Donna has no idea, but all of them at some point tonight will stare at someone in this parking lot and try to make sense of what the hell happed to all of them, but for now she watches Kelso and Jackie step into the reception hall. She is more than ready for this show to be over. She ended up sacrificing more than she intended when she agreed to be Kelso’s partner in “The Must Have Jackie” scheme. It pisses her off still, she could have come out of this without a piece of dirt on her if Kelso had kept his damn mouth shut. He couldn’t keep it together when the chips were down, Jackie went missing on the night of their engagement, and he fell apart worse than the French in the middle of a battle. She laughs at herself, that is how drained she is, she is quoting Red Forman. She lays her head back on the headrest of her car and meditates for the hundredth time what possessed her to leave Kelso unsupervised.
The Night of The Engagement
She is sitting on top of the Vista Cruiser staring at the stars, content in her victory. A clever victor never crows out loud, she thinks wickedly. It is proof in her mind that she is the smartest person in their group, she helped pull off something without a drop of blood spilling on her. A smile creeps across her face. If she could have seen herself, she would have described it as the cat who just ate the canary. He smile was wicked, indulgent and not the least bit sorry. She is glad she has a few minutes to get herself together before Eric comes out. He can’t see a drop of her satisfaction, or he will wonder at it.
She is waiting for him to come and sit with her like he has done since they were 10. This is their place. This is their special place. She feels a bit of bitterness in her heart, she is sick of hearing about the great love story of Jackie and Kelso, and more importantly she never wants to hear about Jackie and Hyde ever again. She has worked hard to make sure that relationship crashed and burned. Kelso, in his focused blindness and drowning in his own motivation, never stopped to examine or question why she decided to help.
She has always taken great pride in being the only girl in the group, the one that all of them wanted in some way but never had a chance in hell with, except Eric, but that didn’t count in her mind. More so, she loved and relished that Hyde, who never liked or pursued anyone, had gone after her. He had liked her so much that he had been willing to risk his relationship with Eric. It gave her this feeling like she was Hyde’s White Whale. The girl he would always want, but could never have. It gave her a strange surge of power, and she liked it. When she had found out that not only had his short lived pursuit of her was a lame attempt to stay away from Jackie, but that Hyde had known Jackie for years secretly and all those years he had cared about her she had felt frigid rage fill her. When that little nasty bomb of knowledge exploded, she had been so enraged she had thrown a fit in her room.
Out of that bomb was born a deep and unhealthy resentment for Jackie, a resentment that would fuel every underhanded nasty arrow flung at Jackie and Hyde. She hated that this girl, who should mean nothing to two of her oldest friends, was someone they had both been chasing for years, while it escaped her notice and permission.
The worst part, the part she would not tolerate was Jackie was taking her spot, stealing her story.
She was supposed to be the girl the boys had known the longest.
It was HER who was supposed to have special bonds with Kelso and Hyde
SHE was the one who had a boy love her since childhood.
It was intolerable to her that this girl who should mean nothing had been stealing her spot all these years.
Donna loved Kelso. Plain and Simple. She had always felt a special bond she couldn’t explain. They were twinned in selfish justification. Donna didn’t care or would never care about Kelso’s crimes against Jackie, in her mind they were perfect together and that is the way it should be. There is nothing you could have told her to change her mind, because like Kelso she was simply incapable of looking past what she wanted. She believes she had the authority to correct the balance. She comforts herself in the hollow excuse, this is good for the whole, she says those things over and over again to squash the ominous truth, She will be DAMNED if Jackie will steal her story.
She hears him, call her name a voice she would know anywhere, it makes her smile and warms her. It is a warmth she needs. Eric makes her better, she feels lighter when she is with him,
She turns to see him standing by Cruiser. Her smile fades, Eric looks like he wants to cry, like his world has just been destroyed. Worse, his eyes are full of accusation and piercing her with anger.
She feels her blood chill, no fight, no break up, no agony they have endured has caused him to look like this. This face is harsh and unforgiving, she has a brief fear that he knows that her and Kelso were together in California, another sin she justifies by pointing out that her and Kelso ended it as soon they came home.
Why couldn’t Hyde and Jackie do the right thing, screw like bunnies for a summer, and then go back to who you belong to.
Donna and Eric do not have the connection that Hyde and Jackie do, they can’t read each other, so they are staring at each other unsure of what is coming next. Eric is experiencing the glacial reality that this girl in front of him, a girl he has loved forever, is a complete stranger, and he knows he has loved a facade and it is breaking him. This girl sitting on the top of the Vista Cruiser, waiting for him to lay back with her and stare at the stars while they share their deepest secrets and the most hidden parts of themselves is unknown to him.
He doesn’t want to know this girl. He doesn’t want to know the fucked up Kelso downstairs. He wants no part of this, and he is sick, his undeniable belief that Jackie and Hyde weren't right for each other made him blind to the bullshit whirling around him.
Donna begins to shiver not from the cold, but from the Eric stuck in his spot staring at her like she is a monster. He hasn’t said a damn word since saying her name. He is just looking at her like he has never seen her before, and what he sees is terribly unpleasant.
“Eric?” She trembles out “What’s Wrong?”
She watches him turn from her for a fraction of a second, and then he turns back and his eyes are unyielding with resolve.
“Donna. I know what you did. I know you helped Kelso. I know you planned, put in place and turned the key to destroy two people.”
Her heart stops, instant panic fills her. Her mind goes blank, and she makes a strategic error on how she responds
“Eric you don’t understand, it’s not my fault. I was just helping Kelso get back what was stolen from him.”
This triggers the tidal wave Eric has been holding back, the god awful disappointment in the people he has loved best for years
“What the fuck is wrong with you two? Jackie isn’t a GOD DAMN OBJECT! She doesn’t belong to anyone. He left Donna!” He yells, but there is no stopping it all
“He left with you to be exact. They broke up! They were done! Jesus, Donna, we were broke up, I could have been with anyone, you would have no claim to be upset. Let’s not forget you ran around town stomping my fucking heart into the ground with CASEY KELSO. You and Kelso are selfish and horrible.”
She scrambles off the car and runs to him, he takes a step back
“Don’t touch me, Donna. Don’t ever touch me again.” he growls out.
Her mind is rebelling against this scenario. This was not supposed to be how it all went. Her mind is searching for a way to reel this all in
“Eric, you are blowing this out of proportion. Hyde made choices, we only capitalized on them. It’s for the best.”
Eric looks at her with menace and yells
“He is killing himself over her. I will sit up tonight and wait for him to come home to make sure he doesn’t drown in his own vomit. He is going to drink until he can’t feel anything. How is this for the best?”
He takes a deep breath and looks at her with regret and sadly says
“Why would you want Kelso to marry someone who doesn’t love him? I don’t why Jackie is doing it, but you and I both know she wants Hyde and that Kelso will spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder.”
He takes a breath and continues his shaming of the woman he loves
“Kelso’s right…. Where’s Jackie? The Jackie we know would NEVER leave her engagement. He is dead on, she said, yes, but she went to him. Wherever he goes to drink her away, she knows, and she went to him. So congrats, Donna, you helped create a marriage that will be based on jealousy and uncertainty.”
She has no idea what to say, the glass of victory that she had been drinking from is shattered. This was never part of the plan. Tears are spilling out and she can see he is indifferent.
“Eric….they will both get over it.” She tries to cry out.
He looks at her sharply and laughs out
‘God, you and Kelso are two peas in a pod, but you know what I am over? You. Were done. Don’t come near me, Don’t come to the basement. Don’t sit on my fucking car. Relish your victory with Kelso, because I don’t ever want you in the same air I breathe.”
He turned and stomped into the house.
She is paralyzed and can’t comprehend what happened. Despite his demand to stay off his car, Donna crawls back up and starts to cry, she eventually feels arms around her. She looks up to see the sorry and sort of sober face of Kelso
“I’m sorry Big D. I’m sorry I got us in trouble.” He whispers as he gently rubs her back.
She wants to strangle him, but at this moment she just wants someone to understand why she did what she did and Kelso understands perfectly.
In perfect unity of selfish souls he rocks her back and forth and with continued denial of the havoc he and Donna of reeked says
“Once Jackie and I get married, we will get you Eric back, I promise.”
She nods into his chest, comforted at least someone still loves her.
A sharp knock on the widow of her car door, startles her, and her eyes fly open. There is Eric, and he is studying her oddly with a detachment like she is a random bridesmaid he has been paired with, not a girl he has known his whole life.
She opens the door, gets out and looks at him. He raises his eyebrows and says with almost a jubilant tone
“You are ready to go finish this train wreck you helped create?”
She says nothing, she won’t give him the satisfaction, but she will tonight go back to sipping from her glass of victory. Jackie is going to marry Kelso, nothing is going to change that.