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Playing Pretend

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Nothing good could come out of Point Place and Jackie new that, the moment she put her feet on this town for the first time. Although she could use the air changing to forget about everything that happened, her 15-years-old self had cried and begged to stay. After all, New York was her home. But Jack Burkhart needed to assist the foundation of a new branch of one of his clients, she had no saying.  

First months in the new school were hard, but she managed to stand out. Her looks and the mystery of being an outside, new yorker girl, was more than enough to put her in the top of the food chain. Now, one year and a half later and running for head cheerleader, she hadn’t made any real friends, but who needed friendship when they could get admiration and respect. 

Caught up in her teenager concerns – and some wounds to heal, Jackie didn’t realize that her parents' marriage was crashing down for real, causing a major turnaround in her world. 

 


 

In the edge of seventeen, Hyde had too much on his mind. With graduation coming so soon, he knew too well he was about to be kicked out of the Forman's home. After all, their good intentions couldn’t last forever, right? 

That’s why, when his father showed up again, freshly released from prison, he felt some sort of relief. Maybe they could crash together, start over, just the two of them.  

But when Bud’s illegal activities came to knock on his door, Hyde saw his plans falling apart once again. If only there was a way of getting him out from all of that situation, he liked to believe there might be a decent place for them in the world.  

Chapter Text

“Okay girls, we can discuss this later! Now, I want to know everything about Jenna’s date!” All the other girls nodded excitedly, gathering around Jenna Kenny in the poor space of their locker room.  

Jackie only rolled her eyes, suddenly losing interest in the conversation and turning away to put back her uniform in her bag.  

Ugh. She felt slightly sick as she heard them laughing, so excited about someone else make-outs, gasping as Jenna mentioned the size of her date’s dick, Jackie pictured all of them jumping around idiotically, like a bunch of chimps.  

She snorted, a little too loud, and gained all the glares to herself.  

Great.  

“So, Jackie, I heard Bryce Fingerson has his eyes on you now.” Leah Moore told her, with that wicked glow in her eyes.  

Leah was the number two in everything. With her too blonde hair and too full lips, she was always on the edge of catching up on her, but always losing as well. Jackie couldn’t fell less threatened with Leah being her competition for head cheerleader.  

“Oh, Bryce’s so hot and such a good kisser! I heard Rosalie’s crushed since he dumped her.” Jenna said.  

None of that was a lie. Bryce was, indeed, hot, and from what she heard, a great kisser. Oh, and yeah, poor Rosalie Thunell was crushed.  

“Ah, you know, I’m so busy right now. Don’t think I can make time for dating.” Jackie shrugged.  

“You know, Jackie, since you got here, you rejected every single guy who’s interested,” Leah pointed out and then paused. “Are you a lesbian?” 

Some girls giggled, others had theirs jaw dropped, all of them were waiting though. Jackie looked into Leah’s eyes, knowing exactly what to say.  

“Don’t be silly, Leah,” she fake-laughed, “But you know what? You’re right, I actually never dated anyone from here. I think I just never found someone good enough in this little town.” Jackie wrinkled her nose. “You girls can even imagine what is like in New York, wow! All the boys seem like they’re in a band!” 

The envy in their eyes was priceless and she walked out the locker romm almost flying, they were so easy to sneer. But as soon as she was alone, that good feeling disappeared, giving space to a solid pang in her stomach.  

What she had told them was only partially true. Is not that Jackie had never find anyone to be interesting in Point Place, is just that nobody could be as interesting as Thomas Ford.  

But whatever, she hated that feeling so she shook it off, think about him wouldn't do any good.  

 

As she walked inside the driveway of her home, Jackie found weird that her Daddy’s car was there, in the middle of the afternoon, but she smiled, rushing out to see him.  

When she reached the garden, her daddy came through the door, caring himself a big suitcase.  

“Are you going to travel again?” He jumped a little, startled.  

“Honey, what are you doing here?” 

“I just came from school.” 

“Oh, I… Listen, uh, daddy is going back to New York.” 

“What do you mean?” Jackie tilted her head, confused.  

“Your mother and I are divorcing. Now, I need you to-” 

Her heart dropped to her feet. “Wait, what? No.”   

“Jackie, we had enough from each other, ok? It’s for the best.” He put one hand on her shoulder,  
awkwardly. 

“Daddy, you can’t… I’m coming with you!” 

“Honey, that’s impossible.” Shaking his head, he took a step to the side.  

Following his attempt to escape her, Jackie positioned herself in front of him again. “No! You can’t leave me here. Dad, you can’t. You know how much I want to go home. I’ll be good, I promise.” 

“No, you stay here with your mother.” He dodged her once again, but Jackie grabbed his arm.  

“Daddy please, please, I can’t stay here alone. Let me go with you, I’ll get my things quickly,” She pleaded with all her might. 

Her father freed his arm with a pull and turned his back on her. Tears started to fall from her eyes, making harder to see her path as she followed him to the car.  

“Dad!” She called, but he wouldn’t turn back. “Daddy, stop!” 

“Jackie, go inside!” His voice sounded muffled from inside the car.  

“No! No, take me with you!” She tabbed the closed window, but he had already started the car.  

Jackie watched through her tears as her father’s car exited their house and vanished down the street. It got harder to breathe, like the air was also running from her. When she turned her glare away from the now empty street, she saw her mother’s beautiful and cold figure by the doorway and she felt even more forsaken, but with nothing else to do, she walked towards her.  

“Oh, honey,” Pam said to her, with exaggerated pity in her voice.  

“What did you do? Who did you sleep with this time?” 

“Funny, you’re so busy blaming me all the time that you didn’t get to see the piece of shit your pretty dad is.” Her voice sounding much more accurate now. 

“Don’t talk like that!” 

“He just left you crying in the sidewalk, honey. Didn’t you see that? He doesn’t want you.”  

Jackie sobbed, shutting her eyes strongly, her mother’s words were like knives in her heart. 

All her life, she grabbed herself in the certainty that her dad loved her. Sure, he wasn’t always there, but what rich parent really were? Despite that, he always brought her presents from wherever he, or he and her mother went to, or attended her school events when he was available and, most of all, he always, always, had a kind word for her.  

Unlike her mother.  

“You’re a liar, I hate you!” She shouted, using all her hurt.  

“You can hate me all you want, but I’m all you got. And listen to me, you better shape up and get yourself a good rich boy soon, ‘cause your daddy’s not gonna be around much longer.” 

“What are you saying?” Jackie took one step back, ignoring how her heart shrunk at her mother’s words.  

“Do you think he’s gonna provide for us all your life?” 

“He’s my father!” 

Roiling her eyes, her mother came closer to her, “You know, being the villain, it’s getting tiring.” 

“Daddy would never leave me” Jackie said it with a weak, frightened voice. Truth was, deep in her heart, she wasn’t so sure anymore.  

“He just did!” Pam raised her tone, almost laughing, but then sighed and used a more disappointed one, “Stop being so naïve” Her mother touched her chin with two fingers, lifting Jackie’s face to look at her. “I held him as much as I could. It’s just you and me, honey, and it’s time for you to do your part.” 

Feeling angry, Jackie slapped out her hand. “You think I’m gonna stay here and let you fool me? You think I’m gonna let you keep using me like that? You just watch me!” 

 

Nothing like a design makeup to disguise puffy eyes, so, this day, like any other, Jackie looked flawless. However, there was no makeup that would work in her spirits. She had dragged herself for school that morning, literally, since her mother refused to let her take the car, she didn’t have the will to argue about it. 

Focusing on cheer practicing was particularly hard too, causing her to mistake some of the easiest flips and being target of some mocking smiles.  

Taking an extra time stretching herself, she waited until everyone would be long gone so she could leave in peace. As she finally walked towards the exit gate, she noticed Bryce walking to meet her.  

Oh, no, not today.  “Jackie, hi. Are you feeling okay?” 

She frowned, confused by his question. “Yeah, I'm fine, thanks,” she answered, making her way out into the skanky and minuscule stadium hallway. 

“I mean, you seem a little off today,” he continued.  

She tilted her head up to look at Bryce’s face again, since he was way taller. It had maybe too many freckles, but she guessed it fit well with his ginger hair and honey eyes. “I said I’m fine.”  

“Okay. Can I drive you home?” 

“No,” she emphasized, annoyed, “but thank you.” 

“But you don’t have a car today,” he argued. It was obvious he was interested in her, such as Leah said the other day. Her stomach turned just thinking about how her mother would be pleased if they date. Bryce Fingerson was, perhaps, one of the richest good-looking guy whose her age in this town. 

“Look, not today, Bryce. Okay?” She said the words slowly, controlling her tone to not sound rude. 

“But why? You rather walk home?” Now he was the one sounding rude. 

Just in time for her answer, a noise got their attention, coming from the bleachers into the hallway. First thing she acknowledged was the curly blond hair and then the strong smell of pot that came right after, she realized it was this senior year guy, Steven Hyde.  

He stopped himself when saw them.  

God help her, he was her way out of this. “No, I already have a ride,” she stated loudly, taking a few steps back to stand by the boy’s side.  

Jackie tried to ignore how intensely and confused Steven Hyde stared at her, instead she kept looking into Bryce’s eyes.  

He scoffed, “Steven Hyde’s your ride?” 

Ready to confirm, she nodded, but before she could say something, Hyde’s voice sounded clearly, “Got a problem with that, man?” 

They stared at each other for a few seconds, which she found completely typical and unnecessary.  

“All right, Jackie,” Bryce said finally, “see you later then.” With that, he walked away under their both glares.  

Letting no time for her to explain herself, as soon as Bryce was out of sigh, Hyde spoke, “You’re welcome.” 

“Thank you, Hyde.” She said quickly, but he was already walking out, so she followed him. “He was being such a pain in the ass, god. Did you hear him asking if I was feeling okay?” 

“No.” 

She had to walk faster to keep up on him. “Such a strange way to court a woman. I mean, what’s that supposed to mean? That I look not okay? Is that a thing guys say these days? I don’t know, maybe I’m being too critical. But can you blam-” 

“Hey,” he stopped abruptly, “I don’t care.” 

Jackie recoiled, realizing he was, definitely and openly, being rude. “Oh, I’m sorry, Mr. Rude.” 

She could see he rolled his eyes, but despite that, they kept walking side by side out of the school complex.  

Obviously, Jackie knew who he was.  

Steven Hyde had quite a reputation for himself. The school's scruffy burnout, also known – only in the depths of the girl’s locker room – as a sure discreet source of make-outs. Despite his bad attitude and constant skipping classes, he managed his grades just fine, and of course, used to hang out with the most unusual group of friends.  

As they got outside, they separated, Hyde going towards his parked car and she... 

Crap. Maybe she should had taken Bryce’s ride anyway.  

“Wait,” she called him out. “Can you actually give me a ride home?” 

He turned around and raised an eyebrow over the line of his shades, finally he snorted. “No.”  

“Oh c’mon!” She sighed, frustrated, walking closer to him. “I had a really, really shit day and I really don’t want to walk home.” He didn’t seem to care, so she continued. “And for some reason you appeared just in time to help me out and you did, which I appreciate, and I know you happen to have a car, I can see it right there, so it would be so nice of you-”  

“All right, Jesus!” Hyde interrupted her. “Just pipe down, okay? Oh, and this,” he pointed between the two of them, “never happened.” 

She nodded, holding on a smile. “Duh!”  

 

His car smelled like smoke; it was disgusting. She sat carefully quiet as they advanced through the city. Apparently, he knew where she lived, because he was taking all the right streets. But well, small town. 

“So, I see you often watching the cheer practice.” She tried to engage a conversation, not able to hold her tongue to herself anymore. 

“It’s a good spot to smoke.” He shrugged.  

“Right,” Jackie nodded, “You’re a stoner.”  

“Yep,” he nodded too, mimicking her, smirking the smallest.  

Gosh, if she was such a druggie her parents would freak out. Just like that, an idea popped in her head and in that moment, it looked very good. “Do you know where I can buy some?” 

He took his eyes off the road for a sec or two, glaring at her incredulously. “You smoke? You don’t smoke.” 

“Ew, of course not!” 

“So, what the hell do you need it for?” 

Jackie inhaled deeply. Maybe if she’d act edgy enough, her father would come back to get her. “Well I, uh, it’s not for me, okay?” 

He frowned, seeming lost. “You’re weird.” 

They parked in front of her house and Jackie looked at it for a second. Suddenly, she felt so tired of that lonely feeling. “Just tell me where to buy it.” 

“It’s not a place where you can just go shopping, you know?” She sighed, annoyed, but didn’t replied. As she began to imagine the kind of place she’d have to go, her determination started to fade. “Look,” he rolled his eyes, “you got your ride, okay? I already did you two favors in a row and that’s more any of my friends ever get. So, get the hell out of my car.” 

“Oh, yeah. There you go, Mr. Rude.” He just grimaced and gestured for her to hurry.  “Alright!” Jackie pursed her lips in a line, opening the door. “Thanks for the ride, anyway.” 

“Whatever.” 

His car was gone before she reached the door, but when Jackie opened it, her mom showed up instantly.  

“Who was that?” 

Frowning, she entered the house. “A friend.” 

Pam didn’t seem satisfied. “What friend?” 

“You don’t know him, mom.” 

“I’m sure I do. What’s his family name?” 

Jackie laughed, as if Steven Hyde’s family would be known in her mother’s circle. Her laughter ceased slowly, all small pieces of a big puzzle fitting perfectly in her head.  

She was stroke by the best idea ever.  

Smiling wickedly, she replied, “oh, mom, I don’t think his family it’s well known. Not for any good, anyway. But you don’t worry, we’re just knowing each other.” She hurried up to her room, ignoring her mother’s horrified face. 

 

Chapter Text

Of all things that could had happen that day, Hyde never imagined he’d ended up giving Jackie fricking Burkhart a ride. And, even better, she’d ask information to buy weed.  

Seriously, what were the chances?  

Of course, he knew who she was. Rich, pretty chick who moved from New York and had messed up high school’s hierarchy. Don’t get it wrong, Hyde was never keeping tabs on her, but he had to admit he was kind of impressed. When the school year changed and she became a Junior, she basically had every moron who’d buy that high school crap in her hands. It was almost like she had carry out a coup d'etat. 

He huffed out a small laugh. Like that pathological attention seeker would understand any of politics. 

If it wasn’t for this tendency of his to automatically standing up for someone in need, he wouldn't had given a shit about her, or how she seemed uncomfortable and crazy to get out of there. But by now, he was so used to get in any kinds of situations that he didn’t even think that much. Some of that situations were bad ones, like getting beat up for defending his mom when his dad was too drunk and abusive, but good ones too, like being friends with Forman and Fez. 

Sometimes, though, it was just random weird things, like playing along so a girl could get rid of a prick, and then, somehow, take her home.  

After he dropped her off, still feeling a little dizzy with all her talking, he headed to his dad’s apartment. That arrangement was recent, actually, they found each other no more than a month ago, when Bud was custodian released. Hyde was a little hesitant in the beginning, but then, well, he realized this could be all he got.  

He would turn 18 very soon and graduation was less than two months ahead. Which meant, naturally, that he was out the Forman’s house before the end of the year. It was a common thing, actually, that the men of his family get to go live their lives by themselves at eighteen.  

But Hyde was, secretly, a little terrified. Other than the Formans, he had nobody. What would he do? Where would he go?  

Only after he realized his father had actually the will to reconcile with him, he thought things could work out. Sure, the apartment was practically a trash can, but he didn’t mind that, and yeah, Bud didn’t have a good job yet, but they were just starting. It was all cool.  

Except it wasn’t.  

When he arrived, the door was open and the place was all trashed out. Clearly, someone had broken in. “What the hell happened here, man?” 

His dad was sitting in the couch looking defeated. “We need to talk, son.” Hyde fully entered the apartment and stood in front of him, his hands on his waist. “I’m in trouble... I owe to a guy.” 

“What? What guy?” 

“This Nick guy. He’s... a friend. ” 

“What kind of friend does that?” He pointed to the mess and crushed stuff all around.  

“Well, we know each other from before, you know, I was arrested. And I kind of owed him some money. But since I’m out, he’s been nice, like helpful and stuff. But, uh,” Bud paused, so Hyde made a sign for him to proceed. “But I, uh, had to borrow some more and now... he seems upset, I don’t know why he would lend me if-” 

“I’m sorry, you owe to   a loan shark named Nick? You don’t know why he seems upset ?” Hyde bursted out.  

“He’s not-” He signed, “he is a loan shark.” 

“What the hell, man?” 

“Is not easy, okay? I’m trying!” His father got up from the couch.  

“How is this trying? Fuck, look at this place!” 

“Ok, man, you have to calm the fuck down, alright?” Hyde blinked and stepped back. Bud’s elevated ton of voice took him right back to some dark memories. His father noticed and breathed heavily. “Just, you don’t get to yell at me, okay? I’m your father.” 

His bile went up to his throat, but he swallowed back. “Alright.” Looking over to the mess, he felt a little hopeless. But this was his life, knocking on his door, so he better face it. “How can we fix this?” 

“I just, I just need to pay him back. Soon.” 

“How much?” 

“Two thousand bucks.” 

“Two thousand?” Suddenly, his legs felt weak, so he sat down. “We don’t have this money.” 

“I know. But maybe, if you’d have half of it.” He sat next to Hyde. “Can you get half of it?” 

“I don’t know, man... I can try, but-” 

“Good, son, that’s good.” Putting a hand on his shoulder, his dad pulled him in for a hug, that Hyde embraced it. “If you do that, I’m done, you’ll see. And we’ll be out of here.”  

 

When anxiety took over him like that, best he could do was get some time alone. So, he skipped first period, planning on hitting it and calm himself down. From where he would get a thousand bucks it was a mystery. God, his dad was screwed! And so was he.  

Hitting had helped, as usual, but as soon as he walked into the school, all the zen he had built before disappeared. Everyone was peeking at him, talking behind his back, suddenly he felt like he was in the spotlight. However, he hadn’t enough time to think about it, because Forman pulled him aside from the main hall, seeming wildly disturbed. His friend whispered through his teeth, “what the hell, man?” 

Hyde frowned and glared at him, with no idea what the problem was.  

Donna, who got beside Forman in a beat, clarified the issue, “are you dating Jackie Burkhart?” 

“What?” 

“Everyone’s talking about it!” Donna answered.  

“Steven Hyde!” Before he could process anything, he heard his name over the sound of clapping heels. All three of them turned their heads to see said Jackie approaching. “We gotta talk!” 

She pulled him by the wrist, giving him no choice but follow her. They entered an empty classroom, Hyde’s mind still trying to understand what was going on. 

“So, uh, apparently, everybody’s saying that we’re dating…” 

She sighed, “Yeah, I may have told some people.” 

Hyde frowned, arms folding in his chest. “Told what?” 

“Okay, so here’s the thing, I need you to date me.”  

“Wait, what?” 

She took a deep, nervous breath, and for the first time, he noticed how unsettled she was. “I just… I need us to date.” 

“Are you serious now? I’m not going to date you, you’re... not my type.” 

She glared at him, skeptical. “Right... Look, it’s just play pretend. We’d fake date for a little while.” 

Hyde observed her a bit, trying to figure it out whereas she was serious or not. She was. “No. Absolutely not. Now, you go running this big fat cheerleader mouth of yours and tell everyone this is bullshit.” 

“Wait, no, this is really important.” Her voice piked a bit as she completely ignored his insults. 

He grunted. Again, feeling hooked against his will. “Okay, spill it out. What the fuck is this all about?” 

Jackie turned her head down and clapped her hands, nervously, a couple of times. “I have an… issue, at home, and I strongly believe that dating you might fix everything.” 

“Lemme guess, spoiled princess here wants to use this pothead bum,” he pointed from her, to himself, “to prove a point, so daddy will get whatever shallow thing she wants?” He finished, using maximum scorn in his voice. 

“No,” she paused, making a bored face at him. “Not like this .” 

“Like how, then?” 

“Well, there’s a win for you too.”  

He hardly believed that. “I don’t see it so far.” 

“For starters, you’d be very popular.” Hyde stared at her blankly. “Okay, fine, just tell me what you want.” 

“I don’t want anything.” He shrugged, felling an urge to leave.  

“There has to be something you need.” 

What could he possibly need from h- “I’ll do it if you pay me.” 

“Of course!” Jackie said loudly, like it was obvious. “I can do that! How much?” She took a step closer to him, excited.  

He thought about it for a second more. It felt wrong, in his guts, but hell, he was sure she had plenty of money, more than she needed, actually. And in the end, he was helping her. It was a win-win situation. “A thousand bucks.” 

“What? That’s way too much!” 

He shrugged, “That’s my price. If you get the money, I’m in.” 

Jackie sat at one of the chairs behind her, thinking. He waited for her to deliberate, getting a bit nervous himself.  

“All right,” she said under her breath. “Okay, I have six hundred that I can give you now, but you’ll have to wait for the rest.” 

He swallowed. “How long?” 

“I don’t know yet. I guess one week, maybe two. Until there we’ll be probably done.” 

He sighted, worried. Truth was, he didn’t know how much time Bud had to pay back that guy, but at least he had something. “Okay, seems fair.” 

“Deal?” She got up and stretched out her hand, he took in his to shake it. It was very tiny and soft, he noticed.  

“Deal.” 

Few seconds after she left the room, he left too, trying to act like nothing much was going on. For him misfortune, Donna, Forman and Kelso waited for him across the hall.  

“So?” Donna asked. 

“It’s, uh, it’s complicated,” Hyde stutter. 

“What?!” 

“Alright!”  

He heard Forman’s shocked and Kelso’s excited voices as he left them behind with quick steps.  

 

The sun was ready to start setting when he got to their meeting spot. A ridiculous nervous wave cruised his body as he spotted her waiting, outside a white Lincoln, looking pretty upset.  

She definitely would be seriously more upset when she heard what he planned to say.  

“What took you so long?” She complained as he got out of the El Camino. “I’m waiting for, like, an hour.”  

God, she was annoying. He could never go through with this, Hyde always knew that, but desperation had got in the way. Jackie was rich and bossy and popular and spoiled, pretty much everything he hated in someone. Once he thought about it clearly, he realized not only everyone would call their bluff, but he, himself, couldn't pull off the show.  

“I was finishing my shift,” he responded. 

“What shift?” 

“At work.” 

“What work?” 

He frowned, getting out of her talking trap. “Listen, not the point here. I wanna tell you, I'm out.” 

Jackie’s mouth was quick. “You chicken out already?  

“No, I’m not chicken out. But this is a terrible idea. No one will buy that we’re dating.” 

“Why not?” Her voice was shrill.  

Well, how could him respond that without being rude? See, he was already having to do hard work. “Because I’d never date you .”  

“Pft!” She gave him an offended look. “If they’d think something, they’ll definitely think I’m out of your league.”  

“Yeah, right,” he laughed, as she gave him a deadly glare. “Whatever, man.” 

“Look, you can’t back down now,” she paused, searching in her purse for something. “Here, I got the money.” Jackie extended him a few dollar bills. 

All the certainty he had about this disastrous thing slowly drained out. Sooner than he imagined, he could have all the money to help his dad, all he had to do was endure her for a week or so.  

That was desperation getting in the way again.  

“Fine.” Hyde took it from her hand and put in his pocket.  

“Good. Now, we should go somewhere private to talk this through.”  

“I got a place.” 

They drove surprisingly silent, with Jackie distractively looking through the window. It didn’t take longer for him to park in the closest spot to the water tower, causing Jackie to break the nice silence.  

“This is the place? It looks like you could kill me and hide my body here.” 

“Not bad, huh?” She made an is-not-funny face. “C’mon, we gotta go up there.” He flicked up his eyes, to the top of the tower. 

“Up there?” 

“Yeah.” Since she wasn’t moving, he stopped going out of the car. “What?” 

“Is it safe?” Jackie sounded almost disgusted.  

“Man,” he rolled his eyes, “just c’mon.” 

Hyde walked through the rough ground without waiting for her, but stopped to check if she was near once he reached the base of the tower. Making a hand gesture for her to go first, he stepped aside.  

“No way, you just want to check me out.” 

“What?” He frowned; a bit offended. When she folded her arms in her chest, he said, “Whatever.” 

So he went first and quick, without turning to make sure she was okay. No even when he felt like it. 

Once they were both up there, she breathed deeply and gazed out at the view. “Oh, I see. It’s quite nice, actually.” 

An orange glow illuminated the city as the sun was setting on the side. It wasn’t bad. Sitting down, he said, “okay, if we’re gonna do this, you’ll have at least tell me why we’re doing it.” 

“Right,” She sighed, sitting next to him. “This whole thing is for my mom. She has to think we’re dating. Once she realizes we’re serious, she’ll freak out.” 

“Fine, so, we don’t have to do it at the school.” 

She shook her head. “No. My mother knows all the gossip in town, and that includes the school. If no one there believe this, she won’t too.” 

“Okay.” He reached his pocket for his cigarettes.  

“Ugh,” Jackie glared at him, disgusted. “Do you have to do this now?” 

“Yes,” he answered as he lit it up. 

“Fine. Okay, here’s my plan.” She fixed herself, getting more proper. Hyde watched her, thinking it was at least laughable. “We gotta be seen together and holding hands at the cafeteria and after cheer practicing. Also, you need to pick me up in the morning and drive me home in the afternoon,” he scowled, “so my mom can see us,” Jackie explained to his face. “After a few days of that, you come to my house and...” She paused, unsure.  

“And what?” 

“Well, we make a scene.” She looked a bit uncomfortable.  

“What kind of a scene?” He pushed.  

“Uh, I haven’t thought of this yet.” Jackie blushed and he frowned, suspicious.  

“Okay.” Hude answered, extending the ‘o’. 

“It should pull the last straw, I’m sure she’ll come around once she sees us together.” 

Hyde wondered what was that that she wanted so badly and her spoiling rich parents wouldn't give it to her right away. “And then you pay me the other part.” 

“Yes, then I’ll pay you the rest.” He nodded in agreement. “Now, we need to establish some things.” 

Hyde grunted and took another drag on his cigarette. “What things?” 

“First of all, no one can know this is fake,” she paused to make sure he understood, he gave her a shrug for answer. “Good, about our first date, you took me to that fancy restaurant down t-” 

“No way,” he cut her off, “I’d never take you to a fancy restaurant.” 

“Ugh, you so cheap!” He smirked as she complained, “What do you suggest, then?” 

“We can say... You came up at my work and we get to know each other, hang out, and that’s it.” 

“Where do you work?” 

“At the Photo Hut.” 

She thought about it for a second, “Okay, yeah. That works.” 

“Cool.” 

“Here,” she moved a little to take a piece of paper from her jeans pocket, “I made you a list of important things you should know about me, as a boyfriend.” 

Hyde took the paper she handed to him, suspiciously. “You had to make a list?” He looked briefly at her handwriting and then folded, placing in his jacket pocket with the money.  

“Well, people can ask and I don’t want you to go around saying all kinds of things about me.” 

“In case you didn’t realize, I don’t go around saying nothing about anyone.” 

“Yeah, yeah,” she made a dismissive gesture. “I know all about your stupid confidentially thing.” Hyde looked over her, very much curious about what she was saying. “But that’s not the case here. You have to talk about me.” 

“What confidentiality thing?” He questioned, studying her.  

Jackie turned her face to lock their gaze, with a patronizing kinda look in her eyes. “Oh, c’mon. You go around heavy petting a bunch of girls, but never brag about it. Girls talk, you know.” 

He rose his eyebrows so up it could almost touch his hair. “I don’t go around-” 

“Please,” she stopped him. “I couldn’t care less. All I'm saying is I can’t be one of those girls, to you. They have to think you care.” 

He felt just the tiniest discomfort in his stomach, Hyde has spent his entire life avoiding to care. “Okay, fine, I’ll read your stupid list.” 

“Thank you. Now, what are the important things I should know about you?” 

He blinked, freezing his hand half way up to his mouth, his cigarette burning in his fingers. “Uh, nothing.” That was way too much.  

“Nothing at all?” She insisted.  

“Nope.” Finally, he pinned the cigarette in his lips. 

“I need to know something, or else I’ll make it all up.” 

“You can make it up, I don’t mind.” Hyde shrugged, anxious to change the subject.  

She sighed, unpleased. “This need to be believable, okay? If you’re not going to commit-” 

“Okay, Jesus. Relax.” He cut her as her voice started to raise. 

“Fine!” She looked upset, and he rolled his eyes. So spoiled.   

“It’s getting late. We should, like, go.” 

“Yeah, let’s go,” she agreed, getting up quickly.  

As he watched her getting down the iron stairs carefully, he tried to ignore that sharp sense of danger ringing like an alarm in the depths of his mind.  

 

Chapter Text

The news was completely spread, everybody knew she and Steven Hyde were dating. She – cheerleader, most likely to marry rich, and Steven – burnout, most likely to ended up in jail.  

Well, it is what it is, she thought as she placed her books in her locker. 

Of course, there was already some sort of strangeness towards her, like she was a traitor, or worse a special girl who fished the school cool-but-not-boyfriend-material guy. 

Jackie once felt like she was a special girl. A rare kind, whose beauty and charm were strong enough to win her way over someone’s heart. Not just someone, of course, but Thomas Ford, the most handsome in her old school. Thomas was in the drama club, very talent and polite, although he drew sighs from any girl around, he rarely dated, for sure had never have a longtime girlfriend. And then there was Jackie Burkhart, just a regular cheerleader – it was much more difficult to stand out in a bigger, better frequented school – gorgeous, obviously, but much younger. Nonetheless, somehow, they fell in love.  

At least she believed so. 

“Hey,” Bryce’s voice dragged her out of her own thoughts. Jackie half turned her body to face him properly. “I wanted to talk to you.” 

“Sure,” she said, out of politeness.  

“Are you mad at me for something?”  

Crazy question. She didn’t even know him that well to be actually mad at him. Until a couple of weeks ago, he was just Rosalie’s cute boyfriend, and now, he seemed to be all over her.  

“Why would I be?” She returned the question, starting to make her way out of there. 

“Well,” he walked by her as he replied. “The other day, you seemed a little upset or something.” 

“Bryce,” she said in the most lecturing tone, “I’m with Steven now.” Jackie purposely choose to call him by his first name. Earlier, she had though it would be a subtle way to show they were intimate, since everybody else seemed to call him Hyde. 

Bryce clicked his tongue, “Are you, really?” 

“What do you mean?” She tilted her head back with faux confusion.  

“You know,” he let his words in the air, flicking his shoulders, as if she could understand it without him actually saying.  

She did. People like her, or Bryce Fingerson, did not matched well with people like Steven Hyde.  

Instead, she told him, “Listen, Steven may not show, but he’s in fact, a really nice guy.” 

“Okay, whatever.” He seemed to give up, but Jackie didn’t completely buy it. “So, we’re cool, then?” 

Maybe she wasn’t being fair to the guy. Could she blame him for being interested in her? Could she even find that so surprising?  Not at all. 

She finally smiled fondly at him. “Yeah, sure.” 

 

 


 

 

An already familiar tap of heels filled his ears as he chewed his toast. Hyde lifted his eyes to watch her come near by the table where he and his friends were set.  

“Hello,” she announced herself, gaining all the attention. “Can I seat here?” It sounded like a question, but she clearly wasn’t expecting any answer. A few seconds after she had accommodated herself, Hyde felt a sharp nudged in his side, his gaze searched for her face, just to find her hard-suggestive eyes.  

“Uh, guys... This is Jackie,” he said slowly, as she approved quietly. “Jackie, this is, uh, everybody.” 

Taking a time to study his friends’ reactions, he saw Donna careful eyes analyzing him, Fez and Kelso’s eyes glued on Jackie and Forman’s horrified expression. Jackie grinned perfectly at them.  

Donna was the first one to break the awkward silence that seemed to last an eternity, for everybody’s sake. “So, Jackie, you guys are dating, huh?” 

“Mm-huh, it’s been wonderful!” She answered with exaggeration, he controlled himself not to roll his eyes. “He’s just perfect.” 

“Crazy how we never heard Hyde mention your name, and in the next day, you’re dating Mr. Perfect here.” Forman provoked. 

“Oh, c’mon, Eric, love is crazy.” Fez came to their rescue, with adoring eyes over Jackie. She just nodded.  

Not giving up on his suspicious, Forman continued, “Hey, why don’t you tell us, exactly, how this… thing happened?” 

“Well, I went to the Photo Hut to pick up some professionals photos of myself and Steven, ” Hyde’s eyes flew to her, finding odd the way she said his first name, “just had to tell me how natural I was, and obviously, how cute I looked in those pictures. Which I thought was so gallant of him-” 

As everyone snorted, Hyde intervened, “It was not like that, man.” 

“Oh, were you not so gallant ?” Donna teased, smirking.  

After giving Donna a shut-up look, he proceeded, “She came by to pick up her stuff, and… It’s funny, she had some lettuce in her teeth,” Hyde made a pause as everybody chuckled, he looked at Jackie to see her face becoming pink, “so, I told her, she got embarrassed and apologetic, but then we laughed, and you know, she fell head over heels.” 

He glanced at her again, she had a little spark of anger in her big – actually really big – eyes, but kept a forced smile in her face. It was so funny, it made him smile just a bit. 

RING!  

The school bell went off, snapping him out of that joyful moment and putting everyone on the move. As they all momently lost focus on the most recent couple, Jackie leaned closer to him and hissed through her teeth, “hold my hand.” 

Clenching his jaw, he tried to ignore the embarrassment he felt through his body, making his ears feel hot. With a heavy breath, he laced his fingers with hers.  

“Oh, Steven, my cheer practicing end at four o’clock, I’ll be ready at four fifteen.” She told him loudly and suddenly all eyes were on them again. His ears were boiling.  

“Uh, my shift doesn’t end before five today.” 

“So?” Another wave of anger washed over him.  

“So, you wait.” Hyde could feel his friend’s eyes watching them and he wasn’t planning on back off, but Jackie gave him a most deadly look, that almost made him scared, “I’ll see what I can do.” 

“Thanks, Steven.” She said his name again, stretching the words a little. He didn’t like it. 

Smiling victoriously and wickedly, she got slightly in her tip toes to give him a quick peck in his cheek, as she leaned closer, she placed one hand in his stomach to balance herself. All his irritation froze down with her proximity. Quickly, she turned her back to him and walked away, Hyde’s gaze followed her for a bit but then his eyes flicked back, doing his best to avoid all those others eyes on him, while feeling his cheek burning hot in a weird way.  

 

Hyde checked his pockets again, dammit, he was sure he had a joint somewhere. “Hey, Leo. Don’t you have something rolled up to lend me?” He was heading out of work early to ride Jackie home, so yeah, everything would work out better if he was high.  

“Nah, man. I just burned the last one. Hey, do you have something rolled up to lend me?” Hyde rolled his eyes as a faint smile crossed his lips.  

“No, Leo, I don’t.” Leo made a sad face and Hyde opened the door to leave the Photo Hut. “Okay, I’m out.” 

Deciding he could not survive another Jackie Experience without some help, he turned the wheel of the El Camino left, back to the Forman's to get some of those pre-rolled joints he kept in his drawer. However, if he had thought this straight, he’d remember that in this time of the day, the basement it’s usually crowded with the people he had been avoiding all day.  

“Look who’s here!” Crap. Hyde froze for a beat, but then close the door after him.  

“Ah, if it isn’t our lovebird,” Fez said, smiling from the couch.  

“Hey, guys,” he greeted, “Just passing to get something.”  

As he walked to his room, he heard Forman’s response. “Right, ‘cause you’re going to pick up your girlfriend, at cheer practicing.” Not sure what to answer, he came back from his room silent.  “Careful, you don’t wanna be late.”  

“What bit you today, man?” He asked, finally. 

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the fact that this whole thing stinks,” Eric answered. 

Hyde rose one of his brows, a bit concerned. “What do you mean?” 

“I mean, can you give us just one reason why you’re dating the prom queen?” 

Before he could even come up with something, Kelso laughed from the lawn chair. “C'mon man, now you’re being just dumb, that chick’s foxy. I mean, Hyde it’s totally nailing her.” 

“No, it’s not like that,” he told them. The fact that he remembered her instructions to make people believe he cared about her just made him sick. “She’s... She’s alright.” 

“Alright?” Forman wouldn’t just give up. “To start with, she’s rich, popular and annoying. Oh, and a control freak. That pretty much stands to everything you hate.” He had a point, hard to argue with that. “I’ve been telling this all day, there’s something off about this story.” 

“I dunno what tell you, man.” Hyde shrugged and leaned on the still closed door. He tried to think about something, anything, he liked about his fake girlfriend. But nothing came to his mind quick enough. “I just kinda like her,” so he lied. 

A beat of silence hovered the basement, coinciding to the lack of noise coming from the record player.  

Donna got up from the couch’s arm to change the side of the disco, “It’s almost like your jealous, Eric. I don’t know, maybe should be worried.” 

“Hey. Don’t worry, Forman. You always gonna be Hyde’s first girlfriend,” Kelso teased.  

“Ooh, nice burn.” Grinning, Fez congratulated Kelso, as everyone, except Forman, chuckled.  

“I’ll always have a soft spot for you, man,” he endorsed, smirking, while he opened the door, embracing the opportunity to flee. “All right, see you guys.” 

 

Funny thing, Hyde had been in this exact situation many times before, only it was willingly. Under the bleachers was a nice quiet place for hitting it so he used to be there quite a lot, during period breaks, lunch time and some occasional class skipping. In the afternoons, three times a week, the cheerleaders used the field to practice and what can he say, they were distractive, especially if he was high. 

As he sat there and waited, he watched their routine and he had to admit, Jackie was way much better than the rest of them. All her moves were perfectly sync and she barely made mistakes. Also, she was so flexible, God. Kelso’s voice, saying Jackie was foxy, flood in his mind; he felt a knot in his stomach. 

But he shook the feeling quickly enough to even register it. Short after, they were done with those jumps and Jackie ran straight to him afterwards, calling everyone’s attention to them. At least she was smart.  

“Hey,” she greeted, out of her breath and all sweaty. Foxy, Kelso has said. Okay, well, maybe it was his stoned mind, but she looked really good right now. “What?” 

Blinking, he realized he was staring at her. Great. “Nothin’.” 

“Are you high right now?” She squeezed her eyes, suspiciously. 

“Barely.”  

Jackie pursed her lips together, “I know you’re poor and like, marginalized, but do you have to always be on dope?” 

“Only when I’m doing something I dislike the most.” He faked smiled.  

“Yeah well, I’m not paying you to like me, so…” 

“Thank God,” Hyde mumbled. “That would be impracticable.” 

Jackie stared blankly at him, but then a weird untruthful grin twisted her face, right before she laughed so loud it scared him, catching the attention of the remaining girls on the field.  

That chick was nuts.  

“Okay, we’ve got a problem.” With one hand, she touched his shoulder, sliding down his arm in some sort of caress; still a bit hazed, he looked at her tiny hand while it moved.  

“Oh, you mean you have a problem? Cause there’s doctors for that, they say.” He sneered, as he made tiny circles with his index finger on the side of his head. 

She slapped his hand down, saying, “shut up,” through her teeth. “It’s your fried, Eric Forman.” The annoyance in her voice was discernable. “Apparently, he does not believe in our love.” 

Hyde shrugged, “What can I say, he knows me.” 

“You know what, I don’t know if you think I’m doing this for fun, or what. But you better quit it.” And there it was, the pure honest worry in her too much showing eyes, the one that seemed to get him out of his guard. “Your friend spent the whole day yapping about how he thinks our dating is wrong and unnatural, and it got people talking and the last thing we need is people talking like this. You have to fix it.” 

“I don’t know what to tell you. I already told him we’re for real.” He softened his tone, automatically. 

“Is not enough.” She shook her head, saying, “we gotta show him.” 

“Show him what?” 

“That we love each other.” Jackie said like it was an obvious thing. 

He tilted his head back. “But we don’t.” 

“We’ll fake it, obviously.” She sounded tired of his dumbness. 

Hyde grunted loudly, already afraid of what would come next. Despite the fact that he could see her mind working, she just remained silent, so he asked, “And how would we do this, Jackie?” 

“Well, you guys doing what tonight?” 

“Watching TV?” Just as pretty much every day. 

“It’s Friday night.” Jackie blinked rapidly. 

“And?” He asked, blankly. 

“I thought you be doing something fun.” Hyde snorted, so Jackie continued, “Fine, you come up with something for us to do, then.” 

“Me? Why me?” His eyes widened a little. 

“Because you know ‘em.” 

“Well, I mean, this is what we do, we watch tv,” he endorsed. 

“But it won’t do it, okay?” Her tone increased a bit. “If you want to introduce your girlfriend-” 

“Fake girlfriend,” he corrected. 

“Yeah, whatever. Your fake girlfriend to your friends, what do you do?” She sounded almost challenging, like an elementary teacher. It was insulting.  

“Fine! There’s a thing on Saturday evening, I guess.” 

“What thing?”  

“I don’t know, Jackie, something Mrs. Forman is making us go.”  

“Oh, good.” She said, adjusting her chin up.  

Ah, nice. Now she was proud of him. The gang would eat ‘em alive. “Maybe you can bring some friend, too. It could push the spotlight out of us.” 

“Oh, I don’t think it’s necessary.” Her response didn’t make quite sense, it was actually a good idea.  

“Trust me, the guys would go crazy over a cheerleader going out with us,” Hyde insisted.  

Jackie seemed troubled all of the sudden. “Well, I don’t hang out with them that much. They’re not actually my friends .”  

Hyde frowned the slightest. “Can be someone else, it would work the same.” He tried to fix it.  

Although he didn’t like her, she didn’t seem right  when she was uncomfortable. The thing with Jackie was she’s too comfortable in her own skin. Nobody should feel like that all the time, it went to their heads.  

“It’s okay. We’ll be fine, don’t worry, I can handle pretty much every situation.” There it was, the smugness, and she’s back again.  

It almost distracted him from the fact that Jackie just told him she didn’t have any friends. Well, it’s no wonder. He hardly knew her and she’d already annoyed the fuck out of him. But, still, he felt this tiny sharp feeling of pity, that got lost as her voice continued to fill his ears. 

 

 


 

 

The sound of her mother cleaning her throat made Jackie stop her step, as she passed in front of the dining room. Pam was sitting at the long woody fancy table, with a serious expression in her face.  

“We need to talk,” she announced and Jackie came closer, both scared and hopeful her plain had already worked. “I know exactly what you doing.” 

As she sat, Jackie’s heart beat hard against her chest, and all her plotting begun to seem stupidly childish in her head. How could she thought she’d fool her? “Mom...” 

“Listen now, I know you’re hurt about your dad divorcing me, and you’re still upset about what happened back in New York. I don’t' expect you to understand all of this now, but you will, someday. I also know you think this is all my fault and you feel the need to get back at me. But, honey, not like that, this boy’s no good for you. You need to stop this right now.” 

Jackie rose her browns, as it seemed, her mother had misinterpreted the situation a little. Of course, she would think this was just about her. “If you’re talking about me and Steven, this has nothing to do with you.” 

“’Me and Steven’?” Her mother quoted her, sarcastically. “There can’t be such thing. Did you know his father was in jail until recently?” 

Jackie didn’t know that. Trying not to seem surprised, she lifted her chin. “Yes, of course.” 

“Jacqueline!” Exasperated, Pam raised from her chair. “No! I won’t have my daughter engaging with a convict.” 

“Steven’s not a convict.” Her voice shook a bit, as she felt her cheeks warmer. He might look like a bum and had deadbeat parents, but in the end, there was something about him that wasn’t so bad. “He’s not to blame for his parents’ actions.” She spoke with her heart. But added a white lie after. “And just so you know, I really like him.” 

“I don’t care. He’s trash, not for you, I'm forbidding it!”  

Huffing out a sarcastic laugh, Jackie stood up too. “No, this is my life and you should learn how to stay out of it!”  

Pam came closer to her and looked firmly in her eyes. “If I were you, I wouldn’t go against me.” Jackie gulped, but stood still. “By the way, you constantly stink of cigarettes now, it’s disgusting.” 

Even after her mom left the room, her heart still pounded. None outcome would be better than that, really, but Jackie was nervous anyway. She still had a lot to do, Pamela Burkhart needed to get a lot crazier in order to give her pot of gold up. And then she could finally be with her dad and leave everything in this city behind her, including her mother.  

Chapter Text

It was important to be ahead of things, especially when a big lie like that was involved. Jackie couldn't allow any more surprises, such as learn by her mother that her fake boyfriend's dad was in prison. So, she planned every single bit of how Saturday would unfold.  

Since she knew Pastor Dave through some charity events she attended with her mother, Jackie got there before Steven and his friends; and made sure he would introduce her properly. Turns out, the thing Steven was talking about was some sort of small fair to raise funds. 

It had these small booths, with good things to eat or funny games to play, but the decoration was very poor and there weren't enough people to put things together. As the time went through, she ended up helping to set things up. Frankly, best thing it could happen to that people in that day. 

“Oh, and who’s this sweet girl helping us today?” She heard someone asking while she organized some toys for a fishing game, Jackie turned to meet the voice’s owner. 

It was a short, aged woman with and big full smile across her face.  

“Kitty, that’s Jackie Burkhart,” Pastor Dave introduced her, like she politely instructed him to.  

“Hello, darling,” the short woman reached her for a quick and warm hug. Jackie smiled. “Thank you, we really needed the help.  

“No problem. I’m just waiting for my... friends.” Jackie explained. 

“Oh, really?” Kitty’s eyes widened a little. “More friends to help us?” 

“Well, I’m not sure they would be as good as me,” she smiled proudly. “I have a really good sense of party organization, but uh,” she stopped to check the clock on the side wall, “Steven should be here soon.” 

“Steven? My Steven?” The woman said in an awe.  

Jackie frowned. "Your Steven?” 

“Oh, well. Not mine.” Kitty giggled. “But he’s with us for so long, sometimes I forget I didn’t push him out of me.” Her voice dropped down in the last bit. 

“Right,” Jackie laughed politely. “You’re Eric’s mom...” She completely guessed.  

“You know my baby too?” More surprise in her tone. 

“Sorta,” Jackie’s voice came out as a whisper, because she was confused. Why would Eric’s mom consider Steven her own child? Unless... “So, how long does Steven live with you?” 

“Uh, about three years.” She nodded to herself, taking Jackie’s bait. “But you know, we’ve been feeding, and sometimes clothing him since he was a toddler.” 

Jackie took in that information slowly and rearranged what she knew. Steven’s dad was an ex-convict, he been living with the Formans for years, which could only mean his mother was not around either. And as she just learned, even as a little kid, he was surely neglected.  

Guilt washed over her as she remembered she thought he was most likely to end up in jail.  

“Ooh, I gotta go!” Kitty called her attention back. “I’ll see you around?” 

“Sure,” Jackie answered absently. 

When she thought he would be a nice fit for her plot, as he was knowingly poor and easily considered a bad influence, Jackie didn’t go too far into that. But now it didn’t seem fair that his parents weren’t there for him. It shouldn't be something any kid know what is like.  

 

All things considered, the rest of the evening had pass just as she anticipated. They helped out with the activities, well, sort of. Steven’s friends were more trouble than help. They laughed way too loud and constantly left their booths unsupervised, and she even saw this Michael Kelso boy stealing some car toys. But Jackie still thought it was worth it, even if her target, Eric, was reluctant in talking to her, she managed to have a conversation with Donna, his girlfriend, and Jackie made sure the redhead believed in her relationship with Steven, by slipping all sorts of details in the conversation.  

She even found the girl was quite nice, despite her worrisome taste for clothes and boyfriends. Of course, Jackie had offered to help her shopping in order to fix part of the problem. And, maybe, once or twice, she had to hold back a laughter while watching Michael and Fez dumbfool themselves.  

But now, the night was over and they were officially freed of Mrs. Forman requests.  

“Finally!” Eric said, as they left the community center under a huff of fresh night air. Jackie immediately searched for Steven’s hand to lock in hers.  

It was the third time she had grabbed his hand in that day – and she enlaced her arm in his torso once. Every single time he seemed to cringe slightly at her touch, to harden his body. It shouldn’t, but it bothered her just a little. She wasn’t happy with that, too. You know, being seen with Steven Hyde was completely ruining her rep, but it was not like she was grossed out by touching him or anything. 

Steven cleared his throat, twisting his hand in hers; she held on tighter. “Jackie, c’mon, gonna take you home.” 

“Aw, no guys!” Michael protested, “Is still so early and I get tons of fire crackers in my pocket.” 

“Oh, we could pop ‘em in front of Mr. Riley’s house,” Donna suggested, very much excited. “He gave me ‘D’ in the last project.” 

“The chemistry teacher?” Jackie asked, but no one seemed to care.  

“Yeah!” Michael and Fez both agreed with similar excitement that Jackie was having trouble to assimilate.  

“I don’t know. That seems... unwise.” She tried to make herself heard over the giggles, but only Steven seemed to hear or care. 

“I can take you home if you want,” he said to her.  

His words caught Eric’s attention. “What’s wrong? Does Jackie don’t like to have fun with us?” 

She felt her insides heat up, getting tired of Eric’s crap towards her. “Oh, no, no. I’m in. Let’s go!” Not sure what had struck her, she pulled Steven by the hand towards the parking cars.  

 

Jackie couldn't have plan that in a million years. When she left her house, she never thought she’d be standing in a street corner, close to midnight, whit her hands full of fire crackers and her heart bumping the craziest.  

“Okay, it’s every man for himself.” Michael said, solemn. “We pop ‘em and we run.” 

As they all agreed, they walked quietly to Mr. Riley’s house. Jackie wasn’t sure she could do it, her hands felt sweaty against the tiny packets. The whole thing seemed rather illegal. Her pace became insecure and she fell a little behind, which didn’t get unnoticed by Steven.  

“You okay?” 

“Yeah,” she answered overly loud. 

“You’ve never done anything like that, have you?” He smirked down at her.  

“No,” she confessed, a little ashamed.  

“So how do kids have fun in New York?” He asked causally, almost like he was trying to make conversation. 

Jackie snorted. “You would hate it.” Noticing he was frowning his brows a little, she explained, “we never would do something like that.” She paused, “okay, being honest, basically, it was just evenings shopping at malls or eating in cafeterias. Sometimes at the Central Park, but really, none of my friends went there that much.” 

“It doesn’t sound like much.” He stated.  

“Oh, it wasn't.” Jackie shook her head.  

“Wait, so why does everyone in school hear you talking constantly about how awesome New York was?” His gaze was firm over her, but his mien was light, almost humorous. 

Jackie laughed, “C’mon. New York is my ace up on my sleeve. Everybody loves the idea of and I just feed it.” She shrugged, still smiling. Jackie was proud of the image she built in this town.  

Back there, she wasn't much. Just one among so many others bitchy rich girls. Funny, even so she would do anything to go back.  

“Gotta say, you know your game.” Steven nodded and she smiled proudly.  

“Believe me, I came prepared for the worst. What I found here is not even close to the high school dynasty in my old town.” 

He snorted a bit, the corner of his lips going up in some kind of smirk. “But you didn’t prepare to fire crack a teacher’s house in the middle of night?” 

“No,” she huffed out a laugh. “Not really.” 

“It’s pretty simple. You just throw ‘em to the ground, hard, and then run as fast as you can,” he told her, shrugging it off like it was the most common thing to do. 

“Right. Okay, that’s easy.” She shrugged too, but didn’t feel more confident about it.  

“Yeah,” Steven glared at her again. “Wrong shoes, though.” 

Jackie peered down at her feet; she was wearing pumps. Definitely not the best choice, but again, she didn’t predict this.  

Mr. Riley’s residence appeared in front of them, dark and silent, and as they sneaked into the driveway to get a better aim, her breathing raced. The first blast sent her heart to the moon, before she could even react, a sequence of small explosions cut the steady night.  

Not thinking, just doing, Jackie threw the ones she kept firmly in her hand. Her fire crackers were the last one to go and when a light came up, illuminating the front yard, she felt desperate.  

Everybody ran so fast, she didn’t even saw where they go, she attempted to ran too, but her shoes made her feet twisted. Another noise came from the house, or at least she thought so, and taken by fear, Jackie stopped to take off her shoes.   

“Jackie, what you doing?” She heard Steven whispering-screaming to her.  

With no time to answer, she just reached down to her shoes, in the same time she heard a door opening. At that right moment, Jackie thought it was her ending. If Prof. Riley saw her, she’d be suspended, or worse, arrested. But before she even started running again, Steven’s hand grabbed hers firmly and with a pull, he put her on move.  

They were running so fast, and Jackie didn’t know exactly why, but somewhere in between the euphoria, she noticed clearly how their fingers enlaced naturally and perfectly, for the very first time. As they make a good distance, already running fast enough, Jackie expected him to let go of her hand, but instead, he kept their fingers interlocked together; she felt a rushed of safety washing away the danger.  

Her heart was beating so fast, for all of the reasons, and Jackie was sure she had never felt like that before.  

When they reached the others, right after another corner, she could swear Steven squeezed her hand a little harder right before he loose it. Even though she was still in the thrill of the rush, she felt a slight emptiness between her fingers. 

“Oh my God,” Donna managed to say through her heavy breathing.  

Mixed emotions trundled in her insides, and above it all, a feeling of joy grew intensely, making her bursting into an open, loud laughter. A laugh she hasn't had in a long time. Her voice echoed through the empty street and she couldn't care less if they were staring at her.  

“Is she insane?” Eric asked, and maybe he was laughing along.  

“Dude, she’s nuts.” She heard Steven’s testifying answer.  

 

 


 

 

“I actually had fun tonight.” Jackie told him after he parked in front of her place.  

Strangely enough, he kind of had it too. Okay, in the beginning it felt awkward having her orbiting him the whole time, saying his first name too often, too casually; all handsy and smiley. And it didn’t help that everyone he knew was watching closely.  

But in the very ending of the night, when they sneaked out to some good old prank, he saw something new – a gap in her always well-made posture. She was unsure, no, better yet, she was unaware of how to act. And it all ended up to be... well, funny.  

“Actually?” He provoked. 

“Yeah,” she chuckled, “I wasn’t planning on.” 

Hyde frowned his brows, remembering how she said she had come to Point Place prepared. “Jackie, do you plan every little thing?” 

“Well, just the important things,” she explained. “And this is one of them.” 

He looked over her, she had that determinate spark in her eyes, that he thought it was overly unnecessary for the occasion. “Fucking sakes, this night couldn't be less important,” he breathed.  

Her reply was quick, like she had it in the tip of her tongue. “For you, maybe.” Jackie paused and gave him her gaze. “But for me it is important to gain your friends trust.” 

He really, really did know she was saying – and doing this at all – for her own benefit, but he couldn’t help feeling just a little pleased. “They won’t cause trouble, I promise.” 

As soon as he said it, he bit his tongue. He was just trying to say his friends were harmless, it didn’t mean to sound like an oath; but it certainly did. He glared away, regretful for giving her something such as a promise. Jackie’s eyes pursued his and when she finally locked their gaze again, he saw she was seeking for some kind of assurance. Hyde wasn’t sure if he gave her, but she seemed convinced. 

“Thank you, Steven,” she said softly, smiling sheepishly. Again, he heard with discomfort his name slipping out her shaped lips. 

“Hey, um, why do you keep calling me Steven?” He tried to sound casual, although he didn’t know exactly why.  

Jackie chuckled, “what do you mean? That’s not your name?” 

“Well, everybody calls me Hyde, so...” He answered, feeling urgent to drive her eyes away from him. 

“Yeah, but I’m not everybody. I’m your girlfriend-” 

“Fake girlfriend,” he corrected under his breath, loud enough for her to hear.  

Jackie just acknowledged his correction by making an annoyed pause, adding after, “Aand, as your fake girlfriend, I thought it would be more likely for me to call you by your name. Why? Do you mind?” 

“No,” he found himself saying, against all the good sense in the world. “Just wondering.” 

“Okay,” she said.  

“Okay,” he repeated. After what may be a minute of awkwardness, he cleared his throat. “How is it going with your mom?”  

“She's buying, I suppose. But she’s pretending not to care. It’s her first move.” Jackie snorted, “I guess she thinks I just want the attention.” 

He frowned. Suddenly, he wanted to ask her why was she doing all that, why was she going through so much trouble. For him, his motives were clear. Money. Money to clean his dad debts, to get a fresh start. Money to buy him a way into a life where he wasn’t a burden, where he finally had a family to stand behind him. But what could been so wrong in her pretty world?  

A light turned on in her house porch, sucking him out of his thoughts and draining their gaze.  

“I gotta go,” she sighed.  

He nodded. “See you Monday.”  

A small smile spread across her face, illuminating her eyes a bit. “See ya.” 

Chapter Text

Nothing can stay so much time being news in high school. As everybody find out Julie Ludwing, another cheerleader in her squad, was pregnant, Jackie Burkhart and Steven Hyde became old news. She had to admit it, it was easier this way.  

Surprisingly, it was also easy to accommodate in Steven’s table at the cafeteria along with his friends, in this past couple of days. Sure, Eric clearly hated her, and Michael more than once tried to make a move on her. But Fez was kind of sweet and worshiped her already and Donna was... different than the girls she was used to. Like, she didn’t seem to be threaten by her, glaring her with envy all the time. In fact, all she seemed to care about was her skinny geek boyfriend.  

Speaking of Donna, Jackie felt her eyes on her in math class. She frowned at her, as the redhead whispered something Jackie didn’t quite understand.  

“What?” She asked without sound.  

Donna just rolled her eyes and shook her head, telling Jackie to wait ‘till the break. As soon as the alarm rang, Jackie stood up and walked over Donna’s desk.  

“What?” She repeated.  

“I have a message for you,” Donna just said and Jackie became impatient with her delay in speaking.  

“So tell me already!” She demanded.  

Donna rolled her eyes instead, getting up from her chair. “You know, you’re too bossy for your height.” 

“Yes, I’m aware,” she snapped. “And you, too dense for yours.” 

“What?” Donna breathed a laugh, kind of offended, kind of skeptical. “I’m not dense! If you’re talking about the chemistry project-” 

“Ugh,” Jackie huffed, annoyed. “See! I’m not talking about grades. I’m talking about your stupid boyfriend.” 

Donna got astounded, her mouth gaping the tiniest. “What about him?” 

“Well, obviously you’re too dense to realize you’re way out of his scrawny league.” 

Crossing her arms, Donna answered, “That doesn’t matter. I love him.” 

“Duh, I’m not saying to dump him.” Jackie made a dismissive gesture. “I just think you should know your weapons. I mean, he should be worshipping the ground you walk on.” 

Donna’s eyes were carefully studying her, just a bit narrowed. But she chose to let Jackie’s tip slide. Her loss. “Look, I just wanted to talk to you because Mrs. Forman asked if you could show up in her house later.” 

Not expecting this, Jackie pulled her head back. “Why?”  

“She wants to talk to you.” Donna shrugged. “She also asked not to say anything to Hyde, so I think it’s about his birthday.” 

“His birthday?” She rose her brows, surprised.  

“Yeah, tomorrow.” Donna looked funny at her. “You didn’t know!” 

“I, uh,” she stumbled. 

“Of course, Hyde didn’t tell you.” Donna rolled her eyes, like it was so typical of him. “Don’t worry, I think it’s supposed to be a surprise anyway.” 

“Oh, okay.” Jackie said, relieved their cover wasn’t blown. “You can tell Mrs. Forman I’ll pass by this afternoon.” 

“Great.” Donna finished gathering her books and started to leave. “See you later.” 

 

The Forman residence smelled like baked goods. She peeked inside, through a glass door, and saw Mrs. Forman by the kitchen, using an apron, with a nice countenance in her face.  

It was odd. Eric’s mom seemed to be stray out of a family sitcom. Nice and loving. She wondered what that must feel like.  

Knocking twice on the glass, Jackie made herself spotted by the woman. “Oh, come on in!” She said, so Jackie did. “There you are, you sneaky girl!” 

“I’m sorry?” Jackie asked unsure, with a faint smile.  

“Why didn’t you tell me you’re Steven’s girlfriend?” The woman asked back, her voice pitching with excitement. “Oh, this is so cute!” 

“Oh, I- I'm sorry. You know him, I figure he wouldn’t like that.” Jackie guessed, hoping she’d say the right thing.  

Mrs. Forman narrowed her eyes at her. “Fair enough. I can already see why he likes you.” She arranged a plate with cookies in the table and signed for Jackie to seat. “Now, my dear, as you may know, it is his birthday tomorrow.” 

Jackie nodded and smiled, worrying with what kind of situation she was getting into.  

“Steven says he doesn’t want me to do anything,” she continued, as Jackie bit the cookie in her hand. “But he’s turning eighteen and I think it’s such an important event for a young man like him. Don’t you, sweetie?” 

“Oh, yea- yes.” She stuttered; her mouth full. 

“Wonderful!” Mrs. Forman cheered. “So you’ll help us?” 

Jackie’s swallowed slowly, as she couldn't find the right words to say. Finally, she spoke, “sure.” 

“Yay!!” Her excitement picked maximum and Jackie couldn’t but laugh. “Can we count on you to distract him? I know he leaves work at five o’clock, so if you could hold him ‘till seven...” 

“Oh, of course!” Jackie’s mind went blank, so she just stammered, “I’ll just... kiss him for hours.” 

Kitty grimaced, seeming truly disgusted by the image of them kissing. Quickly, the image itself invaded her own mind; she frowned, blinking the view away before it’d glue in her eyelids.  

 

 


 

 

The fridge was practically empty. A bottle of sour milk, a bit of cheese, a pan with old beans and, of course, beers. Beers everywhere, actually.  

Sighing, Hyde serve himself one, it wouldn't kill to have just one beer before his shift start. The place was less messy than the last time, but still, there were clothes and dirty dishes in places one could never guess. 

“Hey dude,” his dad voice announced his arrival.  

“Hey,” Hyde sat on the old couch and took a sip, “where were you?” 

“Around,” he answered carelessly. “I mean, I was looking for a job.” 

Hyde’s eyebrows reached his hairline; he pursed his lips down. “Really? That’s... good.” 

“Yeah.” His dad opened a beer himself, and then sat by his side, turning the tv on just before sitting. “Hey, about the other day, I’m really sorry to put you in this mess.” 

His chest got warmer. Sometimes, he got suspicious of his father’s changes. But other times, like now, he felt just like when he was a boy who just had a really nice day with his dad. He just often forgot that those days came after long months of yelling and fighting.  

“It’s alright.” Hyde shrugged. “Part of the deal, I guess.” 

Bud snorted quietly. “But it’ll get better.” 

They both stood there, drinking in silence and watching the moves on the tv. Hyde’s mind was pounding with the same thought. Does he know it is my birthday? Does he remember?  

It didn’t even really matter; he actually didn’t like his birthday. But... his dad wouldn't forget, just because they don’t see each other in years, right? 

“So,” he swallowed a bit of his pride, “anything special going on today?” 

His dad shrugged, curving his lips down, completely clueless of Hyde’s hidden intentions in that question. Could it be so damn hard to remember the day your son was born? 

“Oh,” Bud’s voice cut the weight of his thoughts, sending a hopeful glow to his eyes. “Just asking, but no pression... About that money, do you-” 

His shoulders dropped. “I’ll have it,” he interrupted, sharply, warmthless. “In a couple of weeks.” 

Bud smiled, pleased. “That’s great son!” 

 

A light rain was falling at the time he left the Photo Hut; still in that dizzy haze of being baked. He didn’t want to go home, mainly because he was sure Mrs. Forman would be waiting for him with a lame party. Maybe he’d just take the Camino and drive around ‘till the day was over. 

Don’t get it wrong, he wasn’t trying to be ungrateful. If anything, he had plenty gratitude for everything his best friend’s family had done for him. But eighteen, man. His time, with them, was ending.  

“Jackie?” He said automatically, as she appeared out of the blue by his side. “What you doing here?” 

“I need your help with something.” She seemed odd; her voice was a bit shaken, she was tired and her hair... was frizzy and kind of wet.  

“Did you walk here?” 

“Yeah, I did,” she said in a complaining tone, glaring at him almost accusingly. “Listen, can you give me a ride to Sheboygan?” 

Hyde frowned. “Do you think I’m your chauffeur or something?” 

“No. But you’re my boyfriend. And boyfriends are supposed to do things like that.” Her tone was cocky, as if she happened to know everything there is to know. 

 “Okay, first of all, fake boyfriend,” he stated, she just rolled her eyes, like it was just a simple detail. “And no, it’s a one-hour drive.” 

“Well, please?” Jackie made a pause, expecting for his answer. He just shook his head, so she upgraded her request, “I’ll pay for gas.” 

He thought about it; looked down at his watch. Something was clearly off. “What do have to do in Sheboygan anyway?” 

“Now, don't be nosy,” she grumbled defensively.  

“You know what, you can walk or fly your way to there, I don't give a damn.” 

“No, no, no.” Jackie grabbed his arm, stopping him to leave. “I’m sorry, okay? It’s just, is, uh, personal and... embarrassing. And I know you’re the only one that can do this with no questions asked.” 

Hyde studied her again, with a serious face; he wasn’t buying that shit. But then, she begun to make this really uncomfortable face, pouting and blinking; he was already planning to drive, and now he had gas covered, also he could use the distraction from his own thoughts, so... Well, why not?  

 

“All your cassette tapes sucks,” She whined. “I mean, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Black Sabbath...” Pause, as she looked over the tapes with disgust. “Kiss? Ugh, that’s just random noise.” 

“Hey,” Hyde peeked at her quickly. “You have absolutely no saying. I bet you like ABBA.” 

“Hell yeah, I do. They’re awesome.”  

He snorted overly loud, not driving his eyes off the road. They weren’t even half way there yet. 

“What?” Jackie asked nonchalantly, he just huffed in response. 

“Jackie, these songs aren’t just random noise. It’s rock’n’roll, man. God’s gift for us.” 

“Well, it sucks anyway.” She shrugged. 

“See, that’s where you’re mistaken.” He paused, “Okay, you know what? I’ll prove you wrong.” 

He could see by the way she moved; she was rolling her eyes. “Oh, please don’t.” 

“C’mon, grab a tape for me, would ya?” He pointed the cassette case in her lap.  

“Steven,” Jackie sighed. “I won’t like it, okay? I already listened to this crap, and I hate it. It gives me headache. Unless you got some Bee Gees in here, it’s a no deal.” 

Hyde grimaced. “Oh, can it. I wanna prove to you it isn’t just chaotic noise.” He felt Jackie’s eyes on him, so he flicked to her quickly; she had a whole defiant face going on. “Relax, man,” he said, in a placating tone. “It won’t give you any headache, promise.” 

He felt her harsh gaze softened right away. Damn it. What was with him and promises anyway? 

“Fine!” She gave in, her tone much less abrasive. “Witch one?” 

“Well, considering you might not still be ready for heavier things, I think we should begin with The Doors. Oh, yeah, Jim Morrison is just what you need.” Hyde nodded to himself. 

“Okay,” she muttered, looking for the right tape. “This Jim Morrison guy, is he handsome?” 

He frowned. “Why?” 

“Well, it gets easier if he is.” She put the tape in, and Hyde’s hand flew to put the music on the start. 

“I guess some might say he’s hot, but I don’t know.”  

‘Break on through’ reverberated loud and clear in the small space of the car. Soon, Morrison’s voice came over, full and potent. They got silent, and he could tell Jackie was paying enough attention.  

“So?” He asked right after the song ended, turning the volume down as another song begun. 

“I guess is not bad…” She said, tilting her head to the side. 

“Not bad? Jackie, did you hear the solos?” He insisted, a little annoyed by the fact that she didn’t seem to like it that much. 

“I heard just fine, okay?! And I’m saying, well, it’s not Dancing Queen, but it’s, it’s alright.” Her voice was little insecure and, maybe, because of the face he was making, she added, “It’s good.” 

He scowled, taking this way too personally.  

“Oh, don’t be like this.” She continued, dismissively. “I’ll listen to the whole album. It’s not like we don’t have the time.” 

Oh, yeah. They had plenty of time.  

 

 


 

 

Raising her hands in surrender, Jackie pulled her lip down, in a pout, putting on a most innocent face. She actually couldn’t plan past that; making him drive to Sheboygan. The distant was perfect, just by going and getting back would buy enough time.  

“What do you mean is too late? We’re here. So let’s go do your thing!” He said, exasperated.  

They were parked just past the highway exit, when he asked for the directions and she panicked and said they already missed the time.  

“I told you Steven, we didn’t make it in time. But that’s okay, it wasn't so important. We can just head back.” She was trying her best puppy face, but clearly wasn’t working.  

“Jackie,” he narrowed his eyes at her, too inquisitive. “Cut the crap.” 

“What crap? There’s no crap,” she retorted, getting more defensive.  

“I can see you’re lying! It’s all over your face!” Steven elevated his tone, gesturing with his hand. “In fact, I knew something was off from the beginning, but clearly I’m an idiot ‘cause I figured, like, you needed my help and why not-” 

“Okay!” She yelled above his voice. “I lied, okay? But I can’t tell you why, so shut it! Now let’s just head back to the Forman’s, shall we?” 

“Oh...” Steven murmured to himself. “I get it now.” 

Jackie gulped down. Shit. “What?”  

“You in this, too, man?” There was a shift in his voice, almost like... disappointment.  

“I don’t know what you talking about...” she lied, but guilt was washing over her.  

“Damn it,” he swore under his breath. “I don’t want a birthday party. I specific told Mrs. Forman that.” His tone was raising as he continued. “Why is that no one ever pay attention in what I say? Or in what fucking day is today!” 

Jackie slid herself a little away from him in the seat, startled by the way he said the last phrase. Angry, hurt. “Steven,” she called, in a whisper. “What’s wrong? It’s just a surprise party.” 

“Well, a party I’m not going to.” He seemed to soften a little, but still pretty upset. “No one cares, why should I?”  

Jackie frowned. Was she missing something? “What you talking about? Your friends care, Mrs. Forman obviously cares. And you know what, I care too. Everyone cares, Steven.”  

Of course. Just when she finished saying, it hit her. She felt sadness deep in her bones. Memories of huge birthday parties where she could never find her parents when she looked for them, crawled into her brain.  

“You know,” she said in the most quiet, sweet voice. It was even hard to tell if she was speaking to him or herself. “I always had these huge birthday parties, with lots of people I didn’t really know. And, uh, sometimes, when I looked around, I couldn’t see a single person that actually cared for me.” Jackie felt his eyes on her, with so much weight, she bent her head down, embarrassed.   

“Really?” He asked, so low she barely heard.  

“Yeah,” finally, she looked up to meet his gaze. It was darkish in the car, difficult to see his eyes clearly; even harder to read them. She smiled sheepish before saying, “You have a house full of people that really seem to care about you. If it was me, I'd enjoy it."   

He didn’t answer her, just drifted his gaze outside the windshield. She did the same. After a small moment of silence, Jackie felt the need to say more. To try and reach him.   

“I can tell there’s more to this than what you really saying. But, if you ever, I don’t know, wanna talk... I guess that's what fake girlfriends are for." 

Jackie spotted a faint smile in his lips. "So fake girlfriends are for talking and fake boyfriends are for driving." 

She chuckled. "Exactly."  

"All right," Steven sighed. "Enough with this mumble jumble, sentimental crap. It's making me nauseous. Let's get this over with." 

"Right," she agreed. "And tell you what, I wanna hear that one... ‘Light My Fire’ again." 

"You do?" He looked over her, curious, as he started the car. 

"For my demise," she dropped her shoulders, defeated, "yeah, I do." 

Finally, a full smile on his face. "Ha! Told ya, man!" 

"Oh, shush! Just drive already." she rolled her eyes, but smirked still.

Chapter Text

Enjoy it; Jackie has said. Yeah, okay, it didn’t sound bad. In fact, this whole party thing wasn’t that bad either. It had hot dogs, and cake, and cinnamon cookies, and he won a sick present from his friends, so yeah, it was alright.  

Charlie’s Angels was on the TV but no one was really watching. Hyde was feeling kind of good; a nice mood sneaking onto his head, just chilling in the couch with the other guys, taking discreet sips of beer when no one was watching.  

He was feeling so strangely loose for such a sober head.   

All of that, in fact, was a rather familiar scenario in Forman’s living room. Yet and oddly, for a brief moment, he felt like something was missing. Hyde’s gaze wandered around, in a mindless search. He spotted Donna and Jackie chatting by the stairs and his eyes settled on them. 

Yes, he was feeling loose because Jackie was off his back, he noticed. She was giving him a break; instead of her usual motto where she tries to shove their fake love in everybody’s faces, gluing to him like gum, she was having the good grace of letting him be. And it felt so nice to not have her on him, but still around. 

He frowned at his thoughts, still studying her from far. From the green armchair, he couldn’t quite see Donna’s face, but she was saying something and Jackie rolled her eyes, tried to hold back a smile. And he had to suppress a growing smirk. 

In the very following second, her eyes flicked to him, catching his gaze. Hyde looked away quickly, a warm feeling of embarrassment heating up his whole body.  

Sure she saw him watching her. And then, instead of maintaining Zen-like and just smirk her off, he fled. 

God. What loser thing to do. 

 

 


 

 

“How did you convince him to come?” Donna asked her. Jackie’s gaze traveled ‘till Steven; he was sneaking a sip of beer, his eyes watching Mr. Forman carefully from a green armchair. 

Steven’s party was nothing but harmless.  She could tell he was in his habitat, safe and comfortable. It only made it hard to understand why he was trying to run from this. It was so cozy. 

She looked back to Donna. “What do you mean?” 

“He obviously knew about the party. And if I know my friend, the only way for him to be here was as a dead body.” 

Jackie chuckled. Then shrugged, “I don’t know. I just told him you guys cared about him.” 

“Aw. How sweet” Donna mocked. “I think he must really like you.” 

That caught her, for some oblivious reason. “You think?”  

“Well, yeah. I mean, you’ve been spending an awful amount of time together and he seems to take your opinion alright. We’ve never saw him being like that to any girl.” 

Jackie nodded, wandering her gaze away, over him. Maybe he liked her as a friend. Friends take other friends’ opinion. She looked back over Donna who was glaring at her expectedly. Jackie felt discomfort raising from her stomach. 

“This is something you could do, too, you know. Take my opinion, I mean.” She redirected the conversation. 

“Right,” Donna said with loftiness. “About what, exactly?” 

“Fashion. What’s up with this flannel, Donna? Do you have to chop some wood later?” 

Donna narrowed her eyes at her, a challenging smirk pursing the corner of her lips. “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure to save a wood stump for you to sit, since you’re practically a garden gnome with a sharp sense for clothes.” She made a small pause, “wait, does that make you the Smurfette?” 

Jackie’s eyes popped in horror. “What? That’s absurd! I would never wear that horrendous shade of blue.”  

“Uh, I don’t know. I think if fits you, Smurfette.” 

“Shut up, you lumberjack!” 

Donna laughed, “You shut up.”  

Jackie rolled her eyes, more pretending to be annoyed than actually being. It was kind of funny, so she held on a smile in the name of pride. 

That was when she had that feeling one get when is being observed. With a cold down in her spine, she left her eyes move themselves, just to find Steven watching her.  

It only lasted two seconds, really, before he’d glare away like he was caught red-handed. Electric wave raising chills from her head to toe; her eyes ran off as well.  

“Um, I been thinking about what you said.” Donna’s voice brought her back to the moment.  

She blinked her hazed state away. “Good!” Jackie said proudly, but had no idea what she was talking about. “What have I said?” 

“About Eric!” Donna sounded annoyed. 

“Oh, right.” She tilted her head back, momentarily forgetting about what just had happened. “something’s wrong?” 

“No. I mean, well...” she flinched. 

“Donna.” Jackie pushed.  

“Okay,” she started. “We were broken up a few months ago, because I didn’t accept his promise ring-” 

“Wait, what?” Jackie interrupted her, because that was something she didn’t expect. 

“Oh- it’s another history. Point is, when we were separated, I went out with another guy-” 

“Ooh, who’d say you’re so quicky.” She shook her shoulders in a frisky way.  

Donna pursed her lips. “Will you let me finish?” Jackie nodded, mumbling an apology. “So, it was just a few dates with this guy I work with, didn’t even worked out. But Eric got really upset and hurt about it, so even though we were not together, I apologized and all. Because he was hurt, you know.” Donna paused, looked around to find Eric on the couch, then said, lowering her voice. “And now, I just figured out he kissed another girl as well! And never told me about it!” 

Jackie’s lips formed an ‘O’ and she silently gasped, looking over at Eric’s too. “What a bastard,” she hissed. 

“Right?” Her voice was insecure.  

“Yes!” Jackie was emphatic. “He totally made you feel guilty about something he did too!” 

“Yeah,” she sighed. “But now I don’t know, I guess I need to talk to him.” 

“Talk to him? Oh, Donna, dear. No. You need to teach him a lesson!” Jackie retorted quickly. 

“Jackie, that’s not how relationships work.” 

She snorted. “Oh, is it manipulating feelings, then?” 

“Well, I don’t think he was, per say, manipulating me.” Donna reasoned.  

“Look Donna, men understand only one language. Trust me, I’ve seen it.” As Jackie argued, Donna’s gaze traveled away. “We’re going to come up with something that will teach him just fine.” Jackie petted her arm, glaring at her sympathetically. 

“Uh, okay, I guess.” 

 

 


 

 

The rest of the evening occurred smoothly, and Hyde didn’t bother to think of Jackie once. Well, it was impossible not to think about that particular embarrassing moment, but still, he did not think of her at all .  

Except for when they decided to call it and finally have a circle in the basement. He scanned around, looking for her. And she was not in the living room anymore, nor with Donna, who was talking to Fez now. Hyde frowned, standing up and going to the kitchen.  

When he passed by the swinging door, her big, horrified eyes glued to him.  

“Oh, Steven!” Mrs. Forman noticed his presence, turning to face him. “Sorry for stealing your girlfriend,” she giggled, clearly tipsy. “We’re just having a girl talk.” 

Hyde frowned, glaring between Jackie’s troubled face and Mrs. Forman’s joyful one. “About what?” 

“Oh, you wouldn’t wanna know.” Jackie rushed, more horror in her eyes. He begun to worry. 

“Okay.” Kind of without thinking, he reached out his arm, hand open, fingers stretched out, to grab hers and pull her closer to him. Jackie accepted very quickly, leaving Mrs. Forman’s side. The gang past through them without stopping to see what was going on, so he spoke, “We’re just going to hang in the basement now, Mrs. Forman.” 

“Of course!” She said. “I just gonna make myself another drink!” 

Hyde pulled Jackie with him, by the hand, through the door to the basement. Still very worried about what they might had been talking, he asked, whispering, “What was she saying?” 

They started to step down the stairs, he led them slowly because he was paying attention to her face. So much attention, that he forgot to let go of her hand.  

“It started about margaritas,” she whispered back, “but then,” dramatic pause. They went down further. Hyde lift his eyebrows, telling her to continue. “Well, I think we were talking about sex.” 

It all happened in a flash: 

“Sex?” He asked louder, startled. 

Why would Mrs. Forman talk about sex with my girlfriend? He thought. 

“You guys are going to have sex?” Heard Fez’s voice.  

Fake girlfriend, he corrected himself mentally, quickly.  

Suddenly, painfully, he remembered they’re still holding hands; dropped it abruptly.  

“No!” He barked in answer.  

“Jeez, Hyde. I just wanted to watch!” Fez said, offended.  

“What?” Jackie asked under her breath. 

He blinked. Confused by the flood in his head. “I need a circle, man.” 

 

In circle  

Eric, staring something outside the circle: Is she really just going to watch? Man, this is weird.  

Fez: I don’t know, Eric. I kinda like it. It’s fun to be on the other side.  

Hyde looks over Fez, disgusted; says: Hey. She doesn’t want to try it. Fine by me. There’re already too many people stealing my stash! Next thing you know, the government will be putting taxes on it!” 

Donna, staring at Hyde: Do you guys think Hyde looks older? I mean, is that grey hair? Do you think my hair is gonna go gray in my birthday, too?  

Kelso, peeking quick at Hyde: I don’t know. But you guys know what? I think I’m even prettier now Hyde’s eighteen.  

Jackie’s watching everything from above the deep freezer. In her face, there’s a mix of confusion, curiosity and fun.  

 

 

“Is hard to describe, Jackie.” Steven told her, shrugging, while driving her home.  

It was past eleven. She was so past her curfew, but she guessed it was even better. 

“Well, try it?” Jackie insisted. 

She was curious. Never before she saw people smoking pot. Although, in her head, it always seemed disgusting and problematic, today, it had seemed so... not terrible.  

“Okay, so you know when you’re really tired and sleepy?” Steven started.  

“Mmhmm.” 

“So, kinda like this, but in a chill relaxing way. And you’re mind kind of goes at ease and your thinking is free, things get funnier and weirder, and then you just get so hungry and food taste amazing.” 

“That sounds... okay.” She said quietly, thinking it was not how she imagined. 

“I thought it was disgusting,” he mimicked her way of speaking, making fun of her.  

“Well, when you and your ugly friends do, it is disgusting, but I’m sure I would look cool doing it,” she snapped, but ended in a dreamy tone. 

Steven snorted, “sure.” 

“Is true,” she endorsed. “Can you think of me doing something and not looking nice?” 

“I can think of some scenarios.” 

She looked over him. Was he serious?  She searched in her mind what could she possible do and not look great doing it. 

Nothing.  

“No, you don’t.” Jackie replied with disbelief.  

“Of course, I can. Like, you pooping for example.” 

“Ew!” she flinched, horrified. “You’re so gross!” 

His laughter was light and echoed through the car, but it couldn't make her smile along. 

The whole thing was too terrible to cope.  

 

While he parked in front of her house, Jackie remembered the day from the beginning. The anxious of not knowing how to stall him for two hours; them listening to music lightly, in some sort of road trip mood; the conversation they had in some random street in Sheboygan, the hurt he was trying to hide in his voice; his party, so simple and small and heartwarming; the conversation she had with Donna; Mrs. Forman’s drunk weird sex analogies... 

For the hundredth time, she remembered that very moment when she caught him watching her and even his sunglasses couldn’t stop the electric lightning feeling that set her body awake. That particular moment was still bouncing inside her head.  

“I had a really good time today.” She told him with a truthful, but somewhat pained small.  

“Yeah, me too,” he paused, seeming unsure. “Thanks for, uh, giving a break to our act.” 

“Sure,” her smile got brighter. “Considerer this your birthday present, time away from me,” she added in a fun tone.  

“Sweet,” he said and, even in the dark, she caught a glimpse of his eyes, which was so rare.  

He was having a nice time.  

Jackie decided right there she liked when he drove her home at night. Because it meant a little time without those stupid sunglasses. It meant she had a shot trying to get honesty out of his blue eyes.  

For a second, she tried to read if he was feeling as strange as her, about their shared look. Her breathing even got shallower when the will to ask him why he was looking at her like that raise up. But she swallowed it down.  

“Happy birthday, Steven.” Opening the door to leave, she tried to find his eyes again.  

He nodded, not quite looking at her. So, she just stepped out.  

“See you tomorrow.” She heard, and turned around smiling, closing the door in the same move. 

“See ya.”  

 

“There you are.” Her mother opened the front door to her, directing her gaze straight to the black El Camino outside, in the dark street. “You know what time is it?” 

“I know, I’m sorry. We got carried away.” Jackie answered as the door was being closed behind her.  

“It’s a school night, Jackie.” Her tone was harsh. “What’s this smell?” 

Jackie turned to her, blank face. “What’s smell?” 

They stared each other for a sec, before Pam decided to drop it. Obviously, it was too much work. “Your father called.” 

Her heart raced. Six days. It took him six days.  

“He did? What did he say? Did he leave his new number? I want to call him back.” She gushed. 

“He travels early tomorrow.” She simply said. “But we talked, you know. And he was not happy about your behavior.” 

“Well, he said if he was going to call again?” Jackie really wanted to talk to him. 

Pam rolled her eyes, impatient. “Point is, there’s gonna be some changing here.” 

Oh yes. There must be phase two. Jackie crossed her arms, defiantly. 

“For starts,” Pam continued, “you grounded.” Jackie snorted, giving her back and walking away. “I’m not finished!” She heard. 

“Okay,” Jackie turned back, “what else?” 

“Your father wants me to drive you to school, and pick you up every day. And I will!” Her tone was troubled and Jackie instantly doubt her mom would stick to that.  

Jackie shrugged; her face still impassive, not at all concerned. 

“And,” her mother kept saying, “he’s cutting your allowance.” 

That unsettled her. “What?” 

“You heard, no money for you until you break up with this boy.” Now Pam sounded triumphant. 

Shit. “Can I at least get one last one?”  

She still had four hundred dollars to pay Steven. And she had spent all her savings already.  

“Of course not!” 

“Fine!” She retorted, almost yelling in frustration. “I don’t care. Love wins over money!” 

Her mother gasped, horrified. “Do you lost your mind? That kid doesn’t have a penny to his name!” 

“I don’t care!” Jackie stated strongly, unwilling making fists with her hands. 

“Fine then! Bet you can last two days!” Pam shouted. 

“Watch me!” Was the last thing she said before marching towards her room.  

 

 


 

 

Back in his room, tired of the eventful day, Hyde opened his cabinet drawer to count the cash once again.  

Six hundred dollars in small bills. More four to go.  

Often enough, an anxious feeling would clamp his chest and he couldn't help but feel all of this was meaningless. There were so many chances this could blew up in his face.  

Maybe he shouldn’t be even trying so hard, after all, his dad didn’t even know what day he was born. Well, to be fair, he couldn’t actually blame him, so much alcohol must not be good on the brain... and he was the father he had.  

But now, in the last moments of his not so bad birthday, in the safe loneliness of his room, in a basement of a family that was not his, he genuinely wished he was born out of different people.  

He sighed heavily, putting back the money in the bottom of the drawer. The tip of his fingers brushed against a piece of paper, he recognized as the list Jackie gave him days ago.  

Jackie Burkhart was, perhaps, not as he thought she was. He had to admit she could be nice and funny if she wanted to, she could even be thoughtful and caring. Well, he liked to imagine she was making all this mess because of some shallow thing she wanted badly, but he had come to believe it was more than that.  

Her eyes, there was something about ‘em. They had some kind of glow, a translucid shine that, as he had learned, showed every single one of her emotions openly.  

It was freaking scary. 

Every time she’d state how important this whole thing was, well, he could tell she meant it. He started to believe. And after today, as the memory of their conversation pulsed in his mind, how sweet and careful she had talked to him; how endearing was the way she grabbed his hand when he rescued her from a drunk and awkward Mrs. Forman; how their eyes – ahem –  maybe, they could be friends.  

Yeah, they could be friends; he already was friends with strange people. In fact, it would make this whole thing easier.  

So, in name of friendship, it wouldn’t hurt to try be a better fake boyfriend.  

Sighing, he sat in his cot to finally read what she wrote.  

 

Things to know about me, if you’re my (fake) boyfriend  

 

Born and raised in New York, my dad’s name is Jack Burkhart , he’s a lawyer in a countrywide law firm. Which is pretty upscale , the downside is that he travels a lot,   

My mother is Pamela  

My birthday is Set 24, which is always a perfectly pleasant autumn day   

Inherited my grandmother’s classic beauty and harmonic features   

(Hyde snorted as he read) 

I like shopping, manicuring, design makeup, soft stuffed animals, scent candles, romantic movies, Christmas holiday and roller skating  

My favorite band is ABBA   

(he grunted in pain and mumbled an ‘of course’) 

If you ever want to give me something, I’ll take shiny jewelry, diamond rings and brand clothing.  

But, since you’re cheap, flowers work just fine  

(‘pftt’) 

I’m a great kisser, in case you wondering  

(eyes rolling)  

Also, in case you hear something like that, I’m not lesbian – this is Leah Moore bullshit    

(Loudly, ‘what?’)  

And I should tell you, I suppose, I had one boyfriend before. But I don’t really wanna talk about it, so don’t  mention  it to anyone   

(‘huh,’ he murmured)  

Anything else you wanna know you can ask me   

 

Jackie