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Somewhere Along the Way

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Eric

Somewhere along the way, a raven haired, 98 pound devil kicking cheerleader became my best friend. I sit here, studying her head, in my lap sleeping. Don’t get ideas, I would sooner jump off a bridge than like her. She drives me nuts, and when I look at her all I see is the little girl, who followed me home from school one day after a bully was trying to kick my ass. I will never forget it, I was about to get pounded, praying Hyde was somewhere when this tiny blur came and kicked this kid asshole so hard in the shins, he fell like a ton of bricks. I remember looking around and not seeing anyone and then looking down and there standing was a slip of a girl. She had eyed me and with the snobbiest tone possible said

 

“You should learn to do something about this guy, I can’t be everywhere” 

 

I had said ‘thanks” and started walking home, she literally followed me, talking the whole time. In my whole life, I’ve never met anyone who talks as much as she does, she came in with me and my mom fed her cookies and milk, and you could say the rest is History, Jackie Burkhart became a central figure in my life. So, here I sit with her head in my lap after she cried herself to sleep, and I’m still rubbing her arm to comfort her. 

 

I look down at her and my heartbreaks, God, she just sets herself up to get hurt, she absolutely loves with all her heart. I notice her stir and shudder, I know what’s coming, because it’s what she kept saying as she cried herself to sleep

 

“I just love him so much, it hurts so bad.”

 

I stroke her hair “I know Devil, I know” I call her that because Jesus, this girl has a temper and will attack with no warning. Getting kicked by Jackie, is its own painful hell.

 

I take a deep breath and try to find calm and think to myself as I listen to her sob again brokenheartedly “Steven Hyde is a dead man”



Hyde

Somewhere along the way, against my will, better judgment and all that is right with the world, I fell in love with the most annoying cheerleader in the universe. She never shuts up, can be a total snob, shallow, but simultaneously is beautiful, strong, big-hearted and simply the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I fucked it up. I’ve been up at the water tower for hours, not wanting to go back to the basement, because I know she is there. I know right now her head is in fucking Eric’s lap, and she is sobbing. How do I know this? Because I’ve watched that show a million times, when she can’t take it anymore, she curls up with Eric.  When lost…. Jackie finds Eric, Jackie Burkhart, the Queen of Popularity is best friends with a complete and total geek, and besides me, he is unfailing loyal to her. More, than Kelso, More than Fez, even more than Donna. Those two are thick as thieves, and it has annoyed the shit out of me for years, and that is why I’m in this fucking mess, because I am fucking jealous of Eric Forman. 

 

I know. I know there is nothing between Eric and Jackie, God……. They fight like Cats and Dogs, he gets kicked by her the most, second only to Kelso… He is not even going to think about Kelso, that’s a whole other problem with Jackie, Fucking Kelso, but this time it wasn’t Kelso who sent him over the edge it was Eric. 

 

He knows Eric has been in love with Donna since he was five, Good God wasn’t Jackie the person a few years ago, that smacked him upside the head and said 

 

“Eric, I am tired of hearing you whine about Donna, either ask her out, or I am telling her you like someone else.”

 

I’ve asked Donna if Eric and Jackie being close bothers her, and she always sighs and says the same thing

 

“Sometimes, but I know Eric loves me, and Jackie loves me too and I know she would never ever cheat on any boyfriend and I know she wouldn’t do that to me. She is loyal down to those painful tipped toes. Jackie loves Eric,  but not the way I do, and not the way she loves you.”

 

I sigh, that is what I hate…. I don’t want her to love Eric, I don’t want her to have a soft spot for Kelso, I want to know that I’m first because I fear if push came to shove she would pick Eric over me. 

 

I press my fingers to my eyes, I have fucked up big time and I know it is time to face it head on.

 

The drive back in my Camino is agonizing, is she going to be in the basement waiting for me, is she with Donna now, or is she curled up with Eric like I suspect? I don’t want to walk in and discover that.

 

I pause outside the basement door, I’ve never been a coward but I’ve never broken Jackie’s heart before and nothing scares me more than that. I push in and find it empty expect Eric.

 

“Hey” I mutter, having no idea what to say

 

He looks at me, he’s pissed. I’ve never seen him this mad. He doesn't say anything back. 

 

I take a deep breath “Where is she?”

 

I see it. For the first time in our friendship which fucking predates him and Jackie, I see a burning hate, and it surprises me, but also flares up my own pissed off…. Looks like not only would Jackie pick him over me, but he would pick her as well and it  pisses me off. Those two… God Damn it.

 

“Why do you care?” he spits out, glaring at me.

 

I’m starting to lose focus and get mad again. “Don’t start with me, Forman. Where is she?”

 

He blows first, and for the very first time in his life, he unwisely decides to take me on, and shoves me as hard as he can (which I might add, is not much), it’s all I need, to take all my frustrations and shame out on him.

 

I shove him back as hard as I can “You want to take me on Forman? I don’t think you want to go there.”

 

He glares back “Yeah, I fucking do.” and dives at me and the next thing I know for the first time I am physically fighting with Eric. I’ve kicked Kelso’s ass more times than can be counted, but the most I’ve ever done is frog Eric in the arm. 

 

I am kicking the shit out of him, but he won’t stop, finally I pin him 

 

“Knock it off Forman. This isn’t going to solve anything and you know she’s going to freak when she sees us.”

 

I feel the fight go out of him, and again I get that burn inside of me, he will stop for her. It clouds my thinking and I tell myself it's not true. Jackie doesn't want Eric. I get off of him, and he pops up, I can see he wants to hit me again, but he lets his arms drop.

 

‘Where is she?” I ask softly

 

Eric

God, I hurt everywhere. I lost my mind, what in the name of God possessed me to attempt to fight with Hyde. I know better, he is a 150 pound kicking ass machine. You would never know it, but Hyde takes really good care of himself, outside of the pot and getting trashed. He works out, does weights in the basement and does all sorts of weird crap I couldn’t do on my best day. I didn’t have a chance in hell, what possessed me? I know the answer, it’s the same thing that always makes me do shit completely out of my character or out of my own desire…… freaking Jackie. Damn her, no one causes people to lose their damn minds like she does, no one more than my jack ass other best friend…. Hyde.

 

She has been pushing him over the edge since she waltzed in my life, I can’t think of a time he didn’t have an extreme reaction to her…..Extreme annoyance, pride when she kicked Laurie’s ass, protectiveness, and want. As much as he thinks he hides it, Hyde has been watching Jackie for years, if you don’t know him as well as I do, you would miss it, but the bottom line is if he really didn’t like Jackie, he would have ignored her existence, it's just how he operates. Instead, he’s been reacting to her for years, he’s the dumb ass…. He’s been in love with her this whole time and completely too stupid to realize it. 

 

“Why should I tell? You cheated on her Hyde! She fucking cried for hours. HOURS! If you can’t love her the way she loves you….. Just leave her the fuck alone!”

 

I recognize the pissed come raging back and know this is about to get ugly.

 

“She’s my girlfriend Forman! I need to talk to her, you think I don’t know I fucked up. You think I don’t know that Jackie wasn’t crying her fucking eyes out in your lap. You think I don’t know that she went straight to fucking you like she always does. She’s MY girlfriend Forman, MINE!”

 

“Why did you do it? What conceivable reason could you have for cheating on Jackie!”

 

He explodes “WHAT THE HELL WAS I SUPPOSE TO THINK, WHEN I WALK IN THE BASEMENT AND SHE IS HALF UNDRESSED, WITH YOU TOUCHING HER DAMN BACK!”

 

He doesn’t get it. That it is just as insulting to me as it is fucking wrong what he did to Jackie and I’ve had enough

 

“You are supposed to know that you and I are brothers and I would never screw your girlfriend. You are supposed to know that Jackie would die before cheating on you after what Kelso did and the way her tramp mom acts. You are supposed to know her better than that. You are supposed to know me better than that. Why can’t you for once just ask, instead of freaking out?

 

He just looks at me blankly, his even gaze unreadable even to me, and I barrel on this time more exhausted and sad

 

“She was hurting Hyde, I could tell by the way she was carrying herself that something was wrong. She was being weird about it, I told her if she didn’t show me or tell me then I was getting my mom, so she unzipped the back of her blouse. I was touching the bruise and scratches, and I was trying to figure how the hell this happened.”

 

I watch him close his eyes “I know that now, I just……”

 

“You just assumed two people who love you would betray you, and what gave you the sudden clarity that I am not screwing Jackie.”

 

I watch him take a weary sigh “I ran into Donna who was worried about Jackie, and told me about you making her show her bruises and scratches to you, and that Jackie was being super weird about it.”

 

He looks away, won't make eye contact with me anymore, which means he’s really upset and doesn’t want me to recognize it and asks

 

“Did she tell you how she got hurt?”

 

In all what had happened in the last 24 hours, I had forgotten to focus on that part, and that worry came back

 

‘No, she refused and just said she fell, then you blew in the room and all hell broke loose.”

 

“Okay” he whispers

 

As pissed as I am, I can’t bring myself to torture him anymore

 

“She asleep in your room, I put her on your cot.” 

 

He immediately turns and heads to his room, but I say his name

 

“Hyde, don’t screw this up.”

 

He looks at with the worst face, I’ve ever seen, complete and total regret are etched into every line on his face and says

 

“I already did”

 

I watch him push into his room, to face the consequences of his actions, and all I can think is 

 

“No one causes people to lose their damn minds like Jackie.”