Title:  Could've been

Disclaimer:  I do not own and I ain't getting paid.  I did borrow dialogue so I hope the Powers that be don't mind. 

Summary:  Pre season 5 Jackie and Hyde piece.  This one takes place during the season 1 episode –Prom Night. 

A/N:  Not my usual fic.  Jackie fic.  I don't care for the beginning.  But I finally decided to post it anyway.  (wrote it about a month ago)  Stand alone piece as of the moment.  But who knows?  Tell me what you think.

Credit:  Could've been –by Tiffany (which I know is an 80's singer but time marches on – oh and it was a cover of some artist from the 60's or 70's so it is appropriate)

Jackie was fond of girly things.  She liked ruffles and lace and enjoyed the color purple.  She had since she was little.  And she supposed she would never change.  In her experience people didn't often.  She never had.  Her parents never had.  And her current melancholy was due to the fact that Michael never would either.  He had cheated on her.  He had hurt her.  She wished she could change that.  Change him-- but she couldn't. 

Her prom dress was purple.  Her new prom dress that was sitting in her closet and probably going to stay there.  Because stupid Michael had to break her heart again.  She wondered sometimes why she didn't move on a long time ago.  Why was she so determined to keep him in her life?  Her dad said she could do better.  But sometimes she was just too afraid that maybe he was wrong.

And if her single status and lack of date for the prom weren't bad enough –she had lied to Michael about having a date.  So here she was.  Boyfriendless –dateless – and now she had a dress and a lie and no hope in sight that any of that would change either.  Anyone who was anyone already had a date.  And it was too late to get an export from a neighboring school. 

Jackie sat on her bed cradling her beautiful dress thinking about how sad she was.  And how sad it was that she was so sad.  Here she was the most popular girl in her school, gorgeous, sophisticated, rich and she couldn't get a date to a stupid dance.  She knew she should be upset that Michael was taking that slut Pam Macy –heartbroken even- but that was not the case.  Nope she was more upset about her image. She supposed that made her shallow.  But lately she was starting to see that Michael was more of a habit to her than anything. 

There whole relationship was flawed.  She was always hoping he would turn into something he wasn't.  You shouldn't have to change someone to make a relationship work.  You shouldn't have to change either.  Eric was never trying to change Donna.  And Donna, even though she probably should, loved Eric for who he was.  They never lied to each other. 

She went to her vanity and sat down, taking a long look in the mirror.  Why had she told Michael that she had a date?  Why had she talked this imaginary guy up?  Now she was stuck trying to fill these huge shoes.  Not that finding someone better than Michael would be hard.  All she needed was a smart, serious guy who wasn't an inconsiderate cheating buffoon. 

Who did she know like that?  Fez?  Nope, Michael would never believe she had planned on going with Fez.  And he would never believe that Fez had not told him about it days ago if she did.  But who else did she know?  That guy that worked at the Video Shack, the one who was a Freshman in college?  Nope he wouldn't do, he would never look good in a tux.  Ugh, it was useless.  She might as well fess up now. 

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An hour later she found herself in the basement, watching television with Hyde.  He was ignoring her like always.  And it just made her feel worse.  She was such a reject that even the rejects didn't like her.  "Huhhhh" she sighed dramatically.

"Jackie, if I ask you what's wrong, will you stop doing that?"

She really hadn't been fishing.  But if he was going to take the bait.   "It's the Prom. Stupid Michael is taking stupid Pam Macy and I don't have a date, but I told him I did and I'm a complete loser!"

Hyde laughed at her and she felt incredibly stupid for saying anything.  He hated her, always had.  He wouldn't help.  What could he do anyway?  She noticed him noticing her sadness and wondered why he stopped laughing.  Isn't this the part where he burns her and asks her to leave?

 "No you're not…" he surprised her by saying.

Jackie suddenly wanted to clarify her situation.  She didn't want him thinking she was sad about Michael and her not being together anymore. "It's just that, look, I thought he was going to ask me, and now everyone that's anyone is already going."

"Oh, that's so true." He responded.

That was too much.  How the heck did he know?  He hated school, and proms and anything in any way social like dating.  He wasn't even going.  "How could you know, you're not even going!"  Then she realized "Oh, well you're not even going! Oh, Oh, and I bet you clean up real good!"

It was such a revelation.  And perfect.  Why hadn't she thought of him before?  He was better than Michael.  And if he was going with her he wouldn't tell anyone, let alone the gang.  Oh, if only he would agree she could pull this off. But he was already denying her. 

 "Well, I do, but I won't. See, that's a big part of who I am."

He was proving her argument.  People were who they were.  And Hyde didn't do dances.  But maybe she could appeal to another part of him.  Hyde was Hyde, but deep down she knew he had a soft side.  He was always helping out Donna or Eric.  And although he burned Michael and Fez you could tell he would watch their back in a fight. "Look Hyde, I know we've had our differences but…"

"Jackie, we've had nothing but differences! In fact, don't we kind of hate each other?"

Well actually no she didn't hate him.  Had never hated him.  She just wasn't the kind of person who would take crap and insults without giving a few back.  But now was not the time for confessions.  He was on the defensive and she needed a counter attack.  "Yes, but this is the Prom!"

She then began to "cry" because all men were the same when it came to crying.  They didn't like it.  They couldn't handle it.  And besides it was a way to make sure she was right on that soft side theory. 

He gave momentary resistance but then caved.  "Jackie don't! Stop, stop crying… Stop it! Look, do you wanna go to the Prom?"

Jackie never thought she could change moods so quickly.  One minute life had sucked.  But now, now things were looking up.  "Yes."

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The big day arrived and soon Jackie found herself all dressed up and waiting for her date.  She hadn't told anyone it was Hyde yet.  Or Steven as she secretly thought of him.  It was her new name for the new side she had discovered to his personality. 

She heard yelling, a female voice and then Steven.  She tried to ignore it.  She didn't want to think about how unpleasant his home life must be.  He was poor.  And she didn't know much about life without maids.  She supposed it was one of the reasons they didn't get along.  He thought she was just spoiled.  And she didn't want to tell him that her parents weren't much better than his, what with her father always working and her mom always on vacation.  She didn't want to think about that.

"Hey. Wow, you look beautiful."

She was surprised by his comment and his appearance as well.  He did clean up well.  "Oh my God, so do you. Um, Do you want me to go inside and meet your…" She offered, thinking maybe she could do something to bridge the gap between them.  Maybe she could share.

"No, no, no. Trust me, she's lovely." He assured leading her down the stairs, "Let's just go, alright?"

She was a little disappointed.  But also relieved.  She didn't know if she was ready for that. All week she had been thinking of change.  And now that it was happening she was afraid.   Steven was supposed to be Hyde.  And Hyde and Jackie did not get along.  He was only doing this because she cried.  But then she noticed he was carrying a box that looked suspiciously like a corsage. "Is that for me?"

He looked like he had forgotten he was holding anything.  "Oh, yeah, here, I got this for you."

She took the box and couldn't help the girly feelings racing through her.  "Oh, God Steven, this is beautiful."  She didn't even notice she used his real name.  She heard herself admitting what she didn't even know she realized.  "You know, this whole experience has taught me that I don't need Michael to go to the Prom.  I can go with anyone, even you." She didn't need Michael.  That was such a different thought for her, a scary thought. "Thanks."

Rolling on the balls of her feet she reached up to kiss him on the cheek. 

"Okay, let's not do that." He responded unsurprisingly.

Jackie smiled.  Maybe she wasn't the only one afraid of change.  "Sorry." She said even though she wasn't.  "Um, I have my dad's Lincoln. Will you drive?"

He grabbed the keys typically.  Men were all the same.  They couldn't handle tears and would do anything to drive a cool car. She smiled.

"Yeah! He's got insurance, right? Wait, I don't care, let's go."

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Getting Steven to dance had been a lot easier than she thought it would be.  She didn't even have to cry.  He liked music a lot, so he didn't really mind.  And she had even gotten him to take pictures.  She was having a good time.   A great time, with someone who wasn't Michael. 

He was dancing across the way with his slut watching her dance with Steven.  But what was surreal was that she didn't care.  She wasn't angry or jealous or even pissed at him for staring.  She was just enjoying the dance.  It was weird.

Again she found herself sharing with Steven. "It's just that I always pictured Michael and I together at the prom. That's how it was supposed to be, you know?"

"Yeah, I know. Well, hey, Pam's butt looks really big in that dress." He answered as if she was jealous. 

But she wasn't.  She didn't care at all.  "No it doesn't."

"Yeah, no it doesn't."

She realized that his attempt made her feel more than any stupid sweet thing Michael had ever tried.  And suddenly she was sad again.  Michael was an idiot.  Michael was a bad boyfriend.  And Michael was the only guy who had ever loved her. The thought overwhelmed her and she suddenly didn't feel like dancing.  "But thank you. Do you mind if we just sit down?"

"Yeah okay, I'll go grab some punch."

Jackie watched him walk away sadly.  Why couldn't someone like Steven love her?  Because she was just some shallow princess.  She was stuck with shallow men like Michael.  It was either him or nobody.  And she didn't know if she was strong enough to be alone. She noticed Michael walking toward her and against her better judgment met him half way. 

"Jackie" he stated hopeful.

 "Michael." She responded resigned.

 "You look beautiful."

 "You look really handsome." She said because he did.  Michael would always fit perfectly into her world.  She wished he didn't.  She wished her fate was tied to someone else.    

 "I miss you."

Steven wasn't coming back.  She had watched him walk out with Pam Macy.  He would never be an option.  So she lied.  "I miss you too."

She stepped into his arms and knew that the sense of familiarity was something she should take comfort in.  She knew how to do this.  She could be his girlfriend and do it well.  That was what she did.  She couldn't change.  And maybe this time he wouldn't disappoint her.  Jackie would play out the hand that she was dealt.  Dancing in the spotlight, she told herself not to think about what could've been. 

The flowers you gave me
Are just about to die
When I think about
What could've been
It makes me want to cry

The sweet words you whispered
Didn't mean a thing
I guess our song is over
As we begin to sing

Could've been so beautiful
Could've been so right
Could've been my lover
Every day of my life
Could've been so beautiful
Could've been so right
I'll never hold what could've been

On a cold and lonely night