Title: Chapter 15
Disclaimer: I do not own anything. Although I do feel a little possessive of the new Jackie and Steven I have created. But they are merely borrowed and manipulated.
Summary: The happy couple comes home –what have they missed. Is the basement gang ready for the new and improved J/H?
A/N: Hey everybody! I think I'm going to stop here. I just wanted to get them all home and tucked into their lives. Tell me what you think, please.
Home is where the heart is, her grandmother used to say. And Dorothy Gale seemed to think there was no place like it. But Jackie Burkhart couldn't help but slow down as she rounded the corner of the last turn of her incredible summer long journey. As the Forman/Pinciotti houses came into view, Jackie knew that the trip was over. She and Steven were no longer alone. Already she could see Donna and Eric sitting on the hood of the Vista cruiser. She knew Kitty and Red were probably inside watching T.V. She let out a sigh of relief that at least Fez and Michael were missing in action. Steven heard it and let out one of his own.
What did they say about home? That it was the one place that if you had to go they would have to take you in? Yeah that was it. Well he wasn't too worried about being denied admittance. It was just weird. He'd spent his entire life not far from here but over the course of the last couple months he felt like an entirely different person. He had a stupid un-Hyde like fear that he may not belong here anymore. And despite the happy changes in his life and despite how he use to feel about Point Place, he now knew that it was where he wanted to be. His friends – his family – were here. He hoped they were happy that he was back. He hoped they were happy that he was happy with Jackie. Donna and Forman would be, he knew that, and of course Kitty and Red. And well Fez had his own problems these days. But Kelso was another subject. He knew that if the gang was going to stay together –he was going to have to deal with Kelso. That didn't sound like fun. He wasn't looking forward to it. Judging by Jackie's sigh she wasn't either. Oh well they had had their fun, now it was time to pay the piper. He sighed as well and took her hand. She smiled at him and he was no longer worried.
They walked together hand in hand approaching the other happy couple who were so engrossed in some squabble that they didn't notice them until they were almost upon them. Hyde had parked at Donna's in order to be able to take all of Jackie's massive amounts of souvenirs and clothes in easier.
Donna mid rebuttal caught a glare from Hyde's sunglasses and instantly launched herself off the car top and into Jackie's tiny arms. "Oh my GOD! You guys are back. And," gesturing toward their still linked hands "and back together. That is sooo great."
Jackie smile quadrupled. She had really missed Donna, she now realized how much. Almost enough not to tease her about wearing a shirt that said "Are you Hot or Not?" But not enough to not give her a look for it.
Donna noticed Jackie eyeing her shirt and quickly explained. "It is a promotion the radio station is doing. I'm working there again until school starts –they are changing their format to a more cutting edge style and want Hot Donna to help keep the old listeners."
"Yeah whatever". Eric huffed. Grabbing Hyde and pulling him into a manly hug.
Jackie noticed Steven looked both uncomfortable and happy.
Eric pulled back only to be smacked by his fiancé. "Hey what was that for?"
"For being such an ass. I'm just trying to make money to pay our rent."
"So I take it, you don't like the promotion in question." Hyde asked, smirking at his best friend and retaking Jackie's hand.
Eric rolled his eyes. "Yeah, you can say that. They have her judging men in Speedos down at the Y."
"You act like I enjoy it." Donna responded incredulous.
Jackie stepped physically in between the two, holding her free hand out as if they were going to go to blows. "Guys, guys don't fight. You two love each other so much. Shouldn't you be spending your time doing something more important that fighting over some dumb job?" They both looked at her like she had grown two heads. I guess they weren't used to the non-shallow Jackie. Hell sometimes it still surprised her how much she had changed. She had had a whole summer to adjust and they would probably need more time so she continued. "Something like talk about me and my incredible summer." They looked relieved. Steven smiled at her knowingly.
"So Jackie how are you and how was your incredible summer?" Donna joked.
Eric stepped up and surprisingly hugged her "Yeah Jackie –nice tan."
She returned his hug and laughed just as Red and Kitty came outside.
"Oh no – loud one – if you and Steven aren't back together don't get any ideas. You have dated enough of these dumbasses –let Donna have one."
Kitty shot him a look and ran over to hug Steven. She squeezed him so tight it looked like his eyes were going to shoot out like some Bugs Bunny cartoon.
"Hey Mrs. Forman. Mr. Forman."
"Hey Dumbass." Red offered. Jackie smiled standing by Eric and then for the second time found herself being hugged by a man with the last name of Forman. "Welcome home." Her smile increased.
"Sooooooooo?" Kitty inquired looking to Steven then Jackie.
"Sooooooooo?" Steven monotoned back. Causing Kitty to hit his shoulder. "Yes, Mrs. Forman. Jackie forgave me –we are back together."
"Oh thank god! You kids and your drama."
"Does this mean you aren't going to move out until next year?" Red piped in over Kitty's enthusiasm.
"Well see Mr. Forman I wanted to talk to you about that…" he started. He had worried most of the way home about how to broach the subject, thinking that maybe a summer kidless had convinced Red his theory about that Utopia was right. But Red interrupted him before he could explain the deal.
"I'm kidding Steven. Just tell me you didn't marry her and you can move back in and keep your knees unbroken."
He laughed along with Kitty's uncomfortable shrill laugh and noticed that behind Red Jackie placed her hand in the pocket of her smock skirt. He paused and then "Nope I can honestly say there were no wedding chapels in Vegas."
"So where did you guys go?" Donna asked making her way over to Jackie's side.
Jackie beamed up at Donna, excited to change the subject from matrimony before Red noticed the evasiveness of Steven's response. "We went to the beach."
Kitty motioned Red back inside giving the kids privacy and promising them all cookies in about an hour. They wandered around to the basement to finish discussing their respective summers.
Half way through the story of the colorful patrons of the Cowboy Café Jackie's hand gestures caught the attention of Eric. "What the hell is that?" he asked jumping up and grabbing at the hand that Jackie had already returned to her lap.
Under her in the chair Steven swatted Eric away "Get bent Forman paw your own girlfriend."
Eric raised his eyebrows in challenge "Don't you mean my own fiancé?"
Donna jumped up as well and started pawing, managing with her lumberjack ways to accomplish the task of exposing Jackie's ring. "Oh my GOD Jackie is it true –or did you lie to Red and you are married? This doesn't look like an engagement ring."
Eric gasped and started pointing "Red is going to kill you! Or have another heart attack." He started pacing, freaking out the way he did when he first found out about the two of them after last summer. "See this is what you get for dating a demon".
"Twerp" Jackie shouted offended. But not really. It was amusing making Eric squirm. Steven lifted her up and went to stop the meandering thin boy.
"Eric. Eric stop. Listen to me. We are not married. No one will have to die."
"Well except for maybe Kelso." Donna warned.
Jackie gave her a look that said don't encourage him. But Steven was the one who responded. "Kelso will do no such thing."
"What won't Kelso do?" the person in question asked bounding in the door oblivious to the conversation or who was having it. Fez was with him looking warily around the room as if Red was hiding behind the deep freeze ready to jump out and get him. Then he seemed to notice Jackie and Hyde for the first time. "Hey Jackie. Hey Hyde. When do you guys get back? And how weird that you got back at exactly the same time."
Jackie smiled. It was hard not too –he was so stupid and she didn't want to hurt him. Everyone was looking to her to tell him. The jerks. But she guessed she deserved it. She was the one who led him to believe that they might have another chance. She never should have done that. Even before Steven kidnapped her and she spent the entire summer learning to forgive him, she knew that she wouldn't go back to Michael. Deep down she had known she wouldn't be able to stop loving Steven. "Hey Michael. We just got back about a half an hour ago."
"We? That is so weird. So like have you made your decision yet? Cause I'll totally cancel my date tonight if you are ready to pick me." He tossed his hair and smirked at Hyde.
Jackie laughed. Noticing Steven's shoulders visibly release at the comment. In that one sentence he had solidified all their relationships. It showed Steven that he wasn't just like Michael; it showed her that she wasn't the bad guy. And it let her know that Michael would be fine without her. She would tell him later about her summer, it was enough now that she knew he didn't waste his. "No Michael that is okay. Tell Pam Macy Hey for me."
He looked downcast for about two minutes and then he shook it off, cute and resilient to the end. "Hey how did you know?"
Fez answered for her "Oh well it is obvious my friend, you know longer have my Laurie."
"That's what you think" Kelso joked with his back turned to Fez. When he turned around though he was met with a fierce countenance.
"That is not funny, you son of a bitch"
Kelso looked suitably apologetic. "Sorry little buddy I was just kidding."
"But I was just…"
"I said good day."
"FINE! I'm going. Out on my date with a girl easier than your wife ever thought about being."
"Bye Kelso" they all joined in.
Jackie sat by Fez and he looked pointedly at her hand. "So when are you going to tell him you crazy kids and why wasn't I invited? I wanted to be the flower boy."
Hyde came around and slapped him on the shoulder. "Well Laurie wanted to wear white, man –but you know some things just aren't possible."
"We aren't married."
"But they are engaged." Eric sing-songed.
"Get bent" Jackie responded.
"And apparently back to rubbing off on each other. Okay guys –this was fun. I'm glad you are back. But it is time for those of us who have homes, other than the basement, to get back to them. Donna?" Eric got up from the couch and took the hand of the woman he loved. She hugged Jackie again briefly and then headed for the door.
"Fez, you need a ride home?"
"Yes please." Fez hugged as well. "You guys come over and see Laurie tomorrow."
They both rolled their eyes "Sure we can't wait." Hyde deadpanned, earning an elbow from Jackie.
In two minutes they were again alone. Jackie looked up at Steven and then laid her head on his chest. "So are you glad to be home?"
"Yeah well I guess there is no place like it." He responded.
She smiled looking at him. "Nope, it is where the heart is".
"Yeah well you are here." She was his heart, that wasn't romantic garbage. He didn't do romance, he meant it. "And you did take me back."
"Yeah I did."
"Are you sure you made the right choice?" he asked, just because he wanted to hear the answer, not because he needed to anymore.
"I can feel it."