Title: 12 songs by Willie Nelson

Disclaimer: I own little -and nothing of large monetary value like T70show.

Summary: Jackie's summer alone turns into a summer on the phone with the man that she just can't seem to leave behind.

Credit: My muse is sleepy -so I decided to do a little writing exercise to wake it. I'm challenging myself to write a chapter a day using the titles of the 12 songs off Willie Nelson's album The Great Divide. This is an exercise. I hope it turns out entertaining as well. So...moving right along...

Song Cred: The first song is Maria (Shut up and Kiss me). It was written by Rob Thomas (of Matchbox Twenty) for this album.

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"You can say something with music that you can't say with plain talk. There ain't really no words for love or pain."
                                                                                                 -Gloria Naylor

"Huh, I finally get country music."

                                                                             -Hyde Nobody's Fault but Mine

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That's my favorite part, to rewind my life on
When my world got dark, and you turned my light on
I've watched it for hours again and again in my head
I did
I see I was down on you, more than I needed to be
I'd say I'm sorry but then you'd think I'm lying


Maria, shut up and kiss me
Stop shakin, stand up and hold me
I bet you're gonna miss me
You need me. Believe me
Maria, shut up and kiss me
You're crazy and it turns me on and on
The way you're carryin on

That's my favorite shirt, you always had on
Man, it sure looked good, ev'ry time you walked on
You're takin the wind from me every chance that you could
You're good
Somethin I can't explain
You tell me lately I've changed
If you feel better tell me why are you cryin?

Maria, shut up and kiss me
Stop shakin, stand up and hold me
I bet you're gonna miss me
You need me. Believe me

Maria, Maria, can't we talk it over instead?
Let's call it even and leave it alone
Come to bed

Maria stop leavin your teasin is beatin me down
Maria just calm down
In these situations I've found
It's best not to be proud
and say that I'm sorry

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The funny thing about country music, Hyde discovered, is that it didn't matter if you didn't own a hound dog. Or a pick-up truck. You didn't even have to have a daddy in prison or a momma who got hit by a train. Although, Hyde thought, with his parents it was about as good. Yeah, he probably should have gotten country music a long time ago. But he didn't
No that was not what Hyde decided made country music powerful. All you really needed was a broken heart. And Steven Hyde had that in spades. He was thoroughly broken and useless. It seemed all he had the energy to do was lay his head back on the couch and let the whiny tones of another world weary son of a bitch wash over him. He felt a kinship with the crooner he would have thought impossible 6 months ago. He'd spent the last 2 weeks listening to this music over and over unable to do anything but work and attempt sleep. And try not to think of Jackie. He didn't want to think about her hair. Or her skin. Or her eyes, especially her eyes. He didn't want to think about how settled they had been. He had been this close to being happy. Happy, man? That was something he just didn't do. He was Hyde, the King of Non-committal. But Jackie had changed all that. And now she was gone.

The funny thing about choosing yourself, Jackie realized, was that you ended up alone. And while alone was great- empowering if you wanted to be Donna about it - it was still lonely. Jackie had spent two weeks lounging by the pool. Seeing little to zip of her mother and missing Steven. She tried not to. Because really he was the last person she wanted to think about. His arms. His voice. And especially his eyes. She didn't want to think about how good they had been. She'd been happy. And for all her trying that was something she didn't accomplish much. Jackie the Queen of Fake Perfection. But Hyde had fixed that. He'd made her happy for real. Just before he made her real sad. Jackie told herself that this is what she needed. A summer away from him. So she could deal with the pain -decide if it was something she wanted to chance feeling again. But as she lounged and missed and listened to the sound of the old couple beside hers country music station -she couldn't take it anymore. She still didn't' t want to see him. But she needed to talk to him. To hear his voice and no that he missed her as well. So she picked up her towel and headed back to her room.

3 rings in he decided that no one else was going to answer the phone. He didn't want to answer but he did.

"Hello?"
A pause, dead silence -then the voice of the woman he'd been dreaming of since the day she walked out of his life.

"Steven?"

"Jackie." He was beyond shocked.  He didn't think he was going to hear from her this summer.  Not with her "choice". 

More silence. "Well now we have established we know each other." Shaky laughs on both ends.

"So how are you doing?"

"Okay. How are you doing?"

This was inane. He decided to not even lie. "Pretty crappy".

"OH? She sounded interested in that. "Why?"

"Come on Jackie - you know why. You gonna make me say it?"

She laughed at that. A sad laugh but an enjoyable one. She was glad that they were at least talking. "I think maybe it is the least you can do."

"I guess that is true." Hyde reached over and turned down the music. "So where should I start? Well least crappy first. Eric and Donna have moved out. They decided to not move out of town yet because of Red -but they aren't around much. Fez is for some reason staying with Laurie -or should that be the opposite?"

"Yeah -Fez is getting a green card and whore lovin. I understand his motivation for marriage."

"Yeah, so no one is around much." He settled in on the couch.  Enjoying the conversation despite its touchy subject matter.

"So that is the least crappy? What is next?" Jackie did the same. 

"Well Red is on this diet and Kitty is really worried about him so things are pretty tense around here."

Instant concern "Is Red okay?"

"Yeah, he is going to be fine. SO what next well...I have to work with Kelso. That sucks pretty bad."

Silence. Hyde wondered if maybe this was pushing the topic of comfortable conversation. But she eventually spoke up.

"Yeah I'm sure he is driving you crazy."

"Well he now limits himself to only telling me 20 times a day that you are going to choose him" he was pushing it. But damn it she asked.

She decided to ignore Michael for the moment, "So is that the crappiest thing about your summer so far?"

"No. Not by a long shot." he sighed. Straining to here the new tune. Maybe it would help him through the sweet torture that was talking to the girl that got away.

"What is?" She waited with baited breath. Could Steven really tell her? Open himself up to her even though she could burn him easily from 1000 miles away. Because she would be justified in doing so.

"Well Jackie in case you hadn't noticed I suck and my girlfriend left me because of it. I miss her. And even though she called that doesn't mean I will ever get her back."

Did he just say all that?, they both thought. Jackie couldn't help but cave a little more. She still loved him. What she had told Eric was true. She needed Steven. He had become such a part of her life. He was the only person in the world that she thought she could depend on. And god help her not even his infidelity to change that. She knew that if she called he would talk to her. Even though she had left him, even though she had led him to believe that she might still be in love with Michael. He would still comfort her with his presence.  And now he was saying that he needed her as well?

"Jackie? You still there?"

"Yeah I'm here. Steven?"

"Yeah?"

"I miss you"

"Really?" he was relieved. She still could admit that. And he guesses he should be happy that she was calling him and not Kelso. But really the only thing this whole mess had done good for him was make him realize that Kelso wasn't the problem. He had ruined what they had. And if he got the chance again he wasn't going to make the same mistake.

"Yes" she sighed, waiting for his response.  She expected another apology or maybe even a little anger and a suggestion she come back then –but not what she got. 

"I miss you to. You know what I miss?"

"What?" surprised and intrigued.

"I miss talking to you"

"No you don't" she laughed incredulously. Finally feeling comfortable. She could do this. She needed to. She wasn't prepared to see him. Or get back together. But talking to him was something she thinks she could enjoy.

"Yes I do." Hyde laughed as well, feeling as if they had reached an agreement. Nothing held back. Communication. "I do. OR rather I miss listening to you talk about anything and everything. You know what my favorite memory of you is?"

"What?" she wanted to know so bad.

"That day we went to the mall. And you bought me the boots?"

"Oh me spending money on you? That is it?" she laughed.

"No! Well the boots were badass. No, just the day. I mean I'd been having a pretty crappy week. And we went and you wouldn't shut up the whole day. You just kept blathering about this and that and this shirt and those clogs and then you kissed me and I felt better. I wouldn't have admitted it at the time but I liked spending the day with you. And I liked
that you liked me. Sometimes I think about that. You know -now."

"Oh. I always thought you would do anything to shut me up"

"Yeah well it was a lot easier to do that once we started going out"

"You mean groping on the couch?"

"Yeah, well that is what it started out as. I think about that too."

"You know what I think about? Jackie started not sure if she wanted to open up. But he had done it so she felt she could reciprocate. "When I get down."

"What?" Hyde found himself holding his breath in anticipation.

"I think about you giving me your t-shirt."

"I didn't think you liked it."

"Well it isn't pink or anything but ...it means something to you. It is your favorite."

"It would look better on you," he laughed. The idea that she would ever wear his dirty boyish Led Zeppelin t-shirt was funny. She surprised him with her next comment though.

"I wear it to sleep in".

"Still?" he was shocked.

She wasn't going to go that far. She missed him but she was still hurting. "Steven I think I need to go now."

"I'm sorry Jackie"

There it was –she knew it was coming.  It seemed that was all he ever did these days -apologize. And as much as she wanted to forgive him it was still too hard. She knew he was sincere but she just couldn't let him try to wish it away. Last summer they could pretend they didn't mean anything and he could shut her up with his perfect kisses. But it would take more than that to make the pain go away. "I know..."

"I'm so sorr...Look Jacks I...could we do this again? I mean you never said why you called in the first place. Were you looking for Donna? Did you want to talk to Kitty?"

She thought about lying but didn't have the energy. "No. I wanted to hear your voice"

"Does this mean..?"

"I don't know what it means yet Steven. Could you just bare with me? I mean this isn't about playing you and Michael off each other. I just still need my space. But I would like to call you again. Talk."

It was something. Not enough but more than he probably deserved. "Cool"

She walked over to the phone base and prepared to say goodbye. She didn't want to but she needed to. It was a beginning. It surprised her that it was what she wanted. She had thought this summer was about ending something. Getting over love gone bad. But now she decided maybe it could be about starting over. Maybe.

"Bye Jackie… I love you."

"Bye Steven"

He set the phone down with a smile on his face. And turned the radio up.


A/N: Okay guys. The next one will be better. I'm just getting started.  And for some reason I just can't write on my new laptop.  I think fast and type fast but getting use to the new equipment is slowing me down so it is making me lose the good stuff.  Please tell me what you think.