Hyde isn’t really sure why he is standing in this parking lot, waiting for her to come out and call the final time of death on them, but after what Eric told him he at the very least must tell her how he feels. He won’t talk about Kelso’s sins, this is about his own, because he has screwed up royally, and it is time to atone for his part in this hell that has been the death of him and Jackie.
Hyde watches her stomp across the parking lot. He knows he is about to catch hell, there is a part of him that is surprised she even followed him out, but he used the only thing he had left, their ability to read each other. He had called her name and let his eyes beg.
She stops a few yards away from him, but enough that she is at a safe distance and it kills him. Hyde never thought Jackie would consider him something she had to escape from.
“What could you possibly want? If you wanted to talk to me, you could have come as the invited guest you were.” She says with a snobbish tone that only Jackie can make sound both reasonable and like you are dirt beneath her feet simultaneously.
“What do you want me to do?” he growls “Seeing you with him, it kills me.”
Her eyes widen “Are you kidding me? What about me? How can you even dare? She spits out.
He can’t help but love her even more at this moment. Even in this dank and dark parking lot, with thunder rumbling behind her, she is stunning. Her anger illuminating her whole body. Against his better judgment he steps towards her.
“No!” she screams. “You left me! You married a stranger! Stayed Married! You were cruel. You broke me for sport and you want to talk about hard? Screw you! You are such a bastard.”
She is trembling with all the pain she has been trying to forget. Her mind whirling with all the past hurt he has committed.
Every word is a wound to him. Hyde can’t deflect the weaponized words because what defense does he have? He knows what he did. He did it to break her, because if he was going to lose her, not have her, he wanted to punish her. He’s been trying to wash his crimes away with Jack and that is part of the reason he is here. He must make it right.
She turns away, starts to march in back to the party, back to a life without him.
“Wait” he whispers.
She spins her mismatched eyes full of agony on him. He can see her fighting herself to leave him and give him zero chance at absolution, but His Doll is still in there he can see it, and that is what is stopping her.
Hyde decides if he is going to lose her completely forever, he might as well lay it out there. Let it be his penance, that she knows, and she doesn't care anymore. He deserves it
“What? What could you possibly have left to say?” She says softly.
The sky starts to cry on them but neither moves. This is their final showdown and a mere storm won’t chase away two people who have been a storm themselves.
He takes a deep breath and says what he should have said from the beginning
“I love you. I loved you when you were the girl with a skinned knee. I loved you when you used to hide me in your closet. I loved you when I used to yell at you for not eating. I loved you so desperately that I was stupid and didn’t want to share you. I loved you every day of those two damn years when I didn’t see your face. I loved you when I took you to prom. I loved you when I taught you Zen. I loved you every time and every moment you were with Kelso. I loved you that summer. I loved you when I fucked up. I loved you when I was heartless and cruel. I loved you when you said Yes to Kelso. I’ve always loved you, Jackie. Always.”
Her eyes are shimmering, the rain is softly wiping her defense of perfect hair, makeup and clothes, revealing the little girl and woman he has loved all his life. Even with her soaking wet he thinks she is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen. He keeps waiting for her to run, but she seems stuck in place.
He knows it is wrong, but he is going to take advantage of her shocked state. He strides to her and cups her face and notices that some of the wet is tears streaming down her cheeks. He looks into those eyes, the eyes he used to lose himself in, and he continues his confession.
“I know I’m a hypocrite, That I shouldn’t give a damn or even have the privilege to give a damn but watching him with you is a prolonged death. A death I deserve. A death I earned but a death I can’t face. I’m going to love you until I die, but I can’t watch you love him”
Her eyes are killing him. They are telling their story. Every low and every high, and he sees how much this is hurting her. He drops his hands from her face. He doesn’t even know why he is here, in the parking lot of her rehearsal dinner causing a scene. Here he is ruining something else for her. She has always driven him to extremes. There is no halfway with Jackie.
Her silence is slicing at him. She’s never been quiet. It’s another wound opened. He did this to her, and he is desperate to kiss away all the pain. He leans his forehead to hers, like he has done a thousand times. How many moments did they do this and read each other completely. There can’t be a goodbye kiss. He has crossed too many lines tonight, and he won’t cross this one. It’s wrong. He won't make her a cheater the night before her wedding. Even though he knows if she gave him even a hint of wanting him, he would fly over the line.
With their eyes unmoving , she finally speaks.
“Why? Why now? The night before my wedding?”
He closes his eyes and tells his final truth, ‘Because I’m an ass. Because I wanted you to know before I left. Because I needed you to know it was always you.”
She gasps and he opens his eyes. Her eyes are stuttering with panic.
He swallows the tears that are forming in his throat and his heart.
“I can’t watch you not be mine forever. I can’t watch you with him. Anyone would kill me but him…. I’ll drink myself to death if I stay and watch.”
He gently wipes her tears with his thumb, and cups her face one more time. He wants to memorize her, because he is never coming back, and he wants this one last glimpse.
“Goodbye Doll. I love you, and I’m sorry for every tear I caused.”
Her eyes are full of something he can’t read, and with that final hurt he finally gives up. He drops his hands from her face and turns away. He starts to walk away when he feels a soft but firm grip on his wrist. He turns, and she immediately stands on her tippy toes, and kisses him.
His heart, body and soul screams, “Oxygen, what you need to breathe.” He can’t help himself, he drinks her in. She’s the most potent drug he will ever take and the one that he will crave forever. He will want this until the day he takes his last breath on earth.
He feels his blood sing ‘finally.”
He pulls back. He wants to be honorable and for once do the right thing.
She stops him with another kiss. This time he feels it. This is his girl. He pulls hers closer, even if it's the last time, he wants to feel her pressed up against him. There is nothing more natural to him than Jackie close to his body. They finally come up for air, and he can’t help himself. He knows it's wrong, but he says it.
“Don’t marry him. Please. I love you.”
She breaks eye contact and folds herself into him just like she used to and whispers
His heart explodes. He pulls back forcefully.
He watches her take a shaky breath
“I still love you. We have so much to talk about, to work out, but I can’t marry him. I love you. It’s always been you. Take me with you.”
He can barely breathe. This can’t be happening. He looks at her again, and he sees she is serious.
“Steven wherever you are going, I want to go too. This…” She waves back at the building
“All of this was just me trying to move on. Punish You. Have something to hold on to. I don’t love him. I wasn’t even sure I was going to make it down the aisle tomorrow.”
For one moment the darkness that had taken him over these last months flies free, and he sees himself mouth “She doesn’t love you.” to Kelso and the satisfaction of being right almost over takes him. She is standing in front of him beaming. He lets the love shining out of her eyes burn away the malevolent part of him that he will always have to battle but knows he can with her.
She pulls out from under her the brim of her dress a small grasshopper necklace. His heart instantly comes back to life. He tips her chin and kisses her softly.
“Steven, I’m still your grasshopper.”
He doesn't have to be told twice, he crushes her to him and feels tears, stinging. He pulls back and looks her in the eyes because he needs her to understand what he is about to say
“If we leave together tonight, we are burning every bridge we have in Point Place. If we leave, no one will forgive us. We are about to hurt a lot of people. We won't be able to come back Jackie, we can never come back.”
What he doesn’t say to her at this moment but will one day, is that he will never bring her anywhere near Kelso again. That he fears the depths of which Kelso will go to have Jackie. That when they leave, it is forever.
He sees his Jackie fire to life she shakes her head and says with a tone he hasn’t heard in a long time
“I don’t care. You are home.”
There on her face is that reckless smile and fire in her eyes that she had all those years ago when she first told everyone she refused to break up with him. He recognizes the defiance that was her shield when everyone told her to give him up, and he sees the whiteout flame of love for him that he thought had been put all the way out burning in those mismatched eyes.
He sweeps her up and carries her to his Camino.
‘I love you, Jackie. I’m so sorry.”
She snuggles in relishing that she is finally where she belongs
“We can do this. As long as we are together, besides, she laughs. “You have a lifetime to make it up to me.
He laughs at that. His heart feels set free from the prison of doubt and mistrust he jailed it in for so long. A lifetime with Jackie isn't a prison but his salvation. He kisses her deeply and says
“Anything for you Doll.”
In the shadows of the parking lot, Eric Forman has been watching Jackie and Hyde the whole time. He’s felt guilty for standing between them, calling Jackie names and not understanding how much they needed each other. That’s why he told Hyde where the dinner was and told him what time to come. It’s why for the first time in his life he yelled at Hyde and told him
‘To Get off His Ass and Go Get Your Girl”
It’s why he told Hyde everything and even if he couldn’t get Jackie back he wanted to make sure that the truth was out there. It’s why he gambled that if Jackie came face to face with her Steven vs. the Hyde that they had all been living with, Kelso didn’t have a shot in hell.
It’s why He had pushed the Kelso down and said let me deal with him when Hyde made his appearance rather than a very pissed off groom. It is why he cooly reminded him he didn’t need to be black and blue on his wedding day and claimed it would be better if he dealt with Hyde. Who knows Hyde better than him?
It’s why when he followed them out and Jackie was standing at the doors scared to go out. He begged her to listen one more time. It’s why the two friends who had tortured each other for years finally really looked at each other. It’s why his dad came out and said
“Jacqueline, go out there and listen to him. Go on and do as you're told.”
It is why Jackie who has always loved Red like a father flung herself in his arms and a man who doesn’t have a soft bone in his body, hugged her back.
It’s why when she pulled off her ring and handed it to him and whispered
“Just in Case”
He knew that Hyde and Jackie were going to be okay.
He watches his best friend leave with Jackie, and he feels a deep pain in his heart. He knows he will never see them again, and he knows his world just got a little less colorful without them in it. Despite the loss, he is happier than he has been in a long time, because he knows his brother has what he needs. She’s Hyde’s guiding light and Hyde’s her calm.
It has taken him years to realize that whatever Kelso feels for Jackie is nothing compared to what Hyde feels for her. More importantly is that what Kelso feels for Jackie is unhealthy and dark. The truth is Hyde can’t live without her, and she can’t breathe fully without him.
He watches the tail lights fade, and he whispers “Love you guys.”
He tosses the ring into the air and snags it back with a wicked gleam. It is time to go in and break Kelso’s heart, a task he will do with pleasure.
He walks back inside, slows his steps deliberating and calls to Kelso
“Kelso! Jackie needs you.”
He watches that dumb ass grin he has seen a million times cross his face, and trot over to Eric like a puppy searching for a bone. He nods his head to follow him out into the lobby.
He watches Kelso look around confused “Where’s Jackie?”
Eric stares at him and says: hold out your hand”
Kelso who has been fooled by this joke a million times does it automatically, too distracted by trying to understand what Jackie needs him for when he feels something fall into his grasp.
He looks down and the whole room starts to spin, there is Jackie’s engagement ring. He stumbles back, shocked, but he is about to get a bigger one.
Eric grabs him and pulls him close and whisper with a deep satisfaction
“I planned this.”
He pushes Kelso back and strides out the lobby doors into the night. He takes a deep cleansing breath. Jackie and Hyde are never coming back, but he knows they are finally home.
Hyde finally got the girl.
Inside a stunned Kelso is trying to understand, Jackie is gone with Hyde and Eric, one of his oldest friends, planned his ruin. A ruin that one day he will understand he deserved but for now all he can see is Hyde mouthing
“She doesn’t love you.”
He swallows, he should have known it was true Hyde never lies.