Hyde sighed. He was lying on his bed in his room, with Jackie sprawled out across him, sleeping peacefully. He hadn't been sleeping much lately, and he didn't know why. He hadn't felt as content as he was right now in years. The life he'd had, well, it didn't bode well for his future, and he'd lived up to the role for years. But suddenly, a new direction had opened up to him, in Jackie. He'd never imagined someone could care about him as much as she did, yet here she was, lying across him, a hint of a smile playing on her lips. Yet despite how different their lives had been, and despite how wrong they seemed to be for each other, somehow, it just worked. Whenever he found himself thinking about Jackie (which was taking up more and more of his spare time) he still had a hard time figuring out how exactly they'd gotten to this point. Six months ago, Jackie had been the most popular girl at school, she'd been a bitch (although he'd always known it hadn't been as easy for her to burn as it was for most other cheerleaders) oh yeah, she'd been a cheerleader (unfortunately, she still was, but he was working on that) and he'd been a loner, a burnout, someone who no-one dared to speak to or about, for fear of what his reaction would be. Good times, man, good times, ones that he almost missed. Almost, but not quite.
He could sure do without the gossiping that still hadn't died down much, despite his run in with Chip, and his reputation had been dented quite severely, which he hadn't gotten round to building up again, but he would. Someday. But he figured it was worth it, if he got to wake up every morning to Jackie in his arms, if he got to brush strands of her hair away from her face while no one else was around, if he got to kiss her and lose himself for a while. God, he was becoming a girl. But that was okay, he reasoned, because no one could read his thoughts. And the only person who saw him being sweet was Jackie, and he knew she'd never tell. She liked having a boyfriend who scared the jocks and everyone else at school. She loved his badass image, and she wouldn't risk him losing it for a bit of gossip. Although he suspected she told Donna a few things, because every now and again, her and Eric would give him a goofy look and laugh between themselves, which made him act extra Hyde-like to cover. It was tough work, this relationship stuff. He shook his head to clear his thoughts and pulled Jackie closer, just content with her being there.
Jackie shifted a bit in his arms, and he looked down at her. So, with all this goodness in his life, why couldn't he sleep?
The next day, Hyde and Jackie were sitting in the park, in their 'place', which had become all the more special since Jackie had told him that she loved him for the first time, in this very spot. Hyde rested against the tree, with Jackie sitting between his legs, with his arms resting on either side of her. Her head was leaning against his chest, and once again, she'd fallen asleep. Hyde watched her, not really smiling as he had his reputation, but again, he felt that contented feeling he'd been having more and more recently. More specifically, over the last six months. Yet somewhere, somewhere deep inside, there was a little voice. He'd been ignoring it for a while now, but he decided that he had to listen to it, if only to find out why he couldn't sleep. Hyde closed his eyes and concentrated. He sighed, as he finally came to realise what it was that prevented him from sleeping. It was stupid. It was silly. It was … girly. He couldn't believe he was even thinking about it, no matter how deeply buried the thought was. There was no way on this earth that he was going to tell Jackie why he couldn't sleep. Man, he was cool, he was uncaring, he was not Forman, he did not worry about crap like this. Hyde prayed that, now he knew what the worry was, he could pretend it wasn't there, and finally get some sleep.
Crap. It wasn't working. For the last three days, he still hadn't been able to get much sleep. But now, since he'd admitted what the problem was, all he did while he watched Jackie sleep was think about the cause of the worry. Damnit, being with Jackie had changed him. Changed him in ways that he wasn't sure he liked. But this, this was taking it too far. He did not care. He repeated it to himself, like a mantra. Okay, so he loved Jackie. Okay, so Jackie knew that he loved her. But this feeling he'd been having, this feeling … it was too much. He had to figure out a way to get over this feeling. Not only was it stupid, but it was irrational, it had no logical founding. None whatsoever. Crap.
He looked over towards Eric, who was giggling at some stupid TV show. They were the only ones in the basement, and Hyde had had enough. It was time. Eric was the only one he could talk to about this, even though he really really didn't want to talk about it at all. He breathed in deeply, and took it like a man.
"Forman, can I ask you something?" Eric looked up in surprise.
"When did you get here?"
"Man, I've been here for ages. Maybe I should cut down on your film intake." Hyde grinned.
Eric laughed nervously. "Good one Hyde. Erm, you are joking, aren't ya, good buddy good pal?"
"Sure man. Look, I need to talk to you about something."
"Yeah? Is it about Fez and that whip? 'Cause if it is, it's not something I want to talk about."
"Er … no. Fez has a whip? You know what, never mind. Look, it's about Jackie."
"How is the peppy cheerleader these days?"
"She's fine. It's about … well … Have you ever had … feelings … about Donna that seemed really …" Hyde trailed off, not really knowing how to say what it was he'd been feeling recently about Jackie. He just knew Eric was going to laugh. He wished he'd never started this conversation.
Eric looked thoroughly confused, before a huge smile spread over his face. He opened his mouth to say something, but he took one look at Hyde's face and changed his mind. "What kind of feelings?"
"Like … you wanna protect her and stuff?"
"Hyde man, have you seen my girlfriend? She could take out anyone who pissed her off."
Hyde grinned. "True. But I don't mean that. I mean … you know what? Forget it. It's stupid. I'm stupid." Hyde got up and went to his room, feeling stupid and hoping Eric wouldn't bring up that stupid conversation again. If he did, Hyde might just have to prove that dented reputation of his.
He lay on his bed, thinking that maybe just talking about it with Forman had eased his mind enough so that he could get some sleep, but sleep still evaded him. He was still lying in the same position, wide awake, when Jackie slipped into his room.
"Hey babe," She said quietly. Hyde nodded to her, and felt her slip into bed with him. "Get any sleep?"
"Nope." He felt Jackie sigh. He knew she was worried about him, and that felt kind of good. He hugged her small body closer to him, and felt her shift into her usual position, half over him, hand in his hair, leg over his. Maybe he should just tell her what was bugging him, but he didn't want to look like a pansy. Oh hell, he already looked like a pansy most of the time they were together, especially when they were alone.
"How was your day?" Hyde asked, mainly so he could take his mind off things. Jackie started talking about shopping or something, and Hyde tuned out, listening to her voice, but not her words. When she eventually finished, he decided to bite the bullet."Look, Jackie, about this sleeping thing. I've figured out why I can't sleep." Jackie looked at him expectantly. "This is gonna sound so stupid, but … I worry about you."
Jackie looked perplexed. In fact, she looked just like Forman did when he'd heard Hyde say those words. "Why are you worried about me? I'm not in any trouble. I've never had fewer problems." She gave him that smile, the one she saved just for him, telling him without words that he was the reason that she was happy.
Hyde smiled back, and then sighed. "I didn't say I was being rational about worrying about you. I don't know why I worry about you, you don't need me to worry about you. It's just that … for some reason, I am worrying about you. I worry that something might happen to you, or that someone might hurt you and I won't be there to stop it. Or someday, your parents will come back and they'll hurt you like my parents hurt me. I'm worried about all kinds of things that could hurt you, and I wanna protect you from all of it." Okay, he'd lost some major reputation points there. Somehow, being with Jackie made him confess all kinds of things that he never thought he'd share. What annoyed him most wasn't that she did that to him, but the fact that sharing bothered him less and less, and that bothered him.
"Steven!" Jackie smiled that smile as she looked up into his eyes. "It's because you love me. It makes you worry about me. I worry about you too. I worry about how you feel, what you're doing, your future … it's natural, I promise."
Hyde breathed a sigh of relief. Thank God it wasn't just him. He had seriously begun to question his sanity. Maybe this sharing thing wasn't so bad after all.
"Jackie?" Hyde whispered in her ear. She turned slightly. "You know what I'm in the mood for?" Jackie giggled. He moved closer, and whispered, "Sleep." Hyde couldn't stop the smirk forming on his face at the expression on her face. Priceless, he thought, as he bent to kiss her indignation away.