Chapter 1: He Never Knew Her
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.
Chapter 2: The Lies We Tell Ourselves
Inside the Reception Hall
“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” He can’t blame booze this time for hearing his parents in his head. This time he thinks he might actually be going crazy. He glances down the row past Fez his best man, to Eric who he had to ask to be a groomsman or Jackie would have known something was up. How in the world would he have explained to her why he didn’t ask Eric? He is still surprised and confused by the interaction. His mind quickly falls back to that day
“Listen Eric, I know things have been rough between us lately but I still want you in my wedding.”
Eric looked at him shrewdly and said “Or because you have no way to explain it to Jackie, is more like it.”
Kelso didn’t even know what to say to that, but asked the question burning inside of him
‘Why haven’t you told them? I don’t understand why you haven’t ratted me out?”
Eric tipped his head and looked like he was examining Kelso, measuring him up somehow and sighed
“What good would it do now? Hyde has burned too many bridges with Jackie. She said yes, why destroy this for her? Why tell Hyde? When I know he will murder you, not that you don’t deserve it. Nothing good comes out of them knowing. I don’t want to see either of them hurt anymore. So yeah, I’ll be in your wedding.”
Eric catches him staring at him, and he raises an eyebrow in question. Kelso only shakes his head, and understands the saying his dad used to say when he would fight with his brothers “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Eric is at least somewhere he can see him and stop him if he tries to pull anything. He shakes his head at himself. If Eric was going to tell Hyde or Jackie or do something it would have happened by now.
He can’t escape the feeling that something terrible is going to happen, that the other shoe is getting ready to drop. The night had started rough, that had to be why he feels this way. When he had picked up Jackie they had gotten into a fight.
He had honked for her and she came right out. He softly smiled as he watched her walk to the car. Her hair up, delicate but noticeably hoop earrings glinting from her ears and a red off the shoulder dress that flirted around her legs. She looked ravishing, like some Gypsy Queen getting ready to take on the world.
It was that thought “gypsy queen” that caused a sour taste in his stomach to rise. He knew that dress, that whole look, it was Hyde’s fucking favorite. Even if Hyde had never said it out loud, a blind man couldn’t miss the way he looked at her when she wore it, his eyes never leaving her and a sly smile would come over his face.
He could remember one time when they were all drunk, and she had come to pick them up, she had been wearing this exact outfit and Hyde and gazed at her a stupid smile on his face and said
“There is my Gypsy Queen” and then had grabbed her goofily and kissed her soundly on the lips.
There was his day away wife in an outfit that a man he had battled with for her not only loved, but had stripped off her body. She had slid into the car, and kissed his check and smiled brilliantly
“Hi! Are you ready? This is exciting.”
He had pulled away and had quickly gotten sullen
“I can’t believe you are wearing that! Of all the dresses you could have worn, you wore Hyde’s dress.”
Her eyes had flashed dangerously and her voice had gotten stone cold
“Michael, this is my dress and I love it. I don’t wear it for you. I don’t wear it for Hyde. I wear it for me. I am not going to have this fight with you every damn time, I wear something Steven used to love. If I wanted to deal with this bullshit, I would still be with him.”
He was so shocked by her tone and swearing because Jackie almost never swears that he missed her slip up. He missed that she said Steven. She had not used his first name in front of him in a long time.
He is pulled from his thoughts by her bright giggle. It soothes him a bit. She is here next to him, laughing and enjoying the moment. He has nothing to worry about he tells his clenched brain. He closes his eyes again, trying to shake that dark feeling that says he and only he can have Jackie.
There is a part of him that knows logically it is unhealthy this belief that she belongs to him and no one else. There is even a part of him that understands how ridiculous it is for him to be so righteous when he cheated on Jackie so many times. He can’t even tell you why he did. He really does love her.
He will always come home to her, so if he strays it shouldn’t matter. He believes without hesitation that her heart will always forgive, Jackie has never been able to stay mad at him long. He believes it like he is certain the sun will come up tomorrow.
That time when she wouldn’t speak to him immediately after her and Hyde and got together had been brutal and dark. His behavior is not something he is proud of but ultimately she can’t stand to see him in pain, and she had forgiven him, thus causing the first major rift between Hyde and Jackie. He shakes his head, he wouldn’t think of Hyde. He doesn’t want that bastard in his head.
He feels her light touch on his hand. Some of the tension leaves, her touch has always been a balm for him. He opens his eyes and gazes at the woman who is about to be his wife.
“Are you okay Michael? She asks softly.
He looks at her face, a face he has memorized, he is looking for something to release this forbidding feeling. All he sees is perfect serenity. Not elated. Not melancholy. Not a drop of pissed left from their spat in the car. There is nothing. She’s so fucking Zen she’s putting Hyde to shame. This is the student becoming the master, her face is unreadable.
No! His mind screams Don't think of Hyde!
She is looking at me expectantly with her head tipped cutely at him waiting for him to answer.
“Yes, I’m fine. Are you? You have been awfully quiet. I am sorry, I yelled in the car baby.” he whispers softly to her.
He wants no one to sense any issue, everything has to be perfect. Everyone has been making fun of him for being the groom from hell, It’s been him who has been nuts about the wedding. Jackie has been fairly quiet. Her only request was that they do it quickly and with the people they loved most. The quieter she was the more obsessed he got with making sure everything was perfect.
She smiles at him and says “Yes, Just a little tired.”
She looks away and his blood goes cool. His brain is chanting, she said yes. She’s here. She loves you, but his heart is bitter with fear. His heart beats out “she doesn’t love you” with every pump. He can’t get it to stop. That one moment with Hyde 3 months ago won't go away.
He reaches out and strokes the nape of her neck. She turns briefly and flashes him that Jackie smile. The one that could stop a man dead in his tracks. She has always loved when he played with her neck. She turns back to finish her conversation with Donna. He continues to stroke her skin, it soothes him. They haven't been together in a long time. She had asked for them to wait until they were married. Looking at him with her big pouty eyes and saying
“Won't it be romantic that the first time we are together in years will be as husband and wife. It will be like the first time.”
He had wanted to protest but it was Jackie, and he has never been strong enough to tell her no. He can’t wait to be with her again. He has been starved from Jackie, and he is ready for his hunger to be quenched.
As he runs his hand across her neck he feels the cold hard metal of a chain. He smiles. She’s wearing her rainbow again. It makes him so happy that he glances over, so he can see it, and thinks happily how it all began on that day of her 8th birthday.
He looks down and is disappointed this necklace falls between her breasts. He smiles and thinks lucky chain but that is cleared away by the undeniable knowledge that his necklace isn't that long.
She’s laughing and distracted, so he slowly pulls it up, and there resting on the curve of her breast is a grasshopper.
His fingers drop the chain and his mind is actually screaming No! No! No! He can’t believe she is wearing Hyde’s grasshopper. She has his mother fucking dress on, her hair swept up just like he used to like and his damn necklace buried in secret between her breasts. Ones that he has been desperate to touch but Hyde is still getting to touch in necklace form.
He can’t help himself. He does something no one dares to do. Not even Hyde, treaded on this ground. He leans close to her and whispers so quietly that no one else will hear and says
She turns quickly, her eyes on fire. No one calls her Jacquline. It is forbidden. Her father who no matter what his faults or crimes are Jackie adores him, and he is the only one who has ever called her that and that name is reserved for him.
No one has this privilege….or, so he thinks. There is one other, but he has only used it once when he held her tight in a garage three years ago as she cried in his chest.
“MIchael!” she says angrily. “You are NOT allowed to call me that. You know that.”
Her eyes are snapping with annoyance, but he needs to know. He wants her undivided attention, and he knew that name would get it.
He takes that chin that is jutting up in defiance and asks the worry taking him over
“Do you love me?”
She looks at him like he is ridiculous and answers “Of course I do.” She arches her perfectly manicured brow and reminds him forcefully
:That question didn’t warrant my full name. You know how I feel about It”
She huffs and turns back to Donna as he has a startling realization. Jackie hasn’t said the actual words to him. Not once. Not even the night of the engagement. Ice is forming in the bottom of his stomach, he never noticed, but she always answers back with
“Ditto, or a you too babe”
Even worse… he knows where he has heard those evasive phrases before. He has heard them coming out of Hyde’s “can't tell anyone how he actually feels” mouth.
His breath is shallow. He thinks he might pass out. Who is this Jackie? This Jackie of utter nothingness. She has been a whirlwind her whole damn life. This Jackie is calm, calculated in her actions, and masked. This is not his Jackie.
He takes another deep breath. He must stop this. He is almost to the finish line. He almost has her secure. He has nothing to worry about. If he knows one thing, it’s Jackie only does what Jackie wants. If she didn’t want to be here, she would be somewhere else.
He wishes desperately he could shut Hyde out of his head. That he could stop visualizing Hyde glancing back him and mouthing
“She doesn’t love you.”
It has been on repeat in his head since that night, like from a horror film that scares you your whole life. It haunts you and causes you to sleep with the light on.
He’s woken from his mental nightmare straight into a living one when he hears Jackie gasp and
There he is standing in the doorway. His eyes trained on Jackie, Jackie’s on him and for the first time in his life he actually wants to throttle her. He can see they are doing that thing they do where they simply know by each other’s eyes.
He hates it. He’s always hated it. This is where his jealousy is just as black and dangerous as Hyde’s. What can that bastard see he can’t? He has only ever been able to read her pain but anyone can do that, she wears her hurt like a beacon.
Everyone freeze, eyes darting between the two people caught in the most intense game of don't blink
He says in a voice that has only ever been reserved for her
It is so Hyde to completely assume she knows what he means. He looks at her one more time and walks out. Almost like Hyde pulled a line connected to Jackie she pops up. Pure instinct kicks in and he grabs her arm.
“What the hell Jackie what are you doing?” he says harshly
She turns and looks at him, and he sees a softness that has been missing from her face. She cups his face and kisses him gently and sweetly.
“Let me just go and see what he wants, so we can shut the door forever.”
He responds to her sweetness. It's always been like honey, and he has always been the bee who can’t resist it. He wants it. He craves it, and it has always fooled him.
What Kelso doesn't know is Jackie’s eyes have never lied to Hyde, but they have been lying to him for years. Her sweet, honeyed words have always been about hiding something.
He starts to get up, there is no way he is letting her go out there unsupervised. It’s Hyde, and he doesn’t trust him. Eric on the other side says
“Let her go. I’ll go with, no use in you going. No one needs to fight. Besides, Jakie will be pissed off if you are black and blue for pictures and in the history of fights with Hyde…. You’ve never won. Besides, I know Hyde better than anyone, I can get him to leave.``
Kelso hates it, but he knows Eric is right, Eric is the best person to send out there. He watches them walk out. He notices Jackie stop at the door and start to refuse to go out. He laughs as Jackie stamps her foot. Jackie is pissed, and he thinks Hyde is about to get. He watches her almost turn back, but she is hunting for someone in the crowd. He watches Red get up and head to them.
He feels even better now, he knows Red won’t put up with shenanigans, and he has a soft spot for Jackie. He won’t let Hyde ruin her night.
He watches Red talk sternly to her, and then she throws herself into his arms, and then she looks at Eric and hugs him.
She then flies out the door, and he wishes he could see her tear him to shreds. His thoughts are sifted away by Red striding back to his seat and his whole world stops. Red turns to him with an unwavering look of disgust. He stares at him and mouths
“She doesn’t love you.”
He feels sweat and fear race through his body. Red knows. He knows what he did. If Red knows who else knows? He begins to panic. He begins scanning faces and sees nothing but curiosity about what is going on. Against his own will his gazes goes back to Red. His face could be fashioned out of stone.
He has a flop sweat. He may be a grown man but that doesn’t mean he isn't scared of Red. He is still unmistakable sure that Red could kill him without breaking a sweat, and if he knows what he did and that he lied and hurt Jackie for his gain…. He won’t ever be able to get within a 100 feet of Red Forman every again. He briefly and child like thinks to himself, that is going to be a problem Jackie loves Red.
He feels a tug on his arm and a hiss in his direction
“This isn’t good Kelso” Donna is looking at him with concern and a hint of anger.
“I think Jackie’s right. It’s better we totally close this door and be done with it. Besides, Eric is out there. He will keep Hyde in check.”
Donna looks at him like he has lost his damn mind
“Kelso… don’t be stupid. Do you really think Eric would stop Hyde from attempting to take Jackie? Hyde is his best friend, they are like brothers. They back each other without fail.”
Kelso smirks “He never backed him with Jackie. He never believed they should be together.”
She wants to shake him, how can he be so stupid
“Kelso” She throws out “This is an Eric who knows what you did!”
“This is not clueless Eric. He broke up with me over this.”
“This is an Eric who knows you broke Jackie’s heart on purpose.”
“THIS ERIC IS AN ERIC WHO KNOWS WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!”
“THIS IS AN ERIC WHO KNOWS YOU SET HYDE UP TO FAIL.”
She is beyond mad and has lost the ability to hear the scene she is causing. She is so lost in her rage she has not noticed people starting to stare and shift uncomfortably.
“Damn it Donna. Shut Up.” He says as he grabs her arm and forces her to sit down.
“Listen Kelso” She breathes out like fire
“I didn’t work and plan all this for it to fall apart five damn minutes before the end. I didn’t lose my boyfriend for you to fuck it up because you aren’t smart enough to know that Eric will pick Hyde over you in a heart beat. So get out there and see what the hell is going on.”
Just as Donna finishes her tirade, his name is called out
“Kelso! Come on Jackie needs you.” Eric yells
He looks at Donna with a condescending smile and says “See it is fine, she needs me. Nothing to worry about.”
He springs up all his earlier worries gone and his doubts erased. He feels stupid. There is absolutely no reason to be upset. Jackie needs him, NEEDS HIM to save the day.
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.
I have always believed that Hyde and Jackie were made for each other. While I don't agree with where the writers took them in the end, I give all credit and rights to the creators for creating such rich characters to play with.
All of this was written for my own enjoyment, and no profit was made from this posting.