Summary: Letters are written, and something good happens to Jackie.
Author's Note: Wow! I had no idea people loved this story so much! Thanks so much for all your support and reviews! I'm not sure how much longer I'll prolong this thing, but it's starting to go a road I didn't expect. This chapter will be short, but that's because it's leading up to something cool. Some of you may kill me. That is all. Enjoy!
I'm writing this to you from one of the beaches in Sardinia, getting the best tan I've ever gotten. It took me all of three days in Paris to realize that I wasn't that fond of French men, French food, or French attitudes. Besides, this is the perfect time of year to visit Sardinia, and it's so beautiful here I can't even explain it. (See the enclosed pictures for details.) I hope you're not too irritated that this letter is coming so late. I didn't mean to wait so long to contact you, it just happened that way. I've been touring around Greece and Italy for a while, doing things that are so un-Jackie you wouldn't believe me if I told you.
Things are going amazingly here. I'm seeing this Italian guy named Alessandro… (and before you can say it, I know that sounds like a name from an actor out of a skin-flick.) he's one of the most amazing people I've ever met, with these green eyes that make you melt every time you look into them.
I never imagined life could be this good. I've got a million friends! I spend most of my days lazing around on the beach, and my nights at the local dance clubs. I haven't had a single serious thought in ages! You know, I really was tired of thinking so hard. It was starting to take a toll on my complexion, too.
I won't bore you with too many details, because I'm sure you're insanely jealous of my adventures. What about you? What's going on back in Point Place? How are the boys? Michael sent me pictures of Betsy – she's getting so big! He's made me promise to come and visit as soon as I get bored over here. I told him it was unlikely that I'd be getting bored, but I'd make time to visit him and his beautiful daughter soon.
I got a letter from Eric a few days ago. He's doing well – but I assume you know that. How are things with you and Randy? Is his hair still floppy and feathered? Is there any way you can prevail upon him to grow it out properly?
I have to stop short, unfortunately. I'll mail you again in a few days, I promise. Hope you enjoy the pictures! (P-L-E-A-S-E don't let Fez get his hands on the topless beach photo.)
Jackie did not take the time to re-read the letter, satisfied with the fact that it was complete, and sealed the envelope with a flourish. She had a small stack of letters she'd just finished; one for Michael, Fez, Eric, Mr. and Mrs. Forman, her mother, her father, and one for Mr. Pinciott. She did not have a letter for Steven, nor did she intend to write one.
Alessandro came sauntering in, his bronzed skin damp with ocean water, and nuzzled the back of her neck. She smirked and turned to face him, barely aware of the fact that he hadn't closed the flap to their tent. Had anyone back in Wisconsin heard that she was living out of a tent, wearing wood bracelets and cheap sarongs, they would have laughed until the next century. If there was to be one person in all the world that would never, ever, EVER go camping happily, it was Jackie Burkhart; yet that was exactly what she was doing. After spending two weeks in the lap of luxury, Jackie had begun to get bored. Then, one day, she met a tall, well-muscled Italian who called her his Botticelli beauty. Before long they were embroiled in the kind of passionate affair that dreams were made of. There was only one problem; Alessandro was not rich. Not even close. He was vacationing in Sardinia for a few weeks with some of his mates, but their money had run out and they'd been forced to live on the beach until their return-flight tickets came due. Jackie had been enthralled by the idea of living on the beach, and before long, the pair were practically living together.
Jackie pretended that they were not "living in sin" by making the distinction between houses and tents. An unmarried couple living in a house was "living in sin," while an unmarried couple living in a tent was just harmless fun. In this way she could excuse everything she was doing and enjoy her vacation from herself fully.
She learned that she did not have to wear expensive cosmetics and curl her hair to be beautiful. She learned that it didn't really matter what you wore to the beach, because no one was looking at the pattern on your bathing suit. She learned that men could be loyal and sweet without being rude obnoxious perverts.
Jackie could not have been happier, and could not wait to move on to the next part of her journey. She intended to go to Fiji, and if Alessandro wanted to come with her, he was more than welcome. If not, she had no problem saying goodbye, because as good as the sex was, and as sweet and charming as he might have been, she did not love him. She had no intentions of falling for him, either.
That was another one of the alterations she'd made to herself. She was tired of giving herself so completely in relationships only to be burned in the end. She wanted to have fun with a boy; to go out and really enjoy herself without all the heaviness of love and future. Certainly, she wanted to get married, but she wanted to experience all the things a beautiful young heiress ought to experience before she tied herself down. Jackie felt oddly liberated by her new attitude, and wondered what else would change once she moved on from Sardinia. She couldn't wait to find out.