Who's Jackie Burkhardt?
He heard someone crying. He kept walking down the hall, passing the lockers and grumbling about the reason why he was in school at this time. Damn Coach Ferguson. Damn detention. He still wasn't gonna wear gym shorts, it didn't matter how many detentions he got. He had a reputation, y'know.
He could still hear the crying, as he reached the doors to the car park. And he was still ignoring it. He got to the El Camino, started her up … and then turned the engine off again. Damn it if this day couldn't get any worse. He went back and followed the horrible noise til he found the culprit. And he couldn't be more shocked as he entered the cafeteria. It was that Burkhardt girl, the head cheerleader, the Snow Queen, the snobby rich princess who he'd only spoken to once, and had no desire to repeat that charming experience. She was sobbing into her folded arms, resting on a table. He turned to leave, but she happened to lift her head and see him. She spoke, sniffing. "Hyde? Is that you?" Hyde turned around warily. "Erm .. yeah, its me. But I'm just leaving." Jackie watched him leave, wiping her eyes.
Just as he got to his car, he saw a ball of pink coming his way. Damn damn damn. "Erm… Hyde, could you, erm, well, not mention this to anyone?" He almost laughed at her. "Mention what? And to who? No-one I talk to would be interested in what Miss Snow Queen does." Jackie felt hurt. She knew she was a bitch at school, and she knew she'd never spoken to Hyde or any of his friends except to make bitchy comments, but she was vulnerable, and she hadn't known anyone else was around. Hyde was the last person she would have wanted to see her cry, she'd been on the end of his cutting remarks and it wasn't something she wanted to go through again. "Well, that's good to know!" Jackie turned around, covering her pain with a biting remark that should stop any further discussion between the two. Hyde shrugged, ignoring the look he'd seen in her eyes and started the El Camino and drove home, blocking out the scene with some Zeppelin.
"Hey Hyde, guess what? Kelso just got knocked back by Pam Macy again!" Eric was laughing hysterically, and Hyde grinned. He hit Kelso round the head. "Man, when are you gonna stop trying? She's not interested!"
"But she's easy! She should be asking me out! I just don't get it!"
Fez was trying to play twister by himself. "Left leg green. Ha, this game is easy! Kelso, if you can't get Pam Macy to sleep with you, what chance do I have? Ah, maybe she likes the dark chocolate?"
"Kelso, its probably because she doesn't want to go on a date with someone who's had more sex than her, man."
"Eric, you might have a point! You know, I have slept with a lotta chicks. Maybe I should look elsewhere. Man, who knew easy girls would be so hard!" Kelso moaned. "Hey, what about Jackie? She's so hot, and I know loads of guys that have done it with her, maybe she's easier than Pam! Its been three years since I asked her last time, she's gotta be ready for a bit of Kelso now!"
Hyde stayed quiet, not wanting to share what he saw just thirty minutes ago. But once Kelso brought up Jackie's name, he couldn't shake her out of his thoughts. He got up and went to his room, ignoring the looks he got from the guys.
He was wrong. The day had got worse. That damn girl was still in his thoughts. He couldn't get the sound of her crying out of his head. He couldn't get that look of pain on her face when he laughed at her. What the hell was wrong with him? He was Hyde. He was cool. He was detached from everything, even his friends. Why the hell was some bitchy cheerleader taking up so much of his thoughts? Maybe it was because she was the last person he imagined would be crying in school after everyone else was gone. What was she crying about? She was rich, popular, a cheerleader, totally hot, she had everything she wanted. He'd thought it was gonna be some nerd who'd been bullied, or something. Damn it all to hell. He needed a burger.
He grabbed the guys and headed for the Hub. When they got there, it was almost empty, so they ordered their food and sat down.
"Why's it so dead today?" Eric wondered.
"D'uh man, there's that big rally going on at school." Kelso pointed out.
"Why aren't we there?" Fez wanted to know. "There must be cheerleaders and short skirts there. And where there are short skirts, Fez must be!"
Man, why was everything making him think of that damn girl? He must be cursed.
"That's such a good idea little buddy! C'mon guys, lets go get some school spirit! And by that, I mean lets go do it with cheerleaders!" Kelso jumped up, excited at the thought of sex.
Eric started to speak. "Guys, I don't think …"
Hyde interrupted him. "Maybe its time we did get some 'school spirit'. C'mon Foreman, quit being a girl!" Eric stared at Hyde. Hyde never wanted to do anything school-related. But he shrugged and said "Fine, lets go." They picked up their food and bundled into the Vista. Hyde stared out of the window and refused to acknowledge why he wanted to go to the rally. It certainly had nothing to do with that girl.They got there just as it was ending, and Kelso and Fez headed straight for the huddle of cheerleaders. Hyde and Eric watched Fez get knocked back by two of them, before they got bored. Eric was about to ask Hyde if he was okay, but he spotted Donna and ran off, leaving Hyde by himself. He walked over to the Vista and sat on the bonnet, keeping an eye out for that girl. Only to make sure she was okay, y'know. Not that he wanted to see her or anything. Soon enough, she came out, by herself, which was odd. Normally she was surrounded by at least four of those cheerleading clones. He watched her glance around, then hurry off without speaking to anyone. She didn't head to a car, in fact, she looked like she was gonna walk home. Damn damn damn. He couldn't let her walk home alone. She was wearing a really revealing, sexy outfit that made her look ten times hotter than normal …. Not that he'd noticed. And it was getting late. What was wrong with him? He was cool, he didn't care about some silly cheerleader, who'd done nothing but insult him. But he was still getting up, and walking in the same direction that Jackie had walked in. He quickly caught up with her, since she was walking slow, as if …. As if she was in no hurry to get anywhere.
She looked up in surprise as someone started walking next to her, and was even more shocked when she found out it was Hyde! She looked at him, caught his eye, then looked down again, confused. Why was he walking with her? She didn't want to talk to him. She waited and waited for him to say something, but he kept quiet. It appeared that he didn't want to talk to her either. Well, that was fine with her. She wasn't in the mood to talk. She kept walking, with every passing minute feeling strangely peaceful walking with this silent, brooding guy keeping her company.
Hyde sighed inwardly. What was he doing? He had no idea what he was going to say to her, but all she did was look at him and look down at the street again. It was obvious she didn't want to talk, and he was glad she didn't, because he didn't know what he could say to explain why he was walking with her. He told himself that he was only walking with her to make sure she was safe.
Twenty minutes later, they reached Jackie's house. Hyde looked up and stared, it was as different from his as it got! It was a huge house, with an immaculate garden, and a Lincoln in the driveway. All Hyde had was a dingy room in the Foreman basement. But he liked it. He didn't like this house. It was too big, too immaculate. He felt Jackie looking up at him. He looked back at her. She smiled at him. It was the first time he'd seen her smile, and he had to admit it, it made him stare. She looked so sweet and innocent, that he blinked, not believing it was the same girl who looked so bitchy and mean all the time.
"Thank you for walking me home." She reached up and kissed his cheek, then walked up the long driveway to her door, and went inside. Hyde was in shock. For a girl that never shut up in school, she had barely said a word. She hadn't asked why he'd walked her home, she hadn't talked about inane rubbish like she normally did, she'd just been quiet. Like him. And she'd understood why he'd walked her home. Without a word spoken between them, she'd understood. He shook his head, and started to walk back to Foreman's, completely confused about what had happened between Jackie and him today.
Déjà vu. Hyde walked the corridor again, after another detention. He didn't care how many he got, he wasn't wearing those damn shorts! He pushed open the doors and saw Jackie sitting on the bonnet of his car. Waiting for him. He walked up to her and stood waiting. She smiled that smile again. That soft, sweet smile. "Could I get a lift home please, Steven?" What the hell? Steven? Where did that come from? And why did she want a lift? He looked into her eyes and saw something there. He couldn't believe it, but he saw himself in her eyes. What the …?
"Get in." It was all he said, but Jackie breathed a sigh of relief. She wasn't sure if yesterday was just yesterday, but she felt safe with Steven. She didn't like calling him Hyde, it was so impersonal. She'd waited for him, hoping to spend more time with him. She didn't understand why, she just knew that when she looked into his eyes, through the shades, she saw herself there.
A routine began, which nobody else knew about. Hyde would have a detention, and when he got out, Jackie would be waiting on his bonnet. If he didn't have a detention, he'd be one of the last out, deliberately waiting. Jackie would wait and then go to his car after everyone left. He'd nod at her, then drive her home. She'd give him a soft kiss on the cheek, smile that smile, and thank him for the ride. Hyde didn't know why the routine started. He didn't know what Jackie was doing in school til his detention finished. He didn't know why she asked him for a ride home everyday. But it became a routine. One he almost looked forward to. Almost, but not quite. He was still Hyde. He never mentioned it to the guys. He didn't mention it to Donna. He just turned up a bit later than usual after a detention, no-one noticed.
Then one day, after the routine had lasted five weeks, Jackie wasn't there. He'd come out late as usual, and there was no hot girl on his bonnet. No sweet smile waiting for him. He didn't show it, but inside his stomach tied up. Where the hell was she? Well, he wasn't waiting for her if she was late. He only did it as a favour anyway. Still, he took his sweet time about getting ready to leave, and when he finally pulled away, he did one last check of the car park.
She didn't come back. For three days, he waited for her, but she was never on his car, he didn't see her smile, he missed her. He actually missed her. He'd hardly spoken to her, only the same thing everyday, but he missed her. He reasoned it was because of habit, or because she was hot. But he was worried. So he drove to her house and knocked on the door.
When the door opened, he got a shock. Jackie didn't look perfectly made up. She looked awful. Her hair wasn't done, she looked pale and she sneezed as she opened the door. He took one look and pushed his way into the house. Jackie was shocked, what the hell was Steven doing here? She looked awful, he must think she's such a skank. But when he turned around, he looked confused. "Are you ill?" Jackie nodded. "Where are your parents?" Jackie looked down. "Are you alone?"
Jackie looked up. "No, Daddy's at work and will be home in an hour. Mom's on holiday." That's it, keep telling the lies. It always worked.
Hyde looked at her. "You're lying. Where's your dad?"
Jackie stared at him. No-one could tell when she lied! She was perfect at lying! But she looked at him and suddenly sighed.
"He's …. Away. On business." Hyde kept staring. Oh, for God's sake …. "He's in jail," Jackie whispered.
Jackie was confused. Was that all Steven was here for? To barge in, see through her lies, then walk out? She looked at him.
"So, where can I stay?"
Jackie gasped. "What?"
Hyde looked at Jackie. He barely knew her, but he knew there was a hell of a lot more to her than what he had thought before their routine. There was no way he was letting her stay in this huge house by herself, especially when she was ill.
"I'm gonna ….. look after you." Hyde said grudgingly.
Jackie couldn't believe her ears. He was what? She barely knew this guy, but she did know that he was the only person who noticed that she wasn't at school. He was the only person to check up on her. He was the only person who made her feel safe, although she had no idea why.
"You… you can't. Why?"
"Because you're ill."
Jackie looked at him. For some reason, although they didn't know anything about each other, had barely said two words to each other, and had only known each other really for a short time, she found herself saying okay.
So Hyde found a new routine. He'd stay in his room til he was sure everyone was out, then he'd drive over to Jackie's to keep her company through the night. Again, they barely spoke, but he could tell that she was getting thoughts. Thoughts about him being her knight in shining armour. Damn damn damn. That was pretty much all that went through his head when he thought about Jackie. For some reason, she made him want to look after her. He wanted to know the real Jackie, the one she showed him and no-one else. He wanted to know why she'd picked him to be herself with.
Jackie recovered from her cold, and yet every night, Steven would still come over. He'd still keep her company. And when the weekend came, Steven was nowhere to be found by his friends. Eric, Kelso, Fez and Donna couldn't find him anywhere. He was at Jackie's. Where else would he be? He wanted to speak to Jackie, get her to talk. But not like she did at school. Not talk like he'd heard her talk about make-up and boys and crap. He wanted to hear Jackie talk. He couldn't understand why Miss Chatterbox never said anything around him.
Jackie came downstairs for breakfast, and was surprised to find Steven sitting watching tv. She expected him to be gone, like he usually was. He had to be home in time for breakfast at the Foreman's. He looked up and saw her confusion.
"They don't expect me there on the weekends. Usually with a chick."
That was all he said, and it made her jealous. She stopped. Why was she jealous? She didn't like Steven! She had an usual relationship with him, but she didn't like him like that! Or did she?
She sat next to him on the couch, picking at some bread. He looked at it in disgust. She never ate properly.
"Thank you Steven." He looked at her, but she was staring at the tv. He had grown used to her calling him Steven, he even liked it. But he'd never admit it.
"So, Jackie …" He began. He saw her wary look. "Don't you think you should start talking?"
She looked at him. "Talk about what?"
"Anything. I know you have this compulsion to talk, I've heard you at school. And yet, round me, you never open your mouth. What gives?"
She started to pick at a cushion.
"I know you don't like to talk. I know you're the silent type. And I know that you've made fun of me and what I say."
Hyde grinned. "Yeah, I have. But you do talk crap, y'know."
Jackie sighed. "In your opinion. I like what I talk about. But I know you don't want to hear about my hair conditioner, or why I'm so great at cheerleading."
"That's very true." Hyde was thankful that she knew that about him. Saved him a lot of boring conversation, and stopped him burning her with her silly comments. And he really didn't want to say anything to upset her, not while she was vulnerable.
"I guess, I don't know what to talk to you about. Anything important, I know that you know. Like when you walked me home. I knew you knew what I was thinking and feeling, without saying a word."
Hyde thought about it. It was true, he was surprised to find. He did know what she was thinking. And it appeared that she knew what he was thinking. She appeared to know him extremely well, which unnerved him.
"Steven … thank you for the last month. I don't know why you've done it, been nice to me, stayed here with me, when you barely know me, and when you hated me, but thank you." There it was, that smile and kiss again. He didn't like to admit it, but he'd missed those.
"I walked you home because I didn't want you to walk alone. It wasn't safe. I gave you a lift home because you looked like you needed something. I came round because … you stopped being at my car. I stayed because you shouldn't be alone. I don't hate you. I didn't like you, but since that day that, y'know, I've seen the real you. And I don't mind her so much. She's kinda cool."
Jackie beamed. Steven Hyde, Mr Cool, liked her, Miss Bitchy Cheerleader! It was amazing! She didn't know how it had happened, but she was ecstatic! Who would have thought that she'd like Steven? He was scruffy, mean, sarcastic, and poor, but he'd shown her the real Steven Hyde, just like she'd shown him the real Jackie Burkhardt. Who'd have thought?
They stayed there, watching tv for hours, barely talking. Then he'd had to go, show his face around his friends. But he told her he'd be back tonight. Jackie nodded, trying to be cool. He looked at her one last time, then left.
Sitting in the basement with the gang, Steven was bored. He knew where he'd rather be, and it surprised him a lot. The guys had assumed he'd been with a chick, and hadn't said a word about him being missing. They knew Hyde didn't talk about that stuff. Another hour of wanting to be somewhere else, and Hyde gave up the pretence. He got up and left, telling the guys he was going cruising.
Yeah, he went cruising. Straight into Jackie's driveway. He let himself in and called out that he was there, and sat on the couch. Jackie raced downstairs and asked if he wanted a beer. Hyde replied: "That's cool." Jackie was confused, but figured that it meant that he wanted one. He took it from her as she sat next to him. Well, here it was. The other Jackie came out. She started talking about stupid things that Hyde wasn't listening to. But they found that it worked. Hyde knew Jackie liked to talk, needed to talk, and he let her. Jackie knew Steven wasn't listening, but she pretended he was. It was nice to talk about stuff again. Every time she paused, he'd say uh-huh or something, and she'd smile, knowing he didn't have a clue about what she'd said, but knowing that he was here, and letting her talk, was so sweet of him. Just one more thing that she liked about this mysterious man that had settled into her life without her knowing how or why. But she was sure glad that he had. The same thing happened the next night and the night after.
After about a week of hearing Jackie talk, she had been talking all evening, then suddenly stopped, and started to watch tv as well. After an hour of that, she started dosing off. Hyde saw and sighed. He didn't know why, but he lifted his arm out and she scooted into the crook of his arm, her hand on his chest. Neither of them questioned why Hyde had done that, but both of them felt something good blooming. Jackie fell asleep in the comfort of his arms, and after another hour, Hyde gently picked her up and put her to bed. He stared at her. She was so different to what he'd thought she was just a few months ago. He wanted to look after her, protect her. He didn't want her to turn out like he had, when his parents abandoned him. He suddenly understood why he'd seen himself in Jackie's eyes that day. He understood her pain, and he understood her. For some reason, the two opposites just clicked. And for some unknown reason, he bent down, brushed her hair off her face, and gave her a soft kiss. She smiled, and opened her eyes. "Steven …" she whispered. "Stay with me?"
She looked so beautiful, and Steven wanted to comfort her, so he got undressed and slid into bed with her. He curled up behind her and put his arms around her. He silently laughed. What would anyone do if they saw the two of them like this? The rich princess and the rebel, who had a relationship that no-one knew about!
In the morning, Hyde woke to find soft lips pressed against his. He smiled, knowing who they belonged to, and kissed her back, a soft, tender kiss that spoke volumes. "Hey." Jackie smiled at Hyde. He returned the greeting, which he followed up with another kiss. And another.
Monday lunchtime at school, the whole of Point Place student population stopped and stared as Steven Hyde walked into the cafeteria. He never came in here. He stayed on his car, on his own, no friends around, smoking whatever was available. He saw Eric, Donna, Fez, Kelso and some chick sitting at a table, staring at him as everyone else was doing. He smirked and waved at them. But he wasn't there for them. He looked around and saw the cheerleader table. He walked slowly towards it. The whole room held its breath. What was he gonna do? Why was he here? And why was he heading towards a table full of people everyone knew he couldn't stand? Hyde mocked cheerleaders. He mocked people that liked cheerleaders. He was questioning that himself. But Jackie had made him stupid.
Jackie saw him walking towards her and her heart flipped. She stood up and walked towards him, ignoring whoever had been talking to her. He looked at her and she smiled that smile at him. The whole room stared, was that Jackie Burkhardt? Smiling so sweetly? Walking towards HYDE? Everyone felt the world turn upside down, as Hyde cupped Jackie's face, gave her the softest kiss, took her hand and led her out of the room, where she went willingly, smiling up at her Steven.