He says, but I know he's joking, so I slap his arm and laugh

"Pig"

"I'm really going to miss you Jackie, Donna too" 

"I promise you we will call as soon as we find an apartment, okay?" I hug him again

"Okay" we pull apart and I open the apartment door

"See you soon, Fezzie"               


DONNA

I woke up and went to take a shower. Today is my last day in Point Place, I thought I would be sadder, but honestly, I'm fine. I feel like I'm finally doing what I've always wanted to do. Of course I'm going to miss some people, mostly the Formans, my dad, and the boys. I'll miss Kelso and Fez, but I definitely won't miss Hyde, at least not this version of him. Just remembering the crap he said to me yesterday made my blood boil, and I look at my right hand. After the punch I laid on him yesterday, you would've thought that my hand would be bruised or something, but despite some swelling on my knuckles, my hand is fine. Hyde's face, on the other hand, is not. I grin slightly, with all the crap he was saying, he should've seen it coming.

 

Flashback, the day before 

I honestly cannot believe what a jerk Hyde is being! Jackie is now crying her eyes out again because he decided to make out with his supposed wife in front of her. According to Jackie, he looked at her, smiled, and pulled the whore to a kiss. He did it just to hurt her! What the hell is wrong with him?! I'm heading to the basement, I need to pick up some albums I left here, and I'm still fuming, I hope Hyde's not down there because if I see him I'm going to give him a piece of my mind! Maybe if I find a big enough, and a heavy enough pole, I can whack some common sense into the asshole!

As I opened the door, I see that Hyde is sitting at his chair, drinking beer and watching TV, Fez and Kelso are in the couch, laughing about something stupid. I know everyone noticed that I entered, but so far, nobody said anything, so I just head to the stereo and try to find some of the albums I wanna bring to Chicago with me. Then I heard him.

"Had fun with my stash yesterday?" He asks me wryly, I just ignore him, I'm trying to focus on finding my Janis Joplin album now. But he continues "I see you talked to Jackie. Man, I really messed her up, huh?" He laughed. He actually laughed at his last statement, that was enough to make me forget about my records for now.

I take a deep breath. This is Hyde, he's basically Eric's brother, he grew up with you, he is a friend . I keep trying to remind myself of that, but all I can see is Jackie's face the minute she walked into my room yesterday.

"Where's the wife?" I ask snidely, noticing that the blonde wasn't in the basement

"Looking for a job" he shrugged, and I turned my back at him, I pick up the records I selected and just when I was about to stand up and leave, he decided to talk again "You should hang out in the basement more often, it's so peaceful and quiet, I feel like I'm in heaven" he smirks slyly "Everyone here should be grateful to me, I've managed to get rid of Jackie, aren't we living the dream now?"

I stare at him, disgusted by everything he just said. Even Fez and Kelso have annoyed expressions in their faces.

"Don't look at me like that, Donna, you always talked about how much she annoyed you, I did you a favor" he scowled

"What the hell happened to you?" I ask him, completely dumbfounded by all the crap that's coming out of his mouth

"I got rid of a 95 pound cancerous tumor, that's what happened to me"

"Dude…" I hear Kelso saying, his tone was clear, he was basically telling Hyde to shut the fuck up, but Hyde just grinned

"C'mon man, you had your turn, I had my turn… Hey Fez, maybe you'll finally get lucky, Jackie's pretty easy when she's vulnerable"

What the fuck?

"You dated her for two years, Hyde. You can't possibly mean everything you just said" I say, I can feel the anger running through my blood.

"Two years of temporary insanity" he answers me, then he stands up to grab another beer in the shower. 

That's it. 

Before I can even acknowledge what the hell I'm doing, Hyde's already at the floor. I punched him, hard, on the face. He deserves it.

"What the fuck?!" I hear him protest, but I'm not in the mood to hear him whining, so I just take my albums and head to the basement door.

"I don't even recognize you anymore" I say as I leave the basement and head back to my house to finish packing.

End of flashback

 

Yeah, I definitely don't regret punching Hyde. I hope I left a mark, so everytime he looks at himself in the mirror he feels as disgusted by himself as I was when I looked at him yesterday. Jackie is literally a victim in this situation, she did absolutely nothing to deserve this. Jackie may be annoying sometimes, but she has plenty of qualities, Hyde should know this better than anyone else.

After the shower I put on the clothes I've separated yesterday, the rest of my clothes are now in boxes all over Jackie's car. I have breakfast with my dad, who can't stop crying, and I wait for Jackie to arrive, so we can say our goodbyes to the Formans and get the hell out of Point Place.

I hear her parking in front of my house, and I meet her on the front porch. I take a deep breath

"Are you ready?" I ask, and she nods. We head to the Formans driveway, and we see Red and Kitty having breakfast at the kitchen table. Hyde's probably still sleeping, Jackie said he sleeps until noon on the weekends.

All of a sudden, I feel nervous. Mr. and Mrs. Forman are like parents to me, and I'm pretty sure Jackie feels the same way about them. Saying goodbye to them is not going to be easy. I open the sliding door and head inside the kitchen, Jackie by my side.

"Donna, Jackie!" I hear Mrs. Forman's perky voice "I haven't seen you two in a while, have you two eaten breakfast already?" 

"Yes Mrs. Forman" Jackie answers her with a sweet smile "Actually, Donna and I need to talk to you and Mr. Forman for a while" she says, suddenly directing her gaze to the floor

"Is this about the dumbass?" I hear Red asking us, and I know he is referring to Hyde "Because I'm dying to kick his ass the minute he arrived from Las Vegas, but Kitty won't let me" he added the last part with a scowl

"Now, Red, that's not nice" Kitty reprehended her husband

"He deserves it. By the way, congratulations Donna" he grinned "I heard all about your little stunt yesterday"

"Seriously?" I ask, confused, Hyde would never tell Mr. and Mrs. Forman that he was punched by a girl, even if the girl in question is me.

"Of course, the kettlehead was basically shouting for the whole neighborhood, nice job"

Gotta love Kelso sometimes.

"Well…" Jackie started "Donna and I came here to say goodbye"

Red puts down his newspaper, and Kitty was looking strangely at me and Jackie.

"What?" I hear Mrs. Forman ask

"Jackie and I are leaving Point Place in a few minutes, we are moving to Chicago" I say, avoiding eye contact with Mrs. Forman

"But… but why?" Fuck, Mrs. Forman sounds so sad, I want to hug her.

"I've got my job back" Jackie answered "And Donna got into University of Chicago. Now that Eric's gone and Steven's…" she hesitates and takes a deep breath, probably trying to avoid the tears "married to someone else, we don't have a reason to stay in Point Place anymore" 

Mr. and Mrs. Forman looked completely flabbergasted by Jackie's words, but deep down, I know they understand our reasons.

"I don't know what to say" Mrs. Forman looks like she's about to cry

"We just wanted to drop by and thank you both. For everything" I say, my eyes now are watery

"You treated me better than my own parents" Jackie spoke "I am really going to miss you two, but this is something that we just have to do" 

As soon as Jackie finished her words, Mrs. Forman hugged her tightly, and Jackie closed her eyes, enjoying the motherly embrace she was receiving. Jackie was right, the Formans did treat her better than her own parents, Jackie probably never got a hug like this from her own mother. Then Mrs. Forman pulled me into the hug as well, and involuntarily, the tears started to fall.

"You girls are like daughters to me. Both of you" she whispers to us.

When the hug ended, Jackie and I looked expectantly at Red. He is not an emotional guy, and he's certainly not comfortable at all with this situation, but deep down he really cares about us.

"I know this probably wasn't an easy decision for you two" he started "And I want you two to know that if you need anything, anything at all, Kitty and I are just a phone call away, okay?" His tone was tender, and he gave us a small grin "I'm really proud of you two"

"We are going to call as soon as we get a place" I promised them, and they smiled at us. Jackie pulled Mr. Forman for a hug, at first he seemed uncomfortable, but then he just patted the small girl's head and smiled. She truly is his favorite.

After we said our goodbyes, and I heard Red mumbling about being left in Point Place with 3 dumbasses and a crying Bob, Jackie and I hugged them one last time, and went into Jackie's Lincoln. This is it. Our new life is starting, and I couldn't be more excited.     


HYDE 

I feel my head pounding, I open my eyes and look at the blonde laying on the other side of the bed, and I grimace. Mrs. Forman offered us Laurie's room yesterday, and thank God for that, because Laurie has a big bed, and big beds means no cuddling. I hated the feeling of sleeping next to her, her arms felt heavy around my chest, so in those last couple days since she arrived I slept on the couch. I just can't sleep this close to her and not feel disgusted with myself. 

I went to the bathroom to take a shower, and I looked at myself in the mirror. Donna's pretty strong, my cheekbone is swollen and purple, and I'm pretty sure I have a black eye. I'm not going to pretend I didn't deserve the punch, I did, I recognize that, I said some pretty awful stuff about her best friend.

Honestly, if I've heard someone else talking about her the way I did yesterday, I would probably punch this person too. But I was drunk, and I just couldn't stop the words from leaving my mouth, she cheated on me with Kelso, right? So screw this, screw her, I should not feel bad. Yet, somehow, I still do. In fact, I feel like shit everyday since that night in Chicago.

I glance at the watch in my wrist, it's 9:30AM, since when do I wake up early on the weekends? I head downstairs to eat some breakfast and I hear some muffled sobs. Oh crap, Mrs. Forman is probably crying about Eric again. I entered the kitchen and I found Mrs. Forman crying in Red's arms, she's saying something about all of her babies leaving her. I don't pay much attention, she's saying pretty much the same thing since Forman left.

Red noticed my presence as I sat down at the table to eat.

"Morning, dumbass" he growls, and I wondered what the hell did I do now, before I even have a chance to ask, he makes a snide comment about my injured face "I need to send Donna a fruit basket for that one" he grins 

I looked at him suspiciously while I poured myself some cereal "How do you know it was Donna?" I ask

"Here's something you should know about your kettlehead friend: he yells" he grimaced and directed his attention back at Mrs. Forman, who was still sobbing. I look strangely at the scene in front of me, and I raise an eyebrow, silently asking Red what the hell happened.

He doesn't say anything, so I just sigh and ask out loud "What happened now?"

Mrs. Forman quickly raised her head out of Red's chest, and she looked at me like she just noticed I was in the room, I looked expectantly at her.

"Donna and Jackie left 15 minutes ago" she says, and I keep looking at her, is that why she's crying, really? Donna literally lives next door, and Jackie's always with her. 

"They left Point Place, dumbass" Red snarls at me and my heart stopped beating for a second, they what? "They dropped by 15 minutes ago to say goodbye. They're moving away" he completed 

He can't be serious, Donna is waiting for Forman, and Jackie wouldn't just leave out of nowhere. Right?

"Where?" Is all I managed to ask, and Mrs. Forman looked sadly at me.

"Chicago" she answered, and the color drained from my face for a second. She left me for Chicago again, she left me. No, no, no, I shouldn't be thinking like this, not after what happened, not after Kelso. "Jackie got her job back and Donna's going to college there" Mrs. Forman completed, I looked into her eyes and I felt like the worst piece of shit in the world. She looked so disappointed at me, and I know that she blames me for this. I blame myself too.

Fucking Chicago.

I get up the table without finishing my cereal, and head to the basement. I went into my 'recently old' room and laid down on my cot. This isn't right. Jackie probably hates me right now, but she wouldn't leave without saying goodbye, not after last time, would she? Fuck. And Donna, shit, I've been back for less than a week and I probably already lost her friendship, she's clearly on Jackie's side, my black eye is proof of it. How can they leave like this? This isn't like them, Jackie would probably demand a goodbye party, she would want to make a big exit, and Donna would've told us all the minute she decided she wanted to leave, she is not an impulsive person, she always planned every move of hers. Now what? I'm stuck here in Point Place with Fez, Kelso, and a wife I barely know. Fuck this.

I take a deep breath to calm myself and I swear I can smell her, strawberries and vanilla, the most intoxicating scent in the world. After a while, I realize that my pillow is the source of the smell, and if I close my eyes, I can almost feel her laying by my side, rubbing her hands through my chest, kissing my jaw, nuzzling my neck... she's barely gone and I already miss her like crazy. Even though I shouldn't. I'm married, I'm supposed to hate her, she cheated on me, yet, I miss her. Every fucking day since Chicago I've missed her.

I lost the track of time while I'm laying here, getting lost in her scent, but I hear voices in the basement.

I see Kelso and Fez on the couch, both of them had very sad looks on their faces. Fuck, is Fez crying? I don't know if I have the patience to deal with this crap today. I enter the room anyways, it's better if I just get this over with now.

Fez stopped crying just to glare at me. He's holding a big paper bag, and I assume that the bag is filled with candy. Kelso pats his back and also glares at me. But he doesn't say anything.

I sat in my chair and stared at both of them, silently daring them to say something, and they stayed quiet. For like, 10 whole minutes. Until they weren't anymore, because Fez started sobbing again. I roll my eyes and prepare myself for what's to come.

"This is all your fault!" Here we go "Both of my goddesses are gone and it's your fault, Hyde!" I stay quiet and decide to let the little foreign dude vent while I still have the patience to hear him without beating him up "You just had to throw away my Jackie like garbage, and now she left me! Because of you, I'll have no more boobs to stare at, because you drove them away! You drove my boobs away! Donna and Jackie are gone and you are a whore!"

"Hey" I protest "Sam has a nice rack" 

"Oh she wishes she had breasts as magnificents as Jackie's and Donna's. She has fake boobs!" 

Okay, this whole talk about boobs is starting to piss me off. What the hell is Fez thinking, talking about Jackie's boobs like this? It takes every ounce of self control that I have to not to pound him right now. Even though he has a point. Jackie had magnificent breasts, they might not be the biggest, but damn, they are perfect, just like everything else about her.

Time to stop. I should not be thinking about Jackie's body right now.

"Is that why you're so whiny today? Because of boobs?" I ask him incredulously

"The boobs are only one of the many, many things I am going to miss about them" he contemplates

"Man, here's what I don't get. Why did Donna have to leave too? I mean, I get why Jackie left, if I was in her place I would've left too" I grin slightly, trying to pretend that I don't care that she's gone, even though it's fucking killing me .

"Donna left because Eric broke up with her" Fez scowled at me "He sent her a letter and broke up with her. No explanations, just a stupid letter" 

"What the hell is wrong with Forman? Did Africa kill whatever brain cells he had left?" I ask, completely dumbfounded by the new information.

"I don't know, I guess he probably caught some disease from you, because right now you are the king of stupid decisions" 

"Shut up Fez" 

Kelso is incredibly quiet during this whole exchange. I notice that whenever someone mentions Jackie, he pretends that he isn't in the room. Guilt is a powerful emotion.

"Well, at least Donna did something right before she left" Fez said as he came closer and tried to get a proper look at my face "She's pretty strong, she would have a really nice career as a wrestler"

"Get away from me Fez" I push him back to the couch

"You son of a bitch, you know you deserved this punch!" He retorted 

"I did not!" I lie, I definitely deserved this punch, but I'm not letting my guard down "Donna was probably just pissed because of Forman and took it out on me" I say "The stuff I said about Jackie were true, she just used it as an excuse to hit someone" 

"Man, what the hell happened to you?" For the first time today, I hear Kelso's voice "Jackie and I broke up, like, a million times, but I never talked about her the way you're talking about her! In fact, if I talked about her the way you're talking about her, you would've kicked my ass!"

I'm enraged. He doesn't have the right to to talk about Jackie and me, not after Chicago! So what if he's right? That doesn't change the fact that he slept with her! 

"You don't have any saying in this situation, Kelso. It's all your fault!" I spat at him

"You're the one acting like an asshole, I'm not doing anything!"

"You slept with her, moron! I went to Chicago to propose and you were naked in her motel room! I can say anything I want about her, because she cheated on me with you!" I yell 

"NOTHING HAPPENED, MAN!" Kelso yelled back "I'm trying to tell you since you came back, but you just won't listen!"

"And I'm not going to" I stand up "I have eyes, I saw it!"

"ENOUGH!" Fez interrupted our incoming fight "You know that nothing happened in Chicago! You just need an excuse to keep acting like a whore!"

"Fez, that's not…" I try to reason with the guy, but he interrupts me again

"I SAID WHORE!" He yells and storms out of the basement 

A few seconds after Fez's explosion, Kelso decided to open up his trap again

"Man, I really think we should talk about Chicago" 

"There's nothing to talk about, Kelso" I go into the shower and grab myself a couple packs of beer, and without saying another word, I leave the basement. 

As I drove my Camino, I decided that I needed to refill my stash, so I headed over to Leo's and got myself one of the best stuff. After a while, I park my car in a familiar place, I take my beers and my stash and sit on the flatbed, admiring the view. Somehow, I ended up on Mount Hump. The place Jackie and I had our first date, the place where we made out countless times, enjoying a Kelso-free summer, the place where she first told me that her mother wasn't coming back, the place where she heard me talking about WB and how I was afraid of meeting him.

This is our place. And I'm here, alone.

After I drank a whole six pack of beers, I started to lose track of time. I just lay and think about how I managed to screw up my life so badly.

A few more beers later and I'm pretty sure Jackie didn't cheat on me with Kelso. Jackie was cheated on enough in her life to know what that feels like, she would never cheat, and I'm an idiot for not trusting her in the first place. But I just can't hear the whole story, I don't want to hear what exactly happened, I don't want Kelso to tell me, because it will only make me feel like shit. It's not like I can do anything to change the situation now that I've already lost her forever.

And I love her. God, I love her more than anything in this world. That's what makes everything worse. Things would be so much easier if I didn't loved her, but hell, I do, I love her so much that it fucking hurts. But why do I keep trying to hurt her back?

During those last couple days, I've been trying my best to try to convince people that I never cared about her in the first place, and I've said some pretty nasty stuff in order to do that. I touch my bruised cheekbone with my fingertips, cringing when I remembered what motivated Donna's punch. But I have to convince people that I don't care about Jackie, because maybe, in the process, I'll be able to convince myself of it.

I lit up a joint, and, during my high, I can almost see her, sitting next to me, leaning her head on my shoulders and playing with my fingers. 

Another joint and a few beers later I had an epiphany. Jackie is gone, for good. She left Point Place to get away from me, and this is fucking killing me. I take out my wallet and take out my favorite picture of hers, she's wearing her cheerleader uniform, and she has that big smile of hers, the smile that can light up a room. Fuck, I haven't seen her smile like this in a while. I put the picture back where it belongs in my wallet, and I sigh. I remove my shades and I stare at the sky, it's almost dark already, how long have I been here? 

Jackie left me, just like everyone else in my life, and I really want to get mad at her for it, but I just can't. She left because I basically forced her to, this whole thing is my fault. I made the wrong choices, I drove her away and now I'm paying the price for it. When Sam arrived, I thought that my chances with Jackie were ruined anyways, so why the hell not keep her around? And now I am living in my personal hell. Forman's gone, Jackie's gone, Donna's gone and I'm being forced to share a life with a woman I barely know and already can't stand. Edna would be so fucking proud.

My head is spinning, yet, I can't seem to be able to stop drinking. Someday she is going to meet someone else in Chicago, she is going to be happy, and have everything she's ever wanted. She'll get married to someone else, she'll have someone else's kids, she'll share a bed with someone other than me. And I'm staying here, in Point Place, trapped in a loveless marriage, living a miserable life, because I managed to fuck everything up with the only girl I've ever loved. The only girl I'll ever love.

This is the worst pain I've ever felt in my life, and I was the one that caused it.

I feel drops of water falling through my cheeks. I look up, it's not raining.

Fuck.

-

Chapter Text

Chapter two:

                     Six months later 

ERIC

I just couldn't wait anymore, I have to see Donna. Breaking up with her was probably the biggest mistake I've ever made, and man, she's probably pissed off because my parents won't even mention her to me anymore! Everytime I tried to ask about her, my mother laughed uncomfortably and changed the subject, I assumed that Donna asked her not to talk about her with me. It makes sense, as I said, I should've never broken up with her, especially with a letter, that was just plain stupid of my part. So last week I decided I'm heading back home, if everything works out, I will be able to spend the new years with my girl and my family. 

God, I missed them. I missed my mother's food, the food from Africa was close to inedible, and I miss her hugs and all the smothering. I miss being called a dumbass by my dad, and I miss my friends. I miss Hyde and his crazy conspiracies, I miss Kelso and his stupidity, I miss Fez and his inappropriate comments, hell, I even miss Jackie.

So that's why I'm on a plane heading to Wisconsin right now. I never told anyone I was coming home today, I thought that if Donna knew I was coming she would probably never show up. The plane is almost landing and I keep trying to figure out what I'm going to say to her, how I'm going to apologize and beg for her forgiveness.

By the time the plane lands, I still have nothing. Absolutely nothing could explain my stupidity regarding her in the last 6 months, so I just figure I'm going to beg and apologize a lot, like I usually do, and hopefully, she will forgive me. Because I can't imagine my life without her.

I called a cab and asked him to take me to Point Place, and my heart was pounding in my chest, I never felt so nervous in my life.

When the cab pulls out in front of my house, I pay the driver and I can't help but smile when I see the cruiser in the driveway, I head to the sliding door and I see my mother in the kitchen, preparing food and drinking a glass of wine. I open the door and she hasn't noticed me yet.

"So, what do I need to say to get a hug here?" I say, with a big smile on my face. My mom turns around and sees me, she hugged me so tightly that it was hard to breathe.

"MY BABY IS HOME! MY BABY IS HOME!" My mother was screaming with joy, so my father went to the kitchen to see what the hell was going on, and when he saw me, he couldn't hide the grin on his face "RED!! ERIC'S BACK!" Mom took my father's arm and dragged him to the hug too. 

"Mom, it's getting kind of hard to breathe here"

"Oh I'm sorry" My mother pulled away from the hug, but she kept her hands on my shoulders "I'm just so happy that you're home, I missed you so much" And now she's crying.

"Okay, time for some of your emergency wine, Kitty" My dad says, then he looks back at me "I'm glad you're back son"

"So am I dad" I smile

"Oh, oh!! The countdown is starting any minute now! Come, all the boys are in the living room, oh, they will be so happy to see you again!" She squealed with delight and headed to the living room with my dad. I followed them, and the first one I see is Hyde, who smiled and pulled me into a hug.

"Forman! Man, what are you doing here?" 

"Africa was boring, and they also had really, really big bugs" I grin, and when he pulls away I couldn't help but notice the abomination above his lip "What the hell is that?!" I ask, pointing to the pornstache

"It's a moustache" he answered me in a tone that meant don't ask more questions and I shrugged

"It looks awful, seriously, that thing just screams 'I've given up on life'" He glares at me and heads to the fridge, probably to get another beer. Man, losing Jackie must've affected him more than I thought. By the way, where is Jackie?

I spotted Fez and Kelso in the stairs, and I headed to them. Fez is the first one to notice me, and he pokes Kelso.

"Oh, my dear friend is back from the African lands" Fez says while he hugs me "I missed you so much, now hopefully everything is going to go back to normal again" He mutters in a sad tone, still hugging me.

"Stop hogging him Fez! It's my turn!" I hear Kelso saying and he pulls Fez out of me and hugs me instead.

"What does he mean with everything going to go back to normal again?" I asked Kelso, and suddenly I noticed that Donna isn't here, neither is Jackie. Where the hell are they? Hyde approached us, giving me a can of beer as Kelso sat back on the stairs.

"Oh, it looks like you're going to receive a lot of news today Eric" Kelso grins, and I start to hear my mom and Bob starting the countdown, Bob looks a little depressed.

TEN!

"What do you mean with that?" I ask Kelso

NINE!

"It's just… a lot changed since you left" Fez answered my question, directing his gaze to the floor

EIGHT! 

"Like what?" I ask, and nobody answers me

SEVEN! 

"Hyde?" I look at my best friend, hoping he would answer me.

SIX!

"Haven't you noticed that there's two people missing in the room?" He looks at me, and surprisingly, I think I saw a hint of sadness in his shaded eyes.

FIVE!

"Donna and Jackie?" I ask, and I could feel my hands sweating already.

FOUR!

Hyde nods, and takes another sip of his beer.

THREE! 

"Where are they?" I ask, and I already knew I wouldn't like the answer.

TWO!

"They moved away after Donna received your letter and Hyde showed up with the stripper" Fez answers

ONE!

"Where?" I ask, my throat suddenly dry.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

"Fucking Chicago" Hyde says and finishes his beer, heading back to the basement.


"Chicago? What the hell? Why?" I ask, passing the joint to Fez

"Jackie wanted to get away from Hyde, and Donna wanted to get away from everything that reminded her of you" Fez answers me and eats a potato chip

"Yeah, they got really pissed, Donna even punched Hyde! It was awesome!" Kelso says, grinning and taking the joint from Fez "Man, I'm so glad I'm not you right now!"

"That stash from Africa is good, Forman" Hyde says "And Donna is seriously strong, my face was bruised for over a week" He frowns, then he smiles "Man, I'm going to have to give some of these to Leo" He laughs "That's good stuff, man"

"Shut up Hyde! We're talking about my stupidity! And yours too, by the way" I sneer, inhaling the smoke

"Hey! Leave the man alone! His spirit is already crushed because he was stupid enough to lose the woman he loves!" Fez said, slapping the table to give emphasis to his statement

"The stripper?"  I ask smugly, I know it's not the stripper. But hey, Hyde needs to stop hiding behind booze and pot and admit that he screwed up badly.

"No, you idiot!" Kelso laughs "Even I know he's talking about Jackie!"

"Okay, the circle is sacred! And you're ruining it by talking about girls!" Hyde says, looking pissed "If I hear the words Jackie, Donna or Chicago in the circle again, I'm going to kick some ass!" He takes a deep hit of the joint and mutters "I fucking hate Chicago"

"Oh you're no fun! If we can't talk about our misery then what are we going to talk about?" I retort

"Don't you dare start talking about the government, Hyde!" Kelso says "Or I swear to God I will leave a butt print in your car!" 

"Hey! The government is full of shit, they hide the car that runs on water because they want us to spend all of our money on gas, how fucked up is that?!" Hyde says angrily, ignoring Kelso's complaints

"Oh, poor Hyde, trying to hide his pain by talking crazy again" Fez says, opening a candy bar and starting to eat it.

"Okay, that's it, I'm going to kick some ass!" Hyde yells and gets up, heading to Fez's.

"I didn't even say their names!" Fez tries to defend himself and is tackled to the floor by Hyde "Ai!"

"At least the circle is still the same" I mutter to myself  


We are all sitting in the basement now, the high is long gone and we are all staring at the TV. I can't hear the noises from upstairs anymore so I assume my dad kicked everyone out, ending the party. Hyde is in his chair, Kelso in the lawn chair, and Fez is on the couch. I'm sitting in the arm of the couch, and I'm still very confused.

"Okay, but why Chicago?" I ask

"Jackie got her job back after Hyde broke her precious little heart. In fact, she's now a reporter, she even talks about serious stuff" Fez answered 

"Yeah, and Donna got into University of Chicago, so they moved in together" Kelso completed.

I couldn't help but notice how quiet Hyde was, and how everytime I mention Chicago he tenses up.

"But Donna wanted to go to UW!" I say

"No Eric" Fez explained "Donna wanted to go to UW because you wanted to go to UW, so when you told her you were leaving to Africa she applied at Chicago and got in"

"She was going to wait and go to UW with you, but then you broke up with her so she and Jackie just took off" Kelso says sadly "They didn't even say goodbye to us, only to Fez! Then he cried for a week!"

"That's true, I did" Fez nods

I'm now staring at Hyde, his jaw is clenched and I know he's bothered by the subject, but if the girls left that's partially his fault too, so I decided to poke the bear. It's not like I've got something to lose at this point.

"And how did you feel about that, Hyde?" I ask, not hiding the smug look in my face. Hyde looks at me like he wants to kill me, but I don't flinch.

"Didn't care then, don't care now" He answered me, but before I had the chance to call him out on his bullshit, Kelso already did the job for me.

"Oh, he's lying, he disappeared the day the girls left, he came back in the middle of the night, so drunk he couldn't even walk a straight line"

"Really?"

"Yeah, he was very sad" Fez completed "The poor orphan boy lost the love of his life and was forced to live with a stupid version of Laurie" He grinned, and I could tell that Hyde was almost losing his temper.

"So, tell me Fez, how stupid was she?" I ask, and glance again at Hyde.

"She was just as stupid as Kelso" he said "No offense amigo"

"Non taken" Kelso says, shrugging

"So, Hyde" I start "Where is the stupid version of Laurie right now? Working late?" I already knew the answer to that question, my mom told me on the phone about the stripper's real husband, but I couldn't help it, staying married to that stripper was probably the dumbest decision he ever made, and I am going to make sure that he knows it, even if he kills me in the process.

"She took off with her real husband" Hyde answers and grabs another beer for himself.

"What do you mean her real husband, Hyde?" I ask, playing dumb.

"She was already married when she married me" He tries his best to look indifferent, and opens his can of beer, he's hiding behind his zen mask and I'm going to take that stupid mask off tonight.

"He threw away his entire relationship with Jackie because of a marriage that wasn't even real" Kelso mocks him and laughs, not noticing the daggers Hyde is shooting at him with his eyes.

"Because you were going to sleep with her, moron!" Hyde is almost at the edge, he stood up and stared at Kelso, and I realized that we are getting through him, finally.

"I already told you a million times that we weren't going to do it!" Kelso looked at him and he also stood up, and for the first time ever he wasn't afraid of standing up to Hyde, they were both glaring at each other now "Believe me, I tried! But she kept crying and saying that she lost you forever, I was just trying to make her feel better! She even spilled soda at me so I would stop coming onto her, that's why I was in that stupid towel!" 

"What about the whole 'nobody can see us doing it from the parking lot' thing, huh?"

"I WAS TRYING TO MAKE HER LAUGH!" Kelso yelled "I was trying to fix what you've broken in the first place!"

"By hitting on her?!" Hyde yelled back

"That's what I do! And that was stupid, I shouldn't have done that, but if you saw her you would understand! I've never seen her crying so much in my life! You didn't even listen to her, you didn't give her a chance to explain! You just ran away to Vegas and married the first hot chick you saw out of spite!"

Hyde just sighed and sat at his chair again, he took off his glasses and held his head in his hands.

"Why the hell didn't you tell me all this before?" He asks in a defeated voice.

"Because you never gave me a chance, man. You just punched me and pretended that nothing happened after, whenever I tried to explain you just told me to shut up" Kelso answered him, sitting back in the lawn chair. Fez was looking at the scene in front of him with awe, even I was impressed. I could swear that Hyde would end up hurting Kelso in the end, but he just admitted defeat, now that's a good sign .

After a few seconds, I decided it was safe to speak again, so I looked back at Hyde, who was just staring at the floor, tapping his foot.

"Have you tried to speak to Jackie after everything? Did you at least apologize to her?" I asked

"I asked Mrs. Forman for their number a few months ago, I tried to talk to Jackie but Donna picked up and told me to get bent" He answered 

"So you just gave up?"

"What else am I supposed to do, man? I fucking married someone else! She will never forgive me for that!" He says, and I've never seen Hyde looking more defeated in my life

"You never know, Hyde, not if you don't try" I say, but Hyde didn't answered me, he just returned his gaze back to the floor, so I asked what's on my mind for a while now "Fez, Kelso, have you seen them after they moved to Chicago?"

"I live in Chicago, Eric, I see them all the time" Kelso answered

"That's not true" Fez interrupted him "They didn't want to see him at first because he kind of ruined Jackie and Hyde's relationship"

"Yeah but now they see me! Jackie is Betsy's godmother, and she visits Brooke all the time to play with Betsy, so, a couple months ago, I was going to pick up Betsy and I ran into Jackie at Brooke's" He explains "Jackie was pretty angry at first, but in the end she talked to me and we're okay now. I go to their place every Sunday with Betsy, and we eat lunch and play with her. She really likes Donna and Jackie"

"What about you, Fez?"

"Well, before they left Jackie actually went to my apartment to say goodbye to me. We talked for a few hours, my poor goddess was crying so much that it broke my heart" He glared angrily at Hyde "She said that she couldn't stay here anymore and she hugged me and said that she was going to miss me the most because I'm the only one with a decent fashion sense. And then she said that as soon as she and Donna found a place, she was going to call me. She called me a week later and asked me to go visit them, so I did. I go there at least once a month, Jackie needs a shopping partner" he says and I nod.

"Wait," Hyde says, confused "So, all those weekends you went away, you were with them? There's no Shampoo Boy convention?" I look at Hyde in disbelief, there's no way he actually believed that Fez was actually in a shampoo boy convention, since those probably aren't real. He must be drinking a lot to buy this.

"No"

"So…" I start "Must've been hard, Fez. When Kelso moved away, it was only you, Hyde and his 'wife' left" I comment. I've been wondering for a while why Fez kept coming to the basement after the girls and Kelso left, I know for a fact that Fez was blaming Hyde for the girls absence, so why was he still hanging out with him during those last 6 months?

"It was" Fez answered "Hyde is not a talker"

"Dude, don't get me wrong, it was nice having the company and all, but…" Hyde pauses, and I'm pretty sure he's about to ask Fez the same thing I have in my mind right now "Jackie and Donna… they left because of me" he sounded bleak and looked at the floor "I wouldn't have blamed you if you stopped hanging around here"

"I was pretty mad at you, in the beginning" Fez started "And after Kelso left I thought about not coming back, but then I remembered something Jackie told me the day before she left" 

We all look at him expectantly, especially Hyde, and Fez sighed and looked at Hyde "She asked me not to leave you" 

I look at Hyde, and just by his body language I can tell that he is feeling like shit. He married someone else, rubbed the stripper in her face, and talked shit about her, yet, she still cared enough to ask Fez not to leave him. She knew Hyde, she knew that he was abandoned before, and even after all the crap he pulled on her, she still asked Fez not to leave him, because she knew that he would need him. Jackie truly loved Hyde.

I decided to change the subject "So…" I start "Has Donna asked about me?"

"No, Eric and Hyde are forbidden topics at the Pinciotti/Burkhart household" Kelso answers 

"Yeah, I guess I can understand why" I was starting to get depressed, so, that's it? Donna and I were really over? No, I'm not going to give up on her again, so I ask Kelso "Can you give me their address?"

The three other occupants of the basement looked at me like I'm crazy, but I'm not giving up on Donna, I need to see her and tell her how sorry I am, even if she doesn't want to see me.

"Actually…" Fez started, and looked at me apprehensively "Kelso and I are going to drive there tomorrow, we are going to spend the afternoon with them"

"Fez! If we bring them they will kill us!" Kelso yells and points at us

"Them?" Hyde looks at us in disbelief "Who the hell is them?"

"Oh, if I'm going you are going too, Hyde!" I say, looking at him, silently daring him to contradict me.

"Forman, I gotta say, going to Africa actually gave you balls" He stands up and grabs another beer "But I'm not going. My case is hopeless"

"Would you please get your head out of your ass and do the right thing for once in your life?!" I yell, and Hyde just raises an eyebrow and stares at me "You know, you were happy when you were with Jackie, you were not 'less pissed off', you were happy! And then you screwed everything up with your commitment issues and your inability to tell her you love her, and THEN, you married a stripper! You know I think Jackie is the devil, but she didn't deserve all the crap you pulled on her, and you know it! But you love her, and I'm pretty sure she still loves you, so you are going to Chicago with me and you are going to grovel like you never groveled before, mister!" Hyde was about to protest when I cut him off "So, you cut the zen crap and go tell her what you need to tell her, and you shave that awful thing off because you look like a pornstar and you know how much Jackie hates facial hair!" I finish, then I look at Kelso and ask calmly "What time are we leaving tomorrow?"

Kelso looks completely dumbstruck by my outburst, so does Fez and Hyde, but I don't care, I want Donna back, and I'll be damned if I don't try everything I could to accomplish that. I also want Hyde to be happy for once.

"We're leaving at 10. You take the cruiser because my car only have two seats and I'm taking little Fez here" Kelso says, pointing at Fez

"Fine" I agree, and I start planning in my head what I'm going to say to Donna when we arrive in Chicago. I notice Hyde's facial expression and apparently he's just as nervous as I am, I smile, and congratulate myself on finally breaking his zen. I just hope that Jackie agrees on talking to him, but he messed up big time, knowing Jackie, she probably won't even listen to him, I meant it when I say he's going to need to grovel, I just hope he doesn't give up so easily like last time. They may be creepy and unnatural, but somehow they were good to each other, I know Hyde since I was a kid, and I can say he was genuinely happy when he was with Jackie. And Donna, well, I just can't imagine my life without her, I just hope she feels the same way.

"Well" I start "I'm going to bed, I need to practice what I'm going to say to Donna tomorrow" I stand up "I really missed you guys" I look at them and smile, and then I head upstairs.           


DONNA

It's literally been an hour since the 80s started, and I'm already tired. We've been in this stupid fancy party at one of Jackie's co-worker's house, and I'm feeling like crap. Technically, I'm still on my winter break, but that didn't stop me from staying up all night yesterday finishing a paper. I am determined to graduate with honors, so when I'm not spending the day with Jackie, I'm usually studying. And now I'm tired, I'm tipsy, and I want my bed. Jackie is at the bar talking to a random girl that probably works with her, and I go to her.

"Jackie, let's go home" I say.

And then Jackie turns to look at me and laughs, and just by looking at her face, I know the girl is hammered, crap.  

"Yayy!! Donna's here!!" Jackie says, visibly drunk, then she turns back to talk to the other girl "Hey, Annie! This is my best friend Donna, and I love her" She hugs me and I couldn't help but laugh. It's rare, seeing Jackie showing affection for anyone other than Hyde and Mr. Forman, so I'm amused.

"Love you too midget" I turned to her friend Annie, and asked "How many drinks did she have tonight?"

The blonde looks at me with a very snobbish expression, and I cringe on the inside, she reminded me a lot of Jackie's old cheerleader "friends".

"A few glasses of champagne" she shrugs and I help Jackie up, putting my arms around her shoulders to give her more stability.

"Bye Annie!!" I hear Jackie saying goodbye to her friend as I walk her to the apartment door, we only live two blocks away so there's no need to call for a cab. I walk with Jackie to our place, she's stumbling a little, but I need to get our keys out of my purse, so I remove my hands from her shoulders for a while. Not a second later I hear a loud thump and Jackie's now laughing her ass off at the sidewalk.

"Shit, Jackie are you okay?" I ask, noticing that a little blood was coming from her knee. Jackie's still laughing, she's probably too drunk to feel pain anyways.

"Yeah I'm fine" She's still giggling, but she manages to stand up by herself, then she looks at her knee, and looks surprised "Oh my God I think I scratched my knee" and then she's back to laughing. And I laugh along with her, I'm a little tipsy myself. I managed to find my keys and we headed to the stairs. We only live on the second floor and Jackie weighs barely nothing, so I carry her to our place, opening the door and placing her on the couch.

I decided to grab the first-aid kit, her knee was barely bleeding anymore but I thought it wouldn't hurt to check.

"You know Donna" Jackie starts rambling as I made her lie down on the couch, grabbing a piece of cotton and soaking it up with alcohol to clean up her knee "Sometimes I love that my best friend is a lumberjack, because then I can get shit faced and you'll always be able to carry me home because I'm tiny" I giggle at her statement, drunk Jackie has a dirty mouth, sober Jackie never swears, so I enjoy it while I can.

"Don't get used to it, midget. And I'm pretty sure that tomorrow you will never want to touch a drink again" I place the cotton soaked in alcohol at her knee, warily, and she takes a deep breath, because it's probably stinging a little. "So, why the sudden need to drink today, Jackie?" I ask, because as I said, Jackie almost never drinks. And she's been pretty down since we moved to Chicago. I thought she was getting better but apparently I'm wrong.

"I don't know… I just felt like celebrating the new decade Pam Burkhart style!" She jokes, but I know that's not why she drank today. I just look at her, and she continues "I guess I just kind of miss home today" She lowers her voice and stares at the floor.

"I do too" I confess to her

"It's just… it's odd, not spending the new years at the Formans. We also stayed home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it's a weird feeling" 

"Yeah, I get that. I miss Point Place too"

"And I know we see Michael every week" She continues "and Fez always comes to see us at least once a month, but I miss the Formans and…" I look at her and I see sadness all over her face, and I understand why.

"You miss Hyde" I state, and she nods in confirmation.

"God, I'm so stupid!!" She hugs one of our pillows and I place a bandaid on her knee "I have an amazing job that pays well and I live in an amazing city with my best friend! Why can't I get him out of my mind? He married a fucking stripper, Donna, I should hate his guts right now!" 

I take a deep breath and say what I'm avoiding to say out loud since we moved here.

"I miss Eric" Then I sat next to her on the couch, and she took my hand in hers.

"Do you think we made the right decision?" She asks, her eyes filling with unshed tears.

"Honestly? I do. We can't stop our lives because of boys, no matter how much we love them. We can't be the only ones making sacrifices to save our relationships"

"You know what? You're right, they are selfish and stupid. Stupid Steven probably don't even miss me. Ass" She mutters, and I felt like I needed to tell her something I've been holding on for a while.

"Actually... Hyde called asking for you a couple months ago"

"WHAT?"

"I told him that he's not allowed to talk to you, are you mad?" I ask bashfully, afraid that she'll be pissed at me.

"I am fucking pissed off, but not at you! How dare him call, after everything he's done to me? The two days we spent in Point Place after the whore showed up were living hell. He was rubbing the stripper in my face, like she was better than me, and he talked shit about me, like we haven't spent TWO FUCKING YEARS together. And then he calls? Only a month ago? Honestly, after what he did, I deserve at least a visit, and diamonds, and flowers" She says, crossing her arms and pouting

"Are you telling me that if he shows up with jewelry and flowers you would actually forgive him?" I ask her, in disbelief

"Probably not, after everything he did to me, not even diamonds would cut it, and if, I mean a REALLY BIG IF, I ever consider forgiving him, he would have to grovel, a lot" She put on a brave face, and I smiled, the tiny midget really impresses me sometimes.

"I really admire you Jackie" I confess "And I'm only saying this because you're drunk and you won't remember this tomorrow, but despite all that bitchy attitude, you have a really big heart. If Eric did to me what Hyde did to you, I would NEVER forgive his sorry ass, in fact, I would hate him with all my guts"

"I wish I could hate Steven, it would make my life so much easier" Jackie sighed, looking at the floor "No matter how much I try, I can't hate him, in fact, I'm still very much in love with him, and that really sucks" She cried, and I squeezed her hand, supporting my best friend

"I know. I'm still in love with Eric, I guess" I confess, suddenly noticing how interesting our carpet is.

"Is that why you broke up with Randy?" 

"Yes, you know, when I first started seeing Randy, I felt like I was cheating on Eric. And I've read his stupid letter every single day, because I needed to remind myself that he broke up with me , that I wasn't doing anything wrong, but I couldn't get rid of this feeling, so I ended things with him" Jackie squeezed my hand a little tighter, and smiled softly at me.

"Eric is an asshole. You were always too good for him, I've always said that"

"I know. I stayed in Point Place for him after Red had his heart attack, I forgave him for ditching me on our wedding day, and he just took off to Africa, he didn't even ask me what I thought!" I feel my voice tremble a little bit, and I know I'm about to cry, then Jackie pulls me in for a hug and I couldn't hold it anymore. I started crying, hard. And so did she. So we just held each other, until the sobs stopped.

"So, what now?" Jackie asks, sniffing

"Now, you are going to sleep and prepare for your big hangover tomorrow" Jackie grimaced at my words "And don't forget that Kelso is bringing Fez and Betsy, we are going out for lunch" I got up the couch and offered my hand to Jackie, who was struggling a little "Next time you take it easy on the champagne, midget"

"Noted" Jackie smirked and took off her heels, heading to her room "Donna" she called "You are the best, thank you for always being here. I love you"

"Love you too" I smile as Jackie closes the door to her room, and as I'm heading to my own room, I take a bottle of aspirin and leave it at the kitchen counter for Jackie tomorrow.

-

Chapter Text

Chapter three:

HYDE

Stupid Forman. The man is barely back from Africa and he's making me think already. I'm not supposed to think, not after what I've done, if I think, I will feel like garbage and I will end up humiliating myself, so I drink instead. Ever since the girls left, when I wasn't occupying myself with work, I was drinking beer and smoking pot. I've spent most of my days at Grooves, avoiding my 'wife' and trying to get Jackie out of my mind. Never succeeded in that. And, at the end of the day, I went home to a stranger, who didn't even know my middle name, hell, she probably didn't know my first name to begin with.

The minute Sam showed up at the Formans I thought 'That's it. You just ruined your life'. I looked at Jackie and saw the horrified expression in her face, and right then I just knew that that was it. I've screwed things beyond repair this time. She would never take me back after this. So screw it, I decided I would stay with Sam, because being with her would be better than being alone, right? Wrong.

I should've kicked her out the minute she rang the doorbell, I should've ran after Jackie and told her how I really feel about her. Maybe if I've done those things Jackie would've forgiven me, maybe she would've stayed, maybe we would've been married by now. But I told Sam to stay, and I made the biggest mistake of my life. A few months later, Sam's real husband showed up, and I've never felt so relieved in my entire life, I should've been pissed, but I wasn't, and when she left I felt like myself for the first time in a really long time. But after a few minutes, the anger came. The bitch basically scammed me, I threw away my relationship with Jackie because of a marriage that wasn't even real in the first place, and I fucking hated myself for it. A few weeks after Sam left, I was drunk, and I called Jackie. I called her apartment and Donna picked up, I wanted to tell Jackie that I'm still in love with her, that I'm an idiot, and I was ready to beg her to come home, but Donna wouldn't let me speak with her. I don't know if I should be thankful or angry about it. 

Deep down, I've always known that Jackie never cheated on me with Kelso, and after hearing the full story yesterday, I was consumed with guilt. I did the exact same thing when I cheated on her with that nurse, I jumped into conclusions and never confronted her, I was hurt and I wanted to hurt her back. And I was an asshole. But marrying Sam… that was low, that was just plain cruel, and I knew it, but I did it anyway because I was drunk and I thought she was sleeping with Kelso behind my back so I wanted to hurt her. But again, she didn't do anything, I caused her pain over nothing, something that wasn't even her fault, and I'm probably the worst person in this world right now.

So, when Forman decided last night that we are going to Chicago, I almost laughed at his face. After everything I've done to Jackie, I don't deserve to see her, to feel her again. I deserve to be miserable, I should spend the rest of my life drowning in my own misery.

But Jackie... damn… she's everything. And right now all I can think about is that I have to fix my life, and the most important thing is Jackie. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get her back. To redeem myself in her eyes. For once in my life, I am going to fight for the one I love. I screwed things up really badly, but I am making it right, she's the only one worth fighting for, and she has the right to know that I'm sorry, even if she never forgives me, she should know how I really feel, she deserves to know that she's loved, she will always be loved. I always thought that admitting my feelings out loud was a sign of weakness, now I realize how fucked up that is. Feelings don't make you weak, but denying and hiding from them, does. I was a coward by not telling Jackie how I feel, and I'm not making the same mistake again, I never thought I would say this, but it's time to grovel, and I'll grovel my ass off.

So now, here I am, clean shaved, stuffing some clothes in a duffel bag, getting ready to see her for the first time in 6 months. I went upstairs and grabbed the phone, I needed to call WB and tell him I wouldn't be in town for a few days. After I was done, I sat down at the kitchen table to have some breakfast. Apparently, Mrs. Forman knew about our 'plan', because she was giggling the whole time, almost jumping with happiness, or maybe she's just happy because I shaved the moustache off, I could never tell.

Then Forman showed up with a duffel bag and a huge grin in his face. He sat down at the table and we ate breakfast, just like the old times. And I grinned to myself. I hate feelings, and I would never admit this out loud but I really missed Forman, really missed him. I have this feeling that if Forman never left for Africa, things would've been pretty different. He truly is the glue that holds the group together, I just realized it too late.

After we finished breakfast, we said our goodbyes to Mr. and Mrs. Forman, and now we're at the driveway, heading for the cruiser, because Kelso and Fez would be arriving any minute now. And then I heard Red.

"Dumbasses, wait" His tone was stern, and he looks like he's about to kick some major ass, I prepare myself for the speech I know it's about to come "I know where you two are heading and I know what you're about to do" Then he looks straight at me "Steven, it's about damn time. In those last few months I was waiting for you to get your head out of your ass, and it took a long time, but I assume you're finally making the right thing. But I swear to God, if you ever hurt that girl again I will stick my foot so far up your ass that your teeth will break. Do you understand me?"

Well, I've always suspected that Jackie was Red's favorite, he always had a soft spot for her. Now, I'm sure she's his favorite, Red doesn't threaten to put his foot on people's ass over someone he doesn't care about.

"Yes sir" 

"Good. Eric, the same goes for you" I direct my gaze to Forman, he looks absolutely terrified, and honestly, I probably do too. You don't mess with Red Forman. "Both of you should worship the ground this girls step in, they are both too good for you. But for some twisted reason, apparently you make them happy, at least you used to" He scowls "So you two go on and do that. But I'm keeping the dentist number in the fridge just in case" He gave us one last threatening look and left us in the driveway.

"That went well" I hear Forman say

"Yeah"

"Are you… you're still going, right?" He asks apprehensively

"Yes Forman, I'm still going" I roll my eyes, his determination from yesterday is gone, and now he's all twitchy again, I'm starting to get annoyed. Just when Forman was about to say something else, we hear Kelso's car, so we head to the cruiser and drop the duffel bags in the backseat. Forman is the one driving. I said I could drive us there in the Camino, but he misses the cruiser, so I just shrug and agree with him.

15 minutes later and we're on the road, Eric's following Kelso's car and I'm trying to find some decent music on the radio. It's the first day of the 80s and the music already sucks. Forman is trying to focus on the road, but I notice he's trying to say something. I was hoping for some peace and quiet, I could use these couple hours to figure out what I'm going to say to Jackie, but now Eric's bothering me.

"What?" I ask harshly

"What are you going to say to Jackie?" He asks

"Why do you care, man?" I'm starting to lose my temper. I do not talk about feelings, especially not with Forman, in fact, most of the time, I avoid being like Forman, but not talking about my feelings is what made me lose Jackie in the first place, so I guess I will have to suck it up.

"It's just that… yesterday I had so many things in my mind, so many things I was ready to say, I was even rehearsing in my head, but now, I have nothing, I have no idea how I'm going to apologize to Donna" he mumbles, and I take pity on him, because I'm basically in the same situation.

"Look man, just start by telling her that you're sorry and then you go from that"

"Is that what you're gonna do with Jackie?"

"I don't know, Forman. I don't think that apologizing to her is going to do any difference at this point" I mumble

"Yeah, you screwed up bad" I just looked at him, clearly annoyed, wasn't he supposed to encourage me or something? He just keeps talking "Jackie deserves more than an apology from you, Hyde"

"I know" I sigh "But what the hell am I supposed to do, man?"

"Look, I'm going to be completely honest with you here, but first, you have to promise me you won't hit me" He starts, and I glare at him angrily, if he's asking me not to hit him, that's probably because he will make me want to hit him, but I control myself. Forman just wants to help me, right? So suck it up. Again.

I nod, silently giving him my permission to keep talking.

"I know you like to say you don't do love. But I also know that you loved - and I assume you still love - Jackie. And I know we teased you sometimes but dude, that wasn't a reason for you to treat her like crap in front of us. You acted like you didn't care about her, and she tolerated it because she loved you. And I still believe that Jackie is the devil, don't get me wrong here, but she was good to you, and you were good to her. And I don't think you'll ever find someone else after her, because she's it for you pal" He deadpanned. And I feel like shit, did I actually treat her like crap in front of everyone? I know sometimes I'm a little abrasive, but if Forman was bothered by it, then it's worse than I thought.

I take a deep breath, trying to process everything. I'm disgusted with myself, I love Jackie, I always have, so why is it so hard to show it to her? Did Bud and Edna mess me up THAT bad? Shit. Forman takes the silence as an opportunity to keep talking.

"Hyde, I know what you're thinking right now, yes, you treated her like crap sometimes, but we all knew that you cared a lot about her. You wouldn't have stayed with her for two years if you didn't" Hell, what is he a psychic now? "But sometimes you need to be a little more expressive, man. How many times have you told her you loved her? Because if I know you, I'm guessing you never did"

Once. I told her once. And that was after I cheated on her with that nurse, I don't even blame her for saying she didn't love me back then. I always thought that she knew, even when we got back together after that, I thought that she knew I loved her so there was no need for me to keep saying it, even though she told me she loved me practically everyday. Everytime she told me she loved me, I would just smile and kiss her tenderly. I thought that she knew that that was my way of saying 'I love you too', but I guess I was wrong. She deserved to hear the words every once in a while, maybe if I've said it more often, she wouldn't have given me that ultimatum. I am such an idiot. Some minutes must have passed because Forman is now staring at me.

"Hyde, man, aren't you going to say something?" He asks hesitantly.

"You're right" that's all I say for now, and that's all I'm going to say, at least to him. He seems to understand that, and he kept driving until we arrived at Kelso's place.

He parks the Vista Cruiser next to Kelso's convertible. Kelso and Fez are already waiting for us, so we grab our stuff and go meet with them. Kelso has a huge grin in his face, but Fez is glaring at us, and he does not look happy.

"Hyde, Eric" he greets us "I assume you were serious last night then"

"Of course they were Fez!" Kelso interrupts "Look, Hyde even shaved the pornstache off!" He points at my face and I slap his hand off.

"We were literally following your car, ya dillhole, of course we were serious" Eric says impatiently. Again, he's more twitchy than normal, he's probably nervous about seeing Donna for the first time after everything.

Kelso opened up his apartment door for us, and Fez quickly went to the kitchen, probably to retrieve a secret stash of candy he hid somewhere, and I sat at a bench next to the kitchen counter.

"Okay, so you guys wait here while I go pick up Betsy at Brooke's" Kelso states "Then, when we come back,we take the cruiser and head to the girls place" 

"Why are you taking Betsy?" Eric asks

"They can't hit a guy with a baby, duh" Kelso answers in his signature childish tone "Also, if I don't bring her, Jackie will kill me, she is her godmother after all" he looks at me, and I knew what he implied by that. I'm Betsy's godfather, and I'm not very good at it, I've only seen the kid once. I'm not very fond of kids, but Jackie seems to like Betsy, so I'm going to try harder now.

"Oh, last time I visited, Jackie and Betsy were wearing matching dresses, it was the cutest thing I've ever saw" Fez states, and I pictured the scene in my head, and for some reason, that vision amused me a lot more than I thought it would.

"So, I'll be back in half an hour, tops" Kelso heads at the door "You can watch TV or something while I'm gone, there's beer in the fridge" and then he leaves.

I opened his fridge, looking for a beer, and I found it, but I decided that I should be 100% sober in order to do this right, after all, I am known for making very dumb decisions while I'm drunk, so I just head to the couch instead, an uncomfortable silence filling the room. Fez turns the TV on and the only noises I can hear are the TV and Fez eating a chocolate bar. Now that the moment of truth is coming I'm getting more and more nervous, and that sucks, because I hate getting nervous. I glanced briefly at Forman and he looks pale, he looks even more anxious than I am, and his situation with Donna isn't half as bad as mine with Jackie.

Forman messed up bad, he took Donna for granted and lost her in the end. And she made plenty of sacrifices for the sake of their relationship, while he did practically nothing but sit on his ass all day and complain. He also left her at the altar and took off to Africa without even asking for her opinion, then he broke up with her in a letter. But that's nothing compared to what I did to Jackie.

I also took her for granted, even though she's the best thing that ever happened to me, but I just had to be this jealous, paranoid asshole, and ruin everything. I acted like I didn't cared about her in front of our friends, I cheated on her with the nurse, I held a grudge against her for not forgiving me sooner after that incident, even though I was clearly the wrong one in that situation, I practically never told her how much I love her, then I said I couldn't see a future with her, then I ran off to Vegas and married a stranger out of spite. Yeah, my situation is way worse than Forman's. I'm going to consider myself lucky if she doesn't kick me in the shins today. Getting Jackie back is going to be a process, a very long one, but I've got a preview of what my life would be without her, and that's a pretty damn miserable life.

So yeah, I'm going to tell her that. I just hope that she will be willing to hear me. I won't be zen anymore, not with her.


JACKIE

Oh God, I forgot how bad my hangovers are. That's why I never drink, my head is killing me, I feel like someone is squeezing my skull. I will never, ever touch another drink again. 

Okay, so, apparently I've slept with the same dress I was wearing last night, not a good sign, because that also means I probably haven't removed my makeup either, so I have clogged pores. I open my eyes carefully and I see that my pillowcase has as much makeup on it as I do. Crap.

Time for some damage control. 

I drag myself out of bed and put on my good old sweatpants, normally I would never wear this because that's a fat girl outfit, but screw it, I'm feeling like shit anyways. I glanced around the closet looking for a shirt and my eyes stopped at the sign of a Led Zeppelin one, that's Steven's shirt. I feel tempted to wear it, just for today, for old times sake, and then I scolded myself, I shouldn't think about him, or his stupid shirt that I'm too attached to throw it in the garbage. He married someone else, he can go to hell.

So I took a random tank top I own and went to the bathroom. As soon as I walk in, I feel this huge wave of nausea, I run into the toilet, and I puke my guts out. Gross. My mom would be proud.

My eyes are watery and my mouth is bitter, so I flush the toilet and head to the sink, intending on brushing my teeth, but I stop at the horrifying sight in front of me. Great, now I'm looking like a panda. Sleeping with makeup on is basically asking God to give you pimples, and I do not get pimples, so I always remove my makeup before going to bed, or at least sober Jackie does. Just another reason to never get drunk again.

I wash my face and brush my teeth, then I tie my hair and head to the kitchen, and I find my favorite lumberjack waiting for me at the table.

"Good morning sunshine" She mocks "You look like crap"

I just grunt and sit down next to her, laying my head in my hands "God, I'm never drinking again" I mumble

"I warned you. please eat something, Kelso is going to arrive with Fez and Betsy in a few minutes" Oh. I completely forgot about that.

"I would if I could, but I don't think I can eat anything right now"

"Jackie, I'm serious, eat" Her tone was stern "I left an aspirin bottle at the counter for you" She looks at me sympathetically, and then we hear the doorbell.

"That's probably them, eat something and take your aspirin, I'll go get the door" she says, heading there.

I pour myself some orange juice, then I take the last couple of aspirins in the bottle, I just can't eat right now, my stomach feels like shit, out of nowhere I hear Donna yelling.

"KELSO! WHAT THE HELL!" 

I hear Michael's muffled voice answering her "OW! You can't hit a guy with a baby!" 

What, did Michael grab her butt or something? I told him not to pull that crap on us anymore or else I wouldn't kick his shins, I would kick his nuts.

Imagine my surprise when I left the kitchen and saw the four dumbasses at the doorway. Donna looks pissed, Eric looks scared, Fez is eating candy and is basically oblivious to the tension in the room, Michael is looking apprehensively between Donna and Eric, clearly not noticing I'm here, and Steven is just staring at me. Crap. What the hell are they doing here?

Donna finally noticed where I am, and she decided that now was a good time to vent, right in front of everyone.

"Can you believe this, Jackie? Those two assholes" She points at Eric and Steven "Haven't even seen us in 6 months, and now they have the audacity to show up at our door? And Kelso!" She turned to Michael, her face was getting red with rage "What the hell were you thinking?! Who else are you bringing here, Adolf fucking Hitler?!"

I feel like my head is going to explode at this point, all the noise is not helping with my headache, so I rubbed my temples, trying to ease the pain, but yeah, it didn't work, obviously. So I just turned to Donna.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm just going to take a shower, okay? Can you handle this by yourself for now? Thanks" And then I head quickly to the bathroom, not giving her enough time to protest. I kneel near the toilet and now the orange juice and the aspirins are no longer on my stomach. Crap.

This is going to be a long day.


DONNA

I am going to kill Kelso. We made it perfectly clear to him and Fez that we are NOT ready to see (or even hear from) the boys. And by the boys, I mean the stripper-marrying bastard and the selfish-african asshole. God, why would they even be here? Haven't they hurted us enough? I just glare at them, all four of them (and Betsy) are waiting for me to say something, Eric's leaning at the door frame, looking at me like a lost puppy. Jerk.

"Kelso, give me Betsy" I demand, extending my arms to hold the 1 year old. Kelso looks at me strangely but gives me the baby anyways.

"Why do you want to hold her now, like, right at this moment?" He asks, genuinely concerned about his daughter being caught in the middle of war.

"Because if I'm holding Betsy, then I won't be able to kill the moron twins, and I really don't want to go to prison right now" I look at them darkly.

"So…" I hear Eric saying and my heart starts pounding on my chest "Are you going to let us in or what?"

I swear to God, if looks could kill, Eric would be a puddle of blood right now. I take a deep breath, and remind myself that I'm holding a baby, I shouldn't kick ass, not now.

"I'll have to ask Jackie. It's her place too" My tone was harsh and my voice was cold. I head to the bathroom door and knock, trying to get Jackie's attention.

"Yes?" I hear her muffled voice over the sounds of the shower.

"Are you feeling better?" I ask, worried about having to take care of a hangover Jackie all day.

"Getting there!" She answers me

"So, what should I do about the situation we have going on right now?" I ask apprehensively. 

And then all I could hear was the shower. For like, two minutes straight, when I'm about to give up and head back to the living room, I finally hear her voice.

"Is Betsy here?" She asks, and I smile at the little child that's currently at my arms.

"Yeah, I'm holding her right now" 

"UGH! For an idiot, Michael can be pretty smart sometimes!" I wondered what the hell does that means, then she continues "He knows I can't kick them out if Betsy's here, that brilliant bastard"

Oh, I see. Shit, that was actually a pretty smooth move on Kelso's part. 

"Fine! I'll be waiting for you at the living room with Betsy, and apparently the four stooges too, please hurry" or not, if I was in her place I would've taken the longest shower in the world to avoid dealing with this situation.

"Okay"

Then I head back to the living room. They really made themselves comfortable, huh? Kelso, Fez and Eric are sitting on the couch, they are watching TV, or, in Eric's case, trying to watch TV, I can hear him tapping his foot from miles away. And Hyde is just staring at the window. He is the first one to notice me though, and I hear his voice for the first time since they arrived.

"Is she okay?" He asks, clearly worried about Jackie, she looked really sick this morning, but that's what hangovers do. Tiny people like her should not drink as much as she did last night.

"Yeah, she just had a lot of champagne last night" I answered him, and noticed that he relaxed a little after I gave him the information. He doesn't say anything else after that, but I just have to ask. The last time he interacted with Jackie she was devastated, the asshole made out with a blonde skank in front of her, just to make her feel bad. I nod at the kitchen's direction, and he follows me there, understanding that I want to talk privately with him. 

"You're not going to punch me again, are you?" He asks me apprehensively

"That's something I haven't decided yet. What are you doing here, Hyde?" I sigh "Haven't you done enough damage already?"

He looks a little guilty, and directs his gaze to the floor "Who says I'm here to hurt her again?" He answers me, and I just look at him incredulously.

"But that's like, all you ever do, Hyde"

He starts pacing around the small kitchen, running his hands on his face, nervously.

"It's just that…. I just… Fuck, I really need to talk to her, Donna, can't you cut me some slack here?" He looks at me desperately

"Hyde, you are married to another woman, why are you trying to talk to Jackie in the first place? I'm sure Sam wouldn't like that" I spat. My tone is bitter, but screw him.

He suddenly stopped pacing, and looked at me surprised "Wait, you think I'm still married? Does Jackie thinks I'm still married?" He asks, looking genuinely shocked, and I'm dumbfounded by this new information, is he divorced now? 

"Hold the baby, Hyde" I give him Betsy and he holds her awkwardly, looking strangely at me. I start to pace around the kitchen, I gave him the baby because if he's holding Betsy then I won't be able to harm him, no matter how much I want to. And I really, really want to.

After a few minutes I just glared at Hyde, he's still trying to hold the baby and he's definitely very confused, because he's staring at me, waiting for me to say something.

"When?" It's all I manage to ask now

"A few months ago, turns out we weren't even legally married in the first place" I don't know if I should punch him again or congratulate him. He shrugs and continues "She already had a husband, so one day he just showed up at the Forman's to pick her up"

"Huh, you must've felt like shit"

"I was actually relieved when she left" He's starting to get used to the baby, because he managed to place her in a more comfortable position in his arms. Jackie would kill to see this.

"So, you basically threw away your entire relationship with Jackie for a scam?" I ask, and I see he's clenching his jaw. He doesn't scare me though, he needs to recognize what an asshole he was.

"Apparently, yeah"

"So, what now? Please don't tell me you're only after Jackie because the stripper is gone, Hyde, or I swear to God, I won't be held responsible for my actions. She does not deserve to be your second choice, if you're lonely then you drive back to Vegas and marry another skank"

"What? Jackie was never my second choice, Donna"

"Well, you sure acted like it" I snarled at him

"Look, I know I was a gigantic asshole to her, and I'm probably the last person she wants to see right now" He takes a deep breath and looks right into my eyes "But I'm not leaving Chicago until she hears everything I have to say" Oh crap, he really is determined

"Do you have any idea of how many nights I've spent awake drying her tears? Tears that you caused. The girl cried herself to sleep for weeks after you came back from Vegas! She spent those last 6 months moping around and trying to pretend that she was fine, but I could her her sobbing in the middle of the night, Hyde!" I'm glaring at him now, and he looks agonized. I've never seen him like this, not even when his mom left, he seems desperate.

"I would take it all back if I could" He admits "And I know I don't deserve her, but I need her, and I think she needs me too" 

"She doesn't need to be treated like shit, Hyde. If you're not changing your behavior then you should leave. Spare her, please" I plead to him

"I'm not the same guy anymore, Donna," he says firmly, and just when I'm about to contradict him, Betsy decides to take off his sunglasses, and I get to look deeply into his eyes.

Jackie always said that his eyes talked a lot more than his mouth, and I never understood what the hell she meant by that, but now I do. I see many different emotions in his eyes, guilt, sadness, regret, and surprisingly, determination. So I take a deep breath, I cannot believe I'm doing this.

"I don't know if she'll be willing to talk to you today, but I'll talk to her, okay? Please don't make me regret this, Hyde" 

And then he smiles. A pure, genuine smile. "You won't, thanks Donna" 

I place my hands in the kitchen counter and he's heading back to the living room with Betsy in his arms, she's still playing with his shades. Then he turns around.

"For what is worth, I think you should talk to Forman, the guy is almost pissing his pants" And before I had a chance to explain to him why I shouldn't talk to Eric, he's gone.

I'm not ready to talk to Eric, not today. I'm afraid I'll either burst into tears or murder him. He abandoned me too many times, I can't trust him anymore, can I? Also, I gave up practically everything for him, and he sat on his ass all day, until he decided he's going to Africa. My feminist friends would've been proud. 

I roll my eyes and try to imagine how my life would be right now if I hadn't stayed in Point Place after Red's heart attack, would Eric and I still had stayed together? Could we have survived the long distance? Well, he certainly couldn't, since he broke up with me when he was in Africa . Would I be on top of my class like I am here? Would I be happy?

I stopped myself right there. There's no need to dwell on the past, not when the present is actually pretty good. Moving to Chicago with Jackie was probably one of the best decisions I've ever made, it was hard in the beginning, obviously, letting go of Point Place was not as easy as I thought it would be, but if I'd stayed there I would've turned into a bitter woman, frustrated with my life. Also, the journalism course at UC is way better than the one at UW, I was holding myself back because of Eric, and after the wedding fiasco, I promised myself that I would never let that happen again.

I stayed here in the kitchen for a while, alone with my thoughts, and the boys were considerate enough to leave me alone. I lost track of time, and I snap back into reality when I hear Jackie's loud and shrill voice echoing through the walls. So I head back to the living room, preparing myself for whatever is next.


HYDE 

The little chat I had with Donna was better than I thought it would be. Even though I feel pretty vulnerable right now. I hate showing emotions, because shit, I hate having emotions. But I do. Hell, I have lots of them, most of which are associated with a tiny brunette with designer boots and a sharp mouth. I grin slightly, and head back to the living room, Betsy still has my shades, and normally I would freak out without them, but I think it's kind of cute, the way she's playing with them, trying to place them in her tiny face. Maybe babies aren't as bad as I thought.

I sit at the Lazy boy, and the three other occupants of the room are staring at me. So I scowl at them.

"What?" I ask harshly

Fez is grinning, and answers me "Nothing, I just never thought I would see you holding a baby one day" he shrugs and directs his attention back to the TV.

"You gave her your shades" Kelso observes, and he chuckled at the sight of Betsy trying to place the sunglasses in her face and failing every time.

"I didn't give it to her, she took it" I retorted.

"Want me to take her?" He asks

"Nah, I'm cool" Betsy changes her position, sitting on my lap "The kid needs to bond a little with her godfather"

"Yeah she does" Kelso smiles and turns back to the TV.

I expect Forman to make some kind of smartass comment about the sight of seeing me holding a child, but he's not saying anything. He looks completely lost in his thoughts.

"Hey, Forman," I called him, and apparently I've scared him, because he almost fell from the couch. Dumbass.

"Yeah?"

"Don't over think, otherwise you'll end up saying too much and ruining it" I advise him, and he looks at me curiously

"How do you know what I'm thinking about?" He asks

"You're thinking about the same thing/person since you came back from Africa" I roll my eyes and stroke Betsy's chubby cheeks involuntarily

"Hey, I'm not…" he interrupts himself "Why are you holding a baby?" He smirks, and I can see his mind trying to work on a burn. I would frog him if I wasn't so comfortable here, so I just glare angrily at him instead. He took the message apparently, because he went back to his previous subject, Donna. "I saw you two heading to the kitchen earlier, how pissed is she?"

"We didn't talked about you two, ya moron, I was fishing for some Jackie info"

"She didn't even ask about me?" I could see the pain in his eyes, and I feel kind of bad for him, but in the end, Forman and Donna always find their way back to each other, everyone knows it.

"Sorry man, but for what it's worth, I'm sure she's not over you"

"I really hope so, because if I lose her I don't think I'll make it" 

I raise my eyebrows at him. Forman could be such a drama queen sometimes. Just when I was about to burn him, I heard a voice. Her voice. God, how I missed her voice. And then I saw her, really saw her. I caught a glimpse of her this morning and she looked kind of sick, don't get me wrong, even when she's sick she's still gorgeous, I was just worried about her and so I didn't properly looked at her, but now… damn, she's beautiful. Her hair is longer than I've ever seen, and she looks absolutely gorgeous. I missed her so much.

"Michael, can I talk to you in private please?" She asked, looking at Kelso, and a wave of jealousy spread through my body, even though I have no real reason to be jealous. She just wanted to talk to Kelso. Not me. And stupid Kelso was so focused on watching Scooby Doo like a fucking child that he didn't even noticed her.

"MICHAEL!" 

Huh, I feel like I'm back in 1976.

Kelso turned around and spotted the petite brunette "Oh, hi Jackie" he greeted her nonchalantly

"Michael, can I talk to you in private, please ?" She asked again

"Oh, c'mon Jackie, I wanna see if the monster turns out to be an actual monster this time! You can talk to me here"

"Michael, I don't think that…" she started, but I interrupted her.

"Oh, I'm sure we are all very interested in hearing what you have to say to Michael " I said, and I'm really glad that I have Betsy here in my lap, because otherwise I'm pretty sure she was going to murder me. Like, actually murder me.

"Okay, fine!" She leaned against the wall that separated the living room from the kitchen "What the hell were you thinking? Bringing those two to our place?"

Ouch.

"Well, apparently they want to make amends to you and Donna, and as a cop, I thought that it's my job to collaborate for world peace!" Jackie looked dumbfounded, but soon she regained her posture, and now she was laughing to herself.

"Yeah, right, like I would actually believe that. And you're not even a cop anymore, Michael. So, what is the real reason they're here? Is this a new year's burn or something?" The disbelief of her part stung. How can she think I came all the way from Point Place to burn her? 

"He's not lying doll" I said softly, hoping that the old nickname would rekindle some feelings, and she looked at my eyes for the first time since Sam showed up.

"You know what? I don't really care, you need to leave, now!" 

Donna entered the living room, looking confused "What's going on here?" She asked

"I was just telling Hyde and Eric that they are not welcome here" Her eyes were cold. And since when did she call me Hyde? Her use of my last name made me really uncomfortable, it doesn't sound right. I'm Steven to her, I was always Steven. Is she purposely trying to hurt me?

Donna looked at me and winked discreetly, then she turned back to Jackie "C'mon Jackie, they came all the way from Point Place to here, we can't just kick them out, even if they deserve it" The last part of her sentence was directed at Forman, who was looking at her with pleading eyes.

Jackie sighed, accepting her defeat "Fine!"

"Are you done?" Fez asked "Because I am really hungry, and I ran out of candy" 

"Hang in there, little guy, we're going out for lunch soon," Kelso said as he patted the weird foreigner's back.

"Actually, I'm kind of hungry too" Donna stated "There's a really good diner a few blocks away, Jackie and I didn't eat any breakfast today. We can go now. But no shenanigans, okay? We are going to eat, and that's it" 

I hand Betsy back to Kelso, she still has my shades, but I can take them back later, because right now, all I can think about is how and when I'm going to get her alone to explain myself. Everyone heads to the door, and just when we're about halfway through the stairs, I hear Jackie's voice again.

"Crap, I forgot my purse. I'm going upstairs real quick to pick it up, can you wait for me?" 

Donna nods, and Jackie goes up the stairs again. I wait for about 30 seconds before I follow her.

I ran into her at the hallway that separates the apartments from the stairs.

"Jackie" I call her, and she looks at me with angry eyes, then, she pretends that she didn't acknowledge my presence and entered her apartment to pick up her purse. I waited for her in the doorway, and when she finally appeared with her purse, I tried to talk to her again, this time, heading straight to the point.

"Jackie I'm sorry"

She froze, and she didn't answer me, again. She's staring at me for what felt like forever, but I didn't cave. I stared back. My eyes were locked in hers. After a while, she just sighed.

"Really Hyde, you're sorry?"

"Stop calling me Hyde" I plead her

"Everyone calls you Hyde. Even your wife. So why shouldn't I?" Her tone was cold. That wasn't my Jackie, my Jackie is cheerful, positive, and she never called me Hyde. My chest hurts thinking about that, because she's probably like this now because of me. I fucking broke her.

"Because to you, I'm not Hyde, you know that, doll" My voice is soft and tender now, she needs to know I'm serious, I'm not going to hurt her, not again

Her eyes are watery now, like she's trying hard not to cry, and I feel like shit, I hate when she cries.

"First, I don't have a wife" She didn't reacted to my statement, she just kept staring at me "And to you, I'm Steven, your Steven, Jackie"

"No. You're Hyde. Steven died the minute he went to Vegas and married someone else" Then she left, heading downstairs to meet with everyone.

Shit, that hurts. Every word in that last sentence of hers made me feel worse than I would feel if I was stabbed with a knife. I fucked up bad, I've never seen her bitter like this. Fuck. This is not over.

-

Chapter Text

Chapter four:

JACKIE

How dare he? How dare he show up at my apartment months after he ripped my heart out of my chest and broke it in a million pieces? He said he didn't have a wife anymore, and even though I'm curious as hell to know why, I'm not asking him, I'm not giving him that satisfaction, he doesn't deserve it.

I shouldn't feel affected by his words, I shouldn't have felt bad for him as I did when I saw the sad look in his eyes after I called him Hyde. I shouldn't be affected by the sight of him holding a baby, and I definitely shouldn't keep thinking of how our babies would look like.

We're over. He chose someone else, he dumped me, humiliated me, he never trusted me, and he never loved me, not like I loved him. Like I love him.

I shouldn't love him anymore. Loving him only causes me pain. I'm so, so stupid. As I sat down at the diner with everyone, Betsy in my lap, he kept staring at me with that sad puppy eyes. And I felt bad for him, again.

"So…" Michael started, trying to break the uncomfortable silence "Betsy said her first words a few weeks ago, you would never believe what she said" he grinned at the group.

"Was it mommy or dada?" Eric asked and smiled proudly "My first word was mommy"

Indeed, Eric is the definition of a Momma boy, I'll never understand what Donna sees in him, seriously. Everyone is staring at him, frowning. Except Donna, I can see that she was trying to hold back a smile. She really loves that scrawny little nerd.

"Betsy's first words were 'burn'!!!" Michael practically yelled, like a good proud father, we were all laughing, and Michael continued "She said it right after I've stepped at one of her toys and felt to the ground, I thought Brooke was going to kill me, but c'mon, Betsy is a Kelso, of course her first words would be burn!"

I was still holding Besty, and she was looking at us all with that big brown eyes of hers, curious at what we were laughing about.

"Has she said anything other than that?" I ask curiously

"Oh, she had. She's smart, she already says 'daddy', 'mommy' and 'no'. Oh, and when she wants someone to hold her she says 'up'. She's a smart child" he grinned

"She definitely has Brooke's brain then" Ste… no, Hyde said. He's occasionally staring at me, and I'm starting to get uncomfortable. I looked at the baby in my arms and smiled, sundays are my favorite day of the week, because I get to spend the whole day with my goddaughter, and she is the cutest thing. It's impressive how much you can love a tiny human who's not even your child. My thoughts are interrupted by an outside voice.

"Are you ready to order yet?" The waitress asks

"Yes" I hear Fez for the first time today "I would like a burger, fries, and a large soda please" 

"Make four of those," Kelso said, looking at Eric and Hyde, who nodded in approval.

"I'll have some pancakes," Donna said, and looked at me "Jackie?" 

I grimaced, just the thought of eating something made me sick. So I just looked at Donna, who was staring at me, I'm pretty sure she's going to force me to eat something.

"She" Donna pointed at me and I leaned my head into my hands "Will have some eggs, toast and some orange juice. Thanks"

I raise my head and stare at Donna, I know I'm supposed to eat or whatever but right now I just glare at her.

"Don't look at me like that, midget" she said "Just remember that feeling the next time you decide to drink another glass of champagne" 

I just sigh in defeat. Stupid lumberjack.

"Where did you two spend New Years eve last night?" Michael asked

"We went to a party at… what's his name, again?" Donna asked me

"Rick" I answer her

"We went to a party at Rick's place" she completed

"Who the hell is Rick?" I hear St… No, Hyde asking, and I could feel him staring at me. Again. Asshole.

"My coworker" I answer nonchalantly, playing with Betsy's hair.

"Just your co-worker?" He asks again, not in a accusing tone, his tone was sad

"Dude, don't poke the bear!" I hear Eric whispering quite loudly to Hyde. Everyone went silent, they were just waiting for my response.

"Not that is any of your business, but, yes, he's just my colleague at work" I smile wryly at him

"Plus, he's like 50 years old and he has a wife" Donna unnecessarily completed, and smiled discreetly at Hyde, trying to calm his nerves. Seriously, is she on his side now? What the hell? She probably noticed that I wasn't very pleased with her behavior, because she quickly tried to change the subject "So, how's life in Point Place?"

"Well…" Eric started, but he was quickly interrupted by his former girlfriend 

"I don't think you're qualified to answer my question, since you spent the last 6 months in Africa, dumping girlfriends and running from the giant bugs"

"BURN!!" Michael yelled, followed by little Betsy, who was still on my lap.

"Burn!" Betsy imitated her father, clapping gleefully

I laughed at the little human words, yeah, that's Michael Kelso's daughter, no doubt in that.

While everyone was still laughing, I looked at Eric, and I felt bad for him. I mean, yeah, he was a selfish asshole, but he's trying, right? At least he didn't marry a stripper. I'm going to question him on his intentions later, because if he tries to make things better with Donna without some orientation first, the poor kid might as well dig his own grave.

"That's right Betsy Boo, that's a really nice burn on your uncle Eric" Michael takes Betsy off my lap and kisses her chubby little cheeks while she laughs. God, she is adorable. I noticed she left something in my lap and I grabbed it. Those are Steven's sunglasses.

"I believe those are mine" he smirks.

I roll my eyes at him and hand him his precious 'shades', my fingers touch his hand very briefly in the process, and I could feel the stupid butterflies in my stomach already. I quickly remove my hand and place it in my lap again. Why was Betsy holding his stupid sunglasses anyways? And then he answered me, like he was reading my freaking mind.

"I was playing with her earlier and she took them, she was trying to look cool like her godfather" he smiled smugly at me, and I glared at him

"So, how's life in Point Place?" I quickly bring back Donna's unanswered question, trying to avoid Steven's eyes.

"Boring" Fez answered "You, Donna and Kelso were here and Eric was in Africa, so it was basically just me and Hyde" he pouted

"Don't forget about Hyde's stripper wife" Michael said and I grimaced at his words. His wife. Wife. Suddenly my nausea is back and it's taking everything I have to not to run into the closest bathroom and puke. Kelso quickly tried to fix his mistake "Who's totally not in the picture anymore, by the way" he said as he looked at me. I take a deep breath, and try to control myself, because if I don't I'm either bursting into tears or killing someone, and I don't want to do either of those today. 

Everyone is staring at me now, and that is making me really uncomfortable. Are they waiting for me to say something? Do they really want me to cause a scene in public? I was about to say something really unpleasant when the waitress returned with our food. Thank God.            


ERIC

Oh my God, every time I think that Kelso couldn't possibly get more stupid, he proves me wrong. Jackie looks like she's about to throw up, Fez looks really uncomfortable, Donna is murdering Kelso with her eyes right now, and Hyde…man, I don't even know how to describe Hyde's expression right now. The first thing that comes to my mind when I look at him now is rage, Hyde is pissed, really pissed, in fact, I believe that if Kelso wasn't holding his child right now, Hyde would be punching the shit out of him. He also looks guilty, hell, he is feeling guilty, he pretty much admitted that marrying the stripper was the worst mistake of his life. And finally, sadness, the way he's looking at Jackie now… wow. The poor orphan boy must really love the spoiled princess, because he's looking pretty damn miserable right now. And Jackie is just staring at the table in silence. We are all just looking at her now, waiting for either an incredible burn or a buttload of tears. Just when she was about to say something, the waitress returned with our food. I breathe relieved, her timing couldn't have been better. I notice that Hyde still looks very tense, so I lightly nudge his shoulder and whisper

"You alright, man?"

"I'm fine Forman, let's just eat" his voice was low and stern, and I knew I shouldn't touch the subject again, not now, at least.

I see Donna whispering something on Jackie's ear and squeezing her hand in support. Jackie just nodded and managed to quirk her lips upwards in a small smile before she started to eat.

I started to eat my food. I missed the good old american junk food, the burgers here may not be as good as the ones at The Hub, but they sure are better than the goo I was eating in Africa. A few minutes passed and we were all almost finished, except for Jackie, she managed to eat the eggs and drink some of her juice, but she didn't touch the toast. I glanced briefly at her direction, she looked at me and I silently offered her my fries. She smiled and shook her head, she's probably full, so I just shrug and keep eating.

After a while we had all finished our food, so Hyde asked for the check. Kelso said that we are going to take a walk at the park nearby with Betsy, and we all agreed. I haven't talked to Donna yet, and I'm not going home until I do.

Hyde paid for the whole check, and as I was about to protest, he glared at me and I stayed quiet. He's basically my brother, but he can be very violent sometimes, and after the new Kelso incident, he's probably just waiting for an excuse to hit someone. Besides, out of all of us, ironically, he's the one who has more money, and it wasn't even stolen! According to my mother, after I went to Africa and the girls left, Hyde spent most of his time at Grooves, working, actually working, the store is a huge hit in Point Place now, he even had to hire a couple of employees to help him. 

We were all halfway through the park, when I tried to talk to Donna for the first time, and after that huge burn at the diner, I'm actually afraid of what she's going to do to me now, as I approached her, she just looked at me and said "Not now Eric, okay? Later" Then she quickened her pace to walk besides Kelso, Fez and Hyde. So now Jackie was walking next to me.

"Devil" I greeted her with a small smile 

"Geek" she smiled back

"So…" I started "How's life?" I asked and she laughed, it's the first time I see her genuinely laughing since we arrived.

"Cut the crap Eric" she read right into my bullshit but her tone was caring "You wanna talk about Donna, right?" 

"Yeah, I was going to stall a little but… yeah"

"Lucky for you, I'm actually willing to hear you out" I looked at her strangely, and she just rolled her eyes at me

"Seriously, you're actually willing to hear me whining about Donna?"

"God, I already said I am, please don't make me take it back"

"Okay, okay" I start, I'm still a little reluctant, because that's Jackie and she's evil, but she's also Donna's best friend and she's probably the best person to talk to right now, so I cut right to the point "What the hell do I say to Donna?" 

"What do you want to say to her?"

"I wanna tell her I'm sorry" I stated

"And what are you sorry for?" 

"Again, seriously?" She just stares at me and I shrug "I'm sorry for running away to Africa without even asking for her opinion first and I'm sorry I broke up with her in a letter" 

Jackie just stares at me incredulously, and I wonder if I said something stupid "That's all?"

"Huh… yes?" 

"Thank God you haven't talked to Donna yet, otherwise you would be dead in a ditch somewhere right now" 

Okay, now I'm confused, am I forgetting something??

"Jackie, you need to be more clear with me, in case you've forgotten, I am a dumbass" I try to make her my famous puppy pleading eyes, and she just stares at me, disgusted 

"At least you recognize it" she stated, and just when I was about to retort her, she continued "Look, Eric, believe me, that's not all that you're sorry for, okay?"

"Specify it, Vader!" 

"Eric, you ditched her at the altar a day before your wedding without giving her an explanation" 

"But… we talked about that! We agreed that we were not ready for marriage yet!"

" You talked about it with her after you ditched her, you made the decision alone. And after going through this humiliation, because, believe me Eric, canceling a wedding at the last minute is VERY humiliating, she still took you back, and what did you do after that?" I was about to answer, then she raised a finger, making it clear that she wasn't finished yet " You decided to take a year off. You decided to 'be together without labels', it was all you! She never had a say in any of this, she just sucked it up because she loved you!"

I take a deep breath. Jackie's right. I'm a idiot. "Jackie… just tell me how to fix this" I'm now practically begging her, and she takes a deep breath and looks at me sympathetically.

"Eric, she postponed college for you when Red had his heart attack, she stayed with you after everything I mentioned. When she received your letter she was pissed at you, but mostly she was pissed at herself. Donna held herself back for you, she made herself smaller to fit your necessities. When we moved here, she finally pursued her dreams, she's doing really well at college, and she left Point Place, which was something she always wanted to do" then she looked sadly at the four people ahead of us, more specifically, a curly haired rebel who was currently shoving Fez at the snow, then she looked at me again "She still loves you, but she's not making herself smaller again. I still think you have a chance, just… don't screw it up, okay? Apologize for being selfish, and make it up to her, be the one making the sacrifices for a change" she finished

I just looked at the girl by my side and I smiled, she gave me some pretty helpful advice, and now I'm actually thankful that Donna didn't wanted to talk to me before, because if I had said what was in my head earlier I would end up ruining everything. Jackie just gave me a whole new perspective. I glanced at the group ahead of us and none of them were paying attention to us, so I pulled Jackie in for a quick hug. "Thank you, Jackie" we pulled apart and she had a few tears in her eyes, and I'm pretty sure they have nothing to do with me. 

"You okay?" I ask as we started to walk again

"I'm fine" she answered bashfully

"Hyde wants you back" I watched her reaction to my words, but apparently she wasn't as surprised as I thought she would be.

"Yeah, I figured" she mumbled and some tears rolled down her cheeks "Is it only because the stripper is gone?" She asked in a low voice, she sounded wounded and vulnerable, and for a few seconds I wanted to kick Hyde's ass.

"No… wait, how do you know she's gone?" I ask

"He managed to talk to me for a few seconds before we went to the diner, he mentioned that she's not around anymore, and then there was Michael's completely unnecessary comment at the diner..."

"Jackie, he still loves you, he never even cared about Sam" I told her, but she didn't even flinched

"He still chose her over me" She said dejectedly, looking up to try and avoid more tears "I'm not even sure if he ever loved me in the first place Eric, and even if he did, he ran away to Las Vegas after a misunderstanding and married another woman just to hurt me, how can I forgive him for that?" The tears were going down her cheeks, and damn, she's really hurt. I guess I was right earlier, about him never telling her he loves her. Which is probably the most stupid thing ever, because he does. He clearly loves her, and honestly, I think deep down he always did.

"I don't know, the only thing I know is that you two are much happier together than apart, and I know he misses you a lot. Maybe you should talk to him"

"I'm not sure I can" she mumbled, and I put my arm around her shoulders in support, I gave her a little squeeze in encouragement

"You're stronger than people give you credit for, Jackie. We are going to be in Chicago for a few more days, I really think you should talk to him" 

"I'll think about it, okay?" She told me, and I nodded in agreement, I looked at the gang ahead of us and I noticed that Hyde was looking at me very confused, I quickly removed my arm out of Jackie's shoulders and smiled at him.

-

Chapter Text

Chapter five:

HYDE

The day wasn't the complete disaster I thought it would be. We went out for lunch, we took a walk at the park, and then we went back to the girls place, where I've got the privilege to see Jackie playing with Betsy until Kelso had to take her back to Brooke's, and in the end, Donna and Jackie agreed to meet us at their place tomorrow night, after Jackie comes back from work and Donna comes back from class. Of course we will have to bring Fez and Kelso as well, but it's fine by me. As long as Kelso doesn't open his big fat mouth again.

I will never forget Jackie's face when Kelso mentioned Sam, it was like the day I came back from Vegas all over again, I swear to God, that if the moron wasn't holding Betsy today I would've pounded him into a bloody pulp.

Now we are all at Kelso's place again, Fez will crash on the couch, Forman and I brought sleeping bags, Kelso ordered a few pizzas and we are all sitting in his tiny living room.

"Hey, Hyde, you brought your stash?" Forman asks and I grin slyly.


"I feel so much better already," Eric smiles and takes a slice of pizza. Kelso's living room is filled with smoke, and for the first time today, I can feel myself relaxing

"Oh, happy day!" Fez sighed dramatically and smiled "The gang is reunited, I saw my goddesses, and now I have pizza!" He tries to shove an entire slice of pizza into his mouth, and I stare at him in disgust, then I smile

"Man, I feel like we're finally getting our mojo back" I say

"You can't make up words, Hyde!" Kelso smiles dumbly "I missed this, man!" He proceeds to drink a can of beer and tries to smash it into his forehead, he frowns in pain "OW! Those things are too hard!"

I look at Kelso like he's the most stupid creature in the world, and I take the can out of his hand, smashing it with one hand, remembering the comment he made in the diner earlier "Oh, Kelso, that just reminded me of something" I frog Kelso repeatedly in the arm "That's for your little commentary in the diner, dillhole!"

"OW! WHY DO YOU KEEP DOING THAT?!" He yelps

"Ah, this feels right" Forman says, grinning "Soon the circle will be 100% complete" 

Fez frowns at his comment "It would've always been complete if you didn't leave for Africa in the first place, whore!"

"Oh my God, now I will have to apologize to you too?" Eric protests, and I roll my eyes

"I would appreciate it, yes" Fez answers

"Man, I miss having Jackie and Donna at the circle, it was nice having some other good looking people here" Kelso says, looking thoughtful

"Are you calling us ugly?" Fez yells, sounding offended "Well if you are then I must say Good day to you, sir!"

"But Fez…"

"I SAID GOOD DAY!" Instead of getting up and leaving, he stayed in his seat and grabbed another slice of pizza. 

I raise my eyebrow at the weird kid "Fez… isn't that the part when you usually storm out?"

"Yes but this feels so nice" He answers me with a small smile

"Whatever you say little buddy" I say, knowing better than to question Fez's antics. Then I look at Forman "How can you be so confident that the girls are coming back to the circle? You were almost pissing your pants earlier"

"Let's say Jackie and I had a little talk" He says and I stare at him "She just gave me some advice on how to talk to Donna and now I know what I'm supposed to say"

I sigh "Just don't screw it up, Forman"

"Man, you two are lucky you aren't in body bags right now, because I thought they were going to kill you two!" Kelso laughs, pointing at me and Forman

"Indeed, you two are some very lucky bastards" Fez agrees with him and grabs a can of beer

"I KNOW!" Eric says enthusiastically, and I rub my face with my hands, remembering Jackie's words from earlier and the pain that they caused me. I totally deserved it, and I feel like she still has a lot to say to me. I sigh, I'm not a lucky bastard, I'm just a bastard who's trying to redeem himself to the girl he loves.


After a good old circle, Fez slept on the couch and Kelso headed to his room, claiming he needed his beauty sleep. Forman and I are the only ones awake, and I kind of have to know what exactly he and Jackie talked about today, because I still feel like shit from her comment earlier.

'You're Hyde. Steven died the minute he went to Vegas and married someone else' 

I have never heard Jackie so angry… so bitter. I didn't like it one bit, because I did this to her, the girl who once had so much faith in me apparently wasn't there anymore, because I killed her. But what she said… it made sense. I wasn't myself after I came back from Vegas, in the very few interactions I had with her before she left, I made sure to rub Sam in her face whenever I could, I made snide comments about her and basically pretended that our relationship never existed. When she left, fuck, I'll never forget how I felt that day, the disappointment in Mrs. Forman eyes, the amount of guilt and regret I've felt. When I finally found myself alone I actually fucking cried, I cried for all the shit I've pulled on Jackie, I thought I'd lost her forever. This, right now, is my last chance. I need to make her see how deeply sorry I am, how incredibly lost, fallen, I felt without her by my side all those months. I need to show her how much she means to me, how much I love her. I have to make this right, and I'm actually going to do everything I can in order to get her back, I'm not giving up on her, on us.

Because Steven is back and he's here to stay.

I went to the kitchen and Forman followed me, just when I was about to say something, Forman beated me into it.

"I talked to Jackie today"

"I know" I saw them at the park earlier, he had his arm in her shoulders and she looked like she was crying, probably because of me.

"She helped me a lot, about the whole Donna situation" he starts, then he laughs wryly to himself "In fact, if I had said to Donna all those those things I was planning to, she would've killed me"

I frown, Forman's plan sounded legit to me when he told me, what changed? Apparently he saw I was confused and answered my silent question.

"Turns out I have a lot more to apologize for" he takes a sip of his beer "Running away to Africa without actually talking to her first is only one of the many, many things in my list of mistakes" 

I nod, that's kind of obvious, but it figures Forman would only focus on his latest mistake (Africa) and forget about the others. He's right, if he went to talk to Donna and only talked about Africa he would be dead right now, I'm glad that Jackie made him see that.

"So, I have a plan" Forman starts rambling again "Tomorrow night, I will beg her to talk to me, I'll probably trap her while she's in the kitchen getting something or when she takes the trash out"

I grimaced at his plan "Is this what Jackie told you to do?" 

"No, she told me what I should do but she didn't tell me how I should do it" he stops and stares at me "Why, do you think it's a bad plan?"

"Trapping a girl into a corner and basically forcing her to hear you? Of course it is, moron! You can't force her to listen to you, she'll get even more pissed!" I look at him like he's an idiot, because he sounds a lot like an idiot right now. There's no way this would work, especially with Donna, he should know this better than anyone.

"Oh crap, that's true, God, Jackie should've written something down for me because I'll probably end up ruining everything!" he mumbles "She should've been more specific too! I told her I'm a dumbass!"

"What did she say?"

"Apologize, make it up to her, be the one making the sacrifices for a change" he deadpanned, and I took some mental notes, that's probably going to be useful for me too "I know what I should do, I just don't know how I should do it"

"Just don't trap her into talking to you, I kind of did that to Jackie earlier and it did not go well" I advise him, Jackie's words from earlier still resonating in my head.

"Oh, I forgot about that, did she slap you or something?" He asked 

I laughed dryly "I wish"

A slap would've been better, it would've hurt less. Again, I'm not saying I don't deserve what she said to me, because I do, hell, I deserve even more than that, but hearing her saying those words to me… I don't even know how to describe how shitty that made me feel.

I can see that Forman is curious, but I'm not telling him about what she said to me, sometimes we need to deal with our own shit by ourselves. So he just shrugs "Hyde, that's the part where you tell me how to apologize to her properly"

"When the moment comes you'll know it, chill"

"You know I can't chill! Oh man, you gotta give me more than that"

"Forman, just... don't trap her and don't discuss your problems with her in front of everyone. She knows you are waiting to talk to her, when she's ready, she'll come to you" 

"I hope you're right pal, because if you're not, then I'm going to whine and you're going to hear it!" Oh crap, now he's getting all twitchy again

I look strangely at him "Finish your beer Forman"

He drinks the rest of the beer in less than 30 seconds, then he finally approaches a topic I'm dying to hear from since he started talking "She's pretty hurt, you know that, right?" 

I sigh, I know he's talking about Jackie, there's no way she was crying earlier because of Donna and Eric's situation.

"I know"

"She thinks you only want her back because the stripper is gone" he said, and I removed my shades and looked at him incredulously.

"Seriously?" I can't hide the hurt in my voice, does she actually think that?

"Man, it's going to take you a lot of work to get her again" he looks sadly at me "She said she's not even sure if you loved her in the first place, guess I was right earlier, in the car"

Fuck.

"Dude, are you even sure you want her back? Because if you don't, she doesn't deserve to be hurt again. I know I was the one that basically talked you into this, but if you're not 100% sure that that's what you want, then we can leave" 

That girl always loved me so much, and I was such an asshole. I wish Kelso would invent his time machine already, because then I would go back to the day she gave me that ultimatum and I would've told her everything, I would've told her I can't live without her, I would've told her that I love her more than I could ever love another human being, I would've told her that I couldn't see a future without her and that scared the living shit out of me.

The fact that she actually believe I never loved her, fuck, that hurts my soul. I know I gave her reasons to believe that, but loving her… that used to terrify me, everyone I've ever loved left me at some point of my life, and if Jackie left me, I wouldn't be able to handle it. Except she didn't leave me. I left her, I chose someone else, someone I barely knew, over her. She left for Chicago first, but honestly? That was also my fault, she would've never had left if I was a little more open about my feelings, if I wasn't such an insecure jackass. She left, but she came back. After everything, she came back, and instead of doing the right thing, I stayed married to a whore out of spite. I had so many chances, and I ruined every single one of them, in the end she left because I drove her away.

That's not happening anymore, I'm not giving up on her this time, this is it for me. My last chance. And I'm not screwing this up. 

"We are not leaving and I'm not going to hurt her again, Forman, now let's get some sleep" 

I left Forman in the kitchen and went to the living room. I better try and get some sleep, because tomorrow night we're meeting the girls again and hopefully Jackie will talk to me. Hopefully.


DONNA 

Well, today could've been better. Jackie and I are sitting on the couch right now, both of us are silent, she's probably also thinking about the events of the day. God, I'm starting to get a headache and Jackie took the last few aspirins this morning.

The day started with a knock on the door, we were expecting Kelso, Fez and Betsy, so imagine my surprise when I opened the door and saw Eric's face, I almost had a heart attack. I had no idea he was coming back from Africa, and I thought he was staying there for a year, what the hell? Anyways, he was looking at me like a lost puppy and I just wanted to hold and kiss him, but I didn't do that, after a few seconds, I started to think straight again, all the anger resurfaced and I just wanted to pound his face to the ground. After a while I noticed that Hyde was there too, and right then I knew today was going to be an exhausting day.

Then we went for lunch at the diner and Eric just kept staring at me, I couldn't stop thinking about how cute he is and I wanted to hit myself for allowing my thoughts to go there. So I burned him. Then Kelso made his inappropriate comment about Hyde's 'wife' and Jackie almost lost it. But in the end, we didn't kill anybody, and after a walk at the park, Jackie and I agreed to have the boys over. As long as it's all of them. I'm not ready to talk to Eric yet, but I have to admit that I missed hanging out with everyone, and unfortunately, I can't avoid Eric forever. I'll have to talk to him sometime, so I might as well get it over with, I guess, I just don't know if I can handle it tomorrow.

I look at the tiny person sitting next to me and she looks agonized, she's trying to watch TV but she looks like she's a million miles away.

"Jackie" I call her and she looks at me "Are you going to talk to Hyde?"

I've learned to read 'Jackie' for a while now, and even though she looks fine on the outside, I can tell that she's a mess on the inside. She has her tells, and as I look at the midget that keeps twirling her hair in her fingers, I notice how tense she is.

"I guess I'll have to, right?" she says in a defeated tone

"Jackie, I talked to him earlier, for what is worth, I think you should listen to him" I tell her, and she looks sadly at me

"Then what? I should forgive him? I'm not Mother Theresa, Donna" 

I laugh a little "Oh, you're definitely not Mother Theresa, and I'm not saying you should forgive him, I'm just saying you should listen to him, I mean, I've known Hyde for years and this is probably the first time I've ever seen him this determined" 

"I'll try, okay? I just don't wanna give him more material to burn me when he grows tired of me again" she cried, and I felt bad. I'm giving Hyde a vote of confidence here, but if he somehow hurts Jackie again, I'll cut off his balls and use them as Christmas decorations next year.

"I don't believe he wants to burn you, Jackie, I think he wants you to give him another chance" 

"Haven't I given him enough?" Her eyes start to water "You know how many times he broke my heart! I'm still picking up the pieces from the whole Las Vegas fiasco" 

"I'm not saying you should get back together with him that easily, but give him a chance to prove to you that he really changed like he claims he had" 

"I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to trust him again, Donna" Tears were now running down her cheeks, and I hugged her. Jackie's strong, she's been through a lot of shit in her life, yet she still acted like nothing happened in front of people. And don't get me wrong, Hyde made Jackie suffer a lot, and honestly, I was pretty tempted to send Hyde straight to hell when I first saw him here, but he was also so good to Jackie like, 90% of the time. They were good to each other in a way I never thought they would be, as creepy and unnatural they may be, they fit. She was a better person when she was with him, he was a better person when he was with her. And honestly, I don't think either one of them would've ever found someone else that could put up with them, they belong together. 

Now, I know that what Hyde did is probably the most stupid thing he'd ever done in his life, and I'm pretty sure he recognizes that. But in order to get Jackie to forgive him he'll need to prove to her that she can trust him again, and that's going to take a while.

"Jackie, just answer me this question, are you happy?" I ask

"No" she admitted in basically a whisper

"Why not? You have your dream job, you're pretty, you're making a lot of money, you got out of Point Place…" I start, and she lowers her head, I'm pretty sure she knows where I'm going with this "You have everything you ever wanted"

"Not everything" she mutters in a sad tone

"Jackie, I'm not saying you should forgive him right away, in fact, I think you should take your damn time, if he really loves you like he claims he does he'll wait for you" I tell the little midget "You were really happy when you two were together, and you deserve to be happy, okay?"

"I'm just afraid of letting him in again, you know? I love him so much Donna, but I don't think I can be with him again if he's not changed" 

"I really believe he changed Jackie, I meant what I said earlier, I've never seen Hyde this determined before. Just… try to listen to him, and then we will decide where we'll go from that, okay?"

She smiled weakly and nodded, I was about to change the subject, making a comment about how she shouldn't be watching Charlie's Angels because that show objectifies women, when she decided to ask me something "Are you planning to do the same with Eric?" 

"Yeah, I'm not sure I'll be able to talk to him tomorrow, but I will talk to him sooner or later. I want to hear him out" I admit

"Do you plan on forgiving him?" She asks

I take a deep breath "I don't know, I mean, even if I want to and we're able to sort things out, I'm not leaving Chicago, and he's probably going to Madison, I'm not sure if it's going to work" 

"I had a little chat with him today" Jackie looked at me with a small smile "I think you two will figure something out"

"First I need to talk to him, we have a lot to talk about. God, I'm not sure I'm mentally prepared to have this talk"

"It will be fine" she reassured me "Now, why don't you stay put, I'll order some food, and if you behave I might give you a much needed pedicure" 

I smile at the midget in front of me, I'm really glad I moved here with her, otherwise I would end up giving up, Jackie has a very weird (yet effective) way of cheering people up. She's a great friend. As long as she's here, everything is going to be fine.

-

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 6

 

ERIC

 

"Dude how do you manage to feed yourself here?" I hear Hyde's voice from the kitchen as I woke up.

My body is all sore, so I get up and try to stretch, I'm all alone in the living room, and I'm smelling bacon, the guys are probably in the kitchen having breakfast. I barely slept, I'm still jet lagged and Fez snores. I head in the direction of their voices and I see Hyde on the stove, Kelso and Fez are sitting near the counter waiting patiently for their food.

"Man it's so nice to have people over, especially when they make you breakfast" Kelso grins as Hyde glares at him and places a plate of bacon and another plate of pancakes in the counter.

"I still can't believe that you have your own place, yet you still don't know how to cook your own breakfast" Hyde grabs a plate for himself

"Excuse me" Kelso sounds indignant "For your information, I know how to make my own food, I just don't know how not to set it on fire"

"Poor Kelso, there aren't enough fire extinguishers in the world to fix the damage it would cause if he tries to make his own breakfast everyday" Fez sighed 

"That's why they invented cereal, man!" Kelso laughs

"Oh crap" Hyde mumbles to himself as he started to eat his own food "I'm surrounded by morons"

"Hey!" I protest "Don't include me in your insult, I haven't even done anything yet!"

"The fact that you added 'yet' to your last sentence saddens me" Fez grins

Oh God, I'm actually going to have to spend the whole day with those 3 before I see Donna? I might as well jump from a window, I just hope Hyde brought enough 'film' to make this day go faster.

After breakfast, we all went back to the living room to hang out, I've told the boys some of the stories about Africa, and they filled me in about everything that happened in Point Place while I was gone. Apparently my parents have seriously considered moving to Florida with Bob, my mom hadn't even mentioned this to me, and honestly, thank God they came into their senses, because just the thought of Red living in a state full of tourists and alligators scared the crap out of me. And Fez proudly told me that he's finally getting some, I was about to laugh at him but Hyde confirmed his story, somehow the little pervert managed to find a way of getting into a girl's pants. Other than that (and the girls leaving), Point Place is still pretty much the same.

Kelso confessed that working for the playboy mansion wasn't exactly as exciting as he thought it would be, he actually admitted that he missed being in the police, and that if it weren't for Brooke and Betsy, he would've already moved back to Point Place.

Fez loved his job at the salon, according to him, the salon was the best place to pick up chicks, and it was very close to the candy store.

And Hyde… Hyde loved his store. He doesn't say this type of stuff out loud, but meeting his biological father was probably one of the best things he'd done in his life. Now he has a real family, and a job he really likes, thanks to Jackie. I'm pretty sure that if Jackie wasn't nagging him so much he would've never met WB. That's one of the reasons why the poor orphan boy needs his princess, she always pushes him to the right direction, and he knows that. As I was previously informed, Hyde spent most of his day working, when he was done, he drank a huge amount of beer and went to bed, only to repeat his routine the next day.

The more I think about life in Point Place, the more I remember that Donna never wanted that for herself. We always talked about getting the hell out of that town and create a life for ourselves somewhere else. In a way, I'm glad Donna left, I really was holding her back, and I was a selfish asshole. She should've left for Madison when she had the chance, I'm pretty sure that we could've made this whole distance relationship work back then. Now I'm so incredibly fucked, I don't even know what the hell am I supposed to do.

Even if I manage to convince Donna to take me back, how exactly are we going to make this work? I start at UW in September, I still have plenty of time before I move to Madison, but I'll need to move eventually. And Donna is in one if the best journalism programs in the country, she's not transferring to UW just to be with me, she shouldn't. In this moment I get what Jackie meant, I need to be the one making the sacrifices for a change, if I want to make this work, I'll need to make the sacrifices, I just don't have any idea of what I should do. The distance between Chicago and Madison is nothing compared to the distance between Africa and Wisconsin though, and I still have the cruiser, I'll figure something out, but I'm committed, we will make this work, I will make sure of it.

The rest of the day went pretty smoothly, we had a couple of circles, watched some TV, we took Fez on a walk (he was getting really unquiet at the small apartment), then we all got ready to meet the girls back at their place. Again, my throat feels dry and I'm getting pretty anxious, I don't even know if I'll be able to talk to Donna today, just seeing her was enough to make me feel butterflies in my stomach. Hyde looks pretty antsy as well, but he's hiding it all behind his sunglasses and his 'zen' crap. 

We knock at the door and Donna answers, and I don't even know how she does that, but I swear that she manages to look more beautiful everyday. She still had the blonde hair, the roots were showing a bit of the original red, and she was wearing a blue sweater and a pair of jeans. She gestures us to come in and we made ourselves comfortable in her living room. I notice that Hyde's eyes are roaming around the place, searching for a tiny brunette.

"Jackie's still at work but she'll be here in a few minutes" Donna said "We have beer in the fridge" she pointed to the kitchen and took a sip of her own beer, I couldn't help but notice that she was glancing at me when she thought I wasn't looking. Maybe she isn't as over me as I thought. I grin slightly to myself, as I went to the kitchen and picked up 4 beers, one for each one of us. Imagine my surprise when I handed a beer to Mr. Steven Hyde and he shook his head, giving me the unopened can of beer back.

"No thanks man, I'll see if I can get a pop" he said as he went into the kitchen, leaving all of us completely dumbfounded by his behavior. If Hyde was refusing to drink beer, he must be really determined on getting Jackie back. He comes back with a bottle of soda and realises we're all staring at him, he grimaced. "Shut up" he says and focus his attention on one of the magazines sitting at the coffee table.

I look at everyone else and apparently they're just as shocked as I am, Kelso was wide eyed and his mouth was hanging open as he stared at Hyde like he was a completely different person, Fez has pretty much the same expression as Kelso, and Donna was just staring suspiciously at him, but I can see a small grin on her face. 

After a while everyone just shrugged and directed their attention to something else, until we finally heard the noise of someone fiddling some keys and opening the door, Jackie was finally home, the night is about to get pretty interesting.

                 


JACKIE

 

To say I was purposely arriving late at home would be an understatement. I took my time at work today, I checked the scripts at least five times, I made small talk to some of my colleagues, took the stairs instead of the elevator, I did everything I could to avoid the talk I knew it was coming.

As I opened the door to my apartment I saw everyone at the living room, crap, they were actually waiting for me. And now they're all staring at me, including Donna.

"Never thought I would say this but can everyone please stop staring at me? I know I'm gorgeous but I'm starting to get uncomfortable" I say, and I see that Ste… no, Hyde, smiled to me and went back into reading one of Donna's magazines. I take off my coat and grab some water, after the hangover I had yesterday, there's no way I'm touching alcohol again. I sit on the arm of the couch and wait for someone to break the silence.

"Well, this is weird" God bless Fez, I chuckled a little "You can cut the sexual tension in here with a spoon" my smile disappeared, way to make this situation more uncomfortable Fez.

"Who the hell cuts stuff with a spoon?" Kelso looked confused at the perverted little foreign guy

"Fez" Donna was holding back a smile "It's a knife, 'you can cut the sexual tension in here with a knife'" 

"See, Donna agrees with me!" Fez replied

"Oh God" I mumble, seriously, if things keep going like this, this is going to be the weirdest night of my life.

"You know what's going to make this situation a whole lot easier to deal with?" Ste.. Hyde grinned and took a brown paper bag out of his jacket pocket, then he proceeded to remove his jacket, what the hell is wrong with me? He looks stronger, crap, I shouldn't be noticing this.  

"Oh my God, I haven't done this since we left Point Place" Donna giggled, and everyone gathered around in a circle. I was still sitting in the arm of the couch, wondering if getting high next to my extremely hot ex is a good idea.

"Jacks?" Speak of the devil. He was looking at me expectantly, and I just sighed and took a seat between Donna and Fez.

                 


CIRCLE

ERIC:

He is chuckling "Dude, how much 'film' have you brought? This is like, our fourth circle in 24 hours" 

HYDE:

"Hey, I figured we might stay here for a while" he was smiling to himself "This feels right" he stared longingly at Jackie, ' the only thing wrong with this circle is that Jackie was supposed to be sitting in my lap' he thought

FEZ: 

"Why is there no food?" He was staring at Donna and Jackie "A good host always has food!"

DONNA:

Giggling uncontrollably "I forgot how fun this is" she stared at her hands "Wow, my hands are huge! Jackie, look at my hands!" She waved her hands in front of Jackie's face

JACKIE:

Laughing "If you let me paint your nails more often, it…" she paused, and took Donna's hands in hers, looking thoughtful "Nah, if I painted your nails, your hands would still look huge, but at least they would be nicer to look at" she added with a condescending smile

KELSO:

He was smiling dumbly at the gang "See, this is what I was talking about!" He looked at the girls "Your presence was very missed at the circle, ladies"

ERIC: 

"That's true. I've only had like, five circles since I arrived at America, and you two were missed in all of them" he was staring at Donna now, who was still staring at her hands and laughing, he chuckled at the sight

HYDE:

"Man, that's the good shit, I have to ask Leo for more when we head back" he smiled

FEZ: 

"I demand food!" He slapped the coffee table, and Hyde glared at him, looking like he was going to hit him, Fez smiled apologetically "Sorry"

KELSO:

"Dude, why do you keep hitting on tables?"

DONNA:

Still giggling, she stopped staring at her hands to look at Fez "Jeez Fez, relax. Go grab some of Jackie's special ice cream in the freezer and I'll order us some food"

JACKIE:

"Donna! Now I'll be all out of ice cream! Fez will eat the whole thing in seconds, you know I need my ice cream whenever I get sad" she pouted 

KELSO:

"Why do you need depression ice cream?" He asked his ex, then realization hit him "Oooh, wait, did you had ice cream when we broke up as well? Because I deserve some depression ice cream!" 

FEZ:

He goes back to his spot with a spoon and a small container of moose tracks ice cream "Yummy" he smiled

ERIC:

"Kelso, I would like to congratulate you" he patted his friend back "You managed to make a circle uncomfortable, that's why you're the king" 

DONNA:

"Hey, that's not completely true! I helped!" She laughed

JACKIE:

"If I had the ability to be mad right now, I would kick some serious ass!" She chuckled "But I don't, and now I'm dying for some food. Oh! I'll order us some Chinese!" she got up and went to the phone on the other side of the room

HYDE: 

"Oh crap" he scowled "Give me that damn ice cream" he took the container and the spoon from Fez and started to eat the ice cream, a sad look in his eyes


A few hours had passed and the night wasn't going half as bad as I expected it would be. After the circle, I've ordered some food and now we are all playing monopoly, and of course, I am winning. St… Hyde looked at me sadly all night, but he hasn't tried to talk to me yet, I don't know if I should be annoyed or relieved. My thoughts are interrupted when I hear a loud thump. Crap, Fez flipped the board again. He always does that when he's losing.

"Seriously, Fez?" I ask

"This game is not fair!" He pouts, and I roll my eyes at him, I should've expected that the minute we started playing. As Donna, Michael and Eric were arguing with Fez, I stand up and head to the kitchen to grab myself another glass of water. I see Ste… Hyde standing up as well, and I sighed, time for us to have that talk. I look briefly at Donna, who gives me an encouraging smile, and I head to my room, gesturing for Hyde to follow me.

I sit on my bed and he closes the door, I notice that he's glancing around my room, but soon he sits next to me in my bed. He furrowed his brow and took a deep breath, probably trying to figure out what is he going to say next. I feel him scooting closer to me, I stand up and sit in the chair close to my bed.

"Do I seriously disgust you that much?" He removes his sunglasses and looks sadly at me, crap, I can already feel my eyes watering, so I stare at my window.

"Just get it over with, Hyde" I mumbled

"Will you please stop calling me that?" He runs his hands in his face, he tends to do that when he's nervous.

"Fine, just say what you want to say" 

He tries to grab my hand, but I pull away. He looked depressed at my gesture, then he takes another deep breath and I prepare myself for whatever he's about to say.

"Jackie, I will never, ever, be able to put into words how much I regret everything that happened in those last 6 months" I direct my gaze at him, but I don't say anything "I would take everything back if I could, believe me. And I know sorry isn't going to cut it this time, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to have you in my life again" 

I honestly don't know what to say. This must be killing him, because Steven never apologizes. The only time he apologized to me was right after he cheated on me. God, just remembering that day makes me want to crumble into a little ball and cry until I dehydrate. I know how hard this must be for him, but after everything that happened, I just can't feel sorry for him. I was the one who was dumped and replaced by a whore, I was the one who was thrown away like garbage. I, Jackie Burkhart, for the first time in my life, felt like I wasn't enough. He managed to destroy my confidence, and it took me a long time to get that back.

"Is that all?" I ask him coldly "Because if you're done, I have some stuff I would like to say as well" 

I take a deep breath and try to keep my composure, I am doing my best not to cry right now "You have no idea of how much you made me suffer. You put me through hell! I was with you for two years, and you only told me you loved me once! When I asked you for commitment, you told me you 'didn't know', and we broke up for a while, but eventually I sucked it up, because I loved you and I was miserable without you, but even after that, you still never told me how you felt about me, everytime I asked you about our future you changed the subject and told me to focus on the present, but then, the future came, and I got this amazing job offer, this job was literally my dream coming true, and still, I was willing to give that up for you, and yes, I shouldn't have given you a stupid ultimatum, but honestly, can you blame me? You never told me how you felt about me unless you were cornered, you never trusted me, and honestly, I don't even think you loved me!"

He was about to interrupt me, but I kept talking, he was going to hear everything and hopefully he will feel like shit, because that's how he should feel "So yes, I gave you an ultimatum because I needed to know if you actually liked me, I needed to know that I wasn't just a sex toy for you, and I didn't even asked you to propose to me right away, all I wanted to know was if you were going to propose to me one day . And you couldn't even do that, so I decided I would take the damn job offer, because I had nothing to lose at this point. So Michael drove me here. And all I did with Michael was cry. I cried over you, that's literally all I did. And he tried to hit on me because he's Michael, but he was also trying to make me laugh, because I was pretty fucking miserable. Then out of nowhere you showed up, and the minute I saw you at that door I knew that if you saw Michael you would jump into conclusions again and do something stupid, and as always, I was right! You just ran away to Las Vegas, and forgot about me. And I was so stupid, I actually quit my job and went back to Point Place to look for you, to try and explain to you that nothing happened, and you went MIA for three fucking weeks! I was so worried about you, I thought you drove into a ditch somewhere. Then you came back, and told me you weren't ready to get married yet, and I was still going to take you back again, even if you slept with some skanks in Vegas, because I loved you that much. Then she showed up. When she told us you two were married, a part of me actually died , it was the worst pain I've ever felt in my entire life" 

I want to curse myself for the way my voice breaks, I squeeze my eyes shut and take a deep breath, but it's too late to stop the tears at this point  "It was worse than all the times Michael cheated on me, it was worse than when you slept with that nurse, it was worse than when my father went to prison, it was worse than being abandoned by my own mother twice " I take a quick look at him and he was leaning his head in his hands, his head was down and I couldn't see his face 

"I never expected that from you. All I wanted was to be with you, to build a life with you, and you weren't able to do that with me. But you were able to do that with a stranger, you married someone you knew for two weeks while we dated for two years and I couldn't even get you to tell me you loved me!"

I was sobbing uncontrollably at this point, so I stood up from the chair and leaned my head against the wall, trying to control myself. I need to say everything, so I started pacing "And you… stayed with her... You stayed with her and talked shit about me, you acted like our relationship was the worst thing that ever happened in your life! So I left with Donna, and it was probably one of the best decisions I've ever made, because I'm pretty sure that if I had stayed in Point Place you would've killed what was left of me, so, yeah, sorry is not going to cut it, Steven" I was practically yelling at this point

The room is silent for seconds, but it felt like hours, then I feel Steven grabbing my hand again. This time, I don't pull away. 

When I looked at him, I almost passed out. He's crying, he is actually crying, and he isn't even trying to hide it. He never cries. He's holding my hand for a while now, and I couldn't help but notice how perfectly our hands fit, how good it is to touch him again, to feel him again.

"Jackie" his voice was low and hoarse "I love you. I have always loved you, and I was a fool for not telling you everyday. The fact that you actually think I never loved you fucking breaks my heart" I see a few tears leaving his eyes and my own eyes watered in response "I've never loved anyone like I love you, and I never will. Because you're it for me, doll. I love you and I will spend everyday of the rest of my life proving it to you if you let me"

"You don't hurt the ones you love, Steven" I basically whisper, but he heard me, because he let go of my hand and lifted my chin up, making me look directly at his eyes.

His baby blue eyes were reddish and watery, and I could see all the pain and regret in them. Steven's eyes always showed his emotions, that's why he covers them with his stupid sunglasses all the time. As I stared deeply into his beautiful eyes, I've noticed that he wasn't lying. He actually loves me, and normally that would make me squeal with joy, but right now all I can think about is how bad we screwed up. I can't forgive him, not now, but I can see that he's truly sorry, and that's a good thing.

"I'm so sorry doll, for everything, you have no idea how much I regret what happened" he whispers to me "But I meant what I said before, I'm not giving up on you, on us. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to have you back into my life" 

"What do you want me to say, Steven?" I sighed, defeated

"That you won't give up on me either. That you're going to let me prove to you that I changed, I can be the man you deserve" he tucked a strand of my hair behind my ear

"And how can I do that, if everytime I look at you all I can see is her ? I know you're sorry, but that doesn't change what happened" 

"I know" he said, looking dejected "But I'm willing to wait for you to forgive me. It can take days, weeks, months, I'll be waiting, and I'm ready now baby, I'm ready to give you everything you always wanted" he took my hand in his again and I lowered my head

"It's going to take a while, Steven"

"I don't care" he was drawing circles in my hand with his thumb "Those 6 months without you were the worst months of my life, Jackie. I've got a preview of what my life would be without you in it, and it's a pretty damn miserable life. I love you, I need you"

"Jackie, I don't wanna fight anymore. I'm tired of fighting, of pretending I don't care, I just want to be with you" He cups my face, lifting my head and making me look into his eyes again "I was the asshole, but I want to talk, I want to fix this, let me fix this" 

I take a deep breath, wondering what the hell just happened in the last 15 minutes. After everything Steven's done to me, I should hate him, but I can't, I love him so much that it pisses me off sometimes. At least now I know he loves me back, but that's not going to erase all the pain I've been through in those last 6 months, I love him, but I can't trust him. And how am I supposed to know if he trusts me? He never did, even if I never gave him reasons not to. How am I supposed to I let him in again if he doesn't trust me?

"Steven…" I start, and he looked at me expectantly "We don't trust each other" 

"That's not true. You don't trust me. And I completely understand that, but I trust you with my life. I know I was a jealous asshole, but I've changed. Let me prove it to you, let me regain your trust" he brushes his thumb against my cheek and I hold my breath. Those tiny touches and gestures of his are making my heart swell.

Screw it, I'll probably regret this later, but I'll also never forgive myself if I don't try.

"Fine" I can feel his grip tightening in my hand, and he's smiling "But I need to make something perfectly clear, we are not back together, it's going to take a really long time for that to happen, because I need to learn how to trust you again. Okay?"

"I'll take what I can get, doll" he's still smiling at me, and I couldn't hold back a grin myself

"So, friends?" I ask hesitantly

"Friends, for now" he grins, and pulls me in for a hug

And as we're hugging, I feel safe for the first time in a really long time. I know I shouldn't feel like this, but right now all I can think about is how good it feels to be in his arms again, and how I never want to let go.

 

END CHAPTER 6

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 7

 

ERIC

Jackie and Hyde were still locked in her room, and I was starting to get worried about Hyde. Donna, Kelso, Fez and I, tried to pretend that we are not interested to know what the hell is happening in that room, but after a while, we heard Jackie yelling, and we all exchange worried looks. We are hearing everything she's saying, and even I am feeling bad for the girl. This must be killing Hyde. Kelso and Fez look really uncomfortable, and Donna looks extremely worried. Just when I was about to suggest an intervention or something, Jackie stopped yelling and we hear her saying something like "sorry isn't going to cut it, Steven". And now they lowered their voices significantly, because we can't hear them anymore, and I breathe in relieve. We all thought that Hyde was going to leave the room looking dejected after all the yelling, but he didn't.

"Do you think they're doing it?" Kelso asked 

"No, Jackie's not going to forgive him that easily, especially after all the yelling" Donna answered him, but she still carried a worried expression 

"Besides, when they used to do it, Jackie was very loud" Fez stated, and we all looked at him, disgusted

"Ew! I'm not even going to ask how you know that" Donna grimaced, and Fez was about to say something else when I interrupted him

"Fez, if you don't shut up I'm telling Hyde" I threatened him, and he cringed

"But shouldn't we go check on them or something? Jackie probably killed Hyde by now" Kelso stated

"Leave them be" Donna warned him "They have a lot to talk about"

I nod in agreement with Donna. They do have a lot to talk about, and I'm assuming that after hearing Jackie's words, Hyde would be spending a lot of time apologizing to her. We all sat on the couch, making small talk and watching The Brady Bunch, Donna wasn't paying attention to the TV though, she was often glancing at the direction of Jackie's room.

"Do you think they'll be able to figure things out?" I ask

"I hope so" she answers "I don't expect Jackie to forgive him so soon though, he really damaged her" 

I nod and smile slightly to myself, noticing that this is the first civilized conversation we had since I came back. I know better so I do not push. After reflecting a lot, I decided that she needs to be the one to reach me to talk about us, I don't want to pressure her into talking to me.

"I hope he grovels" I hear her mumbling angrily to herself

"Oh he will grovel" I say "Besides, I don't think he wants to get punched again" I look at her and she was grinning shyly

"Well, he deserved it, he was being an asshole" 

"So I've heard" Every week I was in Africa my mother would call me, and every week she mentioned how worried she was about Hyde. When I came back, Kelso told me everything about the day Donna punched Hyde. According to him, it was one of the best days of his life, apparently Hyde's face was bruised for over a week, and judging by everything I was told, he indeed deserved that punch. I'm just glad he changed, because I don't think I would be able to be friends with that version of Hyde, the post-Vegas Hyde. "By the way, I would like to state that you're Red's new hero, according to Fez, everytime Hyde was being a dumbass Red would grin slyly, saying if he doesn't watch it he was going to 'pull up a Donna' on him" I laugh, and so does she.

God I missed this so much.

I look deeply into her eyes, and she was opening her mouth to say something, when we all see Jackie and Hyde leaving the room, he was wearing his shades so I couldn't read his expression well, but he does have a small grin on his face. Jackie looked like she was crying, but she also had a small grin on her face. Are they back together?

"Are you two back together?" Fez asks suspiciously, earning a threatening glare from Hyde and an uncomfortable smile from Jackie

"No" Jackie answers Fez and I look at Hyde, he seems a little disappointed, but not as much as I thought he would be "We're talking, for now" she completed 

Donna is analyzing both Hyde and Jackie right now, I guess she's trying to see if they were telling the truth. In the end she sent a very meaningful look to Jackie and directed her attention back to the TV. 

"I think we should head back now" Kelso stood up "I have to watch Betsy tomorrow morning" 

Then, Donna looks directly at me and asks

"When are you leaving?" Her tone wasn't hostile, though. It was genuine question.

"Actually Forman, we need to leave in the morning" Hyde answers "Fez and I need to go back to work" then he looks at Jackie and smiled a little "But I'm thinking of paying another visit to Chicago on Saturday, what do you think?" He asks me and I smile in appreciation, I nod but I don't think he noticed, he had his eyes on Jackie, who was trying to bite back a smile.

Oh, they are so getting back together.

I look expectantly at Donna, and she was trying to bite back a smile as well.

"See you on Saturday?" I ask

"Yeah" she smiles brightly and I swear to God my heart stopped at this very moment.

She doesn't hate me. She smiled at me. She's going to talk to me. Maybe things will be fine between us. Before I could send Donna one of those sexy looks that I know she loves, Fez pulled her into a tight hug, literally pushing me aside and tossing me into the floor. Hyde, Jackie and Kelso chuckled at the sight of my misery, but Donna looked apologetic and tried to get away from the foreigner's tight embrace. Jackie probably noticed her discomfort, and called Fez, who promptly pulled away from Donna and rushed into Jackie.

"Oh, my goddess, I will miss you" he threw himself into Jackie's arms, not a smart decision, Jackie is a tiny person, if she wasn't leaning into the wall they would've collapsed into the floor, not that Fez would complain. Hyde was visibly glaring at Fez, who was completely oblivious of his presence, he cleared his throat and Fez pulled away from Jackie.

"Wait, Fezzie, aren't you coming back on Saturday too?" She asked

"No" he pouted sadly, then he smiled proudly "I, Fez, have a date on Saturday"

Jackie chuckled, but she realized he wasn't kidding "Wait, really? With who?"

"My beautiful Big Rhonda is back and she came looking for some brown sugar if you know what I mean" he grinned perversely, making all of us grimace, except Kelso, of course, he looked really happy for our little friend

"Alright! Fez is going to nail a fat chick!" He grinned and gave Fez a high five.

Yeah, some things never change.

The girls walked us to the door, Donna was giving Fez and Kelso a lecture about respecting women, no matter their weight, I wasn't paying much attention because I noticed that Jackie pulled Hyde aside, she lowered her voice, he took off his sunglasses, he seems to be doing that a lot in her presence.

"Steven, I…" she paused, probably trying to figure out what she's going to say "The roads… they are all icy and stuff… just… call me when you arrive home, okay?" She asked tenderly and he looked at her, adoration reflected on his unshaded eyes. He smiled at her and nodded, and just when we were about to leave, he kissed her hand, like a true gentleman, if I wasn't so impressed and shocked I would've probably come out with a pretty good burn, but Jackie looked like she was about to melt. As we waved goodbye I took one last glance at the girls and Jackie was trying really hard to hold back a big smile. Hyde is one lucky son of a bitch, they were going to be fine, eventually.


HYDE

There were no stuffed animals in her room.

That was the first thing I've noticed when we went there to have our talk. There were also almost no pictures, Jackie loves pictures, but I only saw two. The one on her nightstand, showed tiny Jackie and her father, she was riding a pony and laughing, she showed me this picture many times before, it's her favorite. The other picture made me smile, it was one of the entire gang, Mrs. Forman took it the day we missed our graduation.

The first time I entered her room back at Point Place I felt like I was standing inside of a blown piece of bubblegum, I remember how uncomfortable I've felt at the time. Now, I've never seen a room so bland, so… un-Jackie. And that bothered me profusely.

Our talk was something. It was progress, we definitely made some progress, but man, when Jackie told me how much I've hurted her, that fucking killed me. Hearing her saying out loud all the damage I've done, I felt like a worthless piece of shit.

I caused her the worst pain of her life. I was supposed to take the pain away, not to be the cause of it. And what the hell was that about her mom abandoning her twice?

When Jackie started to cry, I felt like my world was ending, I felt like scum, all I wanted to do was to hold her, and tell her everything is going to be alright, but I couldn't, because I'm the reason she was crying in the first place. So I just leaned my head in my hands and let Jackie say everything she needed to say. A sharp pain ripped across my chest everytime she sobbed, and for the second time in those last 6 months, I've felt tears leaving my eyes. I didn't even tried to hide it, there was no point.

I laid my heart out for her, and I was surprised when she didn't stomped all over it with her high heels. She had every right to, but she didn't. I told her I was willing to wait for her, and I am. And in the end, she actually gave me a chance. She told me that we are not back together, and I'm okay with that, because she gave me hope.

So this whole friendship thing isn't that bad, in fact, it's a great way for me to earn her trust again.

And I meant what I said to her, I really do trust her. She may be bitchy and bossy, but she has a heart of gold, she would never cheat, not when she knows how it feels to be cheated on, I just wish I figured that out sooner. 

In the end, she ended up in my arms, it was only a hug, but still. For a long time, I never thought I would have the privilege to hold her again, to feel her heartbeat against my own. The smell of strawberries and vanilla filled my nostrils, and it gave me a high no other drug could ever give me, I felt like I was in heaven. I could've stayed like that forever, but the morons were waiting for us, so after a while I kissed the top of her head and we headed to the door. And then she smiled.

When we were leaving, she pulled me into a corner and asked me to call her when I arrive home. She was actually worried about me. I looked deeply into her mismatched eyes, and I just couldn't stop thinking about how much I love this woman, so involuntarily, I did something I never thought I would do, I took her hand in mine, and kissed it, just like those pansy ass dudes in those shitty soap operas do, but when I saw the look in her face though, oh boy, she just looked to perfect to be real. She always does.

I try to wipe the grin off my face everytime I remember her smile, but I'm starting to think that's literally impossible. Forman also looks pretty happy, he's driving us back to Point Place right now and for the first time since we arrived at Chicago, he's not whining. 

We dropped Fez at his place, then we headed back to the Formans, as soon as we leave the car, we are engulfed by Mrs. Forman's arms.

"My boys! I missed you so much! So, how did it go? Are the girls okay? Oh I bet they're too skinny, none of them knows how to cook properly, I need to send them another box of cookies…" 

"Mom!" Eric interrupts her endless ramblings

"Oh, I'm sorry! Come inside, I'll make you two a sandwich, then you can tell me everything!" She claps excitedly and heads inside, dragging us with her.

Red's sitting at the kitchen table, polishing some of his shoes.

"Dumbasses" he greets us, then he looks at me "I see Donna kept her fists to herself during this trip, huh?"

"Is nobody ever going to let that go?" I sit at the bench near the kitchen counter, Forman sits in the bench next to me.

"No" Red grins

Mrs. Forman places a plate full of sandwiches in front of us and I grab one, I'm pretty hungry, we haven't eaten breakfast today.

"So??" Mrs. Forman asks expectantly

"The girls are fine" Eric says "We're going back to Chicago on saturday" 

"I'm sorry you're what?" Mrs. Forman asked dumbfounded "No, no, no, you're barely back! There's no need to go there again, you can talk on the phone, you know!"

"Mom…"

"Kitty, if the boys wants to leave my house for the weekend you let them!" Red protested

"Well, this is fun" I smile wryly "But I have to head to the store, see ya" I kiss Mrs. Forman cheek and leave. 

As soon as I get into the store I head into my office, Jackie asked me to call her. She actually asked me to call her when I arrived home. I dial the number that I've gotten from Mrs. Forman months ago.

"Hello?" I hear her voice from the other side of the line. I'll never get tired of her voice.

"Hey" 

"Steven?"

"Yeah, it's me"

"Hey" I notice her tone softened and I smile

"So… I arrived home okay" I say "Forman didn't whined on the trip back so I assume he and Donna must've talked"

"Oh, they didn't" she responds "I mean, they talked, but not about their problems, Donna's planning on having the talk on Saturday"

"Jackie…" I start "I just wanted to say that I meant it, everything I've said yesterday, I've meant it"

"I know" 

There's an awkward silence between us.

"Steven?"

"Yeah?"

"I want to forgive you, I really do" she pauses "But… it's going to take a while, you know?"

"I know doll" I sigh "But I'm not giving up this time, okay?" 

"Okay… so, how are Mr. and Mrs. Forman? I really miss them"

"Red seems really happy that Forman and I are planning to take a few trips to Chicago in the near future" I answer her "But Mrs. Forman was about to cry by the time I left"

"Wait, you're not at the Formans?" She asks

"No, I'm at the store" I answer her "Next time you visit Point Place you should visit the store, in those last few months I've been doing some pretty nice work here, plus, I wanted to call you from my office because Mrs. Forman tends to eavesdrop on some conversations she mind find interesting"

"Really?"

"Yeah, you know how she likes to know stuff and I'm not usually a guy who shares…"

"No, Steven" she chuckled "I mean, are you really working on the store? Like, actually working?"

"Yes" I shift uncomfortably in my seat "I actually like it, and we've been selling really well, I even hired two new guys to help me out, since Angie's gone and Leo is pretty much useless" 

"I'm proud of you" she says, and I smile "I always trusted in your potential"

"You were the only one" I groaned sadly "God, letting you go was the stupidest thing I've ever done"

"Yeah, I'm pretty amazing" she jokes and, again, I smiled "Steven… not everything's your fault, you know? I shouldn't have given you that stupid ultimatum"

"But I understand why you did. I didn't then, but I do now. I should've been more open to you, about my feelings and stuff… I should've told you how much I love you everyday"

"And I shouldn't have been so bitchy and manipulative"

"I guess… but my list of mistakes is way bigger than yours doll, I have a lot to make up for" I admit

She pauses for a few seconds, and I hear her sighing "Yes, you do"

"I'm not letting you down this time" I promise her, then I hear a knock on the office door "Shit, I have to go back to work"

"It's okay"

"Hey Jacks… can I, I don't know, call you tomorrow, maybe?"

"That would be nice"

"What time are you back from work?" 

"Around 7"

"Then I'll call you tomorrow, around 8"

"I would like that, bye Steven"

"Bye doll" 

I hang up the phone, and I answer the door, the new guy I've hired a few weeks ago, Dom, was waiting for me.

"Sorry to bother you, boss, but the store's pretty full and I can't find Leo anywhere" 

I exhale and head into work, thinking about how can I right my wrongs.

 

END CHAPTER 7

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 8

 

ERIC

Man, I thought I would've got some rest when I came back from Africa, I'm still pretty jet lagged, and I just wanted to take a nap. I drove all the way back from Chicago, and when I arrived home, longing for my bed, I accidentally told my mother that we are leaving this weekend as well. I make pretty dumb decisions when I'm sleep deprived. No, actually, I make pretty dumb decisions all the time, breaking up with Donna is a great example of that.

Damn, I should've given my mother a bottle of wine before breaking the news.

I knew she would make a big deal out of this, and I was at least expecting Hyde's help, but no, the bastard left me alone to console my crazy mother, and Red didn't helped at all. It took me a while to get my mother to calm down, she actually said she would never cook again if I didn't solve things with Donna, because she can't have her baby traveling to Chicago for nothing. 

But my father, bless him, said I better get Donna back, so I can move to Chicago and leave the house, and my mother flipped out again. After two yellow pills and a promise that I would give her at least two grandchildren someday, she finally calmed down, and decided to take a nap. And just when I was about to head upstairs and take my own nap, my father told me to shovel the driveway. Man, I swear to God that I almost cried.

So currently I'm laying down on my bed, it took me almost two hours to shovel the driveway, and now I'm exhausted, but I can't take a nap because my mind is not stopping. 

I'm starting to get a little optimistic about my whole situation with Donna. We haven't talked yet, but I think we'll be able to sort things out with time. I'm pretty sure we are going to talk on Saturday, and I really don't want to talk about our relationship in front of Jackie and Hyde, so I'll see if I can convince him to take her out. And I need to pray that she agrees, because you never know with Jackie. 

The smile Donna gave to me yesterday is engraved in my mind, I can't seem to wipe the grin on my face everytime I think about it. I really missed her smile, while I was in Africa, I used to picture her smile whenever things got tough, it always made things slightly better.

Africa was pretty rough, it was definitely a wake up call. I always complained about my life and my family, but after everything I saw over there, I realised how lucky I am. The kids in the village were pretty awesome though, their lives were hard, they had a bunch of problems that no kid should ever have, but they were pretty happy most of the time. They tried to teach me how to play soccer and they laughed at me everytime I missed a goal. There was this one time I actually stepped on the ball and I can swear I almost broke my ass that day, but the way those kids were laughing, it was awesome, it wasn't a mocking laughter, they were actually having fun with me, they were enjoying my presence there. I felt special, I felt like I was needed. Sometimes I wonder why I never thought about teaching before, but now I can't imagine myself doing some other thing.

I think about Saturday, and about Donna. I really hope we sort things out, because I want to tell her everything about Africa, and how that experience changed my life, I want to share every moment with her, I want to take her to the village someday, introduce her to the kids, they'll be thrilled to finally know the famous Donna, I talked about her all the time. I want to spend the rest of my life with her.

I close my eyes, and her smile is the last thing I see before I fall asleep.

               


HYDE

Man, this week flew by. I spent almost all week at Grooves, people are really interested in music these days, because the store was filled with customers all week. I am so glad I hired some help, because honestly, I would not be able to deal with everything by myself. 

Forman stopped by this week, and he actually helped me, I even gave him some Styx albums to reward him. He almost cried, I almost punched him. Good times.

I talked to Jackie everyday on the phone this week, she told me everything about her job, she sounded like she really liked it, and she even told me about her mother when I asked. I thought she would brush me off or something. Apparently, Pam left a month after she moved back in with her, but she was sending money this time, or at least she was, she hadn't been back in Point Place since she moved to Chicago, so she haven't really checked. She also told me that the last time she talked to her, she was in Brazil. Honestly, Jackie's mom may be hot, but everytime Jackie talks about her with me, I dislike her more and more. And what bothered me the most was that Pam left when Jackie and I were still together, and I didn't even noticed. Everyday I'm starting to understand better why Jackie was pushing so much for a commitment and why she thought I never loved her. I can't beat myself enough for it, I was a dick.

We tried to talk about our relationship, but she said that she feels more comfortable talking about it in person, at least for now. I get it. She just doesn't want to solve our shit over the phone. I also asked her out, Forman practically begged me to leave the apartment with Jackie on saturday, so he can have some privacy to talk with Donna. Jackie agreed, and I was already planning something in my mind.

Now the day has finally arrived, and I was just waiting for Forman so I can drive us to Chicago. This time, I'm taking the Camino. I'm leaning into my car and just when I was about to lose my patience and take off without him, Forman appears through the sliding door, a duffel bag across his shoulders and holding a large box in his hands.

"What the hell is that?" I ask

"My mother is making me take a box full of baked goods for the girls" he explained, then he frowned "But I swear this box is heavier than Jackie, I don't know how my mother expects them to eat this whole thing, she's crazy"

"Man, if you think she's crazy now…" I chuckle "You haven't seen her when you were in Africa, I actually felt bad for Red"

"Yet another reason I'm thankful I was out of the continent in those last 6 months" he places the box and his bag on the backseat, I start the car

"Wait, I thought you regretted going to Africa?" I ask 

"Oh, no" he responds "I regret the stupid decisions I made while I was in Africa, and I regret not asking Donna to go with me, but Africa was awesome, man"

While I drove us to Chicago, Forman proceeded to tell me a lot of stories about his time in Africa, he sounded really proud of the things he accomplished there, and he seemed really passionate about teaching those kids. I've never seen him passionate about anything other than Donna and Star Wars. It was nice, seeing that he finally found something he likes, and the stories about Africa were surprisingly entertaining.

We arrived at Kelso's around 3PM, the guy was pretty happy to see us again, he said we can stay at his place whenever we're in Chicago. And if everything works out the way I hope it will, we'll be here almost every weekend.

We hang with Kelso for a while, until it's time to go meet the girls. Jackie agreed to go out with me today and to say I'm nervous would be an understatement. I thought about taking her to one of these fancy restaurants she claims she loves, but I'm pretty sure she's going to love where I'm taking her, in fact, I know she'll love it, because I hate it. But hey, I need to be the one making sacrifices for a change, and I'll do anything to make her happy.

We drive to their place and Forman rangs their doorbell, Jackie is the one who answers. She gives us a warm smile and damn, she looks gorgeous. Her hair was tied in a ponytail, she's all bundled up in her winter clothes and she was wearing those high heels boots that I love so much.

The fact that this beautiful woman is actually giving me a second chance still amazes me everytime.

          


 

DONNA

 

I'm at the kitchen when I hear the doorbell, and Jackie went to answer it. I'm actually pretty nervous, I know Eric and I are going to have our talk today. When Jackie told me she was going out with Hyde, she asked me if I wanted her to cancel it, because if she went out with Hyde today, I was actually going to be alone with Eric. I told her not to worry, she should go out with Hyde and try to sort things out, and I also told her Eric and I need to talk, I dreaded this conversation long enough.

I leave the kitchen and I see Eric standing awkwardly near the door, holding a big box while Jackie and Hyde talk. Jackie went into my direction and pulled me into a corner.

"Hey, you sure you're going to be okay?" she asks me, in a low voice

"Don't worry midget" I smile "We need to solve our shit, I'll be fine" 

She looked at me with concern, but she doesn't say anything else

"Hyde is waiting for you" I say "Go, you'll be fine too"

"Donna…" she looks apprehensively at me "Do you really think I should do this?"

"Jackie, I really believe he changed, seriously" she was about to say something else but I interrupted her "I'm not saying you should get back together with him, at least not now, but I do believe that you should give him a chance. You told me he was willing to wait for you, so just take your time, don't rush into anything" I advise her, and she nods

"The same goes for you, I guess I should go now" she smiled and hugged me "Good luck"

She glares at Eric before Hyde takes her hand, he intertwined their fingers and they both leave. It's just me, Eric, and his box now, the silence it's highly disturbing.

I have so many things I want to ask, so many things I want to say, but right now I can't seem to remember any of them. We just keep staring at each other for a while, until he finally broke the silence.

"So, where do I put the box?" He points at the box he's holding and I repress a chuckle

"What the hell is in that box?" I ask curiously

"Well, my mom thinks you and Jackie are probably dying of starvation because neither of you can cook, so she decided to send some baked goods for you two"

"That's… a lot" I observe the box, it is in fact pretty big

"Yeah, I tried to say that, but you know my mother…"

That box looks heavy, and Eric didn't complained so far, in fact, now that I can truly see him, he looks stronger, he's also tanned. Damn Africa.

"You can put the box on the kitchen table" I point at the kitchen door and he enters, leaving a few seconds later with empty hands, he looks nervous

"Well, can we sit, or something?" He asks apprehensively

"Eric, it's my apartment, I should be the one asking you that"

"Yeah but you weren't saying anything and I was starting to freak out a little" he sits and gestures for me to sit next to him, I sit at the Lazy Boy instead and he sighs

"I just think that we should keep our distance while we talk, just for now" I explain while fidgeting with my fingers

"It's okay" he says "Look, Donna, I don't know how to start this conversation with something other than I'm sorry"

"Keep going" I nod, encouraging him

"I know I was selfish, and I know I was an asshole, you were always too good for me. I took you for granted and I'm so, so sorry about that"

"Why?" I ask hesitantly "Why did you left without even talking to me about it?"

"I… I don't know" he replied "I should've talked to you, really, I should've, I was just so excited…"

"That you forgot about me?" I complete his sentence, my eyes are already starting to tear up and I hate it 

"Kind of" he admits, and I take a deep breath, at least he's being honest "Look, I was stupid and selfish, I should've talked to you about it, asked for your opinion, hell, I wanted you to go with me"

"Then why didn't you asked me?" 

"Because I'm a dumbass" he sighed "While I was in Africa all I could think about was you, I told the kids about you, showed them your picture and everything"

"If you missed me so much then why the hell did you broke up with me?" I ask, genuinely confused, it doesn't make any sense 

"Because I was doing all these amazing things and… and you were stuck in Point Place, waiting for me, I felt like I was holding you back"

I lean my head into my hands, and I tell him something I've been meaning to tell him for a while "You were"

"I know" he answers me sadly "I was upset, you know? When I arrived from Africa, I actually thought you were still waiting for me somehow" he let out a dry laugh "You weren't, and I was so disappointed" 

I was about to yell at him, because honestly? He broke up with me, he just admitted he was holding me back, he has no right to be upset that I finally left and decided to do something with my life "Don't yell at me yet" he says "After a while… I realised I was actually really proud of you, still am. I was the asshole in our relationship, you always talked about getting the hell out of Point Place and making a life for yourself, I was holding you back, I was selfish and I'm really sorry about that. You did the right thing by leaving"

"I know" I murmured

"I honestly wasn't thinking straight when I wrote you that letter" he says "I regretted it the minute I sent it, but I assume it was the letter that made you leave Point Place, wasn't it?" He asks

"Yeah, it was" I answer him honestly "I was just… I was so pissed when I've read that letter, you barely said anything, you just broke up with me, you didn't even gave me a reason" I rant "I gave up so much for you, Eric"

"I'm glad you left Point Place" he admits "Seriously, you were always to good to live in a small city like that, I always knew that"

I stay quiet, I don't really know how I'm supposed to answer that.

"And Donna… those apologies… they're not only because of Africa and the letter, you know?" He exhales and looked at my eyes "I'm sorry for everything, seriously"

I look directly at his eyes for the first time today, and I feel his sincerity, but we still have a lot to talk about.

"Eric… I think we should talk, about everything" I say "We broke up and got back together so many times, but we never really talked about what made us break up in the first place, you know? We just ignored it, and let's face it, that just blew up in our faces"

"I've been thinking the same thing" he confesses

"So, where do we start?" 

"How about the promise ring?" He says apprehensively "It's the reason why we broke up the first time, and I never really understood why you didn't take the promise ring, because you accepted the engagement ring"

"I don't know if you will understand this, but at that time I was terrified. I didn't accepted the promise ring because I was scared, my parents marriage was falling apart right in front of me and when you gave me that ring all I could think about was how huge that was" I explained "Remember that Ted Nugent concert?" I ask, and he nods "I was so excited that day, about my future and my career, then we got into that huge fight, and all that excitement was gone, a few days later you showed up with that promise ring and I remember thinking about how my parents tried to get 'remarried' and how that just made things worse"

"I was so scared, and you didn't understood me back then. Your parents are perfect Eric, they have a perfect marriage. And my parents were a mess, they fought all the time, I didn't realised back then, but that really fucked me up. So when you gave me that promise ring all I could think about was our fight, and my parents, and how I felt so bad after our fight that my excitement about Ted Nugent was gone"

I resumed "So, I didn't took that promise ring because I was afraid that you had unrealistic expectations about our future, as I said, your parents are basically soulmates, and my parents couldn't even stay in the same room together, I always wanted a career and I was afraid that you wanted me to be a housewife, and we were also fighting a lot, so I didn't wanted to make a promise to you because back then I wasn't even sure if we were going to make it" I confessed "Don't get me wrong Eric, I loved you more than anything in the world, but I also thought that my parents loved each other and look how they ended up"

I can see that he's a little hurt by what I just said, but I can also see that he understands, or at least he's trying to "So why did you accepted my proposal later?" He asked

"Because at that time I was more mature, I knew what was like to be without you and I didn't wanted to go through that again" I answered honestly

"But we weren't ready to get married" he completes 

"No, we weren't" I sigh "And we should have talked about the whole promise ring issue before we got back together"

"I feel terrible" he says and I look confused "The first time we broke up mostly because you didn't wanted to give up your future, then we got back together and you gave up so much… that's why I didn't showed up at the wedding, you have no idea how much that trailer freaked me out"

"You should have talked to me, Eric. You have no idea how humiliating it was for me to call off the wedding at the last minute" My voice breaks for a second "I freaked out too, and I also think we shouldn't have gotten married, but it should've been a mutual decision" 

"I know, and I'm so, so sorry about that" he takes my hand and tries to break the mood "You know… when I left your room that day, I went to the basement, and I was there by myself, then Jackie saw me, she was at Hyde's room doing God knows what" he grimaced "She kicked me in the shins and said that if I ever pull another crap like that she would break me like a twig"

I laugh, I think Jackie mentioned that to me once.

"Well, you deserved that kick"

"Oh, I know I did, apparently so did Hyde, because after that he mumbled something about her being badass and started to make out with her, I had to limp my way out of the basement" he cringed and I had to repress my laughter "By the way, are her boots made out of steel? I swear that was almost as bad as a kick in the nuts"

"It's her gift" I laugh "How do you manage to make me laugh even in the most inappropriate times?"

"It's my gift" he smirks

I want to kiss him. I really, really want to kiss him. I was leaning towards him when I remembered that we still had a lot to talk about. I take a deep breath and look at his eyes again "Eric, we still have a lot to talk about"

"I know"

I look at him and I remember about Randy, and suddenly I'm consumed with guilt, even if technically I did nothing wrong. But if we want to make this work this time, I need to tell him

"Eric…" I start, and I hesitate for a moment, this is going to be harder than I thought, I decided to rip off the bandaid "A few months after you broke up with me… I slept with someone else"

I reluctantly look at him, and he looks crestfallen, fuck. I keep trying to remind myself that I was single, that I did nothing wrong, but why do I feel this pang across my chest?

He doesn't say anything for a while, and I'm starting to get anxious, I'm not saying anything until he does. After a few minutes, he finally broke the silence

"Who?" He asks without looking me in the eyes

"A guy from college, we kind of dated for a while, his name was Randy"

"Is it over?" He looks at me and I can see the pain in his eyes

"Yes" I answer honestly

"I know I shouldn't feel like this because I broke up with you, but fuck… that, that really hurts" his voice is low and he directs his gaze to the floor

"I'm sorry" 

"You have nothing to be sorry for" he was staring at the floor, but I can hear the sincerity in his voice, I can also see that he's hurt, and I don't know if there's anything I can do about it.

"Donna…" he starts and I look expectantly at him "I want to make this work, I really do, but… I need to ask you something" 

I sigh and prepare myself for whatever he's going to say "Go ahead"

"The first time we broke up… You didn't saw me in your future, and that fucking crushed me" He confesses and looks at me again, his green eyes bore into mine "I need to know that this time, you want me in your future, I want you to be successful, I want you to have an amazing career, and I want to be by your side during all your conquests, I don't want to hold you back anymore, I just want to be with you"

I take a deep breath, this is the first time we ever talked about what happened between us, it hurts, but it's also… healing?

"Eric… I don't need you in my life" I deadpan, and he looks completely crushed by my statement "But I want you in my life, I really, really do, I want to make this work"

He manages to give me a small smile and I smile back "So, where does that leave us?" He asks, sitting in the edge of the couch so he can be closer to me

"I don't know yet, but I want to be with you, Eric" I answer him honestly "But I'm also not leaving Chicago, I'm not giving up on my life for you anymore"

"You shouldn't" he replies "And I don't want you to, we can make this work if we want to, Donna"

"How exactly are we going to do that?"

"We will figure it out. I can apply to University of Chicago, apply for a scholarship or something… And if it doesn't work, I have the Cruiser, I can come and visit you, Madison to Chicago is nothing compared to Point Place to Africa, I can assure you that… I won't give up on you that easily" 

"Good" I smile and cup his face, eager to feel his lips on mine, because damn, it's been too long.

 

END CHAPTER 8

Chapter Text

CHAPTER NINE

 

HYDE

Jackie hugs Donna and comes into my direction, she looks apprehensive, so I took her hand in mine and laced our fingers together. She smiles and I nod briefly to Forman before we left, silently wishing him good luck.

Jackie hasn't said anything yet, but she also didn't let go of my hand, and I'm kind of lost. Jackie's always the one starting the conversations, I'm not too good at that. I lead her to the Camino, and open the passenger door for her, she smiles again, and I smile back, knowing how much she loves when I do those gentlemanly things.

"So, where are we going?" She asks curiously

"You'll see when we get there" I grin at her, and she pouts. Man, I can't resist when she pouts, I always want to kiss her pout away. But I'm not allowed to do that anymore, I'm no longer her boyfriend, and that thought made me cringe. I'm no longer her boyfriend because I'm the stupidest guy in the world.

Still, I'm not giving in. I'm pretty sure she's going to love where I'm taking her, because the moment I saw it I remembered how much she nagged me to take her to one of those back at home, I always denied, claiming that that's for chicks and kids. And probably Forman.

I take her to a park nearby, and even though it's January, there are still some Christmas decorations in here, I can see her face lighting up as she absorbs the view in front of her. Then she looked at the center of the park, and I swear to God that her smile could have brightened the whole Midwest. I missed that smile more than anything.

"Steven…" she starts, completely shocked but awed at the same time "are you taking me ice skating?"

I scratch the back of my neck in discomfort, but I also grin slightly at her, she looks too cute when she's excited "Yeah, you like it?"

"Oh my God, I love it!" She clapped her hands in excitement "C'mon, let's rent the skates!" She grabbed my hands and pulled me into the direction of the ice rink

I rent us the skates, and I should probably warn her that I've never went ice skating before, but she looks so happy and cute. She took my hand again and dragged me to the icy ground, and I support myself by holding the railing next to me

"Jackie… I kind of never did this before, so I…"

She interrupts me, and she doesn't look disappointed like I thought she would, in fact she seems even more excited if that makes any sense "Oh, I can totally teach you! This is going to be so fun!"

I grimace a little, I don't see how me falling on my ass for the next hour is fun. I was secretly hoping that I would be able to just watch her skating through the rink like the princess she is, she would've had her fun and I would've appreciated the view. But she wants me to skate with her, and honestly at this point I'll do whatever she asks me to do.

"So, it's pretty simple Steven, all you have to do is find your balance and…" she pauses and looks at me, I stare back at her. We both know that I have no balance, there's no need to explain why, it's pretty obvious "Okay… it's not that hard, Steven, see?" she slides through a small area close to us and spun gracefully. She truly is a freaking princess.

"Jackie" I sigh "Just teach me how to stand on these things without breaking my ass first"

"Well, I don't know how to explain that!" She puts her hands in her hips and I smile, I missed this "You just stand, you stand, then you slide, it's pretty simple" 

I'm still holding onto the railing next to me, and I seriously cannot comprehend how Jackie is standing perfectly still while wearing these things.

"Steven, give me your hand" she doesn't even give me the time to say something, she just takes my left hand, my right one is still holding the railing. I must look completely pathetic right now.

"Now, you keep your right hand in that thing and I'll hold your left hand, okay?" I nod "But first take those stupid sunglasses off, I mean, c'mon, you'll need all the visibility you can get" 

I smirk at her, she hates my shades, always hated them, she's just taking advantage of the opportunity. I place them on my coat pocket, then I feel her grabbing my hand again "Okay, now I'll guide you and slowly we will start gliding, don't worry, I'll not let go of your hand" she smiles reassuringly at me

"What if I fall? I don't want to drag you with me if I fall" I ask apprehensively. Crap I'm looking like a 6 year old trying to learn how to ride a bike

"Oh please like you would be able to drag me down" she scoffed, I stared at her, silently challenging her to prove me wrong, and she sighed "Fine, if you fall you'll probably drag me down with you so you need to learn how not to fall"

I frowned "How the hell am I supposed to do that?"

"If you feel like you're going to fall, bend your knees and squat into a dip position, like this" she demonstrated "That will help you not to completely lose your balance" 

"I thought we agreed earlier that I have no balance" I joke, and she chuckled

"You'll find it" she shrugs "Now, we are slowly going to move forward, I'll lead you, keep holding the railing with your other hand" she starts to move forwards, basically dragging me along with her. I swear that my feet are wobbling with this thing on, but I didn't tripped yet

Her grip is steady in my hand, and she keeps leading me into the ice, we are going pretty slow, but my feet are not wobbling anymore, I'm kind of getting used to this.

I'm still pretty sure I'll end up falling at one point.

"See, it's not that bad!" She says, still holding my hand and leading us further into the rink

"I guess it could be worse" I answered her "At least there isn't any disco music"

Her eyes widened in amusement and I internally regret my previous words "Oh my God we should totally go to the roller disco someday!"

"One step at a time, doll" I laugh, she knows I hate disco so she dropped the subject

What she doesn't know is that I'll do literally anything to have her back, if that includes spending hours listening to ABBA and The Bee Gees, I'm surprisingly okay with it. I'm just not going to tell her that, I may be desperate but I'm not stupid (anymore).

"Steven we did a whole lap!" She squealed with joy "Now, do you think you can let go of the railing without falling?" She asks, I look apprehensively at her, she tightens her grip in my hand and I nod.

I slowly remove my hand from the railing and I feel my feet wobbling again, but she takes my other hand to prevent me from falling. We're facing each other now, and for the first time today I allow myself to get lost in her eyes.

God, I really love her eyes.

She used to hate them, she called herself a freak, but her eyes are the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. One eye is green, the other one is hazel, it's her little imperfection that makes her even more perfect. I remember the day I first noticed them, we were making out on the basement couch after Red's fourth of July barbecue, Kelso and Donna were in California, Eric was depressed in his room, and Fez was not allowed in the barbecue because according to Red, foreigners are not allowed to celebrate the American freedom. In that day, I leaned my forehead against hers and I noticed her eyes for the first time, she told me she was born like that, she also told me that I was the first person besides her parents to notice her eyes. I still cannot believe that Kelso dated Jackie for years and never noticed her eyes.

I never admitted this out loud to anyone, but I always had a thing for Jackie. It started after prom, and I didn't really understood my feelings about her until that notorious summer day, when I looked deeply into her eyes for the first time. In that moment, I realized that I was in love with her. That fucking terrified me.

And now, I'm still desperately in love with her, hell, I don't think I'll ever be able to love someone like I love this woman. She's staring at my eyes as well, and our mouths are inches apart, all I have to do is get a little closer, then I would be able to feel her lips against mine, I would be able to taste her cherry chapstick again…

My thoughts are abruptly interrupted when Jackie and I fell onto the floor, creating a loud thump.

"Sorry!" the kid that bumped into us said as he skated away from us

I look at the petite figure at my side and her body is shaking, shit shit shit .

"Doll, are you alright?" I ask desperately, she turns to look at me and she's laughing her ass off, I feel a weight lifting off my shoulders, and I laugh along with her. Her laugh is contagious

She stands up easily, then she gives me her hand to help me stand up, I lean into the railing while she wipes tears of laughter from her eyes

"Wanna get out of here?" I ask grinning at her

"Yes, I'm starving" she smiles "But I'm still teaching you how to ice skate one day, Steven Hyde" 

"Looking forward to it, doll" I say as we remove our skates and put on our regular shoes

While we're leaving, I took her hand in mine and laced our fingers together, like earlier, she didn't protested, in fact, I could swear I saw her trying to hide a grin

"So, where are we going?" She asks

"Let's get you something shiny, doll"

 


 

JACKIE

Steven took me to the McDonalds near the park. There are no Fatso Burger's or The Hub's in Chicago, and Steven was livid when he realised that the McDonald's burgers are not wrapped in tin foil. While we were eating, I had to hear him rambling about the government and how they are supporting those huge fast food chains because secretly they want to make the population fat. According to Steven, the government wants to make us fat because fat people means more hospital visits, which means more money.

I missed his crazy conspiracies. Contrary to what others might think, I actually listen to him when he's rambling like this.

One day he kept me up all night because he was trying to explain the plot of 1984 to me, and he got so into it that he ended up telling me the whole story. I pretended I was annoyed but I was really enjoying it, and he knew it.

And he actually listened to me too. He was at Donna's room with me and Donna, waiting for me to get ready to one of Mrs. Forman's dinner parties, and when I asked him to bring me my curling iron, he knew what a curling iron was and he just handed it to me, Donna asked him what a curling iron does and he said that it makes my hair not flat like hers. Donna teased him endlessly for that one. He had to shoplift twice after that to feel better. He stole me a lip gloss.

After we finished eating, we decided to take a walk at the park, and now he's holding my hand while we observe the ice rink from a distance. I know we need to talk more, but it's been such a pleasant night, I don't want to make him mad or scare him, if he runs away again I don't think I'll be able to take it.

"What's on your head?" He asked me curiously, he's still not wearing his sunglasses

I sigh "I just… In order for this to work out I need to ask you a few things and I…"

"You can ask me anything you want Jackie" he says calmly, but I'm still terrified. What if my questions make him so uncomfortable that he decides we're not worth it anymore? I don't want him to leave me again, he's been back in my life for less than a week and I can't bear the thought of him leaving already

"I'm afraid that you'll run away if I do" I confessed

He sighed, and he let go of my hand, my chest tightened, he's giving up, he's running away again… then he wraps his arm around my waist, pulling me closer, he looks deeply into my eyes

"I'm never running away from you again, Jackie, I promise"

"Can we… make a deal or something?" I ask and he looks curiously at me "100% honesty, no matter how much the truth hurts, in order for this to work out we need to be completely honest with each other, about everything"

"And no running away either" he completed for me, and I nod "Sounds like a plan to me, doll" 

"Okay, so when I ask you something, just tell me the truth, don't sugar coat it and please don't lie"

He takes my hand again, intertwining our fingers and we resumed our walk, I take this as a permission to ask what I've been meaning to ask him for a while

"Why did you stayed with Sam?" I ask

There's a pause, not a long one, but soon he breaks it "Because when she walked through that door and I saw that look in your face…" he sighed "It fucking killed me, I knew you wouldn't take me back after this, so I just thought 'screw it' you know? I had already lost you, in my head I had nothing to lose at that point. I also didn't wanted to be like Bud" he laughed dryly "Little did I know, I was acting like Bud when I neglected the woman I love and stayed with someone else instead"

I take a deep breath, he's being honest, I can feel it, it still hurts though "Why did you said the things you did? Why did you kissed her in front of me?" I ask, my voice breaking for a second, he looks at me and I can see the pain in his eyes, but he answers me honestly again

"Because I thought it would be easier if you hated me" he confessed, I furrowed my brow in confusion and he continued "After that incident in the motel with Kelso… I really wanted to hate you, Jackie, but I couldn't. I know now that nothing happened between you and Kelso, and deep down I always knew, but seeing Kelso in that towel… I can't even describe how I've felt, everytime I remembered, I felt like I was dying, I…" he shifts his gaze to the floor, ashamed "I wanted to hurt you, like you hurt me, and I wanted to make you hate me, I thought it would make things easier"

I can feel the wetness of the tears on my cheeks "The pain you felt when you saw Kelso and I" I start, I know it will sound cruel, but I need him to know, I need him to understand how hurt I was "Multiply it by a hundred, that's what I felt when Sam showed up at the Formans. Then multiply it by a thousand, that's what I felt when you purposely kissed her in front of me, and I cannot put into words what I've felt when I heard all the things you were saying about me behind my back"

He stops walking, but he's still holding my hand, in fact, his grip tightens a little, he's silently asking me not to let go. He looks pained, he closes his eyes and exhaled slowly.

"Jackie, I'm so, so sorry" he's apologizing a lot these days, but every time I remember what happened, the pain is still there "You have no idea how much I regret those last 6 months, every time I remember what happened, I wanna kick my own ass, beat the shit outta myself for all the crap I've put you through"

I can see the pain in his eyes, the regret. I know he means everything he's saying. At this moment I make a promise to myself, I will try my best to forgive him and trust him again. I love this man more than anything in the world, I just don't want to be hurt again.

"You remember what you said to me last week? 'Steven died the minute he went to Vegas and married someone else', this sentence was stuck in my head all week" he says, running his free hand across his face, he's nervous "You were right, you know? I wasn't myself back then, I was just Hyde. And I don't want to be Hyde anymore Jackie, I want to be your Steven again. Hyde was the shittier version of myself, I was slowly becoming everything Edna always said I would be" he grimaced "I was disgusted with myself, with my life, everything went to shit the minute I lost you"

"You make me wanna be the best version of myself, Jackie. In the past that scared the shit out of me, I was afraid of letting you down, I was afraid of losing you. You always made me feel things, I loved you too much, the thought of you leaving was enough to break me"

I was about to say something, but he's not finished yet, so I keep my mouth shut for now "When Sam arrived, I already thought I've lost you forever, and I should have fought for you, but I didn't. Because Sam didn't made me feel shit, if she cheated on me, I wouldn't have cared less, I never cared about her" he sighed "I'm sorry, Jacks, I really am"

After a few seconds of silence, I looked at his eyes again "I believe you"

He pulls me closer and embraces me, this is the second time in 7 days that I'm on his arms, and it still feels like the first time. My head leaning on his chest, his arms around my waist, the way he nuzzles the top of my head and presses a kiss afterwards… I could easily spend the rest of my life in his arms.

Hearing the truth was not easy, but it did made things a lot clearer, I can understand him better now. It doesn't justifies what he's done, but I can see what went through his head at the time.

"I really messed you up by giving you that ultimatum, didn't I?" I ask quietly, I'm not even sure if he heard me 

"Yeah" he confirms, and I feel this huge pressure in my chest "But I can understand why you did it in the first place, I wasn't the best boyfriend"

"You were amazing when you wanted to, Steven" I sigh "I just wanted you to tell me you loved me every once in a while"

"I should've told you everyday"

I need to ask him something else, I'm not entirely sure if he'll be able to answer that one "Steven" I pull away from his hug so I can look him in the eyes again "Were you embarrassed of me?"

"What?" He frowned "Of course not, why would you think that?"

"It's just that sometimes you were really rude to me in front of our friends, you made me feel really bad sometimes, towards the end of our relationship, I was starting to think you never really cared about me" I look at the sky, it's starting to snow "Like, when you missed my graduation party and I found you guys toasting to Eric in the basement, I felt awful, and it wasn't the first time that something like this happened" He knows I'm referring to the LOPPs Christmas party, I can see the guilty look in his face

"I thought you were getting sick of me" I say sadly "I was afraid that one day you were going to wake up and dump me out of nowhere, I had no idea how you really felt about me, Steven. I know I shouldn't have given you that stupid ultimatum, I should've tried to talk to you properly, but at that point I was desperate"

"I was abandoned too, Steven, I know how it feels to be left alone in the world. You were afraid that I was going to leave you, so you pushed me away. And I was afraid of you leaving me, so I pressured you" I finish my thoughts and I look apprehensively at him, I know I was a little harsh, but it's the truth, it's how I feel, and we agreed that we're not lying to each other anymore. 100% honesty.

He runs his hand across his face again "I was a dick" he deadpans "You can always talk to me Jackie, about everything, okay?"

"Okay" he kisses my temple and we resume our walk, still holding hands. We stay quiet for a while, both of us lost in our own thoughts. We are making progress, and that's good, but we definitely have a lot more to talk about

"Steven… you mentioned to me last week that you're no longer married, what happened?" I asked hesitantly, just the thought about him with that woman makes me want to throw up, but I need to know, I look at him, he's tense

"She left me" I feel a lump in my throat, and I let go of his hand. She left him, he didn't even asked her to leave, it was her decision, not his. I cross my arms and avoid his pained gaze, we're still walking, but I'm staring at the little flocks of snow that are falling from the sky right now

He sighs loudly "It's not what you think Jackie, I already told you I never loved her, please, just look at me, let me explain" he puts his hand on my shoulder, I look at him, not even bothering to hide the hurt expression in my face, he looks just as hurt as I do, and I can see the desperation in his eyes "No running away Jacks, no matter how much the truth hurts, right?" He reminds me of our pact and tucks a strand of hair behind my ear. I reluctantly nod

"She was already married when she married me, her husband showed up at the Formans one day and she took off with him" he explained, and chuckled dryly "I threw away the best thing that ever happened to me over a marriage that wasn't even legal in the first place"

"When the guy showed up and claimed to be her husband, I was so fucking relieved. When she was gone I finally started to feel like myself again, then I went to the basement, and I was alone. You weren't there, because I drove you away. And I drove you away because of Sam. Then I started to get really, really pissed" 

Stupid whore. I should've kicked her ass the minute she arrived at Point Place, I should've kicked Steven's ass too, how could he be so stupid? I was tossed away like garbage because of nothing? Stupid fucking whore.

"I missed you, Jackie. Everyday since you left I've missed you like crazy, I thought about you every single day. After Sam left I thought I was going to explode with rage because not only the bitch scammed me, because she costed me you" he grabs my hand again, I let him.

He's sorry. I really believe him, and I start to wonder, maybe I can forgive him after all. Now that I know what was going on inside his head, I can understand him better, making it a lot easier to forgive him, the real problem is the trust. I need to learn how to trust him again, and I need to be reassured that he really trusts me like he claims he does. That's why I suggested the pact, one of the biggest issues in our relationship was the lack of communication between us, he never talked about his feelings, and I was afraid of discussing our future together after everything, it came to a point where I thought he was going to leave me if I even mentioned the word "future".

That cannot happen again. If we want to make this work this time, I can't be afraid of talking to him, and he can't be afraid of expressing himself. We are doing good so far.

The pain is still here, and it's going to take a while for it to disappear, but I know that if we keep things going the way they are now, the pain will be gone someday.

The fact that Steven is actually talking about his feelings still surprises me. I know how hard this is for him, and hearing the words "I love you" leaving his mouth so easily… it made me feel so good, so loved. I'm afraid it will all disappear once we get back together, what if I take him back and he comes back to his old self?

I shiver from the cold, I grew up in Wisconsin, but we've been walking in the snow for a while, and I'm freezing. He notices it, because he holds me closer to him, placing his arm around my shoulder.

"Let's take you back to your place, I don't want my doll turning into a popsicle" he smirks and guides me to his car, parked on the other side of the street

We have a pretty quiet ride, but it wasn't an uncomfortable silence, it was actually pretty nice. He kept his arms around my shoulders all the time, and at some point, I leaned my head on his shoulder. He smiled the rest of the ride.

He opens the passenger door for me again, I grinned slightly at his gesture. He knows how much I love when he acts like a gentleman, it gets me so hot, if we were boyfriend and girlfriend, I would've lunged into him without thinking twice. But we aren't, at least not for now, so I control myself. We are almost at my door when I hear his voice.

"Jackie?" He sounds hesitant

"Yeah?"

"Are…" now he's scratching the back of his neck, he's nervous again "Are you still in love with me?" He asks apprehensively, and looked expectantly at me

I stare at him, his uncovered eyes revealing all of his insecurities, he's exposing himself to me. And I promised him we wouldn't lie to each other anymore.

"Would I be here now if I wasn't?" I smiled tenderly at him, I can see his expression softening, he smiles back and pulls me into a hug. I wrap my arms around his waist, he wraps his arms around mine and rests his chin on top of my head. I can stay like this forever.

"Thank you for giving me another chance" he says

He slowly lifts my chin with his index finger, and we stare at each other's eyes. He leans in closer and I can feel his breath fanning across my face.

I swallow deeply and involuntarily bite my lip. I really, really want to kiss him, my heart is pounding inside of my chest and I can barely hear my own thoughts. Suddenly I was able to listen to all the warning signs inside my head, and I reluctantly stopped his approaching kiss.

Not that I don't want to kiss him, I want to kiss him more than anything, but we can't do this now, we still have a long road ahead of us.

"Sorry, I just…" I apologize "I don't think we should go there yet"

He sighs and kisses my forehead, we're still wrapped in each other's arms "It's okay doll, I told you I'll wait for you" 

We stay in our little world, just hugging and enjoying each other's presence for a while, until we hear a muffled noise of glass breaking from inside of my apartment. Donna is in there with Eric, things must be bad, crap

"We should get inside now" He says and I nod in agreement, I grab my keys from inside my purse

"If they broke my new glass unicorn I will kill them" I mumble while I fidget with my keys and I hear Steven chuckling at my statement, I finally managed to open the door and right at this moment I wish I had the power of erasing things off my mind, because what I am seeing, is something I would really like to forget.

"OH MY GOD!" I gasp at the terrifying vision in front of me.

A scrawny (and incredibly white) ass, on top of my naked best friend, they are laying on the couch, and I see my broken unicorn on the floor, I don't even want to think about how they managed to break it. Before I can see anything else, Steven pulls me closer and covers my eyes with his hand

"Forman!"

 

END CHAPTER 9

 

Chapter Text

CHAPTER TEN

DONNA

Oh my God. Jackie and Hyde just caught Eric and I having sex in the middle of the living room! Seriously, what was I thinking? I have a room, with a bed, and it's not that far from the couch.

Those stupid hormones made me stop thinking like a rational human being.

Don't get me wrong, I do not regret having sex with Eric, I feel like we finally solved our shit and I've missed him so much, it just happened. But it could've happened in my room.

And to make things even better, Eric stumbled on our coffee table and broke Jackie's glass unicorn. She's going to kill me.

"Oh my God!!" I exclaim, and cover myself with the purple comforter we keep on the couch

Eric searches frantically for something to cover his ' naughty parts ', as he likes to call it, and he settles for one of the pillows from the couch.

Hyde is holding Jackie and covering her eyes with his hand, he looks completely disgusted. After Eric covers himself, Hyde slowly removes his hand from Jackie's eyes, and she looks flabbergasted, she glares at me and I give her a guilty smile.

"I've spent 2 hours choosing that pillow, Eric" she says, I can see Eric's face getting redder and redder with embarrassment, mine probably doesn't look much better

"Go put on some clothes man!" Hyde yells, startling Eric, who stepped at one of the pieces of Jackie's broken unicorn and sliced his foot, I see the blood dripping from from his feet and I'm fucking panicking right now

"Oh my God I'm dying, I'm going to die" Eric mumbled as he sat on the Lazy Boy, he's bleeding on our carpet. Eric's not going to die because of his injured foot, he's going to die because Jackie is going to kill him, and Hyde will probably help her

"Eric!!" I call him, my eyes wide, I look at the not so happy couple standing in our doorway "Aren't you guys going to do something??" I ask

"Donna" Jackie says, surprisingly calm, and that terrified me, she's so mad she's not even yelling, that's really bad "Put your clothes on, then you give that comforter to Eric, because I'm not approaching either of you while you're naked"

"I'm going!" I take my clothes from the floor and head straight to the bathroom, carefully avoiding the sharp pieces of glass in the floor

In record time, I managed to put on my clothes, and I give the comforter to Eric, who promptly covered himself up. Jackie and Hyde enter the apartment, they look pissed

"I don't even know where to start…" Jackie states "There are so many things I want to yell about"

"Oh, yell at Forman first, baby" Hyde unnecessarily suggests with a evil smirk

"Hey! I'm bleeding to death!" Eric complains

"You are sitting on my chair without any underwear on, dripping blood on my carpet and you broke my unicorn" Jackie says matter of factly "So SHUT UP!" there it goes, I was wondering when her yelling was going to make an appearance

Eric flinches under Jackie's glare, and Hyde seems mildly amused with the whole situation, I want to throw stuff at him.

"So? What are we going to do about Eric??" I ask

"I'll grab one of Donna's stupid lumberjack flannels to wrap around his foot" Jackie announces, leaving to my bedroom

"Hey!" I protest

I hear Hyde chuckling, I stare at him and now he's just laughing his ass off, I'll kill him later, because Jackie just came out of my room with one of my shirts and wrapped it around Eric's foot, the shirt was immediately soaked in blood.

"Donna" I hear Eric calling me, his eyes are watery and he looks like he's going to cry "There's too much blood, I'm skinny, I don't have that much blood! I'm going to die!" 

"Shut it Forman" Hyde laughed again "Guess we're going to pay a visit to the local hospital" Hyde commented, he was grinning so far, then out of a sudden he looked extremely serious "You're going on the flatbed, there's no way you're getting inside of the Camino like this" 

"What?!" Eric squealed indignantly 

"Donna, grab your geek and let's go" Jackie said and headed to the door with Hyde

"Wait, I don't have any clothes on!" Eric protested

Hyde grinned wryly "You're wearing a special purple toga to the hospital"

Eric was about to complain again when I intervened "Eric, I hate this as much as you do, believe me, but there's no way you're going to be able to put your clothes on right now, look at your foot!" I pointed at his foot, currently wrapped in one of my flannels, who's totally soaked with blood

"Fine" he mumbled, and tried to stand up, there's no way he's going to be able to walk, so I carry him piggyback style, and his arms wrapped around my neck "This is the most humiliating moment of my life" he mumbled

We all head to Hyde's car, parked in front of our apartment complex, Hyde looks at me, and gives me another one of his evil smirks, I sigh and drop Eric at the flatbed. 

               


 

Hyde just dropped Jackie and I back to our place. Jackie still looks pissed, but not as pissed as before, I guess that seeing Eric crying improved her mood. And stupid Hyde laughed all night. The only time I saw Hyde laughing this hard was right after the Tater Nuts incident in high school. Oh, and when Kelso said he was omnipotent. 

I know Jackie is really mad right now but I'm dying to know what happened on her date with Hyde. While he was driving, he placed his arm around her shoulders and she smiled . They seem a lot more comfortable with each other right now, right after he brought us home she even whispered something in his ear and kissed his cheek. And then he smiled, like, actually smiled, it was so cute, I wish I had a camera.

"Donna!" I hear Jackie's shrill voice calling me

"Yes?" 

"Look at my living room!" She gestures our living room with her arms, sighing "Our carpet is totally ruined, my glass unicorn is shattered on the floor, and I'll have to get rid of the couch and the chair"

"Why would you get rid of the couch and the chair?" I ask curiously

"There's no way I'm keeping furniture that Eric touched while he was naked, Donna!" She says like it's the most obvious thing in the world, and I grimaced 

"You had sex with Hyde on the basement couch countless times, and Eric never got rid of it"

"Have you ever saw Steven and I having sex on that couch? Because what I saw today Donna, that's not something I'll be able to forget anytime soon!"

I chuckled "Well, I guess you have a point"

"Good. Now help me clean up this mess while you tell me what the hell happened" she demanded

I took a broom and got rid of the glass in the carpet, but the blood stains are probably permanent, we will have to hire someone to recarpet our floor.

"Eric and I were talking, about everything" I started "We discussed all the things in our relationship that we ignored for a really long time"

"What kind of things?" She asks curiously as she took the pillow Eric used to cover himself with one of our tongs and threw it in the garbage 

"Oh, c'mon, that's a nice pillow!" I protest, but she silences me with a glare "Anyways, we talked about the promise ring, the wedding fiasco, Africa… you know, everything" I concluded with a shrug

"That's it?"

"Yeah, I mean, I told him about Randy and we talked about our future, but I also told him that there's no way in hell I'm leaving Chicago for him"

"Good, because if you even think about it, I'll kick your ass" she told me with a smile "Then you two had sex and that's it? You're okay now?"

"Kind of, we understand each other's point of view now, and I really love him" I answer "The only problem is the distance, you know? But I think that if we try hard enough we will make it"

Jackie gave me a genuine smile "I'm happy for you Donna, I really am" 

"Thank you midget" I smile back at her "Now, what the hell happened between you and Hyde?" I ask curiously. God, I feel like a cheerleader at the lunch table

"Nothing happened" she said, but she was trying to hide a grin and I stared at her, she's going to tell me everything even if I have to squeeze it out of her, she notices my stare "Fine! Look, I'll tell you everything, but please don't tease him because of it, he was actually really romantic and really sweet" 

I frowned "Why would I tease him?"

"Oh please Donna, everytime Steven showed any signs of affection towards me in public everyone teased him" she answered, I sit on the couch, but Jackie stands next to the TV, she's probably never going to sit on this couch again "You know, I never said anything but that really bothered me. Steven is an actual human being with feelings, but everyone thinks he is as a robot or something. I hated it, because everytime he was being sweet someone teased him and he acted like he was embarrassed about it, pushing me away"

Well, now I feel like shit.

"Sorry, I promise you I won't tease him, and I won't tell Eric either" I promised her 

"Donna, please don't mention this to him, unless he brings it up, I really don't want him to close up again" she sighed and lowered her head

"Jackie… I'm sorry about everything. I should've been more supportive of your relationship with Hyde in general" that's been bothering me for a while, I was a bitch to Jackie sometimes, especially about her and Hyde being a couple "I seriously don't know what I was thinking, saying that you and Hyde should tell Kelso. Kelso was a dick to you, you didn't owned him anything, and you and Hyde… you two looked really happy. I remember when I came back from California and you were all smiley and saying new words like 'badass', you were confident and a lot less self centered, and I caught Hyde smiling to himself a few times. Seriously Jackie, I'm sorry" I apologized sincerely

Jackie is a really good friend, despite everything. She always took my side whenever something happened with Eric, and she helped me go through a lot of stuff (in her own way, of course), she always had nice intentions. I, on the other hand, wasn't such a good friend for a while. One of my biggest regrets is encouraging Jackie to take Kelso back after everything. And I should've kicked Hyde's ass when he cheated on her with that nurse. She was my friend and I've let her down, I realized this when she told me about her job offer in Chicago for the first time. That's one of the reasons why I was so pissed at Hyde when he showed up with the tramp, I was trying to be the friend she always deserved. I still am.

"It's okay" she looked at me tenderly "But I really want to make this work this time, so I would be really glad if you help me out"

"Don't worry, Jackie" I reassured her with a small smile "Now, tell me what happened!"

"Well, Steven took me ice skating" she said excitedly "It was the cutest thing, he didn't even knew how to ice skate but he took me there because he remembered that I love it"

"Anyways, I was so excited, and I dragged him straight to the rink with me, it was only after we put on our skates that he told me he had no idea how to ice skate, so I decided I would teach him" I chuckled at the thought of Jackie teaching Hyde how to ice skate, she was right, it was very romantic and very uncharacteristic of Hyde, but Jackie is grinning from ear to ear "And I tried to teach him, Donna, I really did, and we were almost there, I took his hand and guided him, we even completed a whole lap, it was awesome! Then we decided that he needed to let go of the railing and hold only onto my hand, and he did it! He didn't fell or anything"

"And then… we almost kissed" I gasped "But we didn't!! I mean, he was staring at my eyes with such a tender expression, it was beautiful, then this kid just came out of nowhere and bumped into us, and we fell to the ground" I chuckled, and she look at me annoyed "I mean, did I wanted to kiss him? Maybe, but that kid was a sign from God, Donna! If I had kissed him things would only get messier"

"True" I agreed

"So, after that, we decided that we were hungry and he took me to the McDonald's near the park. As soon as we sat down to eat he started to ramble about the government and how McDonald's wants to make the population fat…"

"Typical Hyde stuff" I interrupt her and she nodded in agreement, then she smiled

"I actually love to hear his crazy conspiracies, he looks so passionate" she comments, and I grin at the little midget. If she likes to hear Hyde rambling about cars that run on water, she really loves him. She looks lost in her thoughts and I snap her out of her daze

"Then what?" I asked her expectantly

"After we ate we took a walk and we talked. Like, actually talked" she fidgets with her fingers and I look curiously at her, did something went wrong on their talk? They seemed really comfortable around each other earlier "It wasn't a bad talk, he was honest to me and answered my questions and I value that a lot, it's just…" she sighs "Remembering Sam… it still hurts, you know? But I believe him when he says he's sorry, I really do"

"That's good Jackie"

"I know. He was really sweet, Donna. And we made a pact" 

I frowned "A pact? What kind of pact?"

"See, one of the biggest problems in our relationship was the lack of communication, so we decided - well, I decided, he just agreed - that we will tell each other the truth, no matter what, no matter how much it hurts, 100% honesty" 

"Wow" I say, still processing the whole thing in my head "That's actually really smart"

"I know, I'm a genius!" She smiles "And it will help a lot with the trust issues"

"Indeed" I agreed with her "Then what?"

"I asked him a few questions, he answered them. We recognized some of our mistakes and we hugged. He held my hand the entire day" she is smiling so much today, it's been a while since I've saw her smiling this much

"Oh, and then he asked me if I still loved him, I told him yes, he smiled, and we almost kissed again" she completed

"What?!"

"Relax, I stopped the kiss. And I deserve an award for that because he's irresistible Donna, I swear!" I laugh at her latest sentence, Jackie and Hyde were like rabbits when they were together, I'm surprised she never got pregnant. They had a really hard time keeping their hands off each other, so this must be really killing Jackie "And he was so sweet about it, he said that he was going to wait for me and that I shouldn't worry. I almost jumped into him after that, but I controlled my dirty urges and we just hugged"

"I'm really proud of you, Jackie. You and Hyde actually talked, like two grownups, and you managed to control yourself" I get up from the couch and hug the little midget "Everything will be fine, okay? Just take your time, he already said he's waiting for you"

"I know. This was actually a really great day, it would've been perfect if it wasn't for the blood on my carpet and a traumatizing sight that I'll never be able to forget"

I chuckled at her words, she's right. But in my case, the day would've been perfect if Eric and I managed to get into my room and actually finish what we were doing.

"Jackie, you smiled more today than in the last 6 months" I observed "You're doing the right thing, midget" Jackie is grinning from ear to ear, I haven't seen her like this in a while, Hyde is good for her, and she's good for him "You know… Hyde looked at you today the same way Mr. Forman looks at Mrs. Forman when he thinks no one is looking, I think you'll be good" I add with a smile

Jackie's smile widens even more, and it warmed my heart "Thank you for everything Donna" she says tenderly "Now, I need to know something. What the hell is that tattoo on Eric's ass?"

I laughed loudly "It's Woodstock"

Jackie frowned "Why does he have a cartoon tattooed on his butt?"

I laughed more, remembering the day he made the tattoo "It was supposed to be my name" I say, and Jackie's eyes widened in horror "See, it's a funny story…"


HYDE

My cheek is still tingling from her kiss.

We just dropped them off at their place, Jackie kissed my cheek and asked me to call her tomorrow when we arrive in Point Place.

Today was a pretty awesome day, Jackie and I had fun, and we actually talked. Being open about my feelings and stuff wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be, in fact, it was easy, talking about that stuff with Jackie. 

We made a pact, if something's bothering either one of us, we will talk about it like two actual human beings, no lies allowed, no matter how much the truth hurts. And it's working so far. She asked me about Sam and I answered her honestly, she flinched a few times, and I could tell that she was upset. When I told her why Sam left and she let go of my hand, my heart stopped beating inside my chest, but we talked some more and now we're good, I think. 

And she still loves me. Jackie still loves me.

That's definitely the best news I've received in my entire life, after everything I've done, I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't loved me anymore, but she does. Hearing her admitting it was amazing.

If things keep going the way they're going, I think I might be able to get her back after all. I hate being optimistic about things, because optimism only leads to disappointment when everything goes wrong. But I seriously think we're going to be ok.

We almost kissed tonight, twice, but she stopped me and I get why. She needs her time, and I will give her all the time in the world, after what I did, it's the least I can do.

And I can always count on Forman to do something stupid and improve my day. Sure, it wasn't nice walking on his scrawny ass having sex with Donna, but man, he really outdid himself this time. I can't wait to tell Kelso, he will be super pissed for missing that one.

Speaking on Forman, he's still pouting. And he's complaining too, I managed to turn off my hearing whenever he starts whining about something, but now that we finally arrived at Kelso's, I'm forced to hear him

"This is the worst day ever" he complains

"Shut up and leave the car Forman, I'm tired"

"How the hell am I supposed to go upstairs like this?" He points at his bandaged foot and I stifle a laugh 

"Hey, the hospital gave you crutches, it's time to learn how to use them" I mock him

"Shut up, Hyde! At least I got some tonight"

"But at what cost?" I grin wryly at him

"Whatever man, this sucks!" He's trying to learn how to use the crutches and I'm trying really hard not to laugh

"You think this sucks?" I mock him again "I'm going to have nightmares about your scrawny ass for the rest of my life, Forman!"

"Hey, I have a really nice ass!" He protests and I roll my eyes

"Yeah, the Woodstock tattoo really adds to it man" I slap his shoulder "You better buy Jackie another glass unicorn" I threaten him

"Why is she so obsessed with these things?" He mumbles while he tries pathetically to climb the stairs

"Don't know, but she loves them and you are going to buy her a new one" I glare at him, we're almost at Kelso's floor, I'm just waiting for Forman in case he falls or something

"How was your date, by the way?" He asks

"It was nice. We talked, we ate. Normal date stuff" I shrug

"Normal date stuff includes at least a kiss" he grins "Oh my God have you kissed her?"

I grimace at him "What, are you a girl now?"

"So you didn't kissed her?"

"Dude, she needs time, I'm lucky she's even talking to me" I answer him. Jackie and I are far from doing it in the couch, that's for sure

"True" he agrees

We enter Kelso's place and Kelso is at the couch, looking thoughtful and holding a beer can

"Guys I need your help!" He says, then he notices Eric and laughs "Dude what happened to you?"

"I'm going to put on some clothes" Eric mumbles while fidgeting with the purple blanket wrapped around him, he takes his stuff and limps his way to the bathroom

"Man, you totally missed it. Forman was doing it with Donna in the couch and Jackie and I caught them" I tell Kelso 

"Oh, have you seen Donna's boobs?" He asks curiously

"What? No! The only thing I saw was Forman's pasty ass wiggling in the air. It was not a nice sight" I cringe, I really wish I could delete this image from my brain

Kelso grimaced "Then why the hell were you laughing?"

"Forman broke Jackie's glass unicorn and stepped in the shards, he sliced his foot open, naked, in the middle of their living room" I chuckled

"Alright!!"

"Then Jackie yelled at him, it was really nice seeing her yelling with someone other than me" I frowned "We had to take Forman to the hospital, so we made him go the hospital wearing a blanket. Oh, and Donna carried him all the way to my car" 

Kelso is giggling like a child right now "Donna carried him?"

"Piggyback style man. Funniest shit I've ever seen in my life, I made him go on the flatbed, then at the hospital, he bawled like a baby when the doctor was applying anesthesia to his foot"

Kelso is just full on laughing right now, Forman leaves the bathroom in his normal clothes with a frown on his face. He's glaring at me

"You told him?!"

"You're lucky I'm not sending this story to the newspaper man"

"I hate you guys" he mumbles, as he sits on the couch he turns to Kelso "You said you needed help with something?" He's clearly desperate to change the subject

"Oh, I need your advice" the smile disappears from his face and he looks nervous "I think I'm in love with Brooke"

"You're not even dating her" I say

"I know! That's why it sucks" he frowns "I work at the playboy mansion and I don't even want to do it with the hot chicks in there, and they basically throw themselves at me!" 

"Yeah, you're in love alright" Forman says

"And Brooke doesn't even want to date me! I'm the father of her child for Christ's sake!"

"You dumped her for my sister, Kelso" I remember him

"Well, now I don't want Angie anymore, I want Brooke" he pouts "And since you two are practically experts at apologizing at this point, you're going to give me the best advice"

"Don't run off to Africa without talking to her first. Oh, and don't leave her in the altar" Forman says matter of factly

"Don't marry a stripper" I say "And don't jump into conclusions when you see your moronic best friend in her motel room wearing a towel" 

"Man… sorry about that, really" Kelso says

"Whatever man, what's done it's done, can't change the past, no matter how much you want to" I grimace, I really wish I could change the past, a lot of pain would be avoided if I wasn't an idiot "Just… stop hitting on her, it drives me insane and you know how I feel about her"

"Don't worry, I won't" he assures me "Now, what the hell am I supposed to do about Brooke?"

"You asked her on a date already?" Forman asks

"Like, a million times! And she said I'm not trustworthy" 

"So… she doesn't trust you anymore?" Forman asks again

"No…" he pouted

"Then that's Hyde's area, pal" Forman pats Kelso on the shoulder and points at me, I glare at him

"Hyde?" Kelso looks at me expectantly

"Talk to her first, and don't talk about doing it or about how hot she is!" I warn him "Then if you're nice enough she's going to agree on going on a date with you"

"Okay" he agrees "Oh, can I talk about making out with her? Making out is not doing it!"

"She's going to think that you're only after her for sex, so, no. Don't talk about that" Forman advises him and I nod in agreement

"What am I supposed to talk about then?"

"I don't know man, just don't tell her all the stupid crap you do, you'll scare her off" I point out to him

"Yeah, no telling her about how many times you glued yourself to something, or how many times you fell from the water tower, or how you…" Eric is abruptly interrupted by Kelso

"Alright, I got it!" He yells "But if I can't talk about the stupid crap I do, I can't talk about anything, because I've spent more than half of my life doing stupid things"

"Talk about Betsy" I suggest him 

"Oh, that might work!" He gets up abruptly from the couch "I'm going to see her tomorrow, I need to get my beauty sleep"

"About that, maybe you shouldn't mention your looks or your weird friendship with Fez" Forman adds

"Fine!" Kelso stomps out to his room

Tomorrow we're heading back to Point Place, and I'm already thinking about the phone call I'll make to Jackie when we arrive. I fall asleep and dream about a certain ice skating princess.

 

END CHAPTER 10

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 11

ERIC

My mother always told me that premarital sex was a sin, I always mocked her and her point of view and I believe that yesterday, God decided to finally punish me and have a little laugh at my expense.

And Hyde sucks. He made this experience a lot more embarrassing than it should've been, by making me wear a blanket to the hospital and making me ride on the Camino's flatbed. I hate him.

He's currently driving us home, he's been in an awfully good mood since yesterday, and I don't know if that has to do with Jackie or my humiliation. For my sake, I'm going to convince myself that he's like this because of Jackie, but I'm pretty sure that it's a combination of both, my humiliation plus his date with Jackie equals a very happy Hyde. Throw some zeppelin in the equation and he'll be a younger male version of my mother.

My foot is all wrapped in bandages and my newly acquired crutches are in the back of the car. I'll need them even more after Red sticks his foot in my ass, I still have flashbacks from when he caught Donna and I doing it on the kitchen table. He won't be happy to know that I couldn't keep it in my pants long enough to take her to the bedroom, and sliced my foot open because of it.

But man… Donna and I are okay, thank God . I was terrified of that talk, I was afraid that she'd notice that she's better off without me, and she kind of did, in a certain way. She's not better off without me, she doesn't need me in her life, but she still wants me in it. She's right though. I hope that'll teach me not to take her for granted anymore.

Hyde parks his car on the driveway and my mother comes running out of the kitchen, eager to hear what we did this weekend. Hyde hands me the crutches before he heads inside to have some breakfast, and I limp my way inside as well.

"Oh my God, what happened to my baby boy?" My mom asks when she sees my foot and the crutches, Hyde chuckled to himself, and I can already feel my face heating with embarrassment. How the hell am I supposed to explain my injury to my mother? 

My mom drags me inside and forces me to sit next to Hyde on the table. Red's face is covered by the newspaper, but he grunts to acknowledge my presence. My mother placed a plate loaded with food in front of me, and looked expectantly at me, she wants to know how I got hurt, but before I could even think about an excuse, Hyde beated me into it, grinning wryly

"Forman injured his foot by performing some highly pornographic activity with the neighbor girl" I kicked him under the table with my good foot and he laughed 

"What… but how…" My mother stutters in indignation and disbelief

My father lowered his newspaper and looked disgusted at me "How the hell does one manage to slice his foot open by doing what I think you were doing?"

"Well, there was this unicorn…" I try to explain, but again, Hyde interrupts me

"Forman broke Jackie's glass unicorn in the act, so when Jackie and I caught them going in the middle of the living room he stepped on the shards" He gave me that shit eating grin that I hate and right at this moment I regret being brought into this world

"In the middle of the living room?" My mother asked dumbfounded "That's…. That's just wrong"

"What is wrong with you?" My father asks and I lower my head to avoid the daggers he's shooting with his eyes "Dumbass"

"Well, that was pleasant" Hyde says while taking his empty plate to the sink "Reminded me of home. I'm going to take a nap, see ya Forman" he gave me one last devilish smile and headed to the basement

This is the second time this week that Hyde leaves me to explain myself to my crazy mother and my angry father. I hate him.


HYDE

As much as I would love to see Forman get burned by his own parents, I have a very important phone call to make. I thought it would be best if I didn't announce it to everyone though, Mrs. Forman tends to eavesdrop on conversations she may find interesting, and she would definitely find any conversation of me and Jackie very interesting. So I told them I was about to take a nap.

As soon as I get into the basement I sit on the couch and take the phone sitting in the end table. I dial the number that I've already memorized and waited to hear Jackie's voice on the other side of the line.

"Hello?" A familiar voice answers, but it's not Jackie's

"Donna?" 

"Oh, Hey Hyde" she greets me 

"Hey, where's Jackie?" I ask

"She's currently on her bedroom because she refuses to be on the living room after what happened"

I smiled at Jackie's antics "Completely understandable from her part, don't you think?"

"Kind of, but I also think she's exaggerating a bit, she's throwing the couch out, Hyde! I will have to go furniture shopping with her tomorrow!" This time I wasn't able to repress my laugh, but before I could answer her, I was interrupted by a new voice

"Well, excuse me you big goon, if you saw what Steven and I saw you wouldn't want to keep this couch either!" Jackie protests

"Jackie!" Donna yells "What the hell?"

"I picked up the phone about the same time you did, I know Steven called for me and I'm not going to the living room just to talk on the phone, the carpet is still bloody, Donna!" 

"Wait, where are you?" I ask curiously

"I have a phone in my room, duh" she answers and I can almost see her shrugging "Donna, don't you have homework or other college things you need to do?"

"In fact, I do" Donna answers "Talk to you later Hyde"

I heard a clicking noise and Donna was gone. It was just me and Jackie now.

"Are you really throwing away the couch?" I ask curiously

"Of course I am, would you sit on that couch after seeing what you saw?"

"Makes sense, but we've done way worse in the basement couch, and in my chair, in the deep freeze, and even on Forman's bed" I smirk, remembering those times

"But we never got caught in the middle of the act!" She lowers her tone and she's probably blushing like crazy. Jackie and I used to do it in some crazy places, it was a little kink of ours, and nobody ever caught us. I think that if someone did Jackie would die of embarrassment at the spot "And it's Eric, Steven. Eric was naked on my couch, and in my chair!"

"Are you throwing out the chair too?"

"He spent minutes sitting on that chair without any clothes on, of course I'm throwing the chair away too!" She says like it's the most obvious thing in the world

"Jackie, furniture costs a lot of money" I reminded her

"I make good money at the TV station" she responded and changed the subject "Anyways, I think I'll buy the furniture tomorrow and have it delivered by next week, Donna and I couldn't get rid of the blood stains in our carpet so we're getting the apartment recarpeted this weekend"

"Is it that bad?" I grimace, for a very skinny person, Forman did bleed a lot. Their living room was looking like a crime scene when we left to the hospital 

"You have no idea, it's disgusting" she answered me "Anyways, I was hoping you would call soon, I kind of need to tell you something"

My heart beats harder against my chest

"Donna and I can't stay at our place while they're recarpeting it" I let out a breath I didn't even knew I was holding in relief "So we talked and we decided that we're spending this weekend in Point Place"

I smile, Jackie and Donna hadn't returned to Point Place since the day they left 6 months ago. Mrs. Forman will be ecstatic, and I admit to myself that I'm a little excited too.

"Seriously? That's amazing, Mrs. Forman will be thrilled"

"Just Mrs. Forman?" She asks in that 'I know you with the palm of my hand Steven don't you dare lie to me' special tone of hers. I missed that tone.

"Probably Bob too, and Fez, and maybe Red" she stays quiet for a few seconds, and I sigh in defeat "And me too, Jackie. It'll be nice seeing you back here after so long"

"Chicago is amazing, but I really miss Point Place sometimes" she admitted "Though that's kind of not the only reason why I'm returning for the weekend"

I furrow my brow in confusion and she continued talking "I haven't visited my dad since I left, I really miss him. We exchange letters every week but he asked me to visit him and I can't say no to him"

"I can drive you there, if you want" I promptly offer her, silently praying that she'll say yes, if she's staying the weekend in town, Mrs. Forman, Bob and Fez will hog her and I really want to see her and spend time with her

"Really? That would be amazing Steven, thank you!" She says and I smile at her enthusiasm "Would you… maybe… would you like to go with me? You never met my dad" she asked, and now my hands are sweating

Jackie is slowly turning me into Forman. My hands don't sweat.

Her father is at a minimum security prison in Kenosha, I drove her there a couple of times already, but I never went inside with her, I just stayed and waited for her in the car while she visited her dad. I never really got the chance to properly meet the man, since he was arrested right after Jackie and I became official, but she always wanted me to. Her father is definitely not the best father in the world, he worked a lot and barely spent time with his daughter, but he's Jackie's hero. He was a constant presence in her early years, and she was daddy's little girl. 

Even after everything he's done, Jackie still worships the man, I know how important he is in her life, and how much it would mean to her if I went with her to meet him for the first time.

I said I would do anything she asks me, so of course I'm going to meet the man if it makes her happy, and I'm nervous as hell. Does he know how much I've hurted his little girl? The man is going to kill me.

I would, if I were him. Jack Burkhart is already in prison so I don't think he will be afraid to murder the guy that broke his daughter's heart.

And his opinion means a lot to Jackie, what if she talks to her dad and he convinces her that she's better off without me? I can't lose her again man, I just can't.

"Steven?" 

Jackie's voice interrupts my thoughts and I'm brought back to reality

"You don't have to go if you don't want to" she says and I can sense the disappointment in her voice

"Of course I'll go with you, doll" I answer her softly

"Really? Thank you! Daddy's going to love you!" She affirmed and I cringed, I'm not exactly the kind of person parents like. Jackie's mother definitely didn't liked me at all, and after everything I did, I don't see why the situation would be different with her father 

"I don't think so, Jackie" I answer her sadly "After everything I've done to you, I don't see why he would like me"

"Daddy is full of surprises, Steven, don't underestimate him" she says "Besides, you're trying, we're trying"

I smile at her words. Forman always said that Jackie is the devil, but this woman is actually an angel, it's amazing how much love she has inside of her. She's amazing, she's fucking perfect.

"So, how would you like to hear Red and Kitty's reaction to Forman's shenanigans from last night?" 

 

END CHAPTER 11

 

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 12

HYDE

Jackie and Donna are arriving any minute now, and I feel pathetic because I've never been more nervous and anxious in my life. Jackie will arrive with Donna, they're having breakfast with everyone, then I'm driving Jackie to Kenosha so we can visit her father in prison.

I've spent the whole week burying myself with work, I did all the boring crap I hate to do, trying to distract myself from the impending encounter I'll have with the father of the love of my life. Financial reports, sale information, new contracts with the suppliers, tax declarations…

The fact that I'm constantly working myself to exhaustion it's funny. I've never taken work very seriously, not at the FotoHut, not at the hotel, and not at the store, at least not until 6 months ago. Jackie always nagged me about work, she used to say that I was wasting my potential by slacking off and not taking this stuff seriously, and she was right.

When Jackie moved away and wasn't a constant presence in my life anymore, I missed her hard. Every time I went to Grooves, I could hear her voice in my head, nagging me, saying that I can do better, I should do better.

Funny how even when she wasn't in my life, she was still in my head, encouraging me to be a better man. She wasn't here, but I listened to her. I started to take work more seriously, I used to spend basically the entire day in the store, dealing with customers and hiding from Sam. I still spend most of my days at the store, but now I no longer need to hide from Sam because thank God she's gone.

I still have the troll doll Jackie gave me on my first day working with WB. It sits on my office desk. Whenever I see that doll I remember that someone actually believes in me, it motivates me to keep working, so I can be the man she always wanted me to be.

And thanks to Jackie, the store is a big hit. WB was so pleased, that a few months ago he gave me full ownership of the store, I was so excited, the first thought that came to my head was that I needed to tell Jackie. Then I remembered she wasn't with me anymore.

When I arrived at the basement that day, I nearly drank myself to death. I tried to convince myself that I was drinking to celebrate my accomplishment, but who the hell was I kidding? I drank that much because I was desperately missing Jackie. On that day, I asked Mrs. Forman for Jackie's number. I decided it was time to tell her everything, but Donna picked up and wouldn't let me speak to her.

Donna made the right decision that day. I was drunk out of my ass, and Jackie didn't deserve a drunk declaration of love. When I woke up the morning after, lying in the basement couch with a hangover from hell and a picture of Jackie in my hand, I looked at my surroundings and I realised how fucked up I was.

Working myself to death at day, drinking myself to death at night. That was my daily routine until Forman arrived from Africa.

When I finally got my head out of my ass and decided to do everything in my power to get Jackie back, I made a decision. I would cut back on drinking. Alcohol was what started this whole mess in the first place. Because of a drunken stupor I've married a stripper I barely knew and completely obliterated my relationship with Jackie. Of course, I was sober when I decided I would stay with her, and I blame that purely on my stupidity, but still, I'm not known for making the best decisions while drunk.

I'm sitting in my chair in the basement with Forman and Fez, Forman is on the couch, resting his injured foot on the coffee table and Fez is the lawn chair, eating a chocolate bar. Mrs. Forman kicked us out of the kitchen about 10 minutes ago, saying that she needed to prepare the dining room for the big breakfast she had planned for her two future daughters-in-law, she said she would send the girls down here when they arrive and we just shrugged and went downstairs, knowing better than to argue with Kitty Forman.

I'm tapping my foot nervously on the floor, I've spent 10 whole minutes trying to figure out what the hell I'm supposed to wear to meet Jackie's incarcerated father who she loves more than anyone. Concert tees were definitely not an option, and I refuse to wear a tie to visit someone in prison, so I decided I would wear a black button up shirt, the one I used for the double date with Kelso and Brooke. Jackie loved this shirt. And I feel like a chick for caring this much about my fucking outfit.

I'm trying my best to focus on whatever is on TV, but I can't stop thinking about Jackie. I considered dipping into my stash, I really did, but I do not want my hopefully future father-in-law seeing me for the first time while I'm high, that would definitely make a horrible first impression.

I hear a loud squeal of joy from Mrs. Forman and I know that the girls arrived, I feel really tempted to go upstairs and rescue Jackie from Mrs. Forman and Bob's hugs, but she probably missed them and if I go upstairs now Mrs. Forman will kill me. I direct my gaze to the stairs, waiting to hear the familiar noise from her heels, but so far, nothing.

Forman is also looking at the stairs, and Fez apparently didn't notice anything was different, because he has his attention divided between the TV and his chocolate bar.

I hear footsteps and I look back at the TV, why the hell am I trying to look indifferent? I'm not indifferent, screw this, indifference is one of the things that screwed my relationship in the first place, so I am going to fucking look at the stairs. Indifference my ass.

Jackie and Donna are coming down the stairs, and damn, Jackie looks absolutely gorgeous. I have the same reaction every time I see her, but still. Her hair is in a neat ponytail and she's wearing a black turtleneck sweater, complete with dark blue jeans and high heel boots. Man, I love when she wears high heel boots. I love the winter.

I smiled at her and I stood up, ready to give her a hug and feel her next to me again, but Fez beated me into it, engulfing both Jackie and Donna in his arms.

"My beautiful goddesses!" He exclaimed

"Hi Fezzie!" Jackie greeted him and hugged the foreigner back, so did Donna

"Fez…" Donna called him, trying to pry his arms off her gently "You're suffocating us" 

"Oh, sorry" he smiled sheepishly and headed back to the lawn chair

Donna gave me a nod and a smile, and headed back to her boyfriend, giving him a peck on the lips. Are they boyfriend and girlfriend again? I never really asked Forman.

I walked to Jackie and pulled her into my arms, where she belongs. The smell of strawberries and vanilla filled my nostrils. It takes all of my willpower for me not to kiss her right now, like I used to do when we were together. 

It hurts, saying were instead of are.  

"Hi" I pressed a kiss on top of her head, ignoring the way Donna and Forman are smirking at us, I bring my head further down and whisper in her ear "I missed you"

I can feel the goosebumps in her arms, and I smile. She buries her head deeper in my chest and whispers back "I missed you too" 

I could stay like this forever, seriously, but she pulled back and sat on the couch next to Donna. I sat back in my chair and looked longingly at Jackie, she should be sitting on my lap, leaning her head on my chest. But it's okay, she needs time and I will give her all the time in the world if she wants to. 

Donna is snuggling next to Forman, who's grinning like a fool, his bandaged foot still propped on the table.

"How are you feeling?" Donna asked

"Well, at least now Red can't make me salt the driveway" He tried to crack a joke

"KIDS, BREAKFAST IS READY!!" We hear Mrs. Forman yelling from upstairs and we all head into the dining room, the kitchen is to small for a big breakfast like this

We all sat down at the table, and I'm baffled by all the food. Mrs. Forman really went all out.

"I know it may seem like it's too much but these poor girls probably haven't eaten a decent meal since they left town!" Mrs. Forman defended herself as we all stared at the huge amount of food

"Actually, Jackie is not a bad cook" Donna said, making Forman chuckle in disbelief. I love Jackie, I really do, but the girl can't cook

"Yeah, remember when she baked those cookies for Hyde? Those things were like rocks, I actually think that I've got a concussion when Hyde threw one in my head" Forman commented and I smiled to myself remembering that day. Jackie spent the whole day in the kitchen with Mrs. Forman trying to learn how to bake my favorite cookies because she knew I was having a bad day, she was an amazing girlfriend and I just can't stop beating myself for taking her for granted. 

"Hey, I'm a terrible baker, but I'm a decent cook!" Jackie defended herself 

Well, I don't know about that. When Jackie and I started dating, she wanted to make me a romantic dinner at her place and she managed to burn pasta. We had to order pizza.

But her sandwiches were not bad. When I started working for WB in the office she often stopped by just to bring me lunch, whenever she did it made my day. Man, I really hated that office. She also used to bring me lunch at Grooves, a bright pink paper bag with a chicken salad sandwich. I really liked those sandwiches.

"It's true, you know, Jackie makes the best sandwiches" Donna says

"Making sandwiches is not cooking!" Mrs. Forman responded Donna, who just shrugged and Mrs. Forman looked tenderly at Jackie

"Jackie, before you leave I would like to teach you how to cook some basic things, okay?"

"Okay!" Jackie agreed promptly with a smile

Years ago I caught Mrs. Forman trying to teach Jackie how to bake a pie, it was the first day I wondered if Jackie's home life was as perfect as she used to say it was. The fact that Jackie's mother wasn't even around to teach her only daughter how to bake a pie intrigued me a lot. And Jackie ran to the only maternal figure she knew, Mrs. Forman, just like I used to do, just like I still do now.

Even though Jackie will probably enjoy the quick cooking lessons with Mrs. Forman, I can't help but feel a little bit jealous. I know it's sort of irrational but I want to spend as much time as possible with her. I thought about maybe taking her on another date tonight, but I don't think she'll have the time for it.

I glance around the table and I see everyone enjoying their breakfast, but I can't eat, I'm too nervous to eat. I'm meeting Jackie's father soon and I'm getting more and more anxious as the time passes. Mrs. Forman is making small talk with the girls, and everyone's attention is on them. I look at my watch and it's almost time to go, visiting hours start at 11AM and it's almost 10 now.

Jackie is sitting next to me, so I place my hand in her shoulder to get her attention and she looks at me.

"Hey, it's time for us to go, are you finished eating?" I ask her, she nods and gives me a small smile

We excuse ourselves from the table, everyone knows where we're heading so nobody asked questions. I take her to the Camino and I open the passenger door to her, it's such a small gesture and the smile she gives me everytime I do it makes my whole day.

 


 

We've been on the road for almost 30 minutes, and Jackie is looking at the window lost in her own thoughts.

"You okay?" I ask

"Oh, yes" she answers "It's been a while since I've seen my dad and I'm kind of nervous"

"Would you believe me if I say I'm nervous too?"

She gives me a small grin "Really?"

"I've spent almost 10 minutes deciding on what to wear, and I could barely eat breakfast"

She laughs "There's no reason to be nervous, Steven, I'm sure daddy's going to like you"

"Jackie, doll, I look like a delinquent, I was born poor and I broke your heart. I wouldn't judge the guy for not liking me" 

"I already told you not to underestimate my dad, Steven" she looks seriously at me, then she smiles "I think it's cute, that you care about his opinion of you"

I know that's a good thing, but I can't help but feel a little embarrassed by her comment, I try to think of something else to talk about.

"Oh would you stop that? It's cute and you know it" she says, using her standard bossy tone that I love so much

"If you say so" I smile "We're here, doll" 

I park the car and I open the door for her, her eyes are closed and she's taking a deep breath

"Jackie, are you okay?" I ask, concerned about her

"I'm fine, don't worry" she reassures me and takes my hand as I help her out of the car "I just have this really bad feeling, you know? Like something bad is going to happen"

I pull her closer to me and put my arm around her shoulders "Let's hope it's just a feeling then"

I've never visited anyone in prison before. Bud was arrested a couple times when I was a kid, but Edna never bothered to take me. I'm glad she didn't, this is a depressing place. I raise my hands to my face to remove my shades and I remember I haven't worn them at all today, they're still on top of my dresser at the Forman's. Jackie's grip tightens in my hand as a guard guides us to the visiting area.

I was still observing the place when I felt Jackie letting my hand go, I turned around and I saw her hugging an older man. Her father. Her head is buried in his chest and her body was shaking with sobs. They stay like this for a few seconds until a guard carefully separates them, Jackie looks at me and grabs my hand again, she guides me to her father and for the first time I get to take a closer look at the man.

Prison didn't have a nice effect on Jack Burkhart. I only saw him once, when the president visited Point Place, and he looks very different from what I remember. The moustache is gone, he looks a lot older, and skinnier, he also has a lot of gray hair. He looks tired.

I sit on the chair in front of him, next to Jackie.

"So, this is the famous Steven?" He asks, but not in a malicious tone, we shake hands and Jackie's smiling next to me

"That would be me, yes" I place my hand on Jackie's knee and she places her hand on top of mine, lacing our fingers together

"Nice to finally meet you" he says "My little kitten told me all about you"

I shift uncomfortably in my seat, I don't know what the hell am supposed to say after that. Luckily, Jackie realised my discomfort and dismissed his comment, changing the topic of the conversation.

"Daddy, I haven't seen you in so long" 

"I know kitten, I really missed you" he looked tenderly at his daughter 

"I'm sorry I haven't visited in a while, it's just that I'm living in Chicago now and I'm buried with work and…"

"It's okay, you're here now" he says "So, tell me everything about this new job of yours"

"Daddy it's amazing!" She started "They saw my public access show from Point Place and they wanted me to do something like that over there, kind of like a five minute slot on their morning show, but something happened and… I had to quit that job" 

I know exactly what happened: me. I disappeared for weeks and she got so worried that she quit her job and she started frantically trying to locate me. And what did I do? I came back 'married' to a stripper. I'm a fucking asshole.

"But after a few weeks I called them, and you know how persuasive I can be, so not only they offered me my job back, but they kind of offered me a promotion" she continues "They offered me a position as a reporter, I used to think that it would be boring, but it's amazing, daddy! I prepare a script with a crew and then we shoot and it's awesome, it's way better than talking about clothes and makeup" she was beaming, and her father looked so proud of her. I'm proud of her too. She did the right thing by leaving Point Place.

"I'm so proud of you" her father says, grabbing her hand "I'm so lucky you turned out to be a good person, Jacqueline. God knows your mother and I weren't very present in your life" his brown eyes reflected sadness and regret

"That's not true, dad" she looked at her father with kindness "Maybe it is, from mom's part, but you were there most of the time when I was a child"

"I should've been there all the time, Jackie, but I've prioritized work and money, and you have no idea how much I regret this"

I observe the whole conversation quietly, respecting the moment between Jackie and her father, but we're still holding hands and I lightly tighten my grip on her hand.

"It's okay dad, really" she says

Her father sighed "Have you heard from your mother lately?" 

"I haven't heard from her in months, the last time I talked to her she was in Brazil, but that was months ago" 

"Does she even know you moved away?" He asks, frowning at his wife's lack of interest in his daughter's life

"I don't think so. I left a note at the kitchen counter before I moved, in case she came back, but I never heard from her again"

"I thought she was trying to make things right with you?" He asked, clearly puzzled by the turn of events

"She was, it lasted a month. Then she got tired and left me alone in that big house again, but at least she was sending money" Jackie answered

I can see that Mr. Burkhart is tense, it must not be nice, knowing your daughter was being neglected by her mother and not being able to do a damn thing about it "How could she do this twice ?"

"It's okay dad, I don't even miss her, you know how bad she used to make me feel" she frowned and what? What the hell did Pam used to do that made Jackie feel bad and why the hell I don't know about it?

"Steven" her father called me "I never got the chance to thank you, for helping Jackie the first time Pam left"

"It's nothing man, I've been in her position before, I know how that feels and I wasn't going to let her go through it alone" I answer honestly

Mr. Burkhart furrowed his brow in confusion "You've been in her position before?" 

"My dad - well, step-dad now - ditched me when I was 9, my mom ditched me when I was 16" I quickly explained "The Formans took me in, if it wasn't for them I don't know what would've happened to me" 

"As soon as I get out of this place I need to pay them a visit and thank them personally for everything they've done for my daughter" He commented "Jackie tells me wonderful things about them"

"They're the best people I know" I added

"And your friends, honey? You told me you're living with the Pinciotti girl but you didn't gave me enough details in your letters" he asked 

"Donna got into university in Chicago, I got the job there, so we decided to move in together. She took me in after everything that happened and she's the closest thing I have to a sister" Jackie said and I smiled, Jackie and Donna became really close after they moved to Chicago together, that's pretty cool. They've become really protective of each other too, they were friends before, but Chicago made them kind of like sisters.

"That's good honey, she seems like a nice girl. What about your other friends?"

"Well, Fez - the foreign one - works as a shampoo boy for the salon back in town, he seems kind of creepy but he's actually really sweet. Michael…" she starts but she's interrupted by her father 

"Michael? Isn't he that doofus you used to date?" He asked frowning, and I repressed a laugh "Didn't he set our house on fire?" I snorted at his last comment and Jackie gave me a tiny slap on my chest

"Yes, that would be him" she answered her father "We broke up years ago before I started to see Steven, but Michael is not a bad person, he just was a really bad boyfriend" she defended Kelso "He was a cop…" she started but her father interrupted her again 

"He was a cop? The doofus? He can't be trusted with a gun, the guy tried to put out a fire with booze for Christ's sake" I laugh at his sentence and Jackie tried to hide a smile 

"That's one of the reasons why I don't trust the cops, anyone that leaves Kelso unsupervised with a loaded gun shouldn't be trusted" I say

"Amen to that" Jackie's dad agreed with me and Jackie rolled her eyes, trying to hide her amusement "You said he was a cop?" Her father asked

"Oh, yeah, he was kicked out of the force" Jackie says, and her father nodded "He works at the Playboy mansion in Chicago" her father grimaced "Oh, and he's a father now, he has a little girl named Betsy, and she's the cutest thing! Steven and I are her godparents"

Her father grinned at her last statement "A godmother? Look at you all grown up" he patted Jackie's hand "I still don't think that that boy should be allowed to reproduce"

I chuckle and add  "Her mother is really smart, so I think the kid will be okay" 

"And the Forman boy?" Her father asks 

"Eric spent the last 6 months in Africa teaching underprivileged kids" she says and her father looks surprised "He's still twitchy and geeky but he's pretty nice, he dates Donna and he's like Steven's brother so he's pretty cool" I grinned devilish and she glared at me "Steven if you tell him I said this I'll kick you in the shins" 

Her father chortled and I smiled at her "Yes dear" 

"Good" she says, then she turns to her father "So, what's up with you, dad?"

Her father's face went serious out of a sudden and I feel Jackie tensing up "Actually there's something I need to talk to you about" he sighed "Do you remember how many years I still have left in my sentence?"

"You were sentenced to 9 years, you've done 2 already, so you have 7 years left" she answered 

"Well, I was talking to my lawyer and he offered me a very nice deal" he says "If I transfer to regular custody, I'll be able to leave in 2 years. That's 5 years earlier, kitten"

Jackie's eyes are watering and I start to get worried, what's the big deal with this, isn't she supposed to be happy? 

"No, daddy. You can't take that deal, you know you can't"

"Jackie, I want to be able to walk you down the aisle, I want to see my first grandchild being born, I want to be a part of your life and I can't do that from here" he says, and I'm still lost

Jackie noticed my confusion and tried to explain the situation "Before he was elected as a city councilman, daddy was a district's attorney. He's sent a lot of people to prison, and he made a lot of enemies, if he gets out of protective custody he will lose the protection he has and some people will try to get revenge" I nod in understanding and my thumb gently rubs her skin in circular motions "Daddy, you can't take that deal" she pleaded with her father

Mr. Burkhart looked intently at his daughter "Kitten, they have guards at regular custody too, I'll be fine" he tries to reassure her 

"Yes, you will be fine because you won't take that deal, you can't, it's not worth the risk" her voice is trembling and I feel a pang in my chest, I can't see her crying, it always fucking kills me

"Well, I already took the deal, I'm being transferred on monday" he says, Jackie looks at him incredulously for a few seconds, and slowly buries her face in her hands, her body starts to shake with sobs, I pull her closer to my body and she buries her head on my chest, her father looks crushed at the sight in front of him, and I just keep running my hands on her hair, trying to calm her down

I can feel my shirt getting wet and fuck, I feel useless. I keep holding her until her sobs lessened, after a few minutes she raises her head out of my chest and tries to wipe the wetness off her face with her hands. After a while she gives up.

"Excuse me, I need to go to the bathroom" she says and leaves without even looking at us. I try to stand up to follow her, but I hesitate because I'm pretty sure I've just heard Jack Burkhart calling my name

"Steven" I direct my full attention to the man and I sit back down on the chair "I know I wasn't the best father, but she's still my little girl. I know everything that happened between you two, she writes to me constantly, and you probably know how my little kitten likes to talk" he says and I cringe. She told him, this is it, he was waiting for Jackie to leave so he can kill me "I don't care about what happened in the past, I just care about Jackie and her happiness, so, if you're not serious about my daughter, leave her alone. If you are serious about her and plan on making her happy, then you have my blessing"

I sigh in relief, I was sure for a moment that he was going to forbid me to see her or something "Don't worry, I won't let her down ever again"

"Good" He looked around to see if Jackie was coming "Look, I need to ask you for a favor"

"Anything you want, man"  I answer him honestly 

He leans forward on the table and lowers his tone, making sure I'm the only one that hears him "I know I told Jackie not to worry earlier, but she had a point. There are a lot of people in regular custody that want to see me dead" he sighed "I'm counting on the guards to keep me safe but you never know… if something happens to me, I need to know you'll be there for her" 

"Of course I will" I answered him, and I took a deep breath. I really hope nothing happens to Jackie's dad because I'm not sure if she's going to be able to handle it. I sigh, since I might not see him again, I need to ask him something very important "Mr. Burkhart I'm in love with your daughter" I blurt "We are not back together yet. Jackie's smart, I'm kind of on probation" I chuckle to myself "But when everything stabilizes with us and I feel like it's the right moment, I plan on proposing to her"

"I want to spend the rest of my life with Jackie and I know how important your opinion is to her, so what I'm trying to say is…"

Mr. Burkhart interrupts me with a small grin on his face "You're trying to ask for my daughter's hand in marriage?" He asks me and I nod "You have it, you're a fine young man" I feel a weight being lifted off my shoulders, before I could thank him, I hear the noise of high heels approaching us and now Jackie is sitting next to me again. I grabbed her hand in mine, and she managed to give me a tiny smile.

Her pretty mismatched eyes are red and swollen from all the crying, and she looks downright exhausted. It fucking breaks my heart, seeing her like this.

"Look dad, I'm sorry for storming out, it's just… I wish you had talked to me before you took the deal, maybe I would be able to convince you not to…"

"Kitten…" her father tries to speak, but Jackie cuts him

"It's okay, I respect your decision. I don't agree with it, but I respect it. I just love you so much, if something happens to you…" Her eyes are watering again and her dad takes her hand in his, looking deeply into her eyes

"Kitten, I want to do this, this is my decision, if something happens to me, that's on me, okay? But nothing will happen" he assured her

"You can't promise that, daddy" 

"I will still write to you, every week, and I want you to come visit me more often" he gave her a small smile and she nodded 

"At least once a month, I promise" she promises her dad, then we hear this loud noise, I presume that's the noise signalizing the end of visiting hours, because the guards are approaching the inmates and most of them are saying goodbyes to their families 

We stand up, and Jackie moves to hug her father again "Please, be careful, for me?" She says and her father nods "I love you so much, daddy"

"I love you too kitten, it's going to be fine" He says, but I can sense the insecurity in his voice

Mr. Burkhart and I shook hands one last time before we left, he gave me a pleading look and I nodded, placing my arm around Jackie's waist and kissing her temple before we left. Silently assuring him that if something happens Jackie will be okay, because I won't leave her side. Her father smiled at us before he went back inside.

               


 

Ever since we left the prison, Jackie's been strangely quiet, and that's bothering me a lot. Like, a lot. I'm used to chatterbox Jackie, I know how to deal with a talkative Jackie, but I have no idea how to deal with a quiet Jackie.

We've been on the road for a while, I've just driven past the Point Place sign, but I'm not sure if I'm taking Jackie to the Formans like this, not now.

"Hungry?" I ask, she gives me a small smile and nods. She knows what I'm doing.

I stop at the Fatso Burger drive through, where the burgers are actually wrapped in tin foil. I order us some food then instead of going to the Formans I take a small detour.

I park the car at Mount Hump, well, not actually Mount Hump. See, when I took Jackie on our first date, I've found an isolated spot on Mount Hump, around here there are no panties stuck on the trees or condom wrappers on the ground. This is literally our place, we've been here many times during our relationship and when she left I came here quite often, it was the only place where I felt her presence.

When Jackie and I were together, she made me keep a blanket in my car, just so we can be more comfortable in situations like this. I reach under my seat and I find the blanket, untouched since the last time we used. It still smells like her.

I take her hand and guide her to the flatbed of my car, I spread the blanket and we sit down. She's still pretty quiet, but I decide I will respect that, she will talk whenever she's ready, no matter how much a silent Jackie freaks me out.

After we ate our burgers we lay down, holding each other. She's leaning her head on my chest, and I'm drawing circles in her back, enjoying her presence. I can't even describe how much I missed this.

I can feel my shirt getting wet again, I take a look at her face and she's crying softly, I can barely hear her sniffles. I pull her closer to me, trying to offer her the comfort the way she taught me to.

When her father went to prison and I shaved my beard off, Jackie was so fucking happy, she looked at me with those beautiful big eyes of hers and she gave me that 'you're my hero' look. I used to pretend that that annoyed me, but I loved that look. It was the first day I asked her to stay with me for the night, and in between makeout sessions I asked her what am I supposed to do whenever something bad happens again. She told me to just hold her tight. That's what I did everytime she was upset, and that's what I'm doing now.

"Am I overreacting?" I hear her asking me quietly 

"No" I answer honestly "You have the right to be worried about your father"

She lifts her face off my chest and looks me in the eyes "What if something happens to him?"

"Then we will deal with it together, okay?" I run my thumb against her cheek and her skin is kind of cold. I sit down and pull her to sit between my legs, then I wrap us in the blanket, my arms are around her and she's leaning her head in between my shoulder and my neck.

Jackie and I were always touching each other, always. It was subtle, I don't think anyone besides us ever noticed it, no wonder why I always loved having her sitting on my lap. I'm so glad that Jackie is not depriving me of these touches now, because I don't think I would be able to be near her and not even hold her hand.

We stay like this for a while, in silence, wrapped in each other's arms, exchanging body heat.

"Thank you for being with me today" she says

"Anything for you, doll" I smile and place a kiss on her forehead "Your father is actually a pretty cool guy"

"I told you not to underestimate him" she smiles back "Can you come with me again next month?" 

"Sure" I agree and she beams at me, God, she's so beautiful "Feeling better?"

"I'm still worried, but I'll be fine eventually" she says, then she lifts her head and kisses my cheek "Thank you, Steven, really"

Her kisses are fucking magical, man. I can always feel the places she kisses me tingling for hours afterwards. It's insane.

"Can we go back to the Formans now?" She asks "I'm freezing" she gives me a sheepish smile and a slight pout. I really want to kiss that pout away, like I used to, instead, I kiss her forehead and drive us back to the Formans, unfortunately I can't keep Jackie all to myself.

 

END CHAPTER 12

 

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 13

JACKIE

Steven just parked his car at the Forman's driveway, and I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with all the attention while my mind is still processing the new information regarding my father.

I usually love the attention, and I really missed everyone, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to fully concentrate on something if I can't stop thinking about my dad. Steven opens up the door to me (I really love when he does that) and takes my hand in his, helping me out of his car. He probably noticed that I'm kind of lost in my own thoughts in here, so he kissed my forehead and whispered in my ear "You'll be fine"

Steven is being so unbelievably sweet since he decided he wants me back. It's very uncharacteristic of him, but I'm loving every second of it. I'm afraid that once I finally manage to trust him again he will close up on me, I don't think I will be able to deal with that again.

He helped me so much today. The fact that he actually went to visit my father with me showed me that maybe he's changed. The fact is that he's trying, he's fighting for us just like he said he would. 

Steven holds my hand and opens the sliding door. Mrs. Forman is in the kitchen and when she saw our fingers intertwined together she gave us a big smile, but she didn't say anything. That's good, Steven tends to get uncomfortable when people notice that he's actually being sweet. We made our way to the basement and saw Eric and Donna making out on the couch, unaware of Fez's stare.

"You realize that Fez is watching you, right?" Steven points out to the couple, who promptly pulled away from each other

"FEZ!" Donna yelled 

"Hey, I should be the one getting mad, how could you forget Fez's presence in the room?" Fez retorts "Am I that invisible?"

"Uh…" Eric stares at his eccentric friend, confused at the turn of events "Sorry?"

"Apology accepted" Fez says, before turning to Steven and I "So, how was prison?"

The room goes silent after Fez's question. I get it, my father is in prison, people get uncomfortable, it's a sensitive subject. I won't tell them about the problem regarding my father, not now. Maybe I'll tell Donna tonight.

"It was fine, Fez" I answered him, sitting on the couch. Then, Steven does another uncharacteristic thing, he completely ignores his chair and sits by my side, pulling me closer to him. He's killing me with those tiny gestures, seriously, I really deserve a medal.

They understand I don't want to talk about it and they dropped the subject.

"So, girls, have I told you about my new lady love?" Fez asks, Eric and Steven groaned 

"Fez you talked about her the whole week, man" Steven protested

"I can't take it anymore, I will slice my other foot in protest" Eric says

"Wait, I thought you went on a date with Big Rhonda last week" I say

"She happens to be my new lady love" Fez grinned "She went to a camp and now she's hot like you and Donna"

"She went to fat camp?" I ask

"Jackie!" Donna calls me "It's a weight loss facility, not a fat camp!" 

"Whatever" I mumble and Steven chuckles next to me 

"We went to the movies and then we did it! Four times!" Fez said excitedly and we all grimaced

"Fez, how many times have I told you, we don't need details pal!" Eric says and Fez pouts

"But the details are the best part! See, I picked up some tricks from watching Hyde and Jackie a few times in the past, and…" 

He what????? 

"YOU WHAT?" I yell, and Steven's fuming next to me

Fez apparently didn't notice our anger because he kept going on, Eric is trying to repress a laugh and Donna looks disgusted by Fez's behavior.

"You both have some serious stamina, you two would do it for hours" Fez turns to Eric and says nonchalantly "Eric, you must ask Hyde for some lessons" Fez turns to Eric and says nonchalantly

"FEZ!" Eric yells

"You creeped on me and Jackie?!" Steven asks incredulous "That's it man, you're dead"

Fez notices Steven's anger and runs out the basement door, Steven chases him and soon after that we hear a loud scream.

"AI!"

"I can't believe this!" I yell "He creeped on us! This is seriously wrong, I hope Steven really kicks his ass!"

"He used to hide on my closet" Donna observes "But I thought he grew out of that"

"Well, he's lucky I'm crippled because I would kill him!" Eric says and I stare at Donna

"Sure you would honey" Donna pats his head

We hear footsteps coming from the stairs, at first I thought that was Steven but there's no way he's done with Fez yet.

"Jackie, honey" Mrs. Forman called me "Let's go upstairs, and I'll teach you how to make a casserole"

I look at Donna, and she shrugs "Let's go Eric, I could probably use some cooking lessons as well"

I follow Mrs. Forman upstairs and I hear Eric's muffled voice from the basement

"Donna, I can walk, if you carry me in front of my dad he will disown me and sign me up to the navy!"

I chuckle, Eric's not wrong.

 


 

"Can someone tell me why is Haji hiding in my garage without any pants on?" Mr. Forman asks, entering the kitchen

"He's probably hiding from Steven" I answer nonchalantly while I help Mrs. Forman with the dishes

Red scowls "Why the hell is he hiding from Steven?"

Steven enters through the sliding door, holding Fez's pants "Trust me Red, you don't wanna know"

"Get these pants out of my kitchen" Mr. Forman says, grabbing a beer and heading to the living room

Mrs. Forman dries her hands in her apron "Was it really necessary to leave the boy without pants, Steven?"

Eric laughs from the kitchen table "Yes it was, mom" 

Steven throws the pants at Eric's face, and Eric shrieks loudly. Then Steven sits on the bench near the kitchen counter, observing me, Donna and Mrs. Forman.

I'm currently doing the dishes while Mrs. Forman dries them, and Donna's frantically searching for the wine Mrs. Forman asked 10 minutes ago.

"Mrs. Forman, I can't find your wine" Donna says, looking apologetically at her

"Red must've hidden it again" Mrs. Forman says angrily and I'm confused, we all know Mrs. Forman likes her booze, but Red never complained much about it

"Mom and Dad made a deal last week" Eric explained, still holding Fez's pants "He would start a heart safe diet if she cut back on the drinking"

"Now, Red and I agreed that I'm allowed to have a few drinks on special occasions" Mrs. Forman says angrily "And the two mothers of my future grandchildren are here, what's more special than that?" She finishes and goes to the living room to yell at Red

Mrs. Forman last comment must've freaked Steven out, I steal a glance at him and he's… smiling? 6 months ago Steven would've gone pale just by the mention of a wedding, let along children. This is weird. Good weird.

I finish washing the dishes and sit on the bench next to Steven.

"Hey, Donna, did you set the timer?" I ask

"Yeah, don't worry" she says while she sits next to Eric 

Steven puts his arm around my waist and smiles proudly "Jackie Burkhart doing the dishes, now that's something I never thought I would see"

I roll my eyes and lightly slap his chest "Who do you think does the dishes back at our place?"

"Jackie brought the fancy china from her old place, she won't let me touch them" Donna says while playing with Eric's hair

"So, what's in the oven?" Steven asks, changing the subject 

"Casserole" I answer "Mrs. Forman was teaching us how to cook without giving anyone food poisoning"

"You never gave me food poisoning" He says with a smile "Donna, on the other hand…" 

"Hey, I never gave you food poisoning" She says, pointing her finger at Steven "I gave Eric" 

"It was a magnificent day" Eric says wryly

"Hello?" We see a pantless Fez standing on the other side of the sliding door "May I please have my pants back?" 

Steven glares at him and Fez shrinks, Eric opens up the door and gives Fez's pants back.

"Thank you, my little man is freezing" He says and we all grimaced "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a date" And then he left

"Why is he so weird?" I ask

"He's foreigner" Donna shrugs, Eric and Steven stared at her

"Okay baby, I think you're spending too much time with Jackie" Eric says, putting his hand on her shoulder

"What, why?" Donna asks, confused

"You just said that Fez's weird because he's foreign" Steven points out

"Oh my God I did!" She puts her hands in her mouth and looks at me "What have you done to me?" 

"They say that if you spend too much time with someone, you start to pick up some of their habits" Eric says and we all stared at him "What? I'm crippled, I'm watching a lot of Donahue" 

"Does that mean that you're going to start to go on feminist rallies with me?" Donna asks excitedly 

I frowned "Ew, no! I don't want to be pawned by some hairy girl named Shirley" 

Donna just rolls her eyes "Not all feminists are hairy, Jackie"

"Well…" Eric starts, and Donna shuts him up with a death glare

"Whatever" I say "If this was true, then Steven would be making Star Wars references and Eric wouldn't be so bummy" 

Steven snickered at my last line "I don't spend that much time with Forman, doll" 

"You two have been joined by the hip since you're 6, Steven"

"Are you telling me, that if I spend more time with Hyde, I'll be less bummy and he'll start making Star Wars references?" Eric asks with a smile on his face "Hyde, you just got yourself a new stalker" 

Steven scowls at Eric "If you come any closer you're dead, Forman"

Eric cringed and I leaned my head on Steven's chest, I'm tired. Visiting my father was emotionally exhausting, and now I could really use a nap. Steven runs his hands through my hair and I almost fell asleep right here, sitting on a bench with Steven's hands in my hair. Then the timer went off and Mrs. Forman showed up in the kitchen again, with a big smile and a bottle of wine in her hands.

               


The next day

 

Donna's pretty worried about me. We spent the rest of the day yesterday in the basement hanging out with Eric and Steven, I told her everything about my father last night, before we went to sleep. Well, in my case, I tried to sleep. My thoughts kept me up almost all night.

I know Donna, and I know that she's trying to be optimistic for me, but I'm pretty sure she has a bad feeling about this situation. I do too, still, I'm just choosing to ignore it for the sake of my sanity.

We're going back to Chicago sometime after lunch, we just had breakfast with Bob, who's thrilled to have us here. I think he's getting kind of lonely, maybe it's time for him to get a new girlfriend. As long as it's not my mom. Bob deserves better.

By this time tomorrow my dad will be out of protective custody, and I can't stop thinking about it. I don't think my father realises how dangerous this is, otherwise he wouldn't have made this decision. It's in moments like this that I wish I had more faith, at least I would find comfort in it and wouldn't be as worried as I am now. Maybe I'll ask Mrs. Forman to pray for my dad later.

I'm feeling pretty down, yesterday I think I was able to mask it well, but today I'm more bummed out than usual, and I'm kind of tired of hiding my feelings. 

Here's a fact about me: I have a pretty crappy mother. Honestly, I was lucky to have my dad in my early years, because I'm not sure of what I would be if I was raised only by my mother. My mother is a terrible person, she used to put me down constantly when she was around, making comments about my weight, my hair, and my lopsided eyes. Once she said I should borrow Steven's sunglasses to hide my eyes, because even though people hardly ever notice them, they're still 'weird looking'.

Steven always loved my eyes.

When daddy was arrested, my mother was in Mexico, she didn't bother to come back. I was alone in that big house for months, until Steven figured out I was lying about my mother being back and pressured me to stay in the basement with him. This was our first big fight, even bigger than the 'get off my boyfriend' one. I finally gave in when he told me he would never forgive himself if something happened to me while I was staying by myself in that house. I never cared much about hurting myself, but the thought of hurting Steven was something I just couldn't bear.

Steven was the only one who saw behind my 'princess of Point Place' persona. He said it to me once, that children of abandonment tend to bond with each other, and he was right. I always felt like I could tell him anything, even when I was with Michael. 

I'm a great actress, everybody thought I had the perfect home life because I acted like it. Michael never noticed that my parents weren't around when we were together, the only few times he did were because he missed staring at my mother. Steven fell for my act when he first met me, but with time he recognized the signs and I opened up to him.

Not about everything though. Steven doesn't know about my mother's snide comments to me, how she shattered my self-esteem whenever she was around, how she pressured me to stop eating before big events, how she begged me to break up with him when she found out his father's black. I never told him about any of that, I never liked to be seen as an insecure person, especially by him. Donna knows, I told her after one of our movie nights in Chicago, I needed to vent and she was a great friend that night. But I feel like Steven should know, not now, I'm already too sensitive because of my father, but I should tell him sometime soon.

Because I'm tired of pretending I'm happy when I'm not. Donna taught me that night that it's okay not to be okay sometimes, that's a part of being human, so I'm not putting on a mask today. I am freaking sad about my father and that's it, I'm not putting a brave face anymore.

We're heading to the Formans now, I want to spend whatever time I have left in Point Place with Steven. He helped me so much yesterday, I don't know what I would've done without him.

We enter through the sliding door and Eric, Red and Steven are at the table finishing their breakfast.

"Good morning!" Mrs. Forman greets us cheerfully, giving us a hug "Should I set up a place for you two at the table?"

"No, thanks Mrs. Forman" Donna says "My dad made us a big breakfast"

Mrs. Forman kissed each of our cheeks and went to the sink to do some dishes, Donna gave Eric a small peck on the lips, making Mr. Forman grunt, and Steven excused himself from the table, giving me a kiss on the cheek before grabbing my hand and dragging me to the basement with him.

"Steven, what's going on?" I ask curiously as we sat on the couch

"Forman begged me to give him some alone time with Donna this morning" He explained "Apparently they're sneaking back to his room later" 

"Ew" I say, remembering the not too pleasant scene from last week. At least today they're going to be able to finish it, God knows how upset Donna was about that.

"And maybe… maybe I wanted some alone time with you as well… it's not what you think, I was thinking that maybe we can talk?" He looked at me apprehensively "You seem kind of down today doll, is it about your father?" 

"Yeah, I just have a bad feeling" I answer him, and he pulled me closer to him, wrapping his arm around my waist 

"It will be fine, doll" He says, but I can hear the uncertainty in his tone

"No lies, Steven" I remembered him and he sighed

"Look, I don't have a good feeling about this either, but whatever happens, I won't leave your side"

"Okay" I lean my head on his shoulder

We stayed like this for a while, his hand started to go up and down my back, comforting me. I really missed this.

Steven was always the one I would run to whenever I was down. After my dad went to prison and he shaved his beard off for me, he asked me how should he comfort me next time, because he won't have a beard to shave all the time. He said he wanted to be a good boyfriend, so I told him that whenever I was sad and he couldn't think of anything to say, he should just hold me.

And that's what he's doing right now.

I start to wonder if maybe we can talk more about our relationship, it's probably not going to cheer me up, but it would distract me and it's kind of necessary. We still have a lot to talk about.

"Steven?"

"Yeah doll?"

"Did you really mean it, when you said you trust me?" I ask hesitantly

He took a deep breath before answering me "Yeah I did"

"Why did you decide to trust me just now ? I mean, you never did before and how does a person suddenly change like this?"

"Losing the person I love gave me some perspective. I guess back then I was being just paranoid, Kelso kept saying about how you two used to do it all the time and how he wanted you back, it drove me insane"

Sometimes I really hate that I've spent so much time with Michael when I could've been with Steven. I don't regret my relationship with Michael, mostly because I met my friends and Steven because of him. I do regret getting back together with him so many times. The fact that I kept getting back with Michael even after everything he's done probably didn't help Steven with his insecurities.

"I trust you now because you know how it feels to be cheated, you said it once that you didn't wish that feeling to anyone. So I know you would never cheat on me, I just wish I figured that out sooner" His tone was sad, but honest. He's being faithful to our pact

"Thank you" I say "For being honest with me and for opening up, I know this must be hard for you"

"Surprisingly, it's not" He answered me with a small smile "I can easily tell you how much I love you and I'm owning up to my mistakes. The hard part is seeing how much I've hurted you, and how everything could've gone differently if I wasn't such a coward"

"You're not a coward" I look into his eyes "You're telling me now, you're trying" I place my hand on his cheek, scratching his sideburns. He closes his eyes and leans further into my hand, he always loved when I did that

He waits a few minutes before he says something else "Doll, can I ask you something?" He looks at me, a little uneasy 

"Anything you want, Steven" I answer him

"Were you really considering taking Kelso back? After… after the nurse?" He directs his gaze to the floor, avoiding looking at me in the eyes

"No" I answer him honestly "I never did, it was always you"

He looks at me, intrigued "Then why… Why did you say he was an option?"

I sigh "You have no idea how much it hurted me when you slept with that nurse, Steven" My eyes start to water "I know it was childish but I wanted to hurt you back. Besides, I needed time, I knew I was going to forgive you eventually but I needed time to do so"

"Why did you take Kelso back so easily after everything? I know I'll probably sound like a jerk, but why did you need so much time to think when it was with me?"

"Because I loved you so much, way more than I've ever loved Michael" A few tears escape my eyes and he brushes them off with his thumb, looking just as pained as I do "And I never expected that from you, you always said I deserved better than him and you did the same thing he did, it crushed me"

He looks at me, his eyes reflecting the regret he feels "I'm sorry"

"I'm sorry too" I say "I should've never played with you and Michael that way, no matter how much you've hurted me. I should've told you I needed time, maybe if I did that you wouldn't have dated that biker chick" I look down, the way he dismissed me to be with her hurted just as much as when he cheated

His eyes are closed now, he looks sad, and thoughtful, he opens his eyes and takes my hand "I'm sorry, I was an idiot, there's literally no excuse for what I did back then. I never even kissed that girl, I was just using her to make you feel bad, and I was an asshole. I'm so sorry" 

"It's okay now… I kind of did the same thing, using Michael to make you jealous" I say and he puts his arm around my shoulder, pulling me closer again

"You know what was my first thought when Sam first arrived here?" I mumble against his chest "I was replaced by a blonde whore with a nice rack. Again. It happened with Pam Macy, Laurie, the biker girl and then Sam. I kept thinking that maybe I was the problem, maybe I wasn't good enough"

I feel Steven tensing up and he tightens his grip in my shoulder, he's feeling guilty, I raise my head to look him in the eyes "I'm not saying that so you can feel bad, Steven. I don't want to hurt you, I just think that if we want to start over we should be honest about everything"

"I know doll" He sighed "It's just… it's not easy to hear all those stuff, sometimes I hate myself for hurting you so much"

"Someone once told me that it's never easy, fighting for things that are worth it. And I definitely think we are worth it, Steven" He closes his eyes again and pulls me closer, kissing the top of my head

"I love you so much" He says, his voice a little muffled by my hair

"I love you too" I answer with honesty, and he pulls me into his lap, holding me tight and pressing a very gentle kiss on my neck before leaning his head on my shoulders

"We were idiots" He says as I place my hands on the back of his neck, playing with his curls "Instead of talking and solving our shit like two proper human beings, we kept trying to hurt each other"

"And are never doing that again" I say matter of factly

"Never" He agrees, placing another kiss on my neck

"Why do you think we kept making those stupid decisions back then?" I ask curiously

"Must be an influence of our shitty parents" He answers thoughtfully "It's probably because we were abandoned by them and other shit like that" 

"My father never really abandoned me" I say "He neglected me many times, but he never took off without telling me when he was coming back like my mother"

"The best thing that ever happened to me was being abandoned by Edna" He says "She was a really bad mother"

Steven told me a few stories about Edna when we were together, and I hate that woman. I truly hate her, the things she used to do to my Steven… If I ever see that woman I'll end up shooting her.

"Thank God for the Formans" I spoke "Where do you think we would've ended up without them?"

"I would probably be pumping gas somewhere, or in prison" He answers

"I would probably be married to a rich old doctor, drinking my misery away" I frowned, and leaned back into his chest, one of his hands moved to my hair, playing with it

I'm feeling so relaxed and comfortable sitting on Steven's lap, that I couldn't suppress a yawn, I barely slept last night.

"Feeling sleepy?" He asks 

"I kept thinking about my father last night, so I didn't slept well" I answer

"Me neither" He says and I look questionably at him "I kept thinking about the beautiful brunette next door, I was worried about you. Almost sneaked in just to make sure you were alright" I smiled softly at him and closed my eyes, enjoying our closeness "Wanna take a nap?" He asks with a small smile, he looks tired as well, so I just nod. He shifted a bit, he was probably going to carry me all the way back his room

"Let's stay here" I mumble, too comfortable to move all the way to his bedroom, my eyelids feeling too heavy already

"Okay" He says, lightly pushing me backwards on the couch and laying next to me. He wraps his arms around me and I feel like I'm in heaven. He brings me closer to him, and I take one of his hands and intertwine our fingers together.

             


 

I hear muffled voices and I'm abruptly woken up by a blinding flash of light. Steven protectively pulls me closer to him, and I slowly open my eyes. Mrs. Forman is standing in front of the TV with a camera, Eric and Donna next to her. Eric was grinning slyly at us, and Donna was glaring at him.   

"I'm sorry, you two just looked to God darn cute, I had to take a picture!" Mrs. Forman says, taking another picture

"Mom, can I have a copy of this picture? I love seeing Steven being cute" Eric says with a evil grin on his face

I don't like being woken up, so I'm a little moody, and Eric making fun of Steven for being cute is really pissing me off. Donna is scowling at him, she's probably remembering the conversation we had days ago.

"Mrs. Forman, when you develop those photos, could you put them inside a tiny blue box? It's in Eric's bedroom, third drawer of his dresser, underneath his Luke Skywalker costume" I say, and Eric's face went pale

I can feel Steven's body shaking with laughter besides me. Both Mrs. Forman and Donna are glaring at Eric now.

"Eric" Mrs. Forman says with a stern look "What is Jackie talking about?" 

"What? No… it's nothing, I… you're the devil!" He yells, pointing his finger accusingly at me, Donna is rolling her eyes at him and Steven is almost losing it 

"And don't you ever forget it" I say with a evil smirk on my face, making Eric shriek and hide behind Donna, who's now trying really hard not to laugh

"I'll just forget about this conversation completely in order to stay sane" Mrs. Forman says as she goes upstairs

Eric, still hiding behind Donna, stares at me "How did you know?"

"I'm the devil, Eric. I know everything" Eric limped his way to the stairs, looking terrified at me

"I'm just…" He points upstairs and starts to climb the stairs the best way he can

"Up, Eric" Donna says as she turns around, making him jump on her back so she can carry him piggyback style again "You are going to show me what's on that box right now!" I hear she saying as they disappeared from the basement

"I love when you burn Forman" Steven comments as we sat back on the couch "By the way, what were you talking about?" He asks curiously

"Oh, Eric keeps dirty drawings of Luke and Leia in there, it's very disturbing" I cringe

Steven laughs one more time, pressing a kiss on top of my head "You're a evil genius"

"I am" I giggled "I missed being able to mess with Eric"

"I missed being able to see you messing with Eric" He says, standing up and glancing briefly at his watch

"Shit, we slept for almost 3 hours" He says, giving me his hand to help me stand up "C'mon doll, let's get you some lunch before you head back"

I smile and nod, I was feeling really shitty this morning, worried sick about my dad. Steven actually managed to make me feel better, and in the end we talked some more about our relationship. I have a really bad feeling about this whole situation with my father, but I also have a really good feeling about Steven.

Maybe we will be able to work things out earlier than I thought.

 

END CHAPTER 13

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 14

HYDE

Things have been good in those last few weeks. Forman and I went to Chicago every weekend, and my relationship with Jackie is getting stronger each day.

We talk on the phone almost everyday (except on Thursdays, because that's the day her father is allowed to call her from prison, and she never knows what time he'll be able to do that, so she doesn't like to keep the line busy on Thursdays). We spend all weekend together, and Forman and I are no longer staying at Kelso's, because he's back together with Donna, and Jackie and I are sleeping on the same bed.

But that's it, we cuddle, nothing more, not even a peck on the lips. I don't want to pressure her into anything, and the fact that she lets me sleep in the same bed as her after everything I've done is a privilege.

Consequently, I always sleep better on the weekends.

I always sleep better with her by my side, the combination of the smell of her hair and the soothing sound of her breathing relax me in a way no drug can. And she's so tiny, her body fits perfectly against my own, it's the weirdest (yet the most amazing) thing, I swear that we fit just like two puzzle pieces.

Jackie's been pretty tense since her father was moved from protective custody, she makes sure to take his calls every week, and she writes to him weekly as well, she says that she's thinking about writing a journal and sending it to him every month, so he can know everything that's happening in her life. It's been a month and so far nothing happened, so Jackie's finally starting to loosen up a bit.

Tomorrow's Donna's birthday, and Saturday it's Valentine's day, so Forman is dragging me to a jewelry store with him. According to him, he needs to buy Donna the best presents (one for her birthday, the other one for Valentine's day) ever because their relationship is still a bit fragile. He wants to buy jewelry, and I just hope he learned his lesson and stays far away from any type of rings.

"Hello how may I help you?" Fez's landlord is behind the counter, I forgot he worked here. 

"Fenton" Eric says "I need to buy a present for my girlfriend"

"What about that fiance of yours? The pretty brunette with the big eyes?" He asks and I glare at Eric, who freezes on the spot

"Jackie's not… she's not anything!" He panics, and I keep glaring at him

I know Fenton thinks Jackie's his fiance because of the day she helped Forman with the wedding stuff, and I'm not mad about it, I just like seeing Forman squirm.

"Look, Jackie dates this scary guy next to me" He points at me and I smirk, Jackie and I aren't technically dating, but close enough "My girlfriend is Donna, the redhead, remember?"

"Oh, yes" Fenton says, he's staring at me with a devious expression and I cross my arms and glare at him as well. He turns his attention back to Forman "Do you need another ring?"

"Oh God no!" Eric promptly says, startling Fenton a bit "I'm looking more for a pair of earrings, a necklace or even a bracelet, not a ring, of any type"

"You want to take a look around?" He asks, and Eric just nods, he pulls me to a display on the other side of the store

"So, what do you think? An earring, a bracelet or a necklace?" He asks me

"Forman, do I look like I care?" I ask, and he looks at me, shrugs, and went back to stare at the displays

The only reason I agreed to come here is because I want to get Jackie something as well. I was already planning on buying her jewelry, and I have a date planned for Saturday night, so when Forman begged me to come with him, it didn't take a lot of persuasion to convince me.

I know Jackie and I aren't technically dating, but she loves Valentine's day, and I really want to get her something she'll like. I never bought her jewelry before, so I'm guessing she's going to be pretty surprised.

I take a brief look at the engagement rings, I never thought I would say this, but man, I wish I could buy her a ring right now. As much as I want to, I recognize it's not the time, we haven't even kissed yet.

Forman decided to get Donna a bracelet, a plain bracelet, the ones where you personalize it with charms, he's trying to choose a few special charms with 'meaning'. And I'm looking through the whole freaking store, trying to find something that's Jackie's style, but I'm having no luck with that.

I was about to give up when I finally spotted it, one of the most beautiful necklaces I've ever seen. I can almost see Jackie's face when I finally give it to her. It's a white gold necklace, with a beautiful delicate pendant, a blue rock surrounded by tiny diamonds. This screams Jackie, it's tiny, delicate and extremely beautiful, just like her.

I gesture the necklace to that Fenton guy and he grabs it to me, he doesn't ask any questions, he just takes one of those long velvety boxes and gently places the necklace inside. Then he puts a tiny little blue bow around it and gestures to the cashier. I paid for the present and went to the other side of the store, waiting for Forman to finish whatever he's doing.

He finally decides what he's taking and we head out. 

"Now, help me choose another present" He says, and I groan. I've spent the whole day at the store working, I'm tired as hell, and I still need to check in on my dinner reservations for Saturday when I arrive home

A couple weeks ago I asked WB for suggestions of romantic restaurants I could take Jackie on Valentine's day, and made a reservation in what seemed to be the best one. Jackie doesn't know a thing, I plan on surprising her.

I don't want to spend the rest of the day at the mall, especially with Forman, so I decided if I tell him what to buy, he'll leave me alone.

"Get her a scented candle" I say, and he furrows a brow in confusion

"But there's a bunch of scented candles at her place, Jackie puts them everywhere" He retorts, confused

"She doesn't need the candle you moron, it's a gift with meaning and crap. Didn't she give you one for your birthday, years ago?" I'm starting to get annoyed, man, Forman's slow

"Yeah, but why would I give her one if she already gave me one that day?" He asks and I roll my eyes

"Jackie told me she told Donna to get you a scented candle because she thought it was romantic" I say with the same tone you use when explaining something to a child "So you give her a scented candle and make a reference about that one she gave you years ago, got it?"

Forman nods and grins slyly "When have you become such a romantic, Hyde?" 

I frog his arm, I don't have the patience to deal with lame burns today "Jackie made me watch a romantic movie with her last weekend, because you and Donna were making too much noise"

"Oh, that was a good night" 

I roll my eyes and take the keys to my car out of my pocket, after Forman gets the stupid candle I'm not spending another second in this place.

                   


 

"So, where are you taking Jackie tomorrow?" Forman asks from the passenger seat of the camino

We've been on the road for almost an hour, we're arriving at the girls place soon, and Forman won't shut up about Donna's birthday and Valentine's day. It wasn't enough that I had to listen to him at the mall yesterday, no no, he just keeps on asking the same questions and annoying the crap out of me.

Don't get me wrong, Forman is basically my brother, but I do not enjoy discussing my feelings with him. Actually, I don't enjoy discussing my feelings with anyone but Jackie. I tell Jackie everything now.

Literally everything. And it's not hard, in fact, it's pretty damn good. I'll never get tired from the smile on her face whenever I tell her I love her, it's one of the most beautiful things in the world.

Things between Jackie and I are good lately. We behave like boyfriend and girlfriend, we just don't kiss or have sex. But we hold hands and we cuddle and it's fucking amazing because I thought I would never be able to do that again.

Today is Donna's birthday, and we're all going to reunite at their place tonight. Well, all except Fez. Fez took off with Rhonda earlier today for a romantic weekend in Green Bay. Jackie insisted on making a dinner party, she even called Mrs. Forman and asked for a few recipes. I just hope she makes something edible, she had a cooking lesson with Mrs. Forman but I don't know if that's enough.

Cuz I've spent the last few weeks planning a big Valentine's day date for Jackie, and I don't wanna ruin it by spending the day at the hospital because of food poisoning.

I still hate Valentine's day, I think that it's a holiday created by the big corporations, corporations who spend millions of dollars every year on massive propaganda to convince the world population that love can only be proved by the consumption of material goods, more especially chocolates, flowers and jewelry. I fucking hate Valentine's day, and Jackie knows it, that's why she doesn't suspect a thing.

I plan on blowing her fucking mind tomorrow. We will wake up, and I'll make her breakfast and bring it to bed, then, we will spend the afternoon together like it's a regular day. At some point, someone will knock at the door with a delivery of the biggest bouquet of flowers available, I dropped by the flower shop last week and I wrote her a card, it'll be delivered with the flowers and the best part is that I'll be by her side when she gets it, watching her reaction. After that, I'll tell her to get all dolled up because I'm taking her out. I made reservations at one of the best restaurants in Chicago, it's one of those fancy restaurants that has candles on the tables, she's going to freak. After dinner I'll give her the necklace. I can't wait to see her face man, I hope she gives me one of those smiles. 

Am I being a hypocrite by organizing all of this even though I hate Valentine's day? Yes.

Do I care? No

Why? Because Jackie will love it.

If I learned one thing during all this time Jackie and I've spent apart, is that I don't care about what I'm doing or where I'm going as long as she's by my side and happy. And I swear to God, all this time I've been spending with Jackie lately is changing me, because I'm starting to like doing all of these romantic things. I don't even think I'm doing only for her anymore, I'm actually starting to enjoy it myself.

So yeah, pretty big day tomorrow. Nobody knows about my plans, and nobody will know. Not because I'm embarrassed, I honestly don't give a shit if people tease me for publicly loving Jackie, I grew out of that (thank God). I'm just not telling anyone because I really want to surprise her and God knows Forman and Kelso can't keep a secret.

So that brings me back to Forman's question "What makes you think I'm taking her somewhere?"

Forman furrows his brow in confusion "Well, you bought her a present, so I thought…"

"Man, I gave in and gave money to the jewelry industry, I'm not giving money to the restaurant industry or the candy industry. Valentine's day is a scam" I lie

"Yeah I'm pretty sure Jackie's not going to buy that excuse, pal" He says and I roll my eyes

Jackie knows I don't believe in Valentine's day. In the beginning of our relationship she used to nag me to celebrate it with her, but I was a stubborn asshole and in the end she just gave up, she doesn't expect anything from me tomorrow, she's completely oblivious to the whole thing.

"Forman, Jackie knows I'm not a Valentine's day type of guy, it took her a while to accept it but she's okay with it" I shrug, trying to look indifferent

"But you got her a present" 

"And it's a surprise, if you say something I'll kill you" I glare at him for a second before redirecting my attention to the road

"How cute, the little orphan boy loves his spoiled princess" He says with a baby voice and I frog his arm

"Yep" I admit nonchalantly and he looks surprised at me

"Holy crap you're serious" He says "I mean, I know you love her and everything, but you never openly admitted to someone, look at you" He points his finger at my face "You're not even scowling, man!" 

"Yeah, pretending I'm an insensitive jerk about Jackie never worked out in my favor before, did it?" I say

"Oh my God the world is ending" He says dramatically 

"Big deal Forman, I love Jackie, what the hell is wrong with that?" I spat, almost losing my patience

"Nothing man, it's just weird to see you saying it out loud, that's it"

"Well you better get used to it" I answer "We're almost there" 

"Man, why Jackie , of all people, is the one cooking today?" Forman whines "I hope they still have the number of that pizza place from last week"

"Hey, you're not ordering pizza!" I threaten him "You're eating Jackie's food and you're going to like it! And if you don't like it, you are going to pretend you did, got it?" 

"Dear God, you're getting more and more like Red everyday" Forman comments with a frown on his face

"Except I like my foot way too much to be sticking it on people's asses, I'm more of a fist in the face guy" I smirk

"You don't have to tell me that" Forman mumbles


We arrive at the girls place sooner than expected, I park the car in front of their apartment complex and when we open the door to the apartment (Forman and I each have our own pair of keys) we find a very upset Donna at the couch.

"Hey babe, you alright?" Eric asks, sitting next to her

Donna looks at Forman with a very disturbed expression "My father just called to congratulate me and to tell me that he has a new girlfriend!" She complains, Jackie heard her and came out of the kitchen, wearing an apron and covered in flour. I couldn't hold back a smile, she's just too damn cute.

"It's not my mother again, is it?" She asks in a hush

"What? No, thank God!" Donna answers

Jackie breathes, relieved "So, do we know her?"

"Unfortunately, yes" Donna answers looking at the floor

"I don't see what the big deal is, Bob was kind of lonely, he probably won't annoy Red so much now that he has a new girlfriend" I give Donna my honest opinion, Bob is a nice guy, but Red was bound to kill him sometime soon

"Well I thought the same thing until I heard who my father is dating" Donna says, still looking disturbed "I'll kill him for ruining my birthday" 

"Who is he dating sweetie?" Eric asks, while running a hand through Donna's hair

Donna mumbles something but I wasn't able to hear it, the only one who heard her is Forman, his eyes are completely bugged out, he looked shocked. Jackie and I kept staring at the couple sitting on the couch, when Donna remembered we're still here.

"When my father said he was dating Pam, I thought he was dating your whore of a mother again" She gestures to Jackie, who just nods, Jackie didn't protested over the insult Donna just made about her mother "I was ready to yell when he said he was dating a Pam, it just wasn't Jackie's Pam…"

Jackie gasps in horror, placing her hands in her mouth and I'm confused as fuck "Oh my God please tell me it's not who I think it is!" 

Donna confirms Jackie's suspicions "It is"

"YOUR FATHER IS DATING PAM MACY?!" Jackie yells and what the fuck

I look at Donna and she just nods, defeated "Happy birthday to me!" 

That's… horrifying, to say the least. And highly disturbing. Forman breaks out of his daze and says "But she's like… our age"

"Pam is two years older than you" Jackie comments and we all look at her, how the hell does she know that stuff? "She repeated second grade and she was a senior when you guys were juniors" She shrugs

"Great, now she's not only a gold digging tramp, she's a dumb gold digging tramp" Donna says exasperated, throwing her arms in the air "Why do you know that?" She asks Jackie

"Hey, Michael cheated on me with her like, a hundred times! I had to find some dirt on her just in case!" She defended herself 

"Pam Macy and Bob?" I say "That's just wrong man, Bob is what, 30 years older than her?"

"17" Donna says and we all looked at her in shock "C'mon, I was conceived in the back of a van when my parents were in high school, my father was 18 when I was born"

"So you're telling me that Bob's not even 40 yet?!" Jackie asks in disbelief "I guess that's what too much polyester does to you" 

"That's it, Eric, you are taking me to the liquor store!" Donna demands and Eric just shrugs

"Okay" He promptly agrees "Hyde, can I have the keys to your car?" He asks me and I scoff 

"Hell no" I answer

"The liquor store is 3 blocks away, Eric" Jackie says, and before Eric could answer, Donna grabbed his hand and dragged him to the door

"Michael is arriving with Brooke in an hour so you two better not take too long!" Jackie says before Donna and Forman left through the door

I look at her and smile, we haven't had the chance to properly interact because of the recent news. I wrap her in my arms and I place a kiss on her flour covered cheek

"Look at you all covered in flour" I tease her

"It's not funny Steven! I had to make like, a million batches of pie dough because I kept screwing it up, I must've wasted a 100 dollars worth of flour and butter today" She looks genuinely upset, she crosses her arms and pouts

"Hey, if you cry the mix of tears and flour will create a very weird paste in your face, I don't think that'll be good for your skin" I say playfully, and I start to wipe my thumb across her cheeks, trying to clean some of the flour

Jackie laughs and lightly slaps my chest "Shut it, Steven! Do you know you have to make pie dough with your hands? I completely ruined my manicure and my arms are killing me" 

I smile at her "You're cute" I say, and she gives me one of those smiles, the type that brightens a whole room and melts my insides, so I kiss her forehead "Go take a shower, I'll watch your pie, then we can finish making dinner together"

"Thank you, just take it out of the oven when you hear the timer" She kisses my cheek and goes to the bathroom

Man, seeing Jackie like this… she's fucking adorable. She looks so happy, happier than she was back in Point Place, that's for sure.

Jackie was always too good to live in a small town like Point Place, that's why I was fucking terrified when she told me about her job offer here in Chicago. I wanted her to stay with me, more than anything, but I also wanted her to get the hell out of Point Place because she deserves way better than whatever that small town has to offer.

I wish I wasn't so fucking stupid back then. The answer was pretty simple, get the hell out of Point Place and I'll go with you. We should've moved to Chicago, the two of us. WB has his connections, I wouldn't be out of job and Jackie wouldn't have to sacrifice anything.

As I said, I was stupid.

I haven't told Jackie yet, but I plan on moving to Chicago. In fact, I have a meeting with WB on Monday and we are going to discuss the possibilities. I'm not moving to Chicago right away, it's probably going to take a while since I want to give Jackie the space she needs, and there's the whole job thing I still have to figure out with WB.

Jackie won't be making any sacrifices for the sake of our relationship this time, it's my turn. Jackie loves her job and she deserves it, I will not take this away from her.

And I can tell that she loves it, being her own woman, making her own money, being independent. I'm so proud, when she was dating Kelso she thought that the only plausible future for her was to find a rich man, marry him, and have his children. I don't blame her for thinking like this, after all, that's what her mother told her to do since she was born. Things started to change after her father went to prison and her mother abandoned her.

It sucks, being forced to mature because of the awful circumstances, I've been there, but in the end, we turned out fine.

My thoughts are interrupted by the annoying noise of the timer, time to get the pie out of the oven. Man, I hope this is a good pie, Jackie must've spent a lot of time on it.

I take the oven mints she left on the counter and remove the pie out of the oven. It looks good, not as good as Mrs. Forman pies, but still. I hope it tastes good too, this is probably the first time Jackie actually baked something and didn't burn anything.

I place the pie on the counter and I look at the mess Jackie made in the kitchen, there's flour everywhere and I'm seeing at least 10 empty butter wrappers in the trash. So I guess Jackie wasn't exaggerating after all.

Jackie's in the shower and God knows how long she'll be there, so I'll clean her kitchen, or try to, it's really messy in here.

After 10 or 15 minutes I managed to clean the surfaces that were covered in flour and I washed the dishes, now I'm currently searching for a pan so we can get started on dinner, and I realise I have no idea on what the hell are we going to make.

I feel her arms wrapping around my waist from behind and I smile. Man I would do anything to kiss her senseless right now.

Instead, I turn around and kiss the top of her head, I look at her eyes and say "Hey"

"Hey" she kissed my cheek and stared at the clean kitchen with a smile "Thank you"

I smiled "Had to keep myself busy while I was waiting for you"

"Well, aren't you the sweetest?" She smiled back

"What are we having for dinner today, doll?" I ask

"I thought we could make some pasta" She answered while she filled a large pan with water

"Jackie, do you remember what happened when you tried to make pasta the last time?" I try to make her remember, I still have no idea how she managed to set pasta on fire

"God, it was a one time thing, Steven!" She whined and placed the pan on the stove

"You almost burned down your house, Jackie"

She rolled her eyes "Oh, would you stop exaggerating? We didn't even needed to use the fire extinguisher" 

I repress a laugh "Whatever you say, doll" I grinned slightly at her "Need my help?" I ask and she gave me one of her devilish smiles, she handed me her apron and a wooden spoon, and sat down on the bench near the counter

"What? I'm tired" She pouted and I chuckled, I should've known better.

             


 

Donna and Forman arrived with two bags of booze while I was frying the meatballs, Jackie and I were talking when we were interrupted by the sudden arrival of the couple.

Forman started to place the few bottles of booze in the fridge, along with a few beers. Besides the beer, Forman and Donna brought home a couple bottles of wine and… is that vodka?

Man, Donna wasn't joking when she said she wanted to get wasted. I grimaced at the sight of the vodka, it was Edna's favorite, she often slept on the couch with one of these bottles in her arms. I hate vodka.

"When is Kelso arriving?" Donna asked while she sat next to Jackie

"Any minute now" Jackie answered and looked concerned with her friend "Donna, are you sure you should be drinking that much tonight?"

"Jackie, it's my birthday and my father is sleeping with Pam Macy" She says and Jackie nods in understanding

Man, Bob and Pam Macy, now that's something I ought to get used to

"Are you two drinking with us?" Forman asked Jackie and I

Jackie grimaced "I might have a glass of wine, but I have no plans to get wasted tonight"

"Nah man, I'll have maybe a couple beers and that's it" I say and Forman just shrugs, I've been controlling my drinking since New year's day, getting drunk definitely won't help me with the Jackie situation

Besides, if I get drunk tonight I might lose control and kiss her, and she needs to make the first move. I need to be 100% sure that she's comfortable with me before we kiss again.

I put the meatballs on the sauce pan, and we hear the doorbell, Kelso and Brooke must've arrived. Right in time, because I literally just finished here.

Forman and Donna went to the door and Jackie wrapped her arms around me again "Are you done here, pudding pop?"

My heart skips a beat. Pudding pop. It's been a while, and fuck, it feels so good to hear it. I missed it so much.

She called me pudding pop again.

"All done, dollface" I smile and glance briefly at her lips, I would give anything to be able to kiss her right now

And suddenly, as she can hear my thoughts, she places her hands on my cheeks and look deeply into my eyes, her face is inching closer to mine and holy fuck I think she's going to kiss me.

I wonder if her lips still taste like cherries.

I close my eyes in anticipation, she places her hands on the back of my neck and buries her fingers in my hair, our noses are touching and I can feel her breath fanning across my face… 

"WHAT?!" We hear Kelso's piercing shout from the living room and we jump apart

I'll kill him.

Jackie took my hand in hers and dragged me to the living room to see what the hell is going on. We see Kelso and Brooke standing near Eric and Donna, Kelso looks flabbergasted and Brooke's scowling at him.

"So you told him about Pam Macy and Bob?" Jackie asked Donna, still holding my hand, Donna nodded

"BOB?" Kelso yells, deepening Brooke's scowl even more "What's with this guy and hot chicks? Midge, Jackie's mom, Pam Macy…"

"Hey, maybe Bob has a really huge…" Eric says and Donna looked startled at him

"Grab me a beer Eric, NOW!" Donna quickly interrupted him and Forman ran to the kitchen

Forman is almost taking Kelso's title as the king. 

"If it's any consolation, my mom is a gold digging tramp, she was with Bob because of the money" Jackie says to Kelso "Pam Macy is probably after the same thing, and Midge… no offense Donna but your Mom's kind of dumb" Jackie deadpanned

Donna looked at Jackie with wide eyes "My mom's not dumb!" She tried to defend her mother, but Jackie and I raised our eyebrows at her "Fine, she's dumb" She admitted reluctantly

"Pam Macy and Bob!" Kelso yells indignantly "How could she do this?"

"Why do you care, Michael?" Brooke asked, glaring at Kelso

Obviously, Kelso is completely oblivious to Brooke's anger "She had this" He pointed to himself "And now she's with Bob?!"

Brooke rubbed her temples and, noticing how angry the librarian was, Jackie intervened "Don't worry Brooke, Michael hasn't seen Pam Macy in a while" 

Kelso looked at his new girlfriend, and he finally noticed the severity of the situation "I haven't seen Pam since I cheated on Jackie with her, I promise!"

Yeah, about that observation I made earlier, I take it back, Kelso will always be the king.

"Then why do you care so much, Michael?" Brooke asked again

"I mean, she really traded down, I feel bad for her!" Kelso justified himself

"You should feel bad about my dad, you dillhole!" Donna intervened

"Why should I feel bad about Bob? Pam is good in the sack, right Hyde?"

Now Kelso managed to make every single person in this room uncomfortable. As I said before, I'll kill him.

The last thing I need is Jackie remembering that I had sex with Pam on the backseat of her Lincoln. Fuck man, Kelso's dead.

I glare at him and he flinches, trying to hide behind Brooke, who's not pleased with him, so she just shoves him to the side. Before I can go to him and pound him, I feel Jackie squeezing my hand. I look at her and she's smiling softly, it's one of those 'relax, I'm not mad' smiles, and I can feel the tension leaving my body.

"You should feel bad about my dad because he's with another gold digging tramp!" Donna yelled, startling Kelso

Before she could yell some more, Forman arrived from the kitchen with her beer, which she promptly snatched from his hand.

"So, why don't everybody sit down? Steven and I will set the table" Jackie said, pulling me to the kitchen with her

She started to take the silverware while I took the plates "You're not mad at me, are you?" I ask apprehensively

She smiled softly at me "Why would I be, Steven?"

"Pam Macy… and stuff" I scratch the back of my neck uncomfortably

"Steven, that was years ago" She took my hand in hers again "We weren't even together back then"

"Well, still" I pull her closer and wrap my arms around her waist "Y'know, you looked really beautiful that night, I really regret getting you and Kelso back together"

"I think I started to fall for you there, in prom" she grinned "You hated me, but you still went as my date because you saw how sad I was, it was really nice of you"

"I never hated you" I look down at her "I thought you were annoying, but I secretly enjoyed having you around" I kiss the top of her head and I decide to confess something to her "I was afraid you were going to stop hanging in the basement, after you and Kelso broke up, and you looked real sad so… that's why I encouraged you and Kelso back then" 

She beamed at me " You wanted me around?" 

"Yup, after that pregnancy scare you didn't stopped by for like, a week, surprisingly I really missed you" I run my hands down her silky, raven hair "But I was too immature and proud to admit it out loud"

"I wish you did" She ran her tiny hands across my chest "I always had a crush on you, even when you acted like I repulsed you" 

"I was repulsed with myself because all I wanted to do was kiss your pretty little face" I admit it and look deeply into her eyes "Deep down, I think I always loved you, even when you were signing us up for roller disco tournaments without my consent" I joke

Jackie giggled, she raised her head and kissed the corner of my mouth. It takes all of my inner strength to not to capture her lips with my own, she needs to make the first move, I won't pressure her.

"Let's go, if we let Donna drink with an empty stomach she will be truly unbearable" She said

And in less than 10 minutes, everyone was at the table enjoying a nice dinner, Brooke seemed to have talked to Kelso because she wasn't scowling at him anymore, in fact, she was smiling when he told her the story of how he glued himself to the Forman's fridge. Kelso just found his soulmate, because she's probably the smartest person I know and she's actually smiling while he tells the many tales of his stupidity during the years, she probably thinks it's cute. Yeah, she must really love him.

Donna chugged at least 5 more cans of beer, and drank most of the bottle of wine with Forman and Brooke, Jackie didn't even have the chance to take a sip of the wine.

It was a pleasant dinner, Jackie sat next to me and we held hands whenever we could. And her pie wasn't bad, even Forman complimented it in his own way, Jackie looked so proud of herself, so fucking cute, man .

And I have this feeling, it's not a bad feeling, I just feel like an adult right now, because I enjoyed dinner with my chick and two other couples, without being drunk or high.

We are all in the living room, we gave Donna her presents a few minutes ago, and now Jackie's at my lap, where she belongs. It feels so good man, I don't know how I ever thought I could live without her, without this feeling. We're all talking, well, all except Donna, she and Forman are completely wasted, they decided to open the vodka a while ago.

"Hey, Jackie, do you mind if I use your phone to check on Betsy? She's at my mom's" Brooke kindly asked, and Jackie smiled and nodded

"You can use the one in my room if you want some privacy" Jackie says, Brooke smiled and headed to Jackie's room, and I directed my attention to the pretty girl on my lap

"How ya feeling, babydoll?" I ask

She smiled at me "I'm feeling pretty happy, pudding pop, and you?" 

"I have my chick in my lap again, I feel pretty fucking good" I answer her, nudging her neck with my nose, inhaling her intoxicating scent

"Eric, look!" Donna says, pointing at us with a big goofy smile on her face "They're so cute!"

Eric just smiles, he doesn't say anything, he probably thinks it'll make me uncomfortable, it won't, Jackie's at my lap right now and I'm pretty sure nothing can ruin my good mood, but he still didn't say anything.

"I missed this! Man, I wish Fez was here" Kelso pouted from his seat on the couch

"I'm sure he's having a lovely time, Kelso" Forman says rolling his eyes

"Jackie's so tiny!" Donna giggled and headed to the chair where Jackie and I are sitting, she snatched Jackie off my lap, hugging her tight "I could fit her in my pocket! She's my tiny little midget" She laughed

I smile at the two girls, Jackie's struggling to hold her laughter and Donna's still rambling. It's good, seeing them like this, they're so much closer than they were back in Point Place, they need each other.

"Good, now Donna, take her top off" Kelso said

Donna scowled at him, letting go of Jackie to hit Kelso in the back of his head "Pig"

Jackie took advantage of the opportunity and sat back down onto my lap again, so I pulled her closer to me, wrapping my hands around her and holding her tightly against my chest. I can't wait to see her reaction to all the stuff I've prepared for tomorrow, she literally has no idea, I just hope I don't give her a heart attack or something, because I meant it when I said she'll be surprised, I know my chick very well.

Brooke sat back down at the couch looking really upset "What's wrong baby?" Kelso asked, wrapping his arms around her shoulders

"Well, Patrick is back in town and my mother just told me she can't babysit Betsy tomorrow" She scoffed "We will have to cancel our plans Michael, I'm sorry" She looked apologetically at Kelso

"Ah man, I was really looking forward to tomorrow" He pouted

"What did you two have planned for tomorrow?" I ask, Forman and Donna started to furiously make out on the couch, earning glares from all of us.

I was about to throw an empty beer can at them, Forman noticed and cleaned his throat uncomfortably, he looked at Donna, who was basically straddling him at this point "So, whaddya say about lighting up that new candle in your room?" He asked her, and they ran into Donna's room, shutting the door behind them.

"Man, we had the whole day planned out, Brooke and I were going to watch one of her weird movies with subtitles" Kelso grimaced, then he smiled "But that's okay because we were going to makeout during the whole thing, then I was going to take her to one of the best restaurants in Chicago, I've made the reservations back in december, man" 

December? But they weren't even together in december, they started to date again about 3 weeks ago.

"But you and Brooke weren't together in december" Jackie observed, and Kelso looked at Brooke, smiling coyly at her

"I guess I had some hope I was going to win her back" He said, and Brooke gave him one of those big smiles, placing her hand in her heart

"Oh, Michael, that is so sweet!" She gave him a quick peck on the lips

"Steven and I are free tomorrow night, we can babysit Betsy for you" Jackie says nonchalantly and fuck fuck fuck

"Really?" Brooke smiled

"Yeah, I mean, what are godparents for?" Jackie answered and shit I can't tell her we can't do it because not only will I have ruined the surprise, I would also ruin Valentine's day for Kelso and Brooke.

"Jackie, you have no idea how much this means to us" Brooke says, giving Jackie a quick hug

"Oh, it'll be so much fun!" Jackie giggled and clapped excitedly

"We'll drop her off at 6, is that okay?" Kelso asks, looking apprehensively at me

"6 it's cool, man" I answer, trying my hardest to hide my disappointment. Betsy's a cool kid, and Jackie's really attached to her, but I was really looking forward for tomorrow

"Thank you man, I guess we gotta get going, see you tomorrow at 6?" Kelso asked, grabbing his coat

"Yeah, see you then" I say and we said goodbye to the couple, now it's just Jackie and me

Jackie looked at me with a big smile on her face, and I couldn't help but smile back, it's involuntary at this point "Betsy's the sweetest kid in the world, Steven! I can't wait!" She giggled and placed a very quick peck on my lips before she went to the kitchen to do the dishes

My lips are burning, and I feel like dancing in celebration right now, she kissed me! 

So yeah, maybe my dinner plans are ruined, but that doesn't mean we can't celebrate on our own.

I smile and touch my lips with the tip of my fingers before heading to the kitchen to help Jackie, she'll still have a very memorable Valentine's day.

 

END CHAPTER 14

 

Chapter Text

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

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 16

DONNA

"Hey Jackie, mind if I use the phone for a second?" I ask, she nods

Jackie's been on the phone with Hyde for almost 30 minutes, and he's been gone for less than 24 hours! Besides, it's still morning, Jackie and Hyde tend to have their daily phone conversations at night, so I can't help but be just a little annoyed by it.

They've got officially back together on Valentine's day, I don't know much about how the hell did that happened because I didn't talked to Jackie about it yet, she spent the whole day yesterday sucking Hyde's face off before he and Eric left to Point Place, but I did saw a giant bouquet of pink roses in the kitchen and Jackie's been wearing a new necklace. I assume that probably has something to do with it.

"See you this weekend baby" I hear Jackie saying "I love you too, Pudding pop"

I look at her and she has the biggest smile on her face, I really want to pretend I'm annoyed but I'm actually really happy for them, after everything they've been through, they definitely deserve it.

"Oh hey Donna" Jackie notices me and smiles "Steven asked me to tell you that he's not driving Eric here this weekend"

"Why?" I ask

"Because I'm going to spend the weekend in Point Place again, I was hoping you would come with me…?" She announces and looks expectantly at me

"Oh, I have to study, but I can bring my books with me" I say, smiling, our last visit to Point Place was really pleasant, I was actually hoping we could go again soon. But then I remember my dad and his very weird relationship with Pam Macy and I frown, as much as I want to go see The Formans and Fez again, I am not ready to see my father with that skank "Actually, thinking more about it… I don't think I'm ready to see the abomination that is my dad and Pam Macy together, so I think I'm going to skip it" 

She smiles sadly at me "Oh, I almost forgot about that. That really sucks, y'know? That's why I'm taking you out for mani and pedis tomorrow! I'll even pick you up at college!" She says enthusiastically

I chuckle a little, it's really cool that Jackie wants to cheer me up, even if I'm not really in the mood of spending a couple hours at the salon, I nod at her and she hugs me excitedly "Deal. Do you think that Eric will be able to drive here this weekend? It's been over a month since the unicorn incident and he's not limping anymore, maybe he's allowed to drive again?" I say

"Maybe, why don't you call him and ask?" She suggests, reminding me of what I was supposed to do right now

"I'll just call the university first, one of my professors said he was probably not going to be able to show up today and I want to check if he's there, because I only have one class today and that's with him. I don't want to go there today if there's no classes, I'll study right here" I justify and Jackie smiled, nodding and heading to the bathroom to get ready for her day

After a very frustrating phone call (those secretaries are very rude!) I find out that my professor is sick and I actually don't have any classes today, so I technically have the day off.

Only technically though, because I am starting to work on a paper about the history of rock music and I'm actually pretty excited about it, if I don't get the best grade I'll be super pissed.

Maybe I can ask Hyde for some information, like the bestseller album of his store and the bestseller band. 

Speaking of Hyde, I should probably call Eric, I got used to seeing him during the weekends and I'll genuinely miss him (a lot) if he doesn't show up here this week.

So I dial the number that I have memorized since I was 6 and wait for someone to pick up.

"Hello?" I hear a familiar voice and I smile

"Hey Mrs. Forman!" I say enthusiastically, I really miss her

"Donna! Oh my goodness it feels like I haven't seen you since forever!"

"Mrs. Forman, it's been a month" 

"I know, but it feels like forever! I still got Eric, Steven and Fez but it's not the same without you and Jackie here, and now that the boys are going to Chicago all the time I get pretty lonely on the weekends, you know? I wish you two would come over more often" She rambled 

"Well, apparently Jackie is coming over this weekend, I don't know the details but she already talked to Hyde so…"

"Oh this is wonderful news! Why hasn't Steven said anything?" She wondered

"They got off the phone like, 15 minutes ago, he'll probably tell you later today"

"Okay then. So, I assume you want to talk to Eric?" She asks

"Yeah, he's not asleep, is he?" I ask, remembering how Eric tends to sleep until noon if he's got nothing to do during the day

"No, no! He's in the basement with Fez, wait a second dear, I'll call him…" She says, then I hear a muffled scream "ERIC!"

In less than 30 seconds I hear Eric's voice and I smile "Hey there, my little muffin"

I laugh "Hey Eric"

"So, how's your day so far?" He asks

"Well, it barely started, although I do have the day off school today, my professor is sick" I answer him

"What do you mean it barely started? It's like, almost 11, Donna!"

"Don't tell me about it, Eric Forman is awake before noon, I'm surprised" I say playfully

"Actually… I decided I'm not going to be a lazy ass anymore, big surprise huh?" He laughs "I was actually looking through some college brochures when you called, I think if I try really hard, I can start in University of Chicago this fall" 

My heart skips a beat and I grin from ear to ear "Really?"

"Yeah, apparently colleges really like people who spent 6 months on Africa teaching underprivileged kids" He says "Actually, now that I'm researching more about UC, I don't really get why I wanted to go to UW at first place, I mean, there's a class in UC called 'The Importance of Jedi Culture on our Society', Donna" 

"I'm pretty sure there will be plenty of geeks in this class, so you'll be able to make friends quickly" I joke

"Ha ha, joke all you want missy, but those geeks are the future billionaires, of course I'll be making friends with them" He states and I roll my eyes 

"Anyways, Jackie just told me that Hyde won't be able to drive you here this weekend" I say

"Yeah, I was hoping you would come with Jackie" 

"About that… I don't think I'm ready to see my father with Pam Macy yet, Eric. Are you sure you cannot drive here for the weekend?" I ask in a pleading tone

"I'll have to ask my mother, but I think it's okay for me to drive now" He says "Holy shit, baby, I gotta go, I promised Hyde that I would supervise his store while he has lunch with WB" He says

"Okay, tell him I said hi" 

"I will. See you this weekend, cherry muffin" He says and I smile

"See you this weekend, little snickerdoodle" I say and I hang up the phone

"Little snickerdoodle, Donna, seriously?" I hear a voice next to me and I see Jackie sitting next to me on the couch

"Oh, you're one to talk, Mrs. Pudding Pop!" I retort

Jackie rolls her eyes "Pudding pop is a very sweet nickname with a history behind it, and for your information, Steven loves it"

"One: how the hell does that nickname have a history? Two: there's no way Hyde actually likes you calling him Pudding pop" I argue

"I already told you Steven is a very different person when he's alone with me, and you told me you would stop mocking him for being affectionate in public!" She glares at me

"I'm mocking him behind his back, that doesn't count" I protest, then my gaze softened a bit "And I guess Hyde seems really different when he's alone with you... it's actually very cute"

"It is, isn't it?" She beams "But don't tell Steven that, he's getting way better at the public displays of affection part, but he's still hates when people call him cute" she warned me "And if I know you, you will not want to know the history behind the nickname Pudding Pop"

I grimace "It's dirty, isn't it?" 

"Well it was a very hot summer day and there were no more pudding pops in the freezer, so Steven kindly..."

"EW!!" I cover my ears with my hands in horror "You're right, I don't want to know" I cringe

"See? I warned you!"

"I still want to know what's his nickname for you, I've always wondered" I say

"Donna, you're supposed to be the smart one of the group" Jackie rolls her eyes 

"What do you mean by that?" I frown, insulted by her last statement because dammit I am smart

"Steven uses my nickname in public all the time, especially now. There's no way you haven't figured it out yet"

"He calls you by your name, Jackie. Well, I've heard him calling you Jacks a few times... and he called you baby once, is it one of these?" I wonder

"Donna, I love you, but if you haven't noticed it so far, then you're as dumb as Michael, no offense"

"You take that back!" I yell

"I'll give you a hint, it starts with a 'D', ends with a 'oll'..." She says like she's talking to a child and I roll my eyes, until I got the nickname

"Doll?" I frown in confusion, then my eyes widened in realization "Oh my God, he calls you his doll all the time! How the hell didn't I notice it before?"

Jackie smiles widely "He just does it so naturally by now, it's so sweet"

"But doll is not a nickname to be embarrassed about, it's kind of cute, it's not cringy like Pudding Pop..." I state, and she rolls her eyes

"I already told you that the nickname Pudding Pop has a deeper meaning, and if you don't shut up about it I will tell you the whole story" Jackie threatened me "Steven calls me his doll, yes, but see, he uses a variation of nicknames related to dolls. Mostly babydoll and dollface"

"Y'know, Eric tried to call me pumpkin once, he freaked me out because my dad calls me pumpkin, I remember I cut him off for a week after that" I remember that day clearly, and to make everything worse he said while we were having sex

"Speaking of it, Steven also calls me his grasshopper sometimes, mostly when he's trying to play teacher when we're..." Jackie smiles and looks like she's lost in her own thoughts

"JACKIE!" I interrupted "In what circumstances are we allowed to talk about sex?"

"Only when we're drunk or Eric does something stupid" Jackie says robotically, rolling her eyes in the process

"By the way, how could you give me such a hard time about doing it on the couch with Eric when we caught you and Hyde about to do it on this couch this saturday?" I ask

"We didn't had sex" She says and I gotta confess I'm a little surprised by that "We both agreed that even though we love and cherish each other, we can't rush into things" 

"That's really mature of you guys" I say, smiling at the midget "But this celibacy thing must be hard, especially now that you two are back together. You two are back together, right?" I ask

"Yeah" She smiles

"May I ask what made you decide you were ready?" I ask curiously

"Well, I've been thinking about taking him back since that day he went to see my father in prison with me" She explains "Actually, no, I've been thinking about it since the day he showed up here and owned up to his mistakes, I started to trust him again when he went to see my dad with me" 

"I mean, my dad seemed to like him, and that's really important to me" She continues "I wanted to kiss him all the time, he was being so sweet, consoling me. But we still had a lot to talk about. In this last month we talked about everything , and he's really opening up to me Donna" She says

"I noticed that" I smile "I mean, he's actually telling you he loves you in front of everyone, and he looks really happy. You two look really happy together"

"I know! I couldn't resist it anymore and I kissed him on your birthday, after you and Eric went to… well" She shrugs and resumed talking "It was just a tiny peck, but I was already planning on taking him back, I was just waiting until the next day because I was tired and I knew that we would have to talk. So, on saturday, he woke me up with breakfast in bed and… wait, I already told you that part. After you and Eric left, we spent the whole day with Betsy, it was amazing, Donna! It made me think about the future and he's actually good with Betsy, he changed her diaper all by himself!" She squealed with joy

"Hyde changed a dirty diaper?" I ask incredulously. I know he's changed for Jackie, it's pretty obvious, but Hyde was never a softie, I never imagined him changing an actual diaper. Scratch that, I never imagined him being comfortable around a baby in first place

"He did, I didn't even ask him to, he offered! Then while he was changing her diaper the doorbell rang and I received the most beautiful flowers I've ever seen Donna! He ordered them and got them delivered, he even wrote a card!" Her eyes are filled with unshed tears and she's smiling "I already knew we were going to get back together before the flowers, I was just waiting for Michael and Brooke to pick up Betsy so we could talk in private, but then the flowers came… Donna, I deserve an award for not jumping into him at the time and traumatizing Betsy for life. I just kissed him and I hugged him when all I wanted to do was rip his clothes off his body"

I chuckle, celibacy is not going to be easy for those two.

"Then Betsy fell asleep and we talked. He actually wants a future with me, Donna, he even said he wants kids one day! So I just… I felt like we finally solved our problems, you know? Like the worst part is over. Then he gave me this necklace and said some beautiful things and I just kissed him the way I've been wanting to do for a while" She finished, a few tears of joy leaving her eyes

God, it's so good seeing Jackie like this. When we first moved to Chicago she moped around all day, and cried all night. With time she was starting to get better, but she wasn't happy, everyone could see that.

Jackie has been through some serious shit that I've never imagined before, she is such a good actress, no one has any idea about how much she suffered with her mother. When she told me the things her mother used to say to her, I felt like shit for letting her move back in with her again.

There was one specific day that Jackie was feeling extra down, and she opened up to me about her childhood. Her mother is a vain, shallow, heartless bitch who only cares about appearances and nothing else. Jackie told me all about how her mother used to weight her at least 3 times a week, how her mother forbided her to eat fattening foods, how her mother taught her how to starve herself when she was fucking 12 years old, and how her mother constantly put her down and crushed her selfsteem during her entire life.

Jackie actually told me that she actually ate bacon for the first time at the Formans.

After everything Jackie's been through with her mother, Kelso, her father's arrest, and Hyde, I thought she was going to hit rock bottom. She probably would have, if she stayed in Point Place. That's one of the many reasons why I do not regret moving here with her.

Jackie deserves happiness, and if Hyde ever hurt her again I swear to God that he won't live enough to apologize, because I'll kill him with my bare hands. But I have this feeling that this time, he won't bail.

"Jackie, I'm so happy for you" I say, smiling at my favorite midget

"Me too" She beams "You know, for the first time in a really long time, I feel like I'm finally actually happy" 

"Good, you deserve it" I say and I hug her "By the way, why are you going back to Point Place this weekend?" I ask

"Oh, Steven and I are going to visit my dad in prison again" She answers

Jackie gets up from the couch and grabbed her coat and her purse, ready to leave for work

"You surprise me everyday, you know that, right?" I say 

"I know, that's one of the many benefits of being best friends with Jackie Burkhart" Jackie smiled "By the way, I left a sandwich for you in the fridge, because I'm that amazing" She blew me a kiss and headed to work.          


I've spent the last 3 hours researching for information for my paper, I've read through almost all the Rolling Stone magazines I own, writing down all the things I think I'll be able to incorporate in my paper.

It's so gratifying, doing this kind of stuff. I've always loved music and I've always loved writing, working for the Rolling Stone magazine would be a dream come true, can you imagine? I would work with two things that I love: writing and music. 

The Rolling Stone magazine has offices in Chicago, maybe when I graduate from college… 

No, now it's not the time to think about it, I need to focus on the present and finish my paper first, it's due in two weeks but as I said, I want it to be perfect.

But in order to continue working on it I need a fucking rest. My head hurts, I'm hungry, and Jackie mentioned that she left a sandwich for me in the fridge.

I open the fridge and I smile, yep, she made me a chicken salad sandwich, there's even a pink post-it glued to the container.

 

"To my favorite lumberjack, enjoy your lunch.

Love, Jackie ♡♡"

 

Jackie can be so thoughtful when she wants to, she's not so good with words, but she compensates it with her actions. Leaving me a sandwich, giving me a mani, taking me out to see a movie… it's those small things that she does that make me really thankful to have her in my life. I wish it didn't took me so long to value her friendship like it did. She's my tiny little sister and I would kill for her.

And she makes great sandwiches.

I finish my sandwich and I grab a bottle of pop from the fridge, sitting on the couch and turning on the TV. I can continue to work on my paper later, I seriously need to rest right now.

I watch a couple episodes of Little House on the Prairie, and I'm finally able to properly rest my mind, my head has been a mess since my dad called me on my birthday.

But of course, my subconscious obviously doesn't enjoy the peace and quiet and I start to think about Eric. What happens if he gets into University of Chicago? Are we going to live together? What about Jackie? Is Eric moving in with me and Jackie? Will Jackie be okay with that? Will Eric be okay with that? Maybe we will have to search for our own apartment, but I don't want to leave Jackie alone, maybe Hyde can move in with her? And what the hell are we going to do if Eric doesn't get accepted here, in Chicago? I really want to think we will be able to work things out if he ends up moving to Madison but I'm not really sure, I mean, we're fine now, because he's not doing anything and we can see each other on the weekends but once he starts with college he will get busier and I don't know if we're going to be able to see each other so frequently anymore.

My thoughts are interrupted by the phone, and at this moment I thank the universe for making this phone ring right when I'm about to have a mental breakdown.

I pick up the phone and I hear a strange voice on the other side of the line "Is this the residence of Miss Jacqueline Burkhart?"


HYDE

Best fucking weekend ever.

Man, Jackie is my girlfriend again. Jackie is my girlfriend. I never thought such a simple phrase could cause so much joy to a human being.

She's so… she's perfect. I would rather die than screw this up again, I wasn't joking when I said I couldn't live without her, and now that I finally have her again… I can't lose her again, I just can't.

Getting her back wasn't easy, for the first time in my life I actually tore down all the walls that I've built since I was a child, I knew that was a necessary step if I really wanted to be with her again. So I did it, I was honest, I talked about my feelings and I don't regret it at all.

Because I've spent 6 months without her, and those were the worst 6 months of my entire life. I always thought that talking about my feelings would make me weak and vulnerable, but that's just a load of crap. I was weak when I made her think I didn't love her, when I took her for granted, and ended up losing her in the end. In the end it was actually pretty easy, talking to her about that stuff, at first I was a little uncomfortable, but I forgot everything about it whenever I saw her smiling.

So there's no more walls with Jackie, and now that we're back together I refuse to be the same guy I was before, I'm no longer the asshole who managed to lose the best thing that ever happened to him. I am in it for the long run now, I even asked her father for his blessing for Christ's sake. I'm doing things right this time.

I enjoy making Jackie happy, and as much as I claim to despise Valentine's day, Jackie always loved it, so I did everything I could to make her day perfect, little did I know that my day would be perfect too. I plan on giving her flowers more often, the way she smiled at me when she got that bouquet… I want to see her smiling like this for the rest of my life.

Speaking of happiness, who knew I would actually enjoy spending a whole afternoon with a baby? I actually kept wondering if that's what's going to be like when Jackie and I have our own children, because as simple and domestic as it was, Saturday was probably the best day of my life. I'm kind of looking forward to having more days like these with Jackie.

Whenever I saw her playing with Betsy, I could see her playing with our own kid. I could see her calling the kids and the dog in for dinner. I could see myself slapping her ass, making her laugh and making our kids roll their eyes in disgust. I could see myself lifting her onto the kitchen counter to kiss her as the food burn in the stove. I could see her pregnant, waking me up in the middle of the night to get her ice cream. I could see it all and I realized that I really want that. It made my heart ache in anticipation.

I want to marry her, I want to have children with her, I want a life with her.

She took me by surprise, kissing me on friday night, and she kissed me a few more times during the day on saturday, but at night, she really kissed me and that was probably the best kiss I've ever had in my life.

Later that night, after a few makeout sessions, she told me she's never taking that necklace off, because it feels like she's carrying a piece of me on her neck. I just wanted to hold her close and never let her go after that, that girl loves me way too much, sometimes I feel like I don't deserve it.

We spent the rest of the night alternating between talking and making out, in one of our talks, we agreed that we should wait before we have sex, we want to take things slow in the beginning, and I think she's afraid that sex is going to mess everything up.

I love having sex with Jackie, and I'm not gonna lie and say that I didn't wanted to have sex with her this weekend, but honestly, I get why she wants to wait and I'll wait as long as it takes, because I'm finally able to kiss her and call her my girlfriend again and that's good enough for me.

Saying goodbye yesterday was harder than I thought, it was hard already when we weren't officially together, but now… I just wanted to put her in my pocket and take her with me anywhere I go. I knew it was going to be like this, I've known that since I decided to go to Chicago in the New Years in the first place, that's why I asked WB to meet me today.

I want to move to Chicago, I've always wondered what would be like, living in a big city. And I want to be with Jackie, all I know is that she is not giving up her job for me again, I refuse to let that happen, I've said it many times and I'll say it again: Jackie is too good to stay in Point Place.

Jackie and I talked on the phone earlier this morning, I told her this weekend that I have to meet with WB (she doesn't know why) and she called to wish me good luck. She also reminded me that she's coming to Point Place this weekend because we are going to visit her dad in prison again.

WB always liked Jackie (despite her insulting Angie a few times), and he mentioned to me a couple times that I should get her back. I think he'll be glad to know that I finally did, I need to talk to him about moving to Chicago. I don't expect it to be quick, even though he has a corporate office there and a couple stores, he's not a miracle worker. Besides, there's the store in Point Place, I want to make sure I'll leave it in good hands when I move.

WB is going to meet me here, at the store, at any minute now, that's why I asked Forman to keep an eye on it, because WB and I are going for lunch. 

Forman arrived like an hour ago, and he just had to bring his toys with him. He's currently building a lego set behind the counter, I should've just asked Dom to take care of things while I'm gone.

"Hey son" I snap out of my daze when I hear my dad

"WB" I shake his hand "Man, when did you get here?"

"About 5 minutes ago, you're looking really thoughtful today" He says and raises an eyebrow at me "You're not high right now, are you?"

"What? No" I answer him "I was just thinking about some stuff"

"Okay then, shall we go?" He asks and I nod, following him out of the store

WB drived us to the same restaurant we ate when he offered me a job at his corporate office. Jackie followed us here just so she could snap some candid photos of me and my dad, at the time it annoyed me a bit, but now I realize she was just really happy for me and wanted me to remember that moment.

"So, how're things going at the store?" 

"They've been fine. This new guy I hired a couple months ago, Dom, he's pretty cool. He's been helping me a lot" I say

"And how are things going with Jackie?" He asks, taking me by surprise. I could swear I haven't told him I was planning on getting her back

"How do you know?" I ask

"You look happy, the last time I saw you like this you were with Jackie" He says with a small smile "And also, Kitty told me"

Ah, that makes more sense.

"Mrs. Forman told you? When?"

"A couple weeks ago I called, I was in town and wanted to see you, she told me you were in Chicago with Jackie" He grinned "So, tell me, when did you finally got your head out of your ass and decided to do the right thing?" He asks

"New years" I answer "But I was thinking about it for a while, I just didn't had the guts to do anything about it until Forman arrived" 

"And how are things with her?" He asks curiously

"She took me back this weekend" I smile, thinking about how this was the best weekend of my life "But she and I have been talking since the first week of January, she needed time to forgive me and everything" 

"I can see why" WB says sternly "Look, I didn't say anything much before because I didn't want to upset you, but you almost ruined your life, son. I mean, marrying a stripper? What were you thinking? You're really lucky you two weren't actually married, you have no idea how ex-wives like to take your money. Believe me, I've got four, I know what I'm talking about" 

"You don't need to tell me that" I say, lucky for me, Sam was dumb as fuck, Fez was right when he said she was dumber than Kelso

"And Jackie… Jackie didn't deserve that, she's kind of eccentric but she really loved you, it was written all over her face. You should've seen her the day we first met at the Formans, she was almost jumping into my throat" He says, and I raise an eyebrow in confusion

"Why?" I ask "Because of the money thing?"

"Yeah, if you hadn't dramatically stomped out of the room you wouldn't have missed her lecture" He chuckled

My mouth twitched upwards "Yeah?"

"Oh, yes. She called me rude, wrong, and told me she couldn't be friends with me" He says with a small grin on his face "She also said I was wrong about you and that you were perfect"

I grinned, of course she said that, little does she know that she's the perfect one "She never told me any of that"

"Well, I don't think she said it to win brownie points, son. I think she was honestly defending you"

"I know" I sigh "WB, Jackie is kind of the reason I asked to meet you in the first place, you see, she's living in Chicago now…"

"And you want to be with her" He completed my sentence for me and I nodded "Don't worry about it, we can work this out. It will take a while though"

"I figured so, but that's okay, I'll just keep spending the weekends with her for now, but can you tell me how long do you think it will take?" I ask apprehensively

"I've been thinking about opening a new Grooves in Chicago for a while now, you've done such a good job with the store here, I want you to manage something in Chicago as well" He says "I've been thinking on expanding Grooves, I was actually looking forward to tell you about this idea I've had a few weeks ago"

"What idea?" I ask curiously

"Look, call me crazy, but I've been thinking… I was in Milwaukee one night, I had nothing to do, and I passed in front of the most interesting place. It was a bar, but not a regular bar. See, have you paid attention to history classes at school?" WB asked

I was about to answer 'hell no', you know, to maintain the badass reputation I've spent so many years building, but history was actually the only class I enjoyed watching. So I just nodded.

"Remember when they taught you about the Eighteenth Amendment?" 

"That's the one that made booze illegal, right?" I ask

"Exactly, but that didn't stop us americans from drinking. That's when the Speakeasies surged. Those were hidden bars in the basement of other establishments" He explained and I think I know what he's thinking, and if he's thinking what I think he is, then that's like, really cool.

"This place, it was an actual bar, a regular one. But I kept seeing a lot of people going in and out of one specific door and I asked the bartender what that was about. He said that underneath the bar there was a punk club, see where I'm getting with this?" He says and I smile

"You want to build a club underneath a Grooves store?" I ask and he smiled and nodded "That's pretty badass"

"It will be a working record store during the day, and at night it will be a club, those kinds of clubs where garage bands go to play, and stuff like that. What do you think?" He asks

"I think it's awesome" I answer honestly "I would definitely be a regular in a place like this, everybody knows how much I love basements" I smirk

"I want to build one in Chicago and I want you to manage it" He deadpanned

I'm speechless. This is so cool, and unique. But I don't get how it will work exactly.

"Wait, but if it will work during the day as a record store and during the night as a club, I mean, how is that going to work exactly?" 

"I will find two different managers, one for the record store, one for the club. The club will be underneath the record store. I want you to manage the managers. You'll be the boss" Holy shit.

I can't wait to tell Jackie. This is incredible.

"WB man… are you sure? I mean, this is big" 

"Steven, you know music. And I trust you. You did a pretty good job here in Point Place and I think you'll do a pretty good job in Chicago too. So, are you in?" He asks

"Hell yeah I'm in! This is awesome!" I exclaim

"About your previous question: I'll build this place from scratch, I already bought the building, but there's a lot of things to do yet. So, it'll be ready in about 6 months, mid august. Is that alright?" He asks

"I'll talk to Jackie but I think it's fine. WB man…" I start, unsure of what to say

"I know Steven" He smiles "So, let's eat, I want to hear your ideas"                    


Lunch with WB was pleasant, to say the least. We spent over two hours discussing plans for the new store/club, and I really think it will be a big hit. Jackie will be so excited, I can't wait to tell her.

WB dropped me off at the store. It's almost closing time, so I asked Dom to close the store for me, because I'm exhausted and I also need to take Forman home.

Forman picked up his model and climbed on the Camino's passenger seat.

"How was lunch with WB?" He asks

"It was amazing man, he has this new idea and it's probably one of the most brilliant things I've ever heard" I say enthusiastically

"What is it?" He asks curiously

"I'll tell you about it later today, I want to talk to Jackie first" I answer and he shrugs, analyzing his recently built model, probably searching for any defects

As soon as I parked home, I headed into the kitchen. I was about to pick up the phone to call Jackie when I remembered that she's probably still at work and I'll have to wait a couple hours to talk to her. So Forman and I go straight to the living room, where Red and Kitty are watching the TV.

The minute I saw their faces I knew something was wrong. Mrs. Forman is crying and Red looks bothered by something.

"What happened?" Eric and I asked at the same time

"Eric, sweetie, Donna just called 15 minutes ago, why don't you go to the kitchen and call her back while we talk to Steven?" Mrs. Forman said, and my face went pale. Did something happen to Jackie?

Mrs. Forman didn't have to ask twice, Eric went to use the phone in the kitchen and I was left alone in the living room with Kitty and Red.

Mrs. Forman started to sob again and I looked at Red. I need to know what the hell is going on.

Red was about to open his mouth and explain to me when I heard something on the TV that caught my attention.

"Breaking News: Former city councilman Jack Burkhart, arrested for bribery and embezzlement two years ago in Point Place, was murdered today in Kenosha State Penitentiary by a fellow inmate…"

At the same time I heard Forman screaming from the kitchen.

"WHAT?!"

Oh fuck.

END CHAPTER 16

Chapter Text

 

CHAPTER 17

DONNA

"Is this the residence of Miss Jacqueline Burkhart?"

My heart stops for a second. I have a very bad feeling. A very, very bad feeling.

"Yes" I answer "Jackie's not home right now"

"Who am I speaking to?" The man on the other line said

"Donna, I'm her best friend and her roommate. Who is this?" 

"My name is Harlan Parker, I'm the chaplain at the Kenosha State Penitentiary. I was asked to call and inform Miss Burkhart about the passing of her father" The man answered

I stiffened immediately. This can't be happening. Jackie is fucking happy for the first time in her life. This can't be happening.

"How?" Is all I manage to ask

"Mr. Burkhart was stabbed to death by his cellmate yesterday" Yesterday? Yesterday? Her father died yesterday and they only called today at 5pm? What the fuck is wrong with them?

I take a deep breath and I try to control my voice. And my tears. This is fucking insane.

"Who the hell gave a knife to a prisoner?" I ask, the anger evident in my voice

"We don't allow weapons in our facility for obvious reasons, miss. The inmate melted a toothbrush and sharpened it until it became a knife. Mr. Burkhart was stabbed 12 times" He says coldly and I went pale

How can he be so insensitive about someone's death? He's a chaplain! I can't even begin to describe how disturbing the whole situation is. A toothbrush turned into a knife? What the fuck? 

I can't bring myself to say anything else, the shock is the only thing stopping me from sobbing right now.

"Miss Burkhart has until Wednesday to pick up the body and send it to a funeral home, if she doesn't show up he's going to be buried in the prison cemetery" The man says "I'm sorry for your loss"

And then he hangs up. He just hangs up. He didn't even bother asking when Jackie was going to be home so he could tell her himself. He just told the most devastating news of her life to me. And now I have to tell her.

Fuck, Jackie won't be able to handle this. I know her, I saw how she was when we first moved here, Hyde told me how she was when her dad went to prison, how she was when her mother abandoned her in a house with no food, electricity or water. I don't think she'll be able to hide behind a mask after this.

This will break her. Really break her.

It's not fair. Not fair at all. Jackie was going to visit her father this weekend with Hyde! She's happy, she has her dream job, she has good friends and she's more in love than ever. 

Fuck. I can't lose her, she's my sister. How the hell am I supposed to help her with this? Her father was murdered , with a fucking toothbrush as a weapon, in prison. How's she going to be able to talk to the funeral home? To pick up her father's dead body? To bury him?

Hyde. I need to tell Hyde. He's the one who'll be able to help her the most. I swear to god that if he bails on her after this I will kill him.

I need to pick up the phone, I need to reach him, he needs to come here right now. Because I don't know what I'm supposed to do. I doubt that the prison will call again to update her. Am I supposed to call her work? Tell her to come home right now? Am I supposed to wait until she gets home? What the hell should I do?

I'm frozen. I feel like I can't move. All I can think about is Jackie and how devastated she will be.

I take a very deep breath. I need to compose myself, God knows that Hyde is not the calmest guy in the world and he'll probably freak out the moment I tell him.

I dial the familiar number and I hear Mrs. Forman's perky voice. I always smile when I hear her voice, but not today.

"Mrs. Forman" I say, trying really hard not to cry "I need to talk to Hyde, it's urgent"

"Did something happen to Jackie? Donna?" She asks frantically

"Jackie is fine, for now" I sigh "I've just gotten a call from the prison, her father was murdered"

A few tears leave my eyes again.

"Oh my God, that poor girl!" She cries "Steven is not home, he went out with his father"

Shit. 

"And Eric?" I ask hopefully, if Hyde's not home at least Eric can calm me down for a while

"Eric went to watch the store for Steven while he's gone" I heard Mrs. Forman sniffing "They should be home any minute now, it's almost closing time"

"Can you please ask one of them to call me as soon as possible?" I plead

"Of course darling" She answered sweetly, but I can hear the sadness in her voice "Does Jackie know?" She asks 

"She's at work, I want to talk to Hyde before talking to her" 

"Good, you're doing the right thing. She's going to need Steven" She says, I hear some muffled sounds and I recognize Red's voice. Mrs. Forman must be telling him. After a couple minutes I hear her voice again "Honey, as soon as the boys arrive one of them will call you, stay close to the phone, okay?"

"Okay, thank you Mrs. Forman" I say sincerely

"You're welcome honey, please call to update us on Jackie after you tell her. I have this feeling that she's not going to take this very well" She says sadly

"For the first time in my life, I hope you're wrong Mrs. Forman"

"Me too honey, me too" She mutters "I'll hang up now, keep the line open, Steven or Eric can call at any minute now"

"Okay" I say, and I hang up

I bury my face in my hands and I allow myself to cry, to sob, even. I can create a whole monologue complaining about how unfair this is, but it's not going to help. Right now, I just need to talk to Hyde, he needs to come to Chicago as soon as possible.

Not even 10 whole minutes passed and I heard the phone again, I quickly picked up, hopefully it's Hyde.

"Donna" I hear Eric's voice and I feel myself relaxing for the first time since I've got that call, I'm still crying, and at this point, I don't think I can't stop "Donna, what's going on?" Eric asks in a serious tone "My parents just dragged Hyde to the living room saying that they need to talk to him and…" He pauses "Donna is Jackie hurt?" I can sense the concern in his voice and I just sob harder

"Eric, Jackie's father was murdered in prison yesterday, they called here not that long ago" I managed to say

I hear Eric gasping, then I hear him screaming "WHAT?!"

"They say his cellmate killed him with a toothbrush and the guy that called was super rude and Jackie doesn't even know yet and…"

Eric interrupts my rambling "Donna, Donna, calm down" He says and I take a deep breath "Now tell me exactly…" Eric suddenly stopped talking and I heard a very agitated voice talking to him. Hyde.

I can't hear exactly what they were talking about, but after a few seconds I hear Hyde's voice on the other end of the line "Donna" He says "Does she knows?" He asks calmly

"No, she's still at work" I answer 

"I'm on my way" He says "Don't tell her until I get in your place, okay?"

"Okay, I think I can do that" I say, my voice trembling

"Donna" I hear Hyde again, his tone stern and soft at the same time "I know it's tough but get yourself together, if Jackie gets home from work before I arrive and you're crying, she'll figure something happened and we don't want that. Wait for me" 

"Alright" I say, wiping the tears off my face

"See you soon" He says and hands the phone back to Eric

"Donna, tell me exactly what happened" Eric says and I can feel the tension leaving my body

And I tell him everything. How it happened, when it happened, how insensitive the guy on the phone was, how worried I am about Jackie. Then I remembered something. The body. There's no way Jackie's going to be able to call a funeral home and plan everything.

"Eric, go to my dad" I instruct him

"What? Why?" He asks

I sigh, as much as I hate that bitch and everything she's done to Jackie, she's still Jack's wife legally. She will be able to do what Jackie won't.

"Because I need someone to locate her mother" I say "Call every resort in Mexico, Brazil or whatever tropical country she's in, just find her" 

"Okay, I'll go do that" He says, and I can almost see him nodding, then he changed to a more serious tone "Donna, I love you"

I smile for the first time since I've got that phone call "I love you too"

                   


HYDE

"Breaking News: Former city councilman Jack Burkhart, arrested for bribery and embezzlement two years ago in Point Place, was murdered in Kenosha State Penitentiary by a fellow inmate…"

At the same time I heard Forman screaming from the kitchen.

"WHAT?!"

Oh fuck.

I knew something was going to happen sometime. I knew that Jack also knew it. Jackie said she had a bad feeling. Technically, it's not supposed to be a surprise.

But it is. I feel like someone just knocked the wind out of me. What the hell am I supposed to do now?

Jackie. Fuck. Jackie will be devastated.

Mr and Mrs. Forman are saying something but I can't bring myself to hear it. I ran to my room, I haven't unpacked yet, so I just grabbed the duffel bag and threw it across my shoulder. I head to the kitchen and I see Forman on the phone with Donna.

"Now tell me exactly…" I hear him saying, but he noticed I arrived

"Forman, I'm driving Jackie and probably Donna here tomorrow, after you finish with Donna you go straight to Bob and let him know" I instruct him and he nodded, handing me the phone.

"Donna" I say and I ask the one thing I need to know the most "Does she knows?"

"No, she's still at work" She answered

"I'm on my way" I say, and I lowered my tone, I need Donna to do as I say, because I know Jackie very well, and if she receives the news the wrong way she'll freak out "Don't tell her until I get in your place, okay?"

"Okay, I think I can do that" She says, her voice trembling. Fuck, she's probably crying

"Donna" I say, trying to sound serious and comprehensive at the same time "I know it's tough but get yourself together, if Jackie gets home from work before I arrive and you're crying, she'll figure something happened and we don't want that. Wait for me" I plead her

"Alright" She says

"See you soon" I handed the phone back to Forman and ran to my car, throwing my bag at the passenger seat.

I'm probably going to break the record for more speeding tickets in less than two hours, but I really don't give a shit about it. I need to get to Jackie.     


Fucking traffic.

The trip that was supposed to take less than 2 hours took me 2 and a half hours, Jackie's probably home by now. I hope Donna did as I asked her because I know my chick and I know that she will not react well to what happened.

Just the thought of seeing her suffering is enough to cause me physical pain. I've never dealt with grief before but I know it's going to be tough.

Man, this is not fair. We were doing good, Jackie was happy, we just got back together, things were finally starting to be the way they're supposed to. And then the shit hits the fan.

Jackie once told me that if I want to make her feel better I should just hold her. And that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to hold her and I'll never let her go.

I clutch with the keys Jackie gave me and Forman a few weeks ago, my hands are fucking shaking man. 

I open the door and I see Jackie watching TV with Donna by her side. She doesn't know yet, good. I take a few seconds to stare at her, this is probably the last time I'm going to see her this serene for a while.

I take a deep breath and I head inside the apartment, the second that Jackie saw me she beamed, and my heart broke a little.

"Steven!" She says, looking surprised but amused, I headed to the couch and sat down next to her.

She cupped my face and kissed me tenderly, running her thumbs against my cheeks, and I enjoy the feeling while I can.

As soon as Donna saw me, her face was red again, I can see that she's holding back tears. I'm surprised Jackie hasn't noticed it yet.

"What are you doing here, Pudding pop? I thought we agreed I was going to Point Place in the weekend" She says, confused

I take my sunglasses off and I take both of her hands in mine, rubbing my thumb against her smooth skin. I looked at Jackie and I sighed, this is going to be awful.

"Doll… I need to talk to you about something" I say

And as I look into her eyes I see realization, she knows it's bad news, she's smart and she can read me like a book.

"Did something happen to my father?" She asked, I can see her eyes dulling and fuck, there's nothing I can do to stop it and I feel fucking useless. She looks at me expectantly and I nod.

"Yes doll, your father..." Fuck, this is awful "Your father died" I tell her, and I can see her face going blank, the spark in her eyes is gone. It's like part of her just died right in front of me and there's nothing I can do to help.

I can almost hear my heart shattering along with hers.

She directed her gaze to the floor, and she looked completely lost in her own thoughts. I was expecting sobbing, a lot of tears, yelling, everything, but not this. This is freaking me out.

I look at Donna and she's looking at Jackie, crying her eyes out.

I cup Jackie's face, and look deeply into her mismatched eyes. I delicately rub my thumbs against her smooth cheeks and press my forehead against hers, trying to transfer all the strength I have to her.

"How did it happen?" She asked. Fuck, she sounds so small, so vulnerable, it's killing me.

I sigh, trying to figure out what the hell am I going to tell her. How do you tell the love of your life that her father was murdered in prison, stabbed 12 times with a fucking toothbrush?

"Steven…" I hear her pleading tone and I know I need to tell her everything.

It's part of our pact after all, always tell the truth, don't sugar coat it, no matter how much it hurts.

I take a deep breath. "He was stabbed 12 times by his cellmate, he…" I keep caressing her face, looking deeply into her eyes still "He melted a toothbrush and turned it into a knife"

Donna is full on sobbing right now, the sight of a truly broken Jackie being too much for her. If she can only see how I'm feeling… I would do anything to make this better for Jackie. Anything.

I'm a loss for words, I don't know what I'm supposed to say right now, because Jackie is just staring at the floor again. I pulled her into my chest, wrapping my arms tightly around her, waiting for sobs that probably won't come.

She's not crying and that's fucking terrifying.

"We were going to visit him this weekend" I hear her mumbling against my chest and I pull her even closer to me, pressing a light kiss on top of her head

'I know doll, I know…"

I keep holding her tight for what feels like hours, she's not saying anything and I feel like I want to cry. Because that's not my doll.

Donna turned the TV off after a while, and she just kept staring at Jackie, the worry evident in her face. I'm not letting Jackie go, I'm not. I'm holding her until she feels better, like I promised her I always would.

"Did she eat anything?" I ask Donna, who just wipes a few tears from her face and points at the coffee table, there's empty boxes of Chinese food in there, and I let out a breath I didn't even know I was holding. She ate, one less thing to worry about, because if Jackie continues in the state she is, I'm not sure she'll be able to eat.

"Baby…" I call her, caressing her hair, but she doesn't answer me

"Jackie?" I call her again, and she's still a statue in my arms. I looked at Donna and she seemed just as lost as I do, I'm starting to get desperate

Donna approached us, kneeling in front of the couch. Jackie is still wrapped in my arms, my hands are still in her hair. Donna placed her hand in Jackie's shoulder, she didn't even acknowledge her presence, her head still buried in my chest.

"Jackie…" Donna pleaded, waiting for Jackie to react, I just close my eyes and lean my chin on top of her head, inhaling her intoxicating scent, waiting for Donna to finish "C'mon midget, talk to me" 

Donna looked at me and said sadly "It's like she's not even here" 

I sigh. Don't I know that. I keep kissing the top of her head desperately, trying to get a reaction from her, but nothing.

I pull her away just so I can look into her eyes again, they're as dull as ever, they're wet but the tears are not falling, she's in shock.

I kissed her forehead and got up the couch, carrying Jackie in my arms, bridal style. I looked at Donna "Call the Formans, update them, see if you can reach Pam" 

She nodded and I took Jackie to her room. She's still on her work clothes. That can't be comfortable. I sat her on the bed and I removed her shoes and her blazer, then I carefully released her hair from the neat ponytail, running my hands into it. I cradled her face in my hands again, looking desperately at her.

"Dollface, please, talk to me" I beg her, but nothing, the ache in my chest growing at each second.

"If you're not going to talk, then I am, okay?" I say, kissing her temple, running one hand across her hair and cradling her face with the other hand "You need to get some sleep, because tomorrow you're going back to Point Place. It's going to be a long day but I won't leave your side doll, I promise" 

"Mrs. Forman is probably on a baking spree right now" I say, trying to get any sort of reaction from her "Mr. Forman is probably yelling at someone, probably Forman or Bob, he does that whenever he's worried about something" 

As I ran my hands from her hair to her face, I noticed that she still has makeup on. She hates sleeping with makeup, she says it's like poison for the skin, that it clogs the pores, and that causes pimples. Oh yeah, I always listened while she talked, even though I acted like I didn't.

"Doll, those weird wipes that remove your makeup, you keep it in the bathroom, right?" I ask, knowing I won't get the answer "I'll go get them, I don't want you complaining about pimples once you…" Get back to normal? She's never going back to normal, these kind of experiences change people "...Get better, once you get better" I finish the sentence

Her eyes are still lifeless and every time I look at them I feel like there's a knife in my chest.

"I'll go get them, then we'll go to bed and we'll deal with this whole situation in the morning, together, okay? Wait here" I kiss her forehead and leave the room, heading to the bathroom

I take a quick glance at the living room, Donna's on the phone with someone, still looking disturbed. I'll talk to her as soon as Jackie sleeps, if she sleeps. Everything is so fucked up, how can things change all of a sudden?

I open the cabinet in her bathroom and I quickly locate the wet wipes that remove her makeup. 

When I got back into her room, she's still in the same position as before. Sitting down on bed and staring at the wall. I can't even describe how much it hurts seeing her like this.

I went to her dresser and I'm currently trying to find something for her to sleep in. I smile when I see my old Led Zeppelin shirt, she used to sleep in it all the time, especially when she was alone in her house after her mother abandoned her. She said it made her feel safe. I'm hoping that it'll make her feel safe today as well. I place the shirt and a pair of sweatpants on her bed. I'll ask Donna to help her change once I'm done with her makeup, I don't want Jackie to think that I'm trying to take advantage of her.

I kneel in front of her, so we can be face to face, and I decide I'm going to keep talking. She once said that my voice tends to calm her down, and I just want her to react to something, anything.

I take one of the wipes and I start to clean her face "You look beautiful without makeup, I always thought so" I say while I delicately rub the wipe against her cheek "I remember the first time I saw you without any makeup on, I thought you never looked more beautiful. Of course I didn't said anything, I was an ass back then" I move the wipe to her forehead "Then you started to freak out, saying that you looked awful and that I wasn't allowed to see you like that, I thought you were overreacting, obviously, but then you told me about Kelso's reaction from when he saw you without any makeup on and I wanted to travel all the way to California just to kick his ass" 

"You always look beautiful, no matter what you're doing or what you're wearing. Fez is right when he says you are a goddess" I say, then I look at her face and she still has makeup in her eyes, I look at the wipe in my hand and I frown

"Is this shit safe for your eyes?" I ask, I know she's not answering me but still, I take the pack of wipes and I search for information about what's on this crap, then I see the tiny mark that says it's 'eye safe', so I start wiping the makeup off her eyes very carefully "I love your eyes, I love how different they are, how they can read my soul, how they spark"

I sigh, they are not sparking anymore "This whole situation sucks, but I meant it Jackie, I'm here for you, I'm not going anywhere. I love you" I press a quick kiss on her lips and lean my forehead against hers

"I'll go get Donna, she'll help you get changed okay? I'll be back" I say and when I was about to turn and leave, I feel her clutching my hand

"Stay" I hear her saying in the most fragile tone I've ever seen, and I quickly turn around and sit next to her on the bed, lacing our fingers together

I feel her leaning her head on my shoulder and I can't help but be a little relieved that she's reacting. Then I feel my shirt getting wet and the ache on my chest returned.

So I just pull her closer to me, and let her cry on my shoulder while I caress her hair. No sobs are escaping her, just silent, helpless tears. That worried me even more than uncontrollable sobs ever would, because I know these aren't going away anytime soon.

"Do you still want me to get Donna? You need to change and go to bed, doll" I say after a few minutes, and I can feel her shaking her head.

"Do you want me to help you?" I ask, and I can feel her nodding. It's not a verbal response, I have this feeling that she doesn't have the energy to talk right now, but it is something.

So I helped her. I unbuttoned her blouse, and helped her into my old Led Zeppelin shirt. I helped her out of her skirt and into the sweatpants. There's no malice in my actions, I just want her to feel comfortable and have a good night of sleep, God knows she'll need to be well rested for tomorrow, I have this feeling that tomorrow it's not going to be an easy day.

She laid down on the bed and I removed my boots, laying next to her. I turned in the bed so now I'm facing her, and she buried her head in my chest, silent tears still escaping her eyes.

I place my arms around her, rubbing her back with my hand.

"I love you so much, Jackie. It's killing me, seeing you like this and not being able to do a damn thing about it" I say, kissing her head a few times "You are my everything, we're going to get through this"


After what seemed like hours, Jackie finally fell asleep. I take a quick glance at my watch, yeah, almost two hours have passed. I carefully leave the bed, I need to talk to Donna and figure out what the hell are we going to do now.

I kiss her forehead one more time, covering her with a comforter before leaving the room.

Donna is sitting on the couch, her face is red and her eyes are swollen.

"How's she doing?" She asks

"She's asleep" I say, sitting on the couch and rubbing my eyes

It seems surreal, how the world turned upside down in just a span of a few hours. When I arrived at the Formans I was so excited to talk to Jackie, tell her all about WB's new idea. Guess that'll have to wait.

"Is she talking?" Donna asks apprehensively

"She said one word during all this time I was with her in her room" 

"Is that it?" Donna looks disappointed

"She wasn't even acknowledging my presence at first, but now it looks like she's getting better, she was able to answer a couple questions with a nod" I answer dejectedly 

"Mrs. Forman said that she's probably in shock, that it'll go away eventually" Donna observed and I directed my attention to her "My father and Eric spent the last few hours trying to locate Pam. My dad succeeded eventually, she's in Hawaii with her new boyfriend"

"I thought she was whoring her way through Brazil?" I ask, not bothering to hide the bitterness in my voice. Pam can go to hell.

"Apparently she got tired of the Atlantic ocean and wanted to see the Pacific" Donna rolled her eyes "She's arriving at Point Place tomorrow afternoon, dad is picking her up at the airport. She said she'll handle the funeral arrangements"

"Good, it's the least she can do" I mutter "Jackie is in no condition to plan a funeral, Pam better show up"

"She will" Donna says, trying to reassure me "God, I hate that woman. We're heading to Point Place tomorrow, right?" She asks

"Yeah" I answer, leaning my head on my hands. I have a killer headache.

"I called her boss already, Jackie has the week off" She says

I groan, thinking about how I've never seen Jackie like this before. A week won't be enough, but if Jackie loses this job… Fuck, I don't even want to think about how she'd react to that. 

"Both Kelso and Fez called, Kelso wanted to drop by with Brooke and Betsy but I told him not to, he says he's going back to Point Place tomorrow too" Donna says

I grunt in response, I can't bother to think about Kelso or Fez now, my mind is focused on the broken girl sleeping in her room "I need to go pack her things" I say as I stand up from the couch, leaving Donna alone in the living room.

I feel so fucking useless right now. What the hell am I supposed to do to make her feel better? I don't think holding her will be enough this time.

All I want to do is to take her pain away, transfer it all to me. Seeing her like this is irrevocably painful, I can feel her sadness radiating from her body, from her soul. And it makes me want to die. 

I head into her room again and I glance at the tiny figure sleeping in the bed. Her face is red and sticky with dried tears, I want to do something to make her feel better but I don't even know if I can. I don't know how she's going to be better after this, she's been through too much already, maybe this is it, her breaking point.

No. I've lost her before, and I'm not losing her again. Not like this.

Because I know that if I lose her I'll eventually waste away to nothing, I'll literally die.

I silently grab her suitcase and place a few of her stuff inside. A few clothes that I know she likes, underwear, hygiene items, pajamas… I take a quick look at her closet, I have to choose an outfit for her to wear at the funeral. I can't bring myself to choose anything, so I take a deep breath, grabbing a bunch of black dresses and throwing them in the suitcase.

I close the damn thing and I leave it near the door. I'll deal with the rest of it tomorrow.

I lay down next to her, cuddling her from behind. I press a quick kiss on her neck and I pull her closer to me, intertwining our legs. Then I just close my eyes and give in to the exhaustion. Tomorrow is going to be a long day.

END CHAPTER 17

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 18

HYDE

As I stirred from sleep I felt cold. Jackie's not here. I sigh and sit up, rubbing my eyes. I take a quick glance around her sparse room, and I notice that the picture she keeps on her nightstand is gone.

I look at my watch, it's 6 AM, it's too early, where's Jackie?

Jackie's not okay, not okay at all, and I'm so fucking worried about her. I stand up and head into the living room.

She's sitting on the couch, still wearing my Led Zeppelin shirt and the sweatpants, she's looking at a picture of her and her father. The one she keeps on her nightstand. She looks exhausted, she must be up for a while and I curse myself for not waking up with her. I don't want her alone when she's fragile like this.

I sat next to her on the couch, placing my arm around her shoulders, she settled herself in my embrace and I kissed her forehead.

"How long have you been up?" I ask, running my hands through her hair

"Since 3, I think" She answered nonchalantly, still looking at the picture in her hands

"Why didn't you wake me, doll?" 

She looked at me and I noticed how red and swollen her eyes are, and the dark circles surrounding them. She's been crying. 

"I didn't wanted to worry you" She answered, grabbing my hand and lacing our fingers together

I sigh and ask "How are you feeling?"

"Like a part of me just died" She answered with such honesty that I felt the back of my eyes burning. 

She looks empty, hollow. Her voice sounds distant. Everything is so fucked up and wrong. I feel like shit because there's nothing I can do to make her feel better.

"I love you" I say, holding her closer. I can't make any promises that things are going to be better, I can't take her pain away, but I can tell her the truth. That I love her, and I won't leave her side. 

"I love you too" She answers. I was hoping to see a small smile on her face, but I can't see anything other than pain.

She placed her hand in my cheek and guided my face to hers, pressing her soft lips against mine tenderly.

"Sorry I acted all crazy last night" She says, her eyes welling with tears "It was just… too much" 

"I know doll, I know" I run my thumb against her cheek, wiping the tears that are falling. She closed her eyes, and she looked so tired, defeated, seeing her like this... it's torture.

I hold her closer and run my hands through her hair again. It's all I can do for now, and I just hope it makes her feel better, even if it's just a bit.

I can feel the dampness in my shirt, and I stay with her, letting her cry on my chest for as long as she needs, just running my fingers through her hair and whispering comforting words in her ear.

After a while she stopped crying, she was still in my arms, but she's too quiet. We need to get back to Point Place soon, the Formans are waiting for us and Jackie's mom will arrive this afternoon to deal with the funeral preparations.

"Doll, I'm going to make you some breakfast" I say, concerned. She needs to eat, but honestly I don't think she'll be able to, not now.

"Not hungry" She mumbles

"You still have to eat, please Jackie" I ask, remembering one of the most terrifying days of my life.

We were making out, she was sitting in the Forman's freezer and I was standing between her legs, it happened in the summer we started to hook up. We were about to reach second base for the first time when she asked me to stop. So I did, and I asked her to sit with me and watch some TV. When she stood up she passed out on my arms. I saw her face getting paler and paler and I saw how she was trying to steady herself in the freezer, I was able to grab her before she fell onto the floor.

It was the scariest moment of my life, I panicked and took her to Mrs. Forman, I stayed with her until she woke up. When she did, I asked what the hell happened and she told me she skipped breakfast. I was pissed, and I yelled at her, and instead of crying or being mad at me, she smiled softly and said it would never happen again.

And it didn't. But I also always made sure she was eating properly and not skipping any meals.

I don't want to risk seeing her pass out again because she skipped breakfast. I get that this is definitely an unusual circumstance, but I won't cave on this, it's her fucking health I'm talking about.

"Honestly, I don't think I'll be able to hold it in" She answered me and I sighed

"Just a yogurt or something, please doll, for me?" I ask her again, running my thumbs against her cheeks

She nodded and I breathed relieved. I was worried she was going to put up a fight or something.

I place a chaste kiss on her forehead before moving to the kitchen. She didn't follow me, she just started to stare at the picture again. I sigh, taking a yogurt container from the fridge and a spoon.

I went back to the living room and handed it to her. She took her eyes off the picture and thanked me. I try to sit next to her, but she's staring at me.

"What is it, doll?" I ask

"You should go eat something, I know how grumpy you get when you don't have a proper breakfast" She said

"I don't want to leave you alone" I answer her honestly

"I'll literally be in the room next to you, Steven. I promise that if I need anything I'll tell you, okay?" She says tenderly

Fuck. I don't know how she manages to do that. She's living her worst nightmare, yet, she's still concerned about me.

"Fine, but I'll leave the door open" I say, and she nods, resting her head on the back of the couch. She looks exhausted "You should try and take a nap, doll. We're heading to Point Place in a couple hours, I'll wake you when it's time"

"I can't sleep" She muttered, opening the yogurt and focusing her gaze on the lid, avoiding my eyes

I can see a lonely tear falling through her cheek. I raise my hand and I wipe it off with my thumb, she leans her face on my hand and my heart starts to beat frantically in my chest. I just want to put her in my pocket and protect her from all the shit that's going on, I know this is only the beginning and just the thought of her going through more pain… it's unbearable.

I don't know what the hell I'm supposed to do. I've never dealt with grief before. Well, I helped Forman when his gramma died, then again when his grandpa died. But it was relatively easy, I think that when Bernice died he was more disturbed about the thought of killing her than her actual death, after a couple days and a few circles he was fine again.

Same thing happened when Burt died. Forman was bummed for a few days, I haven't actually helped him because I was too busy depressed over the "get off my boyfriend" incident, but from what I could tell, he was sad, then he got better in a couple days.

I don't think that's going to be the case with Jackie.

Her father was all the family she had left. All the family that she cared about, at least. Her grandma Beulah died when she was 6, her grandpa died the day after his wife did. She mentioned something about how her father had a brother that died a few weeks before she was born. And she never even met her mother's parents.

I have a feeling that Pam will not help Jackie with this whole thing. Jackie never told me much about her relationship with her mother, except for the part where she ditched her. But I've been picking up on some small details in some conversations and I know there's more to that, I know that Jackie's issues with Pam are not only regarding her abandonment, I came to that conclusion a while ago and decided not to ask her about it. She would tell me when she's ready.

"Why don't you finish your yogurt and take a shower instead?" I suggest "Take your time, and as soon as you're ready I'm driving you home"

"Okay" She nods, and kisses my cheek softly

In no time, she finished her "meal" and headed to the bathroom. I go to the kitchen, wondering if I should wake Donna or not. I really want to get to Point Place as soon as possible, maybe Jackie will be able to rest a little on the road.

I pour myself some cereal and milk, and I just stare at the wall, thinking about how everything changed so drastically in the last 24 hours.

Fuck. This is not fair.

"Morning" I hear Donna's voice and I see her standing in the doorway, rubbing her eyes

"Hey" I greet her and start to eat my cereal

"How is she?" Donna asks, the concern evident in her voice

"She's talking today" I say, sadly "But she's far from okay, I don't know what the hell am I supposed to do…" 

"I figured, this sucks" She says, grabbing a bowl from the cabinet near the sink "Just don't listen to Eric if he tells you to give her some space"

"I'm not leaving her side" I admit "She's taking a shower, she didn't slept well"

"When are we leaving?" She asks

"As soon as possible" I answer

"I'm just going to eat and get ready, I packed my things after you two went to bed last night" She says "Mrs. Forman is stress baking, and Eric says my dad won't stop crying"

"I figured as much" I say, finishing my cereal and heading to the sink. "What time did you say Bob was picking Pam at the airport?"

"Sometime after lunch I think" She answered "Dad mentioned that Pam's already handling the funeral's preparations" 

"Good" I answer

"By the way, I forgot to tell you, Mrs. Forman called WB yesterday and you don't have to worry about work for a while" She mentions casually

Huh. I completely forgot about work. Good to know that Mrs. Forman thought ahead and called WB for me. There was no way in hell I would've remembered that yesterday.

"You said you called Jackie's boss yesterday?" I ask

"Yeah, she said Jackie can have a week off to deal with everything" She sighed "Her boss seems really cool, but a week… Is that enough?" She asks

"No" I answer promptly "That's something we're going to have to deal with later" 

"Yeah, we should probably focus more on Pam and the funeral" She mumbled, looking frustrated

"Donna" I say, looking her straight in the eye "What's the deal with Jackie's mom?" 

"Look Hyde" She sighed, pouring herself some cereal "Try not to leave Jackie alone with Pam, it would only make things worse for her"

I frown, yeah, there's definitely something about Pam that I don't know about "Why?" I ask

"She's just… she's not a good mother, okay?" She says dejectedly "That woman is a heartless bitch"

I sigh "Donna, what aren't you telling me?" 

"I can't tell you. Jackie will tell you once she's ready" She says

Crap. I get that. It's like I said before, I could tell there's more to Pam than what Jackie tells me, but I won't force her to talk about it. There's some stuff about Bud and Edna that I haven't told Jackie about either. Heavy stuff. She'll tell me when she's ready, I know she will.

"Fine" I say, starting to wash the dirty dishes in the sink. As soon as Jackie leaves the bathroom we're heading to Point Place, I don't know if she's spending the week there with us, but I won't take my chances and leave dirty dishes rotting in the sink during the time we're there. Jackie may be sad, but if she sees a cockroach in her apartment she would die.

"And Hyde" Donna calls me apprehensively "Make sure to watch Jackie's eating" 

I look confused at her, does she know about Jackie's episode from that summer? Did it happen again? She said she wouldn't skip meals anymore!

"Why?" I ask, looking suspiciously at her, she knows something.

She sighs and runs her hands through her blonde hair "She tends to skip meals whenever she's too stressed" She justifies, I'm not buying it, so I just raise an eyebrow at her

"Seriously?"

"It's not my story to tell, Hyde" She says sadly "Just make sure she's eating, especially after Pam arrives"

I sigh dejectedly and nod "Alright"

"Thank you" She says before leaving me in the kitchen alone, with a thousand thoughts on my mind.

This is all so fucked up, and the fact that I know everything is about to get worse makes me sick.


I take a quick glance at her, she's leaning her head on Donna's shoulders and Donna is running her fingers through her hair. Jackie is staring at the road, her face is clean of makeup and she still looks exhausted.

She's sitting between me and Donna, and we're almost in Point Place. My hand drifts from the gearshift to her thigh whenever it's possible, but she looks completely lost in her own thoughts.

Donna looks completely agonized, every now and then she looks at Jackie and her eyes fill up with tears. She doesn't know what to do, and to be honest, neither do I.

We've been on the road for almost two hours, and Jackie hasn't said anything yet. She answers our questions with either a nod or a head shake, but she's not saying anything. Which sucks, I thought she was doing better, she talked to me this morning. Maybe it's because Donna is here?

I don't think so. From what I've seen, Jackie trusts Donna with her life. I'm pretty sure if she's going to talk to someone, she's talking to Donna.

We just passed the town's welcome sign, which means we are arriving at the Formans in less than 10 minutes.

I don't know what will happen once we arrive at the Formans. There's probably going to be a lot of people waiting for Jackie and I'm not sure that's going to be a good thing. They're going to smother her, and I know my chick, she will feel suffocated and she'll probably think they're pitying her. She hates being pitied.

I feel her pulling on my arm, and I grab her hand, lacing our fingers together. I squeeze it lightly, a subtle way to let her know that I'm here and I won't leave anytime soon. I think she got the message, because she squeezed my hand back.

I parked the Camino at the Formans driveway, and I was right, the minute I stopped the car, the sliding door opened and Mrs. Forman came running to us. Forman, Red, Bob and Fez were behind her.

The minute we stepped out of the car, Mrs. Forman pulled Jackie from me and engulfed her in a bear hug, and Bob started to cry on Donna's shoulder. I sigh, this is the start of a very long day.

I see Jackie's not looking very comfortable right now, so I gently pulled her away from Mrs. Forman, in hopes of giving her some room to breathe. Well, that didn't work out, because the second she left Mrs. Forman's arms, Fez pulled Jackie to a tight embrace.

After a few awkward hugs and lots of "Sorry for your loss", I was finally able to retrieve Jackie. She breathed relieved when I wrapped my arm around her waist and she rested her head on my shoulder.

"So, Jackie, I'll go to the airport to pick up your mother in about an hour, want to tag along?" Bob asked, wiping his eyes

"No thanks" She answered "Actually, I could really use a nap right now"

"You can go up to my room" Donna offered and Jackie nodded, taking my hand and guiding us to Donna's house.

"Shouldn't we bring your bags?" I ask her while we go up the stairs

"We can do that later" She says, opening the door to Donna's room and sitting on the bed

"You're really going to take a nap?" I ask suspiciously, she looks tired, but at the same time she doesn't look sleepy at all

"No" She sighed "I just needed some time away from everyone"

"Come here" I say, extending my arms to her. She quickly got up and buried her head in my chest. I squeezed her tight, and leaned my chin on top of her head. After a few minutes I decide to break the comfortable silence "You should try and get some sleep Jackie"

"I can't" She said, her voice is trembling "Every time I close my eyes, I…" She takes a deep breath and looks up to me, a few tears were leaving her eyes "I just can't, Steven"

I sigh, I get it. So I pressed a chaste kiss on her lips and we sat on Donna's bed.

I'm leaning my back on the bed's headboard and she's sitting between my legs, resting her head on my chest. One of my hands is stroking her hair, the other one is laced with hers.

Every time I look at her my heart breaks a little. She has no light on her eyes, and the look on her face… pure hopelessness. It's killing me. Jackie was always such a cheerful person. Don't get me wrong, I've seen her sad before, like when her father first went to prison and when her mother abandoned her for the first time, but I've never seen her like this . And I don't know what the hell am I supposed to do.

She turned her head lightly to the side and started to kiss my neck. I close my eyes and enjoy the sensation.

Before I knew it, she was straddling me, her hands were buried in my hair and her teeth were grazing my earlobe. I couldn't help it, I pulled her closer and glued our lips together.

She didn't waste any time and deepened the kiss. I feel one of her hands leaving my hair and soon after that I feel her lightly running her manicured fingernails through my chest, making me ache with lust.

She bit on my lower lip and went back to my neck, sucking, kissing, nipping at the flesh and sending shivers down my spine. She's definitely leaving a mark. Then I felt her tiny hand reaching to my belt buckle, and reality hit me hard.

This is wrong, she's too vulnerable, her father died and we just got back together, we can't have sex right now. But I can't stop myself from tasting her lips, from grazing her teeth with my tongue, from running my hands down her back.

She unbuckled my belt and I pulled apart from her, putting some distance between us.

"Steven?" She asks, confused. She tried to approach me and pull me in for another kiss, but I dodged her and she now she looks devastated

"You don't want me?" She asks, her voice is breaking and fuck!

I take a deep breath and I reach for her hand, she doesn't pull away "Of course I want you doll, I would be crazy not to. But I'm trying here, I know that deep down you don't want this, not like this"

A few tears escape her eyes and I wipe them off with my thumb before continuing "We talked this weekend and we agreed that we should wait, remember? It was your idea"

"What if I changed my mind?" She says, her voice is barely a whisper

"I know you didn't, doll. Now it's not the time, not with… everything that's been going on. When the time is right we'll know it, okay? And I want to make it special for you" I say, cupping her face in my hands and pressing a quick kiss on her lips.

She didn't vocalize an answer, she just nodded and laid her head on my lap. Instantaneously, my hands went back to her hair and I felt her relaxing under my touch.

"Sorry for jumping into you like that" She said after a few minutes

"If we were in a different situation I would've appreciated it very much" I say, grinning at the very small shadow of a smile she gave me "You doing okay?" I ask, concerned.

"No" She answers me honestly "I can't stand everyone looking at me like they pity me, it feels awful"

"I get how that feels" I say, referring to my entire childhood "They care about you, doll"

She blinked a few times, trying to avoid more tears "I know they do, but… I don't know, it's weird"

"You can tell me" I say and she sighed

"I don't think I processed the fact that my father is dead" She says, looking thoughtful "Like, I know he's dead, and it hurts so much, but at the same time I feel like it can't be real. Just… It doesn't feel right" 

I take a mental note of that. I don't know what I'm supposed to tell her but I also don't want her to close up on me because I can't say the right thing at the right time, so I start to softly run my fingers across her face, tracing the shape of her lips, her nose. Until I can see her closing her eyes and snuggling closer to me.

We stay like this for a while, and I just keep caressing her, praying that she'd fall asleep.

"I don't want to see my mother" She confessed suddenly

"Why?" I ask

"She makes me feel bad, and I'm already fucked up as it is" She says dejectedly

"Don't say that" I reprehend her "And about Pam… would it make you feel better if I don't let you two alone?" I suggest, remembering Donna's words from earlier

"Will you be with me all the time?" She asks

"Yeah, if you want me to" I answer

"That would be really nice"

"Then it's settled" I say, bending down to kiss her forehead

I hear some sniffling and look down at her, she's crying softly, and I feel like someone just stabbed me. She wiped her face with the back of her hands and she looked at me "Everything's about to get worse, isn't it?" She asks me, and fuck , she sounds so fragile and broken.

I can't lie to her. I know I can't and I know she expects the truth from me all the time. That doesn't mean it doesn't hurt though.

"Probably" I answer her honestly and tears started to escape her beautiful eyes again "But you're not alone in this"

"Thank you, for everything" She says "I don't know what I would do without you and Donna" 

I smile at her and start to stroke her hair again, she relaxes and closes her eyes.

"You sure you're not sleepy?" I ask "Because you should rest baby, you barely slept last night" 

"I'm tired but somehow I can't sleep, don't ask me why" She answers

"Want to just chill here till Bob arrives with your mom?"

"Sure, pudding"

-